Family Vacations: The South
An inviting climate makes the South an attractive family vacation destination throughout the year. Kids love historic destinations, living history museums, and modern amusement parks that thrive in the South -- Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana -- and everyone notices the spirit of hospitality throughout the region.
Below, you'll find links to family vacation spots in the South designed with kids in mind, along with helpful links to Mobil-rated, family-friendly hotels and restaurants near each destination.
Gulf Shores, Alabama, features 32 miles of sandy shores for exploration and play.
Huntsville, Alabama's U.S. Space and Rocket Center is home to the Space Camp program and a museum.
The 56-foot statue in cast-iron celebrates Birmingham's past as a mining town.
Spend an entire week -- or more -- exploring more than 160 miles of sandy beaches, barrier islands and charming towns along the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Little kids can crawl in the crannies at Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas.
Renowned or glistening streams and pristine lakes, Ouachita National Forest is also a favorite stomping grounds for geology enthusiasts and rock collectors.
Pioneer life is celebrated at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Arkansas.
The whimsy of snow-bound waterparks in Florida marks Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks.
At Tampa Bay's Busch Gardens, see exotic, endangered animals and enjoy a theme park, too.
A barrier island off the coast of Florida, Cape Canaveral Is home to the Kennedy Space Center, but it is also Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine
Little ones collect shells while older kids learn deep-sea fishing beyond the shores of Destin, Florida.
Special programs for kids at Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center make this a truly memorable place.
At the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, Key West maintains pleasant weather - most of the time - and a relaxed beach culture.
Find a slice of Cuba in Florida where streets are lined with authentic Cuban eateries and cigars hand-rolled by Cubans.
South Beach's fashionable streets are adorned with Art Deco buildings and beautiful people.
An estate befitting a circus baron.
Shores lined with seashells and frequent dolphin sightings mark Sanibel Island as a lively seaside destination.
Early Spanish history along the soft-sand shores of St. Augustine, Florida, makes this a dynamic spot to visit.
Movies and activities converge at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Dating back to the 1920's, this enormous pool looks like a Venetian Grotto and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Walt Disney World, the jewel in Orlando's crown, gives families everything to do.
Twelve miles of hiking trails wind through wooded paths and breathtaking views of the falls.
At the center of downtown Savannah's historic district, Chippewa Square celebrates General James Edward Oglethorpe who founded the colony of Georgia.
Prehistoric creatures dominate the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Georgia.
A six million gallon tank provides a home for the featured residents of the Georgia Aquarium.
Sea, Jekyll, St. Simons, Little St. Simons, and Cumberland Islands make up the Golden Isles of Georgia.
Georgia's smallest barrier island, Jekyll Island was a retreat for wealthy industrialists in the late-1800s.
Commemorating the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., this center includes interpretations of King's life as well as his grave.
Best seen by canoe, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge brims with wildlife.
One of Savannah, Georgia's many historic homes belonged to the founder of the Girl Scouts. Read more about historic Savannah, Georgia.
The world's largest exposed piece of granite features the Confederate Memorial Carving, which depicts three Civil War figures, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
Sand dunes on this barrier island serve as a backdrop for beach activities and cottage life.
The museum that celebrates one of the world's most-recognized brands is a big draw in its hometown of Atlanta.
The Kentucky Derby Festival's ten days of events in Louisville leads up to the Race for the Roses.
A giant baseball bat marks the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in downtown Louisville.
The National Corvette Museum and Factory Tour is the centerpiece of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Two state capitols grace Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Explore them both.
If you can't make it down for the event, visit Mardi Gras World museum for a look into New Orleans' most notorious event.
Telling the story of World War II, the National D-Day Museum in Louisiana gives kids an opportunity to learn.
Kids celebrate music at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April and May.
Thirty antebellum mansions overlook the Mississippi River on Great River Road, and some of them are open for business as bed-and-breakfast inns.
Older kids are thrilled by Spooky Cemeteries and Haunted House Tours of New Orleans.
Celebrating the Mississippi Delta Blues sound, this festival is the second oldest in the country.
Mississippi's Gulf Islands National Seashore features idyllic beaches, island hopping, and salt marshes.
Now designated as a National Scenic Trail, the Natchez Trace has long been a route of trade and commerce.
Its storied past - disappearing settlers and visits by Blackbeard - makes the Outer Banks an interesting destination.
North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach maintains a small island feeling while delivering a big vacation experience.
The largest home in the United States rests on 8,000 acres of lush gardens, active vineyards, and a luxury inn.
One of the most lovingly preserved cities in the U.S., Charleston, South Carolina, presents a picture postcard journey through the Old South.
Lull around South Carolina charm and history at Edisto Island.
This semitropical paradise welcomes visitors to its beaches, salt marshes, lagoons, and lush forests.
South Carolina's Kiawah Island merges pristine beachfronts, naturescapes, and resort fun. Find out more about Kiawah Island.
Beale Street is the place to be for music and nightlife in downtown Memphis.
At times quirky and always unusual, Graceland's many oddities are the curiosity of Tennessee.
The longest-running live radio program in the U.S., the Grand Ole Opry is now a resort that includes a convention center, golf, and shopping.
The struggle for justice is explored at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
In early October, Jonesborough, Tennessee welcomes storytellers of every age to weave their tales.
Families simply cannot be bored in Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, Dolly Parton's homage to her home in Tennessee.
The world's largest freshwater aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium features river and lake creatures.
Wild ponies and other unusual animals roam the shores of Assateague Island National Seashore.
Eye-catching and fun, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, features amazing architecture and exciting rides.
Colonial Williamsburg, the world's largest living history museum, tells the story of early settlements in Virginia.
English settlement is explored at Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement.
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this scenic mill is now a living history center.
The home of Thomas Jefferson is a Roman neo-classical masterpiece.
George Washington's plantation along the Potomac River is carefully preserved in Virginia's countryside.
Chantilly, Virginia, houses the Smithsonian's overflow collection of air and space vehicles.
Virginia Beach's 2.5-mile boardwalk is the epicenter of activity for this busy and bucolic beach town.
Steeped in history, West Virginia's Harpers Ferry National Historical Park tells many stories. Read more about Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
One of the largest protected woodlands in the nation, the Monongahela National Forest is home to a wide range of plant and animal life.
Experience the challenge and adventure of river rafting on the Upper New River in West Virginia.
Oglebay Park's Winter Festival of Lights brings magic to West Virginia's winter nights.
From Ogelbay Park, it's just a short trip to Ohio, where the Midwest begins. Plan a family vacation in the Midwest any season of the year, and you'll be thrilled by the charm and straight-forward warmness of the people you meet.