Keen to travel around the US but want to do something a little different? If you've considered seeing the South, we've handpicked some of the best spots for you to visit to see everything these beautiful states have to offer.
Stop 1 - North Carolina
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, find everything from inspired cuisine and craft beer to outdoor adventure and cultural rewards in this city of 95,000. Channel Asheville’s history and creative vibe on a LaZoom comedy tour, then take to sidewalks that lead to galleries, cafés, bars, breweries, music venues and choice retail (not to miss: Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Asheville Bee Charmer and Mast General Store.
For an outdoor fix: Try a Namaste in Nature hike, a French Broad River adventure or a zipline tour. In nearby Brevard, the Cycling Capital of the South, embark on a bucket-list ride with Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures. Make your way to the area’s 250 waterfalls, and take the plunge at Sliding Rock, an 18-meter natural waterslide.
Where to eat: In Foodtopia, where creative culinarians and collaborative farmers come together, the answer is anywhere and everywhere. Rhubarb specializes in contemporary Appalachian cuisine of the highest order, and Benne on Eagle honours the region’s Black dining traditions. Fresh-from-the-farm ingredients harmonise with international interpretations at Cúrate bar de tapas; Chai Pani with its Indian street food; and Neng Jr.’s, a 17-seat sensation with a Filipinx lineage. Even the simplest pleasures are memorable: Try the biscuits with your choice of gravy at Biscuit Head. And for legendary North Carolina barbecue, Buxton Hall is hard to beat.
North Carolina’s largest city rises above expectations for an urban destination. Blending Southern charm and cosmopolitan amenities, it’s where Old South meets the New with rising towers that dance across an ever-changing skyline with ample space below for urban parks and artistic expression. In the heart of Uptown Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame connects the history of moonshine and motorsports amid displays of famous fast cars, an active pit crew challenge and a racing simulator. Art lovers can feast their eyes on public projects or check out collections at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture and the Mint Museum.
Where to eat: The Queen City’s dining scene has enjoyed a meteoric ascent in recent years. Chef-restaurateur Greg Collier and his wife Subrina have established a Black culinary epicentre with Leah & Louise, their modern juke joint, and October’s BayHaven Food & Wine Festival. Chefs Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown, contribute to the excitement with Supperland, which specializes in steaks and sides inside a former church, along with Haberdish, a milltown kitchen and craft cocktail bar, and other innovative spots. Add rooftop dining and drinks to the must-do list with Búho Bar, Merchant & Trade and Fahrenheit among the choices.
Stop 2 - West Virginia
Visit 'The Point' and gaze upon West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia from where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.
Stop by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitors Center to learn more about one of the most popular hiking trails in the world. Rafting and water sports are popular too.
Float, paddle and raft your way down the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. And while you’re on the water, cast a line and reel in a smallmouth bass, which are common in this area.
Stay at the Light Horse Inn––conveniently located in walking distance of the town of Harpers Ferry and its restaurants, attractions and shops. Built in the Crossroads of the Revolutionary War in the 1770s, the restored historic Light Horse Inn offers early American style.
Where to eat: The Rabbit Hole has a fresh, mouth-watering, health-focused food menu accommodating as many dietary preferences as possible. Kelley Farm Kitchen is a 100% vegan restaurant on the outskirts of Harpers Ferry that offers delicious bites. You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the dishes here.
River Gorge and National Park:
West Virginia has the highest density of Whitewater for rafting and kayaking. For Class IV and V rapids, look no further than the New and Gauley Rivers. During the summer months, the lower New River is the perfect place to beat the heat and get your fair share of adrenaline.
Bridge Walk has daily tours across the catwalk beneath the bridge, which take you 1.25 miles from one end to the other. The trip lasts 2 to 3 hours, meaning plenty of time to ask questions, snap photos and take in the beauty of the New River Gorge.
Where to eat: Try Pies and Pints for mouth-watering pizza creations, where pizza is topped high with gorgonzola and grapes, chicken and gouda, or classic pepperoni and sausage. The Southside Junction Tap House offers live music most, yummy bites and number of local craft brews on tap. Cathedral Café serves up hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner options in – you guessed it – an old cathedral!
Stop 3 - Tennessee
At Anakeesta, you'll find unique, authentic outdoor experiences among the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, the mountaintop park is especially great for families, with elements of adventure and relaxation offering a memorable experience in the Smoky Mountains. Admission to Anakeesta includes all-day park access and unlimited scenic rides via the Chondola or Ridge Rambler before arriving in Firefly Village, with quaint shopping, dining, and a whimsical mountain atmosphere. Immerse yourself in nature as you stroll along the 14 bridge Treetop Skywalk with over 880′ of connected bridges hanging 50-60′ in the air.
Take your visit to new heights atop AnaVista Tower, the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg. This one-of-a-kind observation tower provides guests with 360⁰ views of the Smoky Mountains. See peaks as far away as Kentucky and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and lush botanical Vista Gardens 60 feet below! Home to over 3,000 plants, flowers and sculptures and our “keeper of the forest” Willow, who stands more than 20′ tall.
Discover TreeVenture perched on the mountainside of Vista Gardens. Climb, crawl and slide your way through this interactive challenge course for all ages to enjoy. With meandering trails, waterfalls, and inspirational signage, Vista Gardens is a beautiful oasis among the mountains of East Tennessee, located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg.
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