I grew up in the Midwest surrounded by farm land. While it was a great place to grow up, admittedly the nearby cities did not contain very distinct character. Midwestern cities are great in their own right; Chicago is one of my favorite weekend trips since it is home of many of my college friends. However, moving to Florida opened my eyes to an entirely different type of weekend getaway. The charm and unique character of these mid-size southern cities stole my heart. Today I’m rounding up 5 of my favorite southern cities worthy of a weekend get-away.
As I have previously mentioned, we got married in Savannah so it holds a special place in my heart. Completely walk-able, full of beautiful oak trees dripping in Spanish Moss, southern hospitality and a historic past, Savannah is an ideal weekend getaway. My first visit was over the 4th of July, and it was sure hot but it left a lasting impression that has us coming back time and again. April is a great month to visit to avoid the sweltering heat of summer and see the spring flowers in full bloom. For more on Savannah, check out my post on 13 Reasons You Should Visit.
Charleston, South Carolina
Another charming southern city just a couple hours north of Savannah is Charleston, South Carolina. Quickly becoming well known for its restaurant scene, we spent a wonderful weekend walking and exploring the old mansions with their sprawling porches, enjoying the waterfront park and the battery, and eating at some incredible restaurants. The weather was picture perfect in February. For more on Charleston, check out First Timer’s Guide to Charleston South Carolina.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy is known for beignets, jazz music, the French Quarter and their famous seafood cuisine. We spent a long weekend in New Orleans in early December enjoyed a guide led bike tour, wandered through Jackson Square and the French Quarter, attended a lively Christmas parade, took the St Charles Streetcar to explore the Garden District and enjoyed a nightcap in a jazz club on Frenchman Street. Don’t miss this unique city that so beautifully fuses French, Spanish, African and American cultures.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville wasn’t even on my radar for the first few years living in Florida. My first trip was for a friend’s Bachelorette party, and I immediately knew I would be back with Dan to explore some more. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West North Carolina, Asheville is artsy and eclectic. Also referred to as ‘beer city’, it has the most breweries per capita in the US. We love to spend the day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at the scenic overlooks or enjoying some hiking, then head back downtown for the great food and craft beer. Also home to the Biltmore, Asheville is a great place to visit in the summer as the higher altitude keeps the temperatures moderate.
Music City rounds out the list of my top 5 southern cities. I first visited for my bachelorette party then recently returned to watch Dan and my brother run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. You can stumble upon great music talent in nearly every honky-tonk along Broadway. However, there is plenty to do beyond the music. Make sure to explore the campus of Vanderbuilt, Arrington Vineyards, The Parthenon at Centennial Park, Music Row and the flourishing craft brewery scene. For more on Nashville, check out: A Music City Weekend in Nashville.
Honorable Mention: Chattanooga, Tennessee
If this list wasn’t called 5 Things, I might have stretched it to 6 to include Chattanooga. You can read more about our recent visit to Chattanooga here.
I love that these cities are moderate in size, easy to get around and all have excellent food scenes. They each have unique history and good weather most of the year. Have you made it to all 5 of these cities? Each with a character distinctly their own, pick one of these southern getaways to add to your upcoming vacation itinerary!