Day 10: 12 States in 15 Days

Stop 1: Congaree National Park, SC

Congaree National Park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The park has many different trails and several wooden pathways to explore the nature. Unfortunately, we picked wrong time and season to visit. After recent storms half of the pathways was destroyed, majority of trails were flooded. Water was dark brown and everything looked dull.

Again, I will make a reference to the national parks website for more details:


Stop 2: Columbia, SC

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina. It was established in early 16th century. Columbia offers a number of attractions to visit: Fort Jackson, zoo, state museum, museum of art, State House. State House is known for its architecture and we decided to see it only and have some coffee break from our driving (nice Starbucks in Sheraton hotel).


Columbia State House

Stop 3: Charlotte, NC

I liked this city. It looks modern and live. Lots of restaurants and shops. A good place for a quick stop. This is a major city in North Carolina that is famous for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Charlotte’s uptown is very well organized, there are many maps on the streets to help you navigate. Uptown hosts all the business centers, museums, restaurants, parks, theaters, and nightclubs.



Stop 4: Asheville, NC

We wanted to see Biltmore Estate, but changed our mind when realized that entrance fee is $75. More about the place is here:

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Day 11

Day 9: 12 States in 15 Days

This was my favorite day! 2 beautiful cities to enjoy!

Stop 1: Savannah, GA

Savannah was found in the 18th century by the British colonists. The city is known for its untouched architecture, parks and dozens of historical squares. One of the must-sees is the Forsyth Park with its magnolia and oak trees. Another landmark is the Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. You’ll love this city and will definitely enjoy several hours of walk on Savannah beautiful streets!


Stop 2: Charleston, SC

Another amazing city! Charleston was established in the 17th century by the British people. Main historical buildings are located in the French Quarter and Battery areas. We parked close to the Cathedral of St John the Baptist Charleston and walked all the way to the waterfront and historical market. Then we continued walking on different streets just enjoying the atmosphere. You can learn more about this city’s history by visiting Charleston Museum or taking a historical tour. It is very popular there to take a carriage tour, but we prefer walking and exploring new places by ourselves.


Stop 3: Columbia, SC

We were looking for a cheap place to sleep and ended up in Sumter near Columbia. Don’t go there, it was one of the scariest places to stay, especially after I read articles about their crime level and hotel robberies. Recently there were several armed hotel robberies by different gangs. Police is doing a great job catching them but still it didn’t feel safe at all.

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Day 10

12 States in 15 Days: from TX to FL and back

Flight: Orange County, SNA –> Houston, IAH –> Orange County, SNA
: 15.5 days
Mileage: ~4200
Starting point: Houston, TX
States: TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, TN, MO, AR, OK
Budget for 2 people: $2775 ($590 flight,  $415 car rental, $800 hotel + free points nights, $350 gas, $520 food, $100 other)


  • Day 0: flight from the Orange County, SNA to Houston, IAH; night walk in the downtown
  • Day 1: explore Houston, TX; drive to New Orleans, LA (350 mi, 6 h); explore night life in New Orleans
  • Day 2: explore New Orleans, LA; drive to Biloxi, MS (90 mi, 2 h); drive to Mobile, AL (65 mi, 1 h); drive to Pensacola Beach, FL (70 mi, 1.2 h)
  • Day 3: drive to Panama City, FL (90 mi, 2 h); drive to Crystal River, FL (270 mi, 5 h)
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