The American South is part of the country in which some people live, but everyone should visit at least once. There is a particular laid-back manner that appeals to many individuals once they experience it for themselves. There are also many cultural opportunities, great food, and many charming cities where you’ll want to spend time getting to know the local customs.
We’ll list the Southern states that are the most fun to visit right now. If you have vacation time coming up late in 2021 or early next year, think about stopping by these options.
Before we launch into which Southern states to visit, we should mention that if you’re traveling by car, you should drive carefully. Getting in a car wreck in the South is no picnic, especially in a rural area where medical personnel might take a while to get to you. A car wreck’s physical effects can also put you on the shelf for weeks or months, so watch where you’re going and don’t let your smartphone or the radio distract you.
With our brief disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to our list. Louisiana is a great state to visit because of the milder weather that you see there for most of the year. It might get relatively cold in the winter, but it’s still nothing like what you’ll experience in the Northern, Midwest, or Northeast parts of the continental US.
If you visit Louisiana, you will probably want to save some time to visit the incredible, elaborate cemeteries. It might seem a little macabre, but Bayou residents have always had a fascination with death and the afterlife, and some of the cemeteries there are palatial in their dimensions.
You can rent a kayak and explore the bayous in one. You can also visit New Orleans, probably Louisiana’s most famous or infamous city. There, you can enjoy some crawfish or catfish and spend some time on Bourbon Street at one of the amazing jazz clubs. You might check out a Saints game if it’s a Sunday during football season, or perhaps you can plan your trip so that it coincides with Mardi Gras.
Georgia is another fun Southern state to visit. Atlanta is their main metropolis, and it has a lot to recommend it as well. You can visit the Atlanta Zoo, one of the largest in the country. It has many animal attractions that guests young and old will appreciate.
You can see an Atlanta Braves game, or maybe a Falcons game during the NFL season. If you get out of the city, it might also surprise you that while Georgia is relatively small compared to some other states, it has many geographic features that are well worth seeing. In Georgia, you can find deserts, mountains, coasts, and landscapes that are little short of cinematic.
You can take along a tent and some sleeping bags and plan where in Georgia to camp out. There are several campsites that should accommodate your group. There are canyons, waterfalls, and lakes where you can take a relaxing dip. Of course, if you don’t like roughing it all that much, you could just find a spa and have a facial and a manicure.
South Carolina features several small but quaint cities. Charleston is a popular choice, or you might head to Myrtle Beach. Charleston has some of the best BBQ you are likely to find anywhere in the South, and there are some phenomenal shopping opportunities if you’re looking for souvenirs. As for Myrtle Beach, it’s the spot for seafood, sailing, fishing, and golf.
South Carolina will tempt you with its 180 total miles of beaches. Those are perhaps the state’s real star, as you can spend days or weeks walking through the surf or collecting shells that the tides wash up. This was also pirate country once upon a time, so maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find a doubloon or two that washes up on the shore as well.
Many restaurants throughout South Carolina serve classic Southern food with a modern twist. You can enjoy trying the shrimp and grits at different eateries, but you’ll seldom find two that taste exactly the same.
Tennessee completes our list of Southern states to visit. The Smoky Mountains are one of the main attractions. They offer breathtaking views, and you can hike through them for many days, sometimes without seeing another living soul if you’re in a remote area. If you want some solitude, maybe that appeals to you.
You can also follow the winding Mississippi River, a waterway that inspired the American novelist Mark Twain. The river has created many mysterious caves and gushing waterfalls, so you’ll want to take plenty of pictures. Your visit should get you a lot of love on social media if you plan to post some of the better images you collect.
Nature is one of the state’s main appeals, and that part of it should captivate even the more cynical city dwellers who visit. However, there are also cities that offer some unique charms. Nashville is probably the best-known Tennessee city, and it has a lot to offer.
Country music lives there, and you’ll find many bars featuring live music every night of the week. On Friday and Saturday nights, though, the whole city seems to come alive. You can bar hop and listen to different live bands while sipping on authentic Southern cocktails.
Most people consider Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia to be parts of the American south as well. It could be that you want to swing through those to see what they have to offer.
Planning a long trip through America’s southern states can teach you a lot about this country’s history, as well as its present. You should come away with some pictures, souvenirs, and enough memories to last a lifetime. This might be your first visit, but it probably won’t end up being your last.