Make the Most of Your Cross-Country Road Trip in the Southern USA (Road Trip Series Part 8)

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From Virginia to Los Angeles, the southern USA has an abundance of gorgeous scenery and diverse cultural experiences. Explore big cities and admire ghost towns from the past. Get away from it all by visiting barren deserts or lush forests.

If you have plenty of time and a desire to see it all, you can try to make the entire coast-to-coast trip in one go. If you’d like to take a more leisurely pace for your adventures, you can break your trip down into separate areas and then explore the south in several shorter trips.

Where should you go? We’ve outlined some of the hottest spots to visit throughout the southern USA.

Best places to visit in the southern USA

You can start your trip (or end it!) in southern California. Los Angeles is diverse, exciting, and has an abundance of unforgettable restaurants. Or pop by the equally memorable beaches close by. Take in the sights and nightlife near famous beaches like Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. Stop by to marvel at the luxury of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Or you may want to head east to the rugged beauty of the Joshua Tree National Park.

As you continue your way east, admire the dry beauty of Arizona. Get a dose of history with old ghost towns and Spanish-style missions.

If the great outdoors is what you crave, then of course you will be sure to visit the Grand Canyon. Hike, bike or raft your way down the Colorado River. Take a hike up Camelback Mountain or gaze at Sedona’s red rock formations, which are sure to leave you speechless. In fact, if you love national parks, you’ll find dozens of them running through Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado.

In New Mexico visit underground caverns. And while you are there, Santa Fe will treat you to indigenous cuisine, art, and a good dose of history.

Head up to Colorado to check out the San Juan Scenic Skyway with alpine forests and tiny towns. When you head back south, don’t miss the Austin music scene in Texas.

Louisiana is more than just plantations and hot weather. In Lafayette, the epicenter of Cajun culture, taste the flavors of the unique Cajun cuisine. In New Orleans discover the mix of Native American, French, Creole, and African cultures and traditions.

True music lovers will want to head over to Memphis, Tennessee, to re-discover the blues and the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Continue to explore music history in the Music City, Nashville, where you can take in live music at iconic spots like the Grand Ole Opry.

What else can’t be missed? Take a river tour on the Mississippi. Immerse yourself in the history of Savannah, Georgia, or Charleston, South Carolina. Or discover the beautiful beaches on the emerald coast of Florida

How National Highway Safety Administration can help--We want every road trip to be safe.  See how our online drivers ed classes that range from parent taught courses for new drivers seeking their learner's permit or driver's licencse, to defensive driving courses or even driving courses designed to help reduce your auto insurance rates.

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