If you’re the type of traveler who likes to really get a feel for the people and culture of the places you visit, rather than just frequenting popular tourist attractions, there’s nothing quite like a road trip. Traveling by car allows you to stop when and where you like, for as long as you like, to take in interesting sites, enjoy the local cuisine, and meet interesting people.
If you are planning a romantic trip with your spouse or partner and are looking for ideas, a road trip to the American South, one of the United States’ most beautiful and historic regions, should be on your list.
Continue reading below for a few suggestions of places to visit and things to do on your next romantic road trip to the Southern United States.
Explore South Carolina’s Low Country and Beaches
Many people think they need to travel to Florida or to the Caribbean to visit a great beach but the fact is that South Carolina has gorgeous white sand beaches that could easily rival any on Florida’s Gulf Coast. One of South Carolina’s most popular beaches, Myrtle Beach, is an ideal stopping point on any South Carolina road trip. The area is home to several hotels and inns, and when you get tired of the sun and surf there are lots of fun things to do and excellent restaurants nearby serving up regional specialties such as shrimp and grits, roasted oysters and Frogmore stew.
If you will be traveling with a camper or RV, Myrtle Beach oceanfront camping is available, making it easy for you to enjoy the beach and relax for a few days at the same time.
While you are in South Carolina you won’t want to miss a visit to the Low Country. This region, which is located along the coast and includes the state’s sea islands, was once known for its rice production. Today, the Low Country is popular with visitors from around the country who come to experience the region’s historic cities and towns, including Charleston, one of South Carolina’s largest cities. The area is also known for its natural beauty and wildlife.
Take a Road Trip Through Tennessee
From Memphis Blues Clubs and Graceland, the former home of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, to Nashville, home of the Grand Ol’ Opry and headquarters of the country music industry, the state of Tennessee is the perfect place for a music-themed road trip. The state is also home to 12 national parks and is known throughout the world for its mountains, forests, caves and natural beauty.
Start in the eastern part of the state with a visit to the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After you’ve hiked a few trails, head northwest to Nashville, Tennessee’s capital city and a must-see for country music fans. Then, head southwest to Memphis. Set along the banks of the Mississippi River, Memphis is known for its live blues music, fantastic barbecue, and as the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, created inside the Lorraine Motel building where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Drive the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
If you love Kentucky bourbon, a drive along the state’s Bourbon Trail is a must at least once in your lifetime. You will have the opportunity to visit small craft producers as well as some of the larger, more famous bourbon makers. And the best thing is, if you are driving in your own car you can purchase as many bottles as you like to take home.
Start your drive in historic Louisville, home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Visitors Center and the Frazier Museum, a Kentucky history museum with exhibits on bourbon making, the Kentucky Derby and Lewis and Clark. Louisville is also home to several distilleries including the Old Forester Distilling Co., Bulleit, Evan Williams and Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery.
From Louisville, head west to Shepherdsville and Owensboro, home to famous bourbon maker Jim Beam and smaller craft distillery, OZ Tyler.
From here, you can continue on your way southeast to historic Bardstown, considered by some to be the Bourbon Capital of the World. The city is home to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, one of the world’s largest bourbon producers, Heaven Hill, which distills brands such as Elijah Craig, Larceny and Henry McKenna, and small craft distilleries such as Lux Row Distillers.
While you are in Kentucky, don’t forget to try some of the local cuisine such as derby pie, the Kentucky hot brown sandwich, and the mint julep.