Road trips aren’t just nostalgic this year … they’re necessary. Due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, people are seeking close-to-home vacation spots to entertain themselves and their families. Between quarantines, distance learning and an influx of Zoom meetings, Oklahomans are needing a getaway like never before.

 The road trip format provides the backdrop for many family memories of bonding, or for solitude if you’re traveling alone. Combining points of interest helps break up the driving time and can augment your sightseeing, providing something for everyone. 

Two pairings within reasonable driving distances from Oklahoma are in Tennessee and Texas.

Memphis and Nashville

The distance from Memphis to Nashville, Tenn., is approximately three hours. From Beale to Broadway, the streets of these two cities are alive with music, honky tonks, barbecue joints, southern comfort cooking and Americana galore. 

In Memphis, visit Graceland, Beale Street, the marching ducks at the Peabody Hotel, the hip Cooper Young district and the nearby Loretta Lynn Museum. The Beauty Shop in the Cooper Young district is a lunch spot full of nostalgia; it used to be Priscilla Presley’s frequented hair salon and the hair dryers are still there, incorporated into the decor. Blues City Cafe on Beale Street has delicious barbecue while Charles Vergos Rendezvous has an excellent dry rub flavoring.

In Nashville, the Parthenon, The Gulch, Broadway Street, the Grand Ole Opry and the Johnny Cash Museum are just a few recommendations. Trolley and bus tours will give you a lay of the land, so you can easily hop on and off at sights. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is the truest moniker, because this fried chicken is spicy hot. Midtown Cafe is a must-visit for classic southern cooking.

Austin and San Antonio

Austin and San Antonio, Texas, are approximately an hour and a half apart from each other by car. This makes for an ideal pairing of sightseeing destinations in one of the prettiest areas of Texas. 

Austin is a stimulating destination where you can set your own pace. For those interested in live music, unique boutiques and taverns, stroll along Sixth Street. If nature beckons you, rent a kayak on Lake Lady Bird, which is a fun activity solo or with the whole family. Enjoy the vintage vibe on “SoCo” (South Congress Street) for eclectic treasures in wardrobe, furniture and decorations. Drop by the historic Driskill Hotel, built in the 1880s, to admire the architectural beauty. Consider a stay on Lake Austin and enjoy the bucolic setting, or venture to Bob’s Steak and Chop House for rooftop dining and city views. The Oasis on Lake Austin is ideal for hilltop views of the lake, and Fonda San Miguel has authentic Mexican cuisine and decor. Juan in a Million is Austin’s taco headquarters with so many delicious varieties available.

In San Antonio, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, Sea World, the Riverwalk and the Alamo are all well-loved highlights. The Hyatt Regency Hill Country resort includes family friendly activities, like a lazy river, water slide, activity pool and slow rider – a mechanical surfing machine. Savor nightly s’mores and Thursday and Friday night movies on the lawn. Sea World is also open and following COVID-19 protocols. Dining recommendations along the Riverwalk include the County Line for delicious barbecue and Boudro’s Texas Bistro for surf ‘n’ turf and their unique prickly pear margarita.

Although this information is as up-to-date as possible, it’s recommended to check websites to confirm details during COVID-19 protocols. After that, get on the road and enjoy some Americana!

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