Devereaux Shields House
This inn promises Victorian Southern comfort and delivers just that, with a side of heady romance. The Devereaux Shields House is all about full-service relaxation. Afternoons bring wine-and-cheese welcome receptions. Three-course breakfasts feature sumptuous Southern fare. Book a couples massage, sip a mint julep on the verandah, or surprise your S.O. with in-room Champagne and chocolates. With gracious innkeepers Ron and Eleanor Fry at the helm, the Devereaux Shields is just the spot for a honeymoon or anniversary.
Room Pick: The two-room Gallery Suite is suitably grand for a milestone celebration. An extra-large bath and fireplace, plus a private gallery with garden views, are among its many attractions. Rates from $209.
In Town: Natchez’s antebellum houses include the endlessly eccentric Longwood, an octagonal and unfinished dream home. Tour the historical homes as well as the must-see Museum of African-American History and Culture, which interprets the stories and honors the difficult histories of local African-Americans, from pre-Civil War to modern civil rights.
The Cuthbert House Inn
BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA
Built in 1790, The Cuthbert House Inn is a longtime bayfront favorite in Beaufort. Located along the coastline between Savannah and Charleston, Beaufort is an immensely walkable small town with plenty to recommend it. Grab one of the inn’s loaner bicycles for touring around. You wouldn’t be faulted for staying on-site all day, either: Read a good book on the waterside verandah, watching sailboats and seagulls breeze by. Have an afternoon snack and a cup of coffee at the ready; you may never be less inclined to move.
Room Pick: The brightly outfitted, light-filled Hideaway Room is the perfect mix of old and new, with an upgraded two-person marble rainshower. Enjoy the marsh-side views. Rates from $189 per night.
In Town: Sailors, anglers and beach bums will love Beaufort’s coastal attractions, from kayaking along the bay to crabbing in its critter-rich waters. Charter a sailboat, pontoon or canoe to see South Carolina’s coast.
Maison D'Memoire Bed & Breakfast Cottages
Just 15 minutes from Lafayette—the heart of Louisiana’s true Cajun country—Maison D’Memoire Bed & Breakfast is exactly where you should laissez les bons temps rouler. Cozy, modern guest cottages surround a private lake and come with bubbling Jacuzzis, fully fitted kitchens and breakfasts delivered to your door. Sit on your private porch and sip a chilled glass of lemonade while you listen to the evening sounds of the Louisiana countryside. This maison is a far cry from boisterous New Orleans two hours to the east—and a perfectly romantic escape at that.
Room Pick: Bed down in the Country Garden Cottage. An old-fashioned clawfoot tub and an indoor Jacuzzi (for two, of course) offer prime soaking opportunities, the latter situated beneath a unique stained glass window. Rates from $189.
In Town: Get a taste of local life at the Jean Lafite Acadian Cultural Center, where exhibits, events, films and artwork explore the history and people of the region’s Acadian (“Cajun”) settlers. Continue the history lesson and even take a dance lesson or two at the historical village of Vermilionville.
A Diamond Collection B&B, Beechwood Inn in Clayton has earned effusive praise from countless wine and travel mags. Tucked into North Georgia’s wine country among rolling vineyards, mountains and farms, the Beechwood offers scenery for miles. It’s a proper home base for both wine-country wandering and whitewater rafting. But it's the inn’s eco-friendly, farm-to-table mindset that draw visitors and awards alike. Think chef’s dinners paired with regional wines or gourmet breakfasts made with local honey. After dinner, well-fed guests can pick a fiddle or strum a guitar in the on-site Music Room.
Room Pick: Rooms are individually decorated, but all come with luxe 600-thread-count linens and spa-style bath amenities. The private Blueberry Cabin has the best views, though, as its deck faces sunset on Blackrock Mountain. Rates from $239.
In Town: With clay-rich soil and terroir similar to Italy’s Piedmont region, North Georgia wine country boasts some serious grapes. (Clayton’s upscale downtown has a vintage drugstore complete with soda shop, if you need a non-alcoholic bev to wash down all the wine.)
Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS
The lake in question is Lake Hamilton, and every guest room at the top-rated Lookout Point Lakeside Inn offers its views, from the well-priced queen rooms to the luxurious king suites. The Arts and Crafts-style home is filled with quiet spaces, while the property is dotted with hammocks, garden paths, a stream, and a meditation labyrinth. For a food-focused getaway, enroll in the Lookout Point Cooking School where you’ll learn to whip up Southern favorites like peach cobbler, or simply tuck into glorious breakfasts from innkeeper and baker extraordinaire Kristie Rosset’s kitchen.
Room Pick: We love the Evening Shade suite for its eggplant-purple decor and intricately carved willow king bed. A gas fireplace warms in winter months. Best of it all, it’s one of four pet-friendly rooms on-site, so you can bring Reginald Barkswell along. Rates from $279.
In Town: Baths abound in this hot-springs-focused town. The 19th-century historical manses along Bathhouse Row, a listed National Historic Landmark District, are well worth your exploration. Step back in time during a soak in the silica-rich waters at the Buckstaff.
Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
In its long past life, this lemon-yellow Victorian has been a private home, a parsonage, a boarding house, and a law firm. Lucky for you, it’s now an elegant inn, conveniently situated in Birmingham’s walkable Five Points district. Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast is all Southern gentility, from a sparkling chandelier to the lamp-lit grand parlor. In rooms and common spaces, find fine antiques, damask curtains, lace-canopied beds, even a fainting couch or two. You won’t need to dress to impress but you’ll feel like you ought to.
Room Pick: The Southern Magnolia Suite is chock full of antiques too, including a pedal sewing machine and a gentleman’s dresser with dedicated glove drawers. (Who doesn’t have one of those at home?) Rates from $129.
In Town: Birmingham’s many museums can fill untold days, from its landmark Civil Rights Institute to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum to the amazing array at its art museum. See countless pieces of art and sculpture from 3,000 BC to contemporary times—all completely for free.
—by Dara Continenza