Guest Post By Frankie Girl
Travelers to the southern states of the United States tend to flock to the big names like New Orleans, Nashville, Savannah and Charleston. These gorgeous, atmospheric cities are understandably popular, but the South is much more than its most famous attractions, and rewards a deeper exploration.
While a trip to Tallahassee or Tampa will be great, heading off the beaten path a little lets you discover an entire world of history, culture and gorgeous scenery, away from the tourist crowds. These are five of the best under-the-radar spots the South has to offer.
While New Orleans takes the credit with its huge celebrations, the true home of the Mardi Gras carnival is Mobile, Alabama. This delightful little Gulf town, founded in 1702, boasts the exceptional Mobile Carnival Museum, which is well worth spending an afternoon exploring.
The town itself is exquisite, with magnificent architecture including a beautiful selection of Queen Anne buildings and cast iron balconies. A genteel, relaxed little gem, perfect for exploring by foot.
Natchez is the epitome of Southern romance. One of the oldest and most historic towns on the Mississippi, it is everything you imagine the South to be, from live oaks draped in Spanish moss to atmospheric cemeteries, with plenty of mint juleps thrown in for good measure.
The town has some excellent museums, and more active travelers will love hiking the Natchez Trace which once connected this colonial cotton town with Nashville.
If you fancy a more alternative, eclectic experience, head to the buzzing college town of Athens, Georgia. Birthplace of R.E.M. and the B-52s, Athens has a vibrant, edgy personality, and is full of quirky boutiques, eclectic art, and superb live music venues.
Stroll around the picturesque downtown and explore the array of trendy bars (the Normal Bar is a local favorite), or catch a gig at the Georgia Theater, a true Athens icon.
Constantly overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Nashville, Chattanooga deserves to be seen as more than the home of the famous ‘choo choo’, and as an exceptional cultural destination in its own right.
It is a must-visit town for art lovers, bursting with small independent galleries like Gallery 1401, larger institutions like the Hunter Museum of American Art, and wonderful outdoor sculpture parks like the Main Terrain Art Park.
Lake Pontchartrain, LA
If you are near New Orleans, take a cruise across Louisiana’s amazing Lake Pontchartrain. In reality an estuary, not a lake, but however you describe it, it is a pretty impressive sight, and the proud holder of the Guiness World Record for the longest continuous bridge over water.
Driving across this remarkable feat of engineering is quite the journey, and motorists have been known to freeze with anxiety as they drive the 8-mile midsection where you lose sight of land. It is a great destination for nature lovers, home to all manner of bird, fish and animal species, and outdoor adventurers can get their kicks swimming, fishing, boating and sailing too.
About The Author
Frankie runs A Popsicle Stand- a lifestyle blog with a focus on travel, fashion and other lifestyle tid bits.