Best of the Southeast:
Travel like a local

You don’t want to travel like a tourist.
You’re looking for hidden gems.
Where do the locals eat, drink, play,
relax, shop and discover? Find out in
our latest guide to the Best of the Southeast.

Dear Readers,
When I have guests, especially first-time Atlanta visitors, I encourage them to go to some of our must-see attractions like Stone Mountain, the Georgia Aquarium and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. But I also urge them to eat at Marietta Diner, shop at the DeKalb Farmers Market or grab a beer at Manuel’s Tavern. I urge them to experience metro Atlanta like a local.

In this special section, our annual celebration of the best of the Southeast, we present destinations that fly a little under the radar. They are hidden gems that can give you a new perspective on a familiar locale, or entice you to go somewhere new.

Sure, you’ve probably been to Panama City Beach. But have you considered glamping there? Do you know where you can get a great bowl of pho in Nashville? Have you heard about the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala.? It’s probably the only place in the world where you can buy a wedding dress and a tuba at the same time.

And even though we produce this section only once a year, we’re always thinking of new ways to cover destinations in Georgia and the other seven states in our region. On, you’ll find an in-depth look at Georgia’s barrier islands and a collection of stories we call the “city-you-don’t-know” series. Those stories highlight the unexpected in cities we’re all familiar with. Theater in Charleston? Moonshine in Gatlinburg? Who knew?

Keep abreast of our travel coverage by signing up for one or both of our travel e-newsletters, Travel Special Offers or Atlanta Air Travel on When you sign into our website, you can opt to have those and any of our other e-newsletters delivered to your inbox. And you can catch our travel stories on Facebook by liking our AJC Life page.

We hope you’ll follow our coverage online and in the newspaper in Sunday’s Living & Arts section. And hold onto this edition of Best of the Southeast for when you’re ready to plan your next adventure.

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Kevin G. Riley