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The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won’t Break The Bank

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The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi

There’s something fun and exciting about taking a road trip with your family! There are so many super cool and unique places to visit, and since school is still out for many districts, there’s time for fun road trips without too much planning ahead, or even lots of money in the bank needed.

Living in the Southeast provides so many options for road trips during the warmer months, and I hope to visit a few more of these myself very soon!

If time runs out though, all of these Southeastern cities would be great destinations to visit any time of the year….and don’t forget your road trip meals and snacks!

Nashville, TN

The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi

Ah, what could be better to visit than a place known as Music City? Head to Nashville and experience legendary country music venues like the Grand Ole Opry House, home of the famous Grand Ole Opry stage and radio show. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and historic Ryman Auditorium are downtown, as is the District, featuring honky-tonks with live music and the Johnny Cash Museum, celebrating the singer’s life.

Columbia, SC

The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi

Take the entire gang to the best zoo I’ve ever been to! Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and the grounds also include one of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring botanical gardens.

The lush 170-acre site features dynamic natural habitat exhibits, scenic river views, spectacular valley overlooks and significant historic landmarks. Riverbanks Zoo for great for animal spotting, giraffe feeding, and adventure seeking. Check out the flamingo exhibit, it’s my favorite!

The zoo also features family friendly signature events throughout the year, like Boo at the Zoo, Lights Before Christmas, and summer movies at the amphitheater.

If you’re planning a date night, stick around downtown Columbia and enjoy an upscale dinner with a view at Oak Table, followed by wine at the European-inspired Lula Drake wine bar. Or check out Bourbon for some Cajun-creole cuisine, and then try drinks at the Whig, a subterranean dive bar with a speakeasy sort of vibe.

Brevard, NC

The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi
Photo from -Ted on FLICKR

Brevard is a real hidden gem not too far from the more eclectic and edgy city of Asheville. No worries though, Brevard is a thriving town in its own right! It’s known for its population of rare white squirrels that comprise about 25% of the squirrel population in the area. This unique color characteristic gives rise to the annual White Squirrel Festival that is held on Memorial Day weekend each year.

If the white squirrels don’t catch your fancy, the opportunities for outdoor activities in Brevard are nearly endless. You can mountain bike in the morning, rock climb mid-day, kayak down the French Broad River in the afternoon, and take a zip-line ride at sunset. Don’t forget to take in a waterfall…Brevard has over 200 of them! True fact.

Check out these top outdoor recreation “hotspots” as you plan a visit:

Pisgah National Forest

DuPont State Recreational Forest

Blue Ridge Parkway

Helen, GA

The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi

Back in my home state, Helen is a cool little mountain town in northeast Georgia. It’s known for its vineyards and Bavarian-style buildings – a glimpse of Germany, right there in Georgia.

Quaint hotels, cobblestone walkways, Alpine food and drink invite you to lose yourself for a family getaway, a quiet weekend, or a walking tour.

Nearby Unicoi State Park, the largest of all Georgia state parks, offers a lake and campsites and trails run through the Chattahoochee National Forest to the spectacular Anna Ruby Falls as well as several other waterfalls in the area.

If fishing is more your thing, Dukes Creek in Smithgall Woods State Park, is known as a favorite for catch and release trout fishing

St. Augustine, FL

The Best Southeast Road Trip Destinations That Won't Break The Bank Travels with Bibi

My favorite Florida destination is St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States! Where else will you find attractions like military forts, stately castles, and Gilded-Age hotels all in the same place? You can even try a drink of the famed water at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

Visitors to St. Augustine can explore a spiraling lighthouse, scenic nature trails and tranquil beaches. Explore captivating museums or take in a frightening ghost tour. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this southern city with a quaint feel but big-time appeal.

These are only a few of the places you can visit during a Southeast road trip. There’s definitely freedom of choice when traveling by car instead of getting on a plane for vacation. Be spontaneous when deciding where to go…that’s part of the fun!

If none of these trip ideas work for you, check out some other mini-vacations you can take this summer by clicking here!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve done a road trip to any of these locations, or if I left anything out!

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45 Comments

  1. Bibi, Once again thanks for the information. We’ve done some of these but have some others to do and I love all the information that your post provides. Thanks Again

  2. You make me want to go to St. Augustine. The picture for Helen, GA looks beautiful, but I don’t get out of FL much so I doubt I’ll get there! Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Helen is like it was transported directly from Bavaria! It’s such a quaint little town and the Chattahoochee River is very close if you like river fun. Pack your bags and come visit!

    1. I grew up in the era where the VW van was the coolest vehicle on the road. I’ll always have a genuine fondness for them. Isn’t that orange van great?

  3. I have never visited any of these places and now I want to! I especially want to attend the white squirrel festival.. it sounds magical! Thank you for sharing such great destination options.

    1. I lived in Arden, NC for a year and had a white squirrel in my backyard! Even though Arden is some distance from Brevard, there clearly are white squirrel genes on the move to other areas! lol

  4. I’ve been on the lookout for easy weekend trips that we could take in the Southeast, so this is perfect! Helen, GA looks like it needs to find its way into our schedule soon! And I’m so glad to see that my home sweet home is first on the list, of course. 🙂

    1. Nashville is a terrific place for a weekend getaway! With your first name being Savannah, a trip to Georgia would make great sense. Most people who visit Helen find it fun and quite charming. I hope you get to visit soon!

  5. We recently found Helen, GA and decided to visit, and now we LOVE it! And, we’ve actually been able to visit all of these places on your list, and I agree they are all wonderful! We especially enjoyed St. Augustine, FL. The history was astounding. I love that you wrote about these places and hopefully more people will check them out. Great post!

    1. Isn’t Helen a great place? It’s less than a two hour drive from my home so it’s an easy day trip. Love it!

  6. Oh, it’s encouraging that I’ve been to a good handful of the places you mentioned, but Helen, GA, is still on my bucket list (I have a pretty lengthy bucket list ~ lol). I’ve heard about it from other friends who have been there, so it’s definitely piqued my interest.

  7. Oh my Goodness! What a wonderful road trip! I have wanted to visit all of these states for the longest time! You have really inspired me! I am pinning this to review it again later! 🙂

  8. These all sound fantastic! In particular I woukd like to Brevard and Helen. Both really appeal to me. And I love a good zoo. Animals get me every time!

  9. I live in the southeast and there are some wonderful places to visit. I never heard of Helen, GA. It looks like Stavanger, Norway. The architect and the cobble streets. I didn’t know we had something like this right in our backyard.

  10. As a kid, we traveled these areas and the place I remember the most is Unicoi State Park and Helen. We would stay in one of those round cabins and hike all day. Also, went to mining places and found rubies (do they still have that these days?). I will take our family there one of these days.

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