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History Meets Hospitality in the American South

Widely known for their warm demeanor and welcoming attitude, residents of the South are just as sweet as their tea. Experience “Southern Hospitality” for yourself, along with the deep history and rich culture of the region.

The American South provides the backdrop for some of the most significant events in United States history. As the organizing ground for much of the Civil Rights Movement, the region is rich in historical landmarks and cultural artifacts. Add to that the region’s mild weather, abundant nature and world-famous cuisine, and you’ll find no shortage of stuff to schedule on your adventure through the Southern States.

Exploring The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

As a cultural and economic center of the South, Atlanta’s history runs deep.

Today, its cultural cache spans hip-hop and high-end comfort cuisine, but in 1864 the city was nearly burned to the ground in the American Civil War. Re-emerging as the center of the ‘New South,” Atlanta eventually became an organizing ground for the Civil Rights Movement, led, in part, by one of Atlanta’s most prominent natives, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Within an hour from the city are plenty of opportunities to spend time in nature, such as Springer Mountain, where you can hike from the Appalachian trail’s official southern start.

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

  • Visit the world’s largest drive-in restaurant and downtown Atlanta institution, The Varsity. The famously friendly staff will greet you with “What’ll ya have,” to which we recommend replying, “two chilli cheese dogs, a side of onion rings, and a frosted orange.”
  • For more premium local fare, visit The Plate Sale, a pop-up dinner series in Atlanta and Athens serving up gourmet goods like cucumber and kohlrabi in shrimp sauce and a pork sausage dish, though the menu changes by the season.

What to See:

Posing in front of a mural in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

About three hours west of Atlanta lies another urban center that played prominently in the historic Civil Rights movement.

One of the original industrial cities in the American South, Birmingham was born from the iron and steel industry and has since established a name for itself in banking, medical research and Southern culinary prowess. A trip to “The Magic City” should include stops at some of the many historical sites in the area such as the Civil Rights District. Also, make sure to sample some authentic soul food, and then take a drive further south to one of Alabama’s Gulf Coast beach towns.  

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

What to Do:

The Mississippi State Capitol Building in Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi

Known for its true southern hospitality, abundant outdoor activities and parts of the statewide Freedom Trail that run through the city, Jackson, Mississippi is another southern destination that’s brimming with history.

While in Jackson, drive along the Mississippi River, check out some of the city’s museums, and consider adding the town of Tupelo to your itinerary for a chance to see where Elvis was born.

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

  • Visit Brent’s Drugs, a classic American diner that’s been serving Jackson since the 40’s.
  • Want something sweet? How about Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, where they serve up pies based on the recipes of the founders’ maternal grandmothers.

What to Do: