I know I’m not alone on this, but sometimes I just get that need to jump in the car and drive, that yearning for adventure, the need to see something different.
Near the beginning of June I got that “Let’s just go” feeling. Of course My husband, Andrew, and I cannot take off work for more than a day so we had just a three day weekend to make this happen.
I packed just one suit case for my husband and I, we stuffed our cooler into the trunk and filled up the car with gas! The plan? Driving from Orlando, Florida to Indianapolis, Indiana in just three days/two nights.
(I LOVE road trips if you couldn’t tell)
Saturday morning we left at 5:00AM from Orlando, Florida headed towards Atlanta, Georgia. Just about an eight hour drive, our first stop was downtown Atlanta. We strolled around Central Park, refilled our Starbucks cups and jumped back into the car. Atlanta is beautiful, but it was our first stop and we were anxious to get back on the road!
Next stop Nashville, Tennessee! What we didn’t plan for? Actually checking the community website before visiting. We planned to walk around Nashville during the CMA (Country Music Awards) festival. The town was PACKED. We found a few secluded parks and decided to only stay a few hours in order to make the last stretch to Kentucky.
Bowling Green, Kentucky is the quintessential small, southern town filled with cobble streets and small cafes. Why Bowling Green? Kentucky was the perfect stop before reaching Indianapolis and a five start hotel on a weekend cost us under $100 for a night (can’t go wrong with that!).
After a good nights rest we started driving towards Indianapolis (of course stopping to refill our coffee cups along the way – I don’t have a problem 😉). The drive to Indianapolis is LONG, there isn’t much to look at and it seems to go on FOREVER (about a four hour drive). We ended up stopping for lunch along the way, packing sandwiches and chips is a road trip standard for us. Not to mention – currently McDonalds has drinks for $1! Fill up on unsweet tea and keep drivin’.
We finally made it to Indianapolis just after lunch! We strolled along White River State Park over looking downtown Indianapolis, we drove over enormous bridges and marveled at the city’s architecture. Indianapolis will defiantly be on our list to see again next summer.
Headed to out next stop on Sunday afternoon – St. Louis, Missouri. Seeing the Gateway Arch was on my bucket list, so this was a huge deal for me! Another four hour drive we finally made it to St.Louis to see the Arch. They just refurbished the area to include a beautiful walkway and a brand new dog park.
If you are in Missouri,you have to stop to see Lafayette Park. A breath taking neighborhood of perfectly lined town homes and a quite park. Take a stroll downtown or stand mouth-open like I did, day dreaming of living in this neighborhood.
My #1 suggestion for road trips – the Stay the Night app for iPhone. This searches your area for hotels that are looking to fill their rooms for the night for a discounted rate. It’s perfect for road trips, when you are done driving, turn on the app and it will hook you up with the best deal at your location. (They also have a filter for dog friendly hotels!)
The first hotel that popped up for us – Elvis’s Guest house right on his property in Memphis. $125 for the night in a five star hotel. The last leg of our second day – just over two hours and our hotel was just what we needed to refresh us. The hotel was RIGHT ON Elvis’s property and our room overlooked his estate. A beautiful room, with a rain shower and deluxe bed (heaven).
Our very last day, Monday morning. We started early, well rested from the night before, around 5:00AM. We started off strolling along The Mississippi River. We loved Memphis, but after all of this driving we were starting to get a little home sick and WE WERE WAY SICK OF MEAT SANDWICHES.
Our very last day, we wanted to see Alabama on the way back to Florida.
My #2 for road trips – download the Gas Buddy app on the iPhone. Open it up while you are on the highway and it will give you the best price for gas in your area.
Our VERY last stop was in Georgia. Providence Canyon State Par has been sitting on my summer bucket list for years and we finally got to visit. The State Park is well known as the “Mini Grand Canyon.”
Just as we’re standing at the edge, a short walk from the parking lot, it started to downpour. This Canyon took my breath away, as it started to rain the deep orange rock started to change color to this beautiful rusty orange. We stayed right there in the rain to enjoy it, reluctant to get back into the car.
Another five hours and we were finally home in Orlando. Soaked to the core, covered in red clay but this trip was worth it. We saw eight new states, 12 cities and made memories to last a life time.
It never takes much to travel, just the willingness to get yourself out there. Overall for this weekend we WOULD have spent around $800 on gas, hotels and food.
BUT we saved on hotels by booking the day of, we saved on gas by using an app and we saved on food by packing our cooler. What we actually spent? Just under $400.
Pack up your car. Take your dog. And get out there to see something new!