As a serial traveler, I must say that the South is one of the most charming and picturesque regions I have visited. The warm hospitality of locals and the stunning landscapes make it an ideal destination for anyone looking to escape to southern charm and grace. And the food! Did I mention fried chicken, cole slaw, biscuits with honey, and corn on the cob? I’m in the South, just thinking about it.
You’ll have an even more charming experience when you visit during the fall season. The cooler temperatures offer a much-needed respite from the summer heat, while the vibrant colors of fall’s leaves create a backdrop for exploring the region’s captivating towns and cities. With an abundance of festivals, outdoor activities, and other exciting events, the South in the fall is an occasion you won’t want to miss.
Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big cities or the slower pace of the small towns, there’s something for everyone in the South.
1. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina, is a delightful city set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It uniquely blends natural beauty, cultural attractions, and southern hospitality. The city is known for its vibrant downtown area, home to shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
You can explore the city’s history at the Upcountry History Museum or stroll through Falls Park on the Reedy River. It features a beautiful waterfall and scenic walking trails. Greenville is also an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities in the surrounding mountains and rivers.
2. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee, is a vibrant city and an ideal destination for music lovers. Known as “Music City,” Nashville is the capital of country music and home to the celebrated Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame.
You can explore the city’s music scene by visiting the honky-tonks on Lower Broadway, where live music fills the air every night. Nashville also boasts a rich history, with attractions like the Belle Meade Plantation, the Hermitage (home of President Andrew Jackson), and the Johnny Cash Museum. Let’s not forget the delicious Southern cuisine that can be found everywhere, from “hot chicken” to barbecue; my favorite is catfish and hushpuppies.
3. Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida, is a lively city on the Sunshine State’s western coast. Known for its warm climate and sandy beaches, Tampa is ideal for soaking up the sun and enjoying the fall outdoors.
You can explore the city’s rich history at the Tampa Bay History Center or stroll through the historic Ybor City neighborhood, known for its Cuban heritage and buzzy nightlife.
Tampa is home to several world-class museums, including the Museum of Science and Industry and the Tampa Museum of Art. And, of course, no trip to Tampa would be complete without a visit to Busch Gardens — the city’s famous theme park and zoo.
Do you think Tampa might not have much fall color? In 2018, Tampa was named the top city in “Treepedia” among 26 other large cities worldwide.
4. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia, has rich history, art, music, and literature. It is known for its bustling downtown area, home to various attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
You can also explore the city’s food scene, which features a mix of traditional southern cuisine and international flavors. Atlanta is an outstanding destination for sports fans, with professional football, basketball, baseball, and hockey teams.
For those who love the outdoors, ATL is surrounded by gorgeous parks and hiking trails, including the famous Stone Mountain Park. Atlanta is known as the “City in a Forest” due to the large tree canopy covering almost 50 percent of the metropolitan area.
5. Dothan, Alabama
Dothan, Alabama, is a charming city nestled in the state’s southeastern corner. Known as the “Peanut Capital of the World,” Dothan is home to the National Peanut Festival, which celebrates the area’s rich agricultural heritage.
You can learn about the history of peanuts at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, which features a Peanut Pavilion. Try a stroll through the city’s verdant parks and gardens.
Dothan is a notable destination for museum buffs, with attractions like the Wiregrass Museum of Art and the Landmark Park. This living history museum showcases rural life in the South.
Something special about fall travel in the South draws visitors from all over the world. The cooler temperatures provide a much-needed break from the summer heat. The changing colors of the leaves create a picture-perfect backdrop for exploring the region’s charming towns and cities.
From sipping on sweet tea while rocking on a porch to wandering through historic neighborhoods, southern travel has a certain laid-back charm that can’t be found anywhere else. With festivals celebrating everything from peanuts to music to barbecue, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in the South during the fall season.For more information about southern fall travel destinations, visit Travel South USA.