25 Finest Weekend Getaways within the South


Mark your map, pack your seersucker, and apply your “hey, y’alls.” It’s time to discover the South — a spot the place reside oaks meet Atlantic-washed shores, the place extraordinary caverns lie beneath the floor, the place blues and jazz golf equipment blare music ’til late, and the place a glass of bourbon is rarely too far off. We’re right here with 25 potential additions to your journey want listing — southern version — from limelight-loving cities to under-the-radar small cities. Listed here are 25 of one of the best weekend getaways within the South.

Associated: The 50 Finest Locations to Journey in 2023

1. Savannah, Georgia

With well-preserved structure and oaks dripping with Spanish moss, Savannah is straightforward to fall in love with. A highlight has been thrown on town’s eating scene in recent times; splashy new openings like The Gray and Widespread Thread have impressed diners with their Southern hospitality and memorable takes on Georgia-grown components.

2. Bowling Inexperienced, Kentucky

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For some folks, Bowling Inexperienced’s enchantment will be summed up in two phrases: vehicles and caves. On the Nationwide Corvette Museum, even non-auto geeks may drool on the mint-condition fashions and prototypes of America’s most well-known automobile. (Schedule an meeting plant tour if you wish to see these infants in manufacturing.) Then go from man-made magnificence to pure: Take the underground boat tour of the Misplaced River Cave, which has been a Native American looking floor, Jesse James’ hideaway, and, of all issues, a Nineteen Thirties nightclub all through its historical past. Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park isn’t too removed from right here for those who’re curious about shimmying down into the longest-known cave on the planet.

3. Chattanooga, Tennessee

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Chattanooga is having a second. The scenic riverside metropolis leaves a mark on guests with its mountain surroundings and booming downtown crammed with resorts, barbecue joints, and scorching spots like Simple Bistro & Bar, a French restaurant and uncooked bar that makes full use of Southern components (regulars love the charcuterie board). At Lookout Mountain, you’ll be able to behold an underground waterfall and check your nerves on one of many world’s steepest passenger railroads.

4. Wilmington, North Carolina

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Dawson’s Creek and different TV and movie productions might have put Wilmington on the map, however there’s a lot extra to this full of life riverfront metropolis than Hollywood ties. Stroll the Riverwalk to the skylit Previous Wilmington Metropolis Market and the rambling Cotton Trade, a purchasing and eating complicated unfold over a number of historic buildings. Get Airlie Gardens tickets prematurely to see 100,000 azalea timber and a reside oak relationship again to the 1500s. Wrightsville Seashore is 10 minutes away by automobile, and lots of different powdery island choices are only a bit additional. We advocate staying at Dreamers Welcome, a darling design-forward boutique resort and trip dwelling.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

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The town that gave beginning to jazz, Sazeracs, poker, and po’boys, New Orleans has by no means misplaced its groove. NOLA’s endurance will be attributed to its distinctive structure (a mixture of French, Spanish, and Caribbean influences), pleasure-seeking spirit, and reside music scene; between Tipitina’s, Preservation Corridor, Chickie Wah Wah, and numerous different jazz bars, you’ll be able to jam to reside units just about each evening of the yr. This is without doubt one of the world’s bonafide must-visit meals capitals — take in your Hurricanes with Creole gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, muffulettas, and purple beans and rice.

6. Natchez, Mississippi

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Natchez, Mississippi is filled with historical past. Spend time on the Natchez Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, a museum park with prehistoric Native American mounds. Riverboat playing and annual festivals celebrating literature, movie, and music are additionally massive attracts. The Natchez Hint — one of the crucial stunning locations within the nation — kicks off right here for its 444-mile journey to Nashville.

7. Asheville, North Carolina

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This bohemian small metropolis within the North Carolina mountains has been a favourite getaway for over a century. One of the best Asheville itinerary? Eat, hike, eat once more, store indie, drink a microbrew, repeat. Seasonal and sustainable fare is entrance and heart on native menus, with faves like Rhubarb, Sovereign Cures, and Cucina 24 taking advantage of the Appalachian bounty. To work off a meal (and construct your urge for food again up for the following), strive Craggy Pinnacle, a hike standard for the wonderful views from its summit, particularly when the mountains are ablaze with turning leaves in fall. 

8. Sizzling Springs, Arkansas

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You may suppose all the pieces you want to find out about Sizzling Springs is correct there within the title. Sure, you’re most likely right here to “take the waters” in Sizzling Springs Nationwide Park. But there are additionally loads of non-aquatic actions like mountaineering (together with the 26 miles of trails all through the nationwide park), exploring the beautiful Garvan Woodland Gardens, occurring a self-guided downtown Artwork Deco tour, and extra.

9. Charleston, South Carolina

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If Southern hospitality had an absolute epicenter, it’d be Charleston, South Carolina. The town is the true deal in a single walkable package deal, identified for candy-colored houses fronted by palmettos and luxurious gardens shaded by oaks. But town isn’t precisely frozen in time; Charleston’s culinary and purchasing scenes are very a lot of the right here and now, and there is at all times a brand new resort to take a look at.

10. Louisville, Kentucky

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In case you like baseball, bourbon, bluegrass, and sure, horses, Louisville is for you. Hop on the bourbon path at Stitzel-Weller Distillery, a historic distillery now providing tastings, mixology courses, and extra. Then commerce the malty aroma of native distilleries for the contemporary greenery of Central Park or the cool air of Louisville Mega Caverns, the place you’ll be able to go on an underground zip line 100 toes above the canyon flooring. Mattress down at museum resort 21c or the Grady Resort, a swanky new boutique resort in an 1883 constructing whose former tenants included the unique designer for Kentucky Derby hats.

11. Bryson Metropolis, North Carolina

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The city of Bryson Metropolis, North Carolina could also be small (inhabitants: 1,500), however it’s massive on outside enjoyable. Sitting simply south of Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, Bryson Metropolis is an enthralling little mountain hub for mountaineering (the nationwide park’s Deep Creek Path is a favourite), horseback using, zip lining, brewery-going, and scenic-steam-train-riding. A required cease is The Bistro on the Everett Resort, proper in town’s predominant sq.; the native trout desserts and meatloaf make a welcome meal after a giant day within the nice outside.

12. Nashville, Tennessee

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The Nashville renaissance exhibits no signal of slowing down. Neon-lit honky-tonks partying ’til the wee hours, nation superstars taking the Grand Ole Opry stage, a booming meals panorama encompassing all the pieces from carefully guarded hot-chicken recipes and venerable shrines to Southern cooking to James Beard Award-winning kitchens — Nashville’s star simply retains getting brighter. Drop your luggage on the newly revitalized Hermitage Resort and get on the dance flooring.

13. Saint Simons Island, Georgia

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Drive an hour and a half south of Savannah and you end up on Saint Simons Island, a part of Georgia’s Golden Isles chain. Mom nature runs the present right here, and it’s not at all times straightforward to inform the place the land ends and the water begins. Anticipate rivers and creeks surrounded by salt marsh, reside oak timber draped with moss (greatest seen at Avenue of the Oaks), and knockout seashores sweeping alongside the Atlantic. All that nature time will be peppered with (extraordinarily scenic) {golfing}, biking, fishing, and visiting a powerful slew of historic websites.

14. Amelia Island, Florida

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Welcome to the quieter aspect of Florida. This candy barrier island guarantees shimmering quartz seashores, towering sand dunes, peaceable bike paths, kayak-ready waterways, and a darling historic downtown space. Low-key and laid-back are a way of life right here, although issues choose up significantly in the course of the annual automobile present (March), shrimp competition (April-Could), and pétanque championship (November).

15. Roanoke, Virginia

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Tucked into Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke, also referred to as “Star Metropolis,” is well-known within the space for its small-town allure, Appalachian heritage, and beautiful mountain views. Mill Mountain Park is dwelling to a zoo, wildflower backyard, and mountaineering trails, and it is topped with a 100-foot steel-and-concrete mountaintop star, illuminated and visual for miles. From there, it’s simply three miles to the vintage vehicles and trains on the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Rockwells and Sargents on the (free!) Taubman Museum of Artwork.

16. Ocracoke, North Carolina

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Attending to Ocracoke requires a bit of labor. An island in North Carolina’s distant Outer Banks, Ocracoke is simply accessible by boat or ferry, however those that make the journey are rewarded with sugar-white sands and a bustling coastal village. This can be a true escape as almost the entire island is protected by the Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore.

17. Shenandoah Nationwide Park, Virginia

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Hikers, drivers, birders, backpackers, anglers, equestrians, astronomy lovers — there’s one thing for everybody at Shenandoah Nationwide Park. A part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the park options well-known Skyline Drive, a white-knuckle mountaintop ribbon of asphalt; wooded hollows; a whole lot of miles of mountaineering and horse-riding trails; and almost 100 mountain fishing streams. For epic stargazing, camp or keep on the lodges close to Massive Meadows.

18. Macon, Georgia

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The birthplace of Otis Redding and Little Richard, the adopted dwelling of the Allman Brothers, and the hometown of nation star Jason Aldean, Macon is a small city that’s made a giant dent in historical past — musical and in any other case. It’s dwelling to prehistoric Indigenous websites, hundreds of Nationwide Register-listed buildings, and the Tubman Museum honoring African American artwork and tradition. It’s not referred to as the “Competition Capital of Georgia” for nothing: Occasions celebrating music, movie, Indigenous tradition, sports activities, and extra dominate the Macon calendar.

19. Oxford, Mississippi

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Oxford is most well-known for being the house of William Faulkner. For many years, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner based mostly his life at Rowan Oak, an 1840s Greek Revival mansion. On a self-guided tour, you’ll be able to wander across the dwelling at your leisure, seeing his typewriter and the plot define for “A Fable” scribbled on the wall of his research. From the home, take the forested Bailey’s Woods path to the College of Mississippi Artwork Museum to see works by Georgia O’Keefe and Man Ray.

20. Orange Seashore, Alabama

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So far as Gulf seashore holidays go, Florida will get all of the love, however try this oft-overlooked neighboring city simply over the state line. Laid-back Orange Seashore gives the identical unbeatable sugar-soft shoreline, plus family-friendly amusement and water parks, dolphin cruises, nature trails, championship golf, fishing excursions, and free live shows.

21. Memphis, Tennessee

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In Memphis, the door is at all times open for barbecue lovers and music followers. The town’s Beale Avenue is a rowdy neon stream of flashing lights, club-hopping pedestrians (that is the one place within the state you’ll be able to stroll round together with your drink), and the yowls of electrical guitars pouring out of blues joints. Two important Memphis stops are Solar Information, the studio the place Elvis and Johnny Money recorded, and Graceland, Elvis’ personal mansion and frozen-in-time stronghold of midcentury kitsch.

22. Key West, Florida

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Brimming with “Floribbean” taste, Key West is so particular, it nearly doesn’t really feel actual. This coral island 100 miles from the mainland is a sun-soaked playground of tiki drinks, bike rides, Cuban sandwiches, key lime pies, and quirky Bahamian-inspired cottages. It’s the place Tennessee Williams mentioned he labored greatest, the place Ernest Hemingway got here from Paris to “dry out his bones” (after which remained for almost a decade), and from the place the primary worldwide passenger flight was made when Pan American Airways jetted seven riders to Havana in 1928. As we speak, the airline’s former headquarters is the form of easy-breezy restaurant and bar the place you might whereas away a day with fish tacos and a key lime margarita.

23. Washington, D.C.

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Monuments and museums (and for a number of fleeting weeks in spring, cherry blossoms) could also be what get you there, however when you see how wealthy D.C.’s cultural choices are, you may simply wish to prolong your keep. Walker-friendly neighborhoods like Georgetown and Dupont Circle, mountaineering and picnicking at Rock Creek Park, and a surprisingly hip nightlife and meals scene are simply a number of the surprises the city has up its sleeve.

24. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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From Gatlinburg’s distilleries and amusement parks to Nice Smoky Mountain Nationwide Park’s waterfalls and wildlife, this neck of the woods is a vacation spot with no equal. It makes a wonderful household getaway, filled with kid-friendly trails, park actions, and points of interest starting from the Ripley’s aquarium to the Mountain Farm Museum throughout the border in North Carolina that provides a glimpse into what mountain life was like a century in the past. 

25. Charleston, West Virginia

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The spirit of the Appalachian Mountains is robust in Charleston. This former frontier city and state capital has extra vacationers discovering its mountain charms. See what’s contemporary on the Capitol Market and fill your luggage with wine, cheese, and honey; chase all types of outside pursuits in Kanawha State Forest; and hit U.S. Route 60 for a corkscrew drive by jaw-dropping surroundings.