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You have to really want to get to Marfa. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll stumble on it wandering around southwestern Texas. Movies like Giant and No Country For Old Men have used the rustric, iconic scenery as backdrops. Artists, chefs, and other creative-types make pilgrimages to this hot, dusty, little city. Don’t forget about the Marfa Mystery Lights–as if we didn’t already know that Texans are aliens.
Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton (drop the “u” when pronouncing it), has 2 claims to fame. As the birthplace of our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, it hosts a museum including the 1918 Pierce-Arrow limo he used after negotiating the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I. You’ll also find the American Shakespeare Center and its re-creation of London’s Blackfriars Playhouse complete with authentic staging techniques.
The Mississippi Delta is home to a lot of things great tamales, third world poverty, and amazing music. Clarksdale is home of the infamous crossroads, where blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play the guitar. More recently, it has had actor Morgan Freeman open a blues club called Ground Zero blues club. Worth an overnight trip, multiple places to stay including the Shack Up Inn that is defintely worth a stop.
North of Clarksdale, you will find another underrated town, Oxford, MS. Oxford is home to the University of Mississippi. Several notables call Oxford home (or at least own a condo there), such as Eli Manning, Archie Manning, and novelist John Grisham. Downtown Oxford is home to several great restaurants and a very famous bookstore, Square Books. Oxford deserves mention among great college towns in the South and the US.
Obviously the largest city on our list, this Southern city was once the capital of the South and doesn’t seem to get its due consideration. You will find all the trappings of a great Southern city in Richmond, historical societies, civil war markers, great architecture, and most importantly great food.
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, Boone is the home of Appalachian State University. Boone is a beautiful mountain town with all the outdoor activities you would expect like rafting, hiking, and even snow skiing in nearby Banner Elk. Boone also has a great bluegrass music scene.
Dauphin Island, AL
Located on the world famous Redneck Riviera, Daulphin Island is a beautiful island south of Mobile. Great food, great fishing, and great beaches. Worth a trip if you are driving over to Gulf Shores or Destin.
Kentucky’s second oldest city and Bourbon Capitol of the World. Bardstown is to bourbon as Napa Valley is to wine. Makers Mark, Jim Beam, and many other distilleries are open for tours and tastings.
Murrells Inlet, SC
South of Mrytle Beach lies fishing village Murrells Inlet. It is allegedly where hushpuppies were invented. It’s also where the famous pirate Blackbeard would stash his treasure. Steeped in history and beauty, Murrells Inlet is flying under the radar and we hope it will stay that way.
Little Rock, AR
I have to be a bit of a homer on this one but I believe Little Rock is definitely underrated. We have fantastic restaurants, beautiful hotels, and now a big library named Clinton. Lots of history here from U.S. Grant taking his horse up an elevator, to the Central High Crisis in 1957. We are nestled right where the hills meet the delta with one foot in each.