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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Summer is the peak of the vacation season. If you want to travel and sightsee, but a flight just isn’t in your budget, road-tripping is a great option. In some cases, I’d say it’s preferred over flying, as you can see so much of a state or region on the ground instead of high up in the air.

Grab some friends, snacks, gas money, and a map, and get started! While it’s fun to be spontaneous, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place before you hit the road (for safety reasons). This doesn’t mean you have to follow said plan exactly, but you should have a general idea of where you’re going. Here are six stops in the U.S. that I recommend for getting started on your journey.

1. Wakulla Springs State Park: Cherokee Sink, Florida

Staying on FSU’s campus for the summer but want to get away for the weekend? Located a little about 30 minutes outside of Tallahassee, Cherokee Sink is a sinkhole where the waters are a picturesque green. It’s located within the Wakulla Springs State Park, which features a more popular swimming area complete with a diving platform.

If you’re weary of what lies in the water, The Lodge at Wakulla Springs also offers boat tours so you don’t have to miss out on the scenery. About a 20-minute drive from the park will take you to the beach, and about a 30-minute drive will take you to the nearby St. Marks Lighthouse, which makes for a convenient day trip.

2. 30A, Florida

Moving throughout the panhandle, a beautiful stretch of beaches is located along Florida’s 30A coastal highway. Along the Gulf Coast, the sun sets over the water and the currents can be gentle.

Just between Destin and Panama City, the 30A region includes small beach towns such as Rosemary Beach and Miramar Beach. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the towns have the “touristy” vibes you may be looking for, along with great restaurants.

If you’re looking for a more nature-centric experience, 30A is also home to multiple state parks, some of which feature beach camping.

3. Savannah, Georgia

Located along Georgia’s east coast not far from the South Carolina border, Savannah is a city with a rich history and so many amazing local attractions. Known as one of America’s most haunted cities, there’s a plethora of colonial history and interesting tales to explore. If you have the chance, I highly recommend going on the city’s guided ghost tours.

You can also travel through Savannah by trolley and learn more about the city from a guide for a regular, local tour. But if you’re only stopping in the city for a bit, there are wonderful local food stops, coffee shops, and boutiques to check out.

4. Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon features rock formations that you may not have guessed were in the southeastern U.S. There are trails you can hike to explore the park, which range from “easy” to “extremely rugged and difficult” altogether. If you’re interested in staying at the park for a long time, there are also places to camp and backpack.

5. Helen, Georgia

About an hour and a half outside of Atlanta, the town of Helen, Georgia is an eclectic mix of outdoor adventures and small-town shopping. You’re never short of things to do: tubing, hiking, visiting waterfalls, ziplining, riding an alpine roller coaster through the mountains, and more.

The town’s center models a Bavarian village. If you’re lucky enough to go later in the year, you can visit the longest Oktoberfest in the U.S.

6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Just under three hours from Helen, you can make a stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee, right along the state’s southern border. The city’s center is home to major art districts, local shops and restaurants, and the Tennessee Aquarium.

Outside the city, you can take a trip to Lookout Mountain, which is home to Ruby Falls, the deepest underground waterfall in the U.S. There’s something for everyone here. Check out this helpful, interactive website for an artsy and informational showcase of all that Chattanooga has to offer.

If you’re interested in traveling around the U.S. this summer, I hope this list gave you some ideas! Remember to always plan for these road trips and have all of your essentials with you. Safe travels, and above all, have fun!

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Harper West is a staff writer at the Her Campus at Florida State University chapter. She is double majoring in History and Environmental Science & Policy, and plans to graduate in the spring of 2027. Aside from HCFSU, Harper is part of the Presidential Scholars program at FSU, a member of Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-law fraternity), and serves as a research assistant at the FSU Marine Lab. In her spare time, she enjoys being in nature, running, and sewing new outfits.