best fall vacations in the south

Each day, thousands trace the velvet rope-lined passages weaving through one of America's grandest homes. When you’re not touring historic homes or browsing in art galleries, you might find yourself at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, a 130-acre museum complex celebrating Natchez Native American culture, or at the Delta Music Museum in nearby Ferriday. No matter where you stay, you’ll enjoy easy access to chic galleries and locally-owned Lowcountry restaurants. One of the best things for couples to do in Savannah is to simply take a romantic stroll through the historic district. The 469-mile road reveals remarkable panoramic views of tree-blanketed mountains stretching to the horizon. 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Take Tellico Plains, a gem in the Smokies where Appalachian heritage runs deep. But we’re betting you won’t be thinking of Franklin, Natchez, or Fernandina Beach—which is why we’re featuring them in our list of Southern vacations you might not know about, but definitely should. The centerpiece of Greenville’s lovely downtown is stunning Falls Park. See all rentals in Beaufort from TripAdvisor! “We felt comfortable and ‘at home.’ Black Mountain has much to offer, with great restaurants, walking trails, [and] Lake Tomahawk.” – Traveler Review. The nightlife scene is quieter, but that’s not to say you won’t find live music here; don’t miss venues like the Franklin Theatre and Music City Roots at The Factory. Burlington, Vermont is covered in red, orange, and yellow hues as the leaves change every autumn, making it one of the best fall vacation destinations in the U.S. Located an hour north of Atlanta, Dahlonega—the site of America’s first major gold rush—is a vibrant spot for Southern vacations. The long narrow Caprock Escarpment stands as high as 1,000 feet in places. Our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes. We loved the cabin and the small town of Brevard. Meg McKinney, Credit: Art Meripol, Credit: Along the Peach State's northernmost backroads, you'll encounter bucolic scenery, wondrous waterfalls, charming towns, and majestic vistas. Experience the swamps of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta on a kayaking tour, or head south to Gulf Shores for a laid-back beach day. This house has real home-away-from-home comfort.” – Traveler Review. This rugged region of geological wonders astounds visitors from other places, but it is beloved by Kentuckians and known the world over to rock climbers, partly because of its many overhanging cliff. “A splendid spot to unwind and enjoy nature. Cary Jobe, Art Meripol, Credit: If you love to bike (or boat, crab, fish, or swim), you’ll be smitten with Jekyll Island, a classic destination for Southern vacations. Mother Nature may bring you here, but the antiques shopping and the enchanting small towns of Fort Payne and Mentone will keep you for the whole weekend. Set in the Pisgah National Forest—within an hour of equally charming Southern small towns like Lake Lure and Maggie Valley—Brevard makes an ideal base for exploring the region. This article was last published in September 2018. When you picture charming Southern towns, maybe your mind jumps to the moss-draped oaks of Savannah, the colorful homes of Key West, or the (fictional) streets of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. See all rentals in Tarpon Springs from TripAdvisor! Whether you decide to go backpacking in the Chattahoochee National Forest, catch a show at the Holly Theatre, take a historic ghost walk, or devote your days to wine tasting (this is Georgia Wine Country, after all), Dahlonega is a destination that’s easy to love and hard to leave. Rentals range from colorful carriage houses to restored cottages in the heart of the historic district. Nicknamed the “Sponge Capital of the World,” this historic Greek community has spent decades harvesting the natural sponges that thrive in … Credit: #1 in Best Fall Vacations Asheville's proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail means the views of fall foliage are unparalleled. Visit Black Mountain, and you’ll want to sit down and stay awhile. This was the perfect getaway.” – Traveler Review. You can drive down highways 57 or 42 to see all of it, with lighthouses and European-styled buildings along the way. Book a cabin rental here for access to outdoor adventures from hiking and biking to golfing and fishing. Fun for the family and perfect for a couples getaway, these cities offer laid-back vibes, easy access to cultural attractions and scenic landscapes like leafy […] While the heart of the city might be the iconic Sponge Docks, downtown Tarpon Springs—known for authentic Greek restaurants and antique shops—is also worth a visit. Located less than 20 minutes from downtown Asheville, Black Mountain is home to quiet neighborhoods and a quaint downtown dotted with restaurants, galleries, and an old-fashioned general store. See all rentals in Brevard from TripAdvisor! With soaring cliffs and majestic arches, Red River Gorge is an awe-inspiring place to visit. We will be back!” – Traveler Review. Last fall, our readers voted this friendly community the prettiest small town in America, and it’s not hard to see why. Cape May is great in the summer, but it’s magical in the fall. In mid-November, art lovers can head into historical downtown for the annual Telfair Art Fair, featuring more than 100 artists, entertainment and kids’ activities. Book a rental along the shore, and you might spot pelicans and sandpipers from your back porch! Located between Savannah and Jacksonville in the Golden Isles, this barrier island boasts 10 miles of uncrowded beaches. Hidden in the foothills near Maryville, Tennessee, lies an undiscovered spot, with five strikingly modern guesthouses, where you can have a private piece of these mountains. After a long day of sipping, shopping, or antique picking,  you’ll want to head back to your rental—perhaps a renovated cabin owned by one of the town’s founders?—to relax by the fire pit. There will likely be lots of other folks in search of seasonal vignettes, so we've planned a route that harvests bits of well-known drives while reaping a small crop of lesser-known destinations. At TripAdvisor Rentals, we’ve identified 10 down-south getaways to help you through winter. Credit: Robbie Caponetto There’s something particularly magical about a beautiful resort with so much to offer that you don’t need anything else to have a great vacation. These gems, each defined by its own local color, make a fun drive for those with a wandering spirit. Where can you find historic attractions and a Great American Main Street just 17 miles from Music City? Cary Jobe. See all rentals in Fredericksburg from TripAdvisor! Down Main Street, find a perfect setting of greenspace, gardens, the Reedy River, and a gorgeous waterfall. “The town and national forest are only minutes away. “The people are so friendly, [and] the history is all around you. Although you can cover this route in a day, plan on two or three. The Eastern Shore escape makes the perfect getaway from both Washington DC (80 miles) and Philadelphia (120 miles), with cottage rentals tucked into quiet coves and meandering bike trails along the shore. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Greenville, South Carolina gives you the best of both worlds. These cheap fall vacations are easy last-minute getaways to book and plan. The region is also a top spot for boating and rafting thanks to several rivers and sparkling Tellico Lake. South Padre Island, TX. We will be back!” –, “The town and national forest are only minutes away. This mountain town is the gateway to the Cherokee National Forest, which boasts prime fly fishing and 150 miles of the Appalachian Trail. […] So charming!” – Traveler Review. By Southern Living Editors March 10, 2020 Skip gallery slides. With its horse-drawn carriages and antebellum mansions, few Southern vacations combine history, hospitality, and coastal charm like Beaufort. It’s more than just food-filled events that make Savannah one of the best fall vacations in the South. What a beautiful little slice of heaven.” – Traveler Review. Spend the morning at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, then climb aboard a sailing charter for a tour of the area—or head back to your rental and wait for low tide to try your hand at crabbing. 02 of 10 Spend the Day Celebrating the Harvest Given its delightful downtown and storied antique shops, you might be content to abandon your car altogether. See all rentals in Black Mountain from TripAdvisor! The Hudson Valley in New York has so many fall attractions, it makes one of the best fall vacations in the US. 11 Caribbean Family Vacation Destinations For Kid-Friendly... 15 Sparkling Seaside Towns In The USA, From California... 20 Idyllic European Beach Getaways Travelers Love For Their... 15 Beautiful, Hidden-Gem Small Towns In Australia. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. This was the perfect getaway.” –, “The people are so friendly, [and] the history is all around you. But it’s also a place for waterfront strolls and saltwater fishing, where bike trails wind through town and local joints serve up fresh seafood and piping-hot beignets. “We loved the historic charm and the amazing location (near the marina and museum, grocery store, shops, and restaurants).” – Traveler Review. The downtown area has darling shops, and there are many good restaurants! One of the best drives in the region is the Blue Ridge Parkway, which winds 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina. Located north of Clearwater, near some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches, Tarpon Springs offers its own unique take on charming Southern vacations. This family-friendly beach town on Amelia Island is home to peaceful shores and private rentals just a stone’s throw from the surf. No matter when you visit this Southern small town, you’ll discover a culture as soulful as the cuisine and a landscape as enchanting as the locals. Little River Canyon threads through some of the most stunning fall color in Alabama. And here, we're sharing the best under-the-radar spots with you—the Southern U.S. small town destinations that should be on everyone's bucket list in 2020. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. Established as a French fort in 1716, Natchez offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi from steep cliffs above the river. Autumn is when monarch butterflies converge upon this beach town for a few charmed weeks during their migration. Charlestown has the added bonus of its beaches—such as East Beach State Park and Blue Shutters Beach—making it one of the best fall vacations not … It is a great location to use as a base for touring. Head out for a hike, go fishing at a local lake, or tube down the French Broad River. These simple and spectacular Southern cakes deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful, uplifting, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones. Nicknamed the “Sponge Capital of the World,” this historic Greek community has spent decades harvesting the natural sponges that thrive in local waters. Looking for a more urban feel in your mountain escape? But beyond its 13 miles of pristine beaches, Fernandina is also known for lush, rambling golf courses, Victorian-era architecture, and iconic events like the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. Start by grabbing a refreshing frozen daiquiri from Wet Willie’s on River Street and then make your way down through the Historic District (yes, you can take your drink with you! […] All you need to escape or get out and explore.” – Traveler Review. See all rentals in Fernandina Beach from TripAdvisor! Learn more about the town’s German settlers on a historic trolley tour, then purchase some peach jam at quaint country store Das Peach Haus or go climbing at Enchanted Rock State Area. History buffs are covered too, with this fascinating private Civil War tour. Southern Living is a registered trademark of, These Haircuts Are Going To Be Huge in 2021, 7 Paint Colors We’re Loving for Kitchen Cabinets in 2020, 50 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime, Plan your weekend in Alabama's Mountain Country, Find out more about exploring the Bilmore Estate, Find more about traveling to Cumberland Gap, Plan a colorful fall excursion in the North Georgia mountains, Find more about activities, lodging, and attractions in Greenville, Find more information about Kentucky's Red River Gorge, Find more information about visiting Caprock Canyons, Find more information about Butterfly Gap Retreat and the Smokies, Check out our favorite spots along the parkway, Plan your weekend trip in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. Town is a relaxing location with lovely walks and historic buildings.” – Traveler Review. The prettiest stretch of highway in the South, the Blue Ridge Parkway, curls along mountain ridges between two national parks--Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. The region is known for its small towns and fall foliage. The Liberty Bridge spans it all, with its curved, 355-foot-long pedestrian walkway. See all rentals in Franklin from TripAdvisor! “Quiet, quaint, and close to Main Street (near all the restaurants, shopping, and wine tastings). You can ‘u-pick’ apples and pears, buy fresh apple juice and squash at farmer stands or pick out the perfect Jack o’Lantern pumpkin at a pumpkin patch. The stroll to the beach from the house was down a beautiful, quaint path.” – Traveler Review. Learn how to season this Southern kitchen staple in five easy steps. The bridge overlooks nature trails, landscaped flowerbeds, and people enjoying the season. The best destinations for a fall getaway during COVID-19 Devon Delfino 9/8/2020. “All of our needs were met, as the house lacked nothing. 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