Got a free weekend? Tampa is less than a day’s drive from these beautiful out-of-state locales boasting natural beauty, history, and charm. Check out our list below of great quick trips out of Florida for some weekend fun.
For quirky shops, great music, craft brews and stellar views, nothing beats Asheville, North Carolina. Nature lovers can drive through part of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway or hike a segment of the Appalachian Trail. Visit the Folk Art Center, Asheville Art Museum or the Pinball Museum. Music is in the air, whether you’re attending festivals or simply strolling the downtown streets listening to the buskers. No visit to this mountain town is complete without seeing strolling through the grounds of the Biltmore.
Take a more easterly route to enjoy the southern charms of Charleston, South Carolina. Gawk at the Battery with its elegant homes that have housed generations of the same family, or saunter through the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Shop for local crafts from the Charleston City Market and dine at one of the town’s excellent restaurants. While there’s plenty of history to be absorbed by walking, taking a boat tour is one of the best ways to sample the offerings of this beautiful city.
If Charleston is a southern belle, Savannah is her slightly wicked sister, made famous by the Kevin Spacey thriller, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Start by taking an Old Savannah hop on, hop off tour, and then you can visit some of the local haunts, such as the Mata Hari Speakeasy or the Savannah Bee Company, where you can sample local honey. Soak in spooky stories at the Dresser Palmer House and the Mercer House. Take a cycle rickshaw down cobbled streets to the Riverfront to eat oysters while you watch the boats pull up, and end the night with a Savannah staple—a ghost tour.
New Orleans may be synonymous with the biggest party in the world, but pick a quieter weekend to visit this saucy southerner and stroll through the French Quarter to soak in the jazz. Wander down Bourbon Street for glimpses of lush courtyard gardens. Spend a quiet afternoon at the National World War II Museum or the New Orleans Museum of Art, but then put on your party dress and let the good times roll bar hopping through the Sazerac, Empire, Carousel, French 75 and the Napoleon House.
Head to Atlanta for good eating and fun sights for the whole family. Check out the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Martin Luther King Jr.’s House, College Football Hall of Fame, World of Coca-Cola and CNN studios. Grab a bite to eat at staples such as J.R. Crickets, Holeman & Finch, Community Q or Bone Lick, and linger over the brews at Brick Store Pub, The Porter, Second Self Beer Company or Three Taverns Brewery.
Nashville may be a draw for country music lovers wanting to visit The Grand Ole Opry or Country Music Hall of Fame, but foodies and craft beer aficionados flock to popular eateries and watering holes such as Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Paradise Park Trailer Resort, Pinewood Social, The Catbird Seat, The Patterson House, Jackalope Brewing Co. and Tennessee Brew Works. Want to while away a sunny afternoon on a full stomach? Check out the collections at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art.
A short flight or days drive, with plenty to see and do along the way, these are a few of our favorite places for quick trips out of Florida for weekend fun. And, in each of these destinations, you find our MyArea Network sites full of restaurants, events, things to do, local information and more. Connect to each one as you travel, it's free. With 75 sites nationwide we are everywhere, you want to be. (Cover photo credit: Tru Kasande)