4 Things to Do in the South of the USA

Published 31 May 2016

Lauren Burvill

Lauren Burvill

“More than any other part of America, the South stands apart,” wrote Tim Jacobson in his book Heritage of the South. And he was right. It’s southern drawl, southern hospitality, southern charm; the South has a distinct sound, flavour and attitude all on its own.

It’s been a notable influencer when it comes to America’s history, has been the birthplace of numerous music styles and continues to be the home of old fashioned values and classic comfort food. Put it all together and the list of classically southern things to see and do runs long. Here are our top picks:  

Outside of Graceland in Memphis

Turn up the music in Tennessee

Few states in the USA can claim the music hall of fame status that Tennessee enjoys. It is after all the birthplace of the King himself, Elvis Presley. And for any Elvis fans out there (and even if you’re not), a pilgrimage to Graceland, Elvis’ lavish home in Memphis, is well worth your time, if anything just to see how the King lived - including the infamous Jungle Room featuring green shag carpet.

Graceland isn’t the only Elvis themed landmark Memphis has to offer. You can also stay at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel which unsurprisingly is one of the most popular hotels in town and located opposite Graceland.

The Ryman Music Auditorium building

East of Memphis and Tennessee’s other major music town is Nashville. Considered the epicentre of country music, Nashville has been home to a number of famous country musicians including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift. You can find out more about the country music scene at the city’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or see a live performance at venues like Mercy Lounge.

A tour of Graceland is included in our Deep South Highlights itinerary.

 A cowboy herding cattle in Texas

Live like a cowboy in Texas

If you’ve always fantasised about being a cowboy, you can turn it into a reality in Texas. As the home of cowboy culture, Texas boasts a number of ranches where you can don a big white hat, cowboy boots and ride off into the sunset.

One such ranch is the 1,500 acre Wildcatter Ranch and Resort in Graham, west of Dallas. Its here you can don your cowboy boots and go for a group trail or private ride with one of the ranch’s knowledgeable cowboys. Clay shooting and archery are also available. And when you’re done with cowboy life, you can relax back at the ranch at the infinity –edge pool and hot tub.

Another ranch we can arrange for you to stay at is the Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, the self-proclaimed ‘Cowboy Capital of the World.’ Nestled in Texas Hill Country, the ranch has been a working ranch for over 75 years now where real cowboys raise longhorn cattle, Spanish goats and pigs, and compete in rodeos. During your visit you can take part in a number of activities including horseback riding, swimming, hayrides, campfire sing-alongs and a range of western fun. 

A stay at a ranch is included in our Cajun Cowboys itinerary and Texas In-depth itinerary.  

A large pan of crawfish

Tour the bayous and try soul food in Louisiana

There’s something special about Louisiana, the southern state made up of swampland and farms enjoys an eclectic culture, style and flair of its own. Like a bowl of its famous gumbo, Louisiana is a spicy melting pot of French, West African, American and Spanish influence. Blended together and you’ve got an incredible Creole mix, best experienced in the state’s largest city of New Orleans. It’s here you can taste some of the best creole-style soul food including catfish, crawfish, fried chicken and poboy sandwiches. This type of food can be found all throughout New Orleans, with some establishments like Willy Mae’s and Dooky’s, predating the Civil Rights era.

A baby alligator poking its head out of the bayou

Louisiana’s other unique feature is its plentiful amount of water, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and a wealth of swampland throughout. These bayous and waterways form an incredible landscape made up of Spanish moss, cypress trees, hundreds of species of birds and of course alligators. Taking a tour of the bayous is the best way to see this unique landscape and spy its wild inhabitants. 

A tour of the bayous is included in our Deep South Highlights itinerary.

An American football game

See an American Football game

While the culture and landscape may differ from Texas to the Mississippi, there’s one thing that the entire South has in common and that’s a passionate love of American football. While there are eight teams found throughout the south, the most famous (and wealthiest) team is the Dallas Cowboys. Even if your interest in American Football is minimal, seeing a Dallas Cowboys play at their hometown is an experience you’ll truly appreciate. The stadium itself is one of the largest in the States with a 101,000 seat capacity, luxury suites, 3000 LCD displays and one of the largest high-definition television screens in the world.

If you can’t make it to a Dallas Cowboys game, the South is home to a fine range of college football teams, notably Alabama Crimson Tide, Houston Cougars and Ole Miss Rebels from the University of Mississippi. 

Talk to one of our USA Experts today about adding these experiences into a tailor-made holiday itinerary of the USA.

You might also like:

11 Things to Do in the USA

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