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20 Epic Places To Visit In The South, USA

February 11, 2021 //  by  Southern Trippers

There are so many amazing, beautiful, and unique places to visit in the South of the United States. The southern states consist of a large chunk of the U.S. so if you plan on doing any major traveling in this country, you are bound to end up in the South at some point. And you are in for a treat once you arrive!

Whether you are taking a southern road trip, exploring a specific state, or want to cross off another U.S. National Park, whatever brings you to the South will be well worth the trip! There are so many things to do here from fun, history-rich cities to gorgeous natural landscapes. You are sure to make some great memories as you discover what these states have to offer.

Places to Visit in the South include viewing this Spanish Moss in Savannah.

Providence Canyon, Georgia

Providence Canyon State Park provides one of the best landscapes in Georgia and is 100% worth the visit if you are in the state. Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” the Providence Canyon makes a great day trip for nature lovers and hikers.

With over one thousand acres to explore, you will have so much fun searching out the best photo spots. The soil here is an array of pink, orange, red, and purple, creating an otherworldly appearance you will fall in love with.

If you want to check out the hiking trails, there are many to chose from with varying levels of difficulty. There are many scenic overlooks that give a view of the many gullies, the deepest of which is at 150 feet. If you visit in July or August, look for the rare Plumleaf Azalea flower blooming. You can camp at this park as well if you want to stay longer in the pretty area.

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Ginnie Springs, Florida

Ginnie Springs is truly a beautiful hot spring oasis in Florida! With shockingly blue, crystal clear water, you will feel as if you have traveled to paradise. If you are looking for a place to relax, this is one of the best places in the South.

Spend time swimming, tubing, or paddle boarding in this consistent 72 degree Fahrenheit water. If you are scuba trained, this is a great place to go diving as well as there are many caves to explore.

Ginnie Springs can get quite busy in the summer due to its popularity, but if you visit in the spring or fall, you can avoid the worst of the crowds. The area is also fairly good-sized, so it is possible to find a little corner to yourself. If you want to make a weekend out of visiting the springs, you can stay at the campground.

Ginnie Springs is one of the best places to visit in the South.

Jacob’s Well, Texas

The Jacob’s Well Natural Area is about an hour southwest of Austin, Texas, and can be visited as a day trip from the city. Jacob’s Well is the second-largest completely submerged cave in Texas. This 81-acre area is free to visit unless you plan on swimming, in which case you need to pay a fee and reserve a time. Taking a dip here is a great way to cool off in the summer heat. The water stays at a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Swimming is allowed from May until September.

Along with swimming, Jacob’s Well is a great place for hiking and bird watching. It is also possible to go on an hour-long tour with a naturalist guide. This is a great way to learn about the nature of the area along with the history of Jacob’s Well and the aquifer system. Tours are by request only on two Saturdays each month. You can also stop by the Nature Center any weekend.

One place to visit in the South is Jacob's Well

Cummins Falls State Park, Tennessee

About an hour and a half from Nashville, you will find the pretty and tranquil Cummins Falls State Park. This is a great stop to make if you are doing a Tennessee road trip and love exploring nature. The beautiful Cummins Falls is a 75-foot waterfall that cascades down a cool rock base before ending in a swimming hole.

It is important to note that you do need to get a Gorge Access Permit before you begin your hike to the waterfall. The hike itself is relatively strenuous and involves traversing uneven ground, crossing water, and climbing rocks.

Because of this, it is not recommended for really young kids. However, the hike is very much worth it when you get to see the falls and cool off with a dip in the water. If you do not want to hike into the gorge, there is a viewpoint above it where you can get a great look.

Places to Visit in the South include Cummins Falls State Park

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is a must for any Georgia road trip! This is a city full of Southern charm, from its cobblestone streets to the Spanish moss covering the oak trees. This is the perfect city to escape to for people with any hobby or interest. History buffs will love exploring Old Fort Jackson or learning about the city’s past on an Old Savannah Trolly Tour.

If you are into architecture, you will really love checking out the Victorian district, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, or the Mercer Williams House. If you are traveling with kids and want some family-friendly fun, head over to pretty Forsyth Park or consider booking a river cruise on an iconic steamboat. No matter what you do in Savannah, you are sure to have a great time!

Forsyth Park in Savannah, one of the best cities in the South

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a vibrant, fun city where you can easily spend a couple of days or over a week. There is just so much to do and see! Start your stay here by familiarizing yourself with the city by walking the pretty streets and exploring the famous French Quarter. If you love photographing beautiful streets and buildings, then you will adore NOLA! There are so many balconies and amazing, Southern-styled architecture.

New Orleans is also one of the best cities in the South for food! It is really a destination for foodies who want to try French Creole cuisine, check out cute cafes, or even just bar hop.

When you are not stuffing your face with beignets, you can ride the streetcar, walk along the Mississippi River, or visit the Saint Louis Cathedral. When night falls, head to Bourbon Street to soak in the party atmosphere.

Victoria posing in front of a New Orleans balcony in one of the best places in the South.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

In Arkansas, you will find Hot Springs National Park, which has some of the best hot springs in the U.S. Take a dip in the natural, thermal hot springs from inside one of the historic bathhouses.

While you can’t soak outside, you can still touch the fresh water in a couple of outdoor pools. The 4,000-year-old, protected spring water is drinkable so make sure to stock up on water by filling bottles at some of the many fountains.

While you are here, make sure to check out the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum and Visitor Center to learn about the history of the baths. The Hot Springs Mountain Tower is another thing to check out is you love great views. The open-air observation deck will provide views of the mountains and forest. There are also a few hiking and biking trails that will weave you through the nature of the park.

A pool at the Hot Springs National Park in the South

Stephens Gap, Alabama

The Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is one of the best places in the Southeast and can be found about two hours north of Birmingham, Alabama.

It is a very cool place to visit if you love exploring unique nature locations. Stephens Gap is one of the most photographed caves in the country and it is no wonder why! It is so pretty here! The cave features a waterfall that cascades into a deep pit.

The cave has two entrances, one for hikers and one for people who are trained in repelling. Because of the position of the entrances, there is often light streaming into the darkness, creating an awesome scene. The hike is about a mile and a half round trip and is moderate difficulty. There are steep and slippery areas, so be careful and wear appropriate shoes. If you are repelling, you must bring your own gear. However you plan to visit, you must get a free permit.

Things to do in the South, Stephens Gap Cave.

Helen, Georgia

Helen, Georgia is hands down one of the cutest small towns in The South and you will instantly fall in love with its charm. This tiny town has German roots, a fact that will quickly become apparent by the architecture.

You will feel as if you are walking through an Alpine village. Come in summer to enjoy the surrounding great outdoors or plan your visit for December for European Christmas market vibes.

Even though the town only holds a population of about 550 people, it also home to a ton of fun activities. You can go zip-lining in the trees, tubing in the river, fly into the sky in a hot air balloon, or even pan for gold. In town, shopping is a great pastime, especially if Christmas is soon. Make sure to check out all of the cute, local artisan and treat shops.

Helen, Georgia is one of the best cities in the South.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee

There is a reason the Great Smokey Mountains are the most visited National Park in the U.S. The over half million-acre park is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the fall when the foliage is set ablaze.

If nature is your happy place, then you are sure to love the Great Smokey Mountains! Spend a few days here hiking scenic trails, horseback riding, exploring historic sites, and spotting wildlife, including the possibility of black bears.

You can camp in the park or you can stay in one of the cute, mountain towns on the park’s outskirts. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are two popular options. These towns act as a gateway to the surrounding nature and have a host of fun things to do as well. The Great Smokey Mountains are not only one of the best places to visit in the South, but the U.S. in general. It is a popular road trip destination that you simply must visit at least once!

Beautiful river in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is a lovely coastal city with plenty of Southern charm, pretty architecture, and historic points of interest. There is truly something here for everyone, making this city a top place to visit in the South. Also, did we mention the food?! This is a city full of great eats and we suggest taking a food tour to get a bite of all the best Southern food the city has to offer!

When you are full from eating your way through Charleston, relax on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city or a boat cruise of the harbor. If you are into history or architecture, then check out the Fort Sumter National Monument, the McLeod Plantation Historic Site, or the Citadel. If you are traveling with kids you might have fun at the Joe Riley Waterfront Park, the South Carolina Aquarium, or the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.

Pretty Charleston is a great place to visit in the South.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is a great Southern getaway found in the wilderness of Virginia not far from Washington D.C. This is the perfect place to escape the city and become one with nature. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails to explore. Discover beautiful fields of colorful wildflowers, flowing waterfalls, and a plethora of wildlife including deer, birds, and black bears.

Along with hiking, you can spend your time in the park driving the scenic Skyline Drive, riding your bike, fishing tranquil mountain streams, rock climbing, or stargazing. Pretty much the list is endless! There is so much to see and experience here that you can easily spend a day or three here. If you are staying the night, you can camp or stay at a lodge.

Places to Visit in the South Shenandoah National Park

Upper Caney Creek Falls, Alabama

The hidden gem of Upper Caney Creek Falls is like a scene from a fairy tale. The hike to discover this sight is just under two miles round trip and is pretty easy. After wandering through the forest like a Disney princess, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the tiny, 20-foot waterfall dropping into the perfect swimming hole. Another cool feature of this waterfall is the fast that you can actually walk behind it because of the shape of the cliff. This gives you a new perspective and a great place to take photographs.

If you visit in the summer, the forest will be bright green and full of wildlife. The pool under the falls is usually a pretty, blue-green color. After enjoying the upper falls, you can choose to continue down the creek to find the Lower Caney Creek Falls. To find the trailhead to this secret place in Alabama, drive about an hour and twenty minutes northwest of Birmingham to the small town of Ashridge.

Places to Visit in the South Upper Caney Creek Falls

Everglades National Park, Florida

If you are planning a Florida road trip you have to go to the Everglades National Park ! Whether you want to check another National Park off your bucket list, are an avid birdwatcher, or just love to discover cool and unique landscapes, the Everglades are for you! This park features over two million acres of wetlands, saw-grass marshes, and mangrove forests. It is the only place in the wild where you can spot both American alligators and American crocodiles. It is also home to a ton of species of beautiful birds, snakes, and manatees.

While in the Everglades, enjoy waking scenic trails, taking an airboat ride , finding all of the best observation towers, and visiting the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. If you are exceptionally keen to see wild alligators , hike the short Anhinga Trail, which is one of the best places in the park to find these amazing creatures. Just be careful not to get too close!

An alligator in the Everglades National Park in Florida, a must visit place in the South.

Austin, Texas

A Texas road trip is sure to bring you to Austin, one of the best cities in the South. Known as the Live Music Capital of the World and with a slogan of “Keep Austin Weird”, this city is very hip. diverse, and full of music culture. Spend a couple of days here taking in the sights and just overall having a blast. Head to Sixth Street to soak in the vibe of the city as you bar hop and listen to live bands.

If you are into art or history, make sure to visit some of the city’s museums, including the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, or the Mexic-Arte Museum. If you are looking for a place to relax and cool off, the Barton Springs Municipal Pool is the place for you. The natural, spring-fed pool is found in the pretty Zilker Park.

Skyline of Austin, Texas, a great place to visit in the South

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is another Southern city worth visiting! This is a popular travel destination for a number of reasons. For one, the cute city is surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy “America’s favorite drive” on the Blue Ridge Parkway as you twist through the mountains to find hiking trails and gorgeous scenic vistas. The nearby French Broad River gives tourists a place to go tubing, boating, or fishing.

When you are not exploring the encompassing nature, you will want to wander the cool city. Known for its art scene, Asheville is a hip city full of unique shops, outdoor markets, craft breweries, and local art galleries. Take a trolley tour to learn the history of the city or enjoy a delicious food tour. Another way to step into the past is to visit the Biltmore mansion, which was built by George W. Vanderbilt in the 1890s.

The Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the best places in the South.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the country! Besides being home to Disney World and Universal Studios, this city is where you can find a ton of fun things to do to fill a couple’s weekend or a week-long family vacation. No matter who you are traveling with, there is something for everyone! Thrill seekers will want to go skydiving, ride in a hot air balloon, or go up in the 400-foot high Ferris wheel at ICON Park.

If you are traveling with kids, you will probably check out the many theme parks, but don’t forget to take them to Gatorland, Wonder Works, or Discovery Cove. Anyone interested in science or space will want to take a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. When you are ready to relax and unwind, head out of the city to Blue Springs State Park or Rock Springs at Kelly Park.

Kelly Park is where you'll find the Rock Springs, one of the best things to do in the South!

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park is another place to stop in Texas . Since it is found on the border with Mexico, make sure to pack your passport if you want to make a stop in another country and visit some cute, small towns. The park itself is a prime desert and mountain location. This is a great place to camp, hike, and photograph nature.

One of the best hiking trails is found at Santa Elena Canyon. This two mile round trip hike will provide amazing views. This park also has historic ruins to discover, including a mine, a house, and a post office. When your muscles start to ache from hiking and adventuring, head to the Hot Springs Historic Trail by the Rio Grande to soak in natural hot springs while taking in great views of the river.

Beautiful Big Bend National Park in the South

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is a great place to visit in the South if you love music or having fun in general! It is, of course, known as the Music City and is drenched in music culture. The entertainment district on Low Broadway is full of honky-tonks, themed restaurants, bars, and shops. You will also find the Country Music Hall of Fame here as well. If you want to learn the history of the area, consider taking a walking tour.

While in Nashville, you can also check out the historic Ryman Auditorium, explore pretty parks, or learn about science and history at museums. If you are up for an hour and a half drive, you can head down to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Nashville is a great city to explore as a family or as a friend’s getaway. No matter what you are interested in, there is something for you!

Nashville, Tennessee is a fun place to visit in the South

Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia

The gorgeous Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia is where you will find the ridge of Yonah Mountain, whose name translates to Bear in Cherokee. The hike to this mountain’s summit is just over two miles one way and is relatively easy. The views are to die for from the top! Come to this area in the fall to catch the mountain peak drenched in lovely golden foliage .

There are plenty of other things to do in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest as well. There are over 800 miles worth of hiking trails to explore. Search for ancient petroglyphs and gorgeous waterfalls. You can also go canoeing, horseback riding, or camping. The Scull Shoals Historic Site features the state’s first paper mill dating back to 1811. Chattahoochee National Forest is near Helen, Georgia, so you could easily make a day trip from the small town.

Yonah Mountain in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

If you did not know beforehand, you have learned that the South is home to a ton of amazing places to visit! There are so many cool cities to visit in the South as well as National Parks, hidden nature gems, and diverse landscapes. We suggest planning a road trip or two in order to hit some of these spectacular places!

Falls Creek Falls one of the best weekend getaways in Tennessee

The Top Places to Visit in the Southeast U.S.

Trip Ideas for Every Season and Vacation Reason

visit to se

The Southeast United States is filled with fun for travelers. It has miles of warm sunny beaches in the summer, blooming gardens in the spring, colorful fall foliage, skiing in the winter, and much more. It really is a great region for year-round travel and there's something for everyone to enjoy.

With so many wonderful places to see and fun things to do, the choices are almost endless. Let's explore some of the top attractions and destinations to help you plan a great day trip, weekend getaway, or vacation.

For the Romantic Getaway

Love is in the air year-round in the Southeast and you'll find plenty of places to escape for your romantic getaway. In the mountains, you'll find impressive resorts and inns like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and the famous and historic Greenbrier in West Virginia.

You might also enjoy the wine trails of Virginia or fancy one of the many culinary adventures available in the region. There's also a surprising number of chocolate festivals in the first few months of the year that are sure to be entertaining and delicious. 

For the Entire Family

Turn your family vacation into a memorable time that everyone will enjoy. The Southeast is filled with adventures and opportunities that are both fun and educational.

Take the kids on a tour through history in Alexandria or at America's Historic Triangle of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina and see "The Lost Colony" reenactment about Roanoke among other things.

National parks and outdoor experiences are also plentiful in every state. These are sure to get everyone's attention with their amazing views and great activities.

For the Budget Traveler

There's no need to spend a lot of money when traveling the Southeast. You'll find many fun and free (or nearly free) things to keep you busy.

A lazy day on the beach is always a good choice or you can take in the vistas of a national park like the Great Smoky Mountains. A hike along the Appalachian Trail or a drive over the Blue Ridge Parkway are great as well.

Pair those adventures with some camping or a budget hotel and you're good to go.

For Spring Travelers

Spring comes to the South early and if you have spring fever, you'll find loads of cures down here. Whether it's Easter in Richmond or March in Charleston, you'll see beautiful gardens in bloom throughout the region and many events to go along with them. 

Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia has a great variety of activities throughout the season. Historic Alexandria and Mount Vernon in Virginia are not far from the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C., so that area can keep you busy for a few days. 

Plus, there's always the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, which thrills thousands of visitors the first weekend of May.

For the Fall Traveler

Spring is not the only colorful season in the Southeast and autumn is prime time for leaf peeping. Head to the mountains for spectacular displays of fall color or hit the beach for some off-season fun without the crowds.

You'll also find many seasonal activities like apple picking, scary haunts, and quite a few Oktoberfest celebrations. Bird watchers will definitely want to hit the North Carolina Birding Trail, which boasts over 440 different species. 

For the Winter Skiers

With all the mountains that fill the Southeastern U.S., this is sure to be a place where you'll want to catch some winter fun.

The Blue Ridge Mountains offer great opportunities for skiers and snowboarders, as does The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and the famous Shenandoah Valley of Virginia are also hot spots for those looking forward to a few days on the slopes.

For the Foodie

Are you ready for some good, old-fashioned Southern cuisine? Whether it's enjoying regional favorites or exploring the culinary pursuits of today's hottest chefs, you will not go hungry in the Southeast.

Beyond the impressive restaurants, true foodies will also enjoy getting a hands-on experience by adding a cooking class to your itinerary. These let you bring the adventure home with you and you'll find a fair share of whiskey and wine tastings to top it all off.

For the Dedicated Shopper

Maybe you want to toss a shopping spree into your plans. If so, you'll find an abundance of opportunities throughout the region.

The Southeast boasts over 30 outlet malls filled with hundreds of stores each. Whether you need to pass a rainy day or just want to pick up some great bargains, there's bound to be one near your destination. 

For the Spa Lover

Vacation is all about relaxing and one of the best ways to do that is to spend a day at the spa. No matter where you're at, there's probably a little luxury nearby.

From the mountains to the coast and the farmlands of Virginia to the gardens of Georgia, you'll find spas in every area. Plan on stopping by one and enjoy the pampered life for a day or two.

For the Fair Goer

Who doesn't love a good fair? The Southeast is filled with state and county fairs that run from summer through late fall. Add one of these to your itinerary and get the real Southern experience.

Not only are fairs filled with carnival rides and entertainment but also they're a glimpse into local culture and tradition. From animals, giant vegetables, and other agriculture exhibits to history and competitions, fairs are a great way to immerse yourself in the place you're visiting.

As a bonus, there's no shortage of tasty food, so be sure to show up hungry.

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Top Destinations in the Eastern United States

Great Smoky Mountains Guide: Planning Your Trip

The Best Small Town in Every State

The Best Places to See Fall Colors in the USA

The Top 15 Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Great Summer Family Trips in the USA

Ski Resorts in the Southeastern United States

Fall Foliage Peak Periods in the Southeast

Top 10 National Parks to Visit During Spring

A State-by-State Guide to the Best Concerts and Music Festivals

May in the Capital Region: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Where to Get Away for Presidents Day Weekend

Top Ten Free Attractions and Things to Do in the Southeast U.S.

Romantic Getaways in the Southeast

Where to Take the Kids in October

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10 Unique Activities To Experience In Southeast Oklahoma

  • Last updated May 15, 2023
  • Difficulty Advanced

Olivia Jacobs

  • Category United States

things to do in southeast oklahoma

Nestled in the heart of the majestic Ouachita Mountains, Southeast Oklahoma is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From thrilling outdoor adventures to cultural attractions steeped in history, this region boasts a wealth of unique experiences to offer visitors. Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or adrenaline junkie, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a journey with us as we uncover 10 of the most unique activities to experience in Southeast Oklahoma.

What You'll Learn

Ziplining through the trees with rugaru adventures at the choctaw casino in durant, visiting the stunning waterfalls and hiking trails at the chickasaw national recreation area in sulphur, exploring the stunning rock formations at wichita mountains wildlife refuge in lawton, taking a train ride through the scenic kiamichi mountains with the eastern flyer in mcalester, experiencing the adrenaline rush of skydiving with skydive airtight in davis, fishing for bass, crappie, and catfish at lake texoma near durant, venturing underground to explore the beautiful formations of the alabaster caverns state park in freedom, going on a ghost tour of downtown mcalester with the paranormal investigation team of oklahoma, relaxing in the natural hot springs of the treasure valley casino & hotel in davis, horseback riding through the beautiful beaver's bend state park in broken bow.

quartzmountain

Nestled in the heart of southeastern Oklahoma lies the Choctaw Casino in Durant, a popular destination for gaming and entertainment. But there's more to this casino than just slot machines and blackjack tables. For those seeking a thrill and an adventure amidst nature, there's Rugaru Adventures' zipline tour through the trees.

Rugaru Adventures is a zipline and aerial adventure company that offers a unique way of experiencing the natural beauty of southeastern Oklahoma. The zipline tour takes place on a 50-acre piece of land located just behind the Choctaw Casino. This adventure park has been specifically designed to showcase the area's rich flora and fauna, including the numerous tree species that tower over the course.

The tour features six ziplines that range in length from 200 to 1200 feet and four aerial bridges spanning up to 100 feet in length. The zipline experience takes visitors soaring through the trees and over the rushing waters of a nearby river, providing an exhilarating view of the surrounding landscape.

Safety is of the utmost importance at Rugaru Adventures. Each participant is properly harnessed and given a safety briefing before the tour starts. The trained guides accompany visitors throughout the tour to provide support and ensure their safety.

The zipline tour at Rugaru Adventures is open to anyone over the age of 10 who weighs between 70 and 250 pounds. No previous zipline experience is required, making it the perfect activity for families, groups of friends, and adventure seekers of all skill levels.

Whether you are a first-time zipliner or a seasoned adventurer, Rugaru Adventures at the Choctaw Casino in Durant offers visitors a thrilling and unforgettable way to experience southeastern Oklahoma's natural beauty. So why wait? Book your zipline tour today and take the leap into the trees!

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Southeast Oklahoma is home to many beautiful natural attractions, but one of the most stunning is the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur. This park is especially popular among outdoor enthusiasts, as it offers a range of hiking trails and picturesque waterfalls that are perfect for exploring.

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is home to several hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty, making it a great destination for hikers of all skill levels. Some of the most popular trails include the Bison Trail, which is a 2.3-mile loop that takes hikers through the heart of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and the Bromide Hill Trail, which is a challenging hike that rewards visitors with breathtaking panoramic vistas.

Of course, one of the main draws of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is its stunning waterfalls. There are several waterfalls in the park, each of which offers its own unique charm. One of the most popular is Little Niagara Falls, which is a small waterfall that cascades over a series of rocks into a crystal-clear pool below. This waterfall is especially popular with families, as it offers a safe and shallow swimming area.

Another popular waterfall in the park is the Bromide Hill Waterfall, which is a taller and more dramatic waterfall that is accessible via the Bromide Hill Trail. This waterfall is especially beautiful during the fall, when the surrounding foliage is ablaze with color.

Visitors to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area can also take advantage of a range of other outdoor activities, including fishing, picnicking, and camping. The park is home to several campgrounds, ranging from primitive sites to modern RV hookups.

In conclusion, if you're looking to experience the beauty of southeast Oklahoma, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur is the perfect destination. With its beautiful hiking trails, picturesque waterfalls, and a range of other outdoor activities, this park has something for everyone. So why not plan a visit and discover the stunning natural beauty of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for yourself?

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Southeast Oklahoma is home to the stunning Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge located in the city of Lawton. The refuge spans over 60,000 acres and features some of the most impressive rock formations in the region.

If you’re a lover of nature and adventure, the Wichita Mountains should definitely be on your exploration list. The park is filled with captivating sights and opportunities for outdoor activities, from hiking to rock climbing and camping.

One of the main attractions of the Wichita Mountains is the stunning rock formations. These ancient rocks, dating back millions of years, still remain standing today, displaying unique shapes and colors. The most popular formation is the Mount Scott, where visitors can hike to the summit and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The terrain is rugged, so it's essential to wear proper hiking boots and bring sunscreen and a water bottle.

As you explore further, you'll find other formations like the Narrows, a narrow canyon between two rock walls with a stream running through it. The Narrows are only accessible by foot, but the hike is well worth it, offering a peaceful and serene environment that is perfect for a picnic or relaxing escape.

Another popular spot is the Treasure Lake, located at the base of Mount Scott. The lake got its name from the treasure of gold and silver that is said to be hidden by Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century. Visitors can enjoy fishing, kayaking, swimming or soaking up the sun on the shore.

Other activities in the preserve include wildlife photography, bird-watching, rock climbing, bouldering, and camping. The park has designated camping areas with amenities such as toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables. It’s the perfect place to connect with nature and spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

In conclusion, Southeast Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton is a Must-See for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-loving visitors. The stunning rock formations, diverse wildlife, and picturesque scenery offer endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Visiting the preserve will take you back in time, understanding the unique geology and ancient history of the area while enjoying the tranquility of unspoiled nature.

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Southeast Oklahoma is a region of beauty, history, and adventure. Nestled in the rolling hills between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, the area is dotted with quaint towns, national forests, and lakes. One of the best ways to explore the region is by taking a train ride through the scenic Kiamichi Mountains, which offer stunning views of the natural landscape, wildlife, and historic sites. One of the most popular trains in the region is the Eastern Flyer, which departs from McAlester and takes visitors on a memorable journey.

The Eastern Flyer is a passenger train that runs from McAlester to Tulsa, offering a leisurely and comfortable ride through some of the most picturesque areas of southeast Oklahoma. The train runs on a track that follows the Arkansas River through the Kiamichi Mountains, and passengers can enjoy panoramic views of the rugged terrain, dense forests, and sparkling waterways. Along the way, the train stops at some of the region's most charming towns and historic sites, such as Okmulgee, Bixby, and Broken Arrow.

One of the highlights of the Eastern Flyer train ride is the opportunity to see the wildlife that inhabits the Kiamichi Mountains. Visitors can catch a glimpse of deer, wild turkeys, songbirds, and even black bears that inhabit these mountains. The train also passes through the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, which played a crucial role in World War II and the Cold War and is now open to visitors for guided tours.

The train itself is a vintage, air-conditioned Streamliner, complete with plush seating, large windows, and a dining car that serves delicious meals made from local ingredients. The train departs from the McAlester Train Depot, which dates back to 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The depot has a museum that showcases the region's railroad history, including old steam engines, vintage uniforms, and historic photographs.

The Eastern Flyer train ride is an excellent way to explore southeast Oklahoma's natural beauty and historical heritage. Whether you're a solo traveler or a family with kids, the train ride is suitable for all ages and interests. The train departs from the McAlester Train Depot on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May through October. Tickets can be booked online or at the station, and reservations are highly recommended to secure your spot.

In summary, if you're planning a visit to southeast Oklahoma, be sure to make time for a train ride through the Kiamichi Mountains with the Eastern Flyer. It's a journey that will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region and give you a glimpse of its rich history and wildlife. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

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For those seeking a thrilling adventure in Southeast Oklahoma, look no further than Skydive Airtight in Davis. With a passion for safety and customer satisfaction, Skydive Airtight offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Skydiving may seem like a daunting activity, but Skydive Airtight's certified instructors will make sure you feel comfortable and confident before jumping out of the plane. The experience begins with a brief training session to familiarize yourself with the equipment and safety procedures.

Once you're ready to take the leap, you'll be harnessed to your instructor and accompanied by a videographer who will capture the entire experience. The plane will ascend to an altitude of 10,000 feet and that's when the real fun begins.

As you exit the plane, you'll feel an exhilarating rush as you free-fall for several seconds before deploying your parachute and floating gently back to the ground. The views of the scenic Southeast Oklahoma landscape are breathtaking and make for a unique perspective that's unlike anything else.

Skydive Airtight offers a variety of packages including solo skydiving, tandem skydiving, and indoor skydiving. They even offer group rates for those looking to share the experience with friends and family.

For those interested in taking their skydiving experience to the next level, Skydive Airtight also offers advanced training courses such as accelerated freefall and advanced freefall.

Don't let fear hold you back from experiencing the thrill of skydiving. Skydive Airtight's experienced and friendly staff will guide you through every step of the way and ensure a safe and unforgettable experience. Book your adventure today and take your Southeast Oklahoma trip to new heights with Skydive Airtight.

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Southeast Oklahoma is home to a vast amount of beautiful lakes and rivers, and one of the most popular spots for fishermen is Lake Texoma near Durant. This lake is known for its abundant population of bass, crappie, and catfish, making it a favorite spot for anglers of all skill levels.

Bass fishing at Lake Texoma is a popular activity among visitors. The lake's water is clear, making the fish easy to spot, and they tend to bite readily. The lake is regularly stocked with bass, and the fish can grow to sizes of up to 10 pounds. Bass can be caught from the shore or from a boat, and the best time to fish for them is during the spring and fall months.

If you are looking for crappie, Lake Texoma is also an excellent spot to visit. These fish tend to congregate in shallow areas of the lake during the spring months, making it an ideal time to catch them. The fish are small but abundant, and they can be caught using jigs or live bait. Many anglers enjoy catching crappie for their delicious taste.

For those who prefer catfish, Lake Texoma is a great place to try your luck. The lake is home to large populations of blue, channel, and flathead catfish, with sizes ranging from small to over 50 pounds. To catch catfish, live bait such as worms or minnows is often successful, especially when fishing at night.

Lake Texoma is a vast lake, covering nearly 90,000 acres of water, with plenty of areas to fish from the shore or by boat. Make sure to obtain a fishing license before fishing on the lake. Also, be sure to follow all posted rules and regulations to protect the lake's ecosystem and ensure that it will be a great place for fishing for years to come.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an excellent spot to fish for bass, crappie, and catfish, then Lake Texoma near Durant, Oklahoma, is the place to be. With its clear waters and plentiful fish population, you are sure to have a great day out on the lake cast.

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Southeast Oklahoma is home to many natural wonders, and the Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom is definitely one of them. The park is famous for its underground caves and beautiful formations that will leave you in awe. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area, drawing visitors from all over the country. If you are planning a trip to Southeast Oklahoma, don't miss the chance to venture underground and explore the beauty of the Alabaster Caverns State Park.

Alabaster Caverns State Park is located in Freedom, Oklahoma, which is about 150 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. The park is spread over 200 acres and is the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public. The park was established in 1933 and has been welcoming visitors ever since. The caves are home to many kinds of wildlife, including bats, salamanders, and various kinds of fish.

One of the most unique features of the caves is the alabaster formations that are spread throughout the caves. Alabaster is a soft, white rock that is commonly used for carving and sculpture. The rock is translucent, allowing light to shine through it, which creates a beautiful effect when you are inside the cave. The formations are an amazing sight to behold, especially when they are illuminated with artificial light.

The park offers guided tours that are led by experienced guides who will take you through the caves and explain the history and formation of the caves. The tours are available year-round, and visitors can choose from different tour options depending on their interests and physical capabilities. The park also offers various recreational activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.

If you are planning a trip to Southeast Oklahoma, the Alabaster Caverns State Park is definitely worth a visit. The park is a unique natural wonder that will leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement. Don't miss the chance to explore the beauty of the underground caves and the alabaster formations.

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Southeast Oklahoma is known for its rich history, captivating legends, and spine-chilling ghost stories. One of the best ways to explore the region's haunted past is by joining a ghost tour, and there's no better tour than the one conducted by the Paranormal Investigation Team of Oklahoma (PITO) in Downtown McAlester.

As soon as you arrive at the meeting point, you can feel the excitement in the air. PITO's expert guides tell you about the paranormal activities and unexplained occurrences that have been reported in several of the town's well-known spots. The tour is a mix of history, mystery, and adventure, as you catch a glimpse of the past and the afterlife.

The first stop on the tour is the Chickasaw Nation Capitol Building. This impressive structure is steeped in history, dating back to when the Chickasaw nation governed the area. Today, the building is home to the McAlester Scottish Rite, a Masonic organization. However, there have been numerous reports of strange occurrences in the building, such as doors opening and closing by themselves, eerie voices, and objects moving inexplicably. PITO's guides share some spine-chilling stories about these occurrences.

The next stop on the tour is the Krebs Heritage Museum, which showcases the town's rich history and colorful past. However, the museum is also home to some mysterious events. Several visitors have reported seeing shadowy figures and hearing unexplained sounds. It is said that the museum is haunted by the spirits of some of the former residents of McAlester, and PITO's guides tell you the true stories behind these legends.

If you're brave enough, the climax of the tour is definitely the Old Town Cemetery. The cemetery dates back to the early 1900s, and it is the final resting place of many of McAlester's founding citizens. Although the cemetery is peaceful and serene during the day, at night, it takes on a completely different feel. Numerous paranormal experiences have been reported in this historic cemetery, from orbs of light to mysterious figures appearing between the headstones. PITO guides explain that there have been reports of many headstones moving, and visitors have claimed to have seen apparitions walking among the graves.

At the end of the tour, you will have experienced an unforgettable journey that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Paranormal Investigation Team of Oklahoma's Downtown McAlester ghost tour is the best way to explore the region's haunted past. So, if you're looking for a thrilling and spine-chilling adventure in Southeast Oklahoma, don't hesitate to book this tour.

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Southeast Oklahoma offers a range of outdoor activities that can captivate nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The region is known for its abundant greenery, calm lakes, and scenic mountains. However, if you're looking for a way to unwind and destress after a long day of exploring, the Treasure Valley Casino & Hotel in Davis has the perfect solution for you - hot springs.

The Treasure Valley Casino & Hotel in Davis is located in the heart of Chickasaw country, just a short drive from Sulphur and Davis. It is a great place for tourists looking for a unique experience. One of the main attractions of this hotel is the natural hot springs that are located on site.

The hotel has created a beautiful hot spring oasis where guests can soak in the warm water and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The hot springs have a unique mineral composition that is said to have therapeutic effects on the body. The water is heated geothermally, meaning that it is naturally heated by the earth's core.

The hot springs offer a range of temperatures that can accommodate different preferences. Some people prefer to relax in warmer waters, while others like to soak in hotter temperatures. Regardless of your preference, the hot springs at the Treasure Valley Casino & Hotel have got you covered.

Apart from the hot springs, the hotel also offers a range of facilities for guests to enjoy. You can take a dip in the hotel's outdoor pool, hit the gym, or play some table games at the casino. The hotel also offers a range of dining options, from fast food to fine dining.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a way to destress and relax during your visit to southeast Oklahoma, the Treasure Valley Casino & Hotel in Davis is the perfect destination for you. The hotel's natural hot springs offer a therapeutic and peaceful experience that can help rejuvenate your mind and body. So, book your stay today, and enjoy the hot springs and other amenities offered at the hotel.

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Southeast Oklahoma is known for its rugged terrain, dense forests, and outdoor adventure opportunities. One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of this region is on horseback. Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow is a popular destination for horseback riding enthusiasts, offering scenic trails that wind through the park’s beautiful landscapes.

Beavers Bend State Park is home to over 3,000 acres of scenic beauty, including the Ouachita Mountains, pine-covered hills, and the clear, sparkling waters of the Mountain Fork River. The park’s horseback riding trails cover over 18 miles, with options for riders of all experience levels.

One of the most popular routes is the 6.5-mile Beaver Lodge Trail, which takes riders along Little River and through the park’s thick forests. This trail offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding countryside, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife like deer, foxes, and birds of prey.

For more experienced riders, the park offers a challenging 8.5-mile trail that winds through the rugged Kiamichi Mountains. This trail offers commanding views of the surrounding landscape, with high elevations and steep descents that will test even the most skilled riders.

Beavers Bend State Park offers a variety of horse rental options, so visitors can enjoy the park’s trails even if they don’t have their own horses. Riders can choose from guided trail rides, where an experienced guide leads the way, or self-guided tours for those who prefer to explore at their own pace.

No matter what time of year you visit, horseback riding in Beavers Bend State Park is an unforgettable experience. In the fall, the changing leaves offer a stunning array of colors, while spring brings blooming wildflowers and fresh green foliage. Summer is perfect for swimming in the lake or river, and winter offers a rare chance to see the park covered in snow.

Overall, Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow is a must-visit destination for horseback riders who want to experience the natural beauty of southeast Oklahoma. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, the park’s peaceful trails and stunning vistas offer a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Frequently asked questions.

Some popular outdoor activities in Southeast Oklahoma include hiking and camping in Beavers Bend State Park, fishing and boating on Broken Bow Lake, and exploring the Talimena Scenic Drive.

Families can visit the Broken Bow Animal Shelter & Petting Zoo, the Frontier Village and Museum in Idabel, or the Museum of the Red River in Idabel. Other attractions include the Hochatown Escape Games and the Beavers Bend Mining Company.

Visitors can explore the Choctaw Nation Museum and Cultural Center in Durant, the Ouachita National Forest, and the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center. There are also historical markers and sites throughout the region, including the Choctaw Capitol Museum in Tuskahoma.

Visitors can enjoy bowling and laser tag at The District in Broken Bow, go to the movies at the AMC Classic Durant 6, or visit the Body Harmony Day Spa in Broken Bow. Other options include shopping at antique and gift shops throughout the region.

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Nomad by Trade

Fifty Bucket List-Worthy Things to Do in the Southeastern United States

North America , United States

Photo collage of things to do in the Southeast with text overlay reading "Southeastern Bucket List"

The American south is often overlooked as a vacation spot, but there are lots of incredible things to do in the Southeast. From the rolling mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina to Florida’s theme parks to the cultural hotspot of New Orleans, you’ll find natural beauty, spectacular wildlife, and magical family fun, as well as sobering but important reminders of the nation’s Civil Rights movement. This roundup, featuring Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee includes all of the best vacation spots in the south, as written by the travel bloggers who love them. Whether you’re planning a scenic road trip through the mountains, a family vacation to Florida’s theme parks, or some time on the beach, you’ll find all kinds of amazing things to do in the southeastern United States.

  • 1.1 Train like an astronaut at Space Camp
  • 1.2 Visit the ultimate thrift store full of lost baggage
  • 1.3 Dine on the famous Royal Red shrimp
  • 2.1 Enjoy thermal baths at Hot Springs National Park
  • 2.2 Go diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds
  • 2.3 Visit historic Little Rock Central High School
  • 3.1 Visit Walt Disney World
  • 3.2 Swim with manatees along Florida’s Gulf Coast
  • 3.3 Step into the world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando
  • 3.4 View incredible wildlife in Everglades National Park
  • 3.5 Visit the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the US
  • 3.6 Visit one of the United States’ most remote National Parks
  • 3.7 Learn about space travel at the Kennedy Space Center
  • 3.8 Road trip the Florida Keys
  • 3.9 Satisfy your sweet tooth with Key Lime pie
  • 3.10 Enjoy the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs State Park
  • 4.1 See beautiful historic Savannah
  • 4.2 Take a climb up Lookout Mountain
  • 4.3 See where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up and preached
  • 4.4 Visit with legendary Muppets and Sesame Street characters
  • 4.5 Wander through historic Bonaventure Cemetery
  • 4.6 Get a taste of Bavaria in Helen
  • 5.1 Tour the world’s longest cave system
  • 5.2 Get boozy on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail
  • 5.3 Travel along the Country Music Highway
  • 6.1 Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  • 6.2 Explore the beautiful French Quarter
  • 6.3 Tour the many plantations of River Road
  • 6.4 Indulge in Café du Monde’s famous beignets
  • 6.5 Visit the National WWII Museum
  • 7.1 Travel along the Mississippi Blues Trail
  • 7.2 Visit the site of an important Civil War siege
  • 7.3 Relax on Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico
  • 7.4 Learn about Native American history at the Winterville Mounds
  • 8.1 See where the Wright Brothers first took flight
  • 8.2 Tour the opulent Biltmore Estate
  • 8.3 Explore the Outer Banks islands
  • 8.4 Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • 8.5 Take a ride on a natural water slide
  • 8.6 Immerse yourself in the River Arts District
  • 9.1 Visit historic Charleston and Rainbow Row
  • 9.2 Pedal your way around Hilton Head Island
  • 9.3 See where the first shots of the Civil War were fired
  • 9.4 Get lost in the relaxing Brookgreen Gardens
  • 10.1 Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • 10.2 Listen to country greats at the Grand Ole Opry
  • 10.3 Visit the National Civil Rights Museum
  • 10.4 Dance and dine on Broadway in Nashville
  • 10.5 See Elvis’ Graceland estate
  • 10.6 Take a cruise on a Mississippi river boat

Note: This  post contains affiliate links, and should you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Alabama bucket list items

Train like an astronaut at space camp.

Huntsville, Alabama

Adults attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama

Photo by Laurence from Finding the Universe

Huntsville in northern Alabama has a great deal to offer – not least of which is the incredible Space Camp experience. This camp is focused on math and education learning in a fun, space themed environment, and is run by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center . Huntsville knows a thing or two about space incidentally. It’s the home of NASA Marshall, which is where for over fifty years rocket scientists have been building and testing rocket parts, including the engines that took men to the moon.

With this connection, it’s no surprise that Space Camp is a highly authentic experience. It’s open to pretty much anyone who is aged seven and over (yes, there’s an adult space camp! ), with programs running for various durations, but usually in the range of 3 to 6 days. Programs are very hands on and team-based, and focus around a mission, giving participants a real feel for what it might be like to train as an actual astronaut.

For more on visiting, check out our  guide to Space Camp , which will answer all your questions! The official site can be found here .

By Laurence from Finding the Universe

If you can’t make it for Space Camp, you can still tour the US Space and Rocket Center. Get your tickets here !

Visit the ultimate thrift store full of lost baggage

Scottsboro, Alabama

High heels for sale at the Unclaimed Baggage Center

Photo courtesy of the Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage in northern Alabama is almost a mecca for travelers and shoppers alike.  Unclaimed Baggage operates under the very unique business plan of taking lost luggage and reselling the contents .  It’s like a Goodwill, but infinitely better. Think about it. You donate items you *don’t* want. You bring your possessions that you *love* with you on your trips. Because of that, Unclaimed Baggage is filled with brand name, high quality items but for a fraction of the cost. The employees of the store have unearthed some amazing treasures including movie props, live animals, and even stone cold cash!!

It can be very frustrating to lose your bag on vacation, but worry not because only a very small percent (less than 5%) of bags even make it to Unclaimed Baggage because the airlines do their best to reunite the bags with owners. If you want to make sure your bag never ends up there, always make sure to put your name, address, and contact number on the inside of your bag as well!

Read more about the Unclaimed Baggage Center from Carly at Flight of the Educator

Dine on the famous Royal Red shrimp

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Royal Red Shrimp in a serving dish

Alabama is not known for many high tourism areas, but the 60 miles of Gulf Coast, is probably the most popular in the state. Although there are a few towns that occupy this small piece of coast, the entire stretch is often commonly referred to as Gulf Shores. The area has been developed for tourism, with a variety of attractions, and a line of beachfront condos.

Visitors come to Gulf Shores for a lot of reasons, from lying on the white sand beaches, to adrenaline pumping adventure sports, from historic forts and naval vessels, to a coastal wildlife reserve. But only “in the know” travelers visit for good eating. Gulf Shores is the best place in the world to eat Royal Red Shrimp , and they are certainly a bucket list item!

Royal Red shrimp are a rare deep water shrimp that are typically found 40 to 60 miles offshore. They are not unique to the area, as they can be found all along the Atlantic coast, from Maine to Belize. However, they are few and scattered. The waters off of Alabama are known to be the sweet spot for the delicious delicacy, and only a handful of fishing companies have the special equipment and licensing required for harvesting.

Royal Reds are large, and as the name suggests, a deep crimson color. They are known for their exceptional tenderness, and their rich, salty-sweet flavor. They are amazing steamed, sautéed or grilled, and frying them is considered a sacrilege. Royal Reds are worth asking for at any area restaurant, because they are often an off menu special, but our two favorite places to eat them in Gulf Shores are King Neptune’s and Bahama Bob’s, right on the beach. One bite, and seafood lovers will be hooked.

By Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job  

Arkansas bucket list items

Enjoy thermal baths at hot springs national park.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Buckstaff Baths, one of the Hot Springs National Park bathhouses

For years, Hot Springs National Park was the United States’ smallest National Park, though that title was recently claimed by the Gateway Arch. However, it remains one of the more unique parks that I’ve visited. The main draw and most commonly visited area of the park is historic Bathhouse Row , where the hot water bubbling up from springs in the mountains was once used for restorative bath treatments. Back in the day, it was one of the top things to do in the southeastern United States for the wealthy. Most of the baths have closed over the years thanks to the proliferation of indoor plumbing and modern medicine, but there are still a few in operation if you’d like to try them out. Don’t miss the National Park visitor center, housed in one of the historic bathhouses for a glimpse into the glory days of the baths. You can explore all three levels, including the beautifully decorated men’s baths and an upper level with an airy relaxation area.

The mountains included in the park also offer plenty of hiking opportunities and trails ranging from easy to difficult can be found winding through the wooded slopes. If hiking isn’t your thing, take a scenic drive to the top for a view of the valley below – it’s a great picnic spot if you like to dine with a view. There’s a tall observation tower at the top as well if you want to get an even higher vantage point. The town itself is cute too, with lots of little shops lining downtown. For a different kind of fun, try this sunset cruise and dance on a nearby lake.

Go diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds

Murfreesboro, Arkansas

Park ranger and boy hunting for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Crater of Diamonds State Park in southwestern Arkansas is not only one of the most unique things to do in the southeastern United States, it’s unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s the only place in the world where the general public is invited to hunt for diamonds and other precious gems in their original source. And the best part? You’re welcome to keep whatever you find. You can bring your own hand-operated mining equipment (no motors or batteries) or rent some at the park to aid in your search. Park rangers will even identify your finds for free. According to the state tourism board, an average of two diamonds per day are found by the park’s visitors for a total of more than 33,000 since the area became a state park in 1972. How cool would it be to find one and take it home to have it set into a piece of jewelry?

If diamond hunting isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities available at the state park. You can take advantage of the walking trails and picnic areas for a relaxing day or pitch a tent at the on-site campground for a weekend of relaxing. If you’re looking to cool off, pay a visit to Diamond Springs Water Park, a small water park with a pool, fountains, and water slides.

Visit historic Little Rock Central High School

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is one of the top tourist attractions in Little Rock, Arkansas.

While there are certainly plenty of purely fun things to do in the Southeast, it’s also important to stop and recognize the more unpleasant aspects of our past. If you’ve studied American history from the 20th century, you’ve almost certainly seen photos of this historic high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the site of a fierce Civil Rights battle as segregationists fought to keep the city’s most prestigious public high school from being integrated in the 1950s. The still-operational high school has been designated as a National Historic Site and can be toured as part of a ranger-led group. Even if you can’t take part in the tour, don’t skip the visitor center. The small museum there tells the story of the original black students, collectively known as the Little Rock Nine , who suffered through a year of physical and mental abuse at the hands of their classmates and community in order to attend Little Rock Central High. You can see photos, artifacts, and quotes about the experience that will really drive home how incredibly brave they all were. You can also check out the vintage style gas station across the street maintained to keep its appearance from the 50s. Since the events at the high school across the street took place in the days before cell phones and the internet, the gas station played an important role for reporters relaying the news of the day via its phone.

Find out more about my visit, including meeting one of the Little Rock Nine, in my post about my visit to Little Rock Central .

Florida bucket list items

Visit walt disney world.

Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Cinderella Castle beneath a blue sky at Disney World

No trip to Florida is complete without a visit to the four amazing Disney theme parks near Orlando and it’s one of the best vacation spots in the south, if not the country. Though often thought of as a kids’ destination, adults will find plenty to love at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.” Whether you’re looking for the many themed lands of the Magic Kingdom (that’s the “Castle park” for those who aren’t familiar), the food and culture of Epcot , the thrill rides and immersive Star Wars land of Disney’s Hollywood Studios , or the lush green, nature-centric attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom , there’s something for everybody. And then there are the water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are full of speed slides, kid-friendly areas, and water coasters to help you cool off on one of Florida’s very hot days. Some of my favorite rides are Splash Mountain (I worked there!), Space Mountain, Rise of the Resistance , Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track, Soarin’, Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash, Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Expedition: Everest. Don’t skip the nighttime shows either – Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom is incredible!. If you’re more into food than rides and shows, you’ll love eating your way around Epcot’s World Showcase (try visiting during the Food and Wine Festival ), indulging in the many beloved snacks like Dole Whip and Mickey Bars, and sampling some of the super sweet alcoholic beverages (the boozy lemonade from Woody’s Lunchbox in Toy Story Land was an instant favorite of mine!).

The incredible resort hotels at Disney World are an attraction in and of themselves. You can easily spend a day of your vacation exploring them with their beautiful theming. Some of my favorites include the Animal Kingdom Lodge with its wildlife viewing, the Wilderness Lodge for its awe-inspiring lobby, the Polynesian Village Resort for its tropical feel, and Fort Wilderness for its upscale camping and multitude of activities. Disney Springs, the shopping and dining district on property, is another great place to visit on a non-park day. You can explore the shops, both Disney and non-Disney branded, visit the Coca Cola store, or eat your way through some delicious restaurants. As a former Cast Member there, I have a whole section of Disney World tips , so be sure to check that out for money saving tips, time saving tips, resort reviews, essential FastPass+ lists, and more!

Save money on Disney World tickets and hotels here!

Swim with manatees along Florida’s Gulf Coast

Crystal River, Florida

Manatee swimming in the Crystal River area

Photo by Vicky from Buddy the Traveling Monkey

One of the most well-known Florida animals is the manatee. During the winter months, many manatees gather in the Crystal River area to stay warm because of the area’s many springs. These springs have warm water that bubbles up from underground and keeps the water above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Because so many manatees gather in this area, it’s a perfect place to go swimming with them !

We recommend doing a tour with Plantation Adventure Center . We liked them because they provide guests with thicker wet suits which means you’ll stay warmer. Additionally, while other companies provide guests with fins, Plantation Adventure Center does not which is actually better because splashing scares away the manatees.

In this area of Florida, the Federal Government allows “passive observation” which means you can get in the water and if a manatee comes up to you, you may touch them with one hand. However, you are not allowed to chase them, feed them, or disturb them in any way.

Being in the water with the many manatees ended up being such a magical experience. You float at the top of the water and move slowly (no diving). Many of the manatees come right up to you. There was a curious baby manatee that kept swimming up to us and also a large adult manatee that kept rolling over so that we’d rub his belly.

Swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida is definitely one of my favorite animal encounters and we highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

By Vicky from Buddy the Traveling Monkey

Read about my experience swimming with manatees here!

Step into the world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando

Orlando, Florida

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando

The opening of the Hogsmeade area at Universal’s Islands of Adventure was one of the most anticipated theme park events ever. And boy did it live up to the expectations. In the years since, Universal Studios joined in the fun with a Diagon Alley area to explore – and the two lands are connected by the Hogwarts Express train. How amazing is that? Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the ride inside of Hogwarts, is an absolute masterpiece and should not be missed. You’ll also want to sample all of the varieties of butterbeer flavored foods from “traditional” style in a cup to ice cream (the ice cream is life-changing). I tried them all.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to do at Universal Orlando . Islands of Adventure is home to a fun Marvel themed land with a newly-rebuilt Incredible Hulk roller coaster and a Dr. Seuss land for kids. The original park, Universal Studios, has a couple of great coasters itself – Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and The Mummy – plus an always fun Men in Black dark ride and the new Transformers attraction. For nightlife, check out Citywalk which is full of clubs and iconic over-the-top restaurant chains.

Save money on Universal Orlando tickets and hotels here!

View incredible wildlife in Everglades National Park

Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties, Florida

White egret in tall grass at Everglades National Park

I’d been wanting to visit Everglades National Park for years and years and was absolutely blown away when I finally got the chance to go. Scenery-wise, it’s not the prettiest National Park out there (our tour guide even said as much) but I’ve never seen wildlife in such abundance as I did in this park. The Shark Valley Visitor Center on the north side of the park has a paved walking and biking trail through the wetlands and also offers daily tram rides with narration from a guide. The ride is so worth it! Our driver and guide spotted so many alligators that we would’ve completely missed because of how well camouflaged they are.

Along the ride, we saw about a dozen gators , including two sets of babies, and several species of large birds. Watching a white ibis soar through the air is incredible. After our tour was over, we walked for a bit along the path closest to the visitor center and were in absolute awe of the wildlife we saw. There were a dozen turtles right in front of us, some just swimming, some eating flowers (yes, seeing a little turtle nomming on a flower in the water is as adorable as it sounds). We could see fish of all sizes swimming around. But the most incredible sight was that of one of the bird species we’d been introduced to on the tour – an anhinga – fishing right in front of us. We spent half an hour just standing there watching him dive below the surface and cruise through the water before popping up with a fish in his beak and flipping it into his mouth – the showboater.

Visit the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the US

St. Augustine, Florida

Oldest wooden schoolhouse in the US in St. Augustine

Photo by Erica from Treading Wander

There’s so much to explore in Old St. Augustine , but many people make it a weekend trip. It’s the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the US , and the historic section of the city boasts colonial Spanish architecture that makes you feel like you’ve entered another era. For those with limited time, I always recommend taking one of the Old Town Trolley tours to get an overview of the city and figure out which attractions you’d like to head back to and spend more time at.

Check out the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse along the pedestrian-only St. George Street. This schoolhouse dates back to the early 1700s and is open to the public. They’ve done a great job of turning it into an accurate and educational (no pun intended) representation of the history of St. Augustine. To escape the Florida heat or keep busy on a rainy day, I’d recommend taking a tour to check out Flagler College. Henry Flagler originally built this grand building in the 1880s as an exclusive and luxurious resort. Tours begin daily at 10 and 2, and you can expect to step back in time into the lives of 19th century elite.

Old St. Augustine has so much to offer, but these are two of my “must-dos” that I recommend for all first-timers. For me, simply wandering the cobblestone streets is the best thing to do. There are so many fun shops and fascinating pieces of history everywhere you look, that it feels like I’ve discovered something new each time I visit.

By Erica from Treading Wander

Visit one of the United States’ most remote National Parks

Dry Tortugas, Florida

Bright seas through a portal at Dry Torgtugas National Park

Photo by Halef from The Round the World Guys

One of Florida’s hidden gems lays at the southernmost point of the State. It is beyond Key West, where Highway 1 ends. Dry Tortugas National Park is a series of several islets, about 70 miles southwest of Key West. To visit Dry Tortugas National Park , you will need to either hop on the Yankee Freedom III ferry or take a chartered plane.

Dry Tortugas is one of the most remote US National Parks. Once there, you’ll learn about its rich history, beautiful scenery, and amazing underwater activities. You can join a guided walking tour of Fort Jefferson, followed by snorkeling or relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches. If you reserve early, you can even go camping or kayaking in the Dry Tortugas. Avid scuba divers may wish to join a liveaboard that is based in Key West.

Check out the park’s official website here .

By Halef from The Round the World Guys

Learn about space travel at the Kennedy Space Center

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Space shuttle on display at the Kennedy Space Center

I was exactly the kind of nerdy kid who thought the Kennedy Space Center was amazing growing up. You can immerse yourself in all things space, and even though the shuttle program is no longer active, it’s still possible to catch a launch if you time it right. If you’re not lucky enough to visit during a launch, don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do at the space center. One of the big attractions is the heroes and legends of space, which includes a 4D presentation about the pioneers, as well as the Astronaut Hall of Fame. You can also get an up-close view of the space shuttle Atlantis , which was retired a few years ago after carrying astronauts to space on numerous missions.

Your admission also includes a bus tour to some of the behind the scenes areas related to spaceflight. The 40-minute tour takes you past the Vehicle Assembly Building and launch sites. One of the cooler things is the giant crawler that moved launch vehicles into position ever so slowly with its massive treads. The tour concludes at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where you’re free to explore the exhibits on your own before catching a bus back to the visitor center. While there, you can also purchase certain extras like lunch with an astronaut and mission training simulations. Find out all the visitor info you need on the Space Center’s official website .

Save money on Kennedy Space Center tickets here!

Note: the price at the Undercover Tourist link above seems higher than the price on the Kennedy Space Center’s website ($60.99 vs. $57 as of November 2018), but the Space Center’s site adds $3.99 tax and a $4.99 processing fee when you check out, making the Undercover Tourist link a few dollars cheaper.

Road trip the Florida Keys

Key Largo to Key West

Marker on Key West denoting the southernmost point in the continental US

The 100-mile long Florida Keys Overseas Highway is a classic American road trip. Beginning on Key Largo and ending on Key West, this highway links the many small islands of the Florida Keys. Along the way, you’ll encounter wildlife, beaches, the freshest seafood possible, and classic Americana attractions. Some highlights of a Florida Keys road trip include the Ernest Hemingway house in Key West which is famously home to countless six-toed cats, the No Name Bar with its walls decorated by dollar bills left by patrons from around the world, the turtle hospital where visitors can tour the facilities used to rescue turtles, and the marker at the southernmost point in the continental United States.

There are also plenty of gorgeous beaches for relaxing and enjoying the sun, of course. Other water activities include snorkeling, diving, fishing, and learning to sail. To appreciate the beauty of the water in this area right from your car, don’t miss Seven Mile Bridge, which is the longest span in the Keys and stretches over – you guessed it – seven miles of gorgeous turquoise water.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Key Lime pie

Key West, Florida

Key Lime Pie

Photo by Danila from Traveling Dany

When we visited Florida we had one specific cake on our food bucket list. Key Lime pie is an iconic dish famous in southern Florida and named after the small citrus fruits that were introduced to the area by Henry Perrine in the 1830s. While this tart and creamy dessert can be found on every menu in the Sunshine State, you absolutely must try it in the Florida Keys!

We planned a road trip from Miami to Key West , and if you believe that it’s too much trouble, think again! There’s nothing better than enjoying a large slice of key lime pie while sitting by the ocean in Mallory Square (Key West)!

The thing that sets the key lime pie in the Keys apart from the others is the use of real key lime juice. This small, green fruit offers an intense tartness and a mouthwatering scent. Most restaurants, from Key Largo to Key West, only use the very best lime for their pies. The most famous place for key lime pie in Key West is the Key West Key Lime Pie Company . If you are planning to visit during the peak season, get ready to stand in line even for up to one hour to get your slice of key lime pie! That’s how good it is! These pies won several national awards and are made fresh daily using real key lime juice and handmade graham cracker crust.

Time to add it to your foodie bucket list!

By Danila from Traveling Dany

Enjoy the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs State Park

Marion County, Florida

Group of kayakers at Silver Springs State Park

Photo by Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job

Silver Springs State Park in north-central Florida is a definite bucket list place. There are actually several springs, including the Main Springs, Blu Grotto, and The Abyss, which are collectively referred to as the Silver Springs, which is Florida’s largest first magnitude spring. Springs are measured by the amount of water they discharge, with a first magnitude being the highest volume of water discharged. This results in a remarkable clarity and superb living conditions for plants and animals.

What all of that means is that Silver Springs is richly forested, on the land, and in the water, and that there is a plethora of animal species living in the area. Native animals found in the surrounding forests include armadillos, deer, wild turkey, wild boar, tortoises, coyote, bobcat, and even the Florida black bear . There are also non-native Rhesus monkeys in the forest, introduced by an amusement operator in the 1930s for their “Jungle Cruise” attraction!

But, it is the aquatic animals that are the main star at Silver Springs State Park. There are numerous species of fish, and waterfowl, as well as turtles and American alligators cavorting in the waters. There is even an occasional manatee. For this reason, glass bottom boat tours and kayaking are the most popular activities in the park. Both allow visitors to watch the animals in their natural habitat, on the water, and below the surface. Seeing an alligator swimming alongside your kayak, or a manatee beneath you, is quite exciting! For those who do not live near the area, this is often a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed.

Find out more about Silver Springs State Park by Roxanna at Gypsy with a Day Job

Georgia bucket list items

See beautiful historic savannah.

Savannah, Georgia

Fountain and trees in historic Savannah

Photo by Kate from Our Escape Clause

Historic Savannah is known for its stunning antebellum mansions, its 22 beautiful town squares, its beautiful Spanish moss, and, of course, its delicious southern food scene. Come to historic Savannah to enjoy its history: no visit would be complete without a tour of at least one of the antebellum mansions, a visit to the nearby Wormsloe Historic Site, a spooky ghost tour featuring stories of the past, and at least one tour to give context to the culture that built the city.

But, historic Savannah isn’t just about its history ; come also for a picnic in beautiful Forsyth Park, for trendy coffee shops, for eclectic art put together by the local Savannah College of Art and Design students, for its award-winning restaurant scene, and for its great shopping. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, an architecture nerd, a photographer, or just a casual traveler looking for a quick getaway to one of the most beautiful cities in the USA, historic Savannah is definitely the place for you.

See more things to do in Savannah from Kate at Our Escape Clause

Take a climb up Lookout Mountain

Northern Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee

Waterfall on Lookout Mountain

Photo courtesy of Jillian from Adventure Dragon

One of my favorite places to visit in the southeastern US lies in a lesser-known town – Lookout Mountain, Georgia – located on the edge of the Tennessee border near Chattanooga. Rock City Gardens sits atop a mountain bearing the same name as the tiny town, and it almost feels like it’s a secret place hidden away from the rest of the world. The park features a  4,100-foot Enchanted Trail that leads hikers through tiny crevices in moss-covered boulders and across a 180-foot suspension bridge before ultimately depositing them in front of a gorgeous 90-foot waterfall. High Falls is one of the most stunning waterfalls I’ve ever beheld, and from the observation deck located directly above it, you can see seven states on a cloudless day. This iconic viewpoint is affectionately known as Lover’s Leap due to a local Cherokee legend detailing the death of a distraught maiden who jumped from the ledge after her lover was thrown from the cliff by a feuding tribe. Just past this spot you’ll find a mountaintop cave full of fairytale creatures–the Fairyland Caverns – and it’s a delight for children as well as grown adults who haven’t yet forgotten how to dream. You won’t regret adding Rock City Gardens to your southeastern US bucket list!

See more about visiting Lookout Mountain from Jillian at Adventure Dragon

See where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up and preached

Atlanta, Georgia

Ebenezer Baptis Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached

This National Historical Park in Atlanta honors the life of Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Located in the area where he grew up, visitors can tour the home where MLK was born and spent his early years, as well as the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached along with his father. Tours of the birth home can be hard to sang – they’re limited to 15 visitors at a time – but the rest of the site, including the church, are free to explore on your own.

While there, don’t miss the visitor center, which houses exhibits on Dr. King’s life and the Civil Rights movement, including a section targeted toward kids. That’s also where you’ll sign up for a birth home tour if you’d like. Nearby, you’ll find the beautiful but somber grave site where both Dr. King and his wife are buried. If you’re interested in Atlanta’s Civil Rights history, you can learn more on this tour that covers the Civil War to Civil Rights and includes a visit to the historic site.

Visit with legendary Muppets and Sesame Street characters

Woman posing with Muppets

Photo courtesy of Janine from Fill My Passport

In 1978, Atlanta, Georgia embraced puppets. Puppeteering is an art form that few truly appreciate in this day and age, but for those who do, the launching of the Center for Puppetry Arts in the heart of the city will make you as happy as a clam. It did for me.

While on your trip through Atlanta, be sure to stop in and tour the exhibits. Learn where puppetry began with such notable characters as Punch and Judy, Pinocchio, Gumby and Pokey, and more. Take an audio tour and learn how exactly to bring marionettes to life. Watch the daily film or take an educational workshop. The center is a world of imagination, creation, and storytelling all in one. Spend an afternoon here to marvel at the original creations, see props from the famed films, and take a stab at making your own creature. The choice is yours.

Once you learn more about the history of puppetry, make your way to (my favorite) area of the museum – the Jim Henson section! Learn the background of the most renowned puppeteer in history and how his incredible characters and innovation became some of the most beloved of all time. See original Muppets , Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal and Sesame Street artifacts. And, with Carroll Spinney announcing his retirement this past October, why not pay Big Bird a visit and see just how incredible that costume is and how dedicated a puppeteer Spinney was for nearly 50 years portraying the giant and much loved avian.

Find out details and ticket info on the center’s official website .

By Janine from Fill My Passport

Wander through historic Bonaventure Cemetery

Trees in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah

Photo by James from Travel Collecting

Bonaventure Cemetery is beautiful. It is located about a 20-minute drive from the historic center of Savannah, on the banks of the Wilmington River on the site of the former Bonaventure Plantation. It became a cemetery in 1907 and is now the city’s largest public cemetery (almost 160 acres) and definitely its most famous, especially after being featured in the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil . It is the epitome of southern Gothic and you can easily spend several hours wandering around. The gravestones are surrounded by enormous trees draped in Spanish moss; it is incredibly atmospheric. You really feel like you are in the Deep South here. Famous graves include the statue of 6-year old Gracie Watson; four-time Oscar winning song writer and the founder of Capitol Records, Johnny Mercer; and his great grandfather Hugh Mercer, a confederate general in the Civil War. It is possible to take tours of the cemetery, but before or after the tour it is also nice to just wander around and take in the eerie beauty of this place.

By James from Travel Collecting

Get a taste of Bavaria in Helen

Helen, Georgia

Bavarian buildings in Helen, Georgia

Photo by Jillian from Adventure Dragon

Despite housing just 430 residents, Helen, Georgia consistently remains the third most visited city in the entire U.S. state. The charming mountain village lies nestled alongside a bubbling river just an hour and a half north of Atlanta and is best known for its Bavarian architecture, authentic German cuisine, and quirky shops . Anyone who visits instantly falls in love. You can watch live glass-blowing and pottery demonstrations or even shop for handmade wooden toys as they’re crafted right before your eyes. The nearby Dukes Creek helped launch the American Gold Rush, and mining for gold and gemstones is still a popular tourist activity in the town today.

Before you leave, you must try the homemade fudge from Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen. They offer over 20 different flavors, including my favorites – Amaretto Almond, Chocolate Raspberry, and Peanut Butter. I also recommend you dine at the Troll Tavern – a cozy restaurant that sits under a bridge and provides scenic riverfront dining. Helen is one of the most delightful places to visit in Georgia, and I hope you’ll include it on your bucket list during your next trip to the southeastern United States.

See more about things to do in Helen by Jillian at Adventure Dragon

Kentucky bucket list items

Tour the world’s longest cave system.

Edmonson, Hart, and Barren counties in Kentucky

Formations inside Mammoth Cave

Photo by Margie from DQ Travel

Mammoth Cave National Park , the world’s longest cave system , is located in southern Kentucky near the Tennessee border. It is an easy day trip if you are near Louisville, KY or Nashville, TN. Mammoth Cave has almost 400 miles of underground chambers and tunnels, yet only about 10 miles have been explored. You cannot enter the cave on your own. There are many tours offered by park rangers ranging in difficulty. We chose the popular Dripstones and Domes tour and were very pleased with all we were able to see. It was about 2 hours long and about a mile in distance. You are expected to be in good physical condition on most tours because there are about 500 steps (some with quite an incline). Most tours are rated moderate for physical activity, yet would be fine for older children and anyone not afraid of tight spaces. The park does offer a few other short and gentle options for younger children and elderly who may not be as mobile. Be sure to bring a jacket when you visit, as the cave remains about 55 degrees year round. I highly recommend this cave visit to see the stalagmites, stalactites and all of the other rock formations created over time by the water. Mammoth Cave is a spectacular natural wonder!

Find out more on the park’s official website .

By Margie from DQ Travel

Get boozy on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

Northern Kentucky

Statue in front of the Jim Beam distillery on the Bourbon Trail

Photo by Stephanie from Road Unraveled

If your travels take you through Kentucky, there’s a good chance bourbon will factor into your visit. Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail attracts more than a million visitors each year as travelers seek to learn about—and sample—bourbons from the dozens of distilleries that call Kentucky home. Although bourbon can be produced in any state, Kentucky’s Bourbon County gave the spirit its name—yet another reason the Bourbon Trail remains a popular reason to visit the state.

Before you visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, consider the experience you want to have—and know there are actually two trails to choose from. The classic Kentucky Bourbon Trail will connect you to distilleries you may already know and love, including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. The craft bourbon trail includes smaller batch distilleries that aren’t as well-known but produce high quality bourbons you’ll be glad to discover. For the ultimate experience, consider creating your own bourbon trail by selecting one or two larger distilleries and a handful of smaller ones for a truly customized experience.

While a few large distilleries encourage you to buy tickets in advance, many distilleries encourage guests to stop in for a tour or a few samples without a reservation. Doing a bit of homework on the distilleries of greatest interest to you will help you create the trip you want. From large tours that explain the art and science of making bourbon to small, charming tasting experiences that serve cocktails on the veranda, it’s easy to create a fun, relaxing day. No matter what you choose, prepare to meet some of America’s friendliest people as you navigate the Kentucky Bourbon Trail  – and prepare for some great bourbons, too!

By Stephanie from Road Unraveled

Check out this full day Bourbon Trail tour!

Travel along the Country Music Highway

Eastern Kentucky

Buildings along the Country Music Highway in eastern Kentucky

Photo by Dennis Adams

Country music lovers will love the Country Music Highway through Eastern Kentucky. Along Route 23, you’ll pass by the birthplaces and residences of many country stars who grew up in the area, including Loretta Lynn and Billy Ray Cyrus. One notable sight is Loretta Lynn’s childhood home, a log cabin that is still owned by her brother. This stretch of land isn’t the typical drive along the highway as you get a glimpse of the beauty of the region and its many hollers that make Eastern Kentucky so distinct. (Hollers are narrow roads that sit along the edge of a mountain.) Driving down through this area might give you a better understanding of the coal mining history that has been long intertwined with this region of Appalachia.

Along the way, I love stopping off at the Pavilion in Louisa, a gas station and gift shop where visitors can admire memorabilia from various country stars. It’s an iconic symbol of the region. At the beginning of the route, you’ll pass through Pikeville, where you can visit one of the new distilleries that has popped up to try locally sourced moonshine and craft beer.

See more about visiting Eastern Kentucky by Karen at Wanderlustingk

Louisiana bucket list items

Celebrate mardi gras in new orleans.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Mardi Gras float

Photo by Stella Jane from Around the World in 24 Hours

Some tourists have an incomplete impression of Mardi Gras in their heads. They think it’s boobs and beads and Bourbon Street and Tulane students getting wasted. This couldn’t be more wrong! My family has lived in New Orleans for 150 years, and we have always considered Mardi Gras to be the height of civilized living. Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) celebrates the last day before Ash Wednesday and Lent . You’re meant to indulge as much as you can for one day. Of course the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans last much longer than one day. Parades usually start about three and a half weeks before Mardi Gras.

Understanding krewes is essential to understanding Mardi Gras. A krewe is just an organization that puts on a parade and/or a ball every Mardi Gras. Each krewe has its own special identity. The most prestigious krewe is probably Rex, which declares a King and Queen of Mardi Gras every year. Zulu is the most well-known predominantly African-American krewe in New Orleans. They elect their own King and Queen, but the most famous King of Zulu was Louis Armstrong. There are also female-only krewes like Muses. The Krewe of Bacchus tends to get the most attention every year because they like to elect a celebrity king like Will Ferrell or John Goodman.

Most tourists who come to see the parades want to catch one of the famous “throws”. Some krewes have their own throws, like Zulu and its hand-painted coconuts or Muses and its shoes. I’ve gotten everything from a black-and-gold New Orleans Saints necklace to a stuffed dragon in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. You don’t need to expose yourself to get some beads. Just yell, “Throw me something, mister!” if you’re so inclined.

See more about New Orleans by Stella Jane at Around the World in 24 Hours

Even if you can’t make it to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras celebrations, you can still learn about it with this walking tour that includes admission to the Mardi Gras museum!

Explore the beautiful French Quarter

Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter

New Orleans is home to one of the most iconic areas in the US. The beautiful French Quarter is a must-see spot on any visit to NOLA. Full of nightlife and its gorgeous buildings trimmed with wrought iron balconies, there’s also no shortage of history here. During the day, enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and views of the Mississippi River. You can explore Jackson Square or visit the Louisiana State Museum in the area. It was cool for this history nerd to see where the Louisiana Purchase was signed, thereby adding the huge tract of land to the United States. For a more festive experience, check out the Mardi Gras Museum.

Later at night, check out Bourbon Street and indulge in one of New Orleans’ famous cocktails. You can hit one of the many nightclubs to join in the party or just soak in the atmosphere. If partying isn’t your thing, hit one of the many excellent restaurants in the area to get a taste of NOLA’s famous cuisine.

Tour the many plantations of River Road

New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Plantation along Louisiana's River Road

Photo by Jessica from Independent Travel Cats

One of the things that Louisiana is known for is its well-preserved antebellum plantations. Before the Civil War, there were over 300 plantation homes lining the 70 mile stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans! Today only a couple dozen of these homes still stand, but a number of them have been restored and are open to the public. Some are grand neoclassical mansions whereas others are more humble Creole structures. At least one remains a working sugar cane farm and a couple of the plantations have beautiful oak lined alleys.

Of course, although the homes are beautiful, most of these places were built with the money earned through the forced labor of thousands of slaves. Plantation tours are increasingly giving more attention to the role of slavery and its effects, and one of the plantations along this route (Whitney) is now a museum dedicated to slavery . Each house and tour is a little different. We’ve visited a dozen of the plantations along the River Road and have written a comprehensive  Louisiana plantations guide that should help you figure out which plantation(s) you want to visit yourself!

By Jessica from Independent Travel Cats

Indulge in Café du Monde’s famous beignets

Beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans

Photo by Yulia from That’s What She Had

The city of New Orleans is synonymous with jazz music, Mardi Gras, and crazy drinking and partying on Bourbon street. But if you are anything like me and travel the world for food, then the word “beignet” will come to mind first when you think of New Orleans. And not any beignets, of course, but the famous beignets at Cafe du Monde in the French quarter.

Served piping hot, sprinkled with no less than half a pound of icing sugar, these deep fried pockets of dough can easily replace a meal. One order of beignets includes three such pockets. Don’t forget to order café au lait made with chicory — another signature creation of Cafe du Monde. Even though I usually don’t enjoy chicory coffee, this meal was one of the best in my travels through American south. You might have to wait to get a seat at this overly crowded place, but remember: good things come to those who wait.

By Yulia from That’s What She Had

Visit the National WWII Museum

Tanks on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is honestly one of the best museums I’ve ever been to (though I do admit to having a lifelong fascination with WWII). With exhibits and artifacts from both the European theater and Pacific theater , visitors will get an in-depth look at the bloody conflict. There are also special exhibits covering the homefront experience during the war and the merchant marine. You can even book a deck tour or ride on a PT boat that’s still operational in Lake Pontchartrain.

If you’re more of a visual person, the Beyond All Borders show is well worth the additional fee. It’s a 4D multimedia presentation featuring voices of A-list stars like Tom Hanks. It tells the story of the war from both fronts and the home. You can also catch a live show at BB’s Stage Door Canteen. It’s a vintage style club with musical performances that recreates the atmosphere of the 1940s as soldiers were heading off to war. Buy tickets through Viator here !

Mississippi bucket list items

Travel along the mississippi blues trail.

Mississippi Delta and beyond

Brochures for the Mississippi Blues Trail

Photo by Lena from Lena on the Move

Mississippi is home to the roots of modern popular music. Whether you’re a blues fan or a casual traveler in search of an exceptional trip, consider a self-guided road trip on the historical Blues Highway (Route 61) from Memphis to New Orleans . Driving along the Mississippi Blues Trail, you will find over 150 markers as well as several blues-related museums that tell the stories of significant blues contributors and how their circumstances influenced the blues movement.

Apart from the obvious stops in Memphis’ Beale Street and New Orleans’ French Quarter, the Blues Highway section in Mississippi is a particularly authentic part of the journey. Following the course of the Mississippi River, you’ll come across small towns like Tunica, Clarksdale, Leland, and Indianola. All of them used to play a significant part in the history of jazz and blues. Today, they’re home to various exhibitions, several interactive museums ( Gateway to the Blues in Tunica, Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland and the BB King Museum in Indianola) and extensive collections of blues records, instruments, and other vintage goodies. At night, enjoy some authentic live music in the small bars around Clarksdale where legendary blues artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong used to rock out scatting and playing the saxophone in the 1940s.

See more about the Mississippi Blues Trail by Lena on Lena on the Move

Check out this Mississippi Delta tour!

Visit the site of an important Civil War siege

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Monument at Vicksburg National Military Park

Many Americans have heard of the Battle of Gettysburg. Yet not nearly as many know about the Siege of Vicksburg , Mississippi, even though it was arguably just as important to Union victory in the Civil War. Vicksburg was the Confederacy’s most important port on the Mississippi River. General Grant knew he couldn’t defeat the South without capturing Vicksburg first. So on May 18th, 1863, the Union Army began to lay siege to The Fortress City. It took 47 days for Vicksburg to surrender to Grant.

Today the battlegrounds of Mississippi have been turned into the Vicksburg National Military Park . You’ll need to bring your own car in order to see all the sights. A cell phone driving tour is provided by the National Parks Service free of charge. The major artifact at the Military Park is the USS Cairo. This is a genuine Civil War Union ironclad warship, the only one of its kind you are ever likely to see in person. You can also follow in Grant’s footsteps and visit the Shirley House, which is the home where Grant took shelter after his failed assault on Jackson Road. Finally don’t miss the many memorials dedicated to the lives lost on both sides. The most beautiful is probably the Illinois Memorial made out of Georgia marble and granite. There are 47 steps leading up to the Memorial, one for each day of the siege.

The legacy of Vicksburg has lasted for a long time. My aunt lives in the city, and she told me that many Vicksburg residents refused to celebrate the 4th of July until very recently. After all, July 4th was when the siege ended. So for the people of Vicksburg, it was a tragic occasion and not a cause for celebration.

By Stella Jane from Around the World in 24 Hours

Relax on Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico

Ship Island, Mississippi

Sandy beach on Ship Island along Mississippi's Gulf Coast

Photo by Brittany from Transformed Thru Travel

West Ship Island is an island located 11 miles off the coast of Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s part of a chain of barrier islands in Mississippi and Florida that make up  Gulf Islands National Seashore . The island is a great escape from the bustle of the mainland and a perfect place to enjoy nature, learn about American history, or simply sunbathe. When your hour-long journey to the island begins, be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins swimming alongside the ferry. Once you arrive, set up your sunbathing spot for the day and unwind. You can also enjoy birding, snorkeling, hiking, fishing, photography, or touring the historic Fort Massachusetts while you are there.

The National Park Service provides free guided tours of the 19th-century brick fortification that was used by members of both the Confederate and Union military during the Civil War. You’re also free to roam the fort on your own to see the remnants of what life was like on the island at that time.

Restrooms, showers, water fountains, covered picnic seating, and a snack bar are all available on the island for your convenience. Beach chair and umbrella rentals are also available. Although, I suggest saving yourself a ton of money by packing your own lunch, snacks, and beverages in a small cooler. Also, limit the amount of gear you bring so you can fully relax and enjoy your beach day. Just bring the basics – a towel, a beach blanket, sunscreen, and a book – and you’ll be all set! Ferries leave from Gulfport or Biloxi in the morning and return in the afternoon daily during the summer. They run only on specific days of the week in the fall and spring. Find the schedule on the  Ship Island Excursions  website.

By Brittany from She Goes With Purpose

Learn about Native American history at the Winterville Mounds

Greenville, Mississippi

Green mounds at the Winterville Mounds park

Photo courtesy of Sharon & Darrin from What the Saints Did Next

The Winterville Mounds Museum is a hidden gem of an attraction found at 2415 Highway 1 North, Greenville, Mississippi. We’d never heard of this aspect of Native American culture before. The mounds are manmade earthworks dating back to 1100-1350 AD and are the ancient ceremonial and burial sites of Native American tribes. The highest is nearly five storeys tall at 55ft.

It is believed they were platforms to build temples and homes of high ranking tribe members. When a chief died, the structures together with the chief’s body were burned and buried, and a new layer would be added and new structures built on top. The largest is made up of eight layers where archaeologists have discovered the remains of seven chiefs. Mississippi was home to a large number of indigenous tribes, but today the only native tribe that lives in the state is the Choctaw.

The Winterville grounds covers 42 acres and has 11 mounds, and the museum artifacts include a carved stone pipe and a dugout canoe recovered from the site. It’s quite fascinating and is an amazing place to visit.

See more about visiting the Winterville Mounds by Sharon & Darrin at What The Saints Did Next

North Carolina bucket list items

See where the wright brothers first took flight.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Field at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Photo by Toni from Enchanted Serendipity

North Carolina is the true hidden gem of the USA. Nestled along the east coast, it offers visitors a tranquil escape that many cannot match. One of the most famous – but still much underrated destinations is the Outer Banks region of the state, with towns including Cape Hatteras and Rodanthe drawing visitors in. Whether it is a recreation of a Nicholas Sparks romance you’re looking for, or a step back in time to a world before airline travel, this is one of the most scenic landscapes in America. But romance isn’t all this region is known for, with the town of Kitty Hawk, home to the Wright Brothers Memorial .

Who were the Wright brothers? Orville and Wilbur Wright who gave the world the invention of flight through their attempts to fly the first successful powered airplane flight in 1903. Showcasing the exact locations of the attempts and distances the brothers made during their first flights (there were 4 in total); this is the place to visit if you enjoy aviation history, or just want to stand somewhere historic. The best part about it is you likely arrived into North Carolina on a plane…and here you are standing where it all began! There is a visitor center, the flight line distance markers and the Wright Brothers Monument right here in Kitty Hawk for all to enjoy. For a bare piece of land, they have really made this into a worthwhile attraction.

Whatever your reasons, the Outer Banks is a true highlight within the United States. But if you make it to North Carolina? It is a must visit – even just for 1 night.

By Toni from Enchanted Serendipity

Tour the opulent Biltmore Estate

Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore estate over a body of water

Photo by Theresa from The Local Tourist

One of the most iconic images of Western North Carolina is the Biltmore Estate. It’s America’s largest home in the U.S., built by one of the wealthiest families in the country. After a visit to Asheville with his mother, George Vanderbilt fell in love with the area and the next year began construction on his 250-room mansion . After he passed away at only 51 years old, his wife sold thousands of acres to the Forest Service at bargain prices. Then, in 1930, his daughter and her husband opened the estate to the public in the hopes they could bring tourism to Asheville during the Great Depression.

Since then, the Biltmore Estate has added a winery, hotels, and there’s a village with restaurants and shopping. Visitors to the home take self-guided tours of this gorgeous mansion. From the enormous banquet hall with its 70-foot ceiling, to the pool and bowling alley in the basement, guests are astounded by the sheer opulence and extravagance. The gardens are also superlative, especially the orchids and other exotic plants in the greenhouse.

The Biltmore Estate is one of a kind, and it’s definitely a bucket list destination.

By Theresa from The Local Tourist

Check out this Biltmore package that includes lunch!

Explore the Outer Banks islands

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Grass on an island in the Outer Banks

Photo by Savannah from Savvy Dispatches

Affectionately known as “OBX” by long-time visitors and locals alike, the Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands along North Carolina’s Atlantic coast . Though most visitors to the area are there to spend time on the Outer Banks’ stunning Atlantic beaches, there is much more to do on the islands than just relaxing in the sand. Start your journey in the northern OBX and be sure to stop to see the small population of wild horses in Corolla. Visitors can even ride alongside Corolla’s horses in approved four-wheel drive vehicles. Heading south into the more tourist-heavy parts of the Banks, take a detour from Nags Head to the giant sand dune of Jockey’s Ridge. This seventy-foot high dune is the perfect place to spend an afternoon flying a kite or (for the more adventurous) go hang gliding. Next on your route, pop over to Manteo on Roanoke Island and be sure to grab a ticket to watch the Lost Colony play; one of America’s longest-running dramas. Continue south along the Banks towards Hatteras, where the islands narrow to nearly the entire width of the highway. Cinema fans may may recognize the incredibly photogenic stilt house from the film Nights in Rodanthe, which was moved from its original beachfront location to prevent it from being swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean. Your next stop should be Hatteras, where you can hop out at the National Park and view the classic black & white striped lighthouse. While Cape Hatteras is often considered the end of the Outer Banks, the Banks actually extend further southwest to the equally beautiful beaches of Emerald Isle.

By Savannah from Savvy Dispatches

Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Beginning in Cherokee, North Carolina

View of rolling mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you were a fan of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, which was part of my Mid-Atlantic Bucket List , you’ll love the Blue Ridge Parkway . It connects that National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and although about half of it runs through Virginia, some of the most scenic areas are in North Carolina. It begins at the edge of the Smoky Mountains in Cherokee and cuts through plenty of beautiful scenery.

Some of my favorite parts are in the Asheville area, which is also where you’ll find the newest visitor center as well as a folk art gallery. The stretch closest to Asheville offers panoramic views and great locations for watching sunset over the mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the Pisgah National Forest and right through land that made up the famous Biltmore Estate.

Check out this photo tour of the Parkway!

Take a ride on a natural water slide

Pisgah National Forest

Sliding Rock, a natural waterslide, in Pisgah National Forest

I found Sliding Rock while on a business trip to Asheville and knew I had to find a way to visit. It’s a gently sloping waterfall that flows over a smooth rock face and ends in an 8-foot deep pool at the bottom. Visitors can climb up and take a slide down the wide rock . I’ve been to plenty of manmade waterparks and never heard the kind of giggles coming from people plunging into the water.

There are lifeguards on duty during the day in the summer, though if you arrive after they leave you can slide for free at your own risk. I definitely wouldn’t attempt it after dark, but I rolled in about 5 minutes after they went off duty and had a blast with just a couple of other families in the area. You’ll want to wear a bathing suit and possibly a pair of old gym shorts since you are sliding on rock after all. Water shoes are also recommended because once you exit the deep pool at the bottom, the more shallow area of the creek is pretty rocky. Just beware: even in the summer, the water is pretty chilly, so you may be in for a shock the first time you land in the pool at the bottom. The parking lot is at 7841 Pisgah Highway, a few miles from the junction of Highway 64 and Highway 276. Check out some more waterfalls in the area on this tour leaving from Asheville.

Immerse yourself in the River Arts District

Paintings in the River Arts District

Photo by Heather from Trimm Travels

One of my favorite things to find when I visit other cities is street/mural art. I was happy to discover there was a lot of this on my recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina earlier this year. I was particularly excited to find there is an entire area called the River Arts District !

The River Arts District is comprised of over 200 artists’ (painters, jewelers, wood-makers, glass-blowers, ceramics, etc) studios and galleries housed in old industrial buildings that run parallel to the French Broad River. You can visit during opening hours to see the artists honing their craft or just drive around viewing the many outstanding murals on your own should you happen to visit while they are closed. We drove through on our own and found some of the best and most creative murals I have ever seen! However, I really want to return on a Saturday when most of the studios are open to properly tour the district and see the creative artists at work!

TIPS: For directions and other info, read the  River Arts District FAQs . Parking is free in the district. There are plenty of restaurants and microbreweries too! For more photos of the RAD or if you’re planning a trip to Asheville, check out my 15 Things to Do in Asheville, North Carolina: Something for Everyone!

See more things to do in Asheville by Heather at Trimm Travels

South Carolina bucket list items

Visit historic charleston and rainbow row.

Charleston, South Carolina

Brightly colored houses on Rainbow Row in Charleston

Photo by Patti from Luggage and Lipstick

There’s a reason why Charleston, South Carolina is frequently named as one of the “Top Cities” in the world. With an historic downtown spilling over with beautiful antebellum architecture, the shimmering blue Atlantic Ocean is always within a few blocks. And the gastronomy is unparalleled – from she-crab soup to shrimp and grits, to fried green tomatoes – it is said that you can eat in a different restaurant every night of the year – and each one will be just as good as the one before.

For a great afternoon at any time of year, head to the southern part of the Charleston peninsula. Hugging the tip of the peninsula, The Battery is an attractive seaside promenade popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists. There are 360-degree views, with the Atlantic on one side, and stately majestic mansions on the other. It’s the perfect place for a morning stroll, before the hordes of tourists arrive. Next, walk a few blocks north to the most Instagrammable spot in southern Charleston, Rainbow Row . The thirteen pastel-colored homes are lined up one-after-another, facing the ocean. It’s the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States and one of Charleston’s most photographed spots.

Also in the area is Waterfront Park, one of Charleston’s most visited public commons. The park offers fantastic views of the Charleston Harbor and displays the well-known Pineapple Fountain. The pineapple is accepted as a traditional expression of “welcome.” There are colorful gardens, walking paths and park benches in the park.

By Patti from Luggage & Lipstick

Pedal your way around Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Father and son standing by bikes on a beach on Hilton Head Island

Photo by Amanda from VeraVise Outdoor Living

South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island has been voted the “Best of the Best” by Conde Naste Traveler and Travel & Leisure on more than one occasion. It’s no wonder given that Hilton Head boasts 12 miles of pristine white sand beaches , world renowned golf courses, and some of the best low country Southern food in all of South Carolina. We have another reason why we think Hilton Head should definitely be on your Southeastern United States bucket list: the bike trails! Biking is one of our favorite activities when visiting HHI and with more than 60 miles of multi-use trails throughout the island, there are endless opportunities to enjoy on a bicycle. We typically start our morning with a lovely ride on the beach to our favorite cafe for breakfast, followed by a leisurely ride to take in the beauty of the Island’s homes and parks. We easily navigate our way around the Island on the paved trails and boardwalks. Finally, we end our time with a well-deserved ice cream or late afternoon snack.

While you are out, you can also ride into some of the resort areas such as Shelter Cove Marina or Seapines Plantation for some shopping, dining, and photo ops. Most local bike shops rent bikes for all ages and many will deliver the bikes directly to your hotel and pick them up at the end of your vacation. We park our car and never get it back out until it’s time to go home. Biking is definitely our top choice of transportation when visiting Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and if you want to get outside and enjoy the Island’s beauty beyond the beach we think it should be yours too!

For more information on visiting from Amanda, read Hilton Head Island Beach Getaway at VeraVise Outdoor Living.

You can also explore the island by hitting the water via kayak and stand up paddle board !

See where the first shots of the Civil War were fired

Aerial view of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith

In April 1861, Confederate troops fired the first shots of the Civil War when they began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor . After more than a day of shelling, the Union troops were forced to surrender the fort and left it in the hands of the Confederates, bringing the damaged American flag from Fort Sumter north with them. Eventually, the tattered flag returned to the fort and is now displayed as part of the museum. After the Civil War ended, the fort was in ruins, but was partially rebuilt, and also served as a lighthouse for a time. In response to the Spanish-American War, it was once again reinforced and manned, though it never saw action during that time period and was eventually decommissioned in 1947.

Modern day visitors can take a ferry ride out to the fort from Charleston Harbor. It’s a must-see for history buffs, and the on-site museum covers the history and construction of the fort itself. Back on the mainland, the visitor center houses a museum covering the causes of the Civil War. Nearby Fort Moultrie is also available for tours. Check out the official website to plan your visit. You can also find out more about the Civil War in Charleston on this tour .

Get lost in the relaxing Brookgreen Gardens

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Fountain and trees in Brookgreen Gardens

Photo by Heather from RaulersonGirlsTravel

When one comes to Myrtle Beach, you are inundated with souvenir shops, zip line activities, haunted houses and mini-golf courses on every corner. But, there is a quiet place that is less than 30 minutes away from all the craziness that is Myrtle Beach and that is Brookgreen Gardens . This 9,127-acre garden has several areas for you to explore such as the Sculpture Gardens, Low Country Rice Plantation, Low Country Zoo, and the Butterfly House. Brookgreen Gardens should definitely be on your bucket list to experience in the Southeastern US.

Since Brookgreen Garden is so extensive, don’t forget to pick up a map at the Welcome Center. Most of the hedges and shrubs are very tall and you will have to resort to looking at the map to navigate the garden. Walking through the hedges, you step into a serene, quiet garden with fountains in the center and giant Greek statues seeming to rise out of the water. If you go early in the day, you can explore the sculpture gardens without a lot of people intruding in your photos.

The path that leads through the Low Country is nicely laid out with stations for you to hear what it was like to work on the Brookgreen Plantation . This area can be very moving so be prepared. And the Low Country Zoo is filled with many animals that were rescued and the zoo takes care of them in their natural habitats. There is a definite non-zoo feel to this place.

If you are visiting Myrtle Beach for an extended time, I recommend purchasing your ticket to Brookgreen Gardens the first day you are there. Because that ticket is valid for seven days so, you can come back on your trip and spend more time in this magnificent garden.

By Heather from RaulersonGirlsTravel

Tennessee bucket list items

Visit great smoky mountains national park.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina

View of rolling mountains from Morton Overlook in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Ok, this park – the most visited National Park in the United States year after year – straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, but it had to go in one category so I picked Tennessee. The rolling mountains of this part of the Appalachians are dreamy and the natural fog that gives them their name adds a touch of mystery to them. They’re a hiker’s paradise , with miles and miles of trails and waterfalls, as well as a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Along those trails, you’ll find plenty of waterfalls like Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls.

If you’re more into driving than hiking, you can take a scenic drove along the Newfound Gap road that runs from Gatlinburg to Cherokee. Don’t miss the view of the Gap from the overlook right at the state lines. It’s the picture-perfect angle you’ll see on every postcard. The park’s tallest peak, Clingman’s Dome , also features an observation tower that gives you another spectacular view. The best, but most crowded, time of year to visit is during peak fall season when visitors line the roads in order to view Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also full of historic sites, as it includes cabins and farm buildings from people who occupied the land before it was turned into a National Park. You can even explore the area by helicopter for a bird’s eye view!

Listen to country greats at the Grand Ole Opry

Nashville, Tennessee

Photo of the Grand Ole Opry stage

Photo by Tim from Tunnocks World Tour

Sat in his parents ramshackle house, after a long day picking cotton, a young boy flicks on the wireless. As the music crackles through the tinny speakers, he sits and dreams of one day being able to play music half as good as the sounds coming to him from the Grand Ole Opry . The boy was Johnny Cash and he would go on to play at the Opry. In fact, he would meet his future wife there, and he’d get banned from the establishment too! All just a small fragment of the magnificent history of “ Country Music’s most famous stage .”

The Opry began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 and has since transformed into a magnificent live music experience. The evening is filled with many different artists performing short 3 or 4 song sets. The MC makes everyone feel incredibly welcome with small pockets of information and heart-warming anecdotes during the gaps in between. Only the best make it onto the Opry stage and the night I visited was no exception. I listened to music from many different genres, though most with at least a nod to Country, in an atmosphere that I’d describe  as like a big, friendly, family get-together.

The headliner, country music’s hottest star, Chris Janson, took the stage by storm. He lit the place on fire with his energy, humor and incredible music – check out ‘Take a Drunk Girl Home’ – it’s a fantastic track. And the whole evening was broadcast live on the radio, just as in 1925. I like to think there was a future Johnny Cash out there somewhere, listening to the Opry, escaping from his day-to-day life and dreaming of becoming a star.

By Tim from Tunnock’s World Tour  

Visit the National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis, Tennessee

Lorraine Motel sign at the National Civil Rights Museum

Photo by Bernadette from A Packed Life

If I can urge you to see one place on your travels in Memphis, this is it. Comprising a series of buildings including the Lorraine Motel itself, this is a powerful, compelling and profound encounter with our past, present, and steps to a more enlightened future. The walk through the museum starts with an account of the horrors of slavery, moving through the major landmarks of the civil rights movement. From Jim Crow to the lunch counter, and the bus riders, it’s all set out here.

By the time you’ve walked through the museum, if you are like me, you will be unprepared to arrive in the Lorraine Motel itself. Complete with a soft bedspread and coffee cups on the table, Dr. King’s motel room is such a contrast to the evil perpetrated outside. Your final stop is across the road for the history of the subsequent investigation. You find yourself, as if by accident, at the bathroom window where the shooter stood for Dr King’s assassination. It’s a deeply saddening moment. I was heartened to see the number of families making the visit, investing in understanding our past to contribute to a better future.

Find out more on the museum’s official website .

By Bernadette from A Packed Life

You can visit the museum and other attractions with the Memphis Heritage Pass .

Dance and dine on Broadway in Nashville

Country music clubs on Broadway Street in Nashville

Photo by Sarah from The Moment Mom

Few streets become a destination in and of themselves, but lower Broadway St in Nashville, TN has earned that designation. Also known as the Honky Tonk Highway, Broadway has a unique ability to condense historic Music City, never-ending live music, amazing food, and the down-home, friendly feel of this Southern town all into 4 blocks. It plays live music from one of its many venues literally all day, every day of the year (the party does officially stop at 3am). The music venues are often free, meaning you can spend a day here without spending a dime! It is the ultimate destination for day-drinking, hosting groups on pedal taverns, old converted school buses, and, yes, even tractors while they cruise the street. If cruising isn’t your thing, you can enjoy a meal and a beverage from one of the many balconies overlooking the street. Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan and Kid Rock claim coveted spots on the strip for their own joints. One “must-see” includes Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge, painted bright purple against the Nashville Sky. It served as a starting point for many country-stars, and with 3 levels and 4 stages, the fun and party never stop here! The food scene in Nashville is also a must. You can enjoy amazing barbeque from Jack’s Barb-B-Que, a nice sit-down at Merchants, or some delicious street-food dishes at Acme Feed & Seed. So, get on your cowboy boots, bring your friends, and enjoy an awesome time on this stretch of street in the heart of downtown Nashville, TN!

By Sarah from The Moment Mom  

See Elvis’ Graceland estate

Jungle Room at Elvis' Graceland mansion

The famous Jungle Room

I grew up listening to Elvis music thanks to my classic rock fan parents, so I was always weirdly obsessed with visiting Graceland . Elvis’ family mansion appears much as it did when The King himself was alive, and visitors are able to tour the basement and first floor. I thought it was sweet that his daughter, Lisa Marie, still celebrates holidays at the house with her family. During the tour you can see the famous Jungle Room and visit the kitchen and basement with its giant couch.

Other exhibits revolve around Elvis’ performing years. Several of his iconic jumpsuits are on display in all of their sparkly glory. There’s also another gallery full of his many accolades. I thought it was cool to see the record for “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which is a song I’ve always loved. The last stop on the tour was his gravesite, as his body was moved from its original burial spot after an attempt to steal it. Lots of visitors leave flowers and other mementos at the site.

You can book a tour here !

Take a cruise on a Mississippi river boat

Island Queen riverboat in Memphis

When your ears have enjoyed so much of what Memphis has to offer, then it’s time to see the city from a different perspective. You can enjoy the beauty of the mighty Mississippi on a river trip from the Beale Street landing, a short walk from downtown. We took the Island Queen from Memphis Riverboats . She’s a tall, elegant vessel, with plenty of room to see the sights from open or closed decks. Plus she has the obligatory paddlewheel, making her a truly traditional riverboat.

We took a sightseeing cruise, but there are plenty of opportunities for longer voyages too. As you would expect on this kind of trip, you learn lots about the history of the city, delivered in an engaging and entertaining way. There were some amusing references to the relationship between Tennessee and Arkansas, and its effect on the partially ornate (guess which half) road bridge between the two. It’s a charming way to enjoy legendary Southern hospitality, and to get new insights into the marvelous city of Memphis.

See more about visiting Memphis by Bernadette at A Packed Life

Book a ride here!

Did we miss anything that should be on this bucket list of amazing things to do in the Southeast? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re looking for incredible places to visit in other areas of the US, check out these regional bucket list guides:

  • The Ultimate New England Bucket List
  • See the Best of the Midwest with this Ultimate Bucket List
  • The Ultimate Mid-Atlantic Bucket List

Don’t forget to save this post full of things to do in the Southeast for later on Pinterest.

Photo collage of things to do in the Southeast United States with text overlay

Wow that’s an very impressive list, we spent 6 weeks in the USA last Christmas however we didn’t make to the Southeast of the country. I would still like to return and do it one day soon. I’ll be pinning this post for when we do make it back there. America is an amazing place, so much to do and see, I think I could almost spend a year there and still not see everything I want to see.

I’m headed down there next week and can’t wait to start checking some more Southeast adventures off my list! Thanks for including me =D

This is an epic list!! As someone from Georgia who has also lived in Louisiana (and been around a bit!) I’ve done several, but not NEARLY all of these things! This has definitely given me some goals 🙂 Thanks!

There’s so much to explore and so many things to do while paying a visit to the US. The list that you have shared is really interesting and helpful. One must explore the Southeast side of the country too!

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Seattle's Top 25 Things to Do

We dare you to do them all.

In no way is this a comprehensive list of all the incredible experiences to be had in Seattle, but it’s a start. Let’s go!

SEATTLE CENTER

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Space Needle

Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the 605-foot-tall Space Needle quickly became an icon of the city that today is recognized far and wide. On the observation level, which you can reach via a 43-second elevator ride, see the doodle-on-a-napkin concept that led to the Space Needle design. Views from the top feature Elliott Bay, the Cascade Mountains, and even Mount Rainier.

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Seattle Center Monorail

Another World’s Fair relic, the Seattle Center Monorail links Seattle Center—home of the Space Needle and several other notable attractions—to downtown’s Westlake Center along an approximately one-mile route. The designated historic landmark can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour and weaves between skyscrapers above the city streets.

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Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Music, science fiction, and pop culture all come together at the fascinating Museum of Pop Culture . The Frank Gehry-designed building looks like a smashed guitar from above, while inside, its colorful exhibits cover everything from the history of indie video games and horror films to Nirvana, the Seahawks, and more.

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Pacific Science Center

This family-friendly museum is where science lessons come to life. At Pacific Science Center , explore galaxies near and far in the planetarium, get up close and personal with colorful creatures in the Tropical Butterfly House, maneuver a two-ton granite ball, find out what it means if you can roll your tongue, and much more.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is dedicated to the work and career of locally born, world-renowned glassblower Dale Chihuly, who was introduced to the craft while studying at the University of Washington. It is the most comprehensive collection of his art to date, with interior galleries featuring a variety of his work in the medium. The pièce de résistance is the glasshouse, with a vibrant 100-foot-long sculpture in hues of red, orange, and yellow suspended from the ceiling.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet

Among the top echelon of dance companies in the world, Pacific Northwest Ballet performs a variety of classical and modern shows in Seattle Center’s beautiful McCaw Hall. Under the creative direction of renowned dancer Peter Boal, Pacific Northwest Ballet offers transformative performances that are sure to impress. Don’t miss its recently revamped version of The Nutcracker , an annual holiday tradition.

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE

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Pike Place Market

From the iconic market sign and Rachel the Piggy Bank to the gum wall, the original Starbucks cafe, well over 225 local artisans selling their wares, the famous fish-tossing tradition, and music-playing street performers, there are enough sights and sounds at Pike Place Market to pack a day (or more). The market added its historic MarketFront expansion in 2017, featuring an open-air plaza and fantastic views of Elliott Bay.

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Seattle Art Museum – three ways

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is the city’s largest museum dating back to the 1930s and housing a varied collection of artwork that spans multiple eras and geographic regions. Take the time to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park , an outdoor extension of the museum that’s open to the public for free about a mile away at the waterfront. And don’t miss exploring SAM’s Asian art collection at the Seattle Asian Art Museum , located just east of downtown in Capitol Hill.

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Central Public Library

You’ve never seen a library quite like this— Seattle Central Library ’s architecturally distinct structure boasts enough glass to cover more than five football stadiums. Head to the 10th floor for a light-filled reading room with peekaboo views of Elliott Bay, or take a self-guided cell phone tour by dialing 206-868-8564*.

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Smith Tower

Visit the city’s first skyscraper, built in 1914, and ride the historic, manually operated elevators to the 35th-floor observatory, where 360-degree views await. Displays tell the tale of characters who made Smith Tower what it is today, while the tower’s Prohibition-themed Temperance bar serves themed cocktails.

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Seattle Aquarium

Down at the Seattle Aquarium on the waterfront’s Pier 59, learn all about salmon, meet a few adorable sea otters, and greet the various sea creatures of the Pacific Ocean, from puffers to giant clams. Watch scuba divers feed the fish, gawk at sharks swimming overhead in the underwater dome, and even touch a sea anemone.

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Washington State Ferries

A ride across Puget Sound aboard one of 22 Washington State Ferries vessels is a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience. Enjoy the breathtaking views from the bow of the boat as you cruise to the nearby communities of Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. This is one of those cases where the journey is as much fun as the destination.

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Seattle Great Wheel

Although it was only built in 2012, the Seattle Great Wheel has quickly become a fixture of the city’s skyline—plus it adds an entirely new sightseeing perspective, thanks to its location perched on the end of Pier 57. Enjoy three revolutions around in one of the air-conditioned gondolas to see the city, water, and mountains on the horizon.

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Museum of Flight

Aviation buffs, take note: The Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space collections in the country, with an overwhelming number of things to see—like a Boeing lunar rover and an Air Force One from the Eisenhower era—and do, including NASA space shuttle trainer tours and flight simulators.

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Woodinville Wine Country

Western Washington’s wine outpost is in Woodinville, a charming town just a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle. There are more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms pouring there (including Chateau Ste. Michelle , the state’s first winery), ensuring something for every palate.

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Boeing Future of Flight

Boeing Future of Flight is one of Washington state’s premier aerospace attraction and experiences, 25 miles north of downtown Seattle. It is located in Mukilteo at Paine Field. Guests are welcome for the Gallery, Sky Deck, and Boeing Store.

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T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field

Cheer on the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park , one of baseball’s prettiest ballparks (with gourmet food, to boot!), or root for the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC at neighboring Lumen Field , known for its boisterous atmosphere. Both stadiums offer behind-the-scenes tours during the offseason and when the teams are away.

a light blue viewfinder points in the direction of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle prominently front and center.

This picturesque Queen Anne spot looks down at the Seattle skyline from the north. It’s the ideal place to get the quintessential view of the city, featuring the Space Needle, Elliott Bay, downtown skyscrapers, and (on clear days) Mount Rainier.

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Pioneer Square

Seattle’s original downtown is full of beautiful old buildings in Romanesque Revival style, underground tours that take you beneath the streets to see the remains of the city’s first buildings, and an ever-growing slate of hip shops and restaurants. Take an afternoon or more to explore Pioneer Square ‘s ivy-covered buildings and pop into bars, boutiques, and hidden gems, like Waterfall Garden Park .

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Chinatown-International District

The ornate Chinatown Gate welcomes you to this diverse neighborhood, where the food scene is incredible. After eating your fill of everything from pho to sushi, visit Wing Luke Museum , dedicated to the Asian Pacific American experience; practice your pinball game at the Seattle Pinball Museum ; and shop for Japanese snacks and cute gifts at the Uwajimaya supermarket.

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Ballard Locks

In Lake Washington’s Ship Canal sits the century-old Ballard Locks , where you can watch the water levels rise and lower to create a “boat elevator” for boats and even kayaks passing between freshwater lakes and the salt water of Puget Sound. The on-site botanical garden and fish ladder are also worth a visit.

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South Lake Union

The always bustling Lake Union, located just northeast of downtown, hosts a variety of seaplanes and boats of all kinds, including the floating home from Sleepless in Seattle . Get out on the water at The Center for Wooden Boats , which offers rentals and tours. And explore the area’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene.

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Kenmore Air

If you want to get a better look at the city, the views from Kenmore Air ’s Seattle Scenic Seaplane Tour are unbeatable. Board the floatplane at Lake Union for an exhilarating takeoff, leisure flight, and gentle landing back on the water.

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Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)

Known as MOHAI , this museum on the shores of Lake Union encapsulates what Seattle is all about, with a dash of smart history, a dose of technology, and quirky artifacts around every corner (think a pink truck with toes). Permanent exhibits showcase everything from the city’s maritime history to modern tech innovations.

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Starbucks Reserve Roastery

You won’t have trouble finding a Starbucks here in the company’s hometown, but you’ll want to seek out this special Starbucks experience on Capitol Hill. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a Willy Wonka–esque coffee wonderland, where you’ll find exclusive beverages, various brewing methods, a coffee library, and more.

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Welcome to Stockholm

Preamble : An open city for different perspectives and new ideas. A vibrant destination where innovations in music, design, fashion and technology are born. A place for you.

Stockholm, where creativity thrives

Stockholm is a modern hub for tech, fashion, music, film, design, gaming, and food. A city offering exciting flavors and unique experiences.

What's on in Stockholm this season

Categories : Activities

Sunny open-air restaurants

Categories : Restaurants

How the Stockholm lifestyle can boosts your career

Categories : Your life in Stockholm

Local in Stockholm

What's up in Stockholm?

The dream festival, magnificent product, nelly furtado, elitloppet trotting race, ankoku international performance festival, the stockholm's museum of women's history's birthday party, hi, want to get to know the locals.

Find your way off the beaten path with personal guides and tips from the people living here.

Isabel Samolov

" I love having everything in Råsunda: nature, suburban houses, large residential areas, and commercial areas. "

Ben Robertson

" Stockholm isn't just a place to live well, it's a place to make a good life "

Sofia Barré

" My bike is my enabler. It takes me everywhere I need to go "

Shaena Harrison

" I love connecting people. "

Magnus Engvall

" I'm a sun and light junkie "

Nadya Gruner

" Sprinkle life with extra everything "

Lindsey LaMont

" Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart. "

Pehr and Richard Hante

" Watching Stockholm slowly wake up is a marvelous way to start your day. "

Lillie Klefelt

" Being able to easily get around Stockholm and enjoying the wonderful surroundings is just magic "

Alexander Eldblom Stefanidis

" I love Stockholm's open spaces and all its urban nature. "

Nataša Marijana

" The best thing about Stockholm nightlife is its mix of different people and styles of music. "

Innocent Mugenga

" I love collaborating on new ideas in a city that embraces innovation. "

Clara Nazhadeian

" I'd rather stand on a stage than sit in front of it "

Saadia Hussain

" Art is a human right. "

Jiasi Maciel

" I'm a friend of the night. "

Amani Othman

" As a lover of coffee I'm in the right place. "

Nick Harinos

" Stockholm is at the heart of innovation and progress. Dive in and absorb it! "

Lech Ignatowicz

" I get to enjoy a lot more time with my daughter than I would have been able to elsewhere. "
" Stockholm offers great work-life balance "

Ingegerd Wallén

" I'm forever the student "

Sophie Miskiw

" Stockholm is a great place to be your own boss. "

Rachael Dixon

" Stepping out of your comfort zone to make contacts, professionally and privately is the key to enjoying life in this incredible city. "

Samantha Govender

" It never takes long to find a lake or forest "

Tomas Spragg Nilsson

" Embrace Stockholm's nature and fika. "

Anna Blyablina

" Thirst for knowledge "

Alan Koliji

" Be passionate for change "

20 things I wish I’d known before moving to Stockholm

Samantha Govender, a Stockholmer originally from South Africa, shares 20 things she wished she’d known before moving to Stockholm nearly nine years ago.

Have an eventful stay

Stockholm is bursting at the seams with great events. New concerts, exhibitions, festivals, shows, and guided tours every day mean that there's always something to explore.

Exhibitions in Stockholm right now

Categories : Tourist attractions

Festival Summer

Categories : Bars & Nightlife

Upcoming concerts and music festivals

A diversity in great cuisine, the best brunch in stockholm, classic restaurants in stockholm, michelin restaurants in stockholm, delicious events in stockholm, traditional swedish food in stockholm, 14 great restaurants in the suburbs, a guide to the best burgers in town, 16 great lunches in stockholm, looking for more.

Photo: Linus Bergman/Visit Sweden

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Sweden's Experience Guide

Get inspiration for new experiences in Sweden

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Home » Travel Guides » Sweden » 25 Best Things to Do in Stockholm (Sweden)

25 Best Things to Do in Stockholm (Sweden)

The capital of Sweden is a cosmopolitan city with a tangled old town, stylish young districts, a dynamic city centre. Spread across 14 islands on Lake Mälaren, Stockholm’s very environment encourages you to rove and see where you’ll end up. There are around 50 bridges in the centre alone, while ferries are a fun way to get about.

When it comes to fashion, design and music Stockholm is well ahead of the curve, and many of the coolest places to shop and go out are on the island of Södermalm south of the centre. The lion’s share of the museums and family days out are on Djurgården, a wooded island where the city goes for rest, culture and fun.

Let’s explore the best thing to do in Stockholm :

1. Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

Begin by going back to Stockholm’s roots at one of Europe’s great medieval centres, spread over three islands.

You’ll be in the midst of a true Hanseatic trading city, where gabled shops and warehouses are painted various shades of gold.

These now host all manner of restaurants, many garnering international awards, as well as museums, studios, bijou boutiques, cafes and bars.

On the eastern side of the old town there’s a long sequence of parallel cobblestone lanes leading in from the water and dipping under passageways.

Come here to squeeze through Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, an alley that tapers to just 90 centimetres across.

Skansen

The visionary teacher and academic Artur Hazelius founded what was the first ever open-air museum in the world on Royal Djurgården in 1891. The idea was to show future generations what life was like in Sweden before the Industrial Age, and it has been borrowed by hundreds of museums around the world.

More than a century Skansen it’s still the best museum in its class, in 30 hectares and with a large cast recreating rural scenes from all over Sweden down to the finest detail.

A Sami camp from the Arctic circle, a farm from the remote western Härjedalen province and a open-air zoo with wolves, lynxes, otters, grey seals, reindeer and moose are a few of the attractions.

Book online : Skansen Open-Air Museum Admission Ticket

3. Vasa Museum

Vasa Museum

An awesome relic from the 17th-century reign of the all-conquering King Gustavus Adolphus has been revived at this museum the west shore of Djurgården.

The Vasa was a 64-gun warship that went down on its first voyage in 1628. It remained in the deep until 1961 when it was lifted to the surface and slowly and painstakingly restored.

The vessel has almost all of its original material and is the only 17th-century ship of this scale to make it to the present day.

And with the ship came a payload of artefacts that tell us what it was like to sail on the Vasa.

These are in ten exhibition rooms, and there’s a multilingual movie about the ship and its resurrection.

Get tickets : Vasa Museum Entrance Ticket

4. Modern Art Museum

Modern Art Museum, Stockholm

On the island of Skeppsholmen at the Baltic Sea entrance to the city is the pick of Stockholm’s superb institutions for modern and contemporary art.

The museum started out in the 1950s in a former military building before moving into this Rafael Moneo-designed edifice at the end of the 90s.

Some of the names that even casual dabblers will know are Picasso, Marcel Duschamp, Henri Matisse and Salvador Dalí.

People also come especially for the museum’s restaurant, which looks over to Djurgården.

There’s also a sculpture with works by Picasso, Dan Graham and Alexaner Calder.

5. The Medieval Museum

Stockholm Medieval Museum

In the 1970s during the construction of an underground car park builders happened upon some of Stockholm’s medieval city walls.

This is under the Norrbro bridge and measures 55 metres, and is now one of the showpieces of the city’s medieval museum.

Here you can track the history of the city from its foundation in the 13th century to the 16th century at the end of the medieval period.

Kids can dress up in armour, while other pieces of old Stockholm that came to light in the dig are part of the fun, like a 16th-century warship and a medieval graveyard.

These mingle with recreated houses, taverns and workshops.

6. Junibacken

Junibacken

Based on the stories of children’s author Astrid Lindgren, Junibacken is a theme park aimed at young readers.

Lindgren’s contribution to literature is indisputable and is still one of the world’s 20 most translated writers.

Her most beloved character is Pippi Longstocking, whose house, Villa Villekulla, is the final destination of a whimsical train ride through the park.

The park is designed to kindle children’s natural curiosity and abounds with niches, tunnels and miniature houses to adventure through.

Junibacken also has the largest children’s bookshop in the country, and Storybook Square is a kind of hall of fame for Sweden’s long lineup of renowned children’s authors like Elsa Beskow and Sven Nordqvist.

7. Swedish History Museum

Swedish History Museum

The Swedish History Museum is anchored in the art collection of the 16th-century King Gustav Vasa, which grew with subsequent monarchs as the Empire expanded.

Now you’ll get a full chronology of Swedish history from Prehistory to the present day, with special attention on the exploits of the Vikings.

The Gold Room is literally brilliant, with more than 3,000 objects across 3,500 years of Swedish history.

Unforgettable here are the gold collars from 300-500 made from melted down Roman gold coins.

The Viking collection is as rich as you’d hope, and has artefacts from the trading post at Birka and the Mästermyr tool chest.

8. Royal Palace

Royal Palace, Stockholm

With more than 600 rooms Stockholm’s Royal Palace is up there with the largest palaces in Europe.

There are five museums in this mostly 18th-century complex, which isn’t just a historical relic: The King of Sweden still lives here, most royal events and receptions happen at the palace and all the various departments associated with the royal family operate in these plush environs.

Just a brief run-down of the must-sees includes the reception rooms, the royal apartments, the Rikssalen (Hall of State) and the Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry). Of the five museums, the Treasury is predictably lavish and Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities has ancient Greek and Roman sculptures bought by the king during his trip to Italy in 1783-84.

Full day trip : 1-day Royal Palace and Castle Tour from Stockholm

9. Fotografiska

Fotografiska, Stockholm

By the water on Södermalm is one of the world’s top photography galleries.

The location is the old wharf at Stadsgården, and the attraction is in a repurposed customs building.

There are four high-profile exhibitions staged at Fotografiska per year, along with 20 smaller shows, so no two visits will ever be the same.

Just by way of intro, some of the photographers featured here recently are greats like Robert Mapplethorpe, Guy Bourdin, Irving Penn, and Akseli Vamunen (Young Nordic Photographer of the Year in 2016). The gallery’s restaurant is highly regarded and has started picking up awards, while you can contemplate Djurgården from a table at the top floor cafe.

Book online : Fotografiska Entrance Ticket

10. The City Hall

City Hall, Stockholm

One of the buildings that makes Stockholm, well, Stockholm is the City Hall, unmistakeable for its 106-metre tower and spire.

Composed of eight million bricks it’s the perfect expression of the Nordic National Romantic style and was inaugurated in June 1923 400 years to the day after Gustav Vasa’s arrival in the city.

The dimensions of the spaces inside are spellbinding, most of all the Blue Hall where the Nobel Banquet is held every December.

After dinner, there’s a dance in the Golden Hall, which is adorned with 18 million gold mosaic tiles.

An integral part of any visit is scaling the tower and gazing over Stockholm.

Recommended tour : Guided City Hall Tour

11. Strandvägen

Strandvägen

Beside the water on Östermalm is one of the most exclusive addresses in the city: A boulevard and esplanade with views to Gamla Stan and Skeppsholmen, and tying Djurgården to the centre of the city.

Strandvägen was plotted in the late 19th century and completed in 1897 for the Stockholm World’s Fair.

The long row of palatial apartment buildings is in the Revivalist style, epitomised by Isak Gustaf Clason’s Bünsow Building, which looks like a Loire Valley chateau.

Stockholm’s tour boats and water taxis converge on Strandvägen, and the esplanade has scores of cafes and bars for a quick refreshment before carrying on your way.

Related tour : Stockholm Archipelago Cruise with Guide

12. Prins Eugen Waldemarsudde

Prins Eugen Waldemarsudde

There’s a snapshot of turn-of-the-century royal life at Prince Eugen’s estate on Djurgården.

Eugen was a man of leisure who threw himself into the art world.

He was a prominent collector and patron, and in his youth studied fine art in Paris.

Eugen’s collection, as well as his own landscape paintings, decorate his Art Nouveau house on an estate with buildings going back to the 18th century.

This is all on a small peninsula enveloped in mature oak woodland, facing the canal that links Stockholm to the Baltic and with the city’s skyline in the background.

The estate’s flower garden is a joy in early summer, and there’s also a sculpture garden with works by the likes of Auguste Rodin.

13. ABBA: The Museum

ABBA Museum, Stockholm

Whatever your opinion of Sweden’s biggest pop act there’s no getting away from their cultural impact.

More than three decades after they split up their music still pops up in movies, TV shows and of course their record-breaking musical Mamma Mia.

The museum brims with ABBA memorabilia and clever touches that fans will be wild for.

One is Benny Andersson’s piano, which is connected remotely to the piano in his house and plays whatever he’s playing at home.

There’s also a phone, Ring Ring, that only the four ABBA members know the number to.

At the immersive “Waterloo” exhibit you can step back to 1974 and relive the Eurovision Song Contest that ABBA won with “Waterloo”, to kick-start their career.

Tickets available online : ABBA The Museum – Walk In, Dance Out

14. Gröna Lund

Gröna Lund

Djurgården is also the scene for Sweden’s oldest amusement park, and although Gröna Lund first opened in 1883 it is very much up to date.

New roller coasters are unveiled every few years, like the state-of-art “Insane” on which you’ll spend half the ride upside down.

Another, “Eclipse” is a swing ride more than 120 metres in height.

Away from the white-knuckle rides the littler visitors will have the time of their lives on tea cups, carousels, bumper cars and romping through fun houses.

There are concerts in the park all summer, and Paul McCartney, Bob Marley and ABBA are a few of the big names to have played here.

15. Monteliusvägen

visit to se

Before or after a trip to Fotografista, mosey across to the wood and cobblestone path above the north coast of Södermalm.

In a city that has a replete with scenic views, this may be the finest of them all: You’ll get your best shots of the City Hall and Gamla Stan from this 500-metre trail, and the light at sunrise and sunset is dreamy.

Over Lake Mälaren you’ll watch the big ships hoving into view and the smaller launches darting back and forth.

There’s also an old-time feel about this residential neighbourhood, and lots of places close by to grab a cold drink in summer or warm up with “fika” in winter.

16. Nordic Museum

Nordic Museum, Stockholm

Artur Hazelius, founder of the Skansen Museum, also conceived this ethnographical attraction a few moments away on Djurgården.

The Nordic Museum spells out the cultural history of Sweden from about the 16th century onwards, showcasing its traditional costume and textiles, ceramics, jewellery, furniture and folk art.

You can also get a handle on the Sami, Sweden’s only indigenous culture, and dip into their history, beliefs and way of life.

Isak Gustaf Clason was hired to design the building and came up with an extraordinary Neo-Renaissance palace that was finished in 1907 after a 19-year construction and would be worth the visit alone.

17. Stortorget

Stortorget, Stockholm

A mandatory stop in Gamla Stan is the oldest square in the city at the highest point of the island.

Stockholm’s expansion in the High Middle Ages began at this very point, and you can be sure that Stortorget has seen some drama in its time.

One was the Stockholm Bloodbath of 1520 when up to 90 people were executed in the square by Danish forces.

The cannonball in the wall at the corner where Skomakargatan joins the square is said to go back to this time.

Stortorget’s beauty is in its gabled houses from the 1600s and 1700s, and the Christmas market in December when treats like ginger snaps (pepparkakor) and mulled wine (glögg) bring plenty of cheer.

Included in : Sightseeing Tour by Segway

18. Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm

One of Sweden’s three World Heritage Sites is on the western outskirts of Stockholm.

Drottningholm is in the French style and was conceived in 17th century.

Refinements were made over the next few hundred years when each successive monarch left his or her own mark on the palace.

There are opulent salons from the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s, but one of the remarkable details is the Palace Theatre, which dates to the 1700s and continues to stage performances to this day, unchanged.

The Chinese Pavilion, finished in 1769, is another marvel in an oriental-infused Rococo style and with interiors enriched with decorative works like porcelain and lacquered furniture gathered by the Swedish East India Company in the 18th century.

19. Södermalm

Södermalm, Sweden

We’ve already taken in the scenery and visited Fotografiska, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg on this island south of the centre.

Södermalm, where Greta Garbo grew up, has a few ultra-cool neighbourhoods with quirky shops and interesting places to go out.

Try SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) for one-of-a-kind designer boutiques, vintage shops and hip restaurants and cafes.

Nytorget Square here is a fun night out in summer.

The same goes for Mosebacke, which had a bohemian reputation for as long as anyone can remember, and is just the place to go for designer shopping, live music and a craft beer or coffee.

The sight of Stockholm from the terrace of the Södra Teatern is not to be missed.

20. Canal Trip

Stockholm Canal Cruise

So much of Stockholm’s charm lies in its waterways that you’d be remiss not to see the city from the water.

You could even say it’s the first thing to do in the city, as you’ll get your bearings and see the parts you’d like to explore deeper later on.

A favourite trip is to head east on the Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen, a canal on the side of Djurgården.

This was dug during the reign of Charles XIV in 1825. On the way out there are lush views of palaces and gardens, and as you loop back you’ll see the city in all its majesty.

You could also take a bridges, which takes around two hours if you want to dig a bit deeper.

21. Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum

In the 1890s the aristocratic couple Walther von Hallwyl and his wife Wilhelmina ordered this mansion in the centre of Stockholm facing Berzelii Park.

The architect was Isak Gustaf Clason, responsible for many regal properties around the city like the Nordic Museum.

Hallywyl House is in a faithful Italian Renaissance style and while it might seem historic, the palace was advanced for its day and had phones, plumbing, central heating and electricity.

The countess in particular was a prodigious art collector, and even ten years before she passed away the palace had been donated to the state because of its profusion of fine art, furniture, silver, tableware and expertly crafted fittings.

The drawing room, dining room and billiard room are all very swish, while the courtyard puts on concerts in summer.

22. Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library

A bibliophile’s idea of heaven, the central building for the Stockholm Public Library is one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, and changed the city’s relationship with books when it opened in 1928. That’s down to the monumental rotunda at the top of the building.

This is a gigantic hall encircled with bookshelves, and for the first time readers could seek out the book they needed by themselves without having to consult the librarians.

Gunnar Asplund designed the library, and it’s held as a shining example of the Swedish Classicist movement.

There’s no fee to enter, and many of the titles are in English if you’re in need of a quiet, rainy day activity.

23. Norrmalm

Norrmalm, Stockholm

If you’re young and fashion-conscious Stockholm’s revitalised city centre has all the chain stores, malls and old-school department stores to stay on point.

This area of Stockholm, also known simply as “City”, had an iffy reputation up to the 90s when it was brightened up and made pedestrian-friendly.

Now it’s a shopper’s paradise where there are flagships stores for international brands all along Drottninggatan, which is heaving on weekends.

Meanwhile Åhléns and the upmarket Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) are thriving Swedish institutions that have been here for more than a century.

24. Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården

Behind the Royal Palace is a park that has something happening in all seasons.

But Kungsträdgården is never more beautiful than in April when its twin avenues of cherry trees are in bloom.

Thousands of people show up for Körsbärsblommans Dag (Cherry Blossom Day) in this month for a walk under those pink canopies.

In winter there’s a skating rink in the part of the park known as the oktogonen (octagon), while if you pass by in summer you’re sure to catch some temporary installation or festival.

And if you just have time to kill you could catch a game of street chess.

25. Go for Fika

Fika

If you’re new to the country then Fika is the easiest part of Swedish culture to pick up.

It’s essentially a coffee break, with no set time but is always a social occasion.

People at work “fika” (it’s a verb as well as a noun) to chat for a few minutes over coffee and a snack.

The partner for your cup of coffee can be anything from cookies to an open sandwich (smörgås). But the tried and trusted option is probably cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) or if you want to be a bit more indulgent, a slice of apple cake (äppelkaka).

25 Best Things to Do in Stockholm (Sweden):

  • Vasa Museum
  • Modern Art Museum
  • The Medieval Museum
  • Swedish History Museum
  • Royal Palace
  • Fotografiska
  • The City Hall
  • Strandvägen
  • Prins Eugen Waldemarsudde
  • ABBA: The Museum
  • Monteliusvägen
  • Nordic Museum
  • Drottningholm Palace
  • Hallwyl Museum
  • Stockholm Public Library
  • Kungsträdgården
  • Go for Fika

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15 Things to See & Do in Stockholm

Discover one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval centres, enormous palaces, and an array of stunning museums – all spread out over 14 gorgeous islands. Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden’s enthralling, elegant capital.

Whether you’re here for a Swedish honeymoon , city break, or Scandinavian road trip, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Stockholm. It’s a calm and charming capital city that boasts a surprising mix of cultural sights, outdoor fun, and fabulous cuisine.

To get inspired, read on to explore 15 of the best things to see and do in Stockholm.

1. Marvel at the beautiful Gamla Stan

On a visit to Stockholm, you’ll likely head to the city centre first. That’s Gamla Stan, the enchanting Old Town. With its pristine cobbled streets and colourful buildings, you’re sure to fall completely in love.

Colourful buildings in Gamla Stan, Stockholm

The bustling Stortorget square is one highlight of this fairy-tale district, perfectly placed to stop for a drink or just to watch people pass. Explore the attractive pedestrianised roads beyond the main square and you’ll find a rich array of delightful bars, cafés, and shops – plus so much more too.

Of course, Gamla Stan hosts many of Stockholm’s top tourist attractions as well, including the Royal Palace and the Stockholm Cathedral.

  • Explore Stockholm on one of these top Swedish vacation packages

2. Discover world-class museums at Djurgården

Of Stockholm’s islands, one of the most popular to visit is Djurgården. It makes up a large part of the Royal National City Park, where local Stockholmers go to relax among the abundant forests and meadows.

For visitors to the city, the biggest draw to Djurgården is the island’s incredible array of museums. There’s really something for everyone.

Fall in Djurgarden, Stockholm

ABBA the Museum, for example, tells the story of the career of Sweden’s greatest musical export. Here, you’ll get the chance to dress like ABBA, sing along, and write music yourself.

Alternatively, the Nordic Museum takes you further back in time, to the very origins of Swedish history. Or there’s Skansen, an open-air museum that shares exhibits on Sweden’s traditional people and ways of life.

Don’t miss the Vasa Museum, one of the most visited museums in all of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden). It’s home to the world’s only preserved 17th-century boat, that sank in Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage back in 1628. It’s an impressive, tangible part of history.

  • Related: Top cities and towns in Sweden to visit

3. Explore Stockholm’s waterways

You may have heard people refer to the Swedish capital as the “Venice of the North”, thanks to its many waterways and splendid early modern architecture. Yet the similarities end there, and the city’s nickname doesn’t really do justice to Stockholm’s relationship with the water that surrounds it.

A pretty green island in the Stockholm archipelago

The whole Stockholm archipelago spreads across 80 kilometres (50 miles) and over 30,000 islands, divided by channels you can explore by boat. These range from the tiniest uninhabited islets to well-developed and bustling holiday resorts.

No visit to the city would be complete without taking to the water. In fact, it could be one of the most romantic things to do in Stockholm.

4. Take a dip in Lake Mälaren

Continuing your journey on Stockholm’s waters, why not visit Lake Mälaren, Sweden’s third-largest freshwater lake? Its easternmost bays are on the outskirts of the city and easily accessed from the centre.

If the city’s waters tempt you to a swim, Lake Mälaren is the best place to do it. In the summer, you’ll be in plenty of company. In fact, Stockholmers have been swimming here for centuries and the city’s warm summers make a dip a very attractive idea.

If not, Lake Mälaren also offers the opportunity for wildlife walks and scenic views. It’s definitely worth the trip out of town.

  • Head to Stockholm during the warmest months of the year on a Sweden summer tour

The Royal Palace in Stockholm

5. Get lost in the vast Royal Palace

Back on dry land, one of the most fascinating ways to spend a day in Stockholm is in Gamla Stan’s Royal Palace. While still the official residence of the Swedish royal family, this 18th-century building is one of Stockholm’s most visited sights.

The Royal Palace is also among Europe’s largest palaces, boasting over 600 rooms. But the King of Sweden still works here today, so you won’t be able to visit them all yourself.

Nonetheless, the Palace offers an amazing amount to see and do. The Royal Apartments, for example, give you a glimpse into the real life of Scandinavian royalty. And the Museum of Antiquities is renowned for its collection of 17th-century Italian sculpture.

  • Discover more palaces and castles on these  Scandinavian royalty tours

6. Join the fun at Gröna Lund amusement park

We said that the island of Djurgården has something for everyone. For families on holiday in Sweden , and the young at heart, the island’s famed amusement park – Gröna Lund – is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Thanks to its city-centre location, Gröna Lund is smaller than the amusement parks you might be familiar with. Yet its miniature size doesn’t limit its offering, with rides that range from the thrilling to the family friendly.

In the evening, you could attend concerts by international musical artists. Seeing a gig beneath Stockholm’s long sunsets could be one of the best things to do in Stockholm at night!

The Nobel Academy buildling in Stockholm

7. Witness the history of geniuses at the Nobel Prize Museum

Sweden is the home of the  Nobel Prize , the annual awards recognising some of the greatest minds in literature, science, and more. If you’re interested in the history and winners of the prize – and even if you didn’t think you were interested – there’s plenty of awesome things to see.

Of course, the Nobel Prize Museum is one of the best places for you to start. Its permanent exhibitions share an important story about the history of creativity. And you can enjoy guided tours, DJ sets, and events from Nobel laureates too.

8. Unwind in one of Stockholm’s spas

One of the best things to do in Stockholm as a couple is to visit a spa. With fantastic options across the city, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice.

Centralbadet, in the heart of Gamla Stan, is an ideal option for visitors. In a building dating back to 1904, you’ll find a typical Nordic sauna, an incredible swimming pool, and everything you’ll need to while away the afternoon.

Alternatively, to the southwest of the city, discover the Hellasgården park and lake. Stockholmers come here to dip in the ice pool before heading to the nearby sauna.

  • Related: Nordic spa and wellness traditions

Ostermalm's Saluhall food market in Stockholm

9. Try authentic Swedish food

Scandinavian cuisine is an increasingly popular option in hip eateries around the world. Yet one of the best places to try it in all its glory is Stockholm.

Check out the city’s food courts to sample the pastries, sweets, meats, or beers on offer. The Östermalm Market Hall, for example, is a Stockholm institution to the north of Gamla Stan. Alternatively, in the summer at Hornstulls Marknad, you’ll find contemporary street food stalls lining the waterway.

Of course, while you’re in town, try traditional Swedish delicacies such as Swedish meatballs (köttbullar), fried or cured fish, and reindeer. They’re easy to sample in many of Gamla Stan’s historic restaurants.

  • Delve into the secrets of Sweden on these history and culture Scandinavia tours

10. Stroll around Södermalm

If you want seriously cool things to do in Stockholm, you’ll need to head to Södermalm – or just Söder, as the locals call it. It’s a district known for its hip and relaxed atmosphere, as well as its creative and trendy residents.

View of the river and Sodermalm district in Stockholm

Explore vintage stores and boutiques, coffee shops and galleries, and bars open long into the night. For an afternoon stroll, there’s really nowhere better.

Södermalm is also where you can enjoy some of the best views over the city. The Skinnarviksberget, for example, is the highest point in Stockholm.

11. Visit the photography museum at Fotografiska

One truly unmissable destination in Södermalm is Fotografiska, Stockholm’s renowned photography museum. But like everything in this surprising district, Fotografiska is far from your normal gallery space.

That means you won’t find museum staples like permanent exhibitions or works for sale. Rather, Fotografiska’s work aims to inspire a better world through the medium of photography. As a result, it’s all about the experience – including political exhibitions, events, fine dining, and more.

Unsurprisingly, Fotografiska also has one of the coolest bars in this part of town.

Inside the Stockholm metro with artistic murals

12. Take the metro

Now, you might not think it sounds much like a destination. But Stockholm’s extensive metro is more than just a transit system. It’s a unique art gallery that’s worth a visit on its own.

Journey along Stockholm’s metro and you’ll see its diverse surprises yourself. Each station is eccentrically decorated in artworks, sculpture, rock formations, and mosaics, created by over 150 different local artists.

It’s an important part of Stockholm’s culture and a testament to its residents’ creativity. Try the blue line, which has some of the most exciting displays.

  • Related: Cool facts about Sweden

13. Go to a show at the Royal Swedish Opera

If you’re looking for glamorous things to do in Stockholm at night, a trip to the Royal Swedish Opera might be the answer. Set in the 18th-century opera house across the water from the Royal Palace, this is the home of elegance, high culture, and serious talent.

Snow and the Royal Swedish Opera in winter

Whether you want ballet, opera, or just a powerful symphony, you’ll find it on the programme here. Winter is a magical time to catch a performance. And during the summer you may have the opportunity to see the Royal Swedish Ballet perform in Vitabergsparken, a public park in Södermalm.

  • Related: Guide to Sweden in summer  & Guide to Sweden in winter

14. Climb the tower at Stockholm City Hall

With its solid red-brick façade and iconic tower, the Stockholm City Hall is one of the most recognisable features of the city’s skyline. It’s primarily an official building, hosting political and cultural events.

A look inside makes for a rewarding visit. For example, you can see the hall that hosts the Nobel banquet, where the world’s greatest minds receive their awards.

The highlight of the City Hall is the tower itself. Climb to the top to reach the three crowns of Sweden’s national coat of arms. It’s a truly jaw-dropping view over the city.

15. Chill out with fika

Finally, a trip to Sweden wouldn’t be complete without sampling one of Sweden’s best-loved traditions: fika .

Enjoying Fika with friends in Sweden

Fika is the simple act of taking time out to enjoy a cup of coffee (or kaffi , in Swedish) and a snack. Yet the Swedes have made this ritual into an art. Fika’s not about just enjoying a pick-me-up. Rather, it’s time to socialise, check in with each other, and unwind.

You can enjoy fika at any café in Stockholm, in Gamla Stan or Södermalm.

  • Related: The Swedish art of fika

Explore the best of Stockholm’s things to see with Nordic Visitor

Palaces and parks, saunas and spas, museums and markets – now you know what to do in Stockholm.

Book a trip with Nordic Visitor and we’ll take all the hassle out of your visit. We’ll organise your accommodation, activities, and regional transport in Sweden, plus any onward tours around Scandinavia.

What’s more, we’ll provide all the insights you need to experience Stockholm to the fullest. Our local travel experts are based in the Swedish capital and will share the best cultural highlights to suit you, as well as the top places to eat, drink, and relax too.

You could opt for an independent train trip or self-drive tour of Sweden to explore at your own pace. Or choose a small group tour of Scandinavia to discover Stockholm and other exciting places in the region, like Copenhagen and Oslo, with an expert guide.

Come and experience Stockholm for yourself. Get in touch to start your trip .

emma blog profile

Wanderlust has taken Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that she made her adopted home. Aside from enjoying countryside walks, campervan weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you’ll often find her writing about European travel and plotting her next trip.

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We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.

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12 tips for your first trip to Southeast Asia

Lori Zaino

Editor's note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals and destination content because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn't advise booking trips for travel until summer or fall — and even then be mindful of cancellation policies. This story has been updated with new information.

Southeast Asia is one of the most magical regions on earth. Filled with stunning beaches , historic temples, verdant jungles and bustling cities, there's something for every traveler there. But staying healthy and safe is something to consider when visiting a region so different from your own, especially for the first time. Things like visa requirements , best times to visit, currency exchange and what to bring may be at the top of your mind, as well as the most obvious question -- which country should you visit?

After a number of long-term visits over the years to varying countries in Southeast Asia, I've learned a thing or two. Beginner travelers should check out these travel tips and follow this Southeast Asia travel advice when considering a visit to the region for the first time.

1. Pick your countries wisely

While it's tempting to visit many countries and cities on a single trip to Southeast Asia, it's worth taking it slow and digging into the culture of a single country and/or just a handful of places, rather than exhausting yourself with a travel itinerary that has you hopping all over what amounts to an enormous territory.

For example, Bali , Indonesia and Hanoi, Vietnam , are both set within Southeast Asia, but beware -- they're a seven-hour flight away from each other. Before you commit to flights and accommodation , pull out the map and choose countries/cities that are relatively close together or are easily accessible by nonstop flights or direct trains.

Hanoi city in Vietnam. (Photo by Gonzalo Azumendi/Getty Images)

When deciding on the best country to visit in Southeast Asia, you should also take into account whether you want to explore cities, relax on beaches, see the outdoors or embrace culture, cuisine and history.

The best country to visit for beginner travelers could be Thailand. First-time visitors to the region may also enjoy Bali, Indonesia. Both of these spots are used to an influx of tourists and have plenty of amenities. They're both relatively easy to navigate and have friendly locals that speak English.

More experienced travelers or those wanting an adventure may prefer spots like Myanmar, Malaysia or Laos. While almost all Southeast Asia destinations welcome backpackers with open arms, Cambodia is very backpacker-friendly -- and is extremely affordable, especially outside of tourist destination Angkor Wat. Those wanting to lap a country from top to bottom should head to Vietnam. For unexplored beaches, visit more off-the-beaten-path islands in Indonesia (that aren't Bali) or the Philippines .

Related: 9 of the best sustainable backpacks for travelers

2. Check visa requirements

Several Southeast Asian countries require your passport to have at least six months' worth of validity left or a specific number of empty pages -- and visa requirements seem to be constantly changing. For example, a few years ago, e-visas weren't available online for several entrance points in Myanmar, but now they are. Meanwhile, Vietnam has changed its visa requirements in past years and now citizens from several European countries no longer need a visa to enter.

Check visa requirements ahead of time and apply online if possible. For example, U.K. nationals will find that applying for a visa to enter Laos online is relatively straightforward and can ease hassle upon arrival, especially when you're jet-lagged in a new and unfamiliar country.

(Photo by Yadpiroon Mimala/EyeEm/Getty Images)

If you do end up needing a visa upon arrival at your chosen destination(s), be prepared with the proper currency and passport-size photos of yourself. Many airport visa offices have ATMs/exchange services (albeit with terrible rates) and photo booths, but if you arrive with these items in hand, as well as any forms you might need printed and filled out ahead of time, the visa experience will be quicker and easier.

Also, be sure to grab a couple of extra entrance and exit forms each time you enter a country -- if you end up leaving and reentering that country by bus, boat or train, having the correct forms handy will enable you to save time you'd otherwise spend in a line.

3. Pack light and right

Deciding what to bring to Southeast Asia is a common conundrum. Try to pack as light as possible and do laundry wherever you go rather than trekking around with an overweight backpack or heavy trolley bag. In most Southeast Asian countries, you can get your clothes washed, dried and ironed in under 24 hours for the equivalent of a couple of dollars, and at street markets, you can shop inexpensively for any extra clothes and toiletries you may need.

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

These are the things you should make sure to pack:

  • raincoat/umbrella (especially during rainy season)
  • modest clothing covering knees/shoulders for temple visits
  • first aid kit (including all kinds of stomach medicines)
  • small flashlight
  • earplugs/ sleepmask
  • hand sanitizer
  • travel packs of tissues (note that squat toilets usually aren't equipped with toilet paper)
  • adaptor/multi-port plug that allows you to charge a few of your electronics at once

Related reading: 14 packing hacks for traveling with just a carry-on

4. Best times to visit Southeast Asia: rainy or dry season?

You can organize your trip in one of two ways: picking a destination(s) first and then selecting the best time to go, or picking your destination(s) based on what will have the best weather during the time you're able to visit. Most countries in Southeast Asia have two main seasons: wet and dry.

Even certain regions within countries can have separate rainy seasons . For example, if you want to have a beach holiday in Thailand over Christmas, it's better to choose islands in the Andaman Sea, which are sunny, like Koh Lanta or Koh Yao Yai and skip the Gulf of Thailand islands, such as Koh Samui or Koh Tao, where it's rainy season.

(Photo by Henn Photography/Getty Images)

If you're visiting larger cities, rainy season may not be so bad. You'll experience a downpour or two for sure, but you may get cheaper hotel deals or better value on airfare. But, it may be best to avoid smaller towns or villages during the wet season where lack of infrastructure during floods may complicate your stay.

It's also important to consider additional seasonal situations -- like burning season, where many Southeast Asian regions burn brush and old crops to prepare for planting. Air quality is bad during this time and may affect tourists, especially those with respiratory problems.

5. Safeguard your health

Before you travel to individual countries, check their vaccine requirements and recommendations -- and then actually get those vaccinations. If you're worried about the expense, be aware that you can opt to get your vaccinations upon arrival in Bangkok , where they're often affordable at local health centers. When traveling to any Southeast Asian country, getting tetanus shots and typhoid vaccines are generally a good idea. In addition to any necessary vaccines, seek out strong mosquito repellent, as this can help protect you from dengue fever and malaria.

(Photo by Guido Mieth/Getty Images)

6. Get travel insurance

Plan to get travel insurance when visiting the region, because health risks in Southeast Asia don't entirely diminish even if you've had your vaccines. As Southeast Asia trips often include adventures like indulging in street food, zip-lining, scuba diving , jungle treks and motorcycle rentals, it's wise to have a policy in place.

(Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

During a previous trip to Thailand, I developed an ear infection from snorkeling . Thanks to my travel insurance, I was in and out of a doctor's office within an hour, complete with medicine and a special souvenir bag (see above) -- all covered by my policy. Years ago in Malaysia, my husband cut his foot on coral while diving and required antibiotics. Having travel insurance made the situation an easy (and free) fix. Insurance policies can also cover non-health-related problems such as lost luggage or issues with flights and hotels, so look into getting the best travel insurance policy for you.

7. Consider alternate travel methods

While we love a good points and miles deal, using trains, low-cost airlines and ferries is a great way to save money while moving from place to place. Buses are generally the cheapest method of transport in Southeast Asian countries, but be aware of travel scams and know that you might be in for dirt, dust, unpleasant (or simply strange) smells, crowds, bumpy roads and more.

(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

Ferries can sometimes be crowded, but are a quick, cheap and a direct form of travel between islands, and though often slow, trains are a fun way to explore and see the lay of the land(s). Low-cost carriers such as AirAsia, Bangkok Airways , Nok Air, Tiger Air and more offer cheap flights to a variety of destinations -- and some even have frequent flyer programs . Though often a splurge in comparison to bare-bones taxi-boat journeys, river cruises are luxurious, scenic adventures and a great mode of transportation.

8. Rent a scooter at your own risk

If I had a dollar for every 20-something I saw with a bandaged knee, chin or foot in Thailand, I would easily be rich. Renting scooters can be a great way to get around, but in some Southeast Asian countries you'll need to drive on a different side of the road you're accustomed to and you may have to battle intense traffic, hills, curves, stray dogs, dirt or sand roads, crazy taxi drivers -- and worst of all, other foreigners driving scooters who are unfamiliar with these conditions. Even though many locals and tourists don't wear helmets, you still should.

(Photo by John W Banagan/Getty Images)

Before you head off with a rental scooter, be sure that your rental agent sees you taking detailed photos and/or videos of the bike, and actively point out any scratches or concerns to them. Though scooter rentals are often just a few dollars per day upfront, scooter scams are common, where a rental agent will insist that you've scratched or otherwise damaged their motorbike, charging you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in damages before they'll return your passport to you.

9. Be smart about currency exchange

Airports and banks often charge excessive fees to exchange money, but you'll usually get a decent exchange rate if you wait to change money once you're in Southeast Asia. However, know that Southeast Asian hotels generally offer terrible exchange rates, so stick to banks or other spots that advertise "Money Exchange." Make sure to change plenty of cash, as street market vendors, taxi drivers and smaller restaurants may not take credit/debit cards.

(Photo by Yellow Dog Productions/Getty Images)

Many hotels and larger restaurants will take credit/debit cards though, so make sure to use ones that hold no foreign transaction fees.

10. Avoid "temple burnout"

"Temple burnout" happens when you see so many ornate and beautiful temples that they all begin to look the same -- and you lose interest in seeing any more, ever. To avoid this malady, arrange some non-temple-oriented activities on your Southeast Asia travel itinerary, or simply take a day (or two) off to relax and rest your eyes. After a bit of visual reboot, you'll have a whole new appreciation for a region of the globe that has more amazing temples than you could possibly imagine.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram Ayutthaya Thailand. (Photo by SOMPOP SRINOPHAN/Getty Images)

11. Don't be afraid to bargain

You should absolutely bargain with local street vendors or at markets -- it's a cultural norm to do so. I've had some great times bargaining and laughing with street vendors and even made friends with a few locals along the way, coming home with memorable souvenirs for my efforts. Just make sure to barter reasonably and always with a smile on your face. The point of bargaining is to engage with locals and agree on a fair price, not to cheat them or get scammed yourself.

(Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

12. Be a responsible tourist

It's best to avoid orphanage tourism, hill tribe visits or any activity that exploits children, ethnic groups or animals. When participating in elephant tourism, make sure to carefully vet your organization and make sure they're protecting the animals in lieu of harming them.

While begging children may tug at your heartstrings, the more money they earn from tourists, the more their parents see them as a source of monetary gain and the less inclined they are to send them to school -- where they'd have a shot at a better future.

Instead of giving children money, trying chatting with them. (Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

When diving/snorkeling or out in nature, make sure to adhere to the no trace policy , not littering or taking anything from delicate natural environments.

If you want to lend real support to locals in Southeast Asia, dine at Tree Alliance restaurants . Located in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, these eateries train disadvantaged young adults as chefs and waiters and also donate money to programs that assist low-income locals to get jobs. Offering traditional cuisine, these restaurants provide a delicious way to help.

Related: 5 tourism-supported charities that need your help now more than ever

Or, visit an organization like Big Brother Mouse in Luang Prabang, where tourists can read books, play games or chat with kids and teens eager to practice their English.

Related: How to be a better traveler

Bottom line

Armed with these useful travel tips for Southeast Asia, you'll have a safe, smooth and successful first trip to this beautiful region. Happy travels!

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Things to do IN Southeast Indiana

Southeast indiana.

Southeast Indiana has so much to do! Comprised of nine counties, Southeast Indiana is filled with both indoor fun and outdoor recreation hot spots. You will find yourself surrounded by pristine water recreation areas, top-notch mountain biking trails, jaw-droppingly beautiful architecture, and a rich culinary scene. Whether you are shooting dice at the casino or experiencing living Hoosier History, there is something for everyone here. So, are you IN?

Must See Attractions IN Southeast Indiana

Brookville lake.

Brookville Lake sits in a valley and is known for both its outdoor fun and its significant deposit of Ordovician fossils. Enjoy some archery, shooting, boating and more!

The Milan 54 is a museum of the Milan Miracle when a high school with less than 200 students won the state championship against a school 10x larger and secured its place in Hoosier Legend.

Hollywood Casino

Stay and Play at the Hollywood Casino! You'll find exceptional service, exciting games, and enjoyable experiences in Southeast Indiana. Find your Hollywood Ending!

Rockin' Thunder River Tours

The Rockin Thunder Boat provides some of the most unique tours of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. They are committed to giving fun, unique and safe tours to all their guests.

Counties IN Southeast Indiana

Southeast Indiana is an amazing example of the diverse and unique locations open to visitors in Southern Indiana. From visiting a haunted mansion in Switzerland County and learning about the Milan Miracle at the Milan Museum in Ripley County to exploring the natural beauty of Clifty Falls in Jefferson County and seeing rare North American wildlife at Red Wolf Sanctuary and Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Ohio County, Southeast Indiana is your memory-making hub.

Southeast Indiana Region

Dearborn County

Decatur county, franklin county, jefferson county, jennings county, ohio county, ripley county, switzerland county, union county, discover more.

History and architecture meet the beautiful outdoors in Dearborn County! For a peek at the Mid-nineteenth-century Italian Renaissance style, the Hillforest Victorian House Museum is a must. The Archeological Research Institute offers unique, hands-on experiences via its field, laboratory, and onsite tours. With the Tri-State’s largest concentrations of ducks and herons, The Oxbow is a must-see wetland in the Ohio Valley area.

Things to Do IN Dearborn County, Indiana

Stay and Play at the Hollywood Casino! You'll find exceptional service, exciting games, and enjoyable experiences in…

Hillforest Victorian House Museum

Hillforest Victorian House Museum is a stately 1855 Italian Renaissance mansion just blocks from the river and…

Perfect North Slopes

This 100-acre facility offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing for all ages and abilities.

Great Crescent Brewery

At Great Crescent Brewery, enjoy a great meal specifically prepared to compliment their specially crafted beer…

At The Barn Winery

At The Barn Winery offers wine tasting, wine making supplies and you can even enjoy pre-arranged painting parties.

Holtkamp Winery

Known for their award-winning vintages, Holtkamp offers a large selection of wines and features an onsite tasting…

Known for a gorgeous tree growing out of the courthouse’s tower, Decatur County offers something for everyone. For art lovers, small town Greensburg offers impressively big murals flanking the sides of buildings. The Decatur County Skate Park is a fun place to visit for both adults and children who want some exercise and to test their limits on wheels. Looking for the county’s backstory? Make sure you head to the Historical Society of Decatur County before you leave.

Things to Do IN Decatur County, Indiana

Pathfinder outfitters.

Pathfinder Outfitters offers exciting and relaxing kayak adventure trips in Southern Indiana.

Greensburg Tower Tree

Greensburg occupies a unique place by reason of trees that are growing from the roof of its courthouse tower.

Highpoint Orchard

HighPoint Orchard, located on historic "Pleak's Hill" offers an orchard store, complete with cafe and gift shop.

Storie's Restaurant

Storie's is the quintessential small-town local restaurant serving up daily specials and homemade food since 1977!

Known as a southern Indiana recreation destination, Franklin County is an outdoor enthusiast's dream! Both Brookville Lake Recreation Area and the Whitewater River provide thrilling watersports, hiking, and walking. For animal lovers, Wolf Creek Habitat & Rescue provides insight into the beautiful creatures. Before you make your way to additional county destinations, don’t pass up a peek at Duck Creek Aqueduct, the only known covered wooden aqueduct in the nation that’s still in use. 

Things to Do IN Franklin County, Indiana

Brookville Lake sits in a valley and is known for both its outdoor fun and its significant deposit of Ordovician…

Whitewater Valley Railroad

This relaxing scenic railroad provides a variety of educational and entertaining excursions and special events…

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Learn about mill mechanics and see grain grinding demonstrations at the Grist Mill, and purchase freshly ground…

Ready to explore the perfect melding of history and the outdoors? Jefferson County will not disappoint! With the largest contiguous National Historic Landmark District in the country, the entire area of Downtown Madison offers architectural styles from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries along with fun, educational annual festivals, including the Chautauqua Festival of Arts and the RiverRoots Music and Folk Art Festival. As for nature lovers, a visit to Clifty Falls State Park is a must-do for hiking, walking, and birding. 

Things to Do IN Jefferson County, Indiana

The Rockin Thunder Boat provides some of the most unique tours of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. They are committed…

Lanier Mansion State Historic Site

Wander through this sprawling home, featuring Greek Revival architecture and beautiful gardens!

Clifty Falls State Park

The park’s waterfalls change moods with the weather and can range from roaring plunges to delicate mists to frozen…

Downtown Madison

Madison Music Movement is here to enhance the already excellent quality of life in the Madison community!

A hidden gem of Indiana, Jennings County is filled with outdoor fun. Make a beeline for Muscatatuck Park, especially if you love thrilling mountain bike rides or taking a stroll through its National Wildlife Refuge. With beautiful rolling hills and calm ponds, the Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area is ideal for fishing and hunting with some light hiking as well. Once you’ve spent the day adventuring, head to Stream Cliff Winery for some sampling or grab a glass of your favorite drink and enjoy the scenery.

Things to Do IN Jennings County, Indiana

Big oaks refuge.

Big Oaks Refuge provides food and shelter for more than 200 species of birds and 46 species of mammals.

Muscatuck Park

Muscatatuck Park was created as Indiana’s fourth State Park and has the most developed rock climbing area in the…

Crosley Fish & Wildlife Area

Crosley Fish & Wildlife Area is made up of 4,288 acres of rolling hills, ponds, and the Muscatatuck River.

Stream Cliff Herb Farm and Winery

Visit Stream Cliff Herb Farm & Winery for all kinds of reasons: Wine and dine, enjoy the gardens, for the…

Outdoor adventure is just the tip of the iceberg for Ohio County! Red Wolf Sanctuary cares for and releases hundreds of native animals yearly and makes for a fun, educational outing. Rising Sun Riverpark is gorgeous no matter what time of the day (or year!) you visit. Want to learn about the tales and history of the county? Ohio County Historical Museum is the place to go. If you love golf, try The Links at Rising Sun Casino and Resort, which is Southern Indiana's only true Scottish-links-style golf course.

Things to Do IN Ohio County, Indiana

Red wolf sanctuary and raptor rehabilitation center.

The Red Wolf Sanctuary is dedicated to the preservation and continued existence of North American wildlife!

Rising Star Casino Hotel

Rising Star Casino Hotel provides guests with modern and homey lodgings in Rising Sun, Indiana.

Links at Rising Star

The Links at Rising Star Casino Resort is Southern Indiana's only true Scottish links-style golf course.

With 24 miles of the best mountain biking trails in Indiana, Versailles State Park was made for two-wheeled thrill seekers. For some serenity combined with beauty, head to Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge and its 50,000 acres of hiking, walking, and watersports. If historical architecture piques your interest, make sure you check out the Busching and Otter Creek Covered Bridges—ideal for photography lovers.

Things to Do IN Ripley County, Indiana

The Milan 54 is a museum of the Milan Miracle when a high school with less than 200 students won the state…

Versailles State Park

Take a drive through the beautiful rolling hills of southeastern Indiana with Versailles State Park, Indiana’s…

Busching Covered Bridge and Otter Creek Bridge

Ripley County, Indiana is home to two covered bridges: Busching Covered Bridge and Otter Creek Bridge.

Ripley County Underground Railroad Driving Trails

Spend a day, or two, traveling the countryside and learning about the history of the Underground Railroad.

Small-town charm and a love of the outdoors make for a fun, rural-style visit to Switzerland County. The Ohio River Scenic Byway passes right through the county, so give yourself time for a leisurely drive. Designated as part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience, the quaint city of Vevay is where you begin your journey through American history. As for outdoor fun, Splinter Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area is the place to go in the county for gorgeous scenery, fishing, and hunting, no matter what time of the year. 

Things to Do IN Switzerland County, Indiana

Belterra casino.

Belterra is a true resort experience offering thrilling entertainment, incredible food, comfortable accommodations…

Scheneck Mansion: Kat Von D's Haunted Indiana Mansion

Take a tour of tattoo artist/singer Kat Von D's new 147-year-old haunted mansion in Vevay, Indiana.

Splinter Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area

Splinter Ridge offers a great place to fish and hunt, but also is a natural setting to watch for birds, insects, and…

Right on the Ohio border, Union County offers beautiful water views, educational hot spots, and a laidback vibe thanks to welcoming locals. The Treaty Line Pioneer Village and Museum is a fun way to learn about the county’s history and what life was like centuries ago. With its 200-acre lake and access to the Brookville Reservoir, Whitewater Memorial State Park offers fishing, camping, flat-bottom boating, swimming, and hiking—perfect for getting into the great outdoors. If you’re looking for a unique aerial view of the county, High Drifter Balloon Rides are a perfect sunrise or sunset trip!

Things to Do IN Union County, Indiana

Kent's harbor.

Kent’s Harbor and Harbor Links Golf Club at the Sagamore Resort are located on beautiful Brookville Lake.

Whitewater Memorial State Park

Whitewater Memorial State Park is a great family getaway because of its 200-acre Whitewater Lake, recreations, and…

Discover More Regions

Discover things to do in every county in Indiana. Explore each region and learn about what makes Indiana a great place to visit!

Thinking of Moving to Indiana

When high quality of life meets low cost of living, you've truly hit the jackpot. Indiana is the perfect balance of both! Discover how you can move to Indiana.

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The 50 Best Small Towns In The South 2023

visit to se

Forget about size. These 50 Southern towns may be small (some are technically villages) but each one has its own distinct story to tell. We asked our readers to share their favorites, and this wide-ranging list captures the wonderful diversity of our region. You’ll find towns by the seaside, in the mountains, outside of big cities , near universities, and more. Some are known for German food (Helen, GA; Fredericksburg, TX), others have thriving art and culture scenes (Ocean Springs, MS; Berea, KY; Boone, NC), many are rich in history (Williamsburg, VA; St. Augustine, FL; Harper’s Ferry, WV) or natural beauty (Beaufort, SC; Blowing Rock, NC). There is a small town for every type of person on this list, and we guarantee that all of these places are destination-worthy in their own right. But be warned: One visit, and you might start packing your bags to start a new small town life . 

50. Opelika, Alabama

You can almost hear the train whistle blowing as you stroll the streets of this former railroad town. Although its big sister Auburn (home to Auburn University) often steals the spotlight, Opelika is making a name for itself with hip hangouts like the coffee shop Side Track; the downtown speakeasy Sneak & Dawdle; and Botanic, a plant nursery, market, and restaurant.

49. Danville, Kentucky

Courtesy Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Often referred to as Kentucky’s “city of firsts,” Danville’s appeal is due in large part to its long history. Explore spirited Main Street, where you can find Renaissance Revival- and Federal-style buildings housing modern eateries; boutiques; and the Art Center of the Bluegrass, a creative hub in the community.

48. Shepherdstown, West Virginia

One of West Virginia’s oldest towns is a prime location to see the splendor John Denver waxed poetic about in “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Stunning views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the meandering Potomac River play backdrop to centuries-old Victorian houses and an art-filled downtown. 

47. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Just over 50 miles from New Orleans, Bay St. Louis blends The Big Easy’s funky, artsy feel with the mellow, barefoot vibe you can find only in a tried-and-true coastal town. The beaches are dog-friendly, the blueways (water trails) are ready for exploring, and Old Town’s French Quarter appeal can’t be beat.

46. Thomasville, Georgia

Redbrick streets and a topnotch restaurant culture add character to the picture-perfect downtown of Thomasville, a community with a strong entrepreneurial bent and plenty of places to grab a tasty bite— Liam’s, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Sweetgrass Cheese Shop, and Empire Bagel & Delica.

45. Boone, North Carolina

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone is known for its creative soul. It’s home to galleries and arts centers, and (thanks to Appalachian State University) it’s also a college town with a notable music scene. Drive to Grandfather Mountain for hairpin turns and incredible views.

44. Jonesborough, Tennessee

Courtesy Jonesborough Tourism Department

As the “storytelling capital of the world,” Tennessee’s oldest town celebrates and preserves the state’s oral history. Visit the International Storytelling Center, or see a show at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.

43. Round Top, Texas

A contender for the award for tiniest town (at less than 1 square mile), Round Top has enough Lone Star spirit and style to more than make up for its population of just 87. It is situated around three squares: Henkel, Rolland, and Town, and you should complete the trifecta for the full experience in this renowned antiquing destination. 

42. Williamsburg, Virginia

The cobbled streets and 18th-century environs have long drawn people to Williamsburg, but these days, there’s much more to discover by way of shops and restaurants. Muststops include The Virginia Beer Co., Merchants Square, and The Cheese Shop. 

41. Georgetown, South Carolina

This spot on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast calls itself “ the little town you’ve been looking for ,” and it’s hard to argue the point. Georgetown has gorgeous old homes, abundant live oaks, a walkable downtown, and the dramatic Waccamaw River Bridge. 

40. Covington, Louisiana

Planted just north of Lake Pontchartrain among three rivers—the Bogue Falaya, Abita, and Tchefuncte— Covington has a city center jam-packed with boutiques, art galleries, bed-and-breakfasts, and antiques shops. Don’t miss a meal at Lola, a local favorite.

39. Dunedin, Florida

Picture an Old Florida beach town, and you’ll likely imagine a place like Dunedin. Locals and visitors love this Clearwater-area spot for its undeniably relaxed atmosphere, sandy shores, lively Main Street shops, and no-frills approach to fresh seafood. Take time to go osprey spotting at Honeymoon Island State Park.

38. Mountain Home, Arkansas

Will Newton

Waterways like Bull Shoals Lake, Norfork Lake, and the White River surround this small town, which got its start as a resort. It lured folks in with opportunities for fishing and boating, activities that still power tourism here in the southern stretches of the Ozark Mountains.

37. Port Aransas, Texas

Hurricane Harvey caused major damage here in 2017, but nothing can keep this resilient coastal town down. “Port A” remains one of the state’s main spots for fishing, and its 18 miles of beautiful beaches continue to attract returning visitors and new residents.

36. Fernandina Beach, Florida

Tucked away on the north end of Florida’s Atlantic coast, this historic town is a down-to-earth foil to the busy resorts along the neighboring shores. Set on Amelia Island, the area’s walkable downtown is full of boutiques offering beachy wares. It’s also home to restaurants such as Timoti’s Seafood Shak, where it’s always a good idea to order the day’s fresh catch. 

35. Paducah, Kentucky

ROBBIE CAPONETTO

A jewel situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, Paducah has an undeniably creative soul and is home to The National Quilt Museum as well as one-of-a-kind businesses like the antiques shop Frenchtown Station and the bourbon palace Barrel & Bond. 

34. Guthrie, Oklahoma

While wandering the nation’s largest contiguous historic district, you won’t have to work hard to picture this Victorianera treasure as it was in the late 1800s. Today, you can learn more about the frontier city’s history at The Oklahoma Territorial Museum (also the site of The Carnegie Library) and at the Oklahoma Frontier Drug Store Museum. 

33. St. Francisville, Louisana

Just northeast of Baton Rouge, positioned along the meandering Mississippi River, is this closeknit community filled with beautifully preserved architecture. Check out Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, and then refuel downtown with the Crawfish Dip and Spicy Shrimp Poboy from Magnolia Cafe.

32. Natchitoches, Louisiana

Louisiana’s oldest town has much more to offer than its famous fried meat pies . Visit sites like the National Historic Landmark District (with an array of architectural styles ranging from French Creole to Art Deco) and Melrose Plantation, a stop on the state’s African American Heritage Trail that is home to rare works by folk artist Clementine Hunter.

31. Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Courtesy of McCurtain County Tourism Authority

To reacquaint yourself with the great outdoors, all you need to do is head to Broken Bow. This nature lover’s paradise is headlined by Beavers Bend State Park, where you can fish for trout on the Lower Mountain Fork River, boat on Broken Bow Lake, or explore miles of trails on foot or horseback.

30. Lewisburg, West Virginia

A lively local culinary scene, shows at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre (West Virginia’s state professional theater), and frequent music festivals are just a few reasons to plan a trip to Lewisburg, a town steeped in American history. Visit in the fall to see the forests papering themselves in reds and golds. 

29. Middleburg, Virginia

America’s “horse and hunt capital” is characterized by winding roads, scenic countryside, and an especially busy calendar of equestrian events. The expansive farmland provides fertile soil for the area’s 30 vineyards, including two in Middleburg.

28. Wimberly, Texas

Christy Pohler/Getty

Natural wonders abound in Wimberley, a minuscule Hill Country locale just under an hour outside Austin . When summer arrives in this part of the state, people plunge into swimming holes like the ones at Blue Hole Regional Park and Jacob’s Well Natural Area. Try exploring the landscape on long drives and easygoing horseback rides. 

27. Leipers Fork, Tennessee

“Quality over quantity” could be the motto for this tiny place. Technically a village, Leipers Fork has a main drag with only one stoplight. But the friendly residents and the fine art galleries, shops, and restaurants ensure it’s worth a trip. Rolling pastures, horse farms, and winding roads make getting there a pleasure too. 

26. Berea, Kentucky

Courtesy Berea Tourism

Known as the “folk arts & crafts capital of Kentucky,” Berea is a dynamic spot for creators and craftspeople working across a variety of media. Many sell their wares at galleries along Chestnut Street and in both the Artisan Village and the Kentucky Artisan Center. 

25. Laurel, Mississippi

Stars of HGTV’s Home Town Erin and Ben Napier put this place on the cultural map in 2016. Since then, it’s become a Southern hot spot. Spend an afternoon meeting locals who have revitalized downtown Laurel, and stop by the Napiers’ flagship store, Laurel Mercantile Co., to buy pretty and practical home goods.

24. Bardstown, Kentucky

In the center of Bourbon Country, Bardstown is a hub for whiskey lovers. New distilleries stand alongside long-lived institutions, many of which offer tours and sips in tasting rooms across the countryside. Head to Bardstown Bourbon Company for creative takes on classic Bluegrass State foods and drinks.

23. Chincoteague, Virginia

This coastal Virginia town shares its name with the famed wild horses that roam the serene shores nearby. The area teems with ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, and biking—all of which are more memorable when surrounded by unspoiled nature.

22. Oxford, Mississippi

Robbie Caponetto

In 1837, this town incorporated and named itself after Oxford, England, with the hope that it would also be home to a great university one day. About 10 years later, The University of Mississippi opened, and in time, Oxford became the South’s quintessential college town. Equally celebrated for SEC football and its literary-and-arts scene, this place attracts all kinds, creating a vibrant community with a refined sense of Southern style. 

21. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Getty Images/Ali Majdfar

The Appalachian Trail runs directly through the main thoroughfare of this pretty town (population about 300) on the West Virginia-MarylandVirginia borders. The area is designated as a national historical park thanks to its mountain and river views galore and its role in sparking the Civil War. 

20. Mount Dora, Florida

Elizabeth W. Kearley/Getty

With its live oaks, lovely inns, and quaint shops, Mount Dora offers a nostalgic taste of Old Florida . Head to Palm Island Park to stroll a boardwalk surrounded by old-growth trees and lush foliage, or spend an afternoon hitting the many nearby antiques shops. 

19. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Getty Images

Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, this town gets its name from the area’s geothermal wonders—hot springs at an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to Bathhouse Row, there are plenty of local shops and restaurants to enjoy. You can also visit the University of Arkansas’ Garvan Woodland Gardens, a pine-shaded botanical wonderland. 

18. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

A thriving arts community, vibrant entertainment districts, and the beauty of the Gulf Coast are just a few reasons this is a great place to live and visit. Delicious food doesn’t hurt either. Go old-school at Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant (with a speakeasy in the cellar), or have a fancy night out at Vestige, an award-winning restaurant with a five-course tasting menu. 

17. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs City Advertising & Promotion Commission

Folks have been flocking to this resort town since the 19th century thanks to its namesake natural springs. The stunningly preserved Victorian architecture makes downtown a destination unto itself, and quirky shops selling everything from kaleidoscopes to quilts can entertain you for hours.

16. Bluffton, South Carolina

Courtesy Visit Hilton Head

Consider Bluffton the poster child for the Carolina Lowcountry. With tranquil marshland, elegant homes, a colorful art scene, and palmettos everywhere you turn, this enclave on the May River has everything to love about South Carolina all in one place. 

15. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama

Although many think of Florida when it comes to great beach towns, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach beg to differ. The coastal twins boast the same sparkling turquoise water, white-sand shores, and family-friendly fun. With miles of coastline and easy access, it’s clear why sunseekers love the area. 

14. Helen, Georgia

Take a trip to old-world Bavaria by visiting Georgia’s third-mostpopular destination. With its cross-gabled cottages, steeply pitched roofs, and German flags flying in the breeze, this hamlet packs oodles of character into just 2.1 square miles. The annual Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market), glühwein (mulled wine), and the occasional snow flurry make Helen a bucket list getaw

13. Abingdon, Virginia

Mark Summerfield/Alamy

Any time of year is glorious in this part of the South, but Abingdon shines especially bright when the weather begins to cool. In autumn, plan a bicycle ride along the brilliantly colorful Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail. And when the holiday season arrives, nothing’s more festive than the tree-lined brick streets downtown. 

12. Hendersonville, North Carolina

An all-seasons mountain escape, Hendersonville is always worth a trip. In the spring, you can summit Blue Ridge Mountain peaks. During the summer, cool off in a swimming hole. In the fall, go apple picking at a picturesque orchard. Come winter, cozy up to a delicious meal with a local beer or cider. 

11. Beaufort, North Carolina

North Carolina’s third-oldest town has kept its low-key allure as a former fishing village while offering plenty to see and do. Stroll the shops and restaurants on Front Street, pedal to the shoreline, or take a ferry to a nearby barrier island.

10. Fredericksburg, Texas

Gabriela Herman

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country , Fredericksburg has deep German roots. Its Main Street has always drawn visitors, but now people are also making a beeline for the fantastic food scene here (biergartens included) and more than 100 area wineries.

9. Folly Beach, South Carolina

If going to a dive bar in flipflops is your idea of a good time, head to this easygoing seaside town. Book an ocean paddleboard tour, check out the state’s oldest surf shop, or find a spot to sink your toes into the sand on its 6 miles of beaches.

8. Sanibel, Florida

Cedric Angeles; Styling: Celine Russell/Zenobia; Dress: Boho Me; Hat: Mar Y Sol

This 12-mile-long barrier island on Florida’s west coast is a laid-back slice of paradise and a treasure trove for shell seekers. Sanibel took a major hit from Hurricane Ian in 2022, but the beloved getaway is open to visitors and on the mend. 

7. Tybee Island, Georgia

Courtesy of Visit Savannah

You’ll find several of Georgia’s best beaches on Tybee Island, near Savannah . This bikeable escape’s calling cards are salty breezes and freshly caught seafood. Outdoor activities close by include birding in a nature preserve and kayaking tranquil waterways. 

6. Fairhope, Alabama

When Otis Redding sat down to pen “The Dock of the Bay,” he may have been dreaming about Fairhope. The bayside spot is populated by ethereal live oaks, brilliant azalea bushes, pastel-colored bungalows, and brick sidewalks traversing a lively downtown. 

5. Blowing Rock, North Carolina

This mountain town is named for its most famous feature, a 4,000-foot cliff that overlooks a spectacular gorge, distant peaks, and dense forests. But Blowing Rock is no one-hit wonder. Expect plenty of High Country character from a community of talented craftspeople and chefs inspired by their surroundings. 

4. Dahlonega, Georgia

Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Georgia’s gold rush happened here almost two centuries ago. Today, it’s a destination for waterfalls and wineries in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, though if you’re feeling lucky, you can still go panning for nuggets of gleaming ore. You can also search for treasures in the many quaint shops.

3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Groups love the family-friendly attractions and mountain adventures in this bustling resort town. It’s also an entryway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a hiker’s paradise. Rent a cabin to take in the scenery and plenty of fresh air. 

2. Beaufort, South Carolina

PETER FRANK EDWARDS

Wild beauty and Lowcountry allure abound in this South Carolina gem. Get lost among the pines and palmettos of an ancient maritime forest, catch a striking sunset over the Beaufort River, and marvel at the columns and sweeping porches of stately mansions. 

1. St. Augustine, Florida

In this town founded in 1565, you’ll encounter the past and present around every corner. Step back into the 1600s at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and then enjoy the area’s up-and-coming dining scene and its many craft breweries and distilleries. 

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6 Day Trip Ideas in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Since moving here over two years ago, I’ve learned that Southeastern Pennsylvania has a lot of cool attractions and towns to offer. Being new to the area meant relying on recommendations from others and searching where to check out next. So I wanted to compile those places into one, easily accessible list!

For newbies like me or you’re just someone looking for a new place to visit, check out these six day trip ideas in PA.

Table of Contents

1. West Chester

If you’re going to plan a day trip in PA, it’s got to be West Chester first. This infamous college town isn’t just home to the students of West Chester University, but home to over 20,000 residents. It’s a place to work, live, and play and is only 36 miles outside of Center City, Philly. The downtown area alone has tons of cute shops, delicious eateries, barber shops/salons, and more.

Foodies rejoice – in the warmer months, you can dine al fresco at one of the 65 eateries downtown West Chester has to offer. From pizza to Greek food, there’s a restaurant ready to serve your favorite cuisine. It’s the kind of place where you can grab a craft coffee and head over to plates or grab dinner and drinks at night. You can also take advantage of First Fridays where you can enjoy complimentary refreshments and free parking after 5pm, on the first Friday of every month.

West Chester is a historic town which you’ll see by the homes and commercial spaces that surround the area. It’s a walkable town so you can enjoy the sights while getting your steps in. Make West Chester your next place to visit in Southeastern PA, you won’t regret it.

Things to Know

  • Dog Friendly : Yes in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary
  • Parking : Downtown has metered parking along with large parking garages which will cost you a couple bucks. You may be able to find free parking on some of the side streets.

Worth Checking Out

  • Gryphon Café for some of the best nitro cold brew you’ll have + the food to match
  • Limoncello for an incredible Italian feast (Mike and I went here for our anniversary and it was DELICIOUS and give you complimentary limoncello shots when they bring you the bill)

2. Phoenixville

When I first moved to the area and started asking people places I should check out, Phoenixville was at the top of the list. When we finally checked it out, I could see why. Phoenixville has a vibe all its own, and that’s clear as soon as you drive in.

Phoenixville is a historic town, with many of the current establishments taking up shop in buildings that used to serve a different purpose. You’ll find a lot of the action on Bridge and Main Streets, both of which are populated with tons of shops, restaurants, breweries, and more.

Craft beer lovers rejoice – this town is home to some of the best craft breweries in the area including Root Down and Sly Fox (which is minutes away from downtown). But if craft beer isn’t your speed, there’s tons of other bars and eateries that decorate the area. Phoenixville is the perfect place for a romantic dinner and a night out, or a low-key lunch with some shopping. Either way, when you’re looking for fun day trips in PA, Phoenixville is the place to be.

  • Dog Friendly : Yes in general outdoor areas; individuals stores may vary
  • Parking : There’s metered street parking, along with a larger parking lot that offers low rates. You can also park along the residential streets and walk.
  • The Foodery for custom sandwiches, specialty products, and a vast craft beer selection to create your own case
  • Bistro on Bridge for the best small plate of vegan general tso’s

3. King of Prussia

Just 20 minutes outside of West Chester, King of Prussia is home to the second largest mall in the US . KOP mall has a diverse mix of 450 stores. You have stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes that also share their space with stores like Old Navy, Zara, and Primark.

Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll easily log your steps for the day (and getting lost is easy here so doing a couple laps is normal). If you get hungry, there’s three food courts to choose from plus other eateries like The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s Little Italy.

If you want to enjoy the nice weather outdoors, you can also visit the King of Prussia Town Center . It’s an outdoor retail and shopping destination and is home to places like Ulta and Fogo de Chao. It’s a nice way to get out for the day and to find a little something to treat yourself with. Plus, it’s less than two-miles from the Valley Forge Casino if you want to get your gamble on.

  • Dog Friendly: You’ll typically only see service dogs at KOP mall, but the King of Prussia Town Center is outdoors, so it’s generally dog friendly (individual stores may vary)
  • Parking: KOP mall has tons of parking and has a couple of lots. You may have to drive around longer than you’d like if you come during a busy hour, but you’ll find a spot. Same for KOP Town Center.
  • Lolli & Pops (KOP mall) for gummy bears, chocolates and other treats when that sweet tooth hits
  • B. Good (KOP Town Center) for healthier “fast food” that includes vegan and vegetarian options (the coco crave smoothie is incredible)

4. Jim Thorpe

While it’s not technically in Southeastern PA, Jim Thorpe is such an incredible town and is less than two-hours from West Chester and totally worth the drive. As far as day trips around Pennsylvania go, Jim Thorpe takes the cake. It’s a charming town, bustling with history and tons of sights to see (and is my favorite place to visit). Located in the heart of Lehigh Gorge, this small town offers tons of shops , restaurants, and walkable fun. It makes the perfect day trip or a quick weekend getaway.

Probably the most breathtaking part of Jim Thorpe is its impeccable scenery. Nature buffs rejoice – you have biking, hiking, and even white water rafting to take part in.

Jim Thorpe offers a little something for everyone and it’s a great place to bring the whole family. You and the kiddos can take a ride on the Leigh Gorge train that runs through the town. For 70 minutes , hang in the vintage coaches which date back to as far as 1917 and see up close the high-rise cliffs and mountains. You can also pay a visit to the Asa Packer Mansion museum in the former home of Asa Packer himself. Consider this a day well-spent.

  • Dog Friendly: Yes in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary
  • Parking: There’s some street parking but it’s easiest to park in the giant lot in the heart of town (which at the time of writing this will cost you $10 for all-day parking)
  • The Country Cottage for the BEST homemade pickles.
  • Rainbow’s End to bring back nostalgia through your favorite childhood candies (and so much more).

5. St. Peter’s Village

If you love Jim Thorpe but prefer to stay closer to home, St. Peter’s Village is your go-to. Nestled in Warwick Township, this historic town is built along the French Creek and has a charm all its own. Don’t expect to livestream your day here – you’ll have little to no cell service, but that’s okay because it allows you to disconnect and truly experience the town.

St. Peter’s Village mainly consists of one street, St. Peter’s Road, that’s home to a total of 70 buildings which consists of residential, eateries, commercial, and specialty shops. The soundtrack to your day is the rushing waters of the French Creek. You can grab a tasty meal at The Inn at St. Peter’s Village or grab a sweet treat at the St. Peter’s Bakery – both with the views to match. Bring out your inner child and hit up the arcade which is a blast from the past. I didn’t see an ATM there so it’s best to have cash prior.

When you’re ready to get your hike on, head down to the massive boulders that decorate the creek and start exploring. Wear comfortable, hiking-appropriate shoes (and not flats like I did) since climbing up and down the boulders can be intense. You’ll find patches of rushing shallow waters and even a larger swimming area for people and pets to enjoy. St. Pete’s Village (as the locals call it) is a town that’s full of energy and is the perfect place to reconnect with yourself and to get a little closer to nature. It’s one of the best day trips in PA that you’ll take.

  • Dog Friendly: Yes, in general outdoor areas + doggies were seen swimming in the shallow water areas
  • Parking: There’s two lots once you get on St. Peter’s Road. We didn’t pay for parking nor did we see any signs for it.
  • St. Peter’s Bakery for colossal cookies, coffee, and more + an awesome view of the creek
  • Healing Spirit Café to bring back a little piece of zen to your home, or to practice some self-care. I picked up a salt lamp here for only $15!

Head 20 miles outside of Center City and you’ll find Media. Known as “Everybody’s Hometown,” there’s something for everyone here. Just downtown alone, you’ll find restaurants like Iron Hill Brewery plus local eateries, shops, and more. It’s the perfect place to grab a great meal, do a little shopping, and even stock up at Trader Joe’s.

It’s a walkable area, so you can park your car and tour around by foot. While you’re at it, stop by the Media Farmers Market , which is a year-round market open on Sundays. It’s a great way to get to know the local businesses in the area (and support them, too)! When you’re looking for an al fresco dinner, visit on a Wednesday from May – September to dine under the stars . Many people call Media home, and you can always find something going on . When you’re here, you’ll feel right at home.

  • Dog Friendly: Yes, in general outdoor areas; individual stores may vary.
  • Parking: There’s a lot of metered street parking but it can get congested quick here.
  • Pompei’s State Street Sandwiches for some of the best homemade roast beef sandwiches this side of PA.
  • Kuta for jewelry, accessories, clothing, and more at all price ranges. I found a cute little energy bead bracelet for only $12!

It’s crazy to think how much there is to do near us, sometimes right in our backyards! For anyone looking for a day trip in Southeastern Pennsylvania, these six spots have you covered.

Is there a spot you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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In Malmö there are no musts, only endless possibilities. Within walking distance, you’ll find a rich variety of events, family fun, culture, history and modern art, as well as lush parks and sandy beaches. Here, you may easily stroll from the city's shopping centre to the well preserved Renaissance castle and further out to the Western Harbour area, for a beautiful view of modern landmarks such as the majestic Øresund Bridge and the twisted skyscraper Turning Torso. In Malmö we share a love for good food and drink, meaning you will never find yourself far from a new taste experience.

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In Malmö there are no musts, only endless possibilities. Within walking distance, you’ll find a rich variety of events, family fun, culture, history and modern art, as well as lush parks and sandy beaches. Here, you may easily stroll from the city’s shopping centre to the well preserved Renaissance castle and further out to the Western Harbour area, for a beautiful view of modern landmarks such as the majestic Øresund Bridge and the twisted skyscraper Turning Torso. In Malmö we share a love for good food and drink, meaning you will never find yourself far from a new taste experience.

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Your 2024 South East Adventure awaits whether it's exploring the stunning coastline of Kent , wine-tasting in Sussex , creating literary stories in Hampshire , or experiencing breathtaking views in Surrey, come and discover a destination full of diversity. Embrace the royal heritage of Berkshire , try tantalising local produce on the Isle of Wight,  explore the great outdoors of Buckinghamshire , discover the charming towns and villages of Oxfordshire , or take to the waves in Dorset, with over 1900 hours of sunshine a year, the South East is one of the warmest regions in the UK. South East England wraps around  London  and with its great travel and transport links, it is easy to combine your stay with a day trip, short break, or holiday to the capital. 

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With a choice of styles and budgets to suit, choose from five-star luxury escapes to the countryside, exciting family holiday parks by the sea, or budget-friendly city centre hotels ideal for exploring with friends, you are sure to find the right accommodation  for your next holiday in South East England.  Special offers mean it doesn't have to cost the earth to visit, and with a host of dog-friendly places to stay everyone can enjoy a getaway. Start looking now, and book the place that's right for you....your next South East adventure awaits.

Discover some of the must-dos and must-see places to visit from around South East England. Follow us on Facebook , Instagram , or X  for news and events for your next visit or holiday. We love sharing your photos and stories too, so don't forget to tag us and use the hashtag #lovesoutheastengland. 

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Our  YouTube channel  is a great way to see what adventures await - home to a host of destination videos that you can take a look at before you travel. Our  blog  and e-newsletters are another great source of ideas, with regular updates around half-term holidays, themes, and special events. Visit our be inspired pages to link up with many of the tourism websites located in the South East of England.

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The 2024 South East event calendar is bursting at the seams. From internationally renowned events welcoming thousands of visitors, to art, music, and cultural festivals bringing colour and excitement to the region. This  May Half Term and Spring Bank Holiday weekend will see the events calendar full of colour and comedy, with over 130+ events across South East England there is something for everyone. Look out for the host of free events, and added-value activities and crafts that all the family can enjoy. Don't miss the chance to taste your way around the region with a visit to one of the many food festivals filling up the event calendar, from chilli and cheese, beer and cider, seafoods and wines, often colliding together art, music, creating festivals to remember. 

Love Anniversaries

2024 is the  80th anniversary of D-Day and many of the cities and attractions who were involved will be hosting events to commemorate this occasion. Many of the events  will focus on the D-Day Story in Portsmouth, as it is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of the 6th June 1944. 2024 is also the 150th anniversary since the birth of Sir Winston Churchill at Blenheim Palace , Oxfordshire, a tribute to his influential life will be celebrated over the year with the chance to meet 'Winstan' on selected dates from May - November.  This year is also 80 years since the world's first large-scale digital computer arrived at Bletchley Park , Buckinghamshire, 75 years since Jane Austen House Museum opened its doors in Hampshire and 50 years since ABBA won Eurovision in Brighton , Sussex.  

2024 also celebrates an amazing 175 years since Hook Norton Brewery was established, keep an eye out for a range of new anniversary beers and special 'ride to the pub' events.  It is also 25 years of the Isle of Wight walking festival which returns for two nine-day festivals in 2024, May and October, and 50 years since Thames Rivercruise  started sailings down the River Thames from Caversham. Did you know that this year is also the 25th anniversary of the Gruffalo, so head to the deep dark woods of  Bedgebury Pinetum to explore their new party trail or visit Kent and East Sussex Railway as it is 50 years since the passenger services resumed in Tenterden. An anniversary party kicks off the celebrations at Watts Gallery - Artist Village , Surrey as it celebrates 120 years since it opened on the 1st April 1904. Look out for lots of anniversary-related events across the South East in 2024.

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South East England is a destination with discovery at its heart. From  family fun , to all-weather year-round attractions , new places to visit , and the countryside that inspired over 7 million literary words, South East England will not disappoint. With 50+ castles, 26 Blue-flag award-winning beaches, 19 piers, 5 cities, and a host of towns and villages each with their own character and feel, you'll never be short of things to do . Mix up your adventures with some free things to do along with pay-for visits, picnics in the rolling countryside, and lunches or dinners out to make the most of your South East visit.

Love Local Produce

Let your taste buds go on a journey of discovery too, try some of the region's refreshing sparkling English wines, with over 140+   wine producers located here, you can enjoy a tasty lunch or dinner overlooking the vines, or indulge a little and discover food choices from around the world when you  eat out somewhere new .  Try Oysters from Whitstable or scallops from Rye, locally brewed beer in Oxfordshire or internationally renowned  gin in Winchester, you will find a host of tasty foods and drinks made in the South East to experience. Along with pick your own, farm shops, local produce markets, award-winning dining, afternoon tea experiences and more.

Love The Great Outdoors

With its 3 million acres of natural beauty South East England is a walker’s paradise.  Choose to explore the two National Parks or nine National Landscapes, all with their outstanding natural beauty . Walk, stroll or saunter along the 11,658 miles of walking trails and paths, discover the 43 nature reserves, or let off steam in the glorious country parks  and  gardens . If you want to try something new whilst here, the South East is home to some exciting  experiences , discover memory-making moments from archery lessons to sunset canoeing, electric bike tours, kayak hire and much more.

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With 400 miles of stunning coastline, there are plenty of coastal towns and cities providing a great backdrop to an escape by the sea. Walk along the stunning  white cliffs , skim stones along the shore, enjoy the breathtaking panorama, and mesmerising sunsets as flocks of starlings dance in the sky - murmurations, (November - March), the South Coast  is sure to delight. You may not know but southern England is full of sandy beaches, from the beautiful East coastline of the Isle of Wight to the sweeping bays on the Isle of Thanet , the dunes of Camber Sands and West Witterings, to the glorious beaches of  Dorset , the gateway between the South East and the South West.     

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Inventor of new york-dublin portal defends creation, laments that debauchery ‘reflects state of humanity’.

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The man behind of the infamous NYC-Dublin portal defended his creation on Monday, saying it’s a “reflection of the current state of humanity” — from the joys of seeing loved ones across the world to lewd gadflies willing to flash their unmentionables at strangers.

“It shows that we humans are doing very human things. It also reflects our current state of humanity,” Benediktas Gylys told The Post during a visit to the Flatiron location Monday.

“We see a lot of light, a lot of laughs, a lot of smiles, love, marriage, proposals. But we also see some attention seeking. Trying to gain followers, gain clicks, gain narratives — some darkness.”

Benediktas Gylys,

“This is the dance of lightness and darkness,” Gylys said.

Gylys stopped by the portal — a large screen livestreaming video between Manhattan and O’Connell Street in the Irish capital — after it was switched back on Sunday.

It had to be shut down less than a week after it opened following bad behavior from both sides of the pond.

While many people visited the portal to dance or politely wave, others used it as an opportunity for some vulgarity — including an OnlyFans model from New Jersey flashing her breasts from the NYC side, and Irish ne’er-do-wells who held up swastikas and pictures of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11 .

After days off the grid, the portal sports new measures to try to keep people’s behavior in check, including limited hours, full-time security, fencing to keep people at a distance, and a black-out feature which blurs the feed if anybody gets too close to the camera.

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Those measures seem to be working out for now, but New Yorkers are already looking for ways to work their way around them.

Leonard Welsh, a 21-year-old college student, stopped by the portal Monday and held his laptop aloft with photos of the British Union Jack flag and former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, hoping to provoke ire on the Irish side.

“A [plainclothes] cop ran up on me and stopped me,” Welsh said. “I just like messing with the Irish since I have Scottish blood.”

People at he Portal located next to the Flatiron Building in Manhattan

But not once during that interaction did the security guard on duty take any action, said Welsh, who added that he’d managed to get close to the camera earlier in the day without the feed blurring out.

He vowed to return later for more mischief.

Visiting New Yorkers were not surprised at all that bad behavior had brought down the portal.

“Unfortunately that’s the sad part about living in New York,” said 48-year-old, Jabari D. “You get something and then two weeks later it’s taken down.”

“That’s just New York. It only takes one person to mess it up.”

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