The Best Southern Getaways – You don’t always have to travel halfway around the world to get the vacation you’ve always longed for. Heading south can be an exhilarating experience. These southern getaways will provide all the rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation you’d expect from the region of the US known for its hospitality.
In Boca Grande, Florida, just off the Gulf Coast side, there’s a tiny barrier island. Gasparilla is the epitome of the ideal escape. There aren’t any stop lights, and the main mode of transportation – if you don’t feel like walking – are bicycles and golf carts. But what the island lacks in modernity, it makes up for in long stretches of coastal beaches known for their great shell finds and even a restored lighthouse built in 1890.
The guest suites at The Gasparilla Inn have large windows for letting in all that Florida sunshine. The inn was built in 1913 and has played host to several names, such as Henry DuPont and the Bush family. When the sun begins to set, venture inland to Boca Grande when you can sip on a rumrunner at Miller’s – their patio faces the harbour. For supper, make reservations at Temptation where you’ll dine on fresh catch-of-the-day grouper.
A little to the west, Alabama’s down-home, southern hospitality will greet you with open arms. While you may associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, it was in Mobile that this tradition originated. Spend an afternoon at the Carnival Museum in downtown, and you’ll learn this right away. New Orleans, where everyone heads to nowadays for Mardi Gras, resembles Mobile in a myriad of other ways, too, such as the Queen Anne styled architecture or cast-iron balconies along the façades of Dauphin Street.
All around Mobile you’ll see nods to architectural genius, such as Bragg Mitchell Mansion. Many of the area’s antebellum homes have been turned into historic museums for a glimpse into this lifestyle. The beautiful Fort Conde Inn is the second oldest home in Mobile (1836) and is decorated with antiques from the era, as well as the original artworks that hung in the home. Of course, you need to eat while you’re in town – check out George Street’s Kitchen or Noble South for some fried okra and Southern Creole dishes.