If you haven’t explored much of the American South, or have only hit the major cities, you’re missing a lot more than you think. The Southern states offer history, beautiful nature and hospitality, perfect for travelers looking for a relaxing, slow-paced break, especially during the chillier winter months.
Check out some of the best and lesser known cities of the South below, and pick one to enjoy by yourself or with your family this winter!
Panama City Beach, FL
Escape the winter blues and enjoy the family friendly beaches of Panama City Beach, Florida, without the noise and dense tourist crowds of other Florida destinations, like Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The city offers a warm, inviting coastline where you can swim with dolphins and go parasailing. Children will also have plenty to do here, as the local Shipwreck Island Waterpark and fun-filled Miracle Strip Amusement Park will keep them entertained for hours. Best of all, during the winter months you can get good deals on luxury hotels, or book one of the many modern, comfortable budget hotels in Panama City Beach.
Dunwoody is close to the city center of Georgia’s capital, Atlanta, but removed enough to offer visitors a quiet and affordable stay. This doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do; in fact, Dunwoody has a variety of great shopping options and plenty of award-winning restaurants, but less bustling crowds than Atlanta. Visit the capital when you want, and then retire to one of the many comfortable and affordable Dunwoody hotels.
Enjoy Kentucky’s beautiful natural parks near the charming town of Louisville. Outdoor enthusiasts will love this city, as they can explore the 6,000 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest or the Louisville Waterfront Park. Fans of Americana can easily spend a day at the local Louisville Slugger Museum, admiring the baseball memorabilia. In short, Louisville has something for everyone, and best of all, in the winter months even the best Louisville hotels have startlingly low prices. The Horseshoe Southern Indiana on the city outskirts offers a casino, gym and spa with rooms starting at $50 a night in winter.
Galveston is known for being a popular departure point for cruise ships, but it also has much more to offer visitors. Travelers who love the beach and the outdoors will find plenty enjoy here, as there are over 32 miles of beaches as well as the Moody Gardens, which host wildlife species ranging from monkeys and reptiles to marine animals. Galveston hotels are also great budget-friendly options for the whole family, so make sure to visit this Texas port city soon with your kids!
Probably the most well-known city on this list, Memphis has a top reputation among music lovers as the birthplace of Rock and Roll and the home of the Blues. Even with its stellar reputation, Memphis is still one of the most affordable cities of the US, and this means great deals on Memphis hotels. Visit this Tennessee town and stroll down Beale Street, with its lively bars and cafes, as well as the historic Orpheum Theater and the Rock n Soul Museum.
Photo by Tim Puckett.