1. The Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia and North Carolina
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
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
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
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
6. Devil's Den – Florida
7. Atchafalaya Basin – Louisiana
8. Tallulah Gorge – Georgia
9. Dry Tortugas – Florida
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
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
12. Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island – Georgia
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
14. Angel Oak – South Carolina
15. Lake Jocassee – South Carolina
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
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
18. Whitaker Point – Arkansas
19. Buffalo National River – Arkansas
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
21. Hamilton Pool – Texas
Let us know what your favorite southern spot is in the comments!
The name of the fort on Garden Key is Fort Jefferson. An earlier version of this post wrongly stated that it was Fort Hamilton.
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.