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Relaxing in Bed and Breakfasts in the Deep South

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.

guesthouse room

Bed and Breakfasts can make for a great weekend escape

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!

B and B not for you? Check out our other tips for finding accommodation in the Deep South with kids.

Visiting Disney World with Kids

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.

magic kingdom disney world

The magical Magic Kingdom

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.

FAQ: What is the best stroller to take to the Deep 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…

best umbrella stroller in the deep south

Umbrella Strollers

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.

Double Strollers

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.

Stroller Alternatives?

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.

What To Take When Traveling With Babies

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.

travel with babies

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!

Travel Crib

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

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.

Clothes

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.

Other Items

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.

Popular Places to visit in the Deep South with Kids

The southern United States is a favorite region for family vacations as it offers a wide variety of destinations ranging from scenic mountain getaways, historical cities, beachside retreats and environmental wonders. The rich history and vibrant cultures of the southern states have made them a top choice for traveling families.

miami beach

The famous Miami Beach

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For the adventurous family looking for some quality time with nature, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a range of camping and outdoor recreation activities perfect for those who love the great outdoors. Ranked one of the most popular national park destinations in the United States, families can enjoy bonding and enjoying quality time camping amidst the splendor of its cloud embraced mountains, hiking through its panoramic landscape or riding the rapids. Its observation tower at Clingmans Dome offers a unique vantage point of the entire park and allows one to wonder and be in awe of the beauty and majesty of nature.

New Orleans

A visit down south would never be complete without a stop at one of its most vibrant and culturally rich cities, New Orleans. Famed for its Mardi Gras, families are sure to get a full-dose of the unique Cajun and Creole culture that embraces everyday life in this southern city. One of the United States key historical cities, the streets of New Orleans breathes history, with its buildings famed as architectural gems. Its numerous museums and unique attractions are a great way to transform a family vacation into a truly enriching educational immersion especially for families with school-aged kids.

Florida

Florida is another favorite southern destination for families. Perhaps it is most popular for the family theme parks in Orlando but the Sunshine state offers more than just exhilarating rides and recreation. Perfect for sun-loving families, Florida’s famed beaches are a silent backdrop for a region replete in American history. Its cities offer a range of activities from the laid back modern lifestyle of Miami, to the historically rich streets and cultural landscape of Jacksonville, Florida remains a favorite southern destination for families.

Tennessee

For the musically inclined brood, a visit to Tennessee is an immersion in the rich history of American music. Home of rock and roll, blues and country music, this southern state flourishes in the beat and rhythm of its musical heritage. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, covers a range of interests sure to enrich any family vacation. More than just a music lover’s destination, the state of Tennessee is also an important national cornerstone for US history with museums and landmarks sure to contribute to enriching every family’s appreciation for American heritage and culture.

The southern United States remains a popular vacation destination for families. The diversity of its culture, the southern role in American history, the stark differences of their geography, gives this region the unique opportunity for having something of interest for everyone. With a thriving tourism industry, the southern states offer the comfort and amenities vital for traveling families without depriving them of the opportunity to truly immerse in a culturally and historically rich vacation experience.

You can also read our suggestions for Alabama.

Finding Accommodation on a Trip to the US South

When traveling with family, one of the most important considerations is having a safe and comfortable place to stay. Unlike most travelers, families, especially those with infants and young children, have special and unique circumstances that need to be taken into consideration. Safety and comfort are paramount, but often, families who travel are on a limited budget, and thus cost of accommodations also becomes a primary concern for the traveling brood.

Budget motel chains are a good option

Budget motel chains are a good option

The southern United States is a favorite destination for many traveling families. The diversity of cultures and the rich history of the southern states have made the south an important tourist get-away. With a little research and preparation, a family vacation to enjoy southern hospitality need not be a stressful and expensive experience.

Find friends and family

Perhaps the cheapest and most rewarding way to finding accommodations down south is to get them for free! Check your preferred destinations and see if you have family and friends who are willing and able to have you spend some time with them. While your accommodations may not be as comfortable as say staying at your own hotel (think sleeping on sofa beds or bunking down with the kids in their living room), spending time with family and friends allows you a free stay with the added bonus of getting to reconnect with loved ones and enjoying true southern hospitality and home cooked southern meals. After all, folks down south are famous for their love of family company.

Surf the net

The internet is rich with information and tips on the most affordable and comfortable family accommodations. Make the most of this invaluable resource when scouting around for a place to stay in the south. Many travel booking sites like expedia.com can even bundle in accommodations with their tour packages. This cuts you the costs and the stress of having to individually book flight arrangements, tours and lodging. You may also check the websites of the local hotels and family lodges at your destination. Many offer promos and discounts and special packages for the traveling family. Many sites also offer alternative accommodation arrangements like home exchanges or farm stays and even short rentals for southern vacation homes.

Ask around. Read around.

Word of mouth is often the best way to find the best accommodations for your family’s need. Ask relatives and friends who have visited the places you plan to go to. They may offer the best tips on the places to stay, visit or eat. They may even help you find the places to avoid altogether. Many online booking sites also have reviews from former guests. Make sure to read them before you book your stay. There are many family oriented online resources you may visit to read about recommended places for families. Travel bloggers often have the most insightful reviews of their experiences and thus offer honest and unbiased opinions about your potential travel accommodation. Before deciding on your stay in any one place, take the time to ask and read about other people’s experiences. The extra effort could go a long way in saving you from any vacationing nightmares.

Finding accommodations for your vacation down south need not be too much of a headache. Nowadays, finding a suitable place for your stay in the southern USA is as easy as a few simple clicks, and you’re on your way.

Read some more budget travel hints.

How to Travel on a Budget Around the US South

The Southern United States prides itself in having a wide array of destinations and experiences to choose from. From historic cities and panoramic mountains to pristine beaches, the South has something for everyone to enjoy. Rich in history and diverse cultures, the south also presents a marvelous opportunity to double as an educational experience for the children. Planning a trip with the entire brood need not be expensive. Here are some ways to enjoy Southern hospitality without having to break the bank…

The famous Bourbon Street, New Orleans

The famous Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Budget, research and plan early

Plan your trip wisely and in advance. When you book your vacations early, chances are you get the best deals for your money. Plus, the head start gives you the time to do your research and plan your route and itinerary. You can choose to take advantage of family tour packages that cover almost everything you may need like airfares, transfers and accommodations, museum fees and the like, just make sure those tempting promo rates have no hidden charges.

For the more DIY families, it pays to check independent services available in the south, like hotel promos with free meals, car rentals, bus tours and walking guided tours. Always keep in mind how much you’re ready to spend and work within that. Today’s online community makes it a breeze to find the best deals, so take advantage of that and click away.

Explore your options

If packaged deals are not for you, scout around for alternative arrangements. For example, if you have relatives or friends down south, appeal to their Southern hospitality and ask to stay with them for free accommodation, making sure of course that you will be perfect house guests. Or, if a long road trip is more your speed, perhaps driving would be best for you. Just make sure the cost of petrol is a better budget alternative to flying and paying for public transport. If you own a mobile home or find a great deal on hiring one, then certainly this could cut costs on a lot of things since you can cook your own food and have a place to sleep in for free.

Having your own vehicle gives you the freedom of exploring off the tourist trail and finding cheaper adventures. There are many ways you can also plan meals in your itinerary. You can bring your own food and just decide on limited times to enjoy local cuisine or find yourself friends to host lunch or dinner for you.

Embrace creativity and adventure

Exploring the southern states presents a lot of opportunity for cheap fun and adventure. Get creative. There are many ways to enjoy without necessarily having to spend a dime. Walk when you can to better enjoy the local scenery. Find festivals in the area where you get to sample southern cuisine for free. Make friends with the locals, and you may get discounts or freebies on meals and souvenirs. Explore the public parks and galleries or inquire about schedules for free museum tours. Ask around for where the local families go to eat, they may not be on the tourist trail but chances are they serve authentic meals and are way cheaper than the usual tourist haunts.

So plan early, research, get creative and look forward to a memorable trip down south, without having to worry about leaving a hole in the family budget.

Read some more budget travel tips.

Exploring Alabama

There are many great states to visit in the Southern USA and one of these is Alabama.  Alabama has many attractions for families that are fantastic for kids.  Here are some of our favourites!

Fun Dauphin street in Mobile

Fun Dauphin street in Mobile

1. Mobile

A trip to Alabama is not complete without a visit to its Gulf Coast.  Mobile is the major city in this area and it is has great attractions for kids.  In addition to visiting the fun Dauphin Street with its great eating choices, families should not miss the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center.  This science museum is fabulous for kids of all ages.  Fort Conde is also a great place to visit so the kids can have a run around while learning some of the history of the area.

2. Gulf Coast

While visiting Mobile. families should also stay by the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast.  If the stunning beaches are not enough, there is also the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and the 18 acre Waterville USA theme park among many other kid perfect attractions.

3. Birmingham

Birmingham also has a fabulous science museum for families at the McWane Science Center.  This is highly recommended.  There is also the not to be missed Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  This museum should be on the must go list of all Americans.  It is interactive which makes it ideal for families.

4. Hunstville

Hunstsville is home to the US Space and Rocket Center.  This unmissable attraction is sure to be a hit with your kids with many rockets to explore.  Nearby, you can also visit the whacky Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro to do some shopping.  This is where all the unclaimed baggage in America ends up.

5. Montgomery

No trip to Alabama is complete without a visit to the state capitol. This historic building has been the site of many great events.  While you are here, families should also check out the Children’s Museum of Alabama – guaranteed to please.

If you are looking for more Alabama suggestions, check out alabama.travel