Southern USA travel guide

Where to go, what to see: your Southern USA travel guide

Why visit Southern USA?

The Deep South is a place packed with history, culture, variety and tradition. From the beaches of Florida to the jazz-filled New Orleans streets, the birthplace of country music – Nashville and Memphis – to the Mountains of West Virginia and the horse ranches of Texas, you can experience life of a different style in every southern destination. 

Visit plantations and stately mansions where the spirit of the old South lives on. The unique architecture and the pre-Civil War period can be seen everywhere, but are especially prominent in the Deep South’s Natchez in Mississippi, New Orleans in Louisiana, Beaufort in South Carolina and Savannah in Georgia. Experience an educational journey of the South’s historic trails from the remarkable plains of Gettysburg to the home of Thomas Jefferson in Lexington, Virginia. Their stories are well preserved and the pride of the South is reflected in hundreds of southern monuments. Enjoy Antebellum mansions, cobblestone streets and low-country cuisine in charming Charleston in South Carolina.

Avenue of moss-draped live oaks in Savannah

Louisiana’s French Quarter and its bustling Bourbon Street, with its live jazz and Mardi Gras celebrations, gives a classic image of southern tradition. Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the South here! Tour a whiskey distillery and see how it’s done ‘bourbon-style.’ Get glimpses of the horses and learn about the world-famous Kentucky Derby. Have lunch at the Jekyll Island Club, the winter home of the Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Morgan families. And since the South is such a place of music, see Graceland in Memphis, the Elvis Presley mansion and gardens. In Nashville, experience the Country Music Hall of Fame and the world-famous Grand Ole Opry, a mecca for country musicians since 1925.

Weather and climate in Southern USA

When is the best time to visit Southern USA?

Dixieland is characterised by long, humid days in the summer months (June to August) and mild weather in the winter months (December to February). You can visit all year round, although one of the best times to travel is spring, when the skies are clear and fresh, but the humidity hasn’t set in yet. On St Patrick’s Day (17 March), Savannah hosts one of the biggest parties in the USA with parades, street parties and bands, with the central fountain in St Forsyth’s Square being turned green.

The southern United States is notoriously humid. The moisture content will cause warm temperatures to feel warmer and cooler temperatures to feel colder. Humidity also has a tendency to produce a ‘sticky’ sensation on your skin. When travelling to coastal cities, an ocean breeze may persist. We recommend checking local weather in each of your destinations prior to travelling to ensure you are adequately prepared for the conditions.

To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Southern United States.


 New Orleans









































Food in Southern USA

Food specialities of Southern USA

In New Orleans, the flare of the South, be sure to try some of Louisiana's best foods like a traditional Po' Boy sandwich, gumbo, crawfish, jambalaya, ‘dirty rice,’ and beignets – golden and puffy French-style doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar… and a perfect complement: a cup of southern-style chickory coffee. For those warm weather days, a chilled New Orleans ‘Hurricane’ cocktail is refreshing and just potent enough to ‘take the edge off.’

The South is also known for its fresh seafood, low-country barbecue, shrimp and grits, collard greens, corn bread, and southern pralines. Try some of the typical foods of the south: fried chicken, crab stew, black-eyed peas and fresh peach cobbler, and wash it all down with some sweet tea.

Fun facts:

  • The state of Texas is the largest producer of wool in the United States

  • Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes

  • The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is the longest continuously running live radio programme in the world

  • Swamps cover one-fifth of Florida and are home to manatees, alligators and the Florida panther

Things to consider before visiting Southern USA

How to call Southern USA: Country code

The country code for Southern USA is +1. When calling to Southern USA from overseas, dial your international access code, followed by the country code, area code and phone number.

Southern USA’s currency

In USA the local currency is the American Dollar ($). Although credit cards are widely accepted in the United States, we recommend our passengers carry some cash (~$50) to use in circumstances when credit cards are not accepted or in destinations where cashpoints are not readily available.

Shopping in Southern USA

There are some classic items to shop for in New Orleans. Pick up some regional favourites such as Tabasco sauce and specialty food products; CDs of Louisiana's great music, be it jazz, blues, Cajun, or zydeco; voodoo dolls; New Orleans cookbooks; anything with the fleur-de-lis symbol on it; and don't forget the Mardi Gras beads and masks. And if you fall in love with the beignets, you can pick up a box of the Café Du Monde mix to make at home!

In Memphis and Nashville, take home some of your favourite sounds or music-themed memorabilia – choose from an enormous variety of Elvis souvenirs, blues and country music, western clothing, jewellery, and more.

While in Georgia, shop for classic Southern souvenirs such as Gone with the Wind merchandise, southern cookbooks, local crafts, peach jam and the wonderful creations at Byrd Cookie Company in Savannah.

Handmade Sweetgrass baskets, jewellery and low-country foods are always a hit in Charleston, Don’t miss King Street’s Antique District which was voted ‘Best antique shopping in the US’ by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Shopping along the coast, you'll find a lot of distinctive country shops and unique stores. Take home handmade candy and cookies, southern cookbooks and tasty pralines. You can also pick up local crafts like T-shirts, beach wear, and hand-made jewellery.

When and how much to tip in Southern USA

In USA, tipping is widely spread: the general rule is between 15 and 20% for bartenders or waiters ($1 to $2 a bag for porters). If in doubt, ask your Tour Director.

Plugs, sockets and electricity in Southern USA

USA uses 110-120 volt power, so you may need a voltage converter, usually for appliances that heat up such as hair dryers and straighteners, However, you’ll definitely need a plug adaptor: USA uses a flat two- or three-prong plug. It’s better to have a two-prong adaptor, which will fit either.