This year’s Escape to the Southeast Travel Guide features several outdoor outings that can allow for social distancing while still having family fun in highly photographic landscapes.
5 TENNESSEE WATERFALLS WORTH THE HIKE
Marvel at natural wonders, cascading water from the highest of heights. Feel the cooling mist as the water pounds into deep pools. It’s time to go chase these Tennessee waterfalls.
Greeter Falls is located within South Cumberland State Park in Palmer. The natural area is one of Tennessee’s most scenic wilderness areas, and Greeter Falls contributes with its 15-foot upper ledge that flows over a 50-foot lower ledge in a plunge pool. With more than 50 miles of hiking trails, bring a picnic and enjoy the views.
The 90-foot Bald River Falls makes its roaring home in the Cherokee National Forest in Tellico Plains. Photographic opportunities are endless, and it is hailed as one of the greatest waterfalls in the region. Visitors can either view the natural wonder from their vehicles or stretch their legs to hike above the falls along the Bald River Gorge.
Rock Island State Park’s Great Falls is a cascading 30-foot horseshoe within the 883-acre Rock Island State Park. Professional freestyle kayakers from around the world try to tame the whitewater under their paddles. Hiking and scenic overlooks can easily fill any afternoon.
You have to take a trip out to Fall Creek Falls in Spencer, one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States at 256 feet. The waterfalls are located in the state park of the same name, Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park with 26,000 acres. Scenic overlooks and a beautiful gorge welcome visitors. More than 60 waterfalls are within a 40-mile radius in this park.
You’ll hear Abrams Falls, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, before you see it. Though the waterfall is only 20 feet high, the volume of water that cascades into the pools below is magnificent to watch. You’ll hike five miles of moderate to difficult terrain round trip. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended as there are narrow log bridges and rocky terrain to maneuver.
A PHOTO FINISH IN THE MOUNTAIN STATE
West Virginia, the Mountain State, is known for its incredible beauty. From sweeping vistas to charming storefronts all around the state are incredible instagrammable spots you won’t find anywhere else.
The West Virginia State Capitol – The West Virginia State Capitol is a beautiful backdrop to any photo with its gold dome and beautifully manured lawns. Any good Instagram account needs a photo with what is considered the most beautiful state capitol in the United States.
Coopers Rock State Forest – A photo at one of Coopers Rock State Forest’s overlooks will provide inspiration to any Instagram account. Visit the Ravens Rock overlook for a spectacular photo of the Cheat River Canyon.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park – A visit to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park may turn into a full out Instagram photoshoot. It has a little bit of everything from picturesque streets, scenic views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, trails and even battlefields for a more unique photo opportunity.
Babcock State Park – No Instagram account is complete without a photo at Babcock State Park especially in the fall with it surrounded by dazzling colored leaves and moody lighting. The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park is also a popular destination for nature and landscape photographers and artists.
Blackwater Falls State Park – Blackwater Falls State Park is one of the most iconic and most photographed sites in the Mountain State so of course it is on this list. Visit Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls, Lindy Point or Pendleton Point for an incredible scenic photo.
Dolly Sods – Dolly Sods is another iconic West Virginia spot. This beautiful area is a rocky, high-altitude plateau with sweeping vistas.
Seneca Rocks – Any photo at Seneca Rocks is sure to create some serious Instagram envy. Seneca Rocks is one of the best-known landmarks in the state and the view it provides is truly breathtaking.
New River Gorge Bridge – The New River Gorge Bridge is the ultimate backdrop to any photo. The New River Gorge Bridge is more than 3,000 feet long, crosses over the New River Gorge and is the longest steel-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere so it’s a must to get a picture here.
Summersville Lake – Known as “The Little Bahamas of the East” any picture you at Summersville Lake will be gorgeous. Its huge cliffs and clear water will truly awe your Instagram followers.
SANDY RIVER OUTDOOR ADVENTURE RESORT
Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort in central Virginia is a one-of-a-kind, outdoor lover’s mecca, featuring the largest tree-top adventure park as well as unique on-site guest lodging experiences. Over 60 high ropes obstacles and 20 zip-lines, suitable for ages 7 and up, traverse the family-owned-and-operated 23-acre farm. Guests can also enjoy meeting the farm animals, pick veggies from the seasonal garden and collect eggs from the resident hens. The adventure does not stop there; you also can paddle the tranquil waters of the nearby Sandy River Reservoir or take a comfy trail cruiser bike out to the beautiful High Bridge State Park.
Make your visit a unique getaway experience and enjoy a relaxing stay in a comfy log cabin or in a luxury glamping tipi. All properties are fully furnished, air-conditioned and heated, outfitted with kitchens, Wi-Fi and grills. The unique glamping tipis look fairly simplistic (albeit large) from the outside, but as soon as you walk through the door, it’s safe to say your expectations will be blown away. The tipis each have a different setup, holding up to six people in the largest glamping tipi. Inside, you’ll find separate bedrooms, full bathrooms with showers, kitchens and even living room areas complete with TVs and couches. While you’ll have a campfire area right outside your tipi, you’re definitely not “roughing it” when staying at these swanky structures.
Designed for outdoorsy, fun-loving people, a trip to Sandy River Outdoor Adventures is an experience the whole family will enjoy.