Travelers are as eager as ever to explore the ‘roads less traveled.’ The draw for smaller cities and towns like Bristol, Virginia, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mobile, Alabama and Charleston/Folly Beach, South Carolina, often boast the quaint streets, thriving art and music scenes, outdoor adventures and boutique shops that visitors can’t experience in the same intimate way in a big city.
- Destination: Chattanooga
Why Chattanooga?: For those looking for the next Nashville with a lesser crowd, enter Chattanooga. Just a two-hour drive from Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham and Knoxville, Chattanooga is the perfect destination.
Think: Outdoor adventures (Ruby Falls, water activities, whitewater rafting, hiking, etc), countless breweries, distilleries and wineries, and a plethora of live music — including the Riverbend Music Festival in early June.
Where to Stay: The Read House - the 150-year-old historic Chattanooga hotel specializes in 1920s splendor while catering to modern tastes. The 241-room getaway boasts Great Gatsby living with soaring lobby ceilings, dramatic chandeliers and gleaming wood-clad walls - topped off with the decadent steakhouse, Bridgeman’s and speakeasy vibe bar, Bar & Billiards.
- Destination: Bristol
Why Bristol?: Bristol, Virginia is most well-known for the Bristol Motor Speedway, but the city has plenty more to offer for fans that enjoy more than the high-speed sport.
Think: Lively music scene (birthplace of country music!), Country Music Museum, photo ops at the famous Bristol sign (located on the border of Tennessee and Virginia), Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns, miles of hiking trails, etc.
Where to Stay: The Inn at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards - Situated on the grounds of the family-owned Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards, this luxury boutique property features 28 luxury rooms and suites, nine standalone yurts and Hickory, the signature restaurant led by acclaimed Chef Travis Milton, offering exquisite, locally sourced Appalachian cuisine paired with wines grown right on property.
- Destination: Mobile
Why Mobile?: This funky and colorful coastal town has a vibrant 300-year history with plenty of stories to tell and long-standing traditions.
Think: Endless celebrations as the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the U.S., a lively nightlife on Dauphin Street, wildlife scene at the Gator Boardwalk, historical destinations at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and more.
Where to Stay: The Admiral, located just steps from Mobile's Entertainment District, brings the artistic flair and lively ambience from downtown right into the hotel, featuring 156 guest rooms and suites and a resort-style pool and pool deck.
- Destination: Charleston, SC
Why Charleston?: Charleston may have experienced more popularity in recent years, but the city remains quaint in nature and continues to sweep visitors off their feet with its undeniable Southern charm.
Think: Historic King Street, Rainbow Row, eclectic cuisine, 30 minutes from the beach.
Where to Stay: When in downtown Charleston, stay at The Vendue, Charleston’s first arts hotel boasting over 200 works of original art, that brings true hospitality magic to the south through surprise and delight moments that dot each guest's stay. Thirty minutes from downtown, Tides Folly Beach is one of the only waterfront hotels in the area, which offers an idyllic seaside location and two coastal dining experiences with Blu Beach Bar and Grill or Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar, serving the freshest seafood and beach favorites.