The South boasts a wealth of lesser traveled, but interesting road trip opportunities. Here’s our Top 10 spots for 2019 and we challenge you to visit them! Go to a few or hit them all and you could win a free 3-night hotel stay from Best Western and a free car rental from Hertz! See details below!
Whirligig Park (Wilson, North Carolina)
After a lifetime of hard work operating a house moving company and a machine repair shop, Vollis Simpson found a way to keep busy during retirement. He began tinkering with leftover parts collected in his shop. Soon his whimsical windmills began attracting thousands to his farm. Some of his whirligigs even wound up in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan.
Lake Lure Beach (Lake Lure, North Carolina)
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray fans have the time of their lives making pilgrimages to Lake Lure’s annual Dirty Dancing Festival (Sept. 13-14, 2019). If you can’t make it to the mountain resort town for the cult classic movie festival, Lake Lure Tours will take you on a cruise past many of the movie’s most memorable sites. You can also book a Dirty Dancing cabin at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa. Bonus points for a photo paying homage to the movie’s lake lift dance move.
Tompkins Hall (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Open in early 2019, this road trip stop is foodie approved. Located between Uptown and NoDa, the adaptive reuse project will offer a new complex in what used to be Highland Mill. Tompkins Hall will feature 15 food stalls featuring booths from a who’s who of local chefs like Asian-influenced Bao + Broth from Bruce Moffett and Larry Schreiber and Aix from the masterminds behind Aix en Provence. There will also be a tasting room for regional favorite Fonta Flora Brewery.
Atalaya (Murrells Inlet, South Carolina)
The former winter home of New York philanthropists Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington is as big of a draw as Huntington Beach State Park’s beaches. Tour the 1930s-era Moorish castle’s 30 rooms. Explore indoor and outdoor sculpture studios, animal enclosures where the couple kept bears, horses, monkeys and a leopard (they served as models for Anna’s sculpting work) and living quarters. Wrap up the day with a bonfire and sea breeze camping at one of Huntington Beach’s many campsites.
Gullah Museum (Hilton Head, South Carolina)
Before Hilton Head became a tourist hot spot, the Gullah people — descendants of freed West African slaves — inhabited the barrier islands of Georgia and the Carolinas. The museum is part of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor that runs along the coastal areas and sea island of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and is dedicated to maintaining the customs, language, traditions and stories of the Gullah people.
New River Gorge Bridge (Fayetteville, West Virginia)
When it opened in 1977, it was the world’s longest and highest single-span bridge. Drive the hundred year-old Fayette Station Road for a look up at the bridge, book a tour with Bridge Walk along the bridge’s catwalk or attend the annual Bridge Day celebration to watch daredevils BASE jump from 876 feet into the river gorge. Read more about the New River Gorge area.
Old 96 District (South Carolina)
The Old 96 District spans five counties (Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick) in western South Carolina and includes over a hundred-thousand acres of freshwater lakes. There’s a little something for everyone from paddle boarding to historic sites covering both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
The Presidential Trail (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Home to one of our most prominent founding fathers, Monticello is a popular stop for many. But did you know that Thomas Jefferson isn’t the only president to call Charlottesville home? Also open for tours are James Madison’s Montpelier and James Monroe’s Highland.
Skyline Park (Atlanta, Georgia)
Perched on the rooftop of Ponce City Market (a haven for food vendors, varied shops and restaurants), Skyline Park is a throwback to the carnival fun of yesteryear. Experience childhood thrills on the potato sack slide, challenge your family to a game of skee-ball, and enjoy skyline views of Atlanta from the Heege Tower Ride.
Anakeesta (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)
This tree-top adventure park offers 70 acres of mountain-summit fun in the heart of Gatlinburg. Ride the scenic gondola to the top to experience a breathtaking canopy walk, heart-pounding zip lines and the Treehouse Village Playground.
Take the road trip challenge
- Snap your photo at each spot! Hold a sign indicating where you are (or stand by a landmark in your photo).
- Share your photo on Instagram or Facebook, include #GoWithGo and #2019RoadTripChallenge. Make sure to tag us in your Instagram post, using @AAAGoMagazine.
For complete contest rules and details, visit AAA.com/GoWithGo.
(Go Magazine January/February 2019)