15 Southern Trips You Need To Plan Once It's Safe To Travel Again
We haven't been able to travel this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but we're constantly dreaming about future travels and the people we'll experience them with. Once it's safe to do so, we're setting our sights on lots of Southern locales. We can't wait to pack our bags and set off for new adventures in cities and small towns, mountains and beaches, rivers and deserts. Wanderlust is at an all time high, so there isn't a place we don't want to see once the pandemic ends and it's safe to travel. We've chosen a few favorites that are at the top of our lists. Take a look at these Southern locations and start daydreaming for trips to take in years to come. 'Tis the season to map out your travel calendar; here's where to go and what to do once we can all travel again.
Asheville, North Carolina
The South's hippest mountain town has big things to brag about. Arts centers, craft breweries, and a new food hall helmed by two James Beard nominees are just a few of the draws to this much-loved city.
For ardent Bulldogs and Southerners in the know, the allure of Athens might not be a secret. With an established indie rock scene (spearheaded decades ago by local bands B-52 and R.E.M), live music is a major draw for the college town. The draws of this town go beyond Athens' musical reputation, though, and include the city's creative culture as a whole, from its quirky shops to its thriving food scene.
Austin is the best of all worlds. With all of its city charm, it's also a great place for outdoor adventures, from walking in parks to kayaking the river to going for a dunk in a swimming hole. There's never a shortage of fun things to do in this capital city.
Blue Ridge Mountains
No Southern vacation spot is as popular as the Blue Ridge Mountains., and for good reason. We can't think of a better trip than driving down mountain roads through great small towns and past dramatic vistas.
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Not only was this white-sand gem recently flagged by Airbnb as one of the 20 hottest places to visit (along with only one other U.S. destination), Cape Canaveral is a space-centric city, home to the Kennedy Space Center, that's fun for the whole family to visit.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
This northwest Arkansas town is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and is filled with interesting attractions. There's striking architecture in the Historic District; Thorncrown Chapel, a beautiful church in the hills; plenty of places to hike and explore; and a downtown filled with shops and restaurants.
Florida's Forgotten Coast
Long weekends in this slice of paradise, including coastal favorites Cape San Blas, Apalachicola, and St. George Island, are easy and relaxing to plan. And, as always, the beaches here are as beautiful as ever.
Greenville, South Carolina
This charming South Carolina city is super walkable and has great parks, making it a dream for those who'd like to spend their vacation wandering sidewalks and exploring parks, like Falls Park on the Reedy, which surrounds the river.
Mississippi's capital city is a fun spot to visit, with plenty of great restaurants and museums to put on your agenda. Surrounding green spaces means you're never far from a place to walk and wander.
Louisville might play host to the state's most famous Derby, but Kentucky's other horse capital boasts some equestrian cred of its own. When you're in town, also be sure to hit a distillery (or two) and be thankful you don't have to go underground to do it.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy may have recently celebrated the big 300, but the city is showing no signs of slowing down. When it comes to the NOLA scene, you can't miss The Sazerac House, a museum dedicated to New Orleans' cocktail culture; the Louisiana Children's Museum; and the Riverboat Louis Armstrong, a 3,000-passenger behemoth on the Mississippi.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Much more than an urban job hub, OKC is developing a reputation as a must-visit vacation destination. That's thanks, in part, to a recent boom in the city's arts and culture offerings, which include two new green spaces/event venues and a brand-new Contemporary Arts Center.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
As the subject of a new podcast and a new TV series on Netflix, Dolly Parton's reign as the queen of, well, everything is going strong. Dollywood's largest expansion has come to completion. Dubbed Wildwood Grove, the $37 million addition includes a new roller coaster, swing ride, restaurant, and a trio of new costumed characters.
Shenandoah National Park
Virginia's Shenandoah National Park is a gorgeous spot to visit at any time of year. Ride along the ridges to see the lush green vistas during spring or summer, or plan a road trip through the park during autumn for fall foliage beyond compare.
The nation's capital is always abuzz with activity, so be sure to visit the museums that tell the stories behind it all. Exhibitions are always worth a visit, from the National Portrait Gallery to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.