Calling all Southerners

Any tips for places to see and things to do in Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida* (particularly the Panhandle) and the Carolinas that I might miss thumbing through tourist guides? Particularly goofy fun things that a 3 year old might enjoy, as well as hole in the wall breakfast spots, and good places to watch a sunrise or swim. (Yes, I know the water is probably cold now, but you’re talking to a crew who has swum with snow falling, and has to be forcibly dragged out of the waters in Massachusetts and Maine in April.)

*Grunty used to live in Key West, and my brother lives in a small town on the Atlantic, so I think we have the rest of Florida covered.

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14 responses to “Calling all Southerners

  1. What? You’re not heading through VA?

    I, of course, love New Orleans. Cafe du Monde for yummy beignets is a must. The Audubon Zoo is wonderful too, though I’m sure those things are in the guide books. A swamp tour can also be a good time.

    Have fun on your journey. I’m so jealous!!

  2. ML, you have mail. 🙂

    Just to clarify: this is only one segment of the trip. There’s more.

  3. Since you’ve gone vegan, I can’t recommend the best BBQ place in the world, which is Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ in Memphis. However, they do also serve fantastic sweet potato pie and something scrumptious called “sock it to me cake.” Otherwise, I don’t know too much about the south. I can’t wait to find out what you discover.

  4. If it is not too far out of your way I heart The Lost Sea (but I am a science nerd) in Sweetwater, TN. You go on a pretty corny guided tour of the cave but it is still a cave! Although more fun in the summer when it is really hot outside so maybe next road trip.

    http://www.thelostsea.com/home.htm

    I am a swimming fanatic but it is hard to explain how to get to most of the places I go. I’ll try and think harder.

    Of course, there is Graceland but that is a ‘big’ trip probably. Still, nothing beats the TV room IMO (love canary yellow vinyl). And Nashville has a lot of cool stuff, too.

  5. If it is not too far out of your way I heart The Lost Sea (but I am a science nerd) in Sweetwater, TN. You go on a pretty corny guided tour of the cave but it is still a cave! Although more fun in the summer when it is really hot outside so maybe next road trip.

    http://www.thelostsea.com/home.htm

    I am a swimming fanatic but it is hard to explain how to get to most of the places I go. I’ll try and think harder.

    Of course, there is Graceland but that is a ‘big’ trip probably. Still, nothing beats the TV room IMO (love canary yellow vinyl). And Nashville has a lot of cool stuff, too.

  6. As much as we’ve traveled the U.S. those are the exact states we still have yet to explore. I’m DYING to get to Florida, myself.

    Thanks for the nice blog comments, and I agree, you should reroute to the SW! LOL

  7. Where in the Carolina’s are you visiting?

  8. In Atlanta, stop by Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. They have a great exhibit of Alice’s Wonderland now. Also, The High Museum offers “Toddler Tuesdays” with (free?) activities for kids and a chance to see the museum for parents. There’s the aquarium (over-priced and too crowded), The Fernbank Museum of Natural History (oft overlooked), The Center for Puppetry Arts is FANTASTIC.

    One commenter mentioned you being vegan, so definitely stop by Power Plant (Edgewood and Boulevard), Soul Vegetarian (on North Highland), The Flying Biscuit (10th street or McClendon), Cafe Sunflower (on Peachtree), R. Thomas (on Peachtree) and Noodle (a few locations around the city).
    And because no trip to Atlanta would be complete without it, you must stop by The Varsity!

    You’ve got my brain working now! I’m sure I could think of more things. Here’s a quick link for kid-friendly stuff: http://www.atlantakids.net/atlantakids_attractions/atlantakids_attractions_landing.htm
    Shoot me an email if you have more questions. I’ll be back stateside in 2 weeks.

    Coop

  9. In Arkansas, check out Blanchard Springs Cavern in North central part of the state just south of Mountain Home. Very interesting,very good tour and worth the stop. Rivals Carlsbad (smaller scale), Natural Bridges Caverns at New Braunfels, Texas and Caverns of Sonora in Sonora, Texas among the best cave tours in the USA. Also if you or anyone in your family are golfers, stop at Hot Springs Village which is a retirement community 13 miles north of Hot Springs on State Highway 7. There are many places to rent such as condo’s etc for a short stay and there are 9 eighteen hole golf courses to choose from to try your luck. All are in exceptional condition and this remains a hidden gem not known to many.
    In Florida, Pensacola in the panhandle is a very nice city to visit. The beaches there are the MOST beautiful in the US and they extend from Pensacola Beach some 60 to 80 miles down the coast to Destin and Ft Walton Beach. It is a little cool this time of the year, but the sand is pure white and the water reminds one of the water in the Bahamas. You can drive from Pensacola Beach right down the island to Navarre where you cross back over onto the mainland and this is a beautiful drive. The roads were wrecked by the hurricane that hit that area prior to Katrina, but I understand they have been repaired and are open. All this area is part of the Gulf Seashore National Park and worth a trip to see and enjoy.
    In Florida also and also on the West Coast is Sanibel Island which is the grand daddy of shell islands in the US. This is a good time of year for shelling as more wash up in the winter and then are not picked over like the summer when the hordes descend on Florida. Sanibel is south of Sarasota and I believe the gateway city is Fort Meyer. Check it out on the map. Caution: be sure and take some sort of hard soled wadding shoes as the shells are so numerous that it makes walking barefooted a bit painful.
    Have fun enjoy the south. By the Way, if you like history and are interested in the Civil War history, the National Military Park at Vicksburg, Mississippi and at Shiloh, Tennessee are must sees and are exceptional well preserved and documented. Shiloh is about 78 miles SE of Memphis right above the Mississippi border and an easy drive from Memphis.

  10. Sanibel Island is beautiful. If you end up in DC/MD drop me a line and we’ll meet up with you.

  11. Hi there,
    Well, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is coming back strong and we have many wonderful places opening up here along our coast. Emeril has a great catfish place a few miles away from here in Gulfport. Our greatest dining places are owned by our locals with all the great southern charm and flair you could possibly dream of. I’d personally love to show you around for dining and great places along the beach to swim or go sailing.

  12. Having just come from the gulf coast – take M to Hands On Gulf Coast and do a service project with him. There is a bunk house you can stay in and they provide meals. (They’re closed until after the holidays though.)

    Let me know if you’re coming through here.

    xo,
    J

  13. Coming through Georgia? Email me. Avery and I will show you and the wee one Hotlanta and environs.

    Haven’t been there in ages, but you might want to try Avery Island, La., the home of Tabasco and some really stunning wildlife.

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