From Prehistoric Animals to Elvis: Explore 10,000 Years of History on This U.S. Road Trip

  • From Prehistoric Animals to Elvis: Explore 10,000 Years of History on This U.S. Road Trip

    A drive down this parkway will take you to Elvis’ birthplace, stunning trails, and even an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.

    The 444-mile scenic Natchez Parkway follows one of the oldest trails in North America. Prehistoric animals first cleared the ground on route to find new grazing land, Native Americans including Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez tribes, as well as other Indigenous peoples all followed in their footsteps to hunt big game, and early European explorers and colonists and American colonists used the trail as a trade route. Today, the National Scenic Byway links Natchez, Mississippi, with Nashville, Tennessee. Along the way, the two-lane byway gives drivers a chance to pull off the road and meander through 10,000 years of American history.


  • Puckett’s

    WHERE: Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee

    The unincorporated rural village of Leiper’s Fork, 30 miles south of Nashville, is the perfect first stop for those looking for art galleries, boutique shopping, or a good old fashion Southern meal. If you are there on a Thursday night, make sure to stop by Puckett’s for open mic night when music lovers swarm the dive bar to hear musicians play their two-song limit. If you are lucky, one of the famous locals, like Keb’ Mo’, Vince Neil, Justin Timberlake, or Keith Urban, might pop on stage for their chance to sing in the spotlight.

    Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

  • The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

    WHERE: Hohenwald, Tennessee

    One of the nation’s largest natural habitat refuges for African and Asian elephants sits in an unassuming brick building in downtown Hohenwald. The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee rescues elephants retired from zoos and circuses. Visitors are not allowed to see the elephants in person (they live on a 2,700-acre sanctuary outside the town limits), but the sanctuary discovery center offers hands-on exhibits to teach the public about the ecological role elephants play in the wild, the difference between African and Asian elephants, and about each of the rescued elephants. Visitors can also watch the elephant at the nearby sanctuary via live stream.

    David Norwood Photography

  • Meriwether Lewis Burial Site

    WHERE: Hohenwald, Tennessee

    In 1809, Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame died mysteriously at the Grinder’s Stand Inn while heading to Washington, D.C. The innkeeper heard two shots in the middle of the night before finding Lewis bleeding from gunshot wounds. Authorities at the time labeled his death a suicide; however, several theories supporting the fact he was murdered have popped up over the years. You can decide for yourself as you explore the Grinder’s Stand ruins and Meriwether Lewis Monument and Gravesite.


  • Lady’s Bluff Small Wild Area

    WHERE: Linden, Tennessee

    Any long road trip requires a break to get out of the car and stretch your legs. If you want beautiful scenery to accompany that leg stretch, stop at Lady’s Bluff Small Wild Area. The three-mile moderate loop winds through a wooded forest up to the top of a limestone bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. The view from the top makes the moments of calf-burning hiking worth it.

    Hayley Byrd

  • Elvis Presley’s Birthplace

    WHERE: Tupelo, Mississippi

    Follow the footsteps of the King of Rock-n-Roll’s early days at the Elvis Birthplace Museum. Wander through the two-room shotgun house where Presley was born in 1935. While in Tupelo, the Presley family regularly attended the Assembly of God Pentecostal Church. That church, which is credited for inspiring Presley’s love of Gospel music, was moved from its original site to the museum grounds.


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