Hardcore fans of Southern Charm might think Charleston is the coolest thing since sliced bread (and there's truth to that), but don’t miss out on these other five fabulous cities. From sultry Savannah to artsy Fredericksburg, there’s a little southern belle in all of us just waiting to be unleashed. Underrated cities FTW!
1. Savannah, Georgia
If you’ve ever read (or watched the film adaptation of) John Berendt’s novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you’ve likely checked Savannah off your travel bucket list a long time ago. If not, you’re in for a real treat! If it starts seeming like you're constantly passing a park, you probably are! Don't worry though; there's a method to the madness. The entire historic district is defined by squares and there are 24 in total. If visiting during the hot summer months, you'll quickly appreciate those park benches shaded under the Spanish moss-covered oak trees. Stroll down the lively River Street, which becomes particularly lively come nightfall, or take a breather in the famous Bonaventure Cemetery.
2. Charlottesville, Virginia
This quaint Virginia city is home to the University of Virginia and well-worth a trip even if you’re not a student. In fact, many travelers come here simply to marvel at the well-manicured lawns and spacious campus grounds. The Downtown Pedestrian Mall is a one-stop-shop for restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and galleries. Monticello is a must for history buffs, as it's the former living quarters of Thomas Jefferson — and if you could care less about former presidents, go anyway. The architecture is pretty spectacular, with elements of both Italian and Parisian styles incorporated into the design. Need further proof? It’s was voted America’s happiest city back in 2014.
3. Beaufort, South Carolina
Movie buffs will have a ball in Beaufort and for good reason. This charming southern town served as the backdrop for The Big Chill, The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides among other titles. On a time crunch? No stress. Beaufort is an easy day trip from Hilton Head, Charleston, and Savannah. Calling all foodies! Sample Barefoot Farm's refreshing watermelons, sweet strawberry jam, and tasty rhubarb. In downtown Beaufort, Off Bay Street is the street for trendy restaurants and hip bars. The view of the river is an added bonus. Remember the show "Gullah Gullah Island?" Well, if you take the short trip to St. Helena Island, you can actually see how members of the Gullah community live.
4. Fredericksburg, Texas
Whether an art junkie or a golf snob, there's something for every interest in Fredericksburg. The one hitch is that most people forget it exists. Home to the country's largest wildflower farm, there's more than meets the eye in this often overlooked Texan city. If you're into crafts, plan your visit to coincide with one of Fredericksburg Trade Days, held the third weekend of every month. Sift through more than 350 vendors selling everything from ranch furniture to antique jewelry. Get a taste (literally) of classic German-style beers at Pedernales Brewing Company or check one of 30 wineries in the region. Fun fact: You can legally drink in the streets, here. Cheers to that!
5. Franklin, Tennessee
To be fair, Franklin is basically a suburb of Nashville and thus, many people overlook it entirely. Big mistake! Come Sunday Funday, head to 55 South for what is about to be the best brunch you've ever had. Complete with a Bloody Mary Bar and southern comfort food, it's the most delicious hangover remedy we've tried. As for shopping, definitely make a pit stop into Haven, a store owned by stylist to the music industry stars, Claudia Fowler. You can also find great artisanal items at Tin Cottage and gift them as souvenirs. If ever a rainy day, plant yourself on one of the comfortable couches at Landmark Booksellers and hunt down rare books and publications you forgot existed.
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