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By Kim Merryman

With the Escape Campervans Orlando rental location opening up recently, I’ve been dreaming about all the places I could go road tripping in the South. The weather is warmer down there this time of year, and from Orlando, I could drive to so many destinations—Charleston, New Orleans, the Everglades, Savannah, Hilton Head, Atlanta. 

Another great thing about the South is all the great books that are set there. When I take a road trip, I love reading and listening to books set in the place or places I’m going. It makes me feel immersed in the book and like I’m more a part of the place itself. A historical story might give me a perspective about the culture. Sometimes, a book might give me an idea for a detour or a dish I need to seek out at a local restaurant. The books I read on my trips become part of the memories I create and stories I tell about a trip. 

If you’re dreaming of warmer weather too, book a campervan from the Orlando depot, then pick up or download a few of these road trip books to read on your drive through the South.

Book:Shadow Country

Some Modern Road Trip Books That Are Set In The South

“The Vanishing Half ” by Brit Bennett

Partially set in a fictional Louisiana town and New Orleans, this page-turning story of two sisters who part as teens and live separate lives—one as a black woman and one as a white woman—was selected as one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2020. 

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

This gorgeous novel tells the life story of a woman’s isolated life in the marshes of South Carolina and weaves in a murder mystery along with dreamy descriptions of the coastal landscape and southern food. 

“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd

A teen girl and her caregiver are given refuge in the South Carolina home of three beekeeping sisters in this novel that addresses racism in the South and feminine strength.

“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt

This non-fiction novel (based on true events but reads like fiction) set in Savannah, Georgia tells the story of an antique dealer on trial for murder and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 216 straight weeks.

“Shadow Country” by Peter Matthiessen

Next on my Southern reading list is this epic novel set in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands region that tells the story of an outlaw and sugar planter living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Book: Their Eye Were Watching God

A Few Classic Road Trip Books That Are Set in the South

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

In this witty and tragic Harlem Renaissance novel set in the Everglades and in Eatonville, Florida, heroine Janie Crawford tells her life story as an African-American woman in the early 20th century Deep South.

“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers

This beautiful novel set in the 1930s is about John Singer, a deaf man living in an unnamed southern town based on Columbus, Georgia, and the lonely people he interacts with there.

“Absalom, Absalom!” by William Faulkner

This dense novel is about three families in Mississippi in the American Civil War era. A road trip might be the perfect time to finally tackle a heavy Faulkner novel.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

You may have read this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in 1930s Alabama in high school, but it’s worth revisiting child protagonist Scout and this story about racial injustice, compassion, and empathy.

Plan Your Trip And Then Head South

Book a camper van for a road trip in the South from Escape’s Orlando Depot today! Then get to a bookstore and grab a few of these great books to enhance your trip.

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