2022 is breathing fresh life into the travel industry. US states have relaxed restrictions on popular attractions. And many nations around the globe have opened up their borders to tourists, so long as you can meet their long list of entry requirements.
While international travel is expected to increase this year, many Americans are looking to avoid the hassle of border restrictions by staying on home soil.
But you can still give in to the travel bug by taking a road trip. And if you want to travel in the winter, consider a southern road trip, where sunshine and warm temperatures will greet you while the northern states are still covered in ice.
Need some ideas for great southern road trips that will make you feel like you’re a world away? Here are some road trip ideas for those looking to stay in the south.
A Warm Winter Ride in Florida
Looking for RV owner road trip ideas that bring blue skies, warm sunshine, and plenty of saltwater? Then take a road trip across Florida. The best time for road trips in Florida is between November and March.
Temperatures will be mild at best. The normal will be sunshine and a high of 80 degrees. And the rainy hurricane season will have passed.
We all need a little bit of summer in January, right? Whether you have a week, a month, or the entire season, Florida has endless places to visit.
And it’s an RV-friendly state. So if you’re bringing your own RV to stay in, or are renting one once you arrive, you’ll find the state caters well to motorhomes and travel trailers.
Most people will either travel down the west coast, along the gulf, or the east coast along the Atlantic. If you have more time, drive down one side and back up the other.
Staying in the Florida Keys is the ultimate tropical vacation in the US. Numerous campgrounds are available, allowing you to look out your RV window and see the ocean.
If you’re traveling down the west coast, consider stopping at Rainbow Springs State Park, St Petersburg, Sarasota, and the Fort Myers Area. If you don’t mind some rustic camping (limited hookups), you can explore Everglades National Park.
The Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi and Tennessee is a historic route originally used by Native Americans, long before cars and roads were dreamed up.
The entire route takes you from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, running about 400 miles. Today, the route is frequented by campers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists looking to enjoy the greenery and historic scenery that dot the route.
You can also hike along the original Natchez Trace National Historic Trail. You’ll also find ancient Native American settlements and artifacts, as well as Civil War battlefields. This is a great drive in the fall, once the air cools down.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The South doesn’t have too many mountains. But the mountains that it does have are very impressive.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited National Park in the US. And it’s huge.
There are countless routes you can take to explore the entire area. You can spend as little as a few days, or a few weeks exploring the area.
Because many of the roads are narrow and winding, it’s best to park the RV at one of the many campsites in the area. Full-service campsites are available in the National Park, and many luxury RV parks are available on the outskirts.
With your campground secured, you can take day drives throughout the mountains, stopping in iconic mountain towns, and visiting sites like Clingmans Dome.
Summer is very popular since there are countless waterfalls, swimming holes, and rivers to paddle. But fall is absolutely gorgeous as well.
Don’t Overlook Arkansas
When people dream of a road trip in the South, Arkansas isn’t normally the first state that pops up. But it should be near the top of your list.
Arkansas is home to the expansive Ozark National Forest and Ouachita National Forests. These beautiful landscapes are covered with rolling hills and small mountains.
The landscape is rugged and full of opportunities to hike, camp, fish, paddle, mountain bike, and much more. Ouachita is also located near the town of Hot Springs, where you’ll find the historic Hot Springs National Park.
You’ll also be close to the capital city of Little Rock, where you can enjoy big-city amenities with small-town, southern charm.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The coast of North Carolina is lined with barrier islands that make for excellent driving and seaside adventures.
You can start your drive from Norfolk, Virginia, making your way down the islands that are composed of wildlife refuges and National Seashores. You’ll find pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and charming seaside villages with the best seafood on the coast.
To drive the entire length of the islands, you’ll need to take a ferry or two. But that’s part of the fun. And you’ll end your island road trip in Roatan National Forest, worth a few days of exploration by itself.
The Best of Texas
Many people fear driving across Texas due to its size and the amount of farmland it holds. But Texas is a destination you need to experience.
Start your trip in the capital city of Austin. This hip town prides itself on being as weird as possible and there’s no shortage of things to do.
Then, head south towards Corpus Christi, stopping in San Antonio on the way.
Once in Corpus Christi, you’ll be at the Gulf of Mexico where you can enjoy Padre Island National Seashore. It holds miles of uninterrupted beach, where sand dunes camping is available.
Head a little further south to the city of Harlingen and get a glimpse of Mexico.
Enjoy a Southern Road Trip This Year
If you’re looking to travel more this year, don’t feel like you need to hop on a plane. All you need is a set of wheels and a few paper maps, and you can experience a brand new country.
The best southern road trip will take place in the fall or winter when temperatures are mostly mild. Though certain places are great in the summer, particularly along the Atlantic Coast.
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