At the end of last year, I had reason to spend a whole lot of time in the South; a proud American region that, admittedly, I have not visited enough -- especially considering I'm a travel writer. When it was all said and done, I realized I'd pretty much now hit (or at least briefly set foot in) all 16 Southern states -- as defined by the US government, not by these guys -- at some point in my life.
And what better way to celebrate said accomplishment than to rank, much as I did after visiting all six New England states last summer, my favorites based entirely on the feeling I got while hanging out in each. So, yes, on snap judgments as an impartial Midwesterner. (I can hear the angry comments in your head from here.)
So, with apologies to the 11 that didn't make the cut (sorry Georgia, my editor pushed hard for you), here are my favorite five states south of the Mason-Dixon line.