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Djemba_Villan

Southern US States

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Just wondered whether anyone had any strong reccommendations for the Southern US states?

By process of elimination with my usual group of mates we seem to be settling upon a 14-16 day trip covering the Southern States. Various routes have been discussed but it'll be something along the lines of Atlanta-Memphis-New Orleans-Houston-Austin-Dallas. 
Various ideas such as hiring an RV and/or maybe fitting in an Amtrak segment have been discussed but so far I am not as excited about this one as I usually am. Nothing is screaming out at me just yet. Think i'm a bit concerned it'll end up being simply lots of cities broken up by long drives. I love a road trip but usually want to travel via interesting terrains, National Parks, Coasts etc. as part of them! We've done plenty of European and California road trips so I suppose this will be something different.

 

Have any of you travelled around these parts? Any suggestions for relatively off-the-beaten-track sorts of experiences? Or even for the big cities? New Orleans is currently my highlight so is it as good as I've heard?

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I did parts of that route a few years back

tbh flights around the US are so cheap I'd explore that first of all rather than the RV ..unless you're really keen on driving   ..Memphis to New Orleans will take you 6+ hours to drive  and there isn't a whole lot to see in between based on the train journey i did .... mainly broken down pickups and men sitting on porches playing the banjo :)  

so my tuppence worth is

 

Atlanta - we went there as my mate is Braves fan so the objective was to watch a game , the civil war Cyclorama  was quite interesting , other than that we didn't really see any wow factor .. but tbf we weren't there long

it's Delta's main hub so you can get some good flight options out  ..indeed we flew to Memphis

Memphis - turned out it was Elvis week when we got there .... 3 of us and not one Elvis fan amongst us  !! we headed to Beale street and found lots of bars ,lots of music and even the Flying Saucer beer place that has hundreds of different beers to work your way through , although we aren't fans , the plan was to go to Graceland , the 7am finish in the bar meant that plan got scuppered .. so we went to the Sun studios in the afternoon instead .. that was actually really interesting ... again no wow factor but we had a decent couple of days there

we then took the train to New Orleans

New Orleans -  travel on Amtrax and you'll never slag off virgin trains again ... one train a day from Memphis to New Orleans and that train starts off in Chicago and arrived about 3 hours late ... and then the buffet car ran out of beer to rub insult to injury  ... a lot of that line is single track and thus as we were late we had to quite often stop to let the train coming the other way through , think we were about 5 hours late in the end .... We were going to a New Orleans Saints game so thankfully we just had time to get a taxi to the hotel , dump our kit and go straight to the stadium ... then after the game we hit Bourbon street where a good time was had by all ( and repeated for the next 2 nights  !!)

Sights wise , you can take a paddle boat down the Mississippi to a civil war sight , tour the grave yards (play spot the movie ) , visit the French Quarter , just sorta enjoy the whole ambience and vibe of the place ... and of course watch the locals queue up in their hundreds for Steak night at the buffet in the Harrahs casino (never seen a queue like it !!) ... I like New Orleans and not just because its home to the 2019 Superbowl winners

from there we flew Southern  to Vegas ..  well my mates did , my plan was to have a quick 12 hour stop in Dallas to see the JFK stuff but there was some exceptional storms or something and Dallas airport was shut so i got routed to Houston to LA to Vegas by the airline  they upped me to Business the whole way which was nice of them and tbf they got me to  my eventual destination but it meant I missed out on Dallas so I've still got to get back there at some point

Like you I'd have enjoyed the views of a road trip  , I just didn't really see the justification  in the end  ... from Vegas we flew to Denver and hired a car there , drove up Mt Evans (in our huge muscle car that did its best to kill us :) , went to Redrocks (even saw a gig there)  , that whole region offered quite a scenic drive .. you may have already done it but you could sorta fly to Jackson Hole drive through Yellowstone Park then round to Denver ,salt lake city or something similar (my US geography isn't great so I'm sure there is a better route )  ...loads of national parks on that route and might tick more boxes for you

 

@leviramsey sent me a rote from Washington and down the East coast to Atlanta a few years back  ( think it was the coast route sort via  Norfolk and  North Carolina) that also might appeal to you , would still get your your southern states and maybe a more interesting drive , so maybe do some google on that east coast route

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Big thumbs up for New Orleans, well worth a few days, but perhaps at the end of the trip as it is a fun party town. 

Other than that I have been north of Atlanta towards Clemson and that is a beautiful part of the world. I'd be careful about that drive through Texas. It was on my list when I got here but between the sniggering and earnest advice about how big-flat-hot-boring the place is, I never did it. There are much better road trips to undertake.

Regardless, try hit as many national/state parks as you can. They are quite easily one of the best things over here and a true credit to the people of the country. 

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20 hours ago, Djemba_Villan said:

Just wondered whether anyone had any strong reccommendations for the Southern US states?
 

Avoid at all costs :D

Quote

Nothing is screaming out at me just yet. Think i'm a bit concerned it'll end up being simply lots of cities broken up by long drives.

I'm afraid your concern is warranted as sadly that is exactly what it will be like. Texas in particular is flat, boring and huuuuuuuge. Many highways in Georgia have massive trees either side so you can literally drive for hours and see no landscape - it can actually get very claustrophobic.  Not sure what time of year you're planning but the South in summer is hotter and more humid than most places on earth.

Quote

I love a road trip but usually want to travel via interesting terrains, National Parks, Coasts etc. as part of them! We've done plenty of European and California road trips so I suppose this will be something different.

Have any of you travelled around these parts? Any suggestions for relatively off-the-beaten-track sorts of experiences? Or even for the big cities? New Orleans is currently my highlight so is it as good as I've heard?

It sounds like you may have done some of the great American West but that would always be my first choice. This is what I would suggest

From the UK get a cheap flight to Vegas then drive 2 hours north to St. George (spectacular drive in itself.) From there you could go to Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Monument Valley, over the top of Utah to Moab or underneath to Grand Staircase Escalante. Moab is spectacular (one of my favorite places on earth) with Canyonlands and the extremely accessible Arches NP. Go slot canyon hiking in Grand Staircase and drive Utah State Road 12 - consistently duking it out with Pacific Coast Highway for the most scenic drive in the US. Go to Boulder Utah on Route 12 and see real cowboys bringing in their herds at sundown while you eat the best grass fed burger you will ever eat watching the sunset. 

More off the beaten track is New Mexico which despite it's reputation has an extremely varied landscape and a fascinating history. In the south, White Sands park, a pin drop other planet feeling place. Then the solitude is shattered by fighter planes from the US Air force base next door conducting training exercises. Drive north stopping at family owned Mexican restaurants, visit the very large array, take the Breaking Bad tour of Albuquerque and onto Santa Fe one of the oldest trading towns in the US. Nestled in the mountains at 7500 feet above sea level it is beyond spectacular, and has the most number of art galleries per capita in the country. The north of the State has Los Alamos where the atomic bomb was developed and the foliage begins to gradually turn into Colorado as you get to the Hot springs area. Native American history and stories are everywhere in NM and learning about their culture and history is fascinating.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents but if you do make it Santa Fe let me know as I'll be there July & August :)

 

Edited by TheAuthority

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We are doing a similar route later in the year, Wife is a huge elvis fan & loves all the vampire diaries etc stuff around new orleans so this is the main reason.

Atlanta - Montgomery - New Orleans - Tupelo / Memphis - Nashvile - Chattanooga

10 days full of driving to places hundreds of miles apart...

Sure i'll enjoy the places, just not the getting to & from them. 

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There are a lot of things and places to see throughout the southern US. The downside is that many of the places to see are very long drives from each other. Just depends on what kinds of things y'all want to actually see. 

I would recommend Nashville though. 

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Cheers guys. 
The good thing about USA is that there is no shortage of potential routes. Something we're looking at currently is:-

Nashville->Memphis->New Orleans->Houston...then jumping to Las Vegas but driving out to the Grand Canyon and doing some camping over that way. Although still ambitious in 2 weeks, it's more akin to something i'd like to do. I've thrown in some of your suggestions so thanks!

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Austin was definitely the coolest place in Texas that I visited, out of Houston, San Antonio, Austin and the towns driving between (not a lot really). Houston is a huge city with a not a lot in it, unless your desperate to see the Space Centre, which is very good.

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Just purely speaking my neck of the woods. Charleston is a MUST! Hilton head island and st symons isle are the same and absolutely beautiful.

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On 27/06/2018 at 14:01, Dom_Wren said:

Just purely speaking my neck of the woods. Charleston is a MUST! Hilton head island and st symons isle are the same and absolutely beautiful.

Sadly Charleston is tainted for me. Walking through the town with an African American friend of mine. A truck drives by with four 'Good Ol' (white) Boys' (complete with a confederate flag on the back of the truck) screaming the N word at us over and over and I was apparently a N word lover.

Terrifying, enraging and as I said has tainted my opinion of the place.

Do you mean St Symons Island on the Georgia/Florida border? If so, that place is a hidden gem which is yet to be spoilt by over building/commercialization unlike 99% of the East coast that enjoys decent weather.

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On 06/07/2018 at 00:14, TheAuthority said:

Sadly Charleston is tainted for me. Walking through the town with an African American friend of mine. A truck drives by with four 'Good Ol' (white) Boys' (complete with a confederate flag on the back of the truck) screaming the N word at us over and over and I was apparently a N word lover.

Terrifying, enraging and as I said has tainted my opinion of the place.

Do you mean St Symons Island on the Georgia/Florida border? If so, that place is a hidden gem which is yet to be spoilt by over building/commercialization unlike 99% of the East coast that enjoys decent weather.

Blimey, that absolutely scandalous. Sorry you and your friend had to go thru that. Makes me sad, as Charleston id the place i recommend the most to people visiting the area.

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If you go Nashville- Memphis - New Orleans - nice trip - but you are barely touching the Southern States.  Like walking Hadrian’s Wall and saying you have been to Scotland. You will get a taste for it though.

Shame about Charleston - touch wood - it wouldn’t happen in Savannah - which IMHO is a must visit. But as I live about 25 miles south - I would, wouldn’t I ?

  A cross between Charleston & New Orleans - which I also liked a lot.

The Golden Isles ( incl St. Simons Island) are worth a visit - Cumberland ( and the wild horses) by boat only btw. And Jekyll Island - summer resort for the American magnates of the early 20th century. 

No mountains anywhere - just flat peaceful coastal marshes. 

Good Luck 

 

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Coast gonna get it real bad, were 2.5 hours in from

2 hours ago, LakotaDakota said:

Hopefully there will be some of it left to visit after florence has given the place a kicking over the next few days. Not looking good

and were gonna get 5 inches of rain!

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5 hours ago, Stevo985 said:

I'm flying into North Carolina this weekend.

My timing is impeccable

Where too and what day?

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41 minutes ago, Dom_Wren said:

Where too and what day?

Charlotte, Saturday evening (think we land at 6:30pm)

I reckon we'll be ok, my boss is less optimistic and reckons it'll be cancelled.
AA have said no impact to operations at Charlotte at the moment

I think worst case is we'll get bumped to Sunday, just depends if there's a load of backlog I guess.

Edit: it's work so I'm not really fussed if it gets moved or cancelled to be honest 

Edited by Stevo985

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4 hours ago, Stevo985 said:

Charlotte, Saturday evening (think we land at 6:30pm)

I reckon we'll be ok, my boss is less optimistic and reckons it'll be cancelled.
AA have said no impact to operations at Charlotte at the moment

I think worst case is we'll get bumped to Sunday, just depends if there's a load of backlog I guess.

Edit: it's work so I'm not really fussed if it gets moved or cancelled to be honest 

thats like 25 mins from me!

Were hearing 40 + mph winds and heavy heavy rain at the time your supposed to land.

Safe travels!

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Work thing is cancelled so no drama (for me!) after all

Ironically the flights are still going as far as I can tell.
It was cancelled because people in the US weren't willing to travel to it.

So I could travel from halfway across the world but they couldn't travel within the US? :)

 

I'm not bothered really, was a hassle for me. But it's about 3 grand down the pan for the company for just me and my colleague alone

Edited by Stevo985
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