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Southeast U.S.

This Southeast USA travel guide has everything you need to know about Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Top Getaways in the Southeast U.S.

The southeast is known for Bluegrass, Jazz, and Country music, French and Cuban influences along the Gulf of Mexico, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Whisky and Bourbon, and iconic cities like Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.

Ready to plan your trip? Then here’s your ultimate Southeast USA travel guide!

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Cities to Visit

Highlands, North Carolina

Miami, Florida

Nashville, Tennessee

New Orleans, Louisiana

Orlando, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

St. Simons, Georgia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

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When To Go

Autumn

Fall is the best time to visit the Southeast. Temperatures and humidity are lower, there are no school breaks during these months, so crowds will be less, and the fiery-colored fall foliage will take your breath away.

The days will be mild, and you’ll want a layer for the mornings and evenings. If you’re in the mountains in late-October or November, you’ll need warmer layers for the whole day. This will still be swimsuit weather along the Gulf of Mexico or in Southern Florida, though the water will be cold.

The Great Smoky Mountains is one of the Best Destinations To Visit In October!
Winter

Winter isn’t the best time to visit the Southeast. The temperature will be cold enough (with high chances of rain, but rarely snow) to make you want to stay indoors. But outdoor activities are what the Southeast is known for.

The two exceptions for visiting the Southeast in the Winter are:

Skiing in the higher elevations of Virginia and West Virginia

Miami and the Florida Keys. Temperatures will still be pleasant (almost warm) here.

Miami is one of the Best Destinations To Visit In January and New Orleans is one of the Top Places To Visit In February!
Spring

This is a great season to visit because cultivated gardens and wildflowers will be in bloom, and lush foliage will have returned to the forests and National Parks. The weather can still be cold in the evenings and mornings in March and early April in the higher elevations, but for the most part, you’ll want shorts and short-sleeves during the day.

To steer clear of the increasing crowds, avoid popular Spring break weeks from mid-March to early April.

Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the Best Destinations To Visit In April!
Summer

Prepare yourself because Summer will be hot and humid, and you’ll need plenty of bug spray for the mosquitos. Because of school summer breaks, crowds will also be at their peak, especially at the beaches.

But don’t let this scare you away from visiting in the summer. This is also when some of the best festivals in the Southeast occur, such as the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Key West Pride, Bonnaroo, Charleston Carifest, and the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in North Carolina.

Nashville, Tennessee, is one of the Best Places To Visit In June!
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National & State Parks to Visit

Biscayne National Park in Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida

Everglades National Park in Florida

Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

Shenandoah National Park in Virginia

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The Most Scenic Drives

Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina

Highway 276 through Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina

Kentucky Bluegrass Backroads

Ozark National Forest on the Pig Trail Scenic Byway

Seaside Loop in Florida

The Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys

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Must-Do Excursions

Taste your way through the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Visit the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina

Swim in the Florida Keys

Take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River

Swim with manatees

Hike in the Smoky Mountains

Visit the Jack Daniels Distillery in Tennessee

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Southeast USA Travel Guide Books

florida and the souths best trips: south east usa travel guide

national geographic south east usa travel guide

south east usa travel guide: this is my south travel booklet

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Shop My Travel Essentials

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Local Foods To Try

Peach Cobbler

Fried Chicken

Shrimp and Grits

Fried Green Tomatoes

Low Country Boil

Chicken Fried Steak

Fried Catfish

Beignets

Gumbo

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Have you been to this region? Comment below with anything you’d add to this Southeast United States travel guide!

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Explore The U.S. By Region

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • Where should I vacation in the Southeast US?

    If you want large cities, I recommend Nashville, Miami, New Orleans, or Charleston. For national parks, head to The Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, or New River Gorge. If you want beaches, then I suggest the Florida Keys, Destin, or The Outer Banks. For food and culture, taste your way across the Monticello Wine Trail, drive the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and visit St. Simons Island.

  • What is the best Southern state to visit?

    Every state in the Southeast USA has incredible cities, national and state parks, and scenic drives. Florida is the most-visited state in the Southeast USA for beaches and amusement parks. Tennessee and North Carolina are the most-visited states for hiking and outdoor adventures.

    No matter what kind of trip you want to have, you can find the perfect destination in the Southeast USA!

  • Where should I travel in the South?

    Epic places to visit in the Southeast USA:

    1. The Great Smoky Mountains

    2. Miami

    3. New Orleans

    4. Savannah

    5. Charleston

    6. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    7. Dry Tortugas National Park

    8. The Monticello Wine Trail

    9. The Outer Banks

    10. The Florida Keys

  • Where should I go for a 3 day vacation?

    The best weekend getaways in the Southeast USA are:

    1. Georgia’s Golden Isles

    2. The Great Smoky Mountains

    3. Charleston, South Carolina

    4. Miami, Florida

    5. The Florida Keys

    6. New Orleans, Louisiana

    7. Destin, Florida

    8. Chattanooga, Tennessee

    9. Savannah, Georgia

    10. Highlands, North Carolina

  • Is a 3 day vacation worth it?

    Yes, getting away for a short trip is worth it! Short getaway vacations are good for your mental health and allow you to travel on a budget. It can be rewarding and exciting to explore destinations close to home for a couple of days. You could even have a staycation in your hometown if you want a break from work without having to pack a suitcase.

    Destinations in the Southeast USA that can be explored in a couple of days are:

    1. Savannah, Georgia

    2. Georgia’s Golden Isles

    3. The Great Smoky Mountains

    4. Nashville, Tennessee

    5. Asheville, North Carolina

    6. New Orleans, Louisiana

  • What are some good girl trips?

    The best girlfriend getaways in the Southeast USA are:

    1. Charleston, South Carolina

    2. Nashville, Tennessee

    3. Miami, Florida

    4. New Orleans, Louisiana

    5. Savannah, Georgia

  • Where can I go on a road trip in the South?

    The best road trips and scenic drives in the Southeast USA are:

    1. Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    2. Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina

    3. Highway 276 through Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina

    4. Ozark National Forest on the Pig Trail Scenic Byway

    5. Seaside Loop in Florida

    6. The Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys

  • What are cheap vacation ideas?

    Ways to travel the Southeast USA on a budget are:

    1. Tour your own city on a staycation

    2. Camp

    3. Go to off-the-beaten-path destinations

    4. Visit less popular beaches

    5. Stay with friends or family

    6. Book hotels with travel reward points

    7. Travel during the off-season

    8. Take a weekday trip

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This Southeast USA travel guide is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Some of the links in this Southeast USA travel guide are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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