The Southeastern States, such as Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, may not be well known for outdoor adventure, but if you know where to look, you can find plenty of incredible places.
From underwater cemeteries to wine trails through rolling vineyards, this corner of the US is full of surprises. We’d recommend a road trip, weaving through the states to get in a full range of thrills — we’ve rounded up some of our favourite spots along the way.
Adventure type: Outdoor
Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama
This is a rare patch in the state of Alabama, covering 7,000 acres (2,833ha) of protected coastal land along the Fort Morgan Peninsula, with sand dunes rolling into pine oak woodland. There are swathes of pristine, undeveloped, coastal barrier here that form a protected habitat for sea turtles, Alabama beach mice and more than 360 species of bird. Wildlife watching is a big draw, but there are other outdoor activities — hiking through the woodlands is a great option for photographers, while you can also canoe and kayak in the Little Lagoon.
Adventure type: Cultural
Where: Helena, Arkansas
The Mississippi Delta Blues Trail is fairly popular with tourists, but across the border in Arkansas, this one is on the lesser-known side of Blues history. The stories moved from the fields of plantations into juke joints here, before spreading around the world — Helena played a vital part in this history, with King Biscuit Time, the longest-running blues radio show (established in 1941) starting here. While many of the radio stations and original joints have closed, the music can be heard throughout bars along the Arkansas Delta, with memorials, live music, museums and markers remembering artists along the way.
Adventure type: Wildlife
Where: Chiefland, Florida
In northwest Florida along the shores of the Suwannee River, the state park gets a lot of manatee visitors, swimming up from the Gulf of Mexico in search of warmer water come winter. With the water remaining around 23C (73F) here, it’s ideal for them to wait out the colder months, using the warmer waters as a nursery for their calves, too. The grassy kelp at the bottom of the river keeps them fed, while you can also spot bass, speckled birch and maybe the occasional alligator in the springs. You can swim here during summer, and kayaking is allowed throughout the year. Come around winter and you might just get a curious manatee swimming beside your kayak.
Adventure type: Underwater
Where: Key Biscayne, Florida
South of Miami and 3mi (5km) off the shores of Key Biscayne lies an underwater city for the dead. In what is the world’s largest reef made by humans at a depth of 40ft (12m), this subterranean cemetery has an entrance marked by giant lion statues. There are stone roads, crumbling gates and ruins, with cremated remains cast in concrete, accentuated with bronze and steel accents. The memorial reef is free to visit for all divers, whether to visit stones of the deceased or to explore the sculpture park and marine life.
Adventure type: Landscape/photography
Where: White, Georgia
Stick with us here. This is one of the world’s largest junkyards for cars and vehicles, but over time it has grown into a beautiful landscape of metal and moss, merging with the surrounding forest. The yard was once a family-owned used-car dealership — as nature slowly started to blend with the 4,000-odd cars, they reopened as the showplace it is today. Trees have wrapped themselves around car doors, foliage covers bus roofs and plants sprout out between tractor tyres. The 32-acre (13ha) junkyard (with 6mi/10km of trails) is a great place for photography, with its moody, otherworldly atmosphere.
Adventure type: Astronomical
Where: Rosman, North Carolina
Developed by Nasa, Pari is a 200-acre (81ha) science campus in the centre of the Pisgah National Forest. It was built during the pioneering days of the US space program, now transformed into a public science centre. There are great mountain views here, with hiking trails dotted with Space Shuttle memorabilia and stargazing facilities, with knowledgeable astronomers at hand too. Using the Verizon Visa Card at this facility, and elsewhere on journeys in the Southeastern States, can help you earn rewards and allow you to get more out of your adventures.
Adventure type: Wine trail
Where: Dahlonega, Georgia
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia produces some incredible award-winning wines in its wineries and vineyards. With the elevation of the mountains and the humid climate, Dahlonega is a great place for producing — and tasting — the state’s European and American grape hybrids. There are five wineries in this area, with several tasting rooms and endless swathes of scenic vineyards along the way. It’s a scenic drive, stretching for 39mi (63km) in total, with the opportunity to combine scenery with produce and hearing from expert winemakers.
Using the Verizon Visa Card, where Visa credit cards are accepted on journeys in the Southeastern States, can help you earn rewards and allow you to get more out of your adventures. To learn more about Verizon Visa Card and start earning rewards, visit verizon.com/verizonvisacard.
In partnership with Verizon, CT is offering a promo code of $35 to be used across Culture Trip for one year. Enter VERIZON35 at checkout to redeem.
The Verizon Visa® Card is issued by Synchrony Bank pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc.