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Best Resort Towns in the Southern United States

As winter approaches and temperatures plummet, you might feel ready for a vacation to warmer lands. But, where do you start looking? As it turns out, the Southern U.S. has among the best resort destinations in the country. Keep reading to learn more.

Here are the best resorts towns in the southern United States:

  1. Mexico Beach, Florida
  2. Pawleys Island, South Carolina
  3. Orange Beach, Alabama
  4. St. Augustine, Florida
  5. Nags Head, North Carolina
  6. Port Aransas, Texas
  7. Folly Beach, South Carolina
  8. St. Simons Island, Georgia

1. Mexico Beach, Florida

Located on the Florida panhandle, Mexico Beach is beloved for its snow-white sand beaches and family-friendly atmosphere.

With a population of only about 1,400, this beach paradise has a unique small-town feel. In addition, it has numerous fantastic restaurants to eat at, many of which overlook the water.

Mexico Beach is perfect if you want a laid-back family vacation. But, if you have kids, make sure you walk with them along the shore. You’ll find all sorts of shells washed up from the Gulf of Mexico.

While you could parasail into the sunset, kicking back under your umbrella and listening to the waves crash is equally appealing at Mexico Beach.

2. Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Want to golf near sand dunes while hearing the rolling waves of the Atlantic? Or kayak along a natural coast? Pawleys Island in South Carolina is the place for you.

Unlike some of the other entries on this list, Pawleys Island has minimal commercial development. Its four miles of mostly unspoiled coast is fantastic for people who want to escape the city.

This quaint village has numerous cozy cabins and peaceful resorts where you might stay. The town also has plenty of cute gift shops.

While you’re there, make sure to try the local restaurants. Pawleys Island is renowned for its Lowcountry cuisine.

3. Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama, is all about having a blast. 

This resort town, known for being a water sports hub, is full of exciting things to do. Charter fishing, jet skiing, dolphin sighting: your days at Orange Beach are sure to leave you thrilled.

If you’re not one for the beach, there are still plenty of nearby inland nature hikes as well. Plus, Orange Beach has a robust nightlife. You and your friends could hop between plenty of great bars featuring live music and comedy.

Located near the Florida border, Orange Beach is excellent for the adventurous vacationer. Despite weathering lots of dangerous storms in recent years, this resort town still stands vibrant as ever. 

4. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine is the perfect resort destination for those who love to do some historical sightseeing.

Known for its Spanish colonial architecture and serene coast, St. Augustine is also the oldest city in the United States. Additionally, you have plenty of fantastic resorts and accommodations to choose from in town.

If you visit, don’t forget to see the sea turtle nesting sites! 

Nesting for sea turtles lasts from March 1st to October 31st. So if you’re a fan of loggerhead or leatherback turtles, this is one of the best places to watch them in the U.S.

5. Nags Head, North Carolina

Want to enjoy the beach without heading down to the gulf? Then Nags Head is right for you. It brings southern resort town vibes to the North Carolina coast.

Besides having excellent hotels, Nags Head also offers striking natural beauty. 

One of the most popular attractions is in Jockey Ridge State Park. There, you can enjoy the biggest dunes on the eastern coast of the U.S.

Depending on the time of year, you may see various plants and flowers. Nags head also holds inland hiking trails that take visitors through salty marshes and forests full of wildlife.

6. Port Aransas, Texas

Often called the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” Port Aransas is the ultimate resort town for fishers and animal lovers.

On Mustang Island, you can find everything from alligators to dolphins in the waters.

To help you take the sights in, consider visiting the observation tower in Roberts Point Park.

The Palmilla Beach Resort; Golf Club offers fantastic golfing among dunes and palm trees. And in Port Aransas, you’ll find island-style dining and fishing stores.

These town’s waters offer some of the best deep-sea fishing you can find along the Gulf Coast. So if you go, make sure to pack a pole or find a charter. There are also plenty of lighted public piers if you prefer casting out at night.

7. Folly Beach, South Carolina

With breathtaking views and excellent surf, it’s hard to beat South Carolina’s Folly Beach.

The most notable feature is Folly Beach Pier, which stretches 1,000 feet over the water. With waves shimmering in the sunset and the ocean breeze blowing, it’s perfect for a stroll with that special someone.

However, that’s not all Folly Beach has to offer.

You can take a short walk to Center Street from the many resorts and luxury hotels. There, you could easily spend a day wandering between surf shops and bars. Click here to learn more about this resort town.

8. St. Simons Island, Georgia

St. Simons Island makes for a great southern escape if you don’t want the standard beach town vibe.

Voted the #1 Romantic Town by Travel + Leisure, this island is the perfect getaway thanks to its relaxing beaches and fabulous restaurants. The town also regularly holds public events, ranging from art shows to music festivals.

Whether you prefer bed and breakfasts or the lap of luxury, St. Simons Island has accommodations to suit everyone. There’s also an abundance of wildlife to observe and historical sites to visit.

From St. Simons Pier, you might even be lucky enough to catch migrating whales.

If this didn’t tickle your fancy, maybe try a romantic spot instead.

Photo by thanhhoa tran

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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July 2024