9 Things You Must Do When You Visit the South-East U.S.

Posted July 20, 2023 by in Lifestyle

Venturing into the United States? Why not direct your exploratory compass towards the Southeast region, a vibrant and culturally rich part of the country? The nine-state ensemble of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee is awaiting you, offering a mesmerizing blend of history, nature, food, music, and a whole lot more. Even if you’re pressed for time, a one or two-week drive through these states can give you a generous scoop of the unique flavors of the region.

Imagine walking the cobblestone streets of Savannah and Charleston, cities where history whispers from every corner. Picture yourself winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains near the funky, cool city of Asheville. There’s an adventure waiting in Nashville and Memphis, where the rhythm of American music still reverberates. And then, there’s New Orleans, where jazz rules the night, and the Sazerac flows till dawn. Need a little more inspiration? Let’s dive deeper into the Southeast U.S. with a comprehensive itinerary.

1. Nashville and Memphis: Where Music Fills the Air

First stop: Nashville, Tennessee. Think Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Nashville’s got music in its veins. And Broadway Street is a must for a night out with its mix of honky-tonk bars, restaurants, and live music.

Then you’ve got Memphis. If you’re a music lover, Memphis is like paradise. Sun Studio, Beale Street, and Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, are all right there. If music is your thing, you’re going to love Memphis.

2. Ride the Water: Ocoee River

Once you’ve soaked in the melodies of Nashville and Memphis, it’s time to pump up your adrenaline in the Ocoee Region. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains range, Ocoee is a haven for thrill-seekers. Its highlight, the Ocoee River, is renowned for some of the best whitewater rafting in the nation. Rafting on the Ocoee River will have you navigating exciting Class III and IV rapids amid stunning mountain scenery, making it an unforgettable part of your Southeast U.S. journey. From the harmonious to the heart-thumping, Tennessee is a state that knows how to leave a lasting impression.

Ocoee River

3. Charleston and Savannah: Time-traveling at its Best

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to step back in time? Charleston, South Carolina, gives you just that experience. Picture strolling past antebellum mansions lining Rainbow Row, or wandering through Charleston City Market, each place whispering tales of the past. And don’t miss the spectacular sunset over the Cooper River; it’s quite something.

From Charleston, it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to Savannah, Georgia. Think Spanish moss draping from live oaks, cobblestone streets, and public squares – it’s like you’re walking through a live history book. Make sure you check out the gorgeous Forsyth Park and the stunning Savannah Historic District.

4. Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains: Beauty at Every Turn

Ever been somewhere that’s got something for everyone? Asheville, North Carolina, is one such place. It’s nestled right among the Blue Ridge Mountains. So, you’ve got your scenic drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway with those jaw-dropping mountain views. And the city itself? Brimming with artsy vibes, quirky shops, and cool art galleries.

5. New Orleans: A City That Knows How to Party

As your trip starts to wind down, you’ve got one more place to hit up: New Orleans, Louisiana. This city is all about jazz, a vibrant atmosphere, and food. It’s the birthplace of jazz, so a visit to the Preservation Hall for some authentic tunes is a must. And don’t forget to hit Bourbon Street for that lively party atmosphere.

6. Arkansas: The Call of the Wild

Ever thought of answering the call of the wild? Arkansas, “The Natural State,” lets you do just that. Imagine yourself hiking trails that wind through beautiful scenery, casting a line in tranquil fishing spots, or simply taking a scenic drive through the Ozark Mountains. And for the thrill-seekers, there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting down the Cossatot River.

Ozark mountains

7. Florida: A Dip into Sunshine

Have you ever wished you could be in two places at once? Florida, “The Sunshine State,” comes pretty close. Picture yourself stretched out on the white sandy beaches of the Florida Keys or heading inland to explore the wild beauty of the Everglades. And if history is your thing, St. Augustine’s got plenty to offer. But let’s not forget Orlando – a city filled with magical theme parks that transport you to another world.

8. Savor the South: Cuisine of the Southeastern U.S.

If you’re a foodie, Southeast is your haven! The food here is marked by soulful flavors and hearty ingredients, just like its history and culture.

Begin your food journey in Louisiana with some classic Cajun and Creole dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée. Next, encounter the mouthwatering delights of Southern comfort food – fried chicken, catfish, hush puppies, in Mississippi. And don’t miss the chance to sample the peach pie in Georgia or the tangy barbeque in North Carolina.

9. The Beat of the Southeast: Music and Culture

One must acknowledge its significance to American music when discussing the Southeast.

Explore the rich musical heritage at the Mississippi Blues Trail or the Country Music Highway in Kentucky. Head to Alabama to find the fascinating Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where iconic artists like The Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin recorded their hits. You can even experience live country music at The Georgia Rodeo, a one-day music festival in Athens, Georgia.

Check out the vibrant cultural festivals of the region – the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston.

Your Southeast U.S. trip will leave you with a lifetime of memories. Historic towns, breathtaking landscapes, music, cuisine, and, most importantly, warm and welcoming people make your journey more than just a road trip. It’s an unforgettable experience in the U.S. that leaves you appreciating the region’s rich culture.

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