Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Kristin

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Memphis boasts nonstop nightlife under neon signs and some of the best barbecue restaurants in the world. Besides being home to landmarks including the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Elvis’ Graceland Mansion, Memphis is also the perfect place to embark on a road trip to some of the South’s other exciting destinations. Whether you’re craving a relaxing escape into nature or the bustle of the big city, a road trip from Memphis is always a good idea.

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Fabulous Road Trips from Memphis

Hot Springs, Arkansas

188 miles / 2 hr. 55 mins.

If relaxation is what you’re craving, head about three hours southwest on I-40 to Hot Springs, Arkansas. The main draw in this city cradled by the Ouachita Mountains are thermal springs, which visitors can enjoy in nature or in one of the elegant bath houses built in the early 1900s making up the so-called Bathhouse Row. Take a hike in Hot Springs National Park, and then swing by the Buckstaff and Quapaw bath houses to soak in the soothing waters of the thermal springs. Be sure to visit the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center to appreciate unique architectural touches such as stained-glass ceilings.


212 miles / 3 hr. 12 mins.

Nashville mixes the glitz and glam of country music royalty with museums and quaint venues to watch up-and-coming artists. If a day full of music sounds good to you, carve out time to explore the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and Johnny Cash Museum. Make a pit stop for some hot chicken or barbecue, and then take in a country show at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. The road trip between Memphis and Nashville is full of great stops, too — the Tina Turner Museum, Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum and Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park are all worth a visit. >> Recommended hotels in Nashville

St. Louis, Missouri

284 miles / 4 hr. 13 mins.

Looking for a big-city getaway from Memphis? Head north to St. Louis for a vibrant city on the Mississippi River that’s the perfect destination for travelers looking for cultural attractions. No trip to St. Louis is complete without a stop to admire the silver 630-ft. Gateway Arch. Learn about one of America’s most important music genres at the National Blues Museum, which regularly features live concerts. When the weather is nice, take a stroll through the massive Forest Park and check out the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum and zoo. >> Recommended hotels in St. Louis

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316 miles / 5 hr. 11 mins.

Head east on US-72 for a unique road trip that crosses Tennessee after a quick dip into Alabama. Located in the Appalachian foothills, Chattanooga mixes scenic vistas with attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum of American Art and Creative Discovery Museum. Pay homage to the city’s railroad history with a stop at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, an old train station converted into a shopping and dining hub. For nature enthusiasts, don’t miss the Rock City Gardens on Lookout Mountain and the massive underground Ruby Falls waterfall in a cave. To break up the long drive, make a stop in Huntsville, Alabama to enjoy the city’s botanical garden or U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Louisville, Kentucky

384 miles / 5 hr. 45 mins.

Louisville is famous as the hometown of spring’s Kentucky Derby, but it makes a delightful getaway year-round, too. Taste your way along Whiskey Row’s downtown distilleries. Explore the Muhammad Ali Center. Or dive into the other cool museums, such the giant 120-foot-tall Louisville Slugger museum and factory, with its giant bat replica outside. This getaway canbe as plus as you’d like; given the rich horsey history and culture the city right off the Ohio River, there is no shortage of plush places to stay. >> Recommended hotels in Louisville

Atlanta, Georgia

391 miles / 5 hr. 56 mins.

At just under six hours southeast of Memphis, Atlanta offers travelers a dose of cosmopolitan charm. Head to the World of Coca-Cola to learn about the history of the famous soft drink. Catch a Braves game in Truist park or visit the Georgia Aquarium. Picking among Atlanta’s many museums can be a difficult task, but some of the most popular choices include the College Football Hall of Fame, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and the High Museum of Art. Round out your visit with a trip to Centennial Olympic Park, where you can ride the SkyView Ferris wheel. >> Recommended hotels in Atlanta