But in the coming months, people started to travel again, mostly close to home and by car. Our guides became a helpful source of information.
Thinking about what travel should look like in the South in 2021 is difficult. It’s important to consider the coronavirus infection rates before going anywhere and to wear masks, even if it’s not mandated. The locations chosen aren’t major cities and provide better distance.
Mentone, Alabama is a beloved North Alabama mountain town a few hours from Atlanta. Home to less than 500 residents, it’s the perfect retreat with cozy cabins and inns.
Dine at one of Mentone’s charming eateries like Wildflower Cafe, Elevation Bistro, and Mentone Market, or browse the downtown shops.
It’s safe to say that we could all use a bit more cash these days. But did you know that there’s a place in Arkansas where you can pan for diamonds and keep them?
Crater of Diamonds State Park welcomes people to sift through the soft mud. A nearly 4.5 karat diamond was recently discovered. The first diamonds were found here in 1906 and the site opened as a state park in 1972.
Located southwest of Little Rock, the town of Murfreesboro is the perfect base for visiting the park. The Ka-Do-Ha Indian Village is also nearby, interpreting life in the pre-Columbian culture.
There are a number of charming North Georgia towns but Clayton is among the best. The mountain town is less than two hours from Atlanta.
The town of Apalachicola in the Florida Panhandle was once a part of Spanish Florida and later a British settlement. It’s best associated with the oyster industry but is also the gateway to neighboring St. George Island.
Incorporated in 1890, Berea is one of the fastest-growing communities in Kentucky, thanks in part to Berea College, founded in 1855 by a Presbyterian minister.
Set on the Cumberland Plateau, the town is only 45 minutes from Lexington. The incredible arts and crafts community, including the Kentucky Artisan Center, allows visitors to shop for unique gifts. There’s also hiking nearby.
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Before I had to cancel, I was supposed to be going to this rural part of Louisiana north of Baton Rouge for the Angola Prison Rodeo. The annual event allows visitors into the prison to see bull riding and purchase inmate-created crafts.
During the rest of the year, the sleepy town is a stopover for river cruise passengers touring The Myrtles, a nearby plantation said to be haunted. It’s one of many historic inns in the area.
Sylva, North Carolina
Sylva is one of North Carolina’s mountain towns, located less than an hour from Asheville. It was where Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was filmed and markers indicate which places were used.
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
The South Carolina coast, specifically Daufuskie Island, is home to the Gullah community of former slaves that worked on the Sea Island cotton plantations.
It’s only accessible by ferry and private boat from Hilton Head. Visitors should check out the landmarks within the Gullah community, including First Union African Baptist Church, the island’s oldest building. Tour Daufuskie is one of the operators.
Despite its remote location, Daufuskie Island does have restaurants like Old Daufuskie Crab Company and Lucy Bell’s. Rental houses are the best way to experience the island.
It’s hard to remember all that happened this year, but in early 2020, Cookeville, Tennessee was hit hard by a tornado. It’s a great time to support the university town, which was founded in 1854 and is an hour from Nashville.
Hampton, Virginia is often overshadowed by nearby destinations like Virginia Beach but the city has a lot of history. It was here that one of the first slave ships arrived in 1619. Blackbeard‘s head was displayed after his death in North Carolina. NASA also does a lot of work in Hampton.
Hampton has fresh seafood at many restaurants, including The Deadrise, located on the harbor. The Vanguard is a former armory-turned-distillery and brewery. Brown Chicken Brown Cow is known for its incredible burgers.
Where do you want to go in the South in 2021?