I cant help you find a place in the south to drive a manual. But, if you're in New England you drive one by going to: Sports Car Rental | New England Corvette - Billerica, MA
I wanted to also drive a manual to see if that was the direction I wanted to go.. On November 8th my wife and I went to see Mike, the gentleman who operates/owns NE Corvette Rentals, and rented a 2014 Z51 with magnetic ride control for 1/2 day. Mike has an auto, 7M convertible or coupe options available. He takes his time to show all the buttons, knobs and gauges in the car. Lets you get a feel to make sure you're comfotable before you "take off" so to speak.
As I was not from the area (traveled 125 miles to get there) he has preplanned routes if you care to use one. I used one that he plugged into the NAV system and it took me on highways, back roads, over a covered bridge and all the fun of shifting the 7M on those twisted roads! When I got back I knew my new C7 was going to be a 7M!
After that we drove the short distance to MacMulkin to see the rainbow of colors offered and all the various options available from over 50 new Vettes on site under one building. The day ended with my wife telling me to put a deposit on a car to lock down the pricing.
Thanks to Mike at NE Corvette I not only found out I wanted a 7M but helped with other questions that really can't be answered unless you get behind the wheel. My wife figured out what color we should get after visiting MacMulkins ....... AW.