Home For Travelers "Best of" Lists 9 Best Southern Vacations For The Summer (And Their Can’t-Miss Attraction!)

9 Best Southern Vacations For The Summer (And Their Can’t-Miss Attraction!)

Top-rated Southern cities for a vacation

Top-rated Southern cities for a vacation

With countless places to choose from in the region, we’re highlighting the best Southern vacation spots for renting a summer house. Travelers have spoken, and these destinations have the top-rated review scores for their rental accommodations on FlipKey.

Top-Rated Southern Vacations This Summer

Summer is a fabulous time to visit the South. Warm temperatures linger long into the evenings, allowing plenty of time for exploration, and the region’s cities buzz with activity. Not to mention, the area exudes Southern hospitality, making it a popular place to visit—any time of year.

Whether summer is just beginning or inching to a close, it’s never a bad time to plan that getaway down South! To help you choose your destination, we looked at the average vacation rental review scores for summer stays. The result? Nine of the best vacation spots down South receiving top praise from fellow FlipKey rental guests. From Tennessee to Texas, these Southern vacations (and their top attraction!) come highly recommended by travelers like you.

Consider booking a vacation home for your trip and you’ll be right in the middle of all the action. Not only do rentals provide an affordable home base during your stay, they let you experience the city like a local!

Ratings are based on the lifetime average vacation rental review score for that destination (for stays during summer months), according to reviewers on TripAdvisor. FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company. 

9. Decatur, Georgia

Retreat to Decatur, Georgia

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.50/5.00

“Lots of heart and soul went into preserving this very special home—if you appreciate craftsmanship and cool old houses, it is worth a visit for that alone!” – FlipKey Traveler

A trip to Decatur reveals what makes this destination so special: beautiful historic homes, a range of unique attractions, and a friendly, small-town atmosphere that is truly one-of-a-kind. At just six miles east of Atlanta, getting to this city—which offers a variety of attractions for foodies, fashionistas, fun-lovers and beyond—is a breeze. Grab a bite to eat on-the-go at Your Dekalb Farmers Market, take a walking tour of the area, or perch yourself on a park bench in Decatur Square. Described as “four square miles of hometown hippiness,” this vibrant city is a hot spot for Southern vacations that can’t be missed.

Our Top Activity Pick: Michael C. Carlos Museum

See all Decatur vacation rentals on FlipKey!

8. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Find your hideaway in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.56/5.00

“We spent the majority of our time on one of the two decks when we weren’t out hiking. We watched birds fly, the clouds float by, and the hang gliders soar. What a wonderful, relaxing place to enjoy!” – FlipKey Traveler

Nicknamed the Scenic City, Chattanooga lives up to that claim with soaring mountains, extraordinary rock formations, roaring waterfalls, and lots of outdoor activities that let you enjoy it all. Explore the mysterious caverns of Ruby Falls, hike Lookout Mountain for jaw-dropping views, or familiarize yourself with the area on a train ride through the countryside. For an even more memorable stay, rent a cabin amidst towering trees or a private vacation home just steps from the river and make Chattanooga your home, if only for a weekend getaway.

Our Top Activity Pick: Hunter Museum of American Art

See all Chattanooga vacation rentals on FlipKey!

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Discover New Orleans, Louisiana.

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.60/5.00

“Perfect spot in the Marigny!! We could walk easily everywhere we wanted to go and experienced lots of great music and restaurants.” – FlipKey Traveler

Whether your plan is to soak up the local history or dance your way down Bourbon Street, New Orleans is no doubt one of the best vacation spots in the South. It’sa hub of activity from sunrise to sundown. Tour the Garden District—an elegant neighborhood full of Southern charm—where you’ll find pristine gardens and opulent, antebellum mansions. When you’re ready to party, head to Bourbon Street. You’ll find this carnival of sights and sounds in the historic French Quarter. Add to your New Orleans experience by booking a traditional, shotgun-style vacation home just blocks from your favorite attractions.

Our Top Activity Pick: New Orleans Museum of Art

See all New Orleans vacation rentals on FlipKey!

5. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.60/5.00

“Absolutely LOVED this home away from home!! We actually stayed in Friday night instead of going to downtown Nashville just because we loved the house so much!!” – FlipKey Traveler

If you’re looking for world-class music venues, hearty Southern fare, and the chance to spot celebrities both on the stage and in the street, then Nashville is the Southern vacation for you. Take a stroll along the Music City Walk of Fame, check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, or attend a show at the iconic Grand Ole Opry. At the end of a music-filled day, retreat to the quiet of your beautiful Victorian home rental in Germantown, Nashville’s oldest neighborhood.

Our Top Activity Pick: Adventure Science Center

See all Nashville vacation rentals on FlipKey!

6. Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, TX is a hot spot for Southern vacations.

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.63/5.00

“This was a great location right in the middle of everything in historic Fredericksburg. A wonderful place to stay with hosts that make you feel like friends.” – FlipKey Traveler

Southern charm will sweep you off your feet in Fredericksburg. It’s located deep in the heart of Texas and is known for its hospitality, rich history, and thriving German traditions. A visit during August lends itself to lazy afternoons watching the grape harvest at a vineyard and warm evenings strolling at the county fair. If you can’t squeeze a trip to Fredericksburg in this summer, don’t fret! With bluebonnets blooming in the spring and Oktoberfest celebrations during the fall, this city is one of the best Southern vacations to take, no matter what time of year it is.

Our Top Activity Pick: National Museum of the Pacific War

See all Fredericksburg vacation rentals on FlipKey!

4. Louisville, Kentucky

Rent a vacation home in Louisville, Kentucky.

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.74/5.00

“All the comforts of home. This was much better than a hotel. It was great to have easy access to our events, then drive back into a quiet neighborhood (with deer) in the evenings.” – FlipKey Traveler

With the annual Kentucky Derby spectacle, tasty mint juleps, and a variety of exciting attractions, it’s no surprise that Louisville makes our list of top-rated Southern vacations. Follow the city-wide “Urban Bourbon Trail” to award-winning micro-distilleries, each with its own unique offering of the city’s signature spirit. If you’re a baseball fan, check out the Louisville Slugger Museum, a celebration of the sport’s legends. Choose an historic home within walking distance of downtown, and you’ll never want to leave Louisville!

Our Top Activity Pick: KMAC Museum

See all Louisville vacation rentals on FlipKey!

3. St. Petersburg, Florida

Hit the beach in St. Petersburg, FL.

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.84/5.00

“Paradise. This is the first time I ever stayed in a vacation rental—and I think I’ll never go back to hotels again. I felt the most not like a tourist on this vacation compared to others in the past.” – FlipKey Traveler

Known as the “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg boasts an average of 361 days of sunny skies a year, making it a safe choice if you’re looking to spend your vacation days outdoors. Walk the waterfront for stunning views of Tampa Bay (and even a leaping dolphin or two!) or explore the century-old Sunken Gardens in the midst of this bustling city. One walk along the sugary-sand beaches, one dip in the crystal-clear waters, one stop at the Saturday Morning Market—that’s all it will take to fall in love with St. Petersburg.

Our Top Activity Pick: Great Explorations Children’s Museum

See all St. Petersburg vacation rentals on FlipKey!

2. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas Southern Vacations

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 4.85/5.00

“It was the most gorgeous scenic retreat I could’ve asked for. A beautiful hidden gem, just like Arkansas itself!” – FlipKey Traveler

Set among an array of naturally heated springs, Hot Springs bubbles with adventure. From hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking, this Southern city speaks to outdoor enthusiasts. Climb to the top of Hot Springs Mountain to take in the majestic views, discover the beauty of Lake Catherine State Park, or spend a relaxing day at the lake. Book a Hot Springs vacation rental as your base to make exploring even easier during your stay.

Our Top Activity Pick: A Narrow Escape

See all Hot Springs vacation rentals on FlipKey!

1. Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville-South-Carolina-best-Southern-vacations

Average Vacation Rental Rating: 5.00/5.00

“Cozy place, perfect for two. Perfect for peace and quiet and restful relaxation.” – FlipKey Traveler

When it comes to Southern charm, Greenville offers an unforgettable dose. From outdoor concerts to annual street festivals, the city hosts more than 300 events annually, guaranteeing a good time is had by all. Saunter around downtown Greenville—ranked among “America’s Ten Best” by Forbes magazine—taking in the sights and tasting a variety of palate-pleasing cuisines from the more than 600 restaurants in town. This charming destination gets FlipKey travelers’ vote as one of the best vacation spots in the South to rent a summer house. Book a vacation rental here and enjoy all the city has to offer with the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop.

Our Top Activity Pick: Roper Mountain Science Center

See all Greenville vacation rentals on FlipKey!

9 Best Southern Vacations

  • Decatur, Georgia
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Fredericksburg, Texas
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Greenville, South Carolina