There’s a time for celebrating all that is Cincinnati. And, there’s a time for getting away.
Here are five Southern destinations that are sure to charm you, whether you're in the market for vacation homes, time-shares or just a tourist destination:
Charleston, S.C.
A trip to Charleston is a journey into a vibrant modern city that embraces its deep historical legacy and maintains its distinct Southern architectural charm.
No less than Travel & Leisure magazine recently ranked Charleston as the No. 4 best American city for an extended visit (after heavy-hitters New York, San Francisco and Chicago). Meanwhile, Conde Nast Traveler places Charleston at No. 5 on its list of “Top Ten Places to Travel” in the United States.
And why not? The Charleston area is home to the famed Spoleto arts and cultural festival, as well as the site of some of the South’s most exciting golfing, coastal beach-combing, shopping and dining.
Fort Sumter national park is a linchpin in Charleston’s tourism industry. But the famed fort isn’t all. The entire city is practically steeped in history (the original settlement was named Charles Towne in 1670 for King Charles II). The rows and rows of antique shops in the city center certainly attest to this.
You can tour the Edmondston-Alston House on Charleston’s High Battery; residents have included Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Drayton Hall is America’s oldest preserved plantation house (circa 1738), and the Aiken-Rhett House is one of the most intact structures to survive from antebellum Charleston.
Consider taking a ferry from downtown to the Fort Sumter National Monument, where the National Park Service has assembled one of the most complete collections of 19th-century seacoast artillery to be found in the country.
The public can visit The Citadel and tour the Citadel Museum, which portrays the history of the Military College of South Carolina. Or they can visit the American Military Museum, which includes exhibits on Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam as well as reaching back to both World Wars, Civil War and the American Revolution. Located on Aquarium Wharf, the museum features memorabilia including uniforms and insignias of such notables as Gen. George Patton and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is also worth a gander. The centerpiece at Patriots Point is the aircraft carrier Yorktown, but the battle group also includes a destroyer, the Laffey, the Coast Guard cutter Ingham and the submarine Clamagore.
Other major attractions include The South Carolina Aquarium — located on the aptly named Aquarium Wharf and showcasing a diverse menagerie of moray eels, sharks, river otters and turtles — and the Charleston Museum, an institution that was founded in 1773 and lays claim to being the nation’s first museum.
Hilton Head, S.C.
Hilton Head is a coastal paradise, a 12-mile-long and five-mile-wide island replete with recreational finds, great golfing and beachfront delights.
Indeed, the semi-tropical weather of this community — a haven for salt marshes, lagoons, magnolias and moss-draped forests — lends itself to relaxing, take-it-easy vacations. The island’s sandy beaches intermix with lush hotel resorts, luxury villas, vacation rental homes and championship golf courses. Beachfront accommodations abound (some 3,000 hotel rooms, 6,000 villas and 1,000 time-shares), more than enough to serve the 2.5 million visitors who make the annual trek here.
Notable destinations include the Hilton Head Marriott Beach and Golf Resort, named recently by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the “Top 500 Hotels in the World.” Like many of the resorts here, the Marriott offers access to a grouping of signature golf courses.
Certainly, golf is what it’s all about on Hilton Head. From the legendary Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the annual MCI Heritage of Golf Tournament, to Eagle’s Pointe, Golden Bear, Hampton Hall, Hidden Cypress and Hilton Head National (designed by Gary Player), there’s enough challenging courses to satisfy the soul of any golfer. The Country Club of Hilton Head, located inside Hilton Head Plantation, is a Golf Digest four-star course, while Crescent Pointe is the only public links on the island designed by Arnold Palmer.
Prime golf season, thanks to the balmy weather, is considered March to May and September to November.
Other popular island sports and activities include scuba diving, parasailing, crabbing, horseback riding, dolphin-watching tours, swimming and water-skiing.

Finally, no journey to Hilton Head can be considered complete without taking a break from the beach to seriously shop. Head to some of the more than 200 boutiques, galleries and shops located on the island. Coligny Plaza, Harbour Town, The Mall at Shelter Cove and Main Street Village are just some of the many “must” stops for souvenir hunters.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
A trip to Myrtle Beach is a virtual promise of sand, sun and surf. The city is located at the heart of the “Grand Strand,” which boasts some 60 miles of prime Atlantic Ocean beachfront. The area is blessed with mildly warm temperatures on land almost year-round, but ocean water that’s generally 20 degrees warmer than in North Carolina and Virginia.
Swimming is hardly your only option in Myrtle Beach. The famed pursuit of pier fishing joins charter fishing and boating, kayaking, surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, sand castle building, sand Frisbee and volleyball, and wind-surfing as just some of the outdoor activities and sports available on and off the shores of the city.
And the golf greens here — some 100 courses in all—have been created by some of the world’s best players: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, among them.
Family Kingdom amusement park is known for its legendary Swamp Fox wooden rollercoaster and the state’s largest Ferris wheel. Wild Attractions & Wild Water Wheels showcases cliff dives, serpentine side-winders, twin twisters and other water rides. And the NASCAR Speedpark boasts seven thrill ride tracks, two NASCAR themed golf courses and the state-of-the-art Speedome Arcade.
Believe it or not, the city is also home to three Ripley’s attractions: Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Ripley’s Haunted Attractions and Ripley’s Aquarium (housing some of the world’s most bizarre and deadly aquatic life).
Naples, Fla.
Whether you’re looking for a sandy beach, a sunny garden, a plentiful fishing spot or 18 holes of superior golf, the city of Naples offers it all.
The Florida town has semi-local roots. In 1887, a group of wealthy Kentuckians led by Walter Haldeman, owner of the Louisville Courier-Journal, purchased virtually all the land in Naples. One of the first things Haldeman and his Naples Company did was to build a pier 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. The unique “T” shape of the pier allowed large ships to dock easily. Prosperity, and people, soon followed — and the immigration hasn’t stopped since.
The balmy weather itself attracts some Cincinnatians. For instance, Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel chose the city to indulge in his gardening skills. “I can grow anything in Naples,” observes Kunzel, who—when not among his flowers—can be found offshore on his 44-foot Hinckley jet cruiser (called “Pops”) or conducting the Naples Pops orchestra.

Shopping and dining choices abound, as well. The Bayfront, located on Naples Bay at the foot of Fifth Avenue South, offers colorful European architecture and eye-catching landmarks for the strolling shopper. Stores such as Bayfront Boutique, Blue Diamond Jeweler and Jennings of Naples feature a wide selection of fashions, jewelry, china, crystal, tableware and home accessories. Not far away are malls and marketplaces such as Town Center Mall and Tin City.
Savannah, Ga.
When the words “Southern” and “hospitality” were first strung together into a single phrase, the wordsmith was likely attempting to describe Savannah.
For what other city in the Deep South is so inviting to vacationers, culinary gourmets, beach bums, duffers and history buffs alike?
Savannah, in fact, is all about assuring visitors the ultimate in sight-seeing experiences. Compare the town’s permanent population — about 150,000 — to the number of annual visitors — nearly 6 million — and you’ll quickly deduce that just about every resident makes their living in one way or another by catering to the whims of tourists.
The city made famous by the film Forrest Gump as well as the best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is an architectural wonder, a throw-back known best for its public squares: From picturesque Oglethorpe Square to stately Chippewa Square, the town is a veritable patchwork quilt of these two dozen block-wide parks, all framed by antebellum mansions and “kudzu” vines dripping from massive oak trees.
Like most cities, Savannah has its own stable of homegrown celebrities. Songwriter Johnny Mercer lived here, as did Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. This explains why you see so many Girl Scouts strolling the streets on their annual pilgrimages to the Low home, now the Girl Scout National Center.

And even though the city has the pristine reputation of a Girl Scout, it also has a casino: The Diamond Casino showboat departs on five-hour cruises once or twice each day, and features 220 slots and 15 gaming tables. Three-card poker, roulette, blackjack, craps and Texas hold-’em are among the gaming options.