The Perfect Southern Road Trip

The perfect southern road trip is the most relaxing, memorable time you can take with a loved one or even as family. I might be a little partial though…

Ober Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg, United States - Southern Road Trip

As you know, there’s a lot of talk about Lynchburg on this blog (of course!), and even some of the best businesses and places to stay in the area. But, if you’re not from Tennessee, or from the south at all, I can’t encourage you enough to make the trip to this part of the country. 

There’s truly no better way to see the southern states than on a good old-fashioned road trip. If you’ve been wondering where to go on your family vacation this year, why not consider packing up the car and heading down south? 

I’ve got your southern road trip essentials listed here, so you can make the most of the entire experience with your family.

Historic Square in Lynchburg, Tennessee

1| A Real Map

It’s okay to use your phone’s GPS system or Google Maps. In fact, apps like that can help to get you out of a bind if there’s road construction or any detours along your trip. But, you really can’t beat a traditional paper map when you’re on a road trip

Why? 

GPS systems are often designed to take you on the shortest routes so you can get to your destination faster. While that’s great if you’re specifically going to one location, it’s not ideal for road trips where you should be taking the scenic route and experiencing everything you can. Maps can show you a variety of different paths, roadside attractions, and alternate routes that will have you exploring different southern cities in a way a navigation app can’t. So, don’t be afraid to go old school with how you navigate your trip. 

Plus, it’s a great way to have your kids learn about map-reading! You can alternate having a “co-pilot” with you throughout the trip. 

2| The Right Car

By no means should you go out and get a different car specifically for a road trip. But, if you have a few vehicle options to choose from, the right car can make a big difference. 

First, consider how many people are going on the trip. If you’re loading up the whole family, you’re going to want a vehicle with enough space for everyone to have a little elbow room. You might even consider renting an RV for the trip. It can save you the cost of staying in hotels along the way, and you can experience some incredible southern campgrounds. 

If you’re not worried about the size of your car or what kind of space it has, consider both the environment and your wallet as you hit the road. Hybrid or even electric vehicles can be great for saving money on road trips (don’t worry, there are Tesla charging stations all over the south!). Whatever you do, make sure that your car has enough trunk space for everyone’s luggage, and to bring back some souvenirs! 

3| The Best Road Trip Apps

Just because I encouraged bringing a map doesn’t mean there aren’t other apps that can be useful for your road trip. Some of the best road trip apps include: 

  • GasBuddy – This app will help you to find the cheapest gas around, no matter where you are. 
  • Hotels.com – You can often find great deals on area hotels when you download this app and book a room through it. 
  • Yelp – Check out area restaurants, attractions, and hotels for reviews. 
  • Instagram – You can keep family and friends updated with beautiful pictures of your travels!
  • Waze – A social travel app that connects you with other travelers and lets you know about road conditions, etc. 

All of these apps can make your journey a little easier, but don’t be afraid to do some browsing around the app store and download anything you think might help. Having a few games on your phone can make the time go by faster when it seems like you’re on an endless stretch of highway and someone else is driving

4| The Right Tunes

Another app I didn’t mention above is Spotify because it deserves its own recognition. The South is known for all different types of music, from roots revival to country, and from folk to rock and roll. Tennesse alone is home to some of the biggest musicians in the world, including Dolly Parton and Justin Timberlake. Even Johnny Cash lived here! But, the entirety of the south is rich in different musical genres, so having an incredible road trip playlist as you travel through the states is absolutely essential. 

5| A Big Appetite

If there’s one thing the south is known for more than music, it’s food. From barbecue and brisket to country ham and cornbread, you certainly won’t go hungry when you’re road tripping in the south. It can feel a little overwhelming, not knowing where to go first. So, you can make it easier on yourself by making a “wish list” of popular places to eat. 

Tennessee is famous for places like Hattie B’s and the Loveless Cafe. But, be sure to wander off the beaten path from time to time and try some smaller, local restaurants wherever you’re visiting. You never know where or when you’ll find a local gem with killer food. Southerners love their sweets, too, so make sure you always leave room for a piece of pie!

The Key to a Great Road Trip

It’d be easy to talk about some of the other essentials you should bring with you on a road trip. Of course, it’s important to have things like a first aid kit, protection from the southern heat, safety measures in place for your vehicle, etc. But, if we’re talking about the fun side of road tripping, these are truly the essentials you need to make the most out of a vacation down south. 

Keep these things in mind as you plan your perfect summer road trip. Now is the time to start putting together your itinerary so you don’t miss anything, but be sure to allow for a few extra days of travel, so you can go off the beaten path and see what the southern states truly have to offer. 

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