With pretty perfect weather conditions for cruising, are you ready to hit the road? This collection of Southern routes encompasses everything that people love about this beautiful region, including majestic mountains, rolling hills and beach views. Try one of these epic drives, or even better, cruise your route in a cool car.
The Florida Keys
The most scenic drive in Florida starts on the mainland where U.S. 1, otherwise known as the Overseas Highway, and heads over the bridge into the Florida Keys. The Seven Mile Bridge is among the longest and most famous in the world. Built between 1909 and 1912, it connects the beautiful islands, starting at Knight’s Key, to the lower keys, landing on Little Duck Key. The drive features views of turquoise waters and island mangrove trees and is nothing but relaxing. The first stop in the Florida Keys is Key Largo, the diving capital of the world and home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. There’s more than enough to see and do along the way, but your ultimate destination is Key West, the southernmost city in the U.S. This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro will get you all the thumbs-ups as you cruise by.
Coastal Highway Route 17
This 1,200-mile highway is a lengthy drive with several start points depending on your location and ambition. Route 17 weaves through five states along the scenic Atlantic coast. Most won’t have time to cover it all, especially with all the potential stops and sight-seeing, so if you have to pick one section, we highly recommend driving through the Carolinas and even making a pit stop to drive this 1957 Ford Fairlane.
In North Carolina, the highway cuts through New Burn, the state’s first capital. It’s a historic town full of history and rich with architecture, from early colonial homes to Victorian masterpieces. Many early homes were converted into bed and breakfasts. Pollock Street harbors the majority of these venues, along with an array of restaurants. Further down the route, heading toward South Carolina, Pawley’s Island is a great stopping point. The laid-back low country style is the perfect place to kick off your shoes and enjoy the views.
Chattanooga to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Your Tennessee adventure begins at Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum, with breathtaking views of the Tennessee River atop a 80-foot high cliff. From there, your 150-mile drive continues as you make your way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re feeling energetic, the five-mile roundtrip hike to Abrams Falls is the perfect picturesque place to enjoy the vibrant fresh air that only a waterfall can offer. Next stop, Dollywood, which is nestled in the mountain town of Pigeon Forge. It’s also home of the fastest wood roller coaster on earth, the Lightening Rod, which reaches 73-mph during its adrenaline-inducing 165-foot drop. This iconic Ford Bronco will make your trip even more memorable.
Natchez Trace Parkway, Alabama to Tennessee
The Natchez Trace is arguably the most historical drive through the U.S. In use for centuries by Native Americans, the 444-mile Natchez Trace route begins at the Mississippi Highway 371 in Natchez. From Natchez, the parkway extends through Alabama and into Tennessee, ending in Nashville on Highway 41, milepost 248. The entire drive from Natchez to Nashville is filled with history lessons from early Native American history, to the gravesite of Meriwether Lewis, to remnants of the Civil War. The relaxing tour offers many stopping points, one of which is the twenty-mile Bottom Overlook where, depending on the season, you can see assorted striking foliage for miles and miles – it’s especially breathtaking during fall, when the radiant colors glow in the sunlight. A classic convertible, such as this 1967 Lincoln Continental, will ensure that you get the full driving experience.
Texas Highway 16
The hills and turns of Highway 16 through Texas Hill Country will satisfy any set of wheels, including this 1997 Dodge Viper. Starting in San Antonio, you’ll head into Hill Country through Bandera, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Past the honky-tonks and cowboy hats, Bandera is a small town in beautiful country. Not much further down 16 is Medina, the Apple Capital of Texas. Here, the Love Creek Orchard or The Apple Store is a recommended stop for apple fans. Keeping on the highway toward Fredericksburg will bring you through wine country and Texas’ first wine-growing appellation, Bell Mountain Vineyards. If you elect to experience wine country at its finest, make this your ultimate destination and stay a while before getting back on the road.
Flying in from out of state and need a cool ride to cruise in? DriveShare will get you on the road in style.