The art of pinpointing engaging destinations for middle-school aged kids can be difficult but can ultimately make road trips more enjoyable for everyone. When mapping your journey, make sure it amps the excitement for those nestled in the back seat. One of these destinations is sure to accommodates your brood.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Lush canopies of oak and beech draped with Spanish moss surround Wakulla Springs Lodge, a late-1930s art deco hotel nearly frozen in time. The same goes for the grounds at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Steps away from the lodge you’ll find a beach lining the edge of the Wakulla River. Climb the twenty-two-foot dive tower and plunge into the clear drink. Take a boat tour for an eyeful of untouched scenery and wildlife including gators, manatees, turtles, and a variety of birds. A road trip just under four hours from Macon, Georgia, this is one even your tween will enjoy.
Approximately four hours from Atlanta, Music City beats to a drum that appeals to all ages. Action aplenty takes place on Lower Broadway, a hub for honky tonks. Take advantage of all-ages access at many venues during the day and into the early evening with live music and more. Explore the art of the letterpress at Hatch Show Print, a concert poster purveyor since 1879. Step inside Ernest Tubb Record Shop for an old-school country music retail experience. Get a lesson in country music history at the Country Music Hall of Fame. There are even special programs to participate in including the Musical Petting Zoo, which allows kids to play instruments.
Lost Sea Adventure
A neon yellow tunnel helps guests descend into Craighead Caverns for a mix of history and adventure. Keep an eye peeled for amazing rock formations and wall markings chiseled by Civil War soldiers. The trail leads to an underground lake. Hop aboard a glass bottom boat for a cruise atop the four and-a-half acre body of water while albino rainbow trout swim below. Challenge your kids to try to spot the thirty-ton rock that plopped into the lake approximately 2,000 years ago. Hop in the car and head to The Lost Sea a place your kids will want to visit.
Step into the unspoiled world of majestic mountains, dense greenery, impressive rock formations, and a roaring river for a whitewater rafting trip. Just three hours from Columbia, South Carolina, visitors make a splash throughout this wild watery ride down Chattooga River with guides from Wildwater Chattooga leading the way. You’ll gasp when the raft takes a seven-foot plunge. Depending on the level of intensity, some trips can be experienced by those ages eight and older, while others allow ages thirteen and up.
Asheville, North Carolina
Just over four hours from Charleston, South Carolina, Asheville thrives with its free-spirited blend of culture, history, and fun. Downtown Asheville ushers tourists into contemporary cool with a variety of imaginative retailers, attractions, and eateries. Lights flash and buzzers buzz during all-you-can-play games at the Asheville Pinball Museum. Movie fans indulge at the Merrimon Avenue location of Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. While some nosh, others catch a movie in the in-house theater. Take a short drive to the Western Carolina Nature Center to get up close and personal with Southern Appalachian critters such as red foxes, wolves, black bears, and more.
Next time your gearing up for some quality time with the kids, follow this guide to great family road trips taken from Georgia and South Carolina to help you map out maximum fun.