Unique Places to Visit in the South in 2018

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The idea of domestic travel in the U.S. has become more popular in recent years, particularly among Millennial travelers.

While going abroad is great, sometimes there are gems to be found in the U.S. as well if you know where to look.

With the sharing economy and the rise of sites like Outdoorsy that offer peer-to-peer RV rental, there are so many unique ways to approach travel as well.

One area that has plenty of excellent travel opportunities is the American south, so if you’re planning a trip, where are some must-see spots for 2018?

Birmingham, Alabama

CNN Travel recently recognized Birmingham, Alabama as one of the best places to travel in the south, thanks to the food and the outdoor activities.

Some of the places you should make sure you see in the southern city include Red Mountain Park, which features treehouses, scenic overlooks of the city, and zip lining, as well as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

If you want to see the picturesque mountain town come to life, Blowing Rock is the ideal place to visit.

This small town is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is highly walkable in the town core, and is full of southern charm.

You can drive the Blue Ridge Parkway or visit the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, check out some of the local artisans and craftspeople, or do some shopping in the downtown area.

Of course, there’s also plenty of hiking to be done and lots of outdoors activities, as well as the nearby Sugar Mountain ski area.

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville is known for horse races at Churchill Downs and all those hats and mint juleps, but there’s more to this southern city than that.

The city also has some great bourbon, food, and architecture.

You can take a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum as an example, or visit the Louisville Zoo. Another option is to do a walking tour of some of the most well-known architectural sites in the city, including Bray Place, the Brown Hotel, and the Calvary Episcopal Church.

Gulf Shores Alabama

Gulf Shores is a casual, laid-back place to visit where you can go to outdoor bars and restaurants or attend a concert at The Wharf which is where the Hangout Music Fest is held.

The Florida-Alabama shore is becoming increasingly popular among travelers who want to go south for the beaches, the weather, the music and the fun, party-like atmosphere.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington is a coastal town in North Carolina that has a little bit of something for everyone.

You can visit the historic waterfront downtown area which is on the river and offers bars, restaurants, and shopping, or you can go toward Wrightsville Beach, which is just a few miles from downtown and offers all of the charm you would expect from a North Carolina beach town.

It’s a beautiful area that appeals to a wide variety of traveler interests.

Knoxville, TN

Finally, when you think about visiting Tennessee you may automatically think Nashville, but around two hours to the east is Knoxville.

Knoxville is located in the valley of the Smoky Mountains, and has a bohemian feel in the downtown area, with the bars, restaurants, and artisans of Market Square. It’s also great for lovers of the outdoors, with biking, hiking, and paddling opportunities all located near the center of the city.