When the temperatures drop and snow falls in the northern part of the United States, then it’s time to plan weekend getaways in the Deep South. This friendly region offers something for every traveler, whether your ideal trip involves being immersed in New Orleans’ nightlife or soaking in natural pools in Hot Springs, Arkansas. With warm weather and year-round sunshine, these charming Southern cities are the perfect solution to winter blues. Additionally, thanks to off-season pricing, it’s a breeze to find great deals on vacation rentals and popular attractions in the South.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
Rich in history and beauty, Charleston is one of South Carolina’s most fascinating cities. Take a ferry to Fort Sumter, the spot where the Civil War began, or learn about plantation life at Drayton Hall. If you’re interested in shopping, King Street is a must; stop to refuel at hot spots such as Husk and Poogan’s Porch. A short drive from downtown, Folly Beach welcomes visitors with white sand and surfer-friendly waves. When the sun goes down, head back to King Street for rooftop drinks at The Cocktail Club or live music at Prohibition.
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2. Nashville, Tennessee
Spend a winter weekend surrounded by country music in Nashville. Listen to up-and-coming performers at the Bluebird Cafe, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, and don’t miss the Grand Ole Opry. The city offers plenty of non-music attractions, as well; wander through a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park, explore the Nashville Zoo, or ride historic trains at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. The winter months are Nashville’s low season, so you can find a great bargain on downtown vacation rentals.
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3. New Orleans, Louisiana
For cold-dwelling northerners, lively New Orleans is a rush of color and warmth. During the day, make the most of the sunshine by exploring the magnolia-lined streets of the Garden District and the artistic tombs in the legendary Lafayette Cemetery. Get out into the Louisiana bayou on a swamp tour with Cajun Encounters, or see the historic buildings of the French Quarter roll by on a mule tour with Royal Carriages. After dark, New Orleans comes to life with live music and dancing along Bourbon Street; for a locals-only vibe, check out The Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street. Outside of Mardi Gras, you can find a slew of affordable rental properties in the city, many within walking distance of the French Quarter.
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4. Natchez, Mississippi
Step back in time in beautiful Natchez, a historic city that sits on a bluff next to the Mississippi River. The city overflows with significant historic sites, including the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, the Natchez National Historical Park, the African-American History and Culture Museum, and the octagonal Longwood, an unfinished antebellum mansion. After a day of exploring, relax on a jazz cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez or try a local muscadine at the Old South Winery. When you’re ready to get into the wilderness, hike the famous Natchez Trace Parkway.
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5. Biloxi, Mississippi
Perfect weather and warm waters await in Biloxi, a small seaside city on the Gulf of Mexico. Spend your days relaxing on Biloxi Beach or hiking through the coastal wilderness at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. When you need a break from the sun, head to the fantastic Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum or the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Of Art. After dark, the city’s waterfront casinos come to life; try the buffet at the beautiful Beau Rivage Casino, or try your luck on the tables at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi.
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6. Tybee Island, Georgia
Relax in the warm winter sunshine in Tybee Island, a laid-back beach community located a stone’s throw from Savannah. Head straight for South Beach, a favorite among visitors for its excellent surf and wide stretch of sand; the Tybee Pier offers excellent fishing. For a quiet day of sunbathing and swimming, rent a bike from Tim’s Bike and Beach Gear and pedal to peaceful Mid Beach. While you’re in town, check out historic Fort Screven or the beautiful Tybee Island Light Station. A plethora of budget-friendly vacation rentals in Tybee Island eases the stress on your wallet; most are a short walk from the beach.
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7. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Soak in geothermically heated pools in Hot Springs, a small town in the southern hills of Arkansas. Look for budget-friendly rental properties near Hot Springs National Park, a tiny, free park that houses 47 thermal springs. Experience an 1800s-era spa experience at Buckstaff Bathhouse or the Quapaw Baths and Spa on Bathhouse Row. When you’re feeling relaxed, head out on a fishing trip with River Rat Fishing Guide Services or hike into the hills on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail.
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8. Marietta, Georgia
Immerse yourself in Deep South history in Marietta, a beautiful Georgia town located a quick drive from Atlanta. Start at the Marietta Museum of History, which is located in a historic cotton warehouse. Walk in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and indulge your literary fancy at the Gone With the Wind Museum. If you’re visiting with the family, the water slides at Six Flags White Water are a must-do experience.
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9. Orange Beach, Alabama
Escape the winter chill in Orange Beach, a laid-back seaside town in Alabama. This family-friendly spot is packed with activities; hold a baby kangaroo at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, ride go-karts at Adventure Island, and watch live concerts at The Wharf. Enjoy the sunshine on Orange Beach, or find a private patch of sand on the two miles of beach at Gulf State Park. Don’t miss the Gulf State Park Pier, where you can rent fishing gear and cast directly into the ocean.
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