Top 20 Memorial Day Weekend Destinations in the South

Wilmington, NC
Photo: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Memorial Day weekend is finally here, and Yelp has given us some inside scoop on the top destinations in the South. To compile this list, Yelp looked at cities in the South that saw the biggest spike in search traffic during Memorial Day Weekend in 2017. The list of the best places to go is truly top notch, as it includes some of our South's Best winners for best beaches, prettiest cities, and more. Yelp went above and beyond and even suggested things to see and do and places to eat in these amazing Southern cities and towns. Those businesses and sites are among the highest rated in each city in Yelp's database. So whether you're going to one of these destinations this year for the kick-off-to-summer weekend or you want to plan an anytime trip, these cities and businesses are the best of the best. According to Yelp's data, these are the most popular Southern places to go for Memorial Day weekend.

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1. Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland
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See: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum
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Learn about the history of Ocean City and the story of the “Storm Warriors” of the United States Life-Saving Service, predecessors of today’s Coast Guard, who stood watch to rescue sailors from ships wrecked offshore.

Do: Odyssea Water Sports
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Get active on the water and rent pontoon boats, jet skis, paddle boards, and kayaks from this family-owned business.

Eat: Hooked
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Yelpers love the crab dip, pesto fries, and French toast bread pudding at this local seafood spot.

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2. Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia
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See: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
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At the Arlington National Cemetery rests an unidentified World War I soldier whose tomb is guarded by United States Army members. Unknown soldiers from World War II, Korea, and Vietman are also honored at the memorial.

Do: Potomac Heritage Trail
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Discover the beauty of the Potomac Heritage train on foot, bicycle, horse, or boat.

Eat: The Liberty Tavern
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Yelpers rave about the fried chicken and Vermont pizza at this neighborhood restaurant and bar that’s been a local favorite for more than 10 years.

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3. Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida
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See: Castillo de San Marcos
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With a more than 340-year history, this former Spanish fort is one of the oldest structures in the United States.

Do: Oldest House Museum
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The oldest house in Florida, as well as its surrounding garden and towering old oak trees, serves as a museum and popular wedding venue.

Eat: Maple Street Biscuit Company
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Yelpers’ top choice is the The Squaking Goat, a fried chicken biscuit with fried goat cheese and house-made pepper jelly, as well as the sausage gravy at this local biscuit house that serves up Southern comfort.

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4. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
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See: Country Tonite Theatre
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This award-winning country music variety show goes way beyond singing and dancing.

Do: Dollywood
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Every Southern family should make a trip to Dollywood at least once. You’ll never run out of things to do at this incredible Smoky Mountain destination.

Eat: Local Goat
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According to Yelp reviewers, the Deep Fried Deviled Eggs, Cheese Fondue and BGT Burger with goat cheese, crispy onions, and bacon jam are worth an order at this restaurant and bar that prides itself on making everything from scratch.

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5. Galveston, Texas

Galveston, Texas
Wynn Myers

See: Moody Mansion
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This 1895 estate is 28,00 square feet and four stories of historical charm. Take a self-guided audio tour or a behind the scenes tour of the mansion.

Do: Baywatch Dolphin Tours
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See the real locals of Galveston on a 45-minute dolphin tour on the water.

Eat: Mosquito Café
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If you get brunch during your visit to Galveston, it needs to be at the Mosquito Café. The Mosquito Benedict and French Toast are most popular with Yelp reviewers.

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6. Asheville, North Carolina

Downtown Asheville, NC
Lissa Gotwals

See: The Biltmore Estate
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The largest privately owned house in the country and the original home of the Vanderbilt family, the Biltmore House and the entire Biltmore Estate are awe-inspiring.

Do: Blue Ridge Parkway
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Dubbed “America’s favorite drive,” Blue Ridge Parkway consists of more than 460 miles of views that cover mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and more.

Eat: HomeGrown
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This Asheville spot is all about sourcing its food locally, and Yelpers can’t get enough of the Cheesy Grits, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Redneck Pot Pie.

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7. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia
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See: Wormsloe Historic Site
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The gorgeous avenue of live oaks that leads up to this colonial estate is beautiful enough for its own visit, but the museum, complete with costumed interpreters, is educational and fun.

Do: Free Savannah Tours
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You won’t miss a single bit of Savannah’s rich history with this guided walking tour.

Eat: The Olde Pink House
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Get a taste of true lowcountry cuisine in a restored 18th century mansion. According to Yelp, the Crab Soup, Pork Shank, and BLT Salad are worth an order.

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8. Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida
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See: Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
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See tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, and more at this sanctuary for rescued endangered big cats.

Do: Beach Life Rentals
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However you want to explore Jacksonville Beach, whether on a beach bike, paddle board, kayak, or surfboard, Beach Life Rentals can make it happen.

Eat: Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
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At this local joint, you’ll find modern versions of Southern comfort classics. Yelpers favorites include the Blue Crab Perlot, the 24 Hour Brined Southern Fried ½ Chicken (ask for it hot), and fresh seafood picks like shrimp and fish.

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9. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas
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See: Art Museum of South Texas
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Check out modern art exhibits right on the waterfront.

Do: USS Lexington Museum
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This World War II aircraft carrier turned floating museum is full of educational exhibits, including a flight deck with 20 aircrafts, a flight simulator, and a 3D theater.

Eat: Black Diamond Oyster Bar
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Get your fill of fresh oysters, cold beer, and live music at this sunny spot. Yelp reviewers recommend the Flounder, Fried Shrimp, and Mahi Mahi with Lemon Butter Crab Sauce—yum!

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10. Panama City, Florida

Panama City, Florida
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See: St. Andrews State Park
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Swim, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, canoe, fish, hike, watch wildlife, or simply chill out on the white sands of this park.

Do: Lagoon Pontoons
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Lagoon Pontoons has more than pontoon rentals. Try out a double decker boat, a jet ski or boat dolphin tour, fishing boat rentals, sunset catamaran cruises, and more.

Eat: Hunt’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant
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Yelpers rave about the Grouper, Cheese Grits, and Crab Legs at this downhome seafood joint.

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11. Columbus, Georgia

Columbus, Georgia
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See: Chattahoochee Riverwalk
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This outdoor park stretches 15 miles along the Chattahoochee River. This is a great way to see the city and enjoy the outdoors.

Do: National Infantry Museum
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There’s so much to learn at this museum that’s dedicated to honoring the U.S. Army Infantrymen. Browse current exhibits, sit back in the Giant Screen Theater and even have a virtual reality experience in combat simulators.

Eat: 7th Street Provisions
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This restaurant is serving up French-inspired Southern dishes with a rotating menu that changes with the season’s fresh produce. If they’re on the menu when you visit, Yelp reviewers love the Mushroom Turnovers and Braised Lamb Shank.

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12. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
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See: Coastal Discovery Museum
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This isn’t your usual museum. With trails, gardens, a butterfly enclosure, historic homes, and more, there’s plenty to do other than look at indoor exhibits.

Do: Live Oac Outdoor Adventure Company
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Go on a dolphin tour, take a fishing trip on a chartered boat, or go tubing or boarding behind a boat. This company has whatever you need for any kind of boating trip.

Eat: A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant
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Sit back and relax with the comfort of a cozy lowcountry setting. Yelp reviews praise the Charleston Fried Green Tomato BLT, Potato Chip Meatloaf, and Banana Puddin’, which all sound right up our alley.

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13. Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, NC
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See: Airlie Gardens
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Airlie Gardens features 67 acres of walking paths, gardens, sculptures, and more. It’s the most beautiful way to spend a day.

Do: USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial
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Tour this World War II battleship turned museum for a historical day on the water.

Eat: Coppy Penny
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You can’t go wrong with this restaurant’s affordable menu of good eats, but Yelp reviewers can’t stop talking about the French Onion Soup, 109 Chestnut Chicken Sandwich, and Asian Slaw.

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14. Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida
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See: Keewaydin Island
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Pull up to this island on boat and enjoy a day at the beach. Don’t bother packing a picnic basket—food trucks’ water cousins, food boats, will come by.

Do: Collier-Seminole State Park
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Hike, bike, bird watch, kayak, boat, or stay and camp out for the night at this state park that’s over 7,000 acres.

Eat: 7th Avenue Social
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This restaurant works with local vendors and farmers to bring only the freshest food to the table. The menu changes with the times, but Yelpers have raved about the Conch Sliders, Short Rib Pot Roast, and Fried Green Tomatoes.

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15. Biloxi, Mississippi

Biloxi, Mississippi
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See: Biloxi Lighthouse
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This 1848 lighthouse is the city’s signature landmark. Take a guided tour or visit for a photo opp.

Do: Biloxi Shrimping Trip
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Learn about the shrimping industry and catch some Gulf Coast shrimp for yourself on this educational and interactive boat tour.

Eat: Patio 44
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Relax on the patio with creole-style cuisine fresh from the Gulf. Yelp reviewers love the Gouda Grits, Blue Crab Fondue, and Fried Green Tomatoes.

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16. New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas
Courtesy Gruene Historic District

See: Gruene Historic District
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This charming town, founded by German settlers, has tons of attractions to offer, including restaurants, stores, a winery, and adorable bed and breakfasts.

Do: Gruene Hall
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See a show and experience the outdoor garden at the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas. You’d be amazed at some of the big names that have played here.

Eat: Gristmill River Restaurant
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This local restaurant has been open since 1977 beneath the city’s iconic water tower. Enjoy live music and Yelp reviewer favorites like the Beef Tenderloin Sandwich and the Spinach Artichoke Dip.

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17. Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland
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See: William Paca House and Garden
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This estate dates back to the 1760s and belonged to one of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence. Take a tour of this incredibly restored house and its two-acre garden.

Do: Kayak Annapolis
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This isn’t just another kayak rental service. On this tour, you’ll hear the area’s history, too.

Eat: Iron Rooster
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If breakfast for dinner is your favorite, this local favorite serves up breakfast options all day, as well as lowcountry entrees and fresh seafood. Yelpers give the Waffle Burger, French Toast, and Crab Cakes (Cakes on Cakes) rave reviews.

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18. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
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See: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
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Founded in 1676, this historic plantation has a house tour, a nature train, a boat tour, and several other sites.

Do: Palmetto Carriage Works
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Take a tour of historic Charleston from a carriage with the oldest carriage company in town.

Eat: Poogan’s Porch
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Stop by this beautiful Charleston favorite for brunch or dinner. Yelpers’ favorites are Chef Isaac’s She Crab Soup, Pimiento Cheese Fritters, and Pulled Pork Benedict.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Cathedral with Sunset
Sean Pavone Photo/Getty Images

See: Old New Orleans Rum
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Tour this rum distillery that only uses locally source Louisiana sugar cane to produce its rum. There’s a complimentary shuttle to the distillery, and you’ll get a sample, too!

Do: Cajun Encounters Tour Company
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Tour the city of New Orleans, local plantations, or the swamps with this company that does it all.

Eat: Cochon
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You can find traditional creole flavor at this rustic spot. Yelp reviews can’t get enough of the Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise, the Pork Cheek Sauce Piquant with Hominy Grit Cake, and the Wood-Fired Oysters with Chili Garlic Butter.

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20. Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia
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See: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
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This incredible historic site features a house and plantation, a museum and research institute, a presidential library, and so much more. It’s a must-see if you’re in town.

Do: Wish Wish Wine Tours
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Tour several wineries and breweries in the Charlottesville area with a group big or small.

Eat: Oakhart Social
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This hip spot is dinner-only, so be sure to add it to your schedule. Yelpers can’t stop ordering the Shaved Salad, House Sausage Pizza, and Hanger Steak.

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