Small Towns You Can't Miss - Southern Destinations You'll Love
The heart of the South boasts a slower pace where neighbors know each other by name and people wave at each other as they drive by. These charming small towns have some of the sweetest hospitality and the prettiest scenery you’ll find anywhere. Stop in for a weekend getaway or a long vacation, either way just don’t miss out on these incredible towns.
Historic Covington is known as a film town, home to locations from "The Dukes of Hazzard," "In the Heat of the Night" and, most famously, "The Vampire Diaries," along with 60 films. The thriving downtown has locally owned boutiques, antique stores and restaurants. Settled in 1822 by European immigrants, several antebellum structures were spared from Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War. The Newton County Courthouse is the area’s most iconic structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. gocovington.com
From the houses on the bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River to the beautiful and historic homes in the city’s downtown area, life in Florence is full of beauty. The wonderful thing about this corner of the state of Alabama is their variety. Walking trails, legendary fishing, world-class golf, and water sports of all types will appeal to the outdoor enthusiasts while the foodies will appreciate some of the best food you’ve ever put in your mouth. Museums, theater, concerts, art shows and festivals mean that there’s always something going on around in Florence.
Berkley Springs, West Virginia
Berkeley Springs is an historic spa and art-filled town nestled in the West Virginia mountains. It boasts warm mineral springs, world class dining, blocks of distinctive shops, full-service spas and more than 100 lodging choices from elegant B&Bs and historic inns, to cabins and resorts. Golf, hiking, biking and swimming share the schedule with year ’round festivals, live music and theater. Friendly people, welcoming mountains and a sense of place mark Berkeley Springs as a getaway for all seasons and tastes.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Tucked into narrow interlocking streets and adorned by natural foliage and centuries-old, moss-draped live oak trees, this area is one of the focal points of South Carolina. The beauty of the Beaufort area is rivaled only by its lively culture. The daily arts scene includes musicians, actors, authors, storytellers, painters, weavers, sculptors and jewelry artisans. Thriving art galleries and craft shops are filled with the work of local artists inspired by the Lowcountry's scenery, history, and spirit.
Charlottesville is best known as home to movers and shakers in our nation's history, welcoming visitors eager to see Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello and the rich arts and entertainment scene. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the same sites from a different perspective, kayaking the James or Rivanna, hiking miles of wilderness trails or pedaling miles of bike trails and quiet country roads. Delight in the finest restaurants, attend local events, stroll the brick-lined Downtown Mall or taste fruits at over 30 local orchards and vineyards.
Boone, North Carolina
You want a break from the routine. But nothing that's going to leave you with jet lag on Monday morning. Sounds like Boone is just the ticket. There are a million things to do like fly-fishing, hiking, mountain and road biking, ziplining, canoeing, and kayaking. The summer beckons you to go spelunking in Linville Caverns or sipping your way along the Boone Area Wine Trail. Boone is the perfect escape from every day.
Milledgeville, Georgia Capitals, columns, and culture are three words that mesh perfectly when describing Milledgeville, Georgia. This antebellum capital has an eclectic mix of locally owned shops, attractions, events for visitors and locals alike, and excitingly unique dining options. While you are there hop aboard the trolley for a guided tour through the historic district, visit the 1839 Old Governor's Mansion, now a Smithsonian Affiliate, or kayak the Oconee River.
Bardstown, Kentucky is the first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and one of the most charming small towns. Visit the six great distilleries in Bardstown and take in the gorgeous Kentucky landscape too. Off-beat travelers will love camping at My Old Kentucky Home State Park and searching for the ghosts of Bardstown. Come for the bourbon, stay for the local flair. Plenty of charming bed-and-breakfasts ensure that you’ll have a lovely place to rest your head at the end of a long day of your Kentucky adventures.
Touted as the “Cultural Mecca of the South”, creativity abounds in Oxford as musicians, artists and writers alike find inspiration in Oxford’s rich history, small town charm and creative community. Over the years Oxford has also been known for offering exceptional culinary experiences and as the home of the University of Mississippi and the Ole Miss Rebels, there is always something here to immerse yourself in. A great story is waiting to be your best traveling chapter yet.
Waco offers enough to keep visitors busy for days! Mountain bike or hike in Cameron Park, shop downtown where you’ll find Magnolia Market, antiques stores, and wonderful local finds. Stroll through the cultural and historic district that extends across the mighty Brazos River. Walk across the historic Suspension Bridge, built in 1870, where the clopping hooves of cattle followed the Chisholm and Shawnee Trails up north. Visit for a weekend getaway, a convention, tour, or simply business, and explore all that Waco has to offer.
Abita Springs, Louisiana
Abita has been long famed for its artesian waters and for the Abita Brewery that produces both, seven flagship and also seasonal varieties of beer, to suit your taste buds whatever the time of year. This picturesque and historic town is also well known for simply being great place to breathe deep and go with the flow. Plan your visit accordingly to make sure to take in the town’s signature fun and funky festivals throughout the year.
Scenic and quaint are two words that well describe the town of Jasper. This small town is surrounded by natural beauty of where the nation's first national river, the Buffalo, begins to flow and offers an abundance of outdoor opportunities like hiking, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, mountain biking and horseback riding. Immerse yourself in art, history and culture in museums or get away from it all on tranquil trails and secluded lakes. Bring the whole family for bonding time or escape for a little "you" time.
"Tennessee's Oldest Town," Jonesborough is an eclectic blend of shopping and outdoor excursions while staying true to its historic roots. Appalachian culture is taken seriously, preserved in museums like the Chester Inn Museum, Washington County/Jonesborough History Museum and walking tours conducted by locals who have a passion for yesteryear. This history is also preserved through storytelling, as Jonesborough has become the Storytelling Capital of the World, hosting the acclaimed National Storytelling Festival each year.
Small towns are the route to go when planning a weekend getaway because they have enough to fill your time frame and to keep you wanting more for when you make a second trip back. These small towns are absolutely charming and some of the best examples of southern hospitality. There’s no need to keep waiting, plan a spontaneous visit to a small town and watch how big your smile gets.
MORE SMALL TOWNS YOU CAN’T MISS
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE + HISTORIC CHARM
Clarksville-Montgomery County, Tennessee is the acoustic rendition of a supercharged city where modern amenities meet Southern charm. Kayak the blueways, stroll the greenways, or hit the fairways – outdoor adventure is limitless in this historic and idyllic river city. Unplug and unwind as you indulge in gourmet meals and savor award-winning wines from Beachaven Winery. Live professional theatre and a multitude of family-friendly concerts, festivals and events are just the beginning when you visit Clarksville.
TENNESSEE’S HIDDEN GEM
Poised as being both a historic and antique shopping district, families can find fun around every corner in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Explorers can take a leisurely stroll to find unique points of interest and the diversity of downtown shops and eateries is unmatched. Enjoy local evening activities such as classic car shows, motorcycle rallies, karaoke, and open mic nights. Whether you are seeking an adventure or just a moment to slow down and take it all in, Elizabethton is a must-see!
THE HEART OF NORTHEAST GA
Toccoa is the heart of Northeast Georgia offering more than 75 national and local stores, an award-winning downtown, and outdoor adventures. Explore Main Street’s specialty shops, wander through the art galleries and tour the beautifully renovated Stephens County Courthouse. Enjoy the outdoors by visiting Toccoa Falls or Hartwell Lake for all your fishing, boating, and swimming desires. No visit to Toccoa would be complete without seeing the historic single-screen Ritz Theatre.
Summersville, West Virginia
Centrally located in the mountains of West Virginia, Summersville offers endless opportunities for fun-filled days enjoying beauty, adventure, history and relaxation. The city is the home of the state’s largest lake, Summersville Lake, which is a beautiful clear water lake stretching over 60 miles of shoreline and 2800 acres of water. After a day on the lake enjoy primitive shops, antiques, local dining favorites, and more in downtown Summersville. Easy to navigate and full of variety, this is the place to be!
A PLACE FOR EVERYONE
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Berkeley Springs is an historic spa and art-filled town nestled in the West Virginia mountains. It boasts warm mineral springs, world class dining, blocks of distinctive shops, full-service spas and more than 100 lodging choices from elegant B&Bs and historic inns, to cabins and resorts. Golf, hiking, biking and swimming share the schedule with year ’round festivals, live music and theater. Friendly people, welcoming mountains, and a sense of place mark Berkeley Springs as a getaway for all seasons and tastes.
EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
Ridgeland, Mississippi is a shining city on the Natchez Trace that offers discerning travelers an unexpected melding of outdoor adventure, upscale architecture, historic trails, and modern design. In fact, Ridgeland was designed to make the most of Mississippi’s beautiful weather, bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out. From open air shopping to serious cycling, sailboats to spas, patio dining and custom cocktails to the Mississippi Craft Center, they’ve got everything under the sun.
HEAVEN IN THE SOUTH
Jefferson County, Tennessee
Jefferson County, Tennessee is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and is the ideal place to be for any reason and during any season. Enjoy the ease and security of a small town with convenient proximity to larger metropolitan areas. Take a step back into history and southern hospitality. Imagine yourself relaxing lakeside and gazing at the mountains or taking a quiet walk through one of the historic towns or challenging yourself with a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains.
FIND IT ALL IN CALHOUN
Gordon County, Georgia
History, adventure, arts and shopping abound in Calhoun — Gordon County. Step back in time as you walk in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers and Cherokee Indians. Paddle the rivers and lakes, hike or bike the scenic nature trails, and tour one of our local farms. Enjoy acclaimed entertainment and marvel at the artistry of The ROCK Garden. Shop the sales at Calhoun Outlet Marketplace and find unique souvenirs in Downtown Calhoun.
GREAT TIMES AROUND MUSIC CITY
Discover the green rolling hills of Music City on the North side. Just 12 miles from downtown Nashville, Goodlettsville offers over 1,300 affordable hotel rooms. With picturesque parks and walking trails, unique shopping and dining, Goodlettsville should be your home base for a Music City (and beyond) vacation. The perfect destination for folks just passing through and for folks wanting to stay awhile! There’s only one Goodlettsville and it’s not to be missed!