New Year Resolutions: Your Bucket List of What to See in 2019
If you haven’t heard about the term “bucket list,” it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you desire to have.
Ever felt that your days are passing you by without any tangible output to speak of? Having a bucket list reminds you of what is really important. We want to help you to create that bucket list by adding on a few destinations and activities in the South. Do not let another year pass you by without accomplishing at least a few of these bucket list items.
Ride a Smokey Mountain Coaster
You know what a roller coaster is; so take away the cars of screaming folks, and imagine sitting on a sleigh, hurtling 30 miles an hour down a track through the beautiful smoky Mountains, and you control the speed! Not only exhilarating, but so much fun! In Gatlinburg, there are two choices for this coaster experience: Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster and Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Both options are great and we recommend doing both. This is also a family-friendly activity, as the littlest thrill seekers can ride with a parent and you can go as slow or fast as the kiddies like. People from all over the world go to see the Smoky Mountains, so why not see it and have a bit of fun too!
Experience To Kill A Mockingbird Live
In Monroeville, Alabama, April and May are considered “Play Season” and the stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird by Monroeville’s own Mockingbird Company is a truly special experience. Performed in the old courthouse depicted in the book, it allows attendees an opportunity to transport themselves back to the time of the book's setting. This live epic play lasts approximately two hours and has two acts, one set outside, and the other taking place inside the famed courtroom. With the charming backdrop of Monroeville, this is a “must” for any traveler.
Walk the Mile High Swinging Bridge
A true landmark of a pioneering spirit, the Mile High Swinging Bridge welcomes all visitors to admire 360-degree panoramic views from Grandfather Mountain. The bridge has been in place since 1952 — and for just as long it’s excited the thousands who’ve walked across with the thrills of mile-high elevation. The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. Surveys show that the journey to the other side is always considered the highlight of a trip to Grandfather Mountain. The new Top Shop provides elevator access to the Mile High Swinging Bridge, making the span accessible to people with disabilities for the first time. It is about 50 yards from the building to the bridge, and a bench is located near the bridge.
Shop the World’s Longest Yard Sale
The World's Longest Outdoor Sale on Corridor 127 always begins on the first Thursday in August. There are all kinds of great finds to satisfy your shopping gene. Travel 690 miles of scenic countryside and see tons of yard sales from Gadsden, Alabama to Addison, Michigan. You will find everything from antiques and collectibles to furniture and dishware. Fresh garden produce, homemade jams and jellies, food vendors and live entertainment are only some of the wide variety on the road. Headquartered in Jamestown, Tennessee, the sale originated in Fentress County in 1987, and is also home to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Along the way, you can discover some neat places, interesting people, and quaint stops. So pack your camera, sunglasses, a good pair of walking shoes, and plenty of cash!
Discover the Natchez from Natchez
Natchez is an outdoor recreation playground. Bikers (both motorized and manual) make the city of Natchez the starting point or the end destination on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Natchez is a magnificent historic starting point, with tours and plantations everywhere you turn. A trip on the Natchez Trace Parkway is enjoyable anytime of the year. Although the scenery changes with the seasons, the stories of all who traveled the Old Trace have been told for hundreds of years. In the spring, the wildflowers and blooming trees welcome travelers, signaling the end of short winter days. The long days of summer provide extra hours for exploring, while crisp fall days highlight the changing leaves' vibrant colors. In the winter, the open vistas allow visitors to see deep into the forests for a few months of the year.
Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
The name of the holiday is misleading. It is about a month or so of parties named for just one day, Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent. But Mardi Gras is more in New Orleans. No one does Carnival like the Crescent City. Beginning on Twelfth Night, Jan. 6, the city is obsessed with eating, costuming, bead-tossing and parading that increases in intensity as Ash Wednesday nears. On the weekends leading up to Fat Tuesday, parades roll all over town. There are new traditions like Chewbacchus with its Star Wars-inspired tomfoolery and ages old ones such as Zulu and Rex. Visitors are encouraged to explore New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions, to eat oysters and king cake, watch parades roll down St. Charles Avenue and tag along with marching krewes as they wind their way into the Quarter from historic neighborhoods.
Follow a BBQ Trail
If you are new to the South, you will quickly realize that barbeque is revered, and cooking food on the grill is considered “grilling” not barbeque. Barbeque is a coveted, and almost a religious experience for those cooking and those eating. Slowly smoked meats like pork butt, whole chicken, and brisket are sought out like a pilgrimage, and no one can get enough. Sides are just as important - slow cooked collard greens, rich mac and cheese, and potato salad are a necessary component to barbecue. Many of the Southern states offer BBQ trails, helping you to navigate the country roads (skipping the commercial joints) to find the best barbecue around. Be it gas stations, trucks, roadside shacks, you are sure to find the best barbecue destinations. Texas offers the Great Coastal Texas BBQ Trail, Austin BBQ Trail and more. Mississippi and Arkansas offer trails and then epic cities like Kansas City and Memphis also offer BBQ trails within these barbeque meccas. The North Carolina Barbecue Society offers the Historic Barbecue Trail spanning the whole state. No matter which trails you choose, your taste buds will thank you.
ncbbqsociety.com, coastaltexasbarbecuetrail.com, memphistravel.com
The South is overflowing with quirky, exciting, and adventurous things to add to your bucket list. The hardest thing about visiting the region will be picking something out of the endless choices, but you just can’t go wrong. The South wants to help you complete that bucket list, so come on down!
More Bucket List Ideas
Fields of the Wood by Church of God of Prophecy Murphy, NC
Experience the Bible coming to life at Fields of the Wood, a unique park inspired by the Scriptures that encompasses over 200 acres of beautiful valleys, mountains, streams, and wooded areas. Stand atop the Prayer Mountain or kneel beside the valley baptismal pool; marvel at the giant Ten Commandments sculpture that is spread across the mountainside, or attend an inspirational event. Admission to the park is free, and all peoples and faiths are welcome.
Dock, Dine, and Unwind at the Breakwater Inn in Hatteras Village, North Carolina. Adjacent to the marina and offering stunning views of the Pamlico Sound, the Inn includes deluxe rooms and suites for ultimate relaxation, with Sound Front rooms featuring private balconies overlooking the marina, as well as fisherman’s quarters. Enjoy a a light continental breakfast in the lobby, or dine at the seasonal restaurant (May - October) for hearty dishes and views of the Sound.