Guest blogger Michaela Price likes to travel but she'd rather drive than fly. When she's not organizing her next getaway she writes for Vacation Home Rentals about places to stay in Florida.
When people think of the Southeast U.S. it's usually somehow related to jumbo shrimp and humid weather. While these two ideas are surely at the top of the ingredient label for this region of America, they're not the main reasons that people flock annually to the area.
There are certain big name attractions (Disney World) that are worth a glance, but to really experience the Southeast U.S., there are some incredibly special places that people need to strongly consider. These locations are listed below, along with the main reasons why they made the list.
1. The Georgia Aquarium, Georgia
An aquarium is an aquarium, except when the main one in Georgia is considered. This place is ridiculously large-scale and innovative, to the point where it's a must-see for anyone in the region. With over 120,000 animals, this place is a gargantuan haven of rare animals and progressive research. The Centennial Olympic Park, a central part of the 1996 Olympics, is right nearby and definitely adds a little spice to any trip to the aquarium.
Why go and why it's unique:This aquarium is what every other one of its kind aspires to be: progressive and entertaining. The sheer size of the Georgia Aquarium, coupled with the influential research, make it a well-intentioned and well-spent addition to any Southeast trip. This place is more of a main attraction as opposed to the filler of a jam-packed trip.
2. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
If the largest known cave system in the world isn't enough to get a traveler excited, it's hard to fathom what would do the trick. Mammoth Cave National Park is a legitimate place to visit in the Southeast, even if it means taking a reasonable detour. Whether it's camping or simply hiking around, this place deserves a hard look if you're getting the Southeast itinerary out on the table.
Why go and why it's unique: Kentucky is an underrated state anyway, and this attraction is the cream of the crop when this type of geography is considered. This place is not only the largest known cave system in the world, but it's drop dead beautiful. Whether for family time or a romantic getaway, a few days at Mammoth could be inspiring.
3. South Beach, Miami
Yes, South Beach is a very popular destination. There's a reason for it and it's a mainstay on any quality list of ideal ventures in the Southeast. Miami has so much culture that it would be a disservice to the region to pass up on a chance to visit. Whether it's going to a Miami Heat game this fall when they start their campaign for a three-peat championship or visiting one of the many pristine beaches, it should be a stop on any travel plan in this area of the U.S.
Why go and why it's unique: There really isn't any city like Miami. The culture, food and weather are hard to beat and life doesn't get much better there. Whether someone is planning a trip to Little Havana or arranging a meal to get some sea bass on the beach, Miami is what it's all about when it comes to the Southeast.
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Tourists usually like beautiful weather, fine cuisine and frequent events. If a traveler is within striking distance of South Carolina, they'd be silly to overlook Myrtle Beach. The boardwalk is arguably one of the nicest in the country and the weather is pleasant year-round, with summer being the obvious golden season. Whether it's watching acrobats during a dinner date or organizing a day out fishing, Myrtle Beach offers a multidimensional range of activities.
Why go and why it's unique: There are many cities that tailor to one age more than another. Myrtle Beach isn't one of them. This area offers amenities for a wide range of generations and situations, varying from a weekend getaway to a full blown wedding. It's worth a hard look as a stop on any trip to this part of the country, or even as an exclusive vacation to South Carolina.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Gatlinburg, right on the border of the park, is a fantastic place to consider if you're making the trip down to the Southeast. Right on the border of the national park, this resort town is charming and quaint while still chalk-full of things to do. Whether hiking around the Roaring Fork or enjoying a tasty snack at the Village Cafe and Creamery, there's no way to disappoint in this neck of the woods.
Why go and why it's unique: Tennessee is a vital part of the Southeast. Similarly, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a standout member of our park system here in the United States and offers limitless options for visitors. Regardless of desired activity level or type of vacation, this is a spot to think about.
The Southeast is a magical part of the United States. Certain parts of the area can be life changing for people frequenting the area and the ones listed above are meant to be a guide to help shape an itinerary. While it's hard to go wrong in this region, these are the top five I recommend you consider there.
Want to be a guest blogger for SmarterTravel? Read up on our Guest Blogger Policy, and then send your story pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Guest blog submission." If we like your idea, we'll ask you to write the post!