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6 Epic Attractions in Southern USA

With 10 unique states across Southern USA, each providing diverse experiences in close proximity, you’ll have a tough time narrowing down your itinerary on your next trip.

We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled six must-see attractions, plus three bonus hotspots in each state.

1. Sweet Home Alabama

1. Sweet Home Alabama

Prepare to immerse yourself in the soul-stirring world of Alabama and experience history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes that range from sun-kissed beaches to majestic mountains. Tantalise your taste buds at locally owned restaurants where sizzling barbecue and succulent seafood straight from coastal fishing villages await. Experience the incredible U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, which offers interactive exhibits, space artifacts, and the renowned Space Camp. See where history, music, and adventure intertwine, creating an unforgettable experience that will leave you craving for more.

Bonus Attractions in Alabama

  • Alabama Civil Rights Trail: Trace the footsteps of legends in Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery. Experience the struggle against injustice and witness the lasting impact of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  • USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park: Witness the impressive A-12 Blackbird spy plane and B-52 Stratofortress "Calamity Jane," and delve into the submarine USS Drum and more.
  • Mount Cheaha: Experience the wonders of Mount Cheaha in Cheaha State Park, Alabama's highest point. With a rich history dating back to 1933, this picturesque destination offers a plethora of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, and camping.

2. New Orleans French Quarter

Louisiana is home to a variety of cultures that have each contributed to the state’s deep history. Also known as the Big Easy, New Orleans is a brilliant explosion of music, flavours, and cultures. The charming French Quarter is not to be missed. Start your day off with one of Cafe du Monde’s famous beignets (deep-fried pastry), stroll through the historic streets while jazz notes and the smell of Creole cuisine float through the air, and end your day listening to ghost stories as you finish up a cocktail crawl. Be sure to also check out Lafayette while in New Orleans - discover elegant architecture, picturesque streets, and a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment.

Bonus Attractions in Louisiana

  • Avery Island: the home of TABASCO
  • St Louis Cathedral: the USA’s oldest Catholic cathedral still in use
  • Shreveport-Bossier: Louisiana’s ‘other side’ featuring riverboat casinos and the Mudbug Madness Festival
2. New Orleans French Quarter
3. North Carolina

3. North Carolina

North Carolina is a captivating realm where the Eastern USA's tallest mountain peaks converge with a mesmerising 482-kilometre shoreline. This enchanting state boasts an abundance of natural wonders, including hundreds of majestic waterfalls, four national forests, and numerous lakes, rivers, and streams. Cruise along the renowned Blue Ridge Parkway, hailed as "America's Favorite Drive". Immerse yourself in vibrant cities, where you can indulge in mouthwatering barbeque, sip on locally crafted beer, and savour artisan spirits.

Bonus Attractions in North Carolina

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Discover the enchanting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a sprawling landscape of mist-clad peaks covering 111,693 hectares. Immerse yourself in the area's rich cultural history, explore charming towns, and embark on thrilling outdoor adventures like climbing, rafting, and camping.
  • Biltmore Estate: Get ready to be amazed by the colossal Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the USA. Spread across a vast 3,237-hectare expanse, this extraordinary estate boasts 250 rooms and a jaw-dropping façade that's hard to capture in a single frame.
  • Grandfather Mountain: Reaching a towering height of 1,828 metres, marvel at ancient rock formations and explore the diverse nature preserve, where bears, cougars, otters, and bald eagles thrive. Experience stunning panoramic views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge and embark on scenic hikes through alpine trails.

4. The Palmetto Paradise

Welcome to South Carolina, a captivating state that offers a delightful mix of history, natural beauty, and Southern charm. One of its top attractions is the enchanting Charleston Historic District. With its preserved architecture, charming streets, and waterfront views, this district takes you on a journey through time. Explore iconic landmarks like Rainbow Row, the Battery, and historic plantations, immersing yourself in the rich history and vibrant atmosphere.

Bonus Attractions in South Carolina

  • Myrtle Beach: Relax and bask in the sun on the beautiful shores of Myrtle Beach, with its pristine sandy beaches and lively boardwalk.
  • Hilton Head Island: Escape to the scenic Hilton Head Island and discover its pristine beaches. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming in crystal-clear waters, or engaging in exciting water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding.
  • Congaree National Park: Immerse yourself in nature at Congaree National Park, where you can hike through ancient forests, paddle along the Congaree River, and admire the majestic cypress trees.
4. The Palmetto Paradise
5. Kentucky Bourbon Trail

5. Kentucky Bourbon Trail

The state of Kentucky is world-famous for its bourbon distilleries, with the distinctive whiskey style getting its name from Kentucky’s Bourbon County. Louisville serves as the perfect trailhead for the renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail, offering whiskey enthusiasts a gateway to explore the rich heritage and distilleries of this iconic American spirit. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience takes you on an adventure to 18 distilleries across the state, giving you a firsthand look at the art of crafting “America’s Official Native Spirit”.

Bonus Attractions in Kentucky

  • Muhammad Ali Center: the award-winning museum in the birthplace of the boxing legend
  • Fried Chicken Trail: sink your teeth into fried chicken from the original KFC spot to soul food joints and fine dining restaurants
  • National Corvette Museum: learn all about the Kentucky-built car or take a lap in the hot seat

6. The Music City

Nashville in Tennessee offers an electrifying multigenre music scene, award-winning cuisine, captivating historic homes, world-class art, a myriad of attractions, eclectic shopping options, and the thrill of college and professional sports. Be sure to visit the Grand Ole Opry, a world-famous country music venue that has been in operation since 1925. Showcasing live performances by country music legends as well as contemporary artists, visitors can attend live shows, take backstage tours, and experience the vibrant energy of Nashville's music scene at this iconic venue.

Bonus Attractions in Nashville

  • Country Music Hall of Fame: Dive into the rich history and heritage of country music. Explore fascinating exhibits, discover iconic artifacts, and immerse yourself in the sounds and stories that have shaped this beloved genre.
  • The Parthenon: Experience a touch of ancient Greece in Nashville at The Parthenon. This full-scale replica of the famous Greek temple stands tall in Centennial Park, displaying stunning architecture and housing an art gallery featuring classical masterpieces.
  • Ryman Auditorium: Step into the hallowed halls of Ryman Auditorium, renowned as the "Mother Church of Country Music." This historic venue has hosted legendary performers and continues to showcase world-class music acts, offering an unforgettable live music experience in the heart of Nashville.
6. The Music City

Travelex Top Tips

Now that you’ve decided where you want to go, it’s time to start preparing for your trip. You can learn more about travelling to the US, converting currency, and more in our USA Travel Money Guide.

With Travelex, it’s even easier to get organised. You can buy your US Dollars online and collect them at your nearest Travelex store or at your local Australia Post office before you leave. Load US dollars directly onto your Travelex Money Card online or via our app for our very best rates.



Images supplied by Travel South USA