If you have always been fascinated by how the first settlers struggled to survive on family farms, then a Nashville to Orlando road trip is a great way to learn more about their lifestyle. You can see over 60 historic buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains. Then, follow the highway south to Atlanta, stopping at several historic state parks and historical attractions along the way. After exploring the Atlanta History Center, jump on Interstate 75, where you will find even more history waiting to be explored. All along the route, you will also find fantastic opportunities to reconnect with nature.
Check out the RVshare guide to national parks to learn more about national parks in the United States that you may want to include in this road trip itinerary from Nashville to Orlando or in future trips.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
One of the places that you will not want to miss when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Mountain Farm Museum, where you can see a log farmhouse, blacksmith shop, springhouse, barn, and apple house that were built at various locations and moved to the museum in the 1950s. The farmhouse is one of the few remaining that was built using chestnut logs. Nearby, see farm animals and a garden. Elsewhere in the park, you can fish, hike, bike, take scenic drives, and go horseback riding. You may also want to see many of the park’s waterfalls before you leave.
Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park
Sgt. Alvin C. York was one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I, and Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park near Pall Mall, Tennessee, pays tribute to his bravery. Stop and see the grist mill, his two-story home, and the York Bible School. Go on a driving tour to see these sights that belong to the park and other nearby sights connected with his life. The tour of his home is often led by family members who recount personal details along the way. Bring along your fishing equipment to fish in the Wolf River. Shop for souvenirs and other keepsakes in the gift shop. Find a quiet corner of the visitors center to check out this guide to other Tennessee state parks.
Laura S. Walker State Park
Laura S. Walker State Park is the first state park named after a woman. You may want to start your visit to this park located on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp near Way Cross, Georgia, with a stroll around its 120-acre lake, which offers excellent fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities. You can rent boats and standup paddleboards to play on the water. You can also rent bikes to enjoy this park’s unique swampland where you will see various birds. On your ride or hike, you may even catch a glimpse of an alligator. Pay tribute to Ms. Walker by noticing the gorgeous trees, including many different types of oak trees, at this park as she worked tirelessly throughout her life to encourage people to plant more trees. You may want to find a quiet resting spot along your hike to check our guide to other Georgia state parks.
General Coffee State Park
The General Coffee State Park near Nicholls, Georgia, is a heritage farm where you can see many types of farm animals, including goats, sheep, donkeys, chickens, and pigs. You can also see various historic farm buildings, including a cane mill, a tobacco barn, a corn crib, and log cabins. Hike along the boardwalk running along the edge of Seventeen-mile River to see a variety of amphibians, mammals, and rare plants. Take a break to learn about other Georgia state parks. You may also want to rent a boat or standup paddleboard from vendors in the park to explore the river. There are over 13 miles of trails to ride your horse on and over 4 miles of hiking trails.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Dudley Farm Historic State Park near Newberry, Florida, is the perfect place to practice farming skills used by people in the area more than 100 years ago. Activities at this working farm vary by the season, so you may be able to help plow the garden or harvest a vegetable crop. Every day, water must be pumped for the farm animals by park visitors who can also help feed the chickens and gather eggs. Additionally, many holidays are a big deal at this park, so everyone’s help is needed to prepare for them. The flowerbeds in front of the home, which is one of 18 historic buildings at this state park, offers benches where you can sit and look at our guide to other Florida state parks.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
If you loved reading "The Yearling" and other books by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, then you will love a visit to her homestead, which is now Marjorie Kinnan Rawling Historic State Park. At this park near Cross Cut, Florida, you can tour her farmyard, grove, seasonal garden, and trails while interacting with park rangers dressed in 1930s clothing. Her home on this property is an authentic Florida Cracker homestead. When you tour it, you taste what life was like in Florida without television and with no air conditioning. Stroll through the orange grove to find a peaceful spot to relax and glance at the Florida state park guide to get inspiration for other stops to include on this trip or future ones.
Reece Heritage Farm
See what life was like on an Appalachian farm with a stop at the Reece Heritage Farm, where you can see restored barns, a corn crib, a chicken house, a smokehouse, and a spring house. Special events, like concerts and an annual birthday party for poet Bryon Herbert Reece, happen here throughout the year, so include a stop here on your Nashville to Orlando RV road trip.
Hardman Farm State Historic Site
The Hardman Farm State Historic Site is located along part of the Unicoi Trail near Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia. Learn how cows were milked and how milk was kept fresh on a visit to this site. You can also tour the Italianate farmhouse built in about 1870 and see numerous farm buildings.
Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
The Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site is the most intact Mississippian culture site in the Southeast. Stop at this site located near Cartersville, Georgia, to see six earthen mounds, a plaza, a village site, borrow pits, and a defensive ditch. Then, stroll along the nature trail running along the Etowah River to see the V-shaped fishing trap. Finally, head to the museum to see many different cultural artifacts, including effigies weighing over 125 pounds.
Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center is comprised of eight different facilities, including the Smith Family Farm, which is the oldest working farm in the state. Established in the 1840s, you can see an enslaved person’s cabin, the barn, a dairy, the blacksmith shop, the chicken coop, and an outhouse. Other sites include the main museum, the Swan House, constructed for cotton baron Edward Inman, and the Wood Family Cabin built in the early 1800s.
Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village
Start your visit to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture located in Tifton, Georgia, by touring the main museum covering 150 years of farming history in the state. Climb aboard the historic steam engine-pulled train to see the countryside. Then, stroll through the historic village created to look like an early farm village where you will meet many interpreters. There is also a nature center to explore, farm animals to pet, and bargains to find at the store.
Do not pass through Chattanooga, Tennessee, without stopping to see the 145-foot underground Ruby Falls. You may also want to go hiking and caving at Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga campgrounds include Chester Forest Park Campground and Raccoon Mountains Caverns and Campground. Chattanooga RV dump sites are available at Chester Frost Park and Raccoon Mountains Caverns and Campground.
It may take you more than one day to explore the Atlanta History Center. Still, you may also want to visit Coca-Cola World and other attractions as you come through Atlanta, Georgia, on your road trip from Nashville to Orlando. Atlanta campground options include Scenic Mountain RV Park and Atlanta South RV Resort. Dump stations in Atlanta are available at Jones RV Park and Cabela’s.
You can find lots of things to do in Gainesville, including visiting the Natural History Museum, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and the University of Florida’s Bat House. Campground options in Gainesville include Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Dump station options in Gainesville include Alachua County Fair Grounds and High Springs Campground, along with other locations throughout the state.
You will gain a better understanding of how farmers lived in the past, and that may make you more appreciative of the food that appears on your dinner table. When you go on a Nashville to Orlando road trip, you will also see beautiful scenery and get to explore exciting state parks filled with things to do. Head out as soon as possible to experience this route in your RV. If you do not have one, then rent one in Nashville or Orlando.