In this post we cover some serious ground! Starting in Nashville, crushing Congaree National Park with friends, and making it all the way to the first town in the US (St. Augustine GA).
After leaving Mammoth caves we drove a short distance South to stay at a Nashville KOA for a few nights.
While the campground itself was not the most secluded, it did offer a free shuttle to downtown Nashville, a gym for us to workout in, AND had a hot tub!
We took the shuttle and spent our Sunday walking around downtown Nashville, listening to country music at the Honky Tonks, eating delicious food, and drinking some great coffee.
It was a beautifully sunny and we spent most of our time just strolling the streets. Both of us thought it was a cool city, but we don’t drink a lot and it definitely has a party vibe.
We also made a quick stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and then walked across the river to cap off our day.
I ended the night with an overindulgent, outrageous milkshake and we headed back to the campground. 🙂
The next day we worked from a local coffee shop and then toured the Gaylord Hotel for their seasonal Christmas light decorations. It was an indoor Christmas extravaganza!! Fun stuff for sure!
Then we were off, headed back to Knoxville for one more workout at Rocky Top CrossFit before heading South!
We were hoping to try and squeeze in a trail run in the Smoky Mountains, but our work schedules didn’t allow us the time. 🙁
Instead we cruised into South Carolina, and after a quick overnight stay along the way we ended up in Columbia (not the country). 🙂
Columbia & Congaree National Park
Our stay in Columbia was two days as and included a lunch with some friends from Seattle, some amazing BBQ, laundry, and a visit to the swampy Congaree National Park.
The rains and water mismanagement had led to flooding of the boardwalks at Congaree National Park, but we ran on every bit of trail we could for a total of 6 miles. The boardwalks were cool and weaved through the swamp and big trees.
This was our first swampy experience of the trip and the park felt so different from all the others we had visited.
We didn’t see any creatures, but heard a lot of interesting bird calls. And imagine it would feel and look a lot different here in the summer months!
While in Congaree National Park we also squeezed in a visit with The Barnhill family for a quick hike and a delicious taco lunch!
After leaving Congaree we continued South to Savannah GA.
Here we hung out at a state park for a few nights, where the weather was finally warming up and allowed us to work out outside again!
In Savannah we spent a morning working at Savannah Coffee Roasters before walking around the city.
Savannah has some beautiful city parks with amazing old oak trees. And the city itself was very charming and to us felt like we were really in the South.
Mighty Eighth Airmen’s Museum
On our way out of town we stopped at the Mighty Eighth Airmen’s Museum to find a World War 2 Memorial that had my Grandpas name on it.
The Museum was full of information and artifacts (we should have allowed for more time here). We did, however, find the plaque with my Grandpa Eberhardt’s name on it, which felt special.
St. Augustine GA
That evening we didn’t really have a plan, so I blindly picked a spot on the map that had a state park and KOA close together (that way we would have options). The place ended up at was St. Augustine GA, and we were so glad we ended up there!
Little side note: Many of the State Park Campgrounds in the South have Gates that close and lock around 6 pm, if you are arriving late with no reservation you are out of luck. So, have a plan and call ahead for a gate code! This was what happened at the state park in St. Augustine so we opted for a site at the KOA.
The next morning we woke up early and went for a short run down to the beach before heading to a Starbucks for work.
In the afternoon we drove downtown to the historic part of St. Augustine. Where we walked around the streets and the a cathedral before checking out the old fort, Castillo de San Marcos.
What we hadn’t realized when picking St. Augustine was that it was the oldest established town in the US.
Needless to say there were a lot of old buildings and historical places! The Castillo de San Marcos Fort was one of these, and with our National Parks pass we got in to tour the fort for free.
After a full day of touring St. Augustine we loaded into the van for our final leg to Orlando to catch our flight back to Seattle the next morning.
Until next time!