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The Most Beautiful Vacation Spots in the American South

Are you hoping to travel with a big dose of Southern comfort? The South isn’t just a geographical location; it’s a unique way of life with its own cuisine, music and friendly folks to meet. It’s also a tourist hotspot right now, with cities like Tampa and Austin topping the travel list in the US. Great food, fantastic experiences and a lot more await you.

However, before hitting the road, make sure you have all you need for a safe and comfortable vacation. Check the weather at your destination and pack appropriate clothes. Furthermore, ensure you have your tech essentials with you to stay in touch with your loved ones.

After packing, check out this list of the 9 most beautiful vacation spots in the American South and pick your next adventure.

New Orleans

There’s nothing quite like New Orleans, Louisiana. Whether you’re down for a massive party like Mardi Gras or seeking some authentic Creole cooking, this is a can’t-miss Southern destination everyone should visit at least once. There are a ton of things to do, from exploring the old ties between the area and the voodoo religion to wandering through old cemeteries, taking a tour of the Garden District’s Victorian mansions or enjoying some jazz in the many famous local venues. Make sure you go hungry because the food is amazing in this culinary destination.

Hilton Head Island

If you’d rather skip urban environments and explore the wild outdoors, this is the place for you. There is a Disney resort here, but it’s the South Carolina beaches and water sports that draw most visitors. Make sure to stop somewhere with an outdoor patio to drink in the views and enjoy some lowcountry cuisine.


Downtown Atlanta skyline at dusk

Atlanta isn’t just the home of one of the busiest American airports, but also an economic beacon and thriving trade hub. However, if you’re interested in the wider antebellum South, there’s a lot to explore in the home of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind. Atlanta also has tons of iconic monuments from the Civil Rights Movement, especially focused on Martin Luther King Jr. With sports, music and even theater to add to the mix, it’s a colorful destination for history buffs and sports fans. There’s also the World of Coca-Cola to check out.


Photo by T.K. Mc from Flickr Creative Commons

Birmingham has surged as a travel destination, and today is iconically associated with Food and Wine Magazine, which should give you a good idea of the delicious treats awaiting you there. This Alabama city is a foodies’ paradise. Pair it with a few trips to the many local cocktail bars, and you will roll home happy. Just be sure to check out the arts and culture scene and take a trip through the beautiful botanical gardens there, too.


This South Carolina city is the perfect destination to head to brush up on your Civil War history. But if you’re not into that, there’s fantastic food, tons of local art and even some luxury designers for you to enjoy. Don’t miss Rainbow Row, the famous pastel-painted Georgian rowhouses, or exploring the fascinating and tragic history of the local plantations.


Seelbach Hotel by Trish Foxwell

Whether you go for the Kentucky Derby or to sample the best bourbon in the country, Louisville is a hot destination. Add one of the famous ‘hot brown sandwiches’ from the Brown Hotel to your list of must-eats. You can also use the Big Four Bridge to connect with Jeffersonville in Indiana if you feel like being in two states at once or visit The Seelbach Hotel to see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beginnings for The Great Gatsby.

Saint Simons Island

Instead of the bustle of Hilton Head, here you’ll find quaint charm and a relaxing, homey atmosphere. Saint Simons is great for golfers and those wanting to explore a tame, but gorgeous natural environment. It’s also a great home base for other day trips to the Georgia islands in the area.


Beer lovers, come home. Imagine 26 craft breweries (and counting) in one small North Carolina city, with another 60 in the surrounding area. You can explore the history of beer (or winemaking if that’s more your thing, accompanied by mountain views.

Mount Airy

This is one of the most beautiful natural areas of North Carolina to explore, made famous by the Andy Griffith Show. If you’re a fan, there’s a local museum dedicated to him. Oddly, the museum’s lower level is dedicated to America’s first Siamese Twins. If you’re not into the TV show, just enjoy the wineries and distilleries, including one operated and owned by a local monk.

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