Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > Feedback on our Southern US road trip itinerary
Notices

Feedback on our Southern US road trip itinerary

Reply

Sep 10th, 2013, 03:21 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Feedback on our Southern US road trip itinerary

Hi

We're 3 Australian friends doing a road trip of Southern US next April.

We have an itinerary planned, however are unsure whether it's realistic to visit all these places in 24 nights without driving too much and rushing things. We also want to ensure that we don't miss out on some great places along the way.

To give you an idea of our interests, we enjoy going to beaches, shopping, art and architecture, history, good food and wine, seeing live music, generally absorbing new cultures and outdoor activities like hiking (as long as this isn't all the time!)

Our current plan is as follows:

- Head from New York (our first stop) to Miami and stay for 3 nights. Information on what Miami is like would be great. We're looking for nice beaches and good nightlife but not too busy or trashy.

- Hire a car and head a few hours North to a quieter beach town. Any suggestions?

- Drive to Savannah and stay for 3 nights.

- Drive to Charleston and stay for 5 nights.

- Drive to The Great Smoky Mountains and stay for 2 nights.

- Drive to Nashville and stay for 3 nights.

- Drive to Memphis and stay for 2 nights.

- Drive to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival and stay for 4 nights.

Any feedback and recommendations would be much appreciated!

Thanks

Kate
katejer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 04:24 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
5 nights would be to many for me in Charleston. While you are in Miami, surely visit The Everglades and I would also drive The Keys.

On your drive to The Great Smokys, stop at Ashville NC and see The Biltmore House.

I think your plan is doable.

I have never been to Cumberland Island National Seashore, but it is somewhere I've wanted to visit. It's not far from your route. I've been to Charleston and Savannah, I'm not sure how I missed it when we were there.
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 04:26 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
I'm not sure how to describe the beaches in Florida, other than They may not be what you are thinking they might be. I'll let others comment
spirobulldog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 05:35 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,566
I don't really think the beaches in Miami are exactly what you may want.
I haven't looked real carefully but in 24 days, I don't think you've allowed much for driving time between places. Miami to Savannah is a HIKE.
I think you really might enjoy a beach near Charleston--Wild Dunes or such.
If some of your "nights" as in Savannah, include the drive to get there, that is "good". I think you could cut a day off of Charleston also, and I LOVE Charleston. But there is the beach there, as I mentioned.
I think it is a doable trip and a good itinerary basically--just have to run the numbers for the travel times, I think.
Gretchen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 07:28 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,435
I think it's doable but do check the driving times as Gretchen suggests.

I'd cut two nites from Charleston and add at least one to Memphis--Memphis has lots of music-related things to see and you'll want more that one day there.

Daytona Beach, St. Augustine Beach are both on the East Coast and would make a good stop between Miami and Savannah. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US and is worth a look. So maybe add one nite at St. Augustine. The best Florida beaches are on the Gulf Coast, not the East Coast, although if you just want to lie or walk on the beach, then either of the above will do.

On the way from Memphis to New Orleans, stop in Clarksdale, MS, and visit the Blues Museum. It's not live music but it will get you in the mood for NO.

Jazz Festival is a lot of fun and you should leave there sated with music.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 07:53 AM
  #6
BKD
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 185
Sounds like a great trip! I think one thing I'd change is 8 nights between Savannah and Charleston. That's a lot and I'd pick one over the other. Charleston probably has a little more to do, better places to eat and its proximity to plantations and history is better in my view. I would do three nights in Charleston or 4 but use one day to head to some of the barrier islands.

Definitely stop in Asheville and use that as a base for the Smokey Mountains. Lots of music and arts and still has a thriving hippie population. Frankly I like it better than Nashville, but if you're into country music then do stop in Nashville.

I totally agree with dwdvagamundo regarding a stop in Clarksdale. There's a funky place called the Shack Up Inn (yes, you stay in shacks)that will give you the flavor of the Delta. Also, Morgan Freeman has a blues club there and a restaurant. On your way to New Orleans, stop in Natchez, Mississippi. You might want to spend one night there and visit some of the incredible antebellum homes there.

Jazz Fest is a great way to end the trip! Have not missed it in 38 years except the year I got married which was the first weekend of the festival (kind of busy but our guests got to go-we live in New Orleans). One thing if you want to soak up some sun after Jazz Fest and get a little rest before you head home, the best beaches in America are 3 hours away on the Gulf Coast.
BKD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 08:32 AM
  #7
cd
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
I would cut off a day from Savannah and a day from Charleston and head to Pensacola or Destin Florida from Memphis for those two days. The beaches in the Panhandle are beautiful and it is just about 5hrs to New Orleans from there. Also, for Miami I would stay in South Beach.
cd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 08:44 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,566
Asheville is just too far for a base for the Smokies, but is definitely worth a stop for the Biltmore House and a meal downtown. Then from Asheville they could just head through the Park, maybe via Cherokee (not because of Cherokee, but because it is a southeastern gateway).
I also think the Panhandle beaches are too far out of their way. There are pretty beaches on the southeast coast around Charleston. Please don't go to Hilton Head!!
Edisto could be a cute stop for charm.
The Georgia beaches--Jekyll, st. Simon's could be nice.
Gretchen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 09:00 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,340
<>

That's just loopy. It's 7 hours by car from Memphis to Pensacola. BKD's plan is better - plan a week for New Orleans at the end with two days post Jazz Fest to go to Gulf beaches and return on the third day.

Get the Jazz Fest tickets ahead of time. http://www.nojazzfest.com/

<>

They're Aussie - likelihood is they'll be sated with more than music considering the potent potables in NOLA.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 09:01 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
I like the idea of either dropping some time in Charleston, or making your beach time somewhere in the SC/Georgia region near Savannah or Charleston, and adding that Florida beach time to Asheville. Asheville is great and is different from anywhere else on your itinerary.

if you're into country music then do stop in Nashville

There is actually plenty to do, see, hear and eat in Nashville that is not related to country music. Though we do have that too.
jent103 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 01:56 PM
  #11
BKD
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 185
jent, didn't mean to slight your town! I like Nashville, beautiful place. I was just trying to take into consideration the amount of time they have and that if they're into country music they should definitely make it a stop.

Also, Gretchen, I agree that Asheville is not necessarily a "base" for the Smokey's, but worth spending a night or two on the way. Funky, cool town. Good BBQ at 12 Bones, too. I like the Highlands/Cashiers area in the mountains.
BKD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 02:50 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Sorry, BKD... that probably came across as harsher than I meant it to! The country stereotype does get kind of old (though I do have a pair of cowboy boots), so I'm probably a little oversensitive too. It's a fun time to live here. We're so hot right now.
jent103 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 03:08 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
Thanks for all those suggestions. If we did cut out Florida, which beaches closer to Charleston would you recommend we visit?
katejer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 05:13 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Well, Gretchen will probably have a heart attack if you pick Hilton Head (it's "sterile", from what I hear; haven't been there myself). Folly Beach is the closest to downtown Charleston, and Isle of Palms isn't far. Kiawah and Seabrook Islands are about 30-45 minutes away. There's also Tybee Island near Savannah.

My family goes to Kiawah when we go to the beach. It's pretty quiet and family-friendly, with lots of condos and vacation homes (many of which rent by the week, though they might be more flexible in April). So that may or may not be appealing, depending on what kind of beach experience you're looking for. Basically no nightlife! But you'll get that in the cities.
jent103 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 05:44 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,566
Geez, jent, I agreed with you and you call me out. I said Exactly what you did. And if you haven't been to HH, then go and tell me different. And the icon doesn't help--just ignore the idea if you need to.
Kiawah and many others are beautiful and at the same time interesting.
Gretchen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 07:41 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30,474
The distance from Miami to Savannah is 495 miles. The speed limit is almost consistently 70 MPH throughout the entire route except for some short sections in Georgia and where there is construction along I-95 in Florida. In other words, you can very easily do the trip in ONE day.

I would not spend five nights in Charleston...just not enough to do for FIVE nights in my opinion.

In terms of "nice" beaches I would get away from South Beach in Miami (sure, there's nightlife but there's a lot of nightlife in places like Fort Lauderdale and other beach towns, too. Depends on what kind of nightlife you like..how OLD are you anyway? knowing THAT would help a great deal.
Dukey1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2013, 11:41 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6
We're 29. Still like nightlife, just not going out every night.
katejer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 11th, 2013, 05:49 AM
  #18
BKD
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 185
If you're thinking about cutting out Florida, then why fly to Miami? (Though I think Miami is a pretty cool happening place that is the closest thing to South America in North America and at your age I would stay in South Beach if you do end up there.) From New York you can probably fly right into Charleston or Charlotte, North Carolina, or Savannah, or Atlanta, or Jacksonville is very close to Savannah. All would be much closer than Miami. Miami's airport is a pain the butt, too. So if you decide not to go to south Florida I would avoid MIA.

There are numerous beaches between Savannah and Charleston. South of Charleston are Edisto Island and Kiawah. Kiawah has a big resort. Also a side trip to Beaufort would be interesting. Must see is Middleton Gardens outside of Charleston.
BKD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 11th, 2013, 06:37 AM
  #19
cd
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
The beaches along the Atlantic and the beaches of the Gulf Coast are two different kinds of beach. IMHO the Gulf Coast are superior. The sand is soft and white and the water a beautiful blue. At 29yrs old I still think you would like Pensacola or Destin, beautiful beach time and good nite life.
cd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 11th, 2013, 06:58 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,431
Just keep in mind that in April, the farther north you go, the colder the water/weather.
sludick is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:43 PM.