Barbara Kennedy

Barbara Noe Kennedy
Education: UC Davis; University of Missouri School of Journalism
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Expertise: History, Culture, Food and Drink, Social Justice

Barbara Noe Kennedy has been freelancing ever since she lived in Bangkok, Thailand, where she wrote about horse racing, tin-smelting, and golfing for various regional magazines. She returned to the United States to pursue a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This launched her career at National Geographic, where she started as an intern and worked her way up to senior editor for National Geographic Travel Publishing. After 23 years, she left in 2015 to freelance, and she has been writing for National Geographic, Fodor's Travel, Lonely Planet, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, World War II magazine, and many more publications ever since.


  • 23 years as senior editor at National Geographic Travel Publishing, where she worked on travel books from ideation to release; wrote for the National Geographic Travel blog; and wrote chapters for various travel books
  • Author of "National Geographic's Guide to Provence & the Côte d'Azur" and "National Geographic's Walking Guide to Washington D.C." She also authored "Rail-Trails in the Mid-Atlantic" and "National Geographic's Guide to 100 Easy Hikes in the Washington, D.C. Area." She is currently working on a guide to 100 things to see and do in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Received coveted 2023 Lowell Thomas award for her story "Taking Stock in MacArthur's Legacy in Norfolk, Virginia"
  • Regular contributor to national travel publications including National Geographic, Fodor's Travel, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, BBC Travel, World War II magazine, and more.
  • Teaches several courses for Smithsonian Associations, including "A Virtual Tour of Paris" and "A Virtual Tour of the South of France."
  • Teaches "Travel Writing 101" and "The Pizzazz of Writing" for Women on Writing.


Barbara Noe Kennedy worked with National Geographic Travel Publishing for 23 years, during which time she oversaw the creation of books from start to finish. She also wrote for National Geographic, including books, articles, and blogs. In 2015, she left her longtime position to become a freelance travel writer.

Today she writes for a variety of publications, including National Geographic, BBC Travel, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TripSavvy, World War II magazine, Fodor's Travel, and Lonely Planet. She has written several books, including "National Geographic's Guide to Provence & the Côte d'Azur" and "National Geographic's Walking Guide to Washington, D.C."

She is also a popular lecturer with Smithsonian Associates, offering visual tours of some of her favorite places, including Paris and the South of France.


Barbara Noe Kennedy earned her BAs in International Relations and French from the University of California at Davis. During this time, she attended the Université of Bordeaux in an honors exchange program. After graduating, she spent a year in Bangkok, where she decided she wanted to pursue journalism. She went on to receive an MA from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

About Southern Living

Southern Living, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, celebrates the food, homes, places, and culture of the South. We reach 7.2 million readers a month. Our content is written by experienced journalists and fact checked for accuracy. Learn more about us and our editorial guidelines.

Latest from Barbara Kennedy