The Southern United States is a blanket of beauty. There’s so much diversity in the great destinations to pick from. You can connect as a family on a budget-friendly small town weekend getaway or plan ahead for the ultimate thrills that the big cities offer. Whatever adventure your family wants to experiences, these are the 25 Best Southern Cities to visit in 2021 that’ll get the job done. So grab your planner and take notes, because your travel bucket list is about to get bigger.
Here’s what so great about the South: there are great places to visit scattered in-between the big cities. If you just go from Atlanta to Nashville, you’ll miss so many great places. The joys of traveling in the area are similar to Europe, it’s not too far to explore from city to city. I suggest mixing it up.
There are three ways to explore the South:
- Focus on one big city destination (like Orlando)
- Divide your travel with a focus on a big city, but add day trips to smaller nearby destinations
- Escape to one of the many small towns that the South is known for
Don’t assume that only the big southern cities to visit are the ones best for the kids. Some of my favorite outdoor adventures, foodie finds and educational stops are in the smaller cities. They offer plenty of hidden gems that even the kids will love.
That’s the beauty of traveling with kids too – they don’t know the difference between a big (and more expensive destination) and smaller one. All they know is whether or not they’re having fun.
How To Travel To These Southern Cities To Visit
You can easily travel via plane, boat, train, bus or car in the SouthEast U.S. Some of the options are going to cost less than others though. Plus, I really feel like there are better ways to travel as a family than other ways that might interest the solo traveler.
Traveling Via Plane
The biggest airport in the area is Atlanta International Airport, which is also known as the world’s busiest airport. It’s a great spot to catch connecting flights into the smaller cities, which should only be 1-2 hours away via flight. However, this is defiantly a pricier way to travel as a family. Waiting at airports can also waste valuable travel time too.
Traveling Via Car
Renting a vehicle or driving your own car is a budget-friendly way to travel. There are major highways that’ll make life easier (like I-75 running north and south or I-20 running East to West). Some of the coastal sightseeing destinations are located right off of the highways and you’ll see some beautiful views. This is our family’s preferred way to travel. Note: be sure to look up any tolls roads and keep extra cash on hand.
Traveling Via Boat
Whether it’s a river cruise along the Mississippi, or you’re bypassing traffic by taking a boat to the Florida Keys, the Southern waterways are a great way to travel. My kids love spending time on the water and with the South having almost year-round great weather, it’s a nice alternative to driving or flying. You can even plan your entire trip on the water.
Traveling Via Bus & Train
When you’re planning a vacation around these southern cities to visit, consider the most budget-friendly way to travel: by bus or train. If you don’t ming giving up some privacy and sharing a public space, these methods are reliable and cost-effective. So many travelers opt out or easily forget about these two, but you can save so much money this way.
The 25 Best Southern Cities To Visit As A Family
I’ve picked these destinations based off our family’s personal travel. We love these southern cities so much that we keep going back to several of them. Even our kids can’t stop talking about their favorites!