This time of year, Southern interstates are a sea of Northern license plates.


Tis the season of "you guys"—winter in the South—when we see lots of visitors from Up North as our snowbound brothers and sisters flee the chill. Especially in the Deep South and Coastal South, we expect company this time of year. And we don't blame them one bit for coming.

If you shoveled snow this morning, we think you should probably load up the SUV and head South. Here's why:

  1. Because there's this wonderful place called "Florida."
  2. And there's another wonderful place called "New Orleans." Can you say Mardi Gras, cher?
  3. Better to jump a wave than scale a drift.
  4. The only blizzards here are at the Dairy Queen. (Well, this year there was also one in Savannah, but that was a fluke.)
  5. The South in winter is a great place to escape your chilly reality—with a side of grits.
  6. Magnolias and azaleas will be here before you know it; while we wait, let's fry something.
  7. We don't have to pack our summer clothes away—we just shove them to the back of the closet for a couple of months.
  8. All your neighbors are heading down, and you don't want to be the only one freezing while they're lounging by the pool.
  9. It's easier to deal with big hair from humidity than big hair from static electricity.
  10. You can trot out that old "it's still a little chilly to get in the water" excuse and have the best of both worlds: sunny getaways at the beach without the bother of squeezing Thanksgiving and Christmas into Lycra.
  11. Everybody should experience the South's reverse climate: In the summertime, we crank up the AC to 20 below so we have to sleep under blankets; in the wintertime, we crank up the heat so it's hot enough to grow tomatoes in the family room.
  12. After all that turkey and dressing, it's time for some barbecue.
  13. After all that turkey and dressing, it's time for some pot likker and cornbread.
  14. After all that turkey and dressing, it's time for chicken and dumplings.
  15. Dolly Parton lives here. Isn't that reason enough to come?
  16. You could be tugging on your winter boots to clear the driveway . . . or sliding on your flipflops to hit all those outlet malls on the coast.
  17. Everybody should see what a National Championship college football team looks like up close. (We say that with love in our hearts.)

Here's a car game for the kiddos—and the adults. Figure out how to pronounce "Kissimmee" before you cross that Florida line on your way to Disney World.