Planning Your Summer Vacation: Top 7 Destinations from Southern Literature
The South continues to be a region that inspires many authors. With so many picturesque places and interesting people, it is also one of the most popular regions in the United States to visit. Its unique history and culture have been preserved throughout the years by its people, and their stories have been told by many writers in many ways. But, to completely understand and fall in love with Southern culture, you will need to see it for yourself. After all, why miss out on a chance to be introduced to authentic cuisine, people and breathtaking views—all inspired by literature?
In this article, we bring you seven top destinations in the South that will enrich your life in so many ways. From cities in Arkansas and Louisiana to North Carolina and Florida, we’re taking you on a ride you will never forget.
St. James Parish, Louisiana
With just a little bit over 20,000 people living there, St. James Parish is the perfect place for those who wish to enjoy nature, while also getting to know the locals. The state of Louisiana is well known for its mesmerizing sugarcane farms, and this is the place where you can experience a day in a sugarcane farmer’s life learn more about the process. If you can, visit this area in October when the harvest season begins. Before booking your trip to St. James Parish, reading A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines will take you back in time and show you the hidden beauty of numerous sugarcane farms in Louisiana.
If you have read To Kill A Mockingbird, which takes place in Monroeville, Harper’s Lee hometown, this Alabama town should be on your bucket list. Many tourists are traveling to this small Southern city just to see the ‘’Mockingbird’’ play, famous courthouse and even sites for Truman Capote. Monroeville is very proud of its hometown writers and offers various activities for fans who wish to learn more about Mockingbird, Lee and the city itself.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is the perfect destination to escape busy schedules and traffic. After leaving the Fort Lauderdale airport parking area, you can enjoy miles of white sand beaches and a tropical lifestyle. As a popular tourist destination, Fort Lauderdale has more than 500 hotels and 4,000 restaurants. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the fact that this place gets 5,000 hours of sunshine per year. To fully enjoy Fort Lauderdale, read a book by Christine Kling called Surface Tension, which takes place in this sunny Florida city.
Charlotte, North Carolina
The most populous city in North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. With a completely different vibe from Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte is the destination for those who wish to better understand the business scene and learn more about the U.S. economy. Charlotte is also a popular millennial hub that attracts many young people wishing to build their careers. The city served as an inspiration for The Queen of Hearts written by Kimmery Martin. For visitors, the city has plenty of attractions and, to escape the fast-paced lifestyle of Charlotte, go for a day trip on the Catawba River.
This small town in Arkansas is known as one of the most unusual place names in the U.S. After all, it’s the only place that stamps “Stamps” on stamps. However, Stamps is mostly visited due to one person who was born there: Maya Angelou. The famous author wrote her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings there. While describing her early years, she uses motives from Stamps to express herself. If Arkansas is on your list, you shouldn’t miss reserving at least one day for this truly interesting Southern gem.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is the largest city in South Carolina and was voted the 13th best city for young people by Forbes. It has a great job market, but also an astonishing history. If you’re a fan of history, you can’t miss out on hearing the stories on how Cherokee land became Greenville County. Such a historical place filled with conflicts and powerful human stories is inspiring, even for modern writers to tell new, untold stories. The most well-known book inspired by this city is Bastard Out Of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. She captures the complexities and juxtapositions of this South Carolina city and visitors can experience these as well.
New Orleans, Louisiana
One of the larger cities on our list, New Orleans definitely has Southern charm. The first thing most people think of when talking about New Orleans is the Mississippi River, but this city has an amazing fusion of French, Spanish and African-American culture, making it one vibrant, multicultural city. Based on her love for New Orleans, Eudora Welty won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter. The book starts with the protagonist traveling to New Orleans, a city that has inspired numerous other writers, including Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Anne Rice.