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Hey friend! I'm Jaden! Wife, photographer, mom of 2, Georgia Souther Grad! Waking up every morning living my best life, working on my dream, and meeting amazing people along the way!


Savannah Family Photographer | Road Trip 2023

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Last year over the 4th of July holiday Chris and I decided it would be a good idea to plan a trip to head out west to visit his family. We made these plans last summer because we were trying to decide if we wanted to rent the mountain cabin we like to stay in again or do something different. Once we decided we would do Texas my planning began!

Actually, first Chris let his family know we wanted to come visit – THEN my planning began lol

When I first started the planning process doing a road trip was on my mind, I’ve always wanted to drive coast to coast and where going to Texas isn’t coast to coast the route I’ve always considered taking crossed south Texas so this was the perfect trip to put at least 1/2 of that teenage/college dream to the test!

I did look up flights but Chris’ family is in Midland and the cost to fly 4 people out was WAY more than I wanted to shell out and let’s be honest, to distract me from planning this road trip style the tickets would have had to be so dirt cheap the airline would have basically been paying us to come aboard haha!!

Now you may or may not know, Chris is NOT a road trip kind of guy. So when I first floated this idea to him he thought I was crazy. He recognized I was not expecting him to ride with us – I approached it as a “you fly, we drive” deal. He still thought I was crazy though – me and two kids spending a week on the road driving to west Texas and a week driving back. I think to him that sounds like a nightmare – but to me, what an adventure.

Planning a Road Trip

The planning process for this trip wasn’t difficult. I had a window before we wanted to be in Midland, which was Mon-Sat, a number of days we would be in Midland (Sat-Wed), and the rest of the week/weekend to make it back to Savannah (Wed-Sat/Sun) and I had a few places I knew I wanted to visit.

I’d never been to New Orleans so that would be the first stop, I have friends in Houston and Austin so they were on the list, and I remember visiting San Antonio as a kid and thinking it was cool so I wanted to take the kids there as well. For the drive back east I wanted to visit Dallas, Vicksburg, Jackson, and Birmingham.

To plan my driving days/nights I got in touch with my friends in Houston and Austin with dates and invited myself to their homes, which they graciously agreed to! The planning process for the drive back didn’t go much further than me thinking about where I’d like to stop though – one of my good friends sent her save the dates out for her wedding and the date capped my trip.

For just a minute I considered flying instead of driving – now instead of taking Wed-Sat/Sun to get back I would have to be IN Charleston Friday evening. This meant I would have to drive the 18+ hours from Midland to Savannah (where my kids would be dropped at my parents) in 2.5 days. I decided the road trip would go on and that the kids and I would be able to make the trip back – I didn’t realize how great my kids would actually do!!

If you’re interested in more about the planning process, you can read more about the planning process for this trip by CLICKING HERE – and visiting my Planning a Road Trip to Texas post.

Day One | Savannah to New Orleans

We started our trip on a Monday around 5:30 am. I had the car loaded and ready to go so Chris and I slipped the sleeping kids in the car and I headed west. They slept for a few hours (we skipping the welcome to Florida stop) and woke up excited about being on a trip. We stopped at the state lines for bathroom breaks, lunch, and photos.

The drive to New Orleans took about 10.5 hours and the kids did great! When we got to town and checked into the hotel the first thing we did was find some good food! I was surprised Christopher tried all the things – he said the jambalaya was his favorite.

After eating dinner we walked around, saw a few of the sights, and got beignets from Cafe Du Monde. The kids loved those too – I think they likes being able to make a mess more than they liked the beignets though lol!

Day Two | New Orleans

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early so we headed out to Jimmy J’s Cafe. This was easily the best meal I ate on the whole trip!! If you are in the area this spot needs to go on your list.

Following breakfast we walked around The French Quarter, posing on some corners and walking down Bourbon Street. Christopher had questions about the foot massage places and constantly mentioned how it smelled funny. He wasn’t wrong but it was still fun to say we walked around the area and saw the sights.

We walked for a bit but the kids were getting whiny and I was getting hot – not a great combo…so we headed over to to Canal Street to catch the St. Charles street car. Originally I’d planned on doing a hop on hop off style day but we ended up just riding the line to the end then riding it back to Canal Street. I did a day pass online (they have an app) so it was an easy and cheap, I think maybe $5-6 for Christopher and I and Ada was free, activity that everyone enjoyed and gave us a breeze.

Once we were done with the street car ride both of the kids wanted a break so we headed back to the hotel for a little pool time. It was a cute little pool but like everything in New Orleans it smelled just a little bit funny…

After cooling off in the pool I decided it was time to go back out exploring so I got online and booked a tour of the St. Louis No. 1 cemetery. I believe it’s the only cemetery you have to book a tour for, our tour guide made it seem like the reason is because of some movie in the 70s decapitating the heads off the statues in the picture on the far right. We were allowed to take photos but video has been banned from this cemetery. The kids behaved during the 45 minute tour but they weren’t into it. I thought it was interesting so I’m glad I did it and made them suck it up.

Being in the heat worked up our appetites so we headed from the cemetery to Felix’s Bar for more chargrilled oysters and a “chicken finger” aka alligator sandwich. The oysters were good but that chunk of bread with all the butter and oyster drippings might have been better! That wrapped up our time in New Orleans – we spent one more night but got up early the next morning to head to Texas.

Day Three | New Orleans to Houston, Texas

Our first stop on the way to Texas was at the state line – the kids slept some during the drive which made it go by a lot faster. We did a quick stop for some photos and stretched our legs on the boardwalk behind the welcome center.

Our destination for Wednesday night was outside of Houston to visit my friends Eric and Randi. Way back in the day Eric and I were roommates on Washington Ave. We did a low key night with pizza and their pool, which was perfect to catch up and spend time together!

Day Four | San Antonio

Thursday morning we headed out to San Antonio. When I was little my mom and Grandma took my sister and I there on a road trip and I remember how cool it was so I wanted to take the kids. We stopped at the Alamo and then made our way to River Walk. Christopher liked riding the boat around the river and Ada liked all the ducks we saw.

Day Five – Six | Austin, Texas

San Antonio was a quick stop on the way to the Austin area where we were staying with some more friends. Over the next two days we spent time with them catching up, visiting Blue Hole, and relaxing.

Day Seven – Nine | Midland, Texas

Our end point on the drive to Texas was Midland, where Chris’ sister and her family live. Visiting with family, seeing the childhood home of George W. Bush, eating What-a-burger, and going to a baseball game were the highlights of our time there.

Family Photos in Texas

One of the best things I got to do while visiting friends and family were pictures! I loved being able to thank my friends for letting us stay with updated family photos, my friends in Austin haven’t been in front of my camera since they left Savannah in 2020. They were my first beach session way back in 2019 when I first decided to make my photography hobby a career!!

Day Ten | Midland to Birmingham, Alabama

We spent the 4th in Midland then headed back east. My original plan of taking Wed-Sat/Sun to get back was cut short by a wedding so the kids and I left before dawn Wednesday morning and headed east. We made it all the way from Midland to east of Birmingham on the first day of driving.

Day Eleven | Birmingham to Savannah to Charleston

Thursday morning we slept in just a little then hit the road again making it back to the Savannah area a little after 1pm where I dropped the kiddos with my parents and continued east to Charleston.

Day Twelve | Charleston

The best thing about making such good time Wednesday was being able to get to Charleston Thursday instead of Friday and inviting myself to spend the night with my friend Crystal and her family. I finally got to see her new house and we had an amazing lunch on Friday before I headed downtown.

Friday night Chris met up with me in Charleston for the wedding weekend, which started with a welcome party. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a grown up weekend where no one had any kids around but as much as I’d like to say we really tied one on we didn’t. We wrapped the night with Jeni’s ice cream and were probably in bed before 11. All the driving finally caught up with me.

Day Thirteen | Charleston Wedding

Saturday morning started with a sailing cruise with Blue Life Charters to celebrate our friend Josh’s birthday, followed by some pool time, and brunch. It was a nice relaxing day before the wedding. 

The wedding was perfect, even with the storm that rolled in right before the ceremony kicked off. I didn’t get a picture of Emily in her wedding dress because she got a little more than damp while saying I do but the pic we did snap after she changed was perfect!!

Day Fourteen | Charleston to Savannah

On Sunday we headed back to Savannah. Chris went and picked the kids up from my parents and I headed straight to our un-ac’d house. Of course the air went down while we were out of town so that was fun…

I’m so happy I could take the kids on this trip and spend so much time with so many people I miss and don’t get to see that often along the way!! I’m not sure where the next adventure will take us but I’m sure I’ll start planning something soon!!

Want more?

Interested in other adventures? Check out the following posts!

Road Trip 2020

Yellowstone National Park

Moab, Utah (Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park)

Cumberland Island Day Trip

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the senior cheatsheet
The only guide you need for senior pictures

follow me on instagram

Hey friend! I'm Jaden! Wife, photographer, mom of 2, Georgia Souther Grad! Waking up every morning living my best life, working on my dream, and meeting amazing people along the way!

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