Five Delightful Southern Destinations You Have To Visit

The southern United States is unlike anywhere else you will ever go. Warm smiles and greetings, alongside the hot weather, and some of the most delicious grub you’ll ever find constitute the framework of this unique region.

The South is filled with many wonderful destinations, all of which have many fun activities, restaurants, beautiful architecture, and culture to partake in. So if you ever find yourself in the South, here are some destinations you absolutely must visit!

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans during Mardi Gras is a truly magical experience that I highly recommend if you’re visiting. While going back for Fat Tuesday is something that’s definitely on my agenda, the city is equally impressive every day of the year. As you wander through the city, you’ll get a sense of the unique culture and past of New Orleans.

Things to See and Do:

  • Visit the oldest cathedral on the continent, St. Louis Cathedral, erected in 1720!
  • Explore the Crown Jewel of New Orleans, the French Quarter. The city’s historic heart is known for its vibrant nightlife and colorful buildings. With the crowd-pleasing Bourbon Street, you can experience many cajun eats, bars, and jazz clubs.
  • Learn about the plantations of the area, the iconic symbol of the South. One option is Oak Valley Plantation, which is majestic and has been featured in many movies and music videos.
  • Take a bayou tour, kayaking through the swamps to see the landscape and ghost towns of the swamp. One of the many swamp tours you can take is with Wild Louisiana Tours.

Places to Eat:

  • Check out Napolean House for an amazing muffuletta and distinct atmosphere.
  • The birthplace of Bananas Fosters, Brennan’s.
  • You’ll surely find something to quench your hunger in the French Market.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte is known mostly as a banking and business town, but it’s comprised of gorgeous, historical neighborhoods, interesting museums, and awesome restaurants.

Things to See and Do:

  • Explore Downtown Charlotte with plenty of parks, restaurants, retail, and more. 
  • Visit museums in the area such as the Carolinas Aviation Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South, or the Nascar Hall of Fame.
  • Check out the other neighborhoods, too, and get a look at the charming aesthetic, such as the Victorians of the Fourth Ward.
  • If you get a chance to see the Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Hornets play, leap at that opportunity.

Places to Eat:

  • It would be remiss of me to not mention 5Church, an amazing, trendy restaurant that serves New American cuisine and has won Restaurant of the Year from Charlotte Magazine. Try their succulent Lamb Burger!
  • Sea Level tops the list of restaurants that serve seafood in Charlotte. Their unique dishes, such as their PO boys and shrimp steam buns, have won them many accolades.

Savannah, Georgia

One of the most picturesque cities in the South, Savannah is known for its historic architecture, cobblestoned squares, and oak trees covered in Spanish moss.

Things to See and Do:

  • Head over to Tybee Island for tons of history and beach vibes.
  • Exploring River Street is something you must do. It has a unique mix of new buildings and old warehouses, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs on the Savannah Waterfront.
  • Savannah is widely purported to be one of the most haunted cities in America, so go on a ghost tour or haunted pub crawl to learn more about its ghoulish history.

Places to Eat:

  • Go to Vic’s on the River for dinner with an insanely cool interior — a 19th-century warehouse.
  • Mrs. Wilkes has a classic family southern-style breakfast and lunch that permeates the atmosphere of the restaurant.
  • Leopold’s Ice Cream on Broughton St. is one of the best ice cream parlors I’ve ever been to.
  • For something more dark and cozy, go to Mata Hari’s speakeasy. Just know that they make it a challenge to gain entry; only a password will get you in.

Charleston, South Carolina

The perfect place for beach lovers, it seems as if the city never gets colder than 75℉. It’s a quaint city; packed with a ton of history and plenty of things to do.

Things to See and Do:

  • Visit Angel Oak Park, you’ll find a massive 1500-year-old oak tree, which is truly a sight to behold!
  • Explore the Cypress Gardens for 80 acres of blackwater bald cypress/tupelo swamp, with plenty of foot and boat trails.
  • Get a view of the ocean from White Point and take a gander at where many pirates were executed, including the infamous “Gentleman Pirate” Stede Bonnet.
  • The City Market is a must to walk through. Established in the 1790s, this historic market impressively stretches across four city blocks.

Places to Eat:

  • Callie’s Biscuits has some of the most scrumptious award-winning biscuits, grits, southern tea sandwiches, and locally-inspired dishes.
  • Charleston also has a 5Church, and this one is also a must because of the food and cool interior of a renovated church.
  • FIG has updated takes on many southern classics.

Cape Charles, Virginia

A very off-the-radar town, Cape Charles is a true delight to visit. With plenty of good eats, a charming southern aesthetic, a prime location on the beach, and plenty to do in the surrounding area. Cape Charles can easily contend with the bigger cities on this list.

Things to See and Do:

  • Check out the tiny, but cute and informative Cape Charles Museum. And next to the museum they have some train cars for the public to look at.
  • The Kiptopeke State Park is a nice area for camping, bird watching, swimming, and kayaking. If you go kayaking, definitely check out the Concrete Fleet, a group of derelict ships not far from shore.
  • A wonderful day trip when staying in the area is to drive an hour north to Assateague to see the wild ponies. You can even watch the annual Pony Swim, where the Saltwater Cowboys swim the pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.

Places to Eat:

  • Coastal Baking Co. is a charming bakery with some of the most delicious pastries and sweets. And their sandwiches and cajun-inspired cuisine is no joke, either! They won 3rd place for Best Bakery in the Virginia Living Museum.
  • Cape Charles has many restaurants for alcohol lovers — Busky Cider, Cape Charles Distillery, and the Cape Charles Brewing Co.

The South has a variety of scenic destinations, and these are just a drop in the bucket. If you’re traveling there are many more places and hidden gems to find in the South. But these five destinations definitely epitomize the beauty and culture of the South and should be added to your bucket list!   

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