Southern Hospitality, Fun and Adventure: Travel Nurses Can Find It All in the Southeast

White water rafting in the Nantahala National Forest

By Jennifer Larson, contributor

The Southeastern part of the United States isn’t just about sweet tea and football, although yes, those are pretty big. The region is also home to leading healthcare organizations where people are eager to work. In fact, has thousands of jobs for travel nurses in these states, in a wide variety of locations and healthcare settings.

So if you’re looking for a great place to work that also offers a ton of fun options during your free time, check out the Southeast—home to some of the best states for travel nursing and healthcare traveler jobs. Here are just a few highlights of what you can see and do while on assignment.

Note: During the ongoing COVID pandemic, be sure to check in before you visit any of these locations. Ask about operating hours and closures. (Some facilities may also offer virtual exhibits to tide you over during closures.) 

Regional fare to satisfy your cravings

Barbecue. Everyone in the South has strong opinions about barbecue, so you may have to try a bunch of different kinds to decide what you like best. Head to North Carolina and pick a spot, any spot, and figure out if you prefer Lexington-style or Eastern style. One can’t-miss choice is Stamey’s in Greensboro, North Carolina. Or try the mustard-based sauce on the ‘cue in many South Carolina joints. You should also try Memphis-style barbecue at places like Central BBQ, the Cozy Corner or the Bar-B-Q Shop in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Biscuits. People in the South also have opinions about biscuits. A few notable places to sample them include the Biscuit Shop Company in Northport, Alabama, and Biscuit Head in Asheville, North Carolina. If you’re in the Nashville area, stop by the Loveless Café and buy a “Got Biscuits?” t-shirt and some biscuit mix to take home with you. 

Fine dining. True, the South is home to some terrific country cooking, but it’s also home to a growing number of fine dining establishments. Get your gourmet fix at places like Husk, which started in Charleston, South Carolina; Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama; the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, and Bacchanalia in Atlanta. 

Museums and culture

National Museum of African American Music. The National Museum of African American Music is a new addition to Nashville but one that should be a must-do on your list. More than 50 music genres, including jazz, hip hop, gospel and R & B are featured in the galleries.  If your healthcare traveler job puts you close to Music City, you’ll obviously have numerous other music venues to explore, as well.

The Biltmore. Picture a castle. Now picture an 8,000-acre estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, with a castle, sprawling garden and a nearby winery. You have the National History Landmark known as the Biltmore. Wear comfortable shoes because it will take you awhile to meander through the house, given that it has 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, along with an indoor pool, billiards room, and more. 

National Civil Rights Museum. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, which traces the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, is an unforgettable experience. Learn more about the Freedom Rides, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other historical events. 

Outdoor adventure

White water rafting. If you love the thrill of rafting a river of icy cold water, you have lots of options. Some rivers are suited to beginners, while others demand some skill and experience. From the popular Nantahala River in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina to the New River Gorge, the Shenandoah River, and the Gauley River in West Virginia to the challenging Class V rapids of the Linville Gorge in North Carolina, there’s a river calling your name.

Swimming with the manatees.Crystal River, Florida, bills itself as the Manatee Capital of the World. Thanks to a whole industry that’s aimed at helping you meet a manatee, you can get up close and personal with these gentle, friendly creatures in their natural setting. 

Treehouse camping. For a unique getaway on your days off, check out the Treetop Hideaways outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, or the North Sungate Farms Treehouse in Murphy, North Carolina, nestled in the Smoky Mountains on a pretty family farm. For an even more rustic, off-the-grid experience, consider Edisto River Treehouse in St. George, South Carolina, or opt for the more modern Banning Mills Treehouses in Banning, Georgia, complete with gas fireplaces and hot tubs, as well as zip lining, rock climbing wall and other on-site amenities.

Other attractions

Churchill Downs. If you’ve ever watched the Kentucky Derby on TV, you’ve probably noticed the beauty of this iconic horse racing complex. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs also plays host to numerous other horse races throughout the year, if you’re feeling lucky. You can also take a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Historic home tours. No trip to a city like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, is complete without a tour of some of these city’s gorgeous historic homes. Check out gems like the spiral staircase in the Nathaniel Russell House in downtown Charleston and the Savannah house known as the birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low.

World of Coca-Cola. Located in downtown Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola is, yes, a giant homage to the popular soft drink and all the pop culture (pun intended) that’s developed around it. You can sample more than 100 soda flavors from around the world and see artwork inspired by the drink, too. can help you explore the Southeast, and all of the best states for travel nursing:


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