This following route is covering a few states including Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. This trip took us two weeks and this time our goal was mainly to cover all the spots we were interested in including: Miami, St. Augustine, Savannah, Charleston and Atlanta. This following map (Google maps) will show you the main destinations and the overall route.
Miami arrival and non-stop to Vero Beach
Vero Beach 1 night
St. Augustine 1 night
Savannah 2 nights
Charleston 2 nights
Great Smoky Mountain 1 night
Atlanta 2 nights
Homosassa 2 nights
Miami Beach 1 night
This route can easily be stretched out for a three week trip, since we were able to make stops along the way, but there would have been a few more places to see if we have had more time. Again we started in Miami, but since we have been here about a year ago, we drove to Vero Beach right after landing at Miami International Airport. Vero Beach was beautiful as ever and I was able to dive into the ocean right away. Our next stop was St. Augustine, which is the oldest European settlement in the US. The city center is beautiful and you can see a lot of old buildings (including the oldest school house). Since we only had half a day, we decided to do a guided tour and take a bus which took us to the most important spots. If you have time you should definitely check out the Flagler College and the Castillo de San Marcos.
On our way up to Savannah we made a stop at Jekyll Island. If you looked at my random facts, you know, that I love The Walking Dead and the Driftwood Beach was a filming location for Season 7. Driftwood Beach and Jekyll Island are breathtaking and I wished we could have spent more time there than just a few hours. But it was a welcome stop to sit and walk on the beach and enjoy some lunch. When we arrived in Savannah I was amazed by the outlay of the city: there are hundreds of little parks which make a walk through the city center in the hot temperatures bearable and relaxing. We spent almost one day just wandering around and visiting different old houses and museums. You can also visit the “park” where Forrest Gump was sitting waiting for the bus to get to Jenny. I would absolutely recommend Savannah, since it’s a super nice place to just wander and dream. We also drove out to Tybee Island (about half an hour drive) and met up with a friend to eat at The Crap Shack. If you are in the area and you love seafood and especially shrimps, you need to eat there. It was delicious and you are also able to see some alligators and parrots in the reservoir.
We made our way up to Charleston which is a super nice and historic town. We were able to visit three of the historic houses including the Nathanial Russel House, the Heyward-Washington House and the Aiken-Rhett House. I can recommend all three and there is also a combined ticket available. I loved the Heyward-Washington House since it has so many original furniture and other stuff from the 19th century. Another historic site which is well worth the drive out is the Boone Hall Plantation, which is about an hour drive from Charleston Downtown. The House itself is gorgeous, and there is still family living in it (upper floor, so you can only visit the ground floor). You can also visit the slave quarters and the gardens. The best thing about Boone Hall Plantation is the Oak Alley that leads up to the Main House. I could spent hours sitting there and taking a look at these majestic trees.
Leaving Charleston we had a long drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since it was late October, it was rather cold up there. The National Park itself is beautiful, we mainly drove through it and saw a lot of wild life: for the first time I saw an otter (which is one of my favorite animals) in the wild. Sadly he was super-fast and I couldn’t snap a picture of him. But sometimes you just gotta remember things without having a picture. If you love food and buffet I can recommend Granny’s Kitchen in Cherokee. It was so good, we ate there both evenings. The food is yummy and the price is really good.
On our way to Atlanta we made a stop at Dry Falls and it looked like being in paradise. The road was challenging and it took longer than we planned, but it was well worth the detour. In Atlanta my main goal was seeing the filming sites of The Walking Dead in Senoia and around, as well as attending WSC Atlanta. Since not everyone is interested in TWD, I will spare you the details. If you are a fan of TWD, please check out my blog post about “TWD filming sites”.
After leaving Atlanta we had a long drive down to Homosassa and Crystal River. Since I had a busy weekend with early mornings and late nights in Atlanta, we decided to drive to one of the Nationalparks and take a walk and just relax. We drove to Crystal River to watch the sunset and then something magical (might also been a little cheesy) happened: right before the sun disappeared, a group of dolphins decided to swim right in front of the sunset. I was honestly so impressed that I just waited for someone to call “cut” and realize it’s all fake. But they were really there and it was one of these moments that you’ll remember forever.
Our last stop was Miami Beach: since we haven’t been in Miami all trip it was nice to just walk through Miami Beach and spent a day at the beach and relax. The last sunrise was terrific and couldn’t have been a cooler good bye to my favorite city.
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions. Make sure you check out the detailed blog posts as well, since this is just in general overview of the trip.