Published On: Thu, Jul 25th, 2019

Your Guide to Summer Road-Tripping in the Southern US

Summer in the southern states is something to behold: a rip-roaring mix of hot sunshine, toe-tapping music, delicious food (including a ransom of amazing BBQ) and some of the funniest, most genuine people in the world. Wash it down with a few of the local drinks and this is a road trip that goes down incredibly smooth. 

To help you get started planning your Southern US road trip, this article has done the work of highlighting a few of the must-see places in the region. Of course, subjectivity being as it is, these picks might not be your top picks, but at least give them a read and consider them. 

This article is starting West and moving east, but if you live in the east, or simply want to start your trip on the Atlantic side, by all means read this article backwards!


Phoenix, and the surrounding Scottsdale area, are hot – both in the sense of temperature, and in terms of the many activities and nightlife options they contain. If you’re looking for things to do in Phoenix, consider catching an Arizona Diamondbacks game at the Chase Field, or, to do something fun in Scottsdale check out the axe throwing facility there, a rec pastime that is every bit as fun as it sounds. Stay in the loop with BATL (the Backyard Axe Throwing League) to learn more about upcoming events. And when you’re tired from all the baseball watching and axe throwing fun, treat yourself to some of the country’s finest Tex-Mex. 

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a hotbed of Southwest culture, an oasis in what you’re about to find out is a very hot car ride. The city, apart from its charming adobe buildings and stretching blue skies, is also home to an abundance of art, at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, the International Folk Art Museum, and along Canyon Road, a center for art work from the around the country. 


Austin is like Houston’s hip younger brother – although not all that much smaller. While in some regards, Austin is an outlier in Texas (owing mostly to its liberalness and general lax stance on social issues), in other ways Austin is pure Texas. They love music, BBQ and dispense with good old-fashioned Southern hospitality. If you’re lucky to arrive around the same time, obviously try and check out SXSW (more so a spring thing, but who’s keeping track) the distinctly Austin answer to the great American music festival. 

photo/ Deborah Jackson

New Orleans

What you’ve heard about New Orleans is true – it’s a party city, nevertheless steeped in serious culture and tradition, with a food scene unlike anything else in the Southern US. It is a city of multitudes, and a certain unshakeable joie de vivre. Head down Bourbon Street, a Big Gulp full of cocktail in hand, and sample all the food you can. Strike up a conversation with a local, eat a big bowl of gumbo or a pile of crawfish, and live like a Creole king for a while. 

photo/ Oliver Weidmann


Country music and great BBQ: two of the things most commonly associated with the American South can be found in spades in Nashville. While Memphis may claim ownership of the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, Nashville is the real musical draw in the great state of Tennessee, with scores of famous recoding studios and live venues. And it’s also home to Nashville Hot Chicken, the spicy-dipped chicken that has been making its way onto pub menus all over the country of late. 


You have to throw some good old-fashioned history into the mix, especially when you’re in the south. To that end, stop by Vicksburg, Mississippi, one of the most important sites in the Civil War, and now a living memorial to the lives lost therein. Aside from that, the city is just a great slice of Mississippi culture, with old houses and great restaurants dotting Cherry Street. 


Savannah, Georgia, in Chatham County on the Atlantic is the perfect endpoint to a great Southern road trip. Its old colonial architecture, tree lined streets and majestic port make for an easy way to relax after a long couple weeks on the road. It routinely tops lists of the top American destinations for quality of life and visitor satisfaction – a direct consequence of all that Southern hospitality and charm for which it’s known.

Everyone’s road trip will be different, especially when it concerns a region as vast and culturally diverse at the American South – but these picks, complete with activities in each place, make for an amazing itinerary. Just brace yourself to hear a hundred people tell you, while you travel through, where you really should be going.

Author: Quick Solutions

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