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These 13 Road Trip Spots Are Open and Ready to be Explored

By The Editors | September 16, 2020 | Lifestyle

This fall, take a trip to 13 drivable destinations that are sure to cure your wanderlust.

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GEORGIA

Lake Lanier

mg.jpgInside all tents, enjoy themed decor along with AC and heating systems.

For a close-to-home getaway, Lake Lanier is an obvious choice. Home to Lanier Islands (@‌lanierislands)—a 1,500-acre resort that sits on Lake Lanier’s sandy beaches—the area has plenty of opportunity for both entertainment and relaxation. One of our favorite ways to experience it is with a stay in one of Georgia Glamping Company’s (@‌georgiaglamping) outdoor setups. The glamping experts make it easy to reap the relaxing benefits of unplugging while still offering a place to charge your phone. There are several packages that allow you to customize your campsite, plus basic amenities including a coffee maker, a minifridge and supercute decor. Here’s to “roughing” it.

Athens

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You don’t have to be a Bulldog fan to enjoy all that Athens has to offer—which includes everything from an expansive music scene to elevated Southern dining. At the city’s heart is a buzzing history that is begging to be explored. Take, for example, Last Resort Grill (@‌lastresortgrill). Arguably Athens’ most famous restaurant, the dining room was originally a music club that saw acts as big as Jimmy Buffett. Now, it’s a must-stop for brunch or dinner. After getting your Southern-fare fill, snap a pic outside the Georgia Theatre (@georgiatheatre), an art deco-style theater in Athens’ downtown that has hosted some of the world’s best talents. And finally, make Graduate Athens (@‌graduatehotels) your last stop. Outfitted in retro, nostalgic interiors, this charming hotel features a music venue of its very own as well as a coffee shop and a staff that proves Southern hospitality is alive and well.

Sea Island

CloisterSeaIslandAerialCourtesyofSeaIsland.jpgBoth The Cloister Beach Club and The Lodge provide amazing views. Jump on the Sea Island Explorer yacht (shown below) to get a view of the picturesque salt marshes up close.

When it comes to luxury travel, few local destinations do it better than Sea Island (@seaisland). The resort epitomizes Southern charm, providing heartfelt hospitality in all that it has to offer—which is pretty much everything. From golf courses that cater to every skill level to a full-service spa, you’re sure to find plenty of options that entertain. If that weren’t enough to tempt you, the resort’s premier dining options certainly will. Authentic Italian cuisine, fresh-caught seafood and hand-dipped ice cream are just a few of the options that Sea Island’s most appetizing restaurants have to offer.

Savannah

PlantRiversideFarView.jpgEach of the three large buildings that make up the Plant Riverside District celebrates a different design style

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Perry Lane Hotel is the perfect day-drinking destination.

Savannah has gone through some major changes this year, making it an excellent time to stop by the historic hot spot. The recently opened Plant Riverside District (@‌plantriversidedistrict)—the largest redevelopment in the history of Savannah’s Historic District—is perhaps the most notable newcomer. The $375 million project stretches along Savannah’s riverfront, offering visitors a place to shop, drink and dine. You’ll probably want to spend a little extra time at Electric Moon, which sits on top of the refurbished power plant. The rooftop bar and lounge is basically a playground for adults, featuring LED swingsets, slides and stunning views of the river. For accommodations that match the city’s energy, stay at Perry Lane Hotel (@‌perrylanehotel), where you can lounge at the rooftop pool, catch a cocktail demonstration at The Wayward Bar (@‌waywardsavannah) or shop at the hotel’s in-house Andie Kully Boutique (@andiekully).

NORTH CAROLINA

Asheville

AshevilleDowntownSkylineandCityViewatSunset.jpgA bird’s-eye view of the city captures just how beautiful mountain sunsets really are.

Known for its breathtaking views, vibrant art scene and excellent craft beer, Asheville, N.C., is the perfect road trip stop. For an intimate experience, stay at The Bunn House (@bunnhouse). The house-turned-inn comprises only six guest rooms, so the property’s rooftop terrace, outdoor wood-burning fireplace and beautiful gardens are yours to explore uninterrupted. The guest rooms are even more spectacular, equipped with a private balcony or terrace, steam showers and a ceiling-mounted sound-masking machine for premium relaxation. The city’s other must-visit spots include the River Arts District (@‌riverartsdistrictasheville), The Montford Rooftop Bar (@themontford) and Ben’s Tune Up (@benstuneup), a craft sake brewery that proves Asheville isn’t just for beer lovers. When it’s time to move on, exit by way of the Biltmore (@biltmoreestate) and get a tour of America’s largest home before enjoying a premium wine tasting in the Biltmore Winery.

Highlands

HMFxteriorFirepit.jpgSnuggle up next to your significant other at the many campfire pits on the property.

As the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Highlands, N.C., has always been an escape for Atlantans seeking cooler temperatures. Historic downtown offers quaint shops and restaurants, while nearby hikes entice activity seekers. Not your thing? Head to Old Edwards Inn and Spa (@‌oldedwardsinn), the premier spot in the area for luxurious spa treatments and overall self-indulgence (it is a Relais & Châteaux property, after all). While there, dine at one of several restaurants, such as Madison’s or The Wine Garden, and luxuriate around one of its manicured pools. For those looking for something a little more remote, sister property Half-Mile Farm (@halfmilefarm) is about a mile and a half away. Offering a mere 21 rooms, Half-Mile Farm feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s only a hop, skip and jump from downtown. Perfectly positioned to explore popular surrounding sights such as Cashiers and Lake Toxaway, it’s high time you took a trip to Highlands.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Charleston

ExploreCharlestonHistoricDistrict1cmykl.jpgDubbed “Rainbow Row,” this historic street next to The Battery is the perfect Insta background.

Over the past couple of years, the Southern port city of Charleston has bloomed into a major travel destination with an abundance of luxury stays, five-star dining and boutique shops. One of the city’s newer additions, Hotel Bennett (@‌hotelbennett), has garnered much fanfare having maxed out expectations of the luxury hotel experience. The hotel’s rose-colored Champagne lounge, Camellias (@camelliaschs), is ideal for a post-check-in bottle of bubbly paired with a selection of caviar under a cascading crystal chandelier. A foodie’s paradise, Charleston boasts more quality restaurants than you can count. A standout is Delaney Oyster House (@‌delaneyoysterhouse) on Calhoun Street, which serves premium seafood from a fresh raw bar. Of course, you’ll want to explore Charleston’s colorful streets outfitted in only the best. Hampden’s (@hampdenclothing) repertoire of labels includes Tibi, Rosie Assoulin, Rhode, Isabel Marant, Paco Rabanne and more.

TENNESSEE

Nashville

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Start your weekend by checking into The Joseph (@‌thejosephnashville), the newest luxury hotel to open in Nashville’s SoBro district. The property includes a full-service spa, salon and rooftop bar with unparalleled views of the skyline and Cumberland River. During the day, explore the city’s historic Germantown neighborhood where local restaurants like Butchertown Hall (@butchertownhall) and Henrietta Red (@henrietta_red)serve the perfect fuel for an afternoon of honky-tonk hopping. Then, make sure to visit 4th Avenue North—or “Boutique Row” as the locals call it. Here, a strand of boutique hotels house dynamic drinking spots, like Noelle’s (@‌noelle_nashville) rooftop perch, Rare Bird (@rarebirdnash) and Bobby’s Rooftop Lounge, located on the 10th floor of Bobby Hotel (@bobbyhotel). Finally, head to Lower Broadway to catch a live band—and a beer buzz—in bars even more famous than the people who have performed in them.

Chattanooga

ChattanoogaMoxyHotel.jpgThe Railyard has a youthful and fun vibe.

A must-visit for outdoor adventurers, Chattanooga has everything from rock climbing to whitewater rafting to horseback riding. While it’s certainly a city for thrill-seekers, it is also home to an impressive collection of local coffee shops—a true Chattanooga specialty. If shopping is more your speed, there’s a scene for that too. Warehouse Row (@warehouserow)—a 330,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the heart of Chattanooga’s historic district—houses home furnishings, artisanal goods, and fashion and design boutiques. After a day full of exploring, rest your head in an expertly designed room at Moxy Chattanooga Downtown (@‌moxynooga). Check in at the hotel’s front desk—which doubles as a chic bar—to receive your room key and a complimentary cocktail. Before turning in for the night, you’ll want to make a pit stop at The Railyard. Located conveniently in the hotel’s backyard, the patio is the perfect place for a nightcap and a friendly game of cornhole.

ALABAMA

Birmingham

BirminghamImagesforJEZEBEL5.jpgFirst opened in 1925, Redmont Hotel combines the glam of the ’20s with contemporary fun.

At just over two hours, the drive to Birmingham is the perfect distance for a spontaneous two-day trip. Start early at Pepper Place (@pepperplacebham) in the heart of the city’s Lakeview District. Previously a Dr. Pepper factory, the renovated warehouse is now inhabited by an eclectic collection of retail shops and restaurants including a coffee shop, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant and two taprooms serving local brews. Speaking of beer, Birmingham has plenty of it: The city is home to dozens of microbreweries. Local favorites include Cahaba Brewing Company (@cahababrewing), Good People Brewing Company (@gpbrewing) and TrimTab Brewing (@‌trimtabbrewing). When you’re ready for something stronger, make your way downtown for a crash course in Bham cocktails. From Queen’s Park (@queensparkbham) to The Collins Bar (@‌collinsbham), the city’s hottest watering holes are all within walking distance of one another. End your evening with a nightcap at The Roof (@theroofbham), located conveniently atop Birmingham’s oldest-running hotel, Redmont Hotel Birmingham (@theredmont).

FLORIDA

Tallahassee

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Don’t skip a trip to Tallahassee: Florida’s best kept secret. The area’s deep-rooted history and vibrant art scene make it a true bucket-list location. Enchanting outdoor excursions—like Maclay Gardens and Wakulla Springs—abound, as does the Spanish moss that drapes the city’s winding roads. An emerging culinary scene includes the charming Table 23 (@table23tally)—where Southern cuisine is served under a sprawling canopy of moss-covered oak trees and sparkling chandeliers—and Eve on Adams (@eveonadams_tallahassee), an upscale cocktail lounge that boasts unique sculptures and skyline views. Serving as the perfect base camp for your stay is the brand-new Hotel Indigo (@indigotally), which sits at the center of the city’s art, fashion and music scene.

Alys Beach

ZUMAWellnessCenterAlysBeachFLCourtesyofAlysBeach3H7GT.jpgAlys Beach uses white space as a visual element to offer architectural contrast and promote serenity and peacefulness.

Standing stark against the typical colorful quirkiness of Florida’s Panhandle, Alys Beach (@alysbeachfl) is a tranquil retreat along the otherwise active stretch of 30A. There’s not a single flaw in the community’s perfect design, which is expertly detailed to offer visitors a true escape from reality. Along with its distinct architecture, Alys Beach is known for its luxury amenities. Relax at the famed Caliza Pool or spend the day at ZUMA, a premier fitness and wellness center that offers everything from yoga to OSEA facials. Whichever path you choose, make sure it leads to a sunset on 30A’s beautiful white sand beaches.

Jacksonville

JacksonvilleBeachPierSunriseSurfersChrisJoy.jpgCatch a wave or just simply take in the amazing sunsets at Neptune Beach.

Take a drive 350 miles south of Atlanta and you’ll run into Jacksonville. More than your standard beach town, the city is the largest bay area in the continental United States and is home to beautiful beaches, a buzzing nightlife scene and a hub of historical hot spots. While there’s plenty to explore inside the city’s 840-square-mile perimeter, its proximity to historic St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach and Amelia Island make it especially appealing. Ride a few waves at Neptune Beach, take a swing at TPC Sawgrass and whet your whistle at St. Augustine Distillery (@staugustinedistillery) to get the full Jacksonville experience.



Photography by: Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash;photo by Lauren Grijalva; Athens photo by Christian Horan; Sea Island photo courtesy of Sea island; Savannah photos courtesy of visit savannah; asheville photo courtesy of Visitnc.com; Highlands photos courtesy of half-mile farm; Photo Courtesy of Explore Charleston, ExploreCharleston.com; Nashville photo by justin renfroe; Chattanooga photo courtesy of chattanooga tourism co.; photo by Caleb jones; Photo courtesy of visit tallahasse; Alys Beach photo courtesy of alys beach; Jacksonville photo by Chris joy;