If you ask anyone who has traveled with me, you’ll quickly find out that I’m a planner.
You’ll also find out that my chosen means of transportation is by car. I just love the freedom of stopping at all those small-town gems that make America so great!
My husband and I have spent the majority of our married life traveling by car – whether it’s visiting friends in Florence, Alabama, family in Vevay, Indiana, or newlyweds in Jackson, Mississippi – you’ll find us on the road nearly 30 weekends out of the year.
I approach each road trip as a new adventure, making careful notes in my pocket journal with those small-town gems I MUST see on our trip.
If you’re planning a road trip from Birmingham, Alabama to Franklin, Tennessee this summer, here’s your guide to some of my favorite stops along the way! This is the first of a three-part series, so stay tuned for more guides from our staff.
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Route: Birmingham > Huntsville > Franklin
Total Drive Time: 4 Hours, 8 Minutes
8 AM: Breakfast at Big Bad Breakfast
Everyone knows you can’t take a proper road trip without fueling up on an excellent breakfast first! Begin your day at Big Bad Breakfast in Birmingham, Alabama.
If you haven’t had Big Bad Breakfast, you are indeed missing out! The restaurant serves up some of the finest breakfast (and lunch) sourced from local farmers, coffee roasters, and makers. This isn’t your average breakfast – it’s big and bad (but in a perfect way) and fantastic!
I’m a classic breakfast gal, so I recommend the Big Bad Breakfast Plate. But, if you’re looking to venture out of your comfort zone – try the Fried Oyster Scramble – you won’t be disappointed!
There are two locations – one in Birmingham and one in Homewood, so depending on where you begin your journey, your start time and location may vary.
Looking for breakfast on the lighter side? Church Street Coffee & Books offers quick coffee and pastries, while Farm Bowl + Juice Co. will get you started off on the right foot with nourishing juices and oatmeal bowls.
10:30 AM: U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Isn’t it every kid’s dream to be an astronaut? Who am I kidding? I’m pretty sure that’s every adult’s dream, too!
If you fall into this category, you have to stop by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Here, you (and your family) will get to experience what it’s really like to live and work in space! Now that’s what I call a vacation.
12 PM: Lunch at Ale’s Kitchen
One of my favorite Alabama exports is beer! If you’re the designated driver of this road trip, skip ahead to the next paragraph. If you’re just riding shotgun on this trip, then you must know – Straight to Ale is putting out some of my favorite beers right now.
Lucky for you, they serve them in their taproom and kitchen in Huntsville, Alabama!
Inside the Straight to Ale Campus No. 805., you’ll find Ale’s Kitchen, a restaurant serving gourmet burgers, wings, and other deliciousness. Did I mention they have poutine? Do I really need to continue?
1:30 PM: Stretch your legs at Monte Sano State Park
After that delicious meal and before piling back into the car for that last leg of your journey to Franklin, Tennessee, you’re going to need to stretch your legs! Head west from Hunstville to Monte Sano State Park, where you’ll find over 20 miles of trails and tons of scenic views.
Plan your hike based on how much time you have and your hiking ability. If time allows, check out the South Plateau Loop. It’s a 3.3-mile trail packed with scenic views and overlooks. It’s a mostly flat trail and is approachable for all skill levels.
3 PM: Get a taste of Franklin
Chances are you need a little caffeine to get you going after that long hike. On your way out of town, get a taste of Franklin (the best is yet to come!) at Honest Coffee Roasters.
Franklin’s Honest Coffee opened in the Factory at Franklin in 2014. They’ve since opened locations in both Huntsville and Nashville but always come back to their roots (and roastery) right here in Franklin, Tennessee.
5 PM: Dinner at Martin’s BBQ in Spring Hill
Is there really a better to Tennessee than with a giant plate of bar-b-que? Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint has opened its newest location in Spring Hill, Tennessee and we couldn’t be more excited!
The restaurant, which originates in Nolensville, Tennessee, has been recognized as a Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit and has graced the pages of GQ Magzine, among others. Believe the hype – their brisket is to die for!
7 PM: Arrive in Franklin, Tennessee
Welcome to #FranklinTN! It’s been a journey, hasn’t it? We know you’ve booked an amazing place to stay – whether it’s Drury Plaza Hotel or Pot N’ Kettle Cottages you’ll feel right at home.
Check-in to your new digs, settle in, and rest up. You’ve got a big weekend ahead of you! You’ve planned your weekend, right?
Where are you road-tripping from this summer? Let us know in the comments below, and we just might build an itinerary for you!