Traveling in the USA offers a lot of choices. Some choose to focus on specific attractions, some on specific states, and others on specific areas. If you’re one of the latter and have decided to tackle the US South, we’re here to help. Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are the 21 best places to visit in the US South.

21 Best Places to Visit In The US South

1. Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Providence Canyon State Park is in the city of Lumpkin. It’s a great place for a day trip or even a weekend getaway. Some call this place “the Little Grand Canyon.” It spans an area of more than 1,000 acres. Here you can explore the rugged rock formations that make this park popular. Hike the favored White Blaze Canyon Loop Trail too. See the odd, abandoned homestead here that features almost a dozen rusting 1950s-era vehicles that remain there to avoid damaging the environment.

2. Charleston, South Carolina

Next on our list of best places to visit in the South is the city of Charleston. Noted for its noteworthy architecture and history, a visit here is like traveling backward in time. The city was founded in the 1600s.

Regular readers may recall that the highlights here include Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park near charming Charleston Harbor, and Fort Sumter (where the infamous Civil War began). If you’re in the mood for some fun in the sun, this beach-adjacent place also includes Folly Beach and the exceptional Isle of Palms. Enjoy a romantic dinner at the highly-rated restaurant, FIG.

3. South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island reportedly has some of Texas’ prettiest beaches. Situated on the Earth’s longest barrier island, this resort town also has a lot of exceptional seafood restaurants. Animal lovers can see birds, dolphins, and sea turtles too. After a day of fun and sun at the beach, dance the night away at Clayton’s Bar. It’s the biggest beach bar on the entire Texas coast. It’s a great place to party!

4. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville can be found on the edge of the great Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some say it is similar to Denver, Colorado in that it, too, is a place for outdoor adventures. Nestled near the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s a great spot for newly married couples who simply can’t decide on a romantic getaway in the city or the countryside. Its architecture, art scene, cafes, and other assorted eateries seemingly scream “city” but its white water rafting and high adventure hiking cry “country.”

5. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

If you prefer a smaller city with a small-town vibe, check out Eureka Springs. Listed on the official National Register of Historic Places and located in the awesome Ozark Mountains, this place is well-known for its impressive Victorian architecture. Explore the local hot springs, and drop by Lake Leatherwood City Park. Learn more about local history at the Eureka Springs Historical Museum too.

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

No list of best places to visit in the US South would be complete without this well-known city on the mighty Mississippi River. While travelers will find fine food, rich culture, and heaps of history all year long, the best time to visit is naturally during Mardi Gras, so you can get in on the fun and festivities. Regardless of when you visit, be sure to stroll down Bourbon Street, experience the French influence, enjoy City Park, and visit attractive New Orleans Jazz, one of Louisiana’s national parks too.

7. Savannah, Georgia


Savannah is perhaps most famous for being the home of one of the country’s best art colleges, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Situated on the coast of the rushing Savannah River, the city is also soaked with historical culture. Here you can discover historic cobblestone streets, great cafes, and pretty parks with beautiful fountains. Be sure to sample the fare at The Olde Pink House as well.

8. Somerset, Kentucky

Somerset has only 11,000 residents. Some travelers might overlook it on their way to the city of Lexington, but this small town in the US South is definitely worth a visit. Located close to lovely Lake Cumberland, it is home to several unique attractions. If you’re on a family trip, you simply must drop into SomerSplash Waterpark. There’s also the International Paranormal Museum and Research Center and the thirst-quenching Jarfly Brewing Company for adults!

9. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has a population of over 1.5 million. It is also one of the most prominent places in the US South. Here you can choose from a number of different coffee shops, exceptional restaurants, and historical sites.

Indeed, it is one of the South’s best cities in terms of both history and culture. The city is perhaps most famous for being the home of The Alamo. It’s one of the most popular historical spots in the city. Regular readers already know that you should be sure to take a stroll on the well-known River Walk.

10. Nashville, Tennessee

Welcome to Tennessee’s biggest city. It’s also a must-visit destination when visiting the US South. Undoubtedly most famous for its music venues and music-related attractions, it’s a common entry on many travel bucket lists. Highlights here include the Grand Ole Opry, the popular Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and even the photogenic Parthenon, which is surprisingly a replica of the famous Greek landmark.

11. Everglades National Park, Florida

If you have yet to see it, then it’s about time, isn’t it? The popular Everglades National Park in Homestead. This huge park covers much of the state and weighs in at nearly 1.5 million acres.

Here animal lovers can see a lot of local creatures from alligators to manatees. Many of the local denizens, such as the American crocodile and Florida panther, are endangered as well. To ensure your personal safety, sign up for a guided tour.

12. Upper Caney Creek Falls, Alabama

You will find the Alabama landmark known as Upper Caney Creek Falls not far from Double Springs. This waterfall is on our list of best places to visit in the US South because it is actually one of the top-rated waterfalls in Alabama. You will need to complete a hike in order to reach the waterfall, but it’s not too strenuous. More specifically, it is an in-and-out backtrail hike that is more than one mile long.

13. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is another top-rated national park in the US South. Nestled near the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the park includes part of the awesome Appalachian Trail and the stunning Skyline Drive. This scenic drive takes you through the very mountains and offers travelers some of the park’s best views. If you enjoy hiking, be sure to spend some time at Old Rag Mountain, where you can go enjoy a memorable hike as well.

14. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is steeped in history and comes complete with many things to see and do. Be sure to check out the famous World of Coca-Cola, the memorable museum dedicated to the top-selling soda of the same name. If you’re an aficionado of flora, stop in at the attractive Atlanta Botanical Garden, which spans nearly 30 acres. Traveling with the family? Stop at the Georgia Aquarium. Art lovers need to see the popular High Museum of Art.

15. Greenville, South Carolina

Your rovin’ writer once had a lady friend in Greenville, so he can attest to how warm and friendly the lovely locals can be. But seriously, folks, Greenville has a lot going for it. It’s a great little place for a southern getaway.

Not only is the downtown area charming, but there’s a lot of nature and a surprisingly enjoyable food scene as well. There are a number of different distinct restaurants where one can sample and savor delicious southern dishes. You will even find a wide variety of specialties here–from Asian to European.

Take in the memorable view of Falls Park on the rushing Reed River from Liberty Bridge. The park offers both beautiful gardens and hiking trails. Indeed, since Greenville is located on the verdant foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Upcountry, this is also a great place for nature lovers. Shut off your smartphone and enjoy nature!

16. Helen, Georgia

This little place in the mountains is also less than 65 miles from the local airport. It is arguably most famously known as “Georgia’s Little Bavaria.” Indeed, regular readers should already know that the city of Helen really has a German look and feel to it.

Notice the iconic Bavarian architecture. If you enjoy adult beverages, be sure to stop at the Habersham Winery. If outdoor attractions are your thing then be sure to take the time to explore the Chattahoochee National Forest.

17. Bay Of St. Louis, Mississippi

The Bay of St. Louis is actually both a city and a body of water. The best time to visit? Any time, because there are a number of things to do and see no matter when you decide to visit. Learn about folk art at the Alice Mosley Folk Art and Antique Museum. Dine at Sycamore House. It’s run by a married couple and offers guests some of the best eats in the city.

18. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you’ve never been there, it might surprise you to see Gatlinburg on this list. The truth is it’s a picturesque town nestled in the majestic mountains of Tennessee. Veteran visitors can confirm it is also a great place to use as your base camp when you’re serious about exploring the well-known Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

You should also be sure to see Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This huge aquarium is packed full of sea denizens. Enjoy some family-friendly outdoor fun at the award-winning theme park known as Anakeesta as well.

19. Bardstown, Kentucky

The little city of Bardstown has a population of roughly 13,000. Still, that is part of what makes the place one of America’s “most beautiful small towns/cities to visit.” Bardstown is perhaps most famous for its exceptional bourbon.

There’s more than one distillery here, so you will have your choice of which one to visit. Some travel writers suggest touring the Barton 1792 Distillery. While you’re focused on barroom beverages, why not check out the popular Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History too? It is there that you can learn a lot about whiskey. Be sure to tour the renowned Old Kentucky Home too which has been standing since the 1800s.

20. Oxford, Mississippi

The historic city of Oxford in Mississippi, not England, was founded in the 1800s. It is reportedly often slotted in higher than many top places to live thanks in part to the presence of Ole Miss, a.k.a. The University of Mississippi, it is an active college town. Here you can roam around an assortment of outdoor parks and great art galleries.

Highlights here include the well-known Rowan Oak and the Oxford Treehouse Gallery, Lamar Park, and Avent Park which features a cute castle-shaped playground for the kiddies. Have dinner at the Ajax Diner. Those who have been recommend the fried oyster po’boys with pimento cheese.

21. The Big Bend National Park, Texas

Last but certainly not least is the beautiful Big Bend National Park. This national park is perhaps one of the most extraordinary, best places to visit in the American South. Found in southwestern Texas, it is quite close to Study Butte and the mining district of Terlingua.

The closest big city is El Paso so many people visit via the El Paso International Airport. The top attraction at the park is the striking Santa Elena Canyon. Other must-see spots here are Boquillas Canyon, Emory Peak, and the Lost Mine Trail.

Those are our 21 best places to visit in the US South. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments section!


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