Sports fans know the American South first and foremost as SEC country, home to proud football colleges like the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, and Louisiana State University. But the Southern states have always had a hell of a lot more to offer than football—classic Southern dishes like biscuits, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken, for starters. (Yeah: If you’ve been saving up those “cheat meal” days, you’ll love this trip.)
And don’t get too worked up about all those heavenly calories you’ll be chowing down throughout your journey, because with a little help from Lonely Planet editor Trisha Ping, we mapped out plenty of awesome stuff you can do to help you burn off the energy. Fitness junkies will enjoy kayaking along Shem Creek in Charleston or trekking through sunken, old trails used by early American settlers, while thrill-seekers can jump at the chance to take a flight lesson over the coast of Savannah, GA, or go spelunking just oustide of Nashville, TN.
Here’s the Men’s Fitness guide to road-tripping through the American South.