So you’re planning a vacation and considering the Deep South but wondering exactly why you should visit this region of the US?
Let me convince you!
There are many reasons to visit the amazing Deep South. Here are some of my favorites…
1. The People
Southerners aren’t renowned for their hospitality for nothing. You will find the people in this part of the world to be welcoming, friendly and happy to help! From helping you with directions if you look lost to ensuring you find the best BBQ grill in town, Southerners will ensure you have a vacation to remember. Read our article about Southern hospitality here.
2. The Food
Southern food is also famous for good reason. Nothing beats a good old Southern BBQ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From the famous New Orleans po’boys to the best lemon icebox pies, you will not only never go hungry in the Deep South but never be without something delicious to eat!
3. The Beaches
Many people visit the Deep South for the beaches alone. There are just so many stunning beaches for your family vacation. From the popular Florida southern beaches to the Gulf Coast to everywhere inbetween, it is not difficult to find a great beach area which is perfect for a family vacation.
The Deep South is packed full of history. It can feel like you are walking back in time when strolling through Charleston or New Orleans’ French Quarter, not to mention places like St Augustine. There’s also many civil war sites like the battlegrounds in Vicksburg.
5. The National Parks
The Deep South is home to many of America’s most popular national parks and there are many you should try to squeeze into a Deep South vacation. There are many fun activities to enjoy in the wild like alligator spotting in the Everglades or Louisiana Bayou.
This is just my top 5 reasons. There are many more reasons why you should want to visit the Deep South! Are you ready to book?
Graceland was the home of the infamous Elvis Presley. Rich in history, this location is a must-visit on your trip through Memphis, Tennessee.
Here’s why you should consider stopping in for a visit.
The American Dream
Graceland is more than just a house. It is a symbol of the possibilities available in America.
When Elvis was young, he was poor. His parents struggled to pay the bills, and he recognized how hard they worked to give him opportunities they never had. He promised them that one day, he would buy them the biggest house in town.
Graceland is the result of his promise. Fans look to Elvis not only for his music, but also his ability to truly create the life he desired for himself and his family. They look to Elvis not only as a singer, but also as a role model for all areas of life.
In-depth tours and showings
Take a tour of Graceland to learn about the history behind the King’s mansion. On this kid-friendly tour you will visit all the main rooms of the house, getting a feel for the lifestyle Elvis enjoyed. In the Graceland Archives, see some of the most antique artifacts from the house and learn the history behind them.
Take a peak into one of Elvis’s favorite rooms; The Jungle Room! With an exotic look this space was built to remind Elvis of Hawaii, one of his favorite places to vacation and tour.
Next, visit the impressive Trophy Building. See not only Elvis’s vast collection of gold and platinum records, but also his movies and the result of his charitable outreach. As a last stop on the tour, visit the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and his family are buried. Join millions of fans who have come to pay their final respects to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Bring a memory home with you from the gift shop!
Load up on your Elvis gear before leaving! Whether you want an Elvis shirt, mug, or even sunglasses, it is all available here for you to choose from. Special house décor is available, or you can pick up some CD’s and play some tunes all the way home!
Want to relive the story some evening in the future? Buy an educational DVD and learn even more about Elvis and his rise to fame.
Your kids will love the Elvis themed toys available for purchase. Teddy bears in leather jackets, games, puzzles, and more are all here to delight and entertain!
Virginia Beach is a beautiful location to visit with the family. Especially in autumn when the trees turn bright red and orange, Virginia Beach is an ideal location to spend a weekend.
Have kids? Virginia beach has many family friendly attractions for everyone to enjoy!
The Best Attractions For Families
The Virginia Aquarium is a perfect location for your child’s imagination to run wild. Catch swimming animals with your hands and observe the beauty of the ocean in observation tanks featuring exotic animals from around the world.
Another great location to stop for an afternoon is First Landing State Park, the primary site of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. Rich in American history, this area has seen activity from Native American canoes, settlers, traders, as well as modern cargo ships. Brush up on your history as your kids run along the shore and play in the waves.
Whether you’re an expert angler or just want to bring the kids out on the water you’ll love the fishing options available at Virginia Beach. Located near Chesapeake Bay, the open Atlantic Ocean, and many small freshwater waterways, there are opportunities available no matter what your skill level or preferred location.
Reel in some world-class offshore action or bring the kids to a calmer inland location for a day of excitement and anticipation. No matter what you’re looking for in a fishing experience, Virginia Beach has the perfect experience for you.
The Best Dining Options
If you like to fish, you will love participating in a ‘Catch and Cook’ evening with a participating restaurant in the area. Simply join a charter fishing tour with one of the providers in the area and bring your catch to a local participating restaurant. (Options Include: Rudee’s, Croc’s 19th Street Bistro, Murphy’s Irish Pub, and Waterman’s Surfside Grill) They’ll cook it for you and you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards from your adventure earlier that day!
If you want to dine like a local, there are many delicious restaurants along the beach itself! These locations range from family oriented eateries to high-end locations for a romantic evening with the sweetheart. For a map of these beach restaurants, visit this link.
Have a sweet tooth? Check out some of the local chocolate factories in the area! For a taste of homemade European style chocolates try the Schakolad Chocolate Factory. Care for an exquisite fondue? The Royal Chocolate is as good as it gets!
Looking for something stronger? Six breweries are in the Virginia Beach area for you to explore. You will need to leave the kids at home for this one unfortunately as they won’t be allowed inside on the tour.
Places to Stay
You will have no shortage of places to stay in Virginia Beach, and you’ll be able to find affordable lodging on nearly any budget! For a slightly more expensive option, check out the Vacations Homes lining the water. Condo rentals are also available, as well as many lovely bed and breakfast locations.
A large number of hotels are also available. Many are located along the shore just a short walking distance from the main attractions and restaurants.
Virginia Beach is conveniently located within a day’s drive of most American cities in the northeast. City specific directions are listed below.
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia – Travel south on I-95.
Quebec, Montreal, Toronto (Canada) – Travel south on I-81.
Washington, Richmond, Williamsburg – Travel east on I-64.
Raleigh – Travel north on I-95.
Charlotte – Travel north on I-85.
Once you arrive, you’ll want to make your way to one of the eight parking garages stretching along the coastline. Once your car is taken care of, you will be free to enjoy all the wonderful experiences Virginia Beach has to offer!
Did you know the USA is the second most visited destination in the world?
After France, more people visit the USA than any other country and it is not surprising. There is so much diversity in the south of this country, let alone in the rest. What is also interesting is that Americans travel domestically more than any other nation on earth. Read some more fun facts below, and for your next trip, consider visiting the south.
You can also read why you should visit the Deep South here!
Southern Hospitality is known the world over. Strangers know that they will be welcomed with open arms when traveling through this part of the United States.
It’s not possible to put a finger on exactly what defines Southern Hospitality, but here are a few things you may expect when acting as a guest to Southern hosts.
The Best Food
It is custom to give guests access to the best stores in the house when they come knocking. This has been tradition for well over 100 years. Cakes and delicacies are shared and guests are told to ask if they feel even the slightest discomfort.
Moving to the South? Expect your neighbors to show up with lavish gifts of delicious food! It’s a custom dating back over 100 years, and is an integral part of how Southern communities come together.
As a guest in the South, you will always be treated with high levels of respect. If you are a woman, doors will be opened for you. Terms such as ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’ and commonly used to show respect.
Hosts are aware that you may be uncomfortable in a new, unfamiliar setting. Therefore they will always strive to help you feel at home. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to a church function to become acquainted with the neighbors!
Help When In Need
If you’re traveling alone without a place to stay, have no fear. Southern hospitality still applies!
Knocking on a stranger’s door and asking for help may get you strange looks in most of the United States Here, however, you will most likely be greeted with a smile and genuine interest towards how you can be helped.
If you don’t have a place to stay for the night, asking for help could get you a place to sleep as well as dinner, drinks, and an invitation to a party going on that night. Don’t head to the South demanding that strangers wait on you hand and foot (of course), but don’t be surprised when you end up getting more assistance and care than you really need.
The South Welcomes You!
Whether you are just passing through or purchasing a permanent residence, you will be delighted by the respect and care neighbors and friends direct your way.
If you’re only staying for a short period of time, you will leave with fond memories. If you plan on staying for longer, you will feel a sense of connection to the community that is often lacking outside the South.
After parents decide what to take on a Deep South trip, the next question is which is the best stroller. The myriad of options can be confusing to parents, especially if they haven’t traveled to the Deep South before and unsure of what the facilities are like. Here are our recommendations…
Definitely bring an umbrella stroller. Whether you are flying or driving down, an umbrella stroller is compact and easy to take up and down hotel stairs. Unless you are planning on going hiking with your stroller, then an all terrain stroller is unnecessary.
There are many great options that would be suitable for the Deep South. The Baby Jogger City Select is very popular, but any lightweight umbrella stroller will do the job. If you do not already own one, check out these reviews of the best umbrella strollers to help you decide.
If you have two kids, a lightweight side by side double stroller is the best choice. Again, you want one that takes up limited room and is not too heavy to carry up and down stairs. Most side by side strollers have no problems fitting through doorways in the Deep South, so this is not a concern. The Chicco Echo Twin Stroller is a good choice or check out some more of the best side by side double strollers.
If you hate the idea of bringing your own stroller to the Deep South, they are often available at the big theme parks. Places like Disney World allow you to hire them. Bigger cities will also have companies that will hire them to you.
Another alternative is to use a baby wrap. A baby wrap is a great way to carry around your baby so you can have your hands free to do other things while your baby feels safe and secure. It has the added benefit of being small and lightweight so it fits easily in your luggage. There are many great wrap options and they are quite economical as well.
So the answer to the best stroller to take around the Deep South? Whatever option most appeals to you, but keep it lightweight so that it fits in your trunk or on the plane and is not too difficult for you to carry around.
I tend to stay in a wide range of accommodation types when I am travelling around the south. With kids, this becomes even more necessary as I try and keep costs down, allowing my family and I a chance to see and do more, rather than spending money on where we sleep. Touring and vacations can be expensive, so I try to minimize the costs where I can. Taking our kids bedding with us is a big help.
Taking What You Need With You
It is something I started doing when we traveled as a family with out first born. Babies need many things, and that includes bedding. Taking a portable travel crib for our baby, I realized that a familiar, constant, bed time environment helped our baby get to sleep quicker. Sleep was more settled and better as well; sleeping in provided bassinets or cribs didn’t result in the same good night’s sleep for everyone.
Having realized this I tried to take as much of the bedding/bed equipment that we needed as was possible. Traveling by car made this easier.
Budget (and Free) Accommodation
I’ve talked before about how to keep the costs of accommodation down. We make a big effort to stay with people we know. Budget accommodation helps in that by and large kids are free. You pay for the room and not how many people are staying. If you bring your own beds, and bedding, you don’t need to pay for extra beds.
When we stay at other people’s places, such as relatives, it can be very welcome if you bring your own bedding. This lessens the impact on your host.
Between using these two options as our main source of accommodation, I’ve become used to packing and taking bedding for kids when traveling around the South.
What We Use
Now our kids are older, we don’t take travel cribs. Instead I like to use self-inflating mattresses, like the type hikers and campers use, because of their low weight and size when not in use.
These work well in rooms with a carpet and underlay floor. It isn’t the softest bed ever but it reasonably comfortable with a good pillow. On harder surfaces I’ve experimented with bringing our own foam underlay as well as inflatable mattresses but these take up much more space.
Inflatable mattresses work well when we have the space but require that something be brought along to inflate the mattresses, as something like a reversible vacuum cleaner or even a pump is rarely available.
On The Bed
On the bed itself, I try to keep things as much like home as possible. To do that I try and bring the same bedding the kids use. We bring their pillow from home, for example, with their favorite cases on them to help with the sense of continuity.
I’ve found the best choice for bed covering isn’t blankets but instead are some smaller goose down comforters, like toddler down comforters, that feel like what our kids use at home (just a bit smaller).
Sheets and blankets can feel nice but the goose down comforters are able to keep the kids warmer than a similar weight or volume of blankets. Plus it makes the kids feel like they are sleeping in their own beds. We don’t take the full sized ones we use at home, instead we try and find smaller ones that are big enough to cover the kids, but small enough to pack in a car and carry around.
Traveling, whether by yourself or with company can already be a stressful experience for many. Traveling with a baby, however, brings with it a whole new set of daunting scenarios that can drive even the sanest person bananas. The key to keeping your sanity and enjoying an adventure with your bundle of joy is to have an optimistic outlook and being very well prepared for your trip. First things first, babies aren’t as fragile as we are made to believe. Let go of your paranoia a bit and start planning for the things you need to have handy to make your trip a memorable one.
Whether it’s a quick jaunt to the grocery, an excursion to the beach or a long-haul flight to see the grannies, here’s a quick rundown of what to take when traveling with babies:
The Absolute Must Haves
Keep in mind that babies, especially in the first 8 months, are designed to basically eat, sleep, poop, wee and coo (not necessarily in this order). So, anything even remotely associated with any of these 5 basic activities are an absolute must have!
Although many accommodation providers in the Deep South do provide cribs, it is a great idea to take your own. This way you don’t have to worry about a hotel not providing a suitable, safe crib and your baby will sleep better when they are sleeping in an environment that they are used to. The best travel cribs are well designed and very compact, made especially for travel. There are also special travel beds if your baby is starting to approach older toddlerdom.
Food and Formula
Babies need to eat, and they need to eat all the time (or so it seems). If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, then good for you! This means all you need is one boob and one baby, and you’re good to go. For those who choose the formula route: have a good enough number of bottles to cover your travel time, plus enough water and formula to ensure baby’s appetite is covered. If baby has started eating solids, make sure you’ve got his favorite cereal, fruit, juice, water and purees on hand. Pack them in serving size portions to keep mess to a minimum.
Diapers, lots of them. Whether you choose disposable diapers or go the cloth diapering way, lots of diapers, must have, period. Don’t forget all the other gadgets and gizmos that make modern nappy changing a breeze: baby wipes, changing pad, rash ointment, wet bag (especially for those who use cloth, comes in handy for soiled bibs and clothes, too) and hand sanitizer.
Extra clothes, enough said. No need to bring the entire closet, but make sure you have enough with an extra set or two, and make sure they are appropriate for the climate.
Baby carriers allow you to be “hands-free”. Bring your stroller or favorite baby carrier (sling, wrap or pouch) with you.
Good to have, just in case
Think of things that would make travel easier for you and more comfortable for baby. Say you’re going on a long drive, his favorite car seat, a nursing pillow, some favorite toys and teethers would be good to have. If you’re going to the beach then add sunscreen, beach umbrella and beach blanket to the list.
Worst Case Scenarios
It’s best to be ready for any circumstance, so have a first-aid kit on hand complete with medication baby may need like allergy drops, saline drops for stuffy nose, insect repellant and your pediatrician’s number on speed dial.
Traveling with your baby need not be such a daunting experience. With a little extra planning and being ready with baby’s travel essentials, an excursion could do wonders for your spirit and be a wonderful learning experience for your little one.
Still worried? Here are some more suggestions about traveling with kids from parents.com.
Nothing is as well known in the Deep South as hospitality. Guests are taken care of to the highest standards, just as they have been for over one hundred of years.
Taking a leisurely weekend to relax in a Southern bed and breakfast is a great way to forget about the kids for a few days while sharing romantic moments with your sweetheart.
Only one question remains. Which of these beautiful guesthouses should I visit? Each has it’s own unique benefits and perks. How does one make a decision?
Though the best advice (perhaps for those with the deepest pockets) would be to visit every location at some point, this perhaps is not the most useful advice for you.
Below is a list of seven of the best guesthouses in the Deep South. Whichever one you pick, you’re sure to have an amazing weekend.
The Swag – Waynesville, NC
Located just an hour away from Asheville, The Swag is both rustic and refined. A gateway opens at the bottom of a mountain and you must drive up 1,000 feet to the stunning house location. Hiking is a must while staying here, and all food is provided for the duration of your stay! Read more.
Two Meeting Street Inn – Charleston, SC
Want beautiful guest rooms challenged only by the stunning river views from your window? If so, this may be the guesthouse for you. Enjoy a book while resting in the window seats built into the turrets of this bed and breakfast. Then, take a long walk down the waterfront for a relaxing afternoon. Spend your evenings resting on the front porch enjoying the cool breeze after a delicious dinner. Read more.
St. Francis Inn – St. Augustine, FL
Enjoy a moment looking out from your private balcony. Sink into a deep whirlpool tub provided in your private suite. Feeling chatty? Head to the afternoon social hour and make friends with the other guests while spending a weekend in one of Florida’s oldest cities. This is a perfect location for a romantic weekend getaway!
Inn Above Onion Creek – Kyle, TX
Remember the scene of the couple sitting on the porch resting in old rocking chairs; idly waiting and watching the busy world pass by? Relax into this idyllic Texan scene from your private balcony overlooking the beautiful Hill Country. Want to relax in a warm shower or bath? The view comes with you! Many of their bathrooms (‘loos with a view’) provide sunset views while you bathe. With Austin just 35 minutes away, its no wonder this location has become so popular.
The Twelve Oaks – Covington, GA
Recently named one of the Top 10 Luxury Inns in the world, you will love your stay at this beautiful southern bed and breakfast. Built in 1836, this house contains 8 guest rooms equipped with luxury bathing and linens. Without losing its old southern appeal, this guesthouse has been renovated with Wi-Fi, iPhone docks, television, and air conditioning for your comfort and convenience.
For the full antique experience, try their ‘ribbed’ shower from the late 1800’s. You’ll be hard pressed to find this unique opportunity (once the highest luxury of it’s time) anywhere else.
Mountain Harbor Inn – Dandridge, TN
Every suite has a beautiful view of the lake at this idyllic bed and breakfast and behind the scenic Douglas Lake lie the Great Smoky Mountains. A stay here will allow you access to a romantic sunset cruise and a beautiful breakfast spread in the morning. A candlelight desert experience is also provided in the evening, perfect for those summer nights with a cool breeze.
Devereaux Shields House – Natchez, MS
Featuring Queen Anne Victorian design, this bed and breakfast delights guests with turrets, elaborate sash and bay windows, and a beautiful wrap around front porch. Surrounded by carefully tended gardens, this location offers six guestrooms. Wake up to delicious, award winning, locally harvested breakfast. Ask for directions from the friendly staff and take a tour into Natchez for a day of shopping, dining, and touring antique plantation homes.
Southern hospitality is alive and well!
Southern hosts take pride in how they treat their guests, and you can expect only the best from a visit to any one of the locations mentioned above.
When it comes to delicious food, you will find only the most enjoyable. When considering the staff, you will find only the most friendly and attentive individuals waiting on your every need. Care for a scenic stroll or hike, the South will offer you the best you can imagine.
A quick online search will help you decide which guesthouse you would like to experience first. Be careful though; after a short weekend visit at one of these locations, (leaving the kids and your worries behind) you may find it challenging to return home!
Disney World is perhaps on every family’s list of dream vacations. For many parents, especially those with very young children, a trip to the magic kingdom can be a stressful and daunting prospect. Many try to delay their visit until their children are a bit older so they can better enjoy or even remember their trip. However, there are benefits of traveling even with very young children, and a trip to Disney World at any age should always be a magical experience.
Plan ahead and do your research
Any time is always a good time to visit Disney, but some times are always better than others. If you can, avoid peak seasons like holidays and school vacations. While Disney World may have shorter park hours during off-peak times, the smaller crowds allow you to see and enjoy the park even better than the peak times. Don’t forget to do your research and scout around online for off-season promos and special tour packages.
Planning ahead can also help you better decide whether to stay in a Disney Hotel or choose outside accommodations. Weigh your options well, as staying in a hotel on the property can have its advantages that can more than make up for the added cost. Staying inside the property gives you an early head start on exploring the park, no need to join the opening lines. For those with very young children, an onsite hotel gives you the advantage of having your rooms a short distance away, easily being able to take a rest or nap, especially during the hot midday hours. This could be very important to avert meltdowns from your over stimulated little ones.
Have a stroller
Whether you choose to rent Disney strollers or rent from an outside company or even bring your own, have a stroller on hand. A stroller allows you your own quick resting spot, a place to put all your stuff in, a convenient way to whiz the kids around and of course a stroller saves you having to carry exhausted kids and other stuff back to your hotel. Find out what best suits your needs and plan accordingly. There are lots of stroller “parking areas” within the park for when you go on attractions.
Bring what you can
Bringing your own food can save you a lot of cash instead of buying in the park. Especially if you have young kids, bringing a stash of their favorite snacks is a good way to make sure your kids are nourished, without having to break the bank. Save your Disney dining for the character meals and a Mickey ice cream as an end of the day treat. Bring your own water bottle too! Save yourself having to buy expensive water by using your own bottle and filling up at the water fountains found all around the park.
Remember to have fun
No matter how old your kids are, remember that the whole point of visiting Disney World is to have fun. Even if you have a pre-planned itinerary, don’t force yourself to stick to it to the letter. Learn to adjust to situations as they crop up and let the children take the lead. No need to rush through all the rides, instead choose the ones that best suit your child’s mood and temperament. Snap a photo or two for posterity and enjoy your stay.
Visiting Disney World with your kids can perhaps be one of the most memorable things you can do as a family. So don’t stress, do your leg work and look forward to a memorable time at the magic kingdom.