Welcome to summer! A NASCAR race is always a great way to kick off the season, and it’s about to get even better! The next race is at Daytona International Speedway, one of the most famous NASCAR tracks. You’re sure to have a good time at the next race, but getting there is half the fun of it! Now, the trip from Iowa Speedway to Daytona International Speedway is the longest leg of this track-to-track road trip, but, it’s also the most jam-packed with fun stops.
During this 20 hour drive down I-75 South, you’ll pass through tons of iconic American cities – from St. Louis to Nashville to Atlanta and more. We guarantee you won’t want to miss a single place on your journey, so we recommend stretching this trip out through the whole week. You’re sure to be abuzz about all your adventures, but the races will make the perfect end caps to your trip. So, without further ado, here are your must-stop hot spots for the first part of your track-to-track summer road trip!
Last race: June 24 at Iowa Speedway
Next race: June 30 at Daytona International Speedway
Time on the road: About 20 hours
Best route: I-75 South
Start Your Engines
St. Louis, MO – 5 hours away from Iowa Speedway is St. Louis. This is a great place for your first stop of the trip. For some adult fun, stop off and get the full Budweiser Brewery Experience. And, what goes together better than beer and baseball? (Okay, maybe NASCAR, but just roll with this one!) Walk right on over to Ballpark Village for full immersion into the All-American baseball scene. Top off all that excitement at the famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand
Nashville, TN – Right in the middle of this leg of the trip is Nashville, also known as Music City, U.S.A. So, if you like music, this is the town for you. Make sure to catch all the museums dedicated to musical greats, like the Johnny Cash Museum, the Patsy Cline Museum, the George Jones Museum, and countless others. Once you’ve made your way through the museum circuit, make a stop at the historic Grand Ole Opry, and try to catch a live show while you’re there. You’ll be tappin’ your toes and whistlin’ a tune the whole rest of your road trip.
After all that excitement, fuel up at The Row. With its famous Nashville Fried Hot Chicken and its lively atmosphere, the restaurant has been a favorite of creatives for over 30 years. For the adults in your group, a stop at the nearby Arrington Vineyards is in order. Imagine watching the sunset over the sprawling vineyard as you sample some of their delectable wines. What could be better? Just be sure to sober up before you get back behind the wheel!
After being on the road for over 9.5 hours, you might even want to spend the night in one of Nashville’s top notch hotels. Hotel Indigo, a boutique hotel with a modern feel, is a great lodging choice in a prime location. A stay at the Opryland Resort is also a truly unforgettable experience.
Chattanooga, TN – You’ve done a lot of non-NASCAR stuff so far, haven’t you? Well, bring it back around to NASCAR on day two of your road trip with a stop at the Muffler Man. This larger than life-sized Muffler Man pays tribute to the real heroes of NASCAR – the pit crew! In one hand, the Muffler Man hold a tire, and in the other a wrench. It watches over the go kart track at Sir Gooney’s Fun Zone, a great place for family fun.
You should also take a peek at the International Towing Museum. As you go through the history of professional towing, you’ll surely feel thankful for the towers that get those wrecked NASCAR cars out of harm’s way.
For your final stop in Chattanooga, check out The Incline, one of the steepest railways in the world. You’ll feel like you’re heading straight up the mountain – which you almost are! The track sits at a staggering 72.7% grade. Once you get to the top of Lookout Mountain, be sure to soak in the sights. It’s positively breathtaking!
Atlanta, GA – Atlanta has so much to see and do, you probably won’t get through it all if you’re just stopping by, but you sure can try! But first, a warning – whatever you do, try to avoid rush hour traffic in Atlanta. This area gets extremely congested, so a mid-day trip is a good idea.
For all you Coca-Cola lovers out there, a visit to the World of Coca-Cola is an absolute must. Take a selfie with the beloved polar bear mascot, try all the crazy cool flavors you’ve never seen in stores, and go inside the Vault of the Secret Formula. This is a fun stop for all ages. For more kid-approved fun, stop off at Folk Art Park, where you’ll see the kitschy installments of local artists.
While in Atlanta, be sure to visit the museums and monuments dedicated to historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter. You could also take any one of the self-guided film tours through Atlanta, such as the Hunger Games or Walking Dead tours. Take a quick break before hitting the road, and eat at Pitty Patty’s, the restaurant famous for its mention in film classic, Gone with the Wind.
Macon, GA – Nashville may be Music City U.S.A., but Macon is home to one band Nashville can’t lay claim to – the great American rock band The Allman Brothers Band. Only in Macon will you find a tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers at The Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House. This museum isn’t just located in the band’s hometown, it’s the actual house where the band members (and their entourage) lived. This one is a quick stop, but so worth it!
After hitting up the museum at the Big House, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat at the restaurant that famously supported the young and then-broke Allman Brothers Band. You guessed it – the one and only H&H Soul Food. The Southern specialties at H&H are sure to feed your belly (and your soul) to the brim.
After all that activity, you’ll probably want to lodge for the night before hitting the road again. Be sure to swing by the 1842 Inn. We can’t promise, but we can bet that you’ll get the best sleep of your life at this quaint, historic inn.
St. Augustine, FL – This first stop in Florida is sure to please! At a little less than 5 hours from Macon, you’ll definitely want a good stretch. That’s why you should take a tour of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. This site is home to one of the first American settlements, and is chock full of artifacts to explore. Or, if you’re not a history buff, take a walk on the sweeter side of life with a tour of the Whetstone Chocolate factory. After your day of adventures, take a rest at the Casablanca Inn. The gorgeous bayfront inn will give you a warm welcome that’ll make even sunny Florida seem cold in comparison.
Last Stop: Daytona Beach, FL
You’ve finally made it to Daytona Beach! Make it all about the racing today (or don’t, and explore the surrounding area with the help of our article featuring the Top 9 Hot Spots around the Daytona International Speedway). Head straight on over to Daytona International Speedway. You’ve come such a long way, why not splurge for UNOH Fanzone Access? You’ll get the ultimate NASCAR fan experience! And don’t forget to support your favorite driver, Blake Koch, by stopping on by the LeafFilter booth at the track. We can’t wait to hear about your track-to-track road trip adventures!