15 charming cities in the American South you may have overlooked

Perri Ormont Blumberg, CNN • Updated 4th August 2017

10. Gulfport, Mississippi

EAT

Start at Triplett-Day Drug Co., a family-owned soda fountain that will teleport you to the "Leave it to Beaver" glory days.

Next, scope out the eclectic Fishbone Alley, a mural hunter's Eden, which puts you a stone's throw away from more local artwork, bars, restaurants and live music. (Be warned: Football game days are LOUD.)

Fight the heat with a small-batch icicle from Pop Bothers with inventive flavors ranging from Dragon Fruit to Graceland (an alluring medley of peanut butter with silky bananas and flecks of salty bacon).

Also book an outing with Tasty Tours in Downtown Gulfport, a three-hour walking culinary tour that spotlights five local dining establishments.

STAY

Rest your head at The Guest House at Gulfport Landing, an endearing bed and breakfast that dates to 1906 (it was restored in 2014, so you won't need to worry about unplugging).

Or try The Almanett Hotel & Bistro, a cozy restaurant and inn overlooking the Mississippi Sound where all six guest rooms sport a private terrace. Worth noting: The shrimp here is beyond.

PLAY

Grab a ferry to one of the area's barrier islands for a half-day excursion with Ship Island Excursions (full-day trips are also available), where you'll be spoiled with views of Fort Massachusetts, which was built in 1866, and idyllic beaches free from mainland crowds.

Also, it's worth considering a wintertime trip, as holiday enthusiasts will rejoice in the spectacular Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, which runs from the end of November through the start of January. Last year it drew 60,000+ guests, not only for the dazzling illuminated displays, but also for the food trucks, rides, live performances and the 40 acres of greenspace it takes up on the majestic Gulf of Mexico.

Original article: http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/charming-cities-american-south/index.html