Traveler Magazine: A Trip to the South isn’t Complete without Visiting Lexington, Lafayette, or Norcross

This post was originally published on Traveler Magazine 2 weeks ago. 5-Must-SeeCities-in-the-Midwest-1.png

Travelers that want to find a combination of beauty, history, hospitality, and sunshine need to consider visiting the South. The South has something for everyone. Whether you want a taste of bourbon in Kentucky or to relax by the water in Maryland, there is a southern city that matches your needs. Check out the 5 southern cities below that have something to offer its visitors.

Lexington, KY

Lexington is the “Horse Capital of the World” and is one of the most popular cities in Kentucky. One of the must-see’s in Lexington is the Kentucky Horse Park, where you can explore a 1,200 acre facility that features museums, art exhibits, and of course, a variety of horse breeds. If you like gambling, you can bet on horse races on grounds like the Keeneland Race Course. While a lot of the popular attractions involve horses, there are non-horse activities worth checking out if you visit Lexington.  One of my favorites is taking a tasting tour at a local distillery. For instance, you can try a taste of Kentucky at one of the bourbon distilleries, like the Wild Turkey  or Four Roses.

Lafayette, LA

If you are travelling through Louisiana, you need to stop by Cajun country and stay a few nights in Lafayette. Lafayette is a vibrant city that offers a nice combination of “country” with city-life. You can spend the day visiting Avery Island, where you can see the Tobasco factory, a bird sanctuary, and exotic animals in Jungle Gardens. After a busy day of exploring, go enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many Cajun and Creole restaurants. Want to enjoy the nightlife? Check out the bars and clubs on Jefferson Street. If you need to find a place to stay near the action, consider Studio 6 which is only a few blocks from the action.

Kissimmee, FL

The Sunshine State is a popular travel destination in the South. One of my favorite cities to visit is located in the heart of the state in Kissimmee, FL. For budget travelers, you have to check out the $20 million dollar local park project, the Kissimmee Lakefront Park. You can rent pavilions, go boating, fishing, BBQ, hiking, and other low-cost outdoor activities. The real reason most people stay in Kissimmee is because of its close proximity to Walt Disney World. In fact, you can stay at an affordable Kissimmee hotel like the Vacation Village that is only about 10 minutes away from Disney World.

Norcross, GA

For travelers that enjoy getting off-the-beaten path, Norcross will be worth considering. It’s cleverly tagged “a place to imagine” because of its blend of art, music, cuisine, and history. Take a stroll down the historic downtown and stop into the Crossing Steak House for a cocktail. The real benefit to staying in Norcross is that you can find an affordable hotel and still be just a few minutes from downtown Atlanta.

Salisbury, MD

Salisbury is a fun city in southeastern Maryland that offers its visitors a variety of activities. If you want a quiet place to relax, the 11 acre park on Schumaker Pondis just the spot. Grab a nice book, blanket, and a few snacks, and you can decompress in the serenity of the park. Another local favorite is the Salisbury Zoo. Admission to the zoo is free and they provide guided tours. If you are looking for a versatile city to spend a few days while traveling through Maryland, you should consider staying in Salisbury.

Disclaimer: TravelrMag is a collaborative partner with Hipmunk. Our views are always our own.

Hipmunk Hotels: Bridges and Boardwalks in Wheeling, Gulf Shores, Hunstville, Little Rock, and Kissimmee

If I took this road trip in order, I would log about 2,000 miles on my car; which I think would be would be worth the mileage. I would be sure to properly explore the bridges and boardwalks in some unlikely spots in these cool southern towns.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Wheeling, West Virginia, sits on the banks of the Ohio River, the largest river that flows into the Mississippi. The suspension bridge is a must see stop in Wheeling. A short walk from many hotels in downtown Wheeling, you can traverse the 1,000 foot bridge and see great views of the river, Wheeling, and Wheeling Island. The bridge has great historical significance. It was the original passage from the New World to the wild, wild, west.  If you’re afraid of heights or old things, prepare yourself. The bridge looks every bit of its 160 years.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

When I think of the Gulf Shores, my mind conjures up the devastating scenes of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. The homes and attractions destroyed during the storm have popped back up over the years better than ever. Gulf Shores, Alabama is a great beach town with amazing reasonably priced hotels on the beach and fun attractions like the Gulf State Park and Boardwalk. It’s possible to sit out on this boardwalk and stare at the water for hours.

Image provided by Amanda Watson via

Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama is a beautiful little city with land on two spots of the Tennessee River. I think the river loved the water so much it curled around another city to have two river coastlines. Ditto Landing is a marina and campground dedicated to preserving the natural resources. The nature reserves are regulated by the government and provide fishing, boat rides, archery, and bow lessons. Ditto Landing is only 10 minutes away from several hotels in Huntsville, but the peaceful surroundings may make a camper out of me, yet.

Image provided by Jennifer Hott-Greenway via

Little Rock, Arkansas

I spent a few days in Little Rock, Arkansas, last summer. I didn’t get the chance to see much but the inside of a nice hotel and a few bars downtown. I also saw the Junction Bridge and knew I had to come back and explore. Located outside of Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library, the trails from the library lead you into the woods and over this historical bridge. I can’t wait to check out the views over the Arkansas River.

Kissimmee, Florida

I lived in Florida for years and every time someone came to visit, they wanted to go, stay, and play in Kissimmee–the center of adult and childhood fun near Disney and Universal Studios. However, the adventure side of me always wanted to visit Shingle Creek Regional Park. Located in the Everglades, the President calls Shingle Creek America’s Great Outdoor. On the west trail a pedestrian bridge was constructed to allow hikers, bikers, and nature lovers to explore the Kissimmee lands without disturbing the natural setting.

Image provided by Steve Burns via

What are some of your favorite boardwalks, shores and bridges? 

Budget Hacks: Traveling in the Deep South for Cheap

Since my travel bug is well, bugging me, I need a vacation. I have had the privilege of traveling the world, expensed to others, but since I am on my own, I need to figure out how to feed this need on a budget. Since I live in Texas, I think a road trip in the Deep South is the answer.

Birmingham, Alabama

Strolling through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama gives me the feeling of walking through history. The city has joined modern conveniences — Thank God for Starbucks — while embracing the history of the region. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute chronicles the civil rights movement in Alabama. An all-day pass cost $12 and offers a poignant and emotional journal of a time in our history that shaped this nation.

Columbia, South Carolina

I am not an animal person, but love flowers. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is the number one must see in Columbia, South Carolina. The museum offers activities for adventurous types, as well. Get up close and personal with a giraffe or pet a kangaroo. There is a rock-climbing wall and a Sky High Safari rope course. Tickets for a day pass to the zoo are $13.95, but some of the other activities are extra.fixedw_large_4x

Photo by Noble Nolen via

Marietta, Georgia

The southern charm of Marietta, Georgia oozes out of its pores. It’s the home of the museum that celebrates the movie that personified the south, “Gone With the Wind.” The Gone with the Wind Museum features exhibits and collectibles from the movie set: Scarlett’s clothing, personal journals from the author, Margaret Mitchell, and props from the movie set. Admission to the museum is reasonable, but be careful you don’t blow your budget in the gift shop.

Bossier City, Louisiana

When you think of budget traveling, casinos might not come to mind, but the casinos in Bossier City, Louisiana will fit anyone’s budget. Casinos aren’t just for gambling. Bossier City is like a smaller, cheaper version of Las Vegas, with fewer showgirls. Margaritaville Resort Casino, owned by island crooner, Jimmy Buffett, is a tropical oasis in northern Louisiana. Stick with the breakfast and lunch buffet at the World Tour Buffet for the best prices. If you can’t resist the allure of the casino, play the penny slots. There is less pay out, but the same thrill and a penny goes a long way.

Robinsonville, Mississippi

Robinsonville, Mississippi is a small hamlet in northern Mississippi with nine casinos, but schedule your visit in October to attend the Mid-South Fair. This fair started in 1856. It includes activities and events for all ages: musical performances, livestock shows, talent shows, and rodeo. The fair also features some unique food choices. I love the idea of being at such a historically significance event. The entire region of Southern Tennessee and Northern Mississippi come out to the fair. Admission to the fair costs $25, but you are able to take in the sights and sounds of a tradition that has been around for over one hundred years.

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