The American South

The American South

If you’re looking for a destination loaded with the sea, sun and Southern living, then you’re at home in southeastern USA. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in the U.S., take a drive along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to the Florida Keys, where local diners, notable historic sites and sprawling beaches vie for your attention. Bring an adventurous spirit, light layers to accommodate the Southern heat and coastal breezes, your appetite for home cooking and blues music, and a relaxed attitude. Or if you’re up for beautiful beaches, great fun, endless nightlife and people-watching or several world-class amusement parks, then Florida has your vacation packaged and ready to go. From this melting pot of Southern living came the blues. From the fields came gospel. From the rogues and their collaborators came rock ’n’ roll. And from the rest of America came visitors hungry for the sun, the sea and a little fun.

Miami, FL

Miami, Florida, has always billed itself as a first-class travel destination, full of warm weather, sandy beaches, and bright sunshine. But Miami’s allure extends beyond its shores. People from all over the Caribbean and Latin America have settled in Miami, giving the city its distinctive, lively international character. Miami is a collection of historic neighborhoods, such as Little Havana, Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables. One of its most popular neighborhoods, South Beach, with its cheerful, sherbet-colored art-deco buildings and palm-tree-lined avenues, is the center of Miami’s trendy dining and nightlife scene. And don’t forget the beaches. Miami is first and foremost all about beautiful soft, sandy beaches. While in Miami, a popular day trip includes a drive to Everglades National Park. The park spans 2,500 square miles, includes tropical mangroves, freshwater marshes, and is home to alligators, manatees, beautiful birds, and a wide variety of wetland flora.

Florida Keys, FL

In sharp contrast to metropolitan Miami, the Florida Keys are a string of coral and limestone islands stretching 180 miles southwest from Biscayne Bay dividing the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This is a place for those escaping everyday life on the mainland. You’ll find about 113 mangrove-and-sandbar islands, long, soft mudflats and tidal bars, and teal-colored waters. The sun is always shining in this part of Florida, making the Keys a perfect destination for sunbathers, deep-sea fishermen, divers, snorkelers, and motorcyclists. By day, popular activities include stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking through gorgeous mangrove caves, or strolling through art galleries and boutiques of locally-made creations. By night, visitors savor fresh, local seafood and sip tropical concoctions before watching the sun dip into the Gulf of Mexico and paint the night sky in shades of red, orange, pink and blue.

Amelia Island, FL

Considered the pearl of the barrier islands flanking the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is a popular vacation destination for travelers seeking championship-caliber golf, low-key beaches, and excellent seafood. About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws visitors seeking a calmer setting for their Florida beach vacation. While here, you can learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, bike along the Atlantic Ocean beaches at low tide, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park, or simply lounge on the sand and dip your feet in the ocean waves.

Orlando, FL

Whether this is your first time to the Orlando area or you’re a seasoned visitor, the area’s invigorating spirit is sure to inspire, captivate and motivate you to jump in and experience it all. With so many options and so many things to do, narrowing the playing field can be a challenge. Whether it’s a trip for families, couples, single travelers, or a group of friends, Orlando is the perfect destination filled with unique experiences. The city is home to more than a dozen theme parks; Walt Disney World, where you can find the Magic Kingdom and Epcot; various water parks; and Universal Orlando, where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located. There’s a lot more to discover in Orlando beyond theme parks, including dining, shopping, golf, and ecotourism. So, get out and explore it all — there’s no wrong way to experience Orlando!

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is known for music, for its European-style architecture, Creole cuisine, and lively night life. Its backbone is music: jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and Zydeco tunes ooze from every city crevice. For many, the main reason to visit is Mardi Gras. However, in New Orleans, you’ll find that the party is year-round, with revelers pouring out of Bourbon Street clubs until the wee hours of the morning, every morning. And New Orleans loves festivals. There are almost more festivals than days to celebrate. Famous for the French Quarter, there is much more to New Orleans. Stroll the lush Garden District, ride the streetcar on St. Charles Avenue, tour the remarkable Tremé neighborhood, ride a bike through the Bywater, or go visit gators on a swamp tour. And of course, sampling the city’s world-renowned cuisine is a must. New Orleans is a foodie’s paradise!

Charleston, SC

Charleston is a city where history, both joyous and tormented, is found around every corner: Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired; Harleston Green, the first golf course in America, founded in 1786; and the many well-preserved colonial and antebellum homes of the multi-block Historic District. The birthplace of swing and the Charleston dance – made famous by Josephine Baker – the city still has all the charm that it owes to its multi-ethnic origins. For a beach vacation outside Charleston, you have many choices. The Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island are both relaxing and easy-going destinations with miles of beautiful beaches. South of Charleston is Folly Beach with an abundance of natural beauty, rare birds, and a fascinating history. There is an old lighthouse and one of the longest piers on the East Coast where you can fish, dance in the moonlight, or just go for a stroll.

Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head Island is known as a picturesque and serene vacation destination, but the island is also steeped in a rich history. It has witnessed Native Americans and European explorers, battles from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, plantations and slaves, and more recently, new development and environmentally focused growth. There are 12 miles of white-sand beaches, amazing restaurants, top-rated golf courses, including Harbour Town Golf Links, the annual host to the PGA’s Heritage Golf Tournament, and a thriving tennis community. Wildlife abounds, including loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, snowy egrets, great blue heron, dolphins, manatees, and various species of fish. Parasailing, charter fishing, and kayaking are some of the many water sports that you can take advantage of on this island paradise.

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