It’s summertime! As you read this, your grandchildren are probably already getting a little restless, so why not plan a road trip? Depending on how you budget, road trips can be more cost effective than taking a plane to your destination, not to mention easier than dealing with TSA lines and delayed flights. To help plan this summer’s road trip, here are some popular places the grandkids would love to explore with you:
Distance from Baton Rouge: 278 miles
Driving Time: 4.5 hours
For those who don’t want to drive long hours to get to their destination, Houston is an easy road trip to take. Depending on where you live in the state, you could get there by lunchtime if you leave in the morning! Houston is a big city with plenty of things to do. To name a few, here are some places to add to your itinerary:
Space Center Houston offers 250,000 square feet of space…literally. This massive facility is perfect for aspiring astronauts and casual students alike. With more than 400 artifacts and exhibits, your ticket to Space Center Houston provides you with hours of educational fun. The website even provides you with 7-hour, 4-hour, and 2-hour itineraries!
There is something for everyone at the Houston Zoo. You can encounter anteaters, elephants, gorillas, and tortoises and visit exhibits such as the bird habitat, African forest, and the Galapagos Islands. Your grandchild will especially love feeding the giraffes and petting the goats!
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has an extensive collection of artifacts from all sorts of subjects that will fascinate visitors of all ages. Here you will be immersed in all things history, science, and space. Don’t forget to stop by the museum’s Cockrell Butterfly Habitat, Planetarium, and Observatory. Oh, and admission to the permanent exhibits are free on Thursdays!
Hot Springs, AR
Distance from Baton Rouge: 418 miles
Driving Time: 6 hours, 34 minutes
Further north is an oasis tucked in the Ouachita Mountains–Hot Springs, Arkansas. This is the perfect, moderately long road trip for those who love the outdoors but don’t want to travel too far to get to their next National Park. These are some of the top attractions in Hot Springs:
The Garvan Woodland Gardens is the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. As an ode to Arkansas’ nickname, The Natural State, the Gardens are a perfect example of the beauty you’ll encounter in Hot Springs. Your grandchildren will love the treehouse, while you will appreciate the stunning architecture of Anthony Chapel.
Did you know there are bathhouses in Hot Springs National Park? You read that correctly! Not only will you be able to explore the glorious hot springs at this National Park, but you can also relax in either (or both) indoor bathhouses on Boathouse Row. The water is safe to drink, too!
At the Mid-America Science Museum, you’ll have hundreds of exhibits at your fingertips. Each one invites you to conduct cool experiments related to its theme. In between exhibits, you’ll walk a skywalk that offers a breathtaking view of the Ouachita Mountains, so you’ll be learning something new while immersed in the beauty of the Natural State.
Distance from Baton Rouge: 547 miles
Driving Time: 8 hours, 14 minutes
Chattanooga has been ranked as one of the top ten destinations in America and as one of the most beautiful cities in the country as well. No matter where you go, you will see some amazing sights, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to dive right into them. Here is where you can start:
Rock City Gardens is a miniature city in itself. As soon as you enter, you’ll be walking a 4,100 foot Enchanted Trail full of magical caves and impressive walk formations. Rock City can be explored at your own pace, as you’ll want to take your time winding through the trail from Lover’s Leap (where you’ll have a view of seven nearby states), to Rainbow Hall, and to the Fairyland Caverns. Don’t forget to grab a sweet snack from Fudge Kitchen on your way out!
Another landmark in Rock City is Lookout Mountain. Underneath Lookout Mountain is the iconic Ruby Falls, the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the country. Ruby Falls is accessed by a glass elevator that will plunge you 260 feet for an unforgettable journey below Lookout Mountain.
Creative Discovery Museum is an award-winning children’s museum that is perfect for any young travelers with you. Permanent exhibits include the STEM Zone, Art Space, Tennessee RiverPlay, and River Farmhouse. You can check out the views of downtown Chattanooga at the Treehouse Adventure and see what’s buzzing at Buzz Alley. You’ll find there’s plenty to discover no matter where you go in Chattanooga.
Distance from Baton Rouge: 723 miles
Drive time: 11 hours and 11 minutes
Asheville is a bustling city known for its arts scene set within the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Downtown Asheville has plenty of art and food to go around, and you’ll want to take in all the scenery as you navigate the city’s streets. You’ll be surprised by the large itinerary this little city provides.
The Biltmore is the largest home in America. This 8,000 acre estate is more than just a home, though; it has lush, sprawling gardens, rooftop views, trails, shops, restaurants, and a list of other indoor and outdoor activities you can participate in. You can even stay on the Biltmore Estate for a luxurious Asheville experience.
Given Asheville has an incredible arts scene, the streets of downtown are lined with independent shops. In fact, Asheville is committed to supporting small businesses! Some notable places include Malaprop’s Bookstore, Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, Asheville Bee Charmer, Hummingbird Candle Company, and Forage at Flora.
Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest linear park and favorite scenic drive. It is a 469-mile road that spans the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once you’re in Asheville, you’ll have a view of some of the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi River, so make sure to stop at some of the overlooks and take some pictures!
Distance from Baton Rouge: 740 miles
Driving Time: 10 hours and 45 minutes
Savannah is right at the border of Georgia and South Carolina. It is known for its charming antebellum architecture and Spanish moss that hangs over cobblestone streets. Savannah is also one of the most historic cities in the South, so you won’t be short of things to do!
Forsyth Park is the oldest public park in Savannah. Spanning more than 30 acres, it features the iconic fountain that became a symbol of the city, and it serves as an entertainment venue year-round. During your visit, you may catch a festival, a concert, or the weekly Farmers’ Market. You can also stop at The Sentient Bean for a cup ‘o Joe or at one of the restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Savannah’s waterfront scene is a top destination for tourists, where they can wander around River Street and enjoy everything it has to offer. It’s considered the most haunted destination in the city, but it is too lively to be a threat. Stop at the sweetest spot on the street, River Street Sweets, browse River Street Market Place, and go on a Riverboat Cruise on the Savannah River to top off your evening.
Speaking of which, you can go on ghost tours in Savannah! Savannah has been dubbed the most haunted city in the U.S., so, if you’re down for a scare or to make friends with a friendly ghost, look no further. There is the family-friendly Grave Tales Ghost Tour, some haunted inns, and a few scarier excursions for those looking for a thrill.