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  1. #1

    Default Deep south honeymoon - advice please

    Hi there,

    My soon to be husband and I are planning a three-week deep south honeymoon roadtrip and I would be really grateful for input to our route plan. We're getting married on 6th April and will land in Georgia on the 8th, heading home on the 27th. So far it looks like:

    - Fly into Atlanta (cheapest hub from the UK - we live in London)
    - Charleston, SC
    - Savannah, GA
    - St. Augustine, FL (h2b has been there and loved it)
    - Apalachicola, FL
    - New Orleans, LA
    - Lafayette, LA
    - Natchez, MS
    - Hot Springs, AR
    - Clarksdale, MS
    - Memphis, TN
    - Chattanooga, TN
    - Dahlonega, GA

    We would love to fit in Austin or Dallas, or a bit of Kentucky or the islands of NC but I think that'd be a bit too ambitious for a three week trip. The bit I think we could skip if it's getting too long is the diversion into Arkansas, but the Ouachita National Forest sounded really pretty. A previous roadtrip down the west coast and into the Grand Canyon was 3,200 miles in just over two weeks, this is 2,500 miles in just under three so I think the mileage is doable.

    Have we missed any mustn't miss places? Is there too much coast? Does this look doable to others? Our main interests are music, culture and food, with the opportunity to have a few hikes in state parks etc. I'm really looking forward to Cajun country and Savannah!

    Thanks for any advice,
    Last edited by kleesrosegarden; 09-13-2012 at 10:57 AM.

  2. #2

    Default One can't have too much coast...........

    ......nor too much mountains, for that matter.

    Hello KRG,

    If by coast you mean a place where you'll see either the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, only St Augustine fits that description. All of the other locales are near the coast, but inland on a river, an estuary, or a sound/bay of one kind or another. Perhaps that's splitting hairs, but I wanted just to make the point that as wonderful as Savannah, Charleston, Apalachicola, and New Orleans are, they're not considered coastal cities like St Augustine, Daytona Beach, Virginia Beach, and my personal favorite, NC's Outer Banks.

    Having visited the Ouachitas and the Ozarks, I agree they're scenic, but in my humble opinion, they pale by comparison to the Smokies and the Blue Ridge of north Georgia, NC, and east Tennessee. You're already going to Dahlonega and Chattanooga, so something more of a foray into the Smokies and the Blue Ridge may satisfy your desire for some mountains. Be advised, however, that with elevations reaching nearly 7,000' above sea level, April can still feel like winter up there, especially in the Smokies. By the time of your departure, you'll be just starting to see the deciduous trees "greening up" a bit at the higher elevations such as along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Cherokee, NC.

    My wife and I visited Clarksdale, MS last month and our only regret was that we didn't plan on staying long enough. We're already scheming about going back for a week or so in order to spend more time in town and up and down the Delta visiting more of the Blues Trail sites and venues, and just kicking back and enjoying the ambiance at the Shack Up Inn.


  3. #3


    Thanks for your thoughtful advice, Foy. I guess we'll skip the Ozarks and spend more time in the Smokies. We are planning on doing the park last so hopefully there will the the odd tinge of green by the end of April! We're planning on staying at the Shack Up which I read about in another post - it looks amazing. Cutting out Arkansas will give us more time to spend there too. I was worried the Outer Banks would be too cold so early in the year - is it still worth a look? And I picked Apalachicola on the basis of a lovely write up in Lonely Planet, if we wanted to spend some time by the sea would it be better to stop at Panama City instead? We need to break up the long drive between St Augustine and New Orleans so any ideas would be great.

    Thanks again,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    From St. Augustine, take the Interstate highways to Tallahassee, then go south on US-319 to US-98, then take that along the Gulf Coast. Just about anywhere between Apalachicola and Pensacola would be a good place to stop. You could play it by ear.

  5. #5

    Default Places I've never visited.......

    .....include Apalachicola Bay and Panama City, so I can't make a case for one over the other. I was instead just pointing out that some consider the coast to be directly on the Gulf or the Atlantic. The many estuaries, bays, and sounds are magical in their own ways, so it's tough to go wrong. And a quick consult of the map shows the city of Apalachicola, FL being hard by the shore of Apalachicola Bay, with just a thin band of barrier island between it and the open Gulf, so if it's the city you're referring to, it would seem to present a nice combination of sheltered saltwater sound/bay with easy access to the Gulf.

    The Outer Banks are a full day's drive, or more, from Chattanooga or Dahlonega, and nearly that long of a trip from Charleston (shorter distance, yes, but negotiating the urbanized areas of Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Morehead City, and catching a 2.75 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke will take a full day). April weather out there can be great, or, a 2-3 day coastal storm, a low-pressure system called a nor'easter, can sit atop the Banks, ruining one's plans. Given the addition of a day there and a day back, I don't think I'd recommend reaching out to the Banks from your Deep South and Smokies/Blue Ridge itinerary. The Banks may best be saved for a mid-Atlantic states trip.

    Springtime in the Southern Appalachian mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, brings "greening up" by elevation, with the highest ridges and peaks not leafing out fully until May, but with the lower elevations and the foothills (such as in the Dahlonega and Chattanooga vicinity) well greened-up by mid- to late April. I have a friend of a friend who will next week complete a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and while along the NC-TN border about 20 April of this year, just a month after his start at Springer Mountain, GA, he found himself in a two day snowstorm which accumulated nearly a foot of snow at the highest elevations near Roan Mountain, TN.

    Spending time in the NC mountains may provide opportunities to hear some vestiges of Elizabethan English spoken by some of the locals. The Smokies, Blue Ridge, and coastal NC are home to communities with distinct speech and vocabularies distinctly different than the Southern drawl spoken in other parts of the South.

    Enjoy the Shack Up Inn, it's "da bomb". We particularly enjoyed a magazine's description of how to get to Red's in Clarksdale: "Drive down Sunflower Avenue until you see a guy grilling chicken in a cooker parked by the sidewalk, and you're there". It's but a short drive into town from the Shack Up Inn, but we imagine there is always something going on out at the plantation, which normally involves hanging around drinking beer with the other guests.


  6. #6


    Thanks guys, this is super helpful. We've now changed plans slightly having done a lot more research, flying into New Orleans so despite a change in flights both direction we will have more time and flexibility and h2b has had a rethink re Florida - so the trip looks more like:

    - 3 nights New Orleans
    - 2 nights Lafayette
    - 1 night Natchez
    - 2 nights Clarksdale at the Shack Up Inn - maybe three depending
    - 1 night Memphis

    Then on to Chattanooga/Dahlonega for some time in the Smokies, down to Savannah via a short stop in Juliette GA, then Thomasville GA, Magnolia Springs AL, then home via NOLA. We're going to save the higher Appalachians for another trip, ditto Texas and Arkansas, and skip Florida all together. Him indoors doesn't have that strong an urge to return after all - and we are still planning future roadtrips to New England/Maine, the mid-Atlantic States and inner south West/West at some point in the future - don't want to try and see too many states and fail to spend enough in the ones we want to see this time! With three weeks this gives us tonnes of wriggle room I think to take in more of the Smokies and less time further South. Really appreciate your help, thanks.

    Last edited by kleesrosegarden; 09-15-2012 at 07:10 PM.

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