The Southeastern United States is often overshadowed by the major attractions in the West and along the East Coast. The Southeast is home to long chains of mountains, national parks and exciting city destinations. The potential for activities is only limited by time and imagination in the scenic and friendly region.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides a plethora of outdoor activities. The national park is home to mountain scenery and opportunities for wildlife watching. Adventurous visitors stay in one of the 10 developed campgrounds or numerous backcountry campgrounds around the park. Hiking trails provide access to remote scenery, and the streams and lakes are open to fishing. You may also tour the park on horseback by hiring a guide and renting a horse from one of the many stables in the area.
The Appalachian Mountains are the backbone of the Southeast, and despite regional coal production and mountaintop mining, many areas are protected and undeveloped. The Appalachian trail follows the chain of mountains from Maine to Georgia and is hiked by thousands of visitors every summer. You can hike through hike the entire trail in roughly five months or choose to hike short sections at a leisurely pace. Although the trail is rugged and remote, numerous hikers are encountered during the summer and the friendly outdoor atmosphere creates a hiker bond along the trail.
The Southeast coastline provides an extensive network of accessible beaches. Summer is the best time for swimming, surfing and sailing, but fishing and other opportunities are readily available throughout the year. Hammocks Beach State Park in North Carolina is one example of the diverse beach opportunities, with its sandy shorelines, forested inland, barrier islands and regions rich in Civil War history.
The beauty and variety of fall colors are major Southeast attractions for nature lovers. Every state in the Southeast transforms into a vibrant sea of gold, green and orange as the temperature cools and fall slips closer to winter. Look to the farmland and countryside, away from the major city centers, for the best views. The high-country mountain regions provide the most diverse array of colors with dense forests and access to public lands. Many of the forested regions are also home to bed-and-breakfast style lodging.
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