You’re probably familiar with Route 66; it’s one of the most historic stretches of road, offering road trippers a chance to experience a ton of American history. Route 66 isn’t the most convenient road trip for someone from Middle Tennessee, but if you’re a history buff (or know someone who is) these three road trips are great options.
1. Natchez Trace Parkway
Road trip on the Natchez Trace parkway from Nashville and head down to Mississippi and explore the 444 mile route that was first used by Native Americans, explorers, traders, and settlers as a game track. Many pieces of the original trail still exist like the Sunken Trace where people like Meriwether Lewis and President Andrew Jackson walked. Also along the trail is the historic Mississippi’s Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, the French Camp Historic Village, and many Native American burial mounds like Bynum Mounds and Village and Pharr Mounds. The trace also goes through Jackson and Tupelo. The National Park Service breaks up the Natchez Trace Parkway into four handy sections for visitors and offers free curriculum materials for teachers.
2. The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail consists of 2100 beautiful miles from Maine to Georgia. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could drive the entire trail, but even if you’d like to stay a tad closer to home, you’ll still see some amazing sites.
The trail ends in Atlanta, so you can head down or go anywhere east Tennessee and you can pick up the trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From there, you can check out the Biltmore Estate, explore Asheville, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and explore Virginia. The route continues through West Virginia to Maryland across the Mason-Dixon Line. Take some time to check out Gettysburg and the Civil War Battlefields before continuing onto Pennsylvania. You then have the choice of going through Delaware or western New Jersey. Take a side trip to New York before heading into Vermont and New Hampshire. Just a little further and you’ll finally hit Maine at the start of the trail.
3. Blues Highway
Last, but certainly not least, check out the Blues Highway for a music themed road trip that stretches along highway 61 from Memphis, Tennessee to Vicksburg, Mississippi. The road was known to be traveled by many of the greatest names of Blues like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and John Lee Hooker among many others. Even Bob Dylan did a 1965 album named after the highway. The whole trip from Memphis to Vicksburg is 225 miles beginning at the famous Beale Street. From there, check out the Graceland Estate for some Elvis Presley love and continue towards the Delta Blues Museum. Continue along the highway and you’ll hit the Highway 49 crossroads where Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul. From there, head out to Vicksburg. Make sure you check out the great sights and the fantastic food, you’ll want to take your time exploring the area
These three road trips are sure to please any lover of southern culture and history, while enjoying a lengthy road trip relatively close to home.
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