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The Best Adventures for the Summer | The South

The best adventures for the Summer, the South Edition. Discover fun trips and ideas for adventures in all major Southern US cities/states.

With summer coming up quick, you’ll need to start researching, planning, and preparing. Knowing the best adventures for the summer is the first step, so let’s get started!

In this article, we’re going to show you some of the best places to visit in the Southern United States this summer. This region includes Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.

No matter what you are looking for – museums to gardens to mountains – we’ve got you covered. So start planning and get ready to pack your bags, adventure is right around the corner!

Virginia

Known for being the birthplace of the nation, Virginia is a historic state producing most of the country’s tobacco. Along with the tobacco industry, Virginia is also known for being the home of Washington D.C. (borders Virginia & Maryland).

Virginia

(Photo via Blog Virginia)

Washington D.C

Not much needs to be said about this wonderful location. The capital is one of the most popular destinations in the US and is home to many historical monuments including the Washington Monument, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and plenty of others. Along with these amazing monuments, also make sure to check out the White House, the United States Capitol, and the National Building Museum.

Washington D.C

Arlington

A historic location that truly represents the American sacrifice. Arlington is home to the Arlington National Cemetery which is also where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lays. An inspiring and remarkable sight, the changing of the guard is a must-see.

Arlington

(Photo via NPR)

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson. It is the same location featured on the back of the current US Nickel. Monticello features beautiful gardens, rich history, and a lot of interesting things to see and do. Well worth a visit.

West Virginia

Noted for its rolling hills and beautiful mountains, West Virginia is heaven for people who love the great outdoors. Perfect grounds for almost any outdoor activity, a lot of natural scientific research and caving occurs in gorgeous West Virginia.

West Virginia

(Photo via Planet Ware)

New River Gorge Bridge

For years the New River Gorge Bridge was the largest single-span arch bridge with an arch of 1,700 feet. Now the third largest, this incredible bridge is huge in person and an architectural masterpiece.

New River Gorge Bridge

(Photo via CNN)

Hawk’s Nest State Park

This state park spans 370 acres and offers beautiful view points of the land in West Virginia. With many outlooks and stopping points, this state park is filled with incredible hiking trails, a lodge, a swimming pool, and even a restaurant.

Hawk's Nest State Park

(Photo via Expedia)

Grandview State Park

Another incredible state park in West Virginia, Grandview offers inspiring views and beautiful lands. This park also provides incredible views of New River which will be great during the warm summer months.

Grand View State Park

(Photo via TripAdvisor)

Maryland

Maryland is home to America’s first railroad station (Mount Claire Station) which was built in 1830 and located in Baltimore. Maryland is also known for its spectacular seafood, most notable are their crabs, perfect for a summertime seafood feast!

Maryland

(Photo via Visit Maryland)

Fort McHenry

This historical coastal fort is known for its miraculous star shape and also for defending Baltimore in the War of 1812. In 1939 it was deemed a National Monument and a Historic Shrine. Another interesting fact about this monument is that after the U.S. defeated the British, they flew a large Garrison flag to signal their victory. This inspired  Francis Scott Key to write the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” which was later turned into the Star Spangled Banner after it was set to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven.”

Fort Mchenry

(Photo via Baltimore)

Deep Creek Lake

The largest inland body of water in Maryland and also man-made, this incredible body of water has over 65 miles of shoreline. Perfect for summertime fishing, this lake is home to many different species of fresh water fish.

(Photo via Discover Deep Creek)

American Visionary Art Museum

America’s official museum for intuitive, self-taught artistry and is also a national education center. While even the building is a work of art, the Museum prides itself for preserving and displaying outside art.

Visionary Art Museum

(Photo via Gallivant)

Kentucky

Kentucky is home to the Kentucky Derby, the oldest continuously held race horse and also the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Featuring beautiful, vast lands, Kentucky is another great state for outdoor lovers!

Kentucky

(Photo via Blaine Harrington)

Churchill Downs

The famous. The notorious. The prominent. Churchill Downs is the famous race track which holds the Kentucky Derby every year on the first Saturday in May. This beautiful race track is heaven for horse lovers, even throughout the year in the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Churchill Downs

(Photo via Churchill Downs)

The Big Four Bridge

Once used for trains and railway equipment, but now a walkway and bike path, the Big Four bridge is an incredible bridge connecting Louisville, KY and Jefferson, IN offering some great views of both towns on each side of the Ohio River.

The Big Four Bridge

(Photo via IMI)

Red River Gorge

The Red River Gorge is a canyon system inside of Daniel Boone National Forest featuring sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls, and natural bridges. The abundance of cliff lines and sandstone have made it one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations and is even nicknamed “The Red” by the climbers.

Red River Gorge

(Photo via HeatherFeather360)

Tennessee

“The Country Music Capital of the World.” Tennessee is a beautiful scenic state housing over 3,800 caves to explore and the largest freshwater aquarium!

Tennesse

(Photo via Movoto)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National park is one of the largest protected masses of land of the eastern United States. It also encompasses more than 522,000 acres and is one of the first state parks to be partially funded by federal funds.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(Photo via Dave Allen)

Beale Street Historic District

Located in downtown Memphis, the historic Beale Street District is a significant blues and jazz town where many traveling musicians used to perform in the late 1800’s. Later in the early 1900’s, much of the land was purchased by African Americans and turned into restaurants, bars, and jazz clubs.

Beale Street Historic District

(Photo via Memphis Daily News)

Nashville

The capital of Tennessee and also a college town with many students and activities to go around. Along with this, it is a big music hub nicknamed “Music City, U.S.A”.

Nashville, TN

North Carolina

North Carolina is filled with wondrous nature and tons of mountains. It is also home to Mount Mitchell, the highest point East of the Mississippi River, standing at 6,684 feet.

Asheville

Asheville is a quaint, historical town with a mix of city and nature. Here you will be able to find some amazing restaurants, beautiful hikes, and lovely downtown walking – fun for the whole family.

Asheville, NC

(Photo via The Atlantic)

The Biltmore Estate

Feast your eyes on the largest privately owned house in America. The Biltmore Estate is an illustrious piece of work taking up over 178,000 square feet and is one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age that still remains.

Biltmore Estate

(Photo via Biltmore)

Blue Ridge Mountains

Staying true to their name, the Blue Ridge Mountains are called this because of the blue glow that the trees give off when looking from a distance. This is because of the isoprene that the trees emit into the atmosphere. This wonderful science phenomenon provides incredible views and a unique look.

The Blue Ridge Mountains

(Photo via WorldAtlas)

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains and well-known for its mile high swinging bridge.

Grandfather Mountain

(Photo via Romantic Asheville)

South Carolina

From beaches to forests to cities, South Carolina has it all, especially in the summer time! Whether you are visiting the well-known Myrtle Beach, exploring historic Charleston, or adventuring through one of the various state parks, you are bound to have a good time.

South Carolina

(Photo via Only in Your State)

Reedy River in Falls Park

A beautiful community and city around the falls of Reedy River in Greenville, SC provides great photo opportunities as well as a comforting atmosphere with southern hospitality.

Reedy River in Falls Park

(Photo via Keyword)

Huntington Beach State Park

This state park is an awe-inspiring coastal preserve with a large sandy beach and a wide variety of birds to watch and observe. This is a great state park to come to and relax on the beach after a long, exhausting trip.

Huntington Beach State Park

(Photo via Expedia)

Charleston

This is the second largest and the oldest city in South Carolina and is quite a big tourist attraction. Known for its preserved architecture, incredible restaurants, and its hospitality, Charleston has been named “America’s Most Friendly City” by Travel + Leisure.

Georgia

Georgia is the largest state East of the Mississippi River and holds many beautiful mountains, scenic attractions, and family fun! Home to the Coca-Cola Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and much more, Georgia has endless sights to see for any adventurer.

Georgia

(Photo via Explore GA)

Downtown Atlanta

Atlanta is the capital and largest city in the state of Georgia. Atlanta is also an “alpha city” meaning that they impact the economy in many great ways in e-commerce, research, finance, technology, art, media, and more!

Downtown Atlanta

The Georgia Aquarium

A must see for families! The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and houses thousands of different animals and thousands of different species all of which live in 10 million gallons of U.S salt water.

Georgia Aquarium

(Photo via Expedia)

Savannah

The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah, is a beautiful, artistic town home to the Savannah College of Art & Design, the Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences, and various other art schools. This is also where many southern, historical attractions including the Old Colonial Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Old Harbor Light, and many more fascinating sights are found!

Savannah

(Photo via Savannah)

Florida

Home of Universal Studios and Disney World, along with many beaches and miles of coast line, Florida is a perfect travel trip for the family. Endless palm trees and sun on your skin will keep a smile on your face and a nice, relaxing stay.

Florida

(Photo via Florida Palm Trees)

The Everglades

Spanning a massive 1.5 million acres, the Florida Everglades are home to thousands of different animals, plants, and Florida wildlife. With endless nature opportunities, these wetlands will provide great photo and adventure opportunities!

Florida Keys

The Keys are a coral cay island chain that extend and make up the southern-most part of the United States. At the lowest point, you will be only 90 miles from Cuba and surrounded by crystal clear waters and the hot sun.

Florida Keys

(Photo via The Odyssey)

Miami

Miami is a major center for finance, art, media, tourism, and more. Along side this, Miami is also known as the “Cruise Capital of the World” for its vast seaport area allowing many cruises to come in and out at all times of the year.

Miami

Mississippi

Filled with everlasting forests, the Mississippi River, and more nature, Mississippi is an outdoorsman’s dream. Rolling hills and beautiful waters cover the state and provide amazing adventure opportunities all over.

Mississippi

(Photo via Wilderness Inquiry)

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Featuring natural beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, islands, bayous, historic sites, and more this seashore is sure to fulfill your beach and nature adventure desires!

Gulf Island National Seashore

(Photo via Film North)

The Mississippi River

The famous river that runs through the center of the United States is over 2,000 miles long and it is the second largest drainage system in America only standing behind the Hudson River in New York. Including bright colors, mucky swamps, and many nature walks, the Mississippi river – which is found in many more states than just Mississippi – is a great outdoor adventure, just don’t forget your bug spray.

The Mississippi River

(Photo via Sierra Club)

Vicksburg National Military Park

This historic site is the location of preserved land where the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg was held. The park has a cemetery for the veterans, a canal by the name of Grant’s canal, and many other monuments and landmarks to explore and learn about.

Vicksburg National Park

(Photo via MSTop40)

Alabama

Nicknamed the Yellowhammer State because of the state bird, Alabama is a southern territory filled with good eats, a ton of wildlife, and lots of football fans. Whether you are visiting to see landmarks & monuments, historic Mobile, or just coming to watch football, you will be sure to have a fun time in Alabama.

alabama photo

Civil Rights Memorial

In the 1950’s-60’s many lives were lost for a greater cause – equality and justice. Today, and everyday, we honor these 41 men and women for their brave sacrifice. The memorial was created and designed by Maya Lin whom based it on the southing and healing effects of water, using inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights Memorial

(Photo via FHWA)

Battleship USS Alabama

The sixth battleship of the U.S. Navy to be named after Alabama, the ship was fighting in 1942 and fought through WWII until it was decommissioned in January of 1947. About 20 years later the ship was taken to Mobile Bay and has been used as a museum since.

USS Alabama

(Photo via Soul of America)

Monte Sano State Park

This publicly owned state park consists of more than 2,100 acres and includes picnic areas, modern campsites, and scenic views of Monte Sano Mountain. The name comes from its Italian meaning “Mountain of Health” which is where they sent cholera and yellow fever patients to healing retreats so they could become healed.

Monte Sano

(Photo via ActiveRain)

Arkansas

Arkansas’ geography ranges from thick forests to big mountains to lowlands throughout the state. Perfect for outdoor adventures, camping, hiking, and backpacking!

Best Adventures in Arkansas

(Photo via NatGeo)

Hot Springs National Park

This National Park was actual the first piece of land that was set aside by the government for future recreational use. It was created before the concept of National Parks had become a common thing and the hot springs are still thought to have medicinal powers which may or may not be a myth passed down from the Native Americans.

Hot Springs National Park

(Photo via National Parks)

The Old Mill

The Old Mill, or the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, is a re-created version of a late 1800’s water-powered mill located in Little Rock. Because of its beautiful scenery and picturesque views many wedding photographers come here and create magical photos.

Old Mill

(Photo via Pixdaus)

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Just a few miles away from Hot Springs National Park and owned by the University of Arkansas, these beautiful botanical gardens feature incredible flowers including camellias, magnolias, roses, and many many more.

Garvan Woodland Center

(Photo via BBOnline)

Louisiana

Much of the land in Louisiana was formed by sediment that was washed down from the Mississippi River forming enormous deltas, vast swamps, marshes, and other natural attractions. Louisiana is also known for its multicultural atmosphere including many French, Asian, Native American, and African American citizens.

Best Adventures in Louisiana

(Photo via Ellie Teramoto)

The French Quarters

This is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans with many of the buildings being built in the 1800’s and 1900’s. Because of this, the district has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

French Quarters

(Photo via Esta)

City Park

Located in New Orleans, city park is 50% larger than the famous Central Park and the 20th most-visited park in the United States. City park is also home to the world’s largest collection of mature oak trees, some older than 600 years old.

New Orleans City Park

(Photo via Asergeev)

Jungle Gardens

These wonderful gardens were created in 1895 by a man named Edward McIlhenny who raised eight egrets in captivity until one fall he let them go for migration. The following spring, they returned, and with other egrets. They have continued to do for years and years and now live in the gardens during appropriate times of the year.

Jungle Park

(Photo via Diane Huhn)

Texas

Known for being the second largest state (area & population), Texas has diverse geographical features and incredible wildlife. Not only is Texas an amazing state in terms of nature, it is also home to wonderful, urban cities such as Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and more.

Texas

(Photo via NatGeo)

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Located in Eastern Dallas, this iconic arboretum spans 62 acres and includes many fountains, views of Dallas’ skyline and of course, thousands upon thousands of plants and flowers. With over 15 separate gardens, you will be surrounded by endless flowers and wildlife.

Dallas Arboretum

(Photo via Dallas Arboretum)

The Alamo

Home of the grounds of the famous Battle of the Alamo. On this land in 1865, the Texan Army was left defeated with every member of the army dead. Riddled with revenge and disgust, many Texas settlers and adventurers joined the Texan Army and defeated the Mexican Army, thereby ending the revolution.

The Alamo

(Photo via MysteryBook)

San Antonio River Walk

Also known as Paseo del Rio, this scenic river walk is a network of paths along the river. Just one floor before the city, the walk is lined with bars, restaurants, shops, and other attractions.

San Antonio River

(Photo via Holiday Inn)

Big Bend National Park

Located in southern Texas, this national park covers over 800,000 acres and houses the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology. This park is great for photography and hiking, as it provides some of the greatest views in the southern United States.

Big Bend

(Photo via Visit Big Bend)

Austin

Being the state capital of Texas and also the fastest growing large city in the United States, Austin is a beautiful city with many scenic views with urban architecture.

Downtown Austin Texas

(Photo via Terry Sayther)

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s state name is derived from a term meaning “red people” and the state is known as The Sooner State. Oklahoma is also a large producer of agricultural materials and is known for its vast farm land and rolling hills.

Oklahoma

(Photo via Crated)

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Not only does the majestic botanical garden span 17 acres, but it also has an interactive, urban park in downtown Oklahoma City. Perfect for families and also a great spot for wedding photography and scenic videography.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

(Photo via OBJ)

Philbrook Museum of Art

This beautiful art museum is located in a historic house in Tulsa, Oklahoma and also includes some formal gardens. The main art focus that the Philbrook stands for is Native American art including baskets, pottery, jewelry, and paintings.

Philbrook Museum of Art

(Photo via Bill Knight)

Turner Falls

These wondrous falls are the largest in Oklahoma streaming at 77 feet high. The falls are located in the scenic Arbuckle Mountains which is perfect for taking photos and enjoying scenic views.

Turner Falls

(Photo via Turner Falls)

We hope this summer is packed with adventure whether you travel to the South or not. Be sure to share this article with your friends and let them know the best adventures of the summer in the Southern United States! Also, stay tuned for more adventure ideas and fun trips for the summer. :) Happy travels!


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