A road trip from Memphis to Atlanta offers the perfect chance to sightsee, make some memories, and enjoy the American South. While you could easily complete the journey in a day, consider taking your time as you pass through Tennessee and Georgia. Depending on your route, you could enjoy parks, historical sites, and fascinating cities before you get to Atlanta. Read on to learn about all the good stops and attractions along the way.
Although the direct route through I-22 is much shorter, I-40 offers a better selection of national parks. After hours on the road, you will need to stop and rest. All of the following parks are worth a pit stop.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful parks to visit. The stunning views of the mountains and the diverse animal life make this park one of the country's most visited sites. Expect to see some amazing forested vistas as you explore the mountain trails. This national park is also home to Cade Cove and an excellent RV campground. Other activities to do at the park include hiking and touring the historic mills. The park is just minutes away from I-40.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
The Ocmulgee Mounds region was home to Native Americans for thousands of years. Located in Macon, Georgia, this national historical park is home to the largest archaeology dig site in America. Here, more than 3 million artifacts have been discovered. Popular attractions include the Earth Lodge floor and on-site museums. After a day exploring the trails, the park has Lake Tobesofkee for a little relaxation. A trip to the park will extend your journey by an hour, but it is worth it.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world's longest cave system. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is found in central Kentucky, which makes it about a five-hour drive from Memphis. However, the extra mileage is worth it. In addition to cave tours, you can do a host of activities while at the park. One option is to explore the 80 miles of trails in the park. Alternatively, you can enjoy other sports, such as biking, boating, fishing, and horseback riding. There are three main campgrounds in the park with an additional 13 backcountry sites.
State parks offer much of the scenery found in national parks. Seasoned trippers know that such low-profile stops are often the most fun. The following are some state parks worth adding to your road trip itinerary from Memphis to Atlanta.
Henry Horton State Park
The park sits on a property that belonged to the former governor of Tennessee, Henry Horton. Located right at the Duck River's shores in Chapel Hill, TN, the park offers stunning views and a diverse ecosystem. Henry Horton State Park is a camper's dream; there are 56 RV campsites, 10 tent campsites, and eight cabins. The park offers opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, swimming, and bird-watching. Since it's an hour's drive from Nashville, this park is right on your way to Atlanta.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Cedars of Lebanon is a 1,139-acre park found at the heart of the Cedar National Forest in Wilson County, TN. If you like being in the woods, this is a stop you must add to your Memphis to Atlanta road trip itinerary. The park has 117 campgrounds spread across the grounds. Each campsite has electrical and water hookups. As for activities, you can enjoy hiking, birding, and golfing at this park.
Harrison Bay State Park
This state park covers 1,200 acres and about 40 miles of Chickamauga Lake shoreline. The adjacent lake makes it the ideal stop for people who enjoy fishing, boating, and water sports. The surrounding wooded area has a bit of everything. There is a campground for RV campers and a quiet golf course. You can also explore the nature trails through the woods or bike along the shoreline. Best of all, this park in Harrison, TN, won't be far off your route.
Cumberland Mountain State Park
This park sits on the Cumberland Plateau. The 1,720-acre region in Crossville, TN, has been a state park since 1938 when it was set aside for the Cumberland Homestead Projects. For RV campers, the park has 143 tents and RV campgrounds with full hookups. Each campsite also has picnic tables and grills for your enjoyment. That's not all; you'll have plenty to do while at the park. There is a 14-mile trail through the woods waiting to be explored. The 35-acre Lake Byrd is open for swimming, fishing, and boating.
James H. Floyd State Park
This park in Summerville, GA, is named after a local politician who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for about 20 years. The 561-acre property is surrounded by nothing but forests and rural countryside. It’s an ideal stop after spending hours on the road. In addition to the RV campsites, you can go hiking, boating, or fishing at James H. Floyd State Park.
There is more to a Memphis to Atlanta RV road trip than just parks. You will need a mix of the old and the new for a balanced journey. Anything from shopping malls to monuments is fair game. Below are some points of interest worth checking out.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a must-see. The facility holds more than 10 million gallons of water and is home to hundreds of species. Some of the aquatic species you can expect to see are the whale shark, beluga whale, penguins, and alligators. There are numerous webcam exhibits on different animals for your viewing pleasure at the 4-D theater.
World of Coca-Cola
The World of Coca-Cola is a museum in Atlanta dedicated to the world's most famous soda. Visiting the museum is a rare opportunity to learn more about the brand and sample products. While visiting, be sure to see the famed vault where the secret formula is stored. You can also stock up on your flavor of choice from the store before you hit the road.
The Chattanooga area in Tennessee is full of natural wonders. One worthy addition to the list of stops is Lookout Mountain. Aside from the amazing views of Chattanooga, the most popular attraction here is Ruby Falls. It features a series of underground waterfalls that are more than 260 feet below the ground. This popular stop is also home to a steep passenger railway known as the Incline Railway.
Graceland is the former home of Elvis Presley. The 13.8-acre property has since been transformed into a museum honoring the "King of Rock and Roll." Its doors opened to the public in June 1982. There is an option between a guided and self-guided tour. The property is found on Elvis Presley Blvd in Memphis.
A road trip from Memphis to Atlanta is about more than just the origin and the destination. It's also about the cities in between. Here a few noteworthy cities you may pass through depending on your route.
Jackson, TN, is the first major city you will come across once you leave Memphis. Located 70 miles away from Memphis, the city is home to more than 60,000 people. If you're looking to get rid of RV waste, Jackson is a good stop. The Jackson RV Park offers both a campground and a dump station.
As the state capital of Tennessee, Nashville is the most populous city in the state. It is conveniently located about midway along the road trip route. There are plenty of campgrounds and dump stations in Nashville. Clarksville RV Park and the Two Rivers campground come highly recommended.
Chattanooga is located at the foothills of the Appalachians. There is a lot to see in the area, including parks, museums, and historic sites. You can sanitize your RV at the nearby dump stations, such as the one at Chester Frost RV Park in the River City. It is right on the border as you cross into Georgia.
This Memphis to Atlanta road trip will be much more fun if you have an RV. That way, you can worry less about accommodations and focus on enjoying yourself. If you're looking for rentals, you'll find options in Memphis and Atlanta. For the trip back, be sure to see this article on Atlanta to Memphis.