4 Places To Go In The Southern States For Magical Winter Memories

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You won’t believe these 4 magical places to go in the Southern states that have incredible experiences throughout the wintertime. Have you been wondering… “where should I go for vacation in the south? Where should I vacation in the Southeast US? What places are in southern USA? or What is there to do in the South?” you’ve come to the right place. The following are the best places to visit in the Southern USA any time of year, but especially for a winter couple or family vacation. You’ll fall in love with the hospitality, mild climate, comfort food, and magical experiences throughout the entire winter season.

view of 4 places to go in the southern states for a winter vacation
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PLACES TO GO IN THE SOUTHERN STATES

Throughout my childhood, my maternal Grandfather loved nothing more than to load up our immediate family and haul us to what I know now as the best vacation spots in the southeast. From inexpensive vacations in the south to the most luxurious, there is no shortage of fabulous places around the Southeastern U.S

I blame him for my insatiable appetite for travel and desire to become the travel journalist that I am now!

Contrary to popular belief, family travel during the holidays can be absolutely magical. Some of our fondest memories have been family winter vacations. Christmastime in Charleston South Carolina and being chilly on St Simons Island and Hilton Head’s beaches during the wintertime are some of my fondest memories with my kids.

BEST GUIDES TO SOUTHERN DESTINATIONS

view of st simons lighthouse for places to go in the southern states
Winter vacation on St. Simons Island, Georgia

4 MAGICAL PLACES IN THE SOUTH TO VISIT THIS WINTER

These spots are breathtaking places to take the family that are unlike other travel destinations they’ve seen before. 

#1  DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON

One of our absolute favorite places in the South, Charleston, South Carolina never disappoints no matter what time of year. I guarantee that throughout the winter season, there are more charming experiences than you could possibly attend. 

Charleston gate pictures and one of the best places to go in the southern states
Just one of the many Christmas iron gates that dot the gorgeous city of Charleston at the holidays

Most of the magical Christmas in Charleston events last until January 1st just in case you can’t get there until after Santa’s visit. The Annual Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island (one of Charleston’s five islands) and the College of Charleston Holiday Light Show Spectacular are both especially wonderful.

January and February in Charleston don’t slow down by any means either.  Be sure to visit Charleston Restaurant Week, Charleston Jazz Festival, Lowcountry Oyster Festival, and the Southeastern Wildlife exposition just to name a few.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHARLESTON

#2 DAHLONEGA’S OLD FASHIONED CELEBRATION

December in Dahlonega Georgia is jam-packed with family activities to thrill the whole family – right in the heart of this historic gold mine town. Similar to a cozy Hallmark town (Hallmark already DID film a movie here), you’ll feel right at home in this friendly, mountain community.

view of Dahlonega Gold Museum at Christmas as one of the best places to go in the southern states
Dahlonega, Georgia Gold Museum all decked out for Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration in Historic Downtown, muffinn, cc

WATCH HALLMARK’S DAHLONEGA MOVIE TRAILER

From November 23rd through December 23rd, the already gorgeous downtown area turns into an old-fashioned, experience with caroling, Christmas tree lighting, gingerbread house contests, a Christmas Market, and more.

WHERE TO STAY IN DAHLONEGA GA

#3  BILTMORE ESTATE

It’s most likely that you’ve heard of Biltmore Estate (largest private estate in the U.S.) located in Ashville, North Carolina. It is one of the more well-known places to go in the Southern states where you can feel the wonder of Christmas. And they celebrate up until January with elegant decorations, live music, lights galore, and Candlelight Christmas Evenings. There are also many memorable events all winter.

The Biltmore room at Christmas as one of the best places to go in the southern states
Just one view of The Biltmore decorated in all its Christmas glory from one of the top floors down the spiral staircase, Caymon, cc

Close your eyes and imagine a winter getaway weekend where you can actually stay onsite at Biltmore Estate.  Crowds and prices are the lowest to visit from January 7th until March. If you want an exceptional activity, attend the Vanderbilt House Party. You can get a taste of what the Gilded Age was like. Vivid audio storytelling and displays of clothing allow you to be a guest to Biltmore in the 1900s.

STAY AT THE BILTMORE VILLAGE INN B&B

#4 OPRYLAND

Although the theme park called Opryland USA closed in 1997, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is an experience like no other. It’s truly one of the most magical places to go during the holidays in the Southern states. The atrium (pictured below) delivers an extraordinary view of larger-than-life decorations, lights, and waterfalls.

view of Opryland Tennessee as one of best places to go in the southern states
The Grand Opryland Hotel at Christmastime! denise mattox, cc

Of course, no Nashville, Tennessee family vacation would be complete without riding through the famous Music Valley Drive and catching a Show or tour at the Grand Ole Opry.

STAY AT THE GAYLORD OPRYLAND RESORT

VACATIONS IN THE SOUTH FAQs

  • Which states are truly Southern?

This was a popular question, so I’ll answer it. 

True Southern states are those who geographically appear in the lower section of the U.S. AND that participate in unique Southern culture when it comes to food, vocabulary, hospitality, and manners. When I think of the South, I think fondly of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.

  • If you consider 10 states to be southern, why do you only write about Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas?

I wish I could write about all of the Southern states but honestly, there’s not sufficient time to thoroughly cover all of them. I’d rather provide the best insider information on fewer than do a mediocre job trying to cover them all.

YOU MAY NEED…

This handy-dandy compact Travel Charging Cube is essential with its 5 ft extension cord, 3 outlets spots, and 3 USB ports! Overload protection and a fire-retardant casing protect your devices. And, at less than 2 ½ cubic inches, it’s the best space-saving tool for your travel bag.

Love it!

OTHER PLACES IN THE SOUTHEAST US TO VACATION:

Disney World Hacks 

Key West vacation ideas for families

Coastal Georgia vacations

More North Carolina vacation ideas

Places to visit in South Carolina

Whether you choose to spend your winter vacation in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, or North Carolina, I hope these details were helpful to you!

Don’t miss the BEST GUIDES TO INCREDIBLE SOUTHERN DESTINATIONS

Check the latest health updates for the states you want to visit.

PIN FOR LATER

the best places to go in the southern states in winter!

Getaway to Georgia with these flexible cancellation vacation rentals from Vrbo!

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Shan

Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️

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