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21 Best Places to Visit in the South, USA

Let’s be honest – there are tons of places to visit in the south of the United States, which makes it super hard to plan a trip because there are many places to choose from. Luckily, this post has got you covered.

This article includes all of the southern cities that you won’t want to miss, spread across various southern states. 

No matter what your interests are while traveling, you’ll truly get to experience the southern charm and, of course, southern hospitality in any of these fantastic places.

By visiting any of these places in the south, you’ll truly get to feel what the region is all about; trust me, it’s a lot more than barbecue! 

After all, these places are filled with fantastic things to do, see, and learn!

Mostly known for delicious food, the American Civil War in the 19th century, and the oldest cities in the US, let alone North America, the south is a unique region.

Whether you’re taking a southern road trip, going on a relaxing weekend getaway, or a romantic trip, you won’t regret visiting any of the southern states.

So, what are you waiting for? Start reading this article about places to visit in the south of the United States!

21 Fantastic Places to Visit in The South, USA

Here are our favorite places to visit in the South, USA, in no particular order.

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Providence Canyon State Park is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

One of the best places to visit in the South is Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin, Georgia. 

Not only is this fantastic outdoor location perfect for a weekend getaway in the south, but it’s also great for just a day trip.

In Providence Canyon State Park, visitors can go on hikes to explore the fantastic rock formations that make the park so famous, with the White Blaze Canyon Loop Trail being the most popular. 

Many people even refer to this as the Little Grand Canyon, so if that doesn’t sell you on the park’s beauty, I don’t know what will!

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
Charleston is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Next is one of the top southern cities, Charleston, South Carolina. You’ve probably already heard of it before, but it’s one of the great places to visit in the south because of its history and architecture. 

Visiting this southern city will genuinely make you feel like you’re stepping back in time, as it was founded in the seventeenth century.

Some of the top places to visit here include Fort Sumter (where the Civil War started) and Waterfront Park near Charleston Harbor. 

Don’t forget to stop by Rainbow Row to encounter some vivid colored houses that are architecturally breathtaking — some of the prettiest in South Carolina.

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

Known for having some of the prettiest sandy beaches in Texas, South Padre Island is a must-visit place in the south!

Located on the world’s longest barrier island, South Padre Island is a resort town with beautiful beaches, calm waters, and lots of excellent restaurants to savor local seafood.

Wildlife lovers will have a blast with the number of encounter opportunities here: birds, dolphins, and of course sea turtles are some of the animals in this region.

Still, if you want to dance the night away after a laid-back day on the beach, head over to Clayton’s Bar, the largest beach bar on the Texas coast.

It’s a fantastic place that keeps the party going all day long and well into the wee hours of the morning.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the most well-known places to visit in the south. This city is home to none other than the Blue Ridge Mountains that North Carolina is well known for. 

It’s almost like Denver, Colorado (an outdoor adventure city) but in the south! How amazing is that?

When visiting Asheville, you absolutely can’t miss out on seeing the Biltmore Estate, filled with historical art from renowned artists. 

You’ll also want to stop by the Downtown Art District, where you can find tons of great cafes, galleries, and more.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
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If you’re on the lookout for a smaller city on this list of places to visit in the south, you’re in luck. Eureka Springs is just what you’re looking for! 

This is one of the best places in the southeast, and it’s known for its incredible Victorian architecture, which you won’t want to miss out on.

The city is home to tons of great outdoor places to explore, including hot springs, and despite being a city, it has a bit of a small-town vibe. 

Stop by Lake Leatherwood City Park to get some fresh air and head to the Eureka Springs Historical Museum to learn more about the town’s history.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

This list of the best places to visit in the south would not be complete without mentioning New Orleans! 

It’s one of the most well-known southern cities for a reason. Located right on the Mississippi River, New Orleans is filled with delicious food, rich culture, and deep history.

The best time to visit New Orleans is during Mardi Gras, so you can join in on the festivities. If you can’t get there during Mardi Gras, though, don’t worry! 

You can still head to Bourbon Street and enjoy the French influence of New Orleans or head to City Park to get some fresh air.

Alternatively, you could visit New Orleans Jazz, one of the national parks in Louisiana, and learn more about this crucial cultural aspect of town.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Savannah, Georgia, may be most well known for being home to SCAD, one of the best art colleges in the United States, but it’s also one of the most terrific places to visit in the south. 

This city is right on the coast of the Savannah River and also has a historical culture.

Throughout Savannah, you’ll find tons of great cafes, a historic district with fun cobblestone streets, and amazing parks filled with beautiful fountains. 

Don’t forget to stop by The Olde Pink House for some of the best food you can find in the city before your weekend getaway in the south is over.

Somerset, Kentucky

Somerset, Kentucky is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Somerset, Kentucky may only have a population of 11,000, but it’s still a great destination in the south to visit.

The closest large city nearby is Lexington, so most people visit Somerset by flying there and driving to it.

This small town is right near Lake Cumberland and honestly has some pretty unique attractions, which is why people love to visit it. If you’re traveling with children, you won’t want to miss SomerSplash Waterpark. 

Adults will love visiting the International Paranormal Museum and Research Center and grabbing a drink at the Jarfly Brewing Company.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is one of the places to add to your USA bucket list
San Antonio is one of the places to add to your Southern USA bucket list

Everything is bigger in Texas, including its cities! With a population of 1.5 million, San Antonio is one of the more prominent places to visit in the south. 

But, with a big city comes even more great attractions, excellent restaurants, coffee shops, historical sites, and locals to mingle with.

Beyond that, San Antonio is one of the best cities in the south for history and culture!

The city is most well known for being home to The Alamo, one of the city’s popular historical spots. Don’t miss out on the River Walk for a great stroll, which goes right along the San Antonio River.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Tennessee’s biggest city, Nashville is one of the places in the south that should be on your must-visit list. 

It’s most well known for being home to some of the best music venues in the country, which is why it’s so commonly visited!

When visiting Nashville, definitely try to see a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. 

Stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to learn more about the genre’s history, and take some photos at the Parthenon, which is a replica of the landmark by the same name in Greece!

Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

If you’re looking to head to a national park, definitely consider checking out the Everglades National Park in Florida. 

It’s absolutely massive, covering most of the state of Florida at around 1.5 million acres. Most people don’t realize how large it is!

Throughout the park, you can find tons of wildlife, from alligators to manatees. 

A lot of the animals in the Everglades are also endangered. The best way to explore the park is by going on a tour with a guide to ensure safety.

Upper Caney Creek Falls, Alabama

Upper Caney Creek Falls, Alabama is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Upper Caney Creek Falls is a landmark in Alabama that’s not far from Double Springs. 

This waterfall is one of the top-rated ones in the state, and for a good reason, which is why it’s on this list of the most fabulous places to visit in the south.

To get to Upper Caney Creek Falls, you do have to go on a moderate hike. Don’t worry; it’s not too difficult! The hike is a little over a mile long, and it’s an out and back trail, so it’s hard to get lost. 

Along the promenade, you’ll walk through the forest until you get to the river to check out the waterfall.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Another one of the top national parks to visit in the south is Shenandoah National Park in Virginia! 

This park is right near the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and includes the breathtaking Skyline Drive. Plus, part of the Appalachian Trail is in the park.

As you may have guessed, one of the must-do things in Shenandoah National Park is to road trip on Skyline Drive. 

This highway goes right through the mountains and has some of the best views in the whole park. Another great spot to visit is Old Rag Mountain, where you can go on a great hike.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
Atlanta, Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Atlanta is one of the top places to visit in the south. Located in Georgia, this city is rich in history and is filled with great things to do. 

It’s also home to the World of Coca-Cola, the museum dedicated to the popular soda by the same name.

In Atlanta, be sure to stop by the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which covers about 30 acres of outdoor space filled with plants. 

Other fun attractions include the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Aquarium (a popular spot among families visiting Atlanta).

Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

With an incredible food scene, charming Downtown, and striking nature to discover, Greenville, South Carolina, is one of the most enjoyable places to visit in the south.

Start your southern getaway savoring delicious southern food in one of the countless restaurants in town.

Still, you can literally find all sorts of specialties, from European to Asian!

Then, stroll around Downtown while enjoying the local charm. Once on Liberty Bridge, take in the beautiful view of Falls Park on Reedy River, which has beautiful gardens and trails.

Nestled up against the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of South Carolina’s Upcountry, Greenville is a heaven for nature lovers. 

Here, you’ll find a number of places to disconnect from technology and get lost in nature. 

Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
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Helen is a small city in Georgia located in the mountains. Most people will fly into Atlanta to get to Helen because it’s the closest airport! 

Then, you have to drive about 65 miles to get to Helen from the airport.

Helen is most well known for being “Georgia’s Little Bavaria.” As the name suggests, the city feels like it belongs in Germany! 

There’s Bavarian architecture, outdoor attractions like the Chattahoochee National Forest, and the Habersham Winery (an absolute must-visit for adults visiting Helen). It’s truly an outdoor paradise.

Bay of St. Louis, Mississippi

Bay of St. Louis, Mississippi is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

The Bay of St. Louis is a body of water and city by the same name in Mississippi that absolutely should be on your radar for the best places to visit in the south. 

There are tons of great things to do here, no matter the time of year!

One of the top spots to visit is the Alice Mosley Folk Art and Antique Museum, where you can learn about folk art. 

There’s also the Sycamore House, one of the best places to eat in the Bay of St. Louis, which a husband and wife run.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Bet you didn’t expect to see Gatlinburg on this list of places to visit in the south! 

Gatlinburg is a beautiful town in the mountains of Tennessee that is also known as the perfect place to base yourself if you plan on exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

When visiting Gatlinburg, you absolutely can’t miss seeing Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, a massive aquarium felled with sea creatures. 

If you’re visiting with family and children, head to Anakeesta for some outdoor fun.

Bardstown, Kentucky

Bardstown, Kentucky is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
Ryan_hoel / Shutterstock.com

Bardstown is a small city in Kentucky with a population of around 13,000, but that’s what makes it such a great place to visit. 

Many people call it one of the most beautiful small towns/cities to visit in America, so it’s worth adding to your travel list.

This city is most well known for its great bourbon, so be sure to head to one of the distilleries, like the Barton 1792 Distillery, which offers tours. 

Visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History to learn more about Whiskey and stop by the Old Kentucky Home for a tour of a nineteenth-century estate.

Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA
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Oxford is a historic city in Mississippi that was first founded in the 19th century.

It’s a city that’s usually ranked above the top places to live in the country because it’s a heavy college town due to being home to Ole Miss!

The city is mainly filled with great galleries and outdoor parks that are worth exploring. 

Some of the top galleries include Rowan Oak and the Oxford Treehouse Gallery. 

Outdoor fans will love stopping by Avent Park (which has a castle-shaped playground for kids) and Lamar Park, which is beautiful in the fall.

Still, head over to Ajax Diner once you get hungry for its mouthwatering fried oyster po’boys with pimento cheese. Yum! 

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas is one of the best places to visit in the South, USA

Last but not least is Big Bend National Park, one of the most extraordinary places to visit in the south. 

This national park in Texas is in the southwest of the state and is closest to Terlingua and Study Butte. Most people will fly into El Paso International Airport since it’s the nearest big city.

In Big Bend National Park, the top place to visit is Santa Elena Canyon. 

Other unique can’t-miss spots include the Lost Mine Trail, Emory Peak, and Boquillas Canyon. No matter where you visit in Big Bend National Park, you honestly won’t be disappointed.

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