Overall, this Tallahassee to Texarkana road trip is going to take 17 hours across three states. Three to five days gives you just about the right amount of time to get a taste of all there is to appreciate in this southern paradise. Allow at least two days to benefit from all that Memphis has to offer. There is so much there to enjoy and marvel at that any less time simply would not do the city justice.
As you leave the Florida capital of Tallahassee, you are going to be crossing areas that contain some of the richest historical resources of the Deep South and where much of the civil rights movement first began.
You will be able to gain an insight into both the lives of some of America’s poorest as well as into that of their cotton farming masters. The cultural mix that accompanied the slave trade triggered a wonderful musical heritage that can perhaps only be matched by the culinary delights that await you. The journey will provide an eclectic mix of wild southern landscapes and old-world city sophistication. Traveling by RV will really open up this part of the world in a way that few other means of travel would do.
Texarkana is a derivative of two different cities. The name is also derived; three letters from Texas, three from Arkansas and the last three from nearby Louisiana.
If you are left with any time on your hands after completing the last four-hour leg of your toad trip then this might make an interesting way to end your voyage. The Ace of Clubs House has twenty-two sides in the shape of the Ace of Clubs after the owner won 10 000 dollars in a poker game using the aforementioned ace. The centerpiece is a hexagonal hallway with a magnificent ascending staircase that is an architectural masterpiece. Each of the rooms has been carefully furnished to show the evolving history of the house spanning the years 1880 to 1940.
This hotel is an institution in Memphis and somewhere you should visit if at all possible. Built in 1869, this hotel is renowned for its old-world charm and elegance. The lobby is an attraction in its own right but it comes with an added extra that has greatly added to its fame.
In the 1930s, some hunters staying in the hotel released some ducks into the lobby fountain. This attracted such enthusiasm that the ducks were allowed to stay. In the 1940s the bellman, an ex-circus animal trainer, offered to train the ducks to march from the roof to the fountain. He was subsequently promoted to the role of Peabody Duck Master; a role he held for a further fifty years. The ducks live in a purpose-built duck house on the roof that cost in excess of 200 000 dollars, and they march down to the lobby at 11 am and 5 pm every day.
Southern food is special and not a subject that any serious adventurer can afford to overlook. Food always provides a window into a different culture and Memphis food is no exception. In the Deep South, they manage to fry or barbecue just about anything. Even fried pickles are a delicacy here.
Sweet potatoes, pulled pork, and juicy coated ribs all feature strongly. Cornbread is almost compulsory with any meal, and biscuits with gravy become a meal in itself. No one should die until he has the opportunity to try barbecued nachos or barbecued spaghetti and this is a town that will make it happen.
Deserts won’t disappoint either. Here sweet food is not regarded as a sin and looking out for your weight will become a major challenge. Cheesecake and pies of every kind are all going to temp you and one that might take your fancy is called Slap Your Mama Chocolate Pie.
Tom Sawyer’s RV Park offers a chance to watch busy river life along the Mississippi and for a more forested environment T.O.Fuller State Park is the only state park within the city limits.
245 miles from Birmingham we hit the Blues and Rock and Roll town of Memphis. This is where it all began. People flock to this city in order the visit Elvis Presley’s famous Graceland home. After the White House, this is the second most visited home in the United States. The house occupies a massive 17552 square feet and here there is little about Elvis’s life that is not on display.
Along the Mississippi River, you can stroll down Millionaire's Row from where you will be able to experience, visually at least, how the wealthy once lived in the Deep South. Here, the wealthiest Memphians would have been able to watch riverboats haul cotton, the source of their wealth, along the Mississippi. Some of these impressive Victorian mansions have been turned into museums that allow you a glimpse into this extravagant world. You can reach the area on foot from the Old Town area.
If you are a bibliophile, this is going to be one that you want to visit. This book shop is a world one-off. It is the only bookshop on the planet that exclusively sells books that have been signed by the author. Some notable authors include John Updike, Jimmy Carter, and Condoleezza Rice.
It was originally established in 1990 as the Highland Booksmith. In 1999 it outgrew its position and had to be moved. This was no small undertaking as, by then, it contained no less than 100 000 books. A group of forty of the most loyal readers volunteered to help and they supplied the much-needed labor force. In 2012 the entire building was restored from top to bottom so that every book could be displayed face forward. Today the store still contains over 100 000 titles, all of which are signed hardback copies.
The McWane Science Center is for both the young and the young at heart. Here you will be able to explore four floors of hands-on science exhibits as well as touch both rays and sharks.
Stroll among the nearly seventy acres of Birmingham Botanical gardens, which are divided up into thirty themed zones. There are original sculptures dotted across the landscape and the gardens are home to the largest horticultural library in the US. There are regular garden tours, workshops, and events.
A quiet stroll along the Civil Rights Heritage Trail takes you past many downtown landmarks that have left a lasting legacy on modern American culture.
Rolling Hills Campground is just 35 minutes away and overlooks two beautiful lakes. Here you will be able to fish, walk around the park or play tennis.
Four hours from Tallahassee, you'll reach Montgomery. This classic old Alabama town is not to be missed if you want a window into how southern life was lived in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Visit the old town where you will see a collection of the original houses that have been relocated and preserved to show off a now extinct way of life.
The Rosa Parks Museum portrays much of what took place during the fight for civil rights after this brave lady refused to move back to what were the designated black seats on her bus. The museum does much to demonstrate the social and political climate in which this woman lived and protested so famously.
Mrs. B’s Restaurant is the place to go if you are starting to feel a little peckish and want to experience real southern comfort specialties in a classic Deep South environment. Don’t miss Tucker Pecan Company where caramelized or chocolate-covered pecans can be purchased along with traditional pecan pies.
This journey has taken you across a broad swathe of both American countryside and history in just a few short days. You will have heard different music, tasted new foods and seen things that will hopefully have expanded both your mind and your desire for further adventures like this one.
Road tripping in an RV opens up territory that you might not get to if you were flying or even driving when you still have to locate accommodation. It brings with it a new freedom that you may well find addictive.