The Deep South evokes images of food, history, and music. The thing is, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what area this region covers. There are those that would then argue that the deep south is more of a cultural concept than one that is encapsulated by geographical borders. What isn’t disputed is that at its heart is in New Orleans, but if you’re looking to get a full experience of this area, you’ll want to consider these five other cities beyond soupy gumbo and Mardi Gras.
Charleston, South Carolina
Wandering around Charleston’s Historic District is a journey back in time. Church steeples dominate the low skyline, stately salons with a distinctive Southern style line the streets, and horse-drawn carriages have the right-of-way. It’s no wonder that Charleston has been voted one of the Best Small Cities in the U.S. Book a Charleston hotel and you won’t regret experiencing the best grits on earth, the warmth of the ocean breeze, and the incredibly friendly locals.
Panama City, Florida
While Florida isn’t normally associated with the Deep South, if you go by the rules set in the 19th century when the Confederacy was formed, the Sunshine State would be included alongside Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. In modern times, Florida is on its own, but a big part of the Deep South is that coastal curve along the Gulf of Mexico where Panama City lies. The “Pan Handle” area lays claim to some of the worlds best beaches, and in any tour around the Deep South, this is the perfect spot to fit in a little R&R.
Newport News, Virginia
Steeped in maritime history that spans over a century, there is a lot of naval history to see and learn about in Newport News. The Mariner’s Museum has 60,000 square feet of rare maps and nautical instruments, and the USS Monitor Center preserves the remains of the first ironclad warship. In addition, there are a number of Civil War battle sites here to explore. Fun fact: Newport News Shipbuilding is the only shipyard in the country capable of building nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
New Braunfels, Texas
Located northeast of San Antonio, New Braunfels is a city that brings together the character of its German namesake with old-world Texas charm and beauty. There are a number of heritage sites in the Historical District of Gruene, but what really draws people here are splash-filled activities. Whether you’re sliding at Schlitterbahn WaterPark Resort, floating down the Guadalupe River, spelunking in the Natural Bridge Caverns, or swimming the waters at Canyon Lake, you’re guaranteed to get your fill of outdoor adventure.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Last but not least is Morgantown, which sits along the banks of the Monongahela River. It’s first and foremost a university town, with West Virginia University taking center stage. This means that this is a great stop along a road trip to watch a college football game. The West Virginia Mountaineers are the home team, but there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be playing historically elite teams like Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and others. If football isn’t your thing, there’s a reason why the home team is called the Mountaineers: there are bountiful rock formations for all levels of rock climbing here.
Featured image via Flickr by danhacker