Oxford, MS: Oxford is one of those iconic small southern towns that lives up to its hype. With the famous town square bustling with great restaurants, even better cocktails, artists and retailers alike, it’s a perfect getaway. Our suggestion: Grab a cocktail at one of the bars overlooking the Square. Stop by Square Books and pick up a good read. Maybe meander down to Rowan Oak to get your Faulkner fix. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, drive a few miles to Water Valley, MS. There’s a great brewery in town (Yalobusha Brewing Co.) and even better seafood (The Crawdad Hole).
Summer is almost gone, kids are almost back in school, but we still have a little vacation time left to cling to. So pack your bags, throw a cooler in the backseat, and take off to one of these small southern towns that we love!
Hilton Head Island, SC: So Hilton Head may not technically be a small town, but it can take a little planning to get onto the island, so for us it made the list. 20 miles north of Savannah and only 95 southwest from Charleston, this island town is the perfect retreat. Make sure to check out the lighthouse, walk through the nature preserves, and bike around the dozens of bike paths.
Wilson, AR: This town we almost don’t want to put on the list, because it’s still a well kept secret and we almost like it that way. A visit to Wilson is like stepping back in time and something that everyone should experience. Once a sharecropping town, Wilson has been bought and revitalized. With a fabulous restaurant, new school, and great community center, Wilson is nothing but charm.
Natchez, MS: Natchez is one of those towns that you’ve always heard about but just never quite made it. Go. Take the scenic Natchez Parkway and get out and explore. Once in Natchez stop by the cemetery to see unique graves such as “Louise the Unfortunate” or the angel who always seems to have her eye on you. In the fall the town hosts a hot air balloon festival and in the spring a tour of the city’s antebellum homes.
Natchitoches, LA: Not to get confused with Natchez, Natchitoches is the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase. It also happens to be home to a little film you may know as Steel Magnolias. If you can find a place to stay, make your way to Natchitoches for the Christmas Festival; with lights on the Cane River, firework displays, and a beauty pageant titled Miss Merry Christmas, this town is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
By Drew Ford
Drew was born in Arkansas, but has been lucky to call several southern states home. She’s currently working on Masters in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. She loves vinyl records, long road trips, and acquiring useless trivia.