For a great vacation, take an extended road trip from Selma to Montgomery that includes significant detours to see national parks, state parks, and the excellent urban areas of America. Such a journey brings the complexity of the American ideal into focus. During this trip, you discover national parks preserving pristine areas as found by the first explorers, developed areas set aside as state parks, and the diversity of Americans living and working in urban areas. Follow this road trip itinerary from Selma to Montgomery to experience the essence of this incredible section of the country.
Mammoth Cave National Park
To reach Mammoth Cave National Park from Selma, travel north through Birmingham for 365 miles into Kentucky. After this beautiful addition to your Selma to Montgomery road trip, you are treated to one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. The Mammoth Cave system runs for over 400 miles, and there are passages as yet unexplored. The adventure is perfect on a hot summer day as the temperature remains the same inside the caverns all year long. Stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone run throughout the caves, with new designs in every room.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
After seeing the wonders of Mammoth Cave, travel 258 miles southeast to the Tennessee/North Carolina border to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This 500,000-acre park holds hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. The high ridges are often covered by mists and fogs, which gives the park its name. Numerous streams dash down from the high peaks offering incredible fishing opportunities. The views from atop the high ridges of the deep gorges are amazing.
Congaree National Park
After emerging from the eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, travel 223 miles southeast through Columbia, SC, to see another natural wonder. The Congaree National Park protects an inland swamp area where the Congaree River slows, widens, and wanders through a flat plain producing an ideal environment for osprey, blue heron, alligators, muskrats, bald cypress, and mangrove trees. Boardwalks allow you to wander through the swamp areas and paths take you through some of the tallest hardwood forests on the east coast along areas that hover above the meandering river.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
After stopping at Congaree National Park, travel 239 miles west to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta. The park includes the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr., where he took his first tentative steps on a determined journey that would take his life. With this child came a voice for equality like none ever heard before or since. The Ebenezer Church, where he preached so many of his sermons on justice, morality, and decency, is also part of the park. It is a great stop to bring your attention back to the Civil Rights Movement before continuing to Montgomery and the end of your Selma to Montgomery road trip.
Oak Mountain State Park
Located 20 miles south of Birmingham, Oak Mountain State Park is a great place to stay a night or two while visiting the city. This RV-friendly park offers an incredible number of activities. On its grounds are an archery range, an 18-hole golf course, 25 miles of hiking trails, and two lakes where the fishing is excellent. Boats are allowed on the lake, and two swimming beaches let you and your kids enjoy a quick dip on a hot day.
Nolin Lake State Park
Nolin Lake State Park is the perfect spot to camp in your RV while visiting Mammoth Cave National Park. Sitting beside 5,795-acre Nolin Lake, the park offers incredible fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities for you and your family. Miles of hiking trails run through the park and along the lake's shoreline. Birdwatchers find blue herons, sandhill cranes, ducks, and geese in and near the lake's waters, while wild turkeys roam through the campsites.
Andrew Jackson State Park
Located just 50 miles north of Congaree National Park, Andrew Jackson State Park provides a respite from the road with easy access to Congaree and Columbia, SC. The park serves a dual purpose, with organized activities far beyond those usually provided by a state park and a museum dedicated to the early life of President Andrew Jackson. A 20-acre park allows boats, canoes, and kayaks and has a swimming beach. Fishing in the lake is excellent, and you can hike the trails that wander around the lake to find your perfect fishing spot.
Edmund Pettis Bridge
Before you leave town on your Selma to Montgomery RV road trip, drive or walk across the Edmund Pettis bridge. This bridge is where America became aware of the injustice perpetrated on a significant portion of the population. Selma was divided into two sections by the Alabama River, with African Americans on one side and whites on the other. The laws restricted voter registration to the white side of the Alabama River. The march by African Americans was to reach the courthouse where they could register as a group. The ensuing brutal attack on the bridge by Selma police and elements of the Alabama National Guard was broadcast across television. The country reacted, and the Civil Rights Movement increased in strength.
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
While visiting Birmingham, stop at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. Located conveniently near all the ingredients necessary to produce quality steel, the furnaces were easily supplied. Massive amounts of steel came from this plant, which helped to build a modern America. The furnaces became obsolete and dangerous, with many injuries and deaths recorded at the plant. The plant closed when it was unable to meet current safety standards.
Marble Springs State Historic Site
On your way from Mammoth Cave National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stop in Knoxville to see the Marble Springs State Historic Site. This site is the retirement home of Governor John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee who served six terms, including the brief time when Tennessee was known as the state of Franklin. It is an excellent example of how early settlers lived in the region. Included in the site are a cabin, an independent kitchen, a tavern, a loom house, and a spring house.
When you pass through Birmingham on your extended road trip from Selma to Montgomery, stop and enjoy the amazing story of its development. Founded in 1871, well after the Civil War, Birmingham grew from a railroad intersection to the largest city in Alabama in a short time due to its location as a transportation hub and the discovery that it hovered in the greatest concentration of minerals in the world. Enjoy the history at one of the many museums in Birmingham, such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Historic Alabama Theater, and the Birmingham Historical Society. While you are in the city, take the time to clean your tanks at one of the local dump stations. To stay a night or two, register at one of the many campgrounds in the area.
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia lies within 50 miles of Congaree National Park. It is the capital of South Carolina, much of which was destroyed during the Civil War after a brief siege to keep Union forces out of the city. Today, the town is alive with shops that welcome travelers. Stop by Nonesuch, Handpicked, and Belladonnas for a selection of unique gifts produced in the area. While you are here, take advantage of its dump stations, or stay a night at one of the campgrounds in the area.
Visiting Atlanta is a food connoisseur's delight. The restaurant scene in Atlanta is one of the most diverse in the world. For example, try Aviva by Kameel for Lebanese cuisine, Babette's Café for Italian or French meals, or Eight Sushi Lounge for Japanese treats. While you are here, take advantage of the dump stations and the numerous campgrounds that Atlanta offers.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Selma to Montgomery, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Selma or Montgomery.