Last summer, some friends and I decided to celebrate our last summer at home before graduating with a weeklong road trip to the East Coast. We hit Pinterest for a little inspiration, packed our bags and some snacks, and loaded ourselves into our second home for the next week.
After 5 hours in the car, we rolled into Nashville. Let me tell you something, you have not felt sweltering heat and humidity until you have traveled south in August. We peeled ourselves off the seats and got ready to do a little exploring.
So we did what all good tourists do when heading to Nashville – we hit Broadway. We got some good home cookin’ at Jack’s BBQ and my goodness was it good – We walked up and down the main strip for as long as we could handle the heat, and then made our way back to our hotel, which was only about a 5-minute drive from Broadway.
Normally I would look for a hostel, but with 3 of us splitting the cost, it really wasn’t too expensive (For a cheaper option, we stayed at the music city hostel on another trip). That night we did dinner at Acme Farm Supply’s rooftop bar. We got some pulled pork nachos (another southern must try) and watched the sunset over the river with a drink in hand. Is there really a better way to end a night?
...With a little food in us, we were ready to check out Nashville’s famous live music and bars, so we went to Tootsie’s, Honky Tonk Central, and Tequila Cowboy. The live music is amazing at every bar (and every street corner) and there’s usually a different band on every level of the bar, so if you get tired of one, go upstairs and check out another. There were no cover fees, so we could just bar hop whenever we got tired of one place. Having no cover does mean that sometimes the bars get a little crowded, but hey, you can’t have everything....
The next morning we got up and prepared for a 10-hour drive to our next stop, Charleston, South Carolina. I will say 10 hours is a long time in the car, but the scenery was beautiful and driving through the mountains was an interesting experience. We stayed right by the harbor. Luckily, it had a shuttle to the part of town right by the coast, so the first thing we did was ride down to the main square and check out the coast line and all the pineapple statues (it’s a thing in the south).
The nice thing about Charleston is that even though there’s no public transportation, it was really easy to get around. We pretty much walked everywhere. The next day we went to Magnolia Plantation, which was about a 20-minute drive away and was absolutely beautiful. We learned all about the history of the place and the gardens were huge and gorgeous. After a morning spent there, we checked out all the things going on in the streets of Charleston - there were Farmer’s Markets and street performances, which were honestly incredible.
Charleston did not disappoint, but you can’t go to the East Coast without going to a beach. Cue destination number 3: Hilton Head. We made the 2-hour drive, which was really nice, but unfortunately the beach was super packed and a little hard to enjoy.
Finally, we made the drive to our final destination: Savannah, Georgia. I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite cities I’ve been to in the U.S. You could just feel the history and the old southern charm of the place. Everywhere you looked there was a historic square (22 to be exact) with beautiful trees covered in moss and stories dating back to the beginning of the country. Our hotel, the Kimpton Brice, was this really cool hipster hotel right across from the water. After being used to staying in dirt-cheap hostels in Europe, I will say that I felt a little out of place in these “grownup” hotels.
We did one of those haunted history tours, but it wasn’t the kind where they tell you scary stories-the tour guide basically explained the history of the city and why there are so many legends about Savannah (the #5 most haunted city in the U.S.). It was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip, and I really recommend trying something like this. We spent our last day in Tybee Island, which was much more relaxing than Hilton Head and celebrated the end of our trip with a fancy dinner at the Pink House. I don’t normally splurge on fancy dinners like that, but honestly it was so good, supposedly haunted, and totally worth it.
After a weeklong road trip to 4 cities and 3 states, it was time to make the 14-hour drive back home. I have never been so ready to get out of a car, but it was one killer way to end the summer with good friends and cool places. I might even give road trips another try in the future. Maybe it’s time to explore the West Coast?