Spanish moss and cobblestone streets galore. We all know the American south is full of charm. And if you’re looking for the most charm, seek out the small towns—the ones with history, culture, scenic beauty, and some pretty phenomenal food.
During 20 years of living the snowbird lifestyle, we’ve visited 25 states and camped at hundreds of RV parks and campgrounds. To kick-start your search, here are the top six picture-perfect towns down south. Each town earned its spot for individual reasons.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Beaufort almost always makes travel experts’ lists of top small towns to visit in America. Why, you ask? The town is full of well-preserved and historic plantation homes and enormous old trees take travelers back to another time and place.
The second oldest town in South Carolina is just as sweet as you’d expect. Think: a tranquil waterfront, a historic downtown clad with art galleries, and low-country restaurants and streets lined with live-oak trees and antebellum-style mansions.
Also a second-oldest city (but in Kentucky), Bardstown has other claims to fame: as the “Bourbon Capital of the World”, home My Old Kentucky Home of Stephen Foster fame, and Old Talbott Tavern, the oldest stagecoach stop west of the Allegheny Mountains, dating to 1779.
Bardstown is a popular starting point for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. But booze aside, the town has plenty of allure with its picturesque and quaint courthouse square.
Nestled along the banks of the slow-rolling Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge, the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” is a gorgeous historic town with world-class restaurants and a thriving Cajun music and folk art scene. Breaux Bridge is a great place to stop off for a meal and an afternoon of antiquing, and an even better place to camp at a local RV park and stay awhile.
The bridge itself isn’t much to see (though you can’t miss it)—it’s a tall, slightly rusty metal drawbridge that spans the Teche (pronounced “tesh”). The downtown stretch of Bridge Street, though, is adorable. Antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants span several blocks.
Berea is well known for its craft history and traditions as well as the wealth of talented artisans, fine craft galleries, and shops located throughout Old Town (Artisan Village), College Square, and Chestnut Street. Berea is home to a thriving population of weavers, instrument makers, furniture artisans, jewelry designers, glass workers, potters, painters, sculptors, and musicians.
Plenty of folk art, combined with two local campgrounds in lovely surroundings, is a sure recipe for a memorable trip to small town America.
The Bay St. Louis motto is as unique as the city itself: “A Place Apart.” In 2013 Bay St. Louis was named one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America” by Budget Travel magazine and Southern Living magazine named Bay St. Louis one of the “50 Best Places in the South” in 2016.
Drive along the Bay and wander the pastel colored buildings and quaint, funky shops of historic Old Town Bay St. Louis including the “Depot,” a two-story building with mission style design.
Hollywood Casino RV Park is big-rig friendly featuring 80 back-in sites and 14 back-to-back pull-through sites.
Located on Mobile Bay, Fairhope offers a quieter version of the beauty offered on the Alabama Gulf Coast. The area has so many delicious places to eat that we couldn’t possibly name them all, but rest assured you will have some of the best seafood of your life.
Scenic walks along the bay is a common past time and it’s no wonder, with sweeping views atop the bluffs, geese waddling around the duck pond, sunsets stretching across the water, the rose garden framing the fountain, and the Fairhope Pier lined with fishing poles and pelicans.
It’s easy to get lost in ones thoughts here. Time unfolds in the passing of pedestrians or the slow progression of a sailboat across the horizon. Relaxing is mandatory, but there’s also a lot to do in this little town beside the bay.
America is laced with nooks and crannies, good places that go undiscovered by many mainstream travelers.