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  1. #1

    Default Southern States in winter


    we are thinking of visiting the southern US states next December (21st December - 10th January or later).

    The plan is not final yet (and this will be addressed in another post :) )
    but before we start the planning the route,
    we need to find out if it's a good idea to do the roadtrip at that time of the year.

    many thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Why Not?

    Καλώς Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Depending on where, precisely, you plan on going in "the southern US states" you should have no problems in winter except for the number of other travelers you'll run into. Much of Florida, the Gulf Coast and other parts of the Deep South are in high season as people from up north seek to escape the rigors of winter. For the most part, then, the weather should be fine, the hospitality industry will be up and running at full speed, and even fuel prices should be a bit lower. If you plan to include some of the northern or elevated areas of the South, such as the Appalachians of Virginia, you should be prepared for - but not necessarily expecting - some colder temps and even the off chance of some snow.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the quick reply!

    we are thinking of starting at Atlanta (easier to access from Europe) then Nashville, Memphis, follow Mississippi till we reach Jackson, then head to New Orleans (spend few days exploring Louisiana a bit more), then head east and end in Miami.
    We do plan to have quite a few stops along the way.

    We don't expect to be summertime of course, but we are just not sure if it's a good idea to do this trip at that time of the year.

    many thanks


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Wintertime is an excellent time to visit that part of the country. The weather will not be too hot, and the chance of ice and snow, although possible between Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and Jackson, is very slim.

  5. #5


    How about the scenery and the driving itself? Will we enjoy it as much as another time of the year?

  6. #6


    Even though it's the south, it's still winter and most trees will have lost their foilage so the scenry won't be as nice as it would earlier in the year.

    Although the chances of snow or ice aren't great, if they do happen to hit, it's trouble. The southern states are just not equipped to deal with snow and ice like the northern states.

    There is a great deal to see and do in Lousiana. Cajun Country around Lafayette, St. Martinsville, New Iberia and Morgan City is a great place to visit. As is Natchitoches, Louisiana. There are also several plantations to visit between New Orleans and Natchez. Natchez itself is a great place to visit. There are several ante-bellum mansions and if you're lucky, you might be there where when they are giving house tours.

  7. #7


    Unfortunately, we can get so many days off only at Christmas time.

    But hopefully it will be a unique experience anyway, even in winter.

    Thank you all for the help guys.

    We will back with more questions regarding the route and places to visit
    when we decide if we are going ahead with it.

    many thanks


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There are always going to be pros and cons to time of year - there is no "perfect" time of year no matter where or when you go.

    For example, fall weather has great folliage and often mild weather with fewer tourists, but you've got the risk of Hurricanes in this part of the country.

    Go when you can go, and enjoy what you can. Christmas will provide its own unique pluses and minuses - from the advantages of seeing lights and holiday displays, to the downside of having a spike of holiday tourists.

    You will have to factor in the weather a bit, especially if you are planning to visit any mountains areas, but it shouldn't keep you from having a great time.

  9. #9

    Default The South in Winter

    Hello Giorgos,

    I'm a lifelong resident of central North Carolina and I went to college in the NC mountains, at Boone, NC. I have a handful of comments about your plans.

    Generally speaking, the winter weather can be perfect for RoadTripping. Overnight lows in the 40s, daytime highs in the 50s, 60s, or low 70s, with some days being just a little colder or a little warmer. We do tend to get more day-long rains than in the warm weather season, when we get most of our precipitation from thunderstorms and tropical weather systems (tropical depressions and hurricanes),but on the other hand, we often get 2-3 days of perfectly clear, bluebird skies immediately following passage of a cold front.

    While it's possible to have snow and/or ice in late December-early January, at lower elevations, it's fairly rare. I'd refer to anything below 1,000' (approx 325 meters) above sea level. Since temperature normally varies between 3 and 5 degrees F for every 1,000' of elevation, weather along the core of the Southern Appalachians is affected more by elevation than by latitude. From around 3,500' and higher, December-January weather can be more like southern Canada than North Carolina and Virginia. We do see some coastal storms, called Nor'Easters, bringing much precipitation along the lower elevation Coastal Plains of VA and NC which sometimes collide with a cold front advancing from the northwest to produce heavy snows close to the coast, but that happens only once every few years.

    You are correctly advised that all the leaves on deciduous trees will be gone by late December, but two factors make that not necessarily a bad thing: The first is that the South has millions of acres of pine forest, and they're green year-round. The second is some of us find the lack of deciduous foliage in winter to be pleasing, as one can see much more of the natural contours of the ground and generally enjoy longer views without all the leaves. Our climate is sub-tropical, but it's so lush and leafed-out in Spring and Summer that it's hard to catch a view.

    Be aware that late December into January is deer-hunting season throughout most of the South, with the more southerly states often having open season well into January. Most travelers driving along Interstates and major US highways never realize it, but if you'll be on smaller state and county roads, or US Forest Service roads, you'll likely see some activity. Small town motels, restaurants, and bars (what relatively few bars there are in the South), may be catering to deer hunters then, too.

    Enjoy planning and taking your Southern US RoadTrip!


  10. #10


    Thank you guys for all the replies.

    We decided to go ahead with it so we started planning it.

    many thanks


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