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Start fall right with our journey from Atlanta to Ha Ha Tonka State Park

With Thanksgiving coming up and the kids having a break from school, why not make this year’s festivities extra special with a road trip. Not just any road trip though, an AVR journey that has tons of amazing, hand-picked stops along the way. Here at AVR, we feel every step of the journey should be just as fun as the destination. That is why our hand-picked stops are always teeming with fun activities for the whole family. Whether you are an indoor family or love the outdoors, there will be something for everyone. Don’t just take our world for it, even science shows that road trips are beneficial to family bonding and help create lasting memories. So reserve your van today and let AVR handle the rest of the planning.

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Nashville, Tennessee: Hot chicken and fun times

3 hours 47 minutes, 249 miles if starting from downtown Atlanta

The journey starts off right, as your driving route takes you right into Nashville, the heart of Tennessee. Known for lots of things, the music city for example, Nashville can’t possibly disappoint even the pickiest of person. Music lovers will absolutely love the listening rooms, which is where sing-songwriters will play and feel out their lyrics. Such places to visit for this experience are Listening Room Café and Bluebird Café. For some wet and wild fun with the kids, try the indoor/outdoor waterpark Soundwaves. For adult whiskey lovers, you have to check out the local distillery or drive a bit to the Jack Daniels Distillery. Downtown Nashville offers plenty mundane activities if being laid back and relaxing is more your family’s or crew’s style. Be sure to check out the Capital State Park and the Opry Gardens for some scenic views. Lodging can be found all over in this big city, but be sure to find the most affordable, as some of the places like the water park, offer big savings and deals on rooms when you also get tickets for the park. Nashville offers tons of amazing local cuisine, but you have to try where Nashville hot chicken originated. Locals are torn between Prince’s Hot Chicken and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, so try them both and compare. I know leaving this beautiful city will be hard after all the fun times, but when that time comes, be sure to use GasBuddy so you don’t lose out on the best gas prices. This is a shorter trip so only one more stop will be added, but feel free to stop at your leisure.


Poplar Bluff, Missouri: Should be named popular bluff with all the fun

3 hours 55 minutes, 243 miles if coming from Nashville, our previous suggested stop

7 hours 52 minutes, 492 miles if coming from downtown Atlanta

Though not anywhere near as big as Nashville, Poplar still has some fun activities for the whole family to get in on. This stop is more of a leisure stop to get the family rested and ready for the scenic hikes and trails that await them. Poplar Bluffs is a quite and quaint town with some great history behind it. Anyone interested in art should definitely check out the beautiful Margaret Harwell Art Museum. For those that are history buffs, a “literal” walk down memory lane should be taken in wonderful Old Greenville National Historic Site. There is even a local winery for the adults to try. If a beautiful picnic with breath taking scenery is more the afternoon for your family or crew, be sure to check out Big Spring and Clearwater Lake, which are a short drive from Poplar. If you plan to stay the night, Lodging can be found very cheaply throughout the city.  Just because this is a smaller city, doesn’t mean the food should be passed on. Be sure to try some of the local favorites, you may be surprised how Popular they really are. Gas is extremely cheap in Poplar, so it makes for a great place to refuel before heading out to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Still, be sure to use GasBuddy to make sure you are getting the best possible price on fuel. Next stop for this lovely little journey is the original destination. See? Wasn’t this amazing journey filled with sites and memories way better than just flying in on a plan and getting there? AVR wants every stretch of the journey to be fun and memorable for the whole family or crew.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri: Breath-taking scenery and architecture

3 hours 32 minutes, 199 miles from Poplar Bluffs, our previous suggested stop


Ha Ha Tonka State Park will steal your breath away with its scenic trails and views overlooking the lake. Feel like a king or queen in their castle, by exploring the nearby stone ruins of 20th century castle. There are hiking trails, swimming, fishing, biking, a historic tour, and much more. Lodging can be found nearby for those that don’t want to camp outdoors. Visitors and trip advisors alike, call Ha Ha Tonka  a must see attraction. If your family or crew is the adventurous type, be sure to check out Bridal Cave which is only 5 miles away from the park. Ha Ha Tonka and Bridal Cave are two of Missouri’s best kept secrets, so be ready to explore all this exciting scenery. Anyone can visit a city, but a real family experience is bonding outside in nature with stars above in plain view. Be sure to bring a telescope if you have one, the night imagery is to die for. If you family is staying at lodging near the state park, or just wants some non-campground food, be sure to keep these local food places in mind.

AVR is dedicated to making the entire journey an unforgettable experience. This may be a shorter one than we usually do, but the essence of a real AVR journey is present. We do not tell you how to do a journey, as there is no right way, but we do want to offer our input to take the hassle and stress of planning away. So, come do a journey the AVR way!  If the above journey sounds amazing, feel free to get the entire directions here, stops included. AVR, because the journey should be just as fun as the destination.

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