13 Great Road Trips to Take with Your Dad This Fall
Take an epic outdoor camping adventure with your dad this fall in the beautiful Southern mountains. You can do a roundup of the charming North Georgia (Blue Ridge, Dahlonega, and Helen), Carolina (Cashiers, Highlands, and Blowing Rock), and Tennessee (Pigeon Forge, Walland, and Gatlinburg) mountain towns for stunning views, outdoors excursions like zip-lining and fly-fishing, and hot cocoa by the fire. There’s nothing like nature to foster deep conversation and bonding.
Kentucky Bourbon—& Horses—Trail
Dive into Bourbon Country for a fun road trip complete with distilleries, horse races, and gorgeous rolling hills that are just breathtaking in the fall. Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark, and The Woodford Reserve are spots to hit on your bourbon trail. You can get a first-hand look into iconic Keeneland’s race horse auctions (they occur only four times per year) either in September or November. Last year, 19 horses sold for over $1 million in the November auction—so don’t miss it! See some true thoroughbreds in real life before you see them on Derby Day. You can experience all of Lexington and Louisville along the way.
Music Lovers Mission
Obviously, this road trip will bring you to Nashville, the Southern music epicenter, where you can spend too many days listening to live music at The Bluebird Café, The Ryman Auditorium (home of the Grand Ole Opry), and The Basement at Grimey’s. (Or just walk into any bar for live music, at any time of the day.) Our city guide to Nashville will cover all other bases. You can take a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame while in the Music City, too—but don’t stop there. Venture down to Alabama, to the historic Muscle Shoals or the Standard Deluxe in Waverly just a few hours away. Or head east from Nashville to Atlanta where you can take in the cool atmosphere of the Fox Theatre and The Tabernacle.
Finger-Lickin’ Barbecue Tour
Where to even start with a Southern barbecue tour…well, you’ll just have to hit the ground running! If you both love some home-cookin’ and BBQ, this trip is a fun, foodie adventure. Some spots to hit: Central BBQ in Memphis, Fox Bros. in Atlanta, and Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, North Carolina. You’ll want to start on either the Memphis side or North Carolina side and hit Atlanta in the middle. There are plenty more places to get the best barbecue of your life—sandwiches, ribs, and all—along the way.
Southern dads like their brews, and there have been more and more craft beer breweries popping up throughout the South in small towns and cool cities alike. If you want a planned Southern boozy trail, check these out; but the string of breweries in Asheville, North Carolina known as the Asheville Ale Trail are our personal favorites. Wicked Weed Brewing landed Southern Living’s top spot in the South’s Best Breweries. Drive three hours south to Athens, Georgia, for a small-town feel with two hip breweries, Creature Comforts and Terrapin Beer Co. We suggest trying the seasonal brew at either brewery, but you’re guaranteed to love Creature Comforts Tropicalia.
History Buffs Bucket List
If you and your dad bond over a love for historical monuments and museums, plan out a trip dedicated to covering a chunk of your list. From the historical colonial gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia to the National Mall in D.C., take a road trip that covers the Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania area for a turn back in time. Check out our D.C. city guide to get going.
Small Town Tour
For a truly Southern small town tour full of hidden gems, take a road trip with your dad in the Mississippi Delta. Only a couple hundred miles long and less than that wide, this chunk of Mississippi is full of the most Southern small towns, incredible hidden spots including ruins and abandoned towns, and some good eats (try Delta Meat Market and White Front Café). Drive along the Blues Highway if you both want to see the birthplaces of blues.
Texas Hill Country Adventure
Find some unexpected gems in Texas Hill Country this fall while winding through small towns and discovering the majestic scenery. Dig for topaz, the state’s gem, in Mason County just an hour or so from Fredricksburg. Jump on a Texas Hill Country Wine Trail (you can get a 2017 Texas Wine Month Passport for the month of October and select wineries to visit). Gaze at some beautiful scenery at Lost Maples State Natural Area, and visit the historic Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, with its 50 classic motorcycles, in Vanderpool. Everything’s bigger in Texas, and your road trip is bound to be too. Help your dad feel like a renegade!
Beach Bum Drive
The State A1A loosely skirts the Atlantic coast and is speckled with laidback beach towns that make you want to transplant permanently. Start in Fernandina Beach and drive as far as Key West. You can hit Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach (birthplace of NASCAR), and Miami before ending up at the Keys. Each small beach town has its own quirky character and relaxing, sandy beaches. The weather will be so much nicer in the fall, and it’ll be easy to catch up with your old man.
This road trip has to be tailored perfectly to the father-daughter team taking it on. Football or baseball? Or maybe soccer? There are a slew of epic stadiums to visit and experience a game, such as the brand-new Mercedez-Benz Superdome or Braves’ SunTrust Park (where you can find a custom Terrapin beer that’s aged with baseball bat shavings!) in Atlanta or the Nissan Stadium in Nashville. If you’re more into baseball, these Southern ballparks are must-see stops. If you’re fine with venturing a little further, head to Canton, Ohio, for the Pro Football Hall of Fame (and stop on the way for a Cincinnati Reds game!).
Theme Park Adventure
A father-daughter duo that loves roller coasters and having fun together should consider hitting their favorite childhood theme parks that can be even more fun as an adult. Enjoy the adult amenities, nights out at Disney Springs, and good times at the Happiest Place on Earth. It won’t be quite as crowded in the fall as the busy summer season. Make sure to take a day at Universal Studios with its bigger rides and fun attractions that cater to an older crowd.
Cajun Country Getaway
Make this Cajun getaway short and sweet by road-tripping from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, but expand it as you wish to those small towns with the great gumbo. We found our Louisiana Gumbo Trail does not disappoint. Make sure to stop in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the crawfish capital of the world. From Louie’s Café in Baton Rouge to Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, you’ll be eating well the whole way.
National Parks Bucket List
So many great national parks to choose from, we can’t tell you where to start! Well, we can—but the rest is up to you. You’re going to catch amazing fall color and stunning views no matter which you select. You and your dad can stay up north (Southern North) with a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee or the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, venture west to Big Bend National Park in Texas, or head south to the Everglades National Park in Florida.