Family trip advice, MS, AL, FL, TN

Thinking about a family trip this summer. Looking at Mapquest a bit to think about route and stops.

Family is wife + me + 3 kids (oldest 12, youngest 6 or 7 at time of trip).

Start from St. Louis area, down towards New Orleans, with a stop in Memphis.

Possible/probable detour on the way back to a beach town in MS, AL, or FL (Pensacola is one candidate, but we’d consider others).

Return via ?

Cities that we COULD hit at various points in the journey include any Gulf cities from New Orleans to Pensacola (Mobile maybe?)

Then, on the way back, we could swing through Birmingham, Nashville, or other cities in this area, without adding much to the travel time.

So, does anyone have any suggestions for interesting stops (either towns or specific sites within towns) that are roughly along this route?

Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls. See Ruby Falls. RUBY FALLS. SEE RUBY FALLS. RUBY FALLS MOTHERFUCKER! FUCKING PEEL YOUR EYES AND BEHOLD THIS GODDAMNED MIRACLE OF FUCKING SPLENDOR MOTHERFUCKING RUBY COCKSUCKING FALLS!!! asplode

Seriously though, avoid the interstate between Chattanooga and Nashville, the Ruby Falls billboards will drive you insane.

Phil,

Skip Mobile if you are looking for beach sites. I would recommend Orange to Pensacola though, that is the white sand (usually low wave) paradise. I know recently the rip tides have been pretty bad from Pensacola to Navarre due to changes in the topology due to the hurricanes. I grew up in Pensacola and the beach is just wonderful, just not sure with the rip tides. They do mark the conditions with flags on the way to the beach and if you go to the primary tourist spot they have life guards.

Fargull

Is Ruby Falls as bad as South of the Border?

Mobile isn’t very interesting – I grew up there. Our easy beach destination was always Gulf Shores, AL. It’s extremely tourist-trap-y, but I would recommend it anyway, for a family vacation kind of thing.

Does it have an enormous solid bright red billboard every two miles for a hundred mile stretch?

H.

South of the Border’s milepost billboards are bad, but I don’t know if they’re THAT bad.

Avoid eye contact with the locals.