7. Tupelo, MS
Why go: Elvis Presley’s birthplace is just a four-hour drive from Nashville. It’s worth visiting in the fall even if you’re not a fan of the King because, to get there, you have to drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway—an open road with few cars, no stop signs or lights, and uninterrupted views of the trees as they turn vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange.
Where to stay: Just six miles south of Tupelo is Tombigbee State Park, where you can rent one of seven vacation cabins with lake or forest views. The cabins are no-frills, but come with A/C for Indian summers and fireplaces for chilly fall nights. There are also 20 developed campsites within the park.
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