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Let’s take you on one of our favorite USA road trips from Raleigh to Memphis.

It combines two things we love: mountains and music. This is a Southeast road trip that incorporates beauty, soul, history and culture. The focus is on music and natural beauty, but you can add other things into this experience while in the various destinations, like beer food and small town historical charm.

Why this NC to TN road trip is worthwhile

Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, USA.

This East Coast road trip can really be taken at any time of the year – the Smoky Mountains offers four seasons of beauty, and the musical experiences are never cut off with the changing seasons.

Summer is a great time, obviously as you can enjoy the outdoors more, and you may be able to fit in a few outdoor concerts or festivals.

During the summer, it may be slightly cooler in the mountains for some relief, and you can swim in the lakes and rivers and hike in shady forests.

As half of this trip is in nature, you can travel quite cheaply by camping and staying in the Great Smoky National Park, which is the most visited in the country. There’ll be a lot of hiking, swimming, biking and scenic drives and you may even see black bears.

You can also take this Raleigh to Memphis road trip in any direction. Flip it if you need to and change it to suit your style and length of travel. We recommend at least one week, more realistically two if you want to take it slow and explore a little deeper.

Plan in advance so you fit in any special musical events you don’t want to miss.

This road trip idea is included this in our best road trips in the USA list.

Optional Beginning: World of Bluegrass Festival, Raleigh

Is there a better way to kick off a fun Mountains & Music road trip than at the largest urban bluegrass festival in the world, 

The annual Wide Open World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC closes out the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Week. It is one of the most fun and unique things to do in North Carolina.

The festival features the best performers and musicians in the national and international bluegrass scene each year. Streets are blocked off and you’ll find free music all over the city In addition to the main stage at the Red Hat Amphitheater.

The event also includes an amazing street festival complete with delicious food, a dance tent, a BBQ cook-off, an arts & crafts market and a many other activities for all ages.

If you want to incorporate this event into this mountains and music road trip from Raleigh to Memphis, you will have to plan around this event, which is typically held end Sept/start Oct every year.

The North Carolina Mountains area is to the west of the State near the Tennessee border. It’s the region nestled among the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains and are full of outdoor adventure, spectacular natural beauty, and cute small mountain towns.

We have more in-depth suggestions on top places to go in the North Carolina Mountains.

It really depends on how much time you have? We recommend the following: Lake Lure, Asheville, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you have more time then incorporate the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers 252 miles of sheer beauty, outdoor activities and cute mountain towns.