12 Must-Visit Cities in the Southern USA for a Memorable Vacation

The Southern USA is renowned for its incredible hospitality, beautiful regions, and fantastic cultural and historical experiences. In this article, you will discover the top 12 must-visit cities in the Southern USA for a memorable vacation. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or a beachgoer, the South has something to offer everyone. Let’s dive in and explore the best places to visit in the South!

1. Where are the best places to visit in the South?

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in the South. You can stroll through the city’s beautiful streets, visit world-class art museums, and take in the stunning architecture. The city’s historical charm is also worth a visit; Charleston played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, Charleston’s cuisine is a must-try, especially the local seafood, which is finger-licking good!

Savannah, Georgia

Voted one of the best cities in the South, Savannah is perfect for anyone who loves history, architecture, and a charming Southern atmosphere. The city’s cobblestone streets, mossy oak trees, and beautiful squares create a picturesque scene. Make sure to visit the historic district and the famous Bonaventure Cemetery during your stay in Savannah.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is truly a great place to visit. The city has everything from beautiful mountain views to sprawling bluegrass music scenes. During your stay in Asheville, you can take a hike along the Appalachian Mountains, stroll through the Biltmore Estate and the Museum of Art, or take a tour of the city’s breweries.

2. What are the top weekend getaways in the South?

Hot Springs, Arkansas

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway in the South, Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the perfect destination. You can take a dip in the healing thermal waters or go hiking in the nearby National Park. Additionally, the town has plenty of shops, restaurants, and museums worth exploring.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park boasts over 500 miles of hiking trails filled with stunning vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is home to an array of wildlife such as black bears, deer, and wild turkey, so keep your eyes peeled. The park also offers stunning waterfalls, and the beautiful sky line drive that runs 105 miles over the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains

3. What are the best cities to visit in the South?

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is worth a visit anytime. This southern city has it all. The vibrant city offers a variety of entertainment, events and lively dining experiences. Additionally, the city’s beautiful architecture is a photographer’s dream, dotted with hidden alleyways, colorful houses, and stately mansions.

Savannah, Georgia

The beautiful city of Savannah has long been a prominent tourist destination. The city’s beautiful squares and iconic architecture are just a couple of reasons to visit. In addition, the city has an excellent cuisine scene and beautiful green spaces, making it perfect for anyone who loves to explore.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a thriving and colorful mountain town located in western North Carolina. The city is easily one of the best places to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains plethora of outdoor adventures, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

4. What are the best National Parks to visit in the South?

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park offers some of the most stunning vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including hiking trails, more than 1000 species of plants, and an array of wildlife such as black bears, deer, and wild turkey.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is situated in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains. It is well-known for its stunning peaks, numerous waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and ancient forests.

5. What are the best Southern beaches to visit?

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is one of the best tourist destinations in the South. The Grand Strand features miles of pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, a myriad of entertainment options, and fantastic seafood dining, making it a top destination for lovers of sun, sand, and sea.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are gems of Alabama. Their sandy white beaches and clear emerald waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing. Additionally, the shore offers many water sports activities, incredible seafood restaurants, and a casual, laid-back Southern atmosphere.

6. What are the best state parks to visit in the South?

Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia

Tallulah Gorge State Park offers breathtaking gorge scenery and an impressive suspension bridge spanning 80 feet above the river. The park is excellent for hiking and outdoor adventures, as well as taking in the natural beauty of the South.

Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

Fall Creek Falls State Park offers guests a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking and horseback riding, fishing, and boating. The park is also known for its stunning waterfalls and lush forests, making it perfect for anyone who loves nature.

7. What are the best Southern cities for live music?

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is famously known as the Music City, and it’s the place to be if you love live music. The city has a rich and diverse music scene, offering up everything from country to rock and gospel. Make sure to visit the iconic “Grand Ole Opry” and the “Country Music Hall of Fame.”

New Orleans, Louisiana

No mention of Southern music is complete without discussing the birthplace of Jazz, the French Quarter in New Orleans. The city is also home to plenty of other music genres like R&B, Blues, and Funk. The city’s most famous street, Bourbon Street, is known for its lively music scene and party atmosphere.

8. What are the best hot springs to visit in the South?

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the Southeast, with over 40 hot springs and a historic bathhouse district. Visitors can relax in heated waters, explore the local wildlife, and go on guided tours of the park.

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Chena Hot Springs is an unparalleled natural hot spring resort in the Southern USA, offering guests the chance to bathe in hot mineral springs, view the Aurora Borealis, marvel at the Northern Lights, and enjoy dog sled tours, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.

9. What are some great day trips to take in the Southern USA?

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is a historic city with a charming atmosphere that’s easily accessible from Hilton Head, Savannah, and Charleston. The town has plenty of museums, art galleries, and antique shops worth exploring. Take a boat tour of the nearby islands or check out the Gullah culture by taking a guided tour.

Athens, Georgia

Athens is famous for being the home of the University of Georgia, but it also offers much more than just a college town. Visitors can experience Southern hospitality by exploring the city’s breweries, taking a self-guided art tour, or hiking in the nearby Chattahoochee National Forest.

10. What is the food scene like in the South?

Creole cuisine in New Orleans, Louisiana

From gumbo to jambalaya, New Orleans is a city of culinary delights. The iconic Creole cuisine, unique flavors, and distinctive ingredients make New Orleans a foodie paradise. Make sure to visit the famous Creole restaurants on Bourbon Street to experience the city’s culinary flavors.

Barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is the place to be if you’re looking for Southern barbecue. Visit the legendary Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, the iconic BBQ spot, Central BBQ or the BBQ Shop. Southern barbecue is a staple in Memphis, and visitors should try this local delicacy if they have the chance.

11. What are the best small towns to visit in the Southern USA?

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a vibrant mountain town with plenty of fun and entertainment options. The town is known for its thriving music scene, eclectic arts scene, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitors can explore the historic Biltmore Estate, hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or enjoy local craft breweries and restaurants in downtown Asheville.

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is a charming coastal town with a rich history and beautiful architecture. Known for its antebellum mansions, horse-drawn carriage rides, and waterfront views, Beaufort is a great place to relax and soak up the Southern charm. Visitors can also explore nearby Hunting Island State Park for outdoor activities such as hiking and beachcombing.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs is a quirky and charming town nestled in the Ozark Mountains. Known for its historic Victorian architecture, Eureka Springs boasts quaint shops, art galleries, and unique bed and breakfasts. Visitors can also explore the town’s natural beauty by hiking in nearby parks or taking a scenic drive.

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez is a small town with a long history and stunning architecture. Visitors can explore the town’s historic district, filled with antebellum homes and churches, as well as visit local museums and cultural attractions. Natchez is also home to several parks and outdoor recreational areas for hiking and boating.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is a beautiful, historic town known for its oak-lined streets, historic architecture, and Southern charm. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the town’s history and culture, stroll through the picturesque squares, or indulge in local cuisine and nightlife options. The nearby Tybee Island also offers outdoor recreational opportunities such as beachcombing and fishing.