According to the US Census Bureau, the United States is officially divided into four regions: the west, the midwest, the northeast and the south. Other designations are made with new regions (mid-atlantic, Pacific, etc) depending on what source you’re using, but for simplicity, we’re going to use the Census Bureau data on BjornKoch.net.
This is the start of a new mini-series of travel guides within the United States–but these won’t hit on specific cities or specific states, instead looking at entire regions that you can make a trip out of. And while winter is on its way in for most of the US, now’s a great time to start planning your next summer getaway.
Without further ado, Bjorn Koch presents his guide to the south.
What’s the South
The region officially designated as the south is composed (predictably) of the southern and eastern parts of the United States. Included are the main players in the deep south–the states that people think of when they think of southerners: Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc. Also included are Florida (obviously in the south, but rarely considered “southern”), the Virginias, the Carolinas, Maryland, Arkansas, Delaware, DC, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The Culture of the Deep South
The southern United States is known as a hotbed for a variety of character traits, foods, events and landmarks, perhaps the best known of which are the classic southern accent and the accompanying southern hospitality.
A few of the states located in the list above don’t necessarily fall into the “southern culture” feeling–particularly Washington DC, Delaware, and ironically, Florida and won’t be touched on much here. But those that do embody the south have a ton to offer in the way of food, hospitality and tourism.
You’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere in the deep south that falls short of bringing out the best in all of us. Whether it’s the inherent kindness found throughout the south, their welcoming attitude or the food, the south has a culture that is worthy of a vacation or two.
The Places to See and Things to Do
One of the biggest draws to the south is the food, and the diversity in the south is almost unparalleled. Visit Louisiana and indulge in some incredible gumbo and jambalaya in the cajun epicenter of the US. The culture of places like New Orleans should speak for themselves and warrant a day or two of exploration on merit alone.
Then, swing over to Alabama for a day or two. Major cities like Birmingham and Montgomery feature some incredible BBQ spots or, if the weather permits, swing by some of the south’s most beautiful beaches.
Tennessee, of course, is known for Nashville. Music City features a wide array of year-round events, tours, attractions and, of course, free music.
There’s far more to do in the South than what’s listed here, and given the relative cluster of some of the big southern states (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) you can accomplish quite a lot in just a week or two.