Travel

21 Magical Places In The South You Won’t Believe Actually Exist

The South has A LOT to offer.

1. The Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia and North Carolina

Mary Anne Baker CC BY / Via Flickr: floridahalfbacks

Timothy Wildey / Flickr: timothywildey

Timothy Wildey / Flickr: timothywildey

 

The Parkway stretches over 469 miles between North Carolina and Virginia, going through the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains down to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a dream come true for any nature lover, all year long.

2. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails – Texas

Srini Sundarrajan CC BY / Via Flickr: srinisundarrajan

Ann W CC BY-NC / Flickr: sojochick

Texas Eagle / Flickr: texaseagle

 

If you haven’t seen one of Texas’ enchanting bluebonnet fields, you haven’t truly lived. The flower blooms in many places in the state, between mid-March and mid-April, and several websites list bluebonnet sightings to help you make sure you don’t miss them. One of the best ways to experience the bluebonnet season is through Ennis Bluebonnet Trails. Ennis, located outside of Dallas, is even home to a yearly bluebonnet festival, in April.

3. Reelfoot Lake – Tennessee

Jim Denham CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: jimmydspics

Jim Denham CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: jimmydspics

Jim Denham / Flickr: jimmydspics

 

Reelfoot lake is actually a flooded forrest: Following a series of earthquakes, in the winter of 1811-1812, the Mississippi river flowed backward for a few hours – long enough to give birth to this spectacular lake. Today, Reelfoot Lake is home to majestic bald cypress trees and, in January and February, to thousands of American bald eagles.

4. Looking Glass Falls – North Carolina

Kim Seng CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: captainkimo

John Walsh CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: superfly_photography

Joe Plocki / Flickr: turbojoe

 

Named after the nearby Looking Glass Rock, these falls are only a short drive away from Asheville, in Western North Carolina. In addition to being pretty spectacular, they’re also located right near the U.S. 276 and are therefore very easily accessible to everyone.

5. Cumberland Island – Georgia

David Hawkins CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: dhawkins

anoldent CC BY-SA / Flickr: anoldent

anoldent / Flickr: anoldent

 

One of Georgia’s sea islands, Cumberland Island is famous for its wild horses, untamed beaches, and overall otherworldly beauty.

6. Devil’s Den – Florida

Photo by Shanna Chatraw / Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-ND / Via Flickr: myfwcmedia

Photo by Shanna Chatraw Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-ND / Flickr: myfwcmedia

Photo by Alicia Wellman Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-ND / Flickr: myfwcmedia

 

Located in North Central Florida, this hidden gem is a prehistoric underground spring. It’s now owned by a diving company, so you can even dive into its pristine water to get the full experience.

7. Atchafalaya Basin – Louisiana

Tonda / Getty Images

Tonda / Getty Images

Colleen Kerrigan / Getty Images

 

America’s largest river swamp, the Atchafalaya Basin stretches over 140 miles in south central Louisiana. The area offers a surreal and beautiful landscape of forests, marshes, and open waters.

8. Tallulah Gorge – Georgia

Kosit_jarusripan / Getty Images

Kosit_jarusripan / Getty Images

Joe Clay / Flickr: gra-phix

 

This beautiful canyon, located in North Georgia, is famous for its impressive waterfalls. Fun fact: The canoe scenes in cult movie Deliverance (1972) were filmed in the gorge.

9. Dry Tortugas – Florida

Matthew Paulson CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: matthewpaulson

Brandon Burns CC BY-NC / Flickr: photographyburns

Thinkstock

 

The Dry Tortugas are a group of islands located almost 70 miles west of Key West, in Florida. The most remarkable island of the group may be Garden Key, home to Fort Jefferson, a 19th Century unfinished fortress, and to the inactive Garden Key lighthouse.

10. Providence Canyon State Park – Georgia

Nkuzmina / Getty Images

Richard CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: richardskoonberg

Alexander Lerch / Flickr: alexanderlerch

 

Providence Canyon isn’t quite the natural wonder you may think it is: Its gullies were actually caused by poor farming practices in the 19th century. Since then, the Canyon has, somewhat ironically, become a spectacular spot for nature lovers, offering many great hikes and breathtaking views.

11. Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

Frank Kehren CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: fkehren

Frank Kehren CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: fkehren

Rick Stegeman / Flickr: rstegeman

 

One of the prettiest sights in Kentucky, the Cumberland Falls are located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, not far from the border with Tennessee.

12. Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island – Georgia

Ben Thomas CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: 120805737@N06

Ben Thomas CC BY-NC / Flickr: 120805737@N06

Thinkstock / Getty Images

 

A photographer’s dream-come-true at sunrise, Driftwood Beach is also a great destination for any nature and beach lover. This tree-graveyard-meet-white-sand-beach is located on the north end of Jekyll Island, off the coasts of Georgia.

13. Twin Falls, Rock Island State Park – Tennessee

Michael Hicks / Via Flickr: mikerhicks

Michael Hicks / Flickr: mikerhicks

Michael Hicks / Flickr: mikerhicks

 

Another one of the gorgeous waterfalls the South has to offer, Twin Falls is located in Rock Island State Park, Tennessee. This feast for the eyes is very easily accessible by car.

14. Angel Oak – South Carolina

Skiserge1 / Getty Images

Lauren Nelson CC BY / Flickr: lulieboo

Via Tsuji / Flickr: via

 

This is just not any tree: The Angel Oak is estimated to be at least 400 to 500 years old and considered by some as the God of all oak trees. If you want to come pay your respect to this natural wonder, just head to Johns Island, near Charleston.

15. Lake Jocassee – South Carolina

Skiserge1 / Getty Images

Skiserge1 / Getty Images

digidreamgrafix / Getty Images

 

Located in northwest South Carolina, this man-made lake is renowned for its pristine mountain water and beautiful scenery. It was even named one of “50 of the World’s Last Great Places” by National Geographic. In 2009, a diver found the ruins of a hotel 300ft deep into the lake. It was what was left of the Attakulla Lodge, the last remaining building in the valley before it was washed away by the water in 1973.

16. Savannah – Georgia

Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Chris Hughes / Getty Images

DWalker44 / Getty Images

 

No need to introduce the oldest city in Georgia: With its Spanish moss trees and gorgeous architecture, Savannah is one of the most magical cities in the US.

17. Little River Canyon – Alabama

Robhainer / Getty Images

Robhainer / Getty Images

RobHainer / Getty Images

 

Down the middle of Lookout Mountain runs the Little River, one of Alabama’s most beautiful gems. Located in northeast Alabama, it’s the perfect destination for hikers and nature lovers.

18. Whitaker Point – Arkansas

Abdesign / Getty Images

Granger Meador CC BY-NC / Flickr: gmeador

Granger Meador / Flickr: gmeador

 

Also known as Hawksbill Crag, this spot is one of the most scenic places in the South. The trail to the top is also equally beautiful and engaging – just make sure to pack your camera!

19. Buffalo National River – Arkansas

Benjaminjk / Getty Images

Serrhel / Getty Images

SteveClever / Getty Images

 

The river, which runs almost 150 miles through northern Arkansas, was designated as America’s first national river in 1972. It’s one of the most beautiful regions in the South and a perfect place for hiking and canoeing.

20. Naples Pier – Florida

Garen M. CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: 24337668@N07

Diana Robinson CC BY-ND / Flickr: dianasch

dchrisoh / Flickr: dchris

 

This beautiful Naples landmark is an ideal spot to witness western Florida’s enchanting sunsets.

21. Hamilton Pool – Texas

Dave Wilson CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: dawilson

Srini Sundarrajan / Flickr: srinisundarrajan

Creative Commons By Trey Perry - perrygraph.com

 

This natural pool, located near Austin, came to be after the dome of an underground river collapsed. It’s a famous swimming spot for locals in the summer.

Let us know what your favorite southern spot is in the comments!

CORRECTION

The name of the fort on Garden Key is Fort Jefferson. An earlier version of this post wrongly stated that it was Fort Hamilton.

UPDATE

A mention of the Blue Ridge Mountains was added to the Blue Ridge Parkway part, along with a more specific description of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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