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Lesser Known Southern Cities You Need to Explore

The American South is a place of tradition, great food, soulful music, and stunning pockets of natural beauty. From ocean side cities to rural country towns and almost-tropical destinations, the South offers visitors a lot of variety.

One of the best ways to enjoy the South is with a long road trip through cities that will show you all the different sides of this unique US destination. Visit some lesser known Southern cities and get a genuine taste of Southern culture this year!

Relax in the Sun at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, as its name suggests, attracts travelers and locals alike for its beautiful sandy beaches and coastal charm. It is a great spot for families especially, as children will love the Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Myrtle Waves Seasonal Water Park. During the day, tourists of all ages will enjoy strolling down Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, and at night, visitors can settle in for a cultural night at Broadway on the Beach. Myrtle Beach hotels start from $37 a night, and even more upscale spots like The Breakers Resort offers rooms at $50 a night, so this family spot is also budget-friendly.

Learn US History at Midland, Texas

Whether you want to explore the early years of a former US President at the George W. Bush Childhood Home, or sift through WWII artifacts at the American Airpower Heritage Museum, you will love the historical nature of Midland. This small Texas city attracts history buffs and fans of all things American, as between museum visits tourists can settle in for a classic, minor league baseball game at Security Bank Ballpark. Midland hotels are reasonable priced and kid-friendly, so book your Texas vacation her soon.

Beaches, Museums, and Gardens in St. Petersburg, Florida

Relax on the warm, sunny beaches of Florida in St. Petersburg, where you can combine seaside fun with glimpses of history and art. Fort de Soto Park and Egmont Key State Park both have gorgeous, white sand beaches along with historical forts; for some inland nature take a walk through the Sunken Gardens. Visitors may be surprised to discover a grand museum dedicated to Salvador Dali here, as well as an exceptional Museum of Fine Arts. St. Petersburg hotels range from affordable inns at $59 a night to luxury boutiques like the Hollander Boutique Hotel for $145.

Explore the Home of Rock and Roll in Memphis, Tennessee

Not only is Memphis one of the music capitals of the US and the birthplace of rock and roll, it is also one of the most affordable destinations in the US. Visit Elvis Presley’s former home Graceland, catch a live show at Beale Street Historic District, or learn about music history at the Rock N’ Soul Museum, while staying in one of the many budget Memphis hotels.

See the Kentucky Derby in Lexington

The “Horse Capital of the World” hosts the famous Kentucky Derby and is home to Kentucky Horse Park. Explore the city’s unique horse-related history here, and also stop by the Mary Todd Lincoln House and historic Ashland mansion. Lexington hotels may be slightly pricier on Derby dates, so make sure to book in advance if you’re in town for the event.

Photo by Steve Ellis.

Profile photo of Joanna Kalafatis

I'm an actress and travel blogger in Los Angeles. Activites: Writing, taking photos, traveling, exploring, getting in trouble. Addictions: music, coffee, Greece, road trips, the ocean, steaks. I have not yet heard of a single place in this world I didn't want to travel to and explore immediately.

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