As we welcome the arrival of a new season, many of us are starting to map out our fall travels. If you’re looking for inspiration, consider placing these three Southern destinations at the top of your travel list! Each one offers something different — from seasonal celebrations to outdoor adventures, exciting attractions, and so much more.
For a fall getaway that offers something for every type of traveler — including outdoor fun, a lively downtown area, and plenty of delicious restaurants — consider embarking on a trip to Clarksville, TN.
Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll on a crisp fall morning or get your blood pumping during a mountain biking trek, Clarksville offers exciting hiking and biking trails for all skill levels. The Clarksville Greenway is a great option for biking, skating, running, or walking, offering a nine-mile paved path along the Red River and West Fork Creek.
Families will enjoy spending the day at Rotary Park, a 111.3-acre park offering six miles of hiking and biking trails. You can also enjoy an 18-hole disc golf course, two playgrounds, a sensory trail, and a visit to the Wade Bourne Nature Center.
Another relatively easy trail is located along the Cumberland Riverwalk. In addition to scenic views, the two-mile riverfront promenade offers a playground, picnic area, rentable bicycles, and river exhibit. The area is the perfect place to take in waterfront views or simply sit a spell with your family.
Mountain bikers will enjoy a visit to North Ford Street Mountain Biking Trail Park. Open to all skill levels, the park offers 3.5 miles of bench-cut trails, wooden jumps, and exciting drops. Plus, the park has been named one of the “top 150 trails in Tennessee” by MTB Project.
After a day of exploring Clarksville’s natural beauty, head to the city’s bustling downtown area for a delicious dinner. More than 30 new restaurants opened here in the past year alone — including new favorite Shelby’s Trio. Two restaurants and one rooftop bar make up this concept, offering something for all tastes.
At Shelby’s Trio, you can visit Joe’s Garage for a juicy burger served with a side of fries and views of classic cars. Its fine dining option, Trattoria di Cat, offers upscale Italian fare. After your meal, head upstairs to Skyline 500 to enjoy tapas and a nightcap as you enjoy rooftop views of downtown Clarksville.
Other popular downtown eateries and watering holes include Blackhorse Pub & Brewery, The Star Spangled Brewing Company, The Mailroom, and Edward’s Steakhouse. For a complete list of downtown Clarksville restaurants, click HERE.
Downtown Clarksville is also home to six unique antique stores. Oddly Amazing Antiques is a quirky shop offering items like stuffed alligators, Care Bears, and clown posters. For a strictly furniture-focused antique store, visit You Never Know. Or, head to Warehouse 41 Vintage Market to peruse over 130 vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to home decor.
Before heading home, be sure to visit Beachaven Vineyards & Winery. Opened in 1986, this is Tennessee’s oldest single-family-owner wine producer. Offering a menu that includes over 25 wines, you can sip on chardonnay, merlot, rosé, seasonal releases, and more. Plus, the winery hosts live music every weekend, and from May through October, you can also attend Jazz on the Lawn!
Often referred to as the “Cultural Mecca of the South,” Oxford, MS, is known for its rich arts scene, food and dining destinations, and, of course, college sports. Whether you visit this Southern town in the fall or winter, there’s so much to do and see!
Nothing says fall in the South quite like college football season, and for locals and tourists alike, Ole Miss offers plenty of friendly competition. In fact, ESPN recently named Oxford “America’s Best College Town.” If you’re looking to catch a game while in Oxford, visit olemisssports.com to see the complete schedule.
Whether you’re looking to kill time before a football game or simply want to explore the beauty of Oxford, book a tour on the famous Double Decker Bus. After a brief hiatus, tours have officially resumed, running through the Ole Miss campus, Historic Downtown Square, and more. Tours run every Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (before Ole Miss home football games!).
While Oxford is undoubtedly fun to visit all year round, there’s something magical about this Southern town during the holiday season. We recommend planning your visit around the annual Holly Jolly Holidays event if you can. From Saturday, November 18, through Sunday, January 7, you can visit the City Pavillion to go ice skating. Rink hours are Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12 and includes skate rentals.
New this year to Holly Jolly Holidays is the Oxford Peppermint Trail. To participate in the event, follow the marked trail to various Oxford stores and restaurants to enjoy everything from coffee and cocktails to sweet treats. Participating businesses include Olive Juice Gifts, SoLa, Heartbreak Coffee, and more. More announcements are still to come, so check visitoxfordms.com frequently for updates!
No trip to Oxford during the holiday season is complete without a visit to the Square to see the iconic canopy of Christmas lights. This year’s annual lighting event takes place on Sunday, November 19, at 6 p.m. The television series Small Town Christmas is slated to stop by during the event, so tune in to Fox Business Network on Saturday, December 16, to see the episode!
Speaking of the Square, we suggest booking a room at the newly renovated and reopened Oliver Hotel. Conveniently located on the Square, the hotel offers the revamped Kingswood restaurant, with Chef Joel Miller at the helm. Nightbird, the cocktail parlor lounge, is slated to open later this fall.
If you’re looking to enjoy a nightcap, visit Bar Muse. The intimate speakeasy-style cocktail lounge features a rotating menu of cocktails as well as the Good Day Café, which offers a small food menu. You can also visit Oxford’s first microbrewery, Circle and Square Brewery. The recently opened outpost offers small bites, craft beer, and even coffee to fuel up as you explore.
For more information on Holly Jolly Holidays or planning your trip, go to visitoxfordms.com or follow along on social media @VisitOxfordMS.
Plan a trip to South Carolina’s Lowcountry region for a fall vacation that offers seasonal activities, culinary delights, and a rich history and culture scene.
For outdoor fun, there are plenty of options in the Lowcountry. The ACE Basin is bounded by the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers, offering 350,000 acres of swamps, marshes, beaches, and more. Plus, as the largest river mouth of its kind on the East Coast, this is perfect for fishing or kayaking.
Not too far from the ACE Basin, you’ll find Edisto Beach State Park, which offers cozy cabins, oceanfront campgrounds, and a nature trail. You can also stop by the Edisto Island Sepentarium, which houses 1,000 snakes, alligator pits, turtles, lizards, and natural historical artifacts.
Another popular state park, Lake Warren State Park, includes a 200-acre lake ideal for fishing and boating. You’ll also find picnic facilities, two nature trails, playground equipment, and more throughout the property.
Whether you’ve been fishing your whole life or are new to the sport, the South Carolina Lowcountry is home to multiple marinas, charter fishing services, fishing piers, boat ramps, and artificial reefs. The region is popular year-round for freshwater and saltwater fishing, offering species like catfish, largemouth bass, shrimp, grouper, and more. To see a complete list of services, lakes, and piers, click HERE.
With so much natural beauty in the South Carolina Lowcountry, it’s no surprise that many artists and creatives draw inspiration from the landscape. We recommend spending a day touring some of the Lowcountry’s art galleries. Popular options include Atelier Off Bay, La Petite Gallerie, and The Iron Fish. For a complete list of Lowcountry art galleries, visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.
To dive deeper into the Lowcountry’s art scene, stroll through Historic Downtown Bluffton to view wrought iron sculptures, paintings, prints, and posters. We also recommend visiting the South Carolina Artisans Center in Historic Downtown Walterboro, which showcases hundreds of local South Carolina artists who are juried into the center.
If you visit the Lowcountry during the holidays, you’ll likely encounter a seasonal event or two. Popular events include Beaufort’s Night on the Town (Friday, December 1), numerous holiday parades on both land and water, and the Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish (Sunday, December 3).
SB Tip: There are also a handful of local holiday celebrations throughout Hardeeville, Ridgeland, Walterboro, and on Edisto Beach. To see a complete schedule of events, visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.
Fall and winter is also the best time of year for oyster roasts! The 2024 Beaufort Oyster Festival is an 11-day celebration that runs from Thursday, January 11, through Sunday, January 21. The main festival weekend, however, takes place on Saturday, January 20, and Sunday, January 21.
During the festival, attendees can enjoy events like the Oyster Boogie 5K Run/Walk, boat tours, and, of course, plenty of delicious oysters. The event also takes place during Restaurant Week, so you can indulge in specialty menus from participating restaurants throughout your stay!
Enjoy your fall and winter travels!
This article is sponsored by Visit Clarksville, Visit Oxford, and South Carolina Lowcountry and Resort Islands. All photography provided unless otherwise noted.