Ten things to see in southern USA

From the swamps to the plains, Nashville’scountry music to Delta blues, cities to National Parks the southern states of America have much to offer the visitor. Before you finalise your itinerary and book your airline tickets make sure you are not going to miss these ten must-see destinations.

Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo: praline3001

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a fascinating city at any time of the year but unbeatable during the carnival that is Mardi Gras. Its unique mix of French, Caribbean and African cultures has created a mosaic of culture, food and music.

Do not miss the brimming bowls of gumbo, late nights in jazz clubs, strolls through historic areas downtown or the street festivals and happenings that keep the spirit of New Orleans alive.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando attracts more than 51 million tourists every year and the vast majority come for just one thing: fantastic, family-friendly theme parks. Disney’s World Resort and Universal Studios provide enough thrills and spills to keep kids happy for weeks.

Memphis, Tennessee

‘Long distance information, give me Memphis, Tennessee’ sang Chuck Berry, and Memphis has been at the heart of rock and roll ever since a young white boy sang a black R&B record and shook his hips a little.

The home of Elvis at Graceland is a postmodern pilgrimage while a visit to Sun Studios, where it all began, reminds you just how primitive the recording equipment all was. Beale Street saw the birth of the Blues and still rings to music every night.

Graceland
Photo: ianloic

Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas

The Space Centre at Houston is a must for anyone with the slightest interest in the Space Age. Find out the facts about space exploration and a short drive away in Dallas exercise your own conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s death, the grassy knoll and triangulation crossfire. Delve back into history even further at San Antonio’s site of the Alamo.

Charleston, South Carolina (or Savannah, Georgia)

The epitome of gentility Charleston and Savannah are both steeped in Civil War history and packed with old world charms. They also offer some of the finest dining and most relaxed stays of any cities in the US anywhere. Live the good life for a night or two.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Mist covered mountains offer fantastic hiking opportunities with truly fantastic vistas all around. This is justifiably the most popular national park in America.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

This stately city on the iconic Mississippi River offers you the beauty and culture of the Old South. Antebellum mansions recall a lifestyle and era that is now past but you can still bring yourself slap back to the present in one of the many fine 21st century casinos on the riverfront.

Historic Warren County Courthouse, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Photo: Ken Lund

Atlanta, Georgia

Home to a former Olympics, Coca-Cola (check out the museum) and CNN, Atlanta is a bustling, thriving city with a great nightlife and fascinating history. Its key role in the Civil Rights movement is attested to by monuments to the movement itself and to Martin Luther King.

Phoenix, Arizona

If you love the sun and water parks Phoenix is for you. Take any of the flights from Georgia to Phoenixand you traverse America from east to west and land in a city on the edge of theSonoran Desert with a subtropical desert climate. Residents deal with this heat with plenty of fantastic water parks and water activities. Pack your swimming costumes and dive in too!

Florida Keys, Florida

More water fun can be had in Florida. Divers and snorkelers will love the Florida Keys which are a coral archipelago near Miami. The palm-fringed beaches and Latin-influence around here all helps to make this our final unmissable southern US destination.

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