10Best is nearly finished building our ultimate American travel bucket list. So far, our readers have picked their favorite state attractions in the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and on the West Coast. This week, we're finishing up with one of our nation's most historic, diverse and naturally beautiful regions, the American South.
We've called on a panel of travel writers and photographers in each of 11 states to nominate their 20 favorite must-see attractions, and now it's your turn to pick the winners. Vote for your favorites in each state once per day until polls close on Monday, January 15 at noon ET. The 10 winning attractions in each state, as determined by your vote, will be announced on Friday, January 19.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Alabama Attraction
Small town Alabama — Photo courtesy of iStock / benedek
There's a lot to love about Sweet Home Alabama, from its antebellum homes and historic neighborhoods to its powdery white sand shores. History suffuses every corner of the state – visitors can explore Mississippian mound cities or walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest leaders of the American Civil Rights movement – while modern Alabama might surprise you with its sophisticated art, food and culture.
Best Arkansas Attraction
Arkansas waterfall — Photo courtesy of iStock / sestevens
From the Ozarks to the Timberlands, Arkansas earns its nickname, The Natural State, with seven national park sites and 52 state parks, 2.5 million acres of national forest, 600,000 acres of lakes, and 9,700 miles of rivers and streams. And there's more to the state than its unsung natural beauty. Sitting at the crossroads between the Midwest, Appalachia and the Deep South, myriad cultural and historical influences exhibit themselves in the historic sites and museums of cities like Little Rock all the way to the most rural Ozark mountain towns.
Best Florida Attraction
Florida Everglades — Photo courtesy of iStock / lucky-photographer
What do you imagine when you think of Florida? Is it the 825 miles of sun-kissed beaches or family-filled amusement parks? How about the Art Deco architecture or contemporary art scene? Or maybe it's the sprawling Everglades teeming with life or stone crab claws enjoyed al fresco by the shore. There's something for just about every visitor to love in the Sunshine State.
Best Georgia Attraction
Forsyth Park Fountain — Photo courtesy of iStock / SeanPavonePhoto
Atlantic beaches, historic small towns, coastal marshlands and northern mountains – the largest state east of the Mississippi is a study in contrasts. On one side, you have the rural Old South with its moss-draped oaks and grand plantations. On the other side sits metropolitan Atlanta, arguably the capital of the New South.
Best Kentucky Attraction
Dog Slaughter Falls — Photo courtesy of iStock / alexeys
Kentucky is perhaps best known for two things: bourbon and horses. And while these two industries certainly fuel the economy of the Bluegrass State, there's plenty more on offer beyond the rolling hills of horse country or the distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Outdoor enthusiasts find an extensive system of state and national parks, while regional culture shines in the state's cities and small towns.
Best Mississippi Attraction
Jackson, Mississippi — Photo courtesy of iStock / Sean Pavone
The Magnolia State is many things; it's the birthplace of the blues and a critical Civil Rights battleground. Its natural beauty includes the sandy beaches of the Gulf and the famed waters of the Mighty Mississippi. It's a place where rural towns, seemingly untouched by time, exist alongside cities redefining modern Southern cuisine and culture.
Best North Carolina Attraction
Outer Banks beach — Photo courtesy of iStock / RickSause
Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or culturephile, there's a lot going on in North Carolina. The state earns big points for its spectacular outdoor attractions, ranging from the secluded beaches of the Outer Banks to the forested peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But the cultural scene in cities from Asheville to Chapel Hill to Raleigh-Durham is just as appealing.
Best South Carolina Attraction
South Carolina plantation — Photo courtesy of iStock / WerksMedia
Known for its subtropical beaches, stately plantations, sea islands and "low and slow" barbecue, South Carolina gives visitors plenty to be excited about. While many travelers stick to the state's coastal regions, the inland areas offer a wealth of attractions as well.
Best Tennessee Attraction
Tennessee's Smoky Mountains — Photo courtesy of iStock / SeanPavonePhoto
From the country twang of Nashville to the rock and roll beats of Memphis, Tennessee takes its music seriously. While the Volunteer State is home to some of the country's top musical attractions, it's also a state of immense natural beauty and storied – at times tumultuous – history.
Best Virginia Attraction
Shenandoah National Park — Photo courtesy of iStock / gqxue
Virginia, the birthplace of America, is steeped in history having witnessed many of the nation's most defining moments. But its heritage is only part of the appeal of Old Dominion. The state's natural attractions are as diverse as its history, from the shores of Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of the Atlantic coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains and spectacular Shenandoah Valley.
Best West Virginia Attraction
Grandview Overlook — Photo courtesy of iStock / ablokhin
When city slickers from East Coast urban centers like Baltimore, Philadelphia and D.C. need a breath of fresh air, they go to West Virginia. The too-often overlooked Mountain State enjoys more than a million acres of federally protected lands, as well as an additional 200,000 acres of state parks and recreational areas – a varied landscape for all sorts of outdoor adventures.
Remember to visit 10Best daily to vote for your favorites, and check back on Friday, January 19 to see which Southern attractions took home the crown.