Southeast Travel

Nearby Vacation Treasures Prove It Is Both the Journey and the Destination

When it’s time to sneak away and find hidden treasures off the beaten path, we’re fortunate to live in a region rich in culture and personality. In the Southeast, even the smallest towns can be home to a bounty of historic sites and alluring attractions. So if you’re hoping to find a perfect getaway, peruse this selection of not-to-be-missed attractions in nearby towns and create your ideal hideaway.

Genuine Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, TN

 

Experience Gatlinburg like never before. From mountaintop adventures and breathtaking vistas to amazing museums and family fun, Gatlinburg offers world-class attractions in the beautiful setting of the Great Smoky Mountains. Perennial family favorites like Ober Gatlinburg and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! are steeped in tradition, while newer offerings like Anakeesta and the SkyBridge make for exciting additions to your bucket list. Plan your adventure at gatlinburg.com.

 

BRAVE THE BRIDGE

For spectacular views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, head to the brand-new SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. Spanning 680 feet, the SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

 

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF THE MOUNTAINS

Offering a scenic vantage point and outdoor adventure, Anakeesta is a theme park for all ages. Park highlights include a tree canopy walk, botanical garden, and the magical Firefly Village. Thrill seekers will enjoy the dueling zip line and a new single-rail mountain coaster.

 

PLAY

Ober Gatlinburg is known for the Aerial Tram, which takes passengers on a scenic two-mile trip from downtown to a land of family fun. Spend the day exploring the wildlife habitat, riding the Ski Mountain Coaster, or trying out the new summer tubing park.

 

RIDE RAPIDS

Fun abounds at every speed on the Pigeon River! Gather up the family for a heart-pumping whitewater rafting experience, where you’ll choose between family-friendly floats and rushing rapids.

 

BELIEVE IT – OR NOT

See the weirdest and most remarkable items from around the world at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! This attraction has been recently renovated to feature even more unique exhibits, interactive activities, crazy art, and incredible creatures.

Awesome Alpharetta

Alpharetta, GA

 

Perfectly positioned between metropolitan Atlanta and the enchanting North Georgia mountains, Alpharetta is ripe for adventure. With award-winning parks, hiking and biking trails, farmers markets, and arboretums, this city is known as a family-friendly, outdoor destination. After a day of exploring, you’ll find locally owned, chef-driven restaurants, tons of shopping, free concerts, and a vibrant nightlife – there’s always something fun going on in Alpharetta! Plan your adventure at awesomealpharetta.com. 

 

EAT & SHOP

Alpharetta has three shopping and dining districts featuring more than 250 stores and over 200 restaurants: Avalon, Downtown, and North Point Mall. After a trip to the mall, park your car at Avalon or Downtown and enjoy the walkability between these two districts. The city’s open-container ordinance in these areas allows visitors to enjoy a craft brew or vino while strolling from shop to shop. 

 

MAKE AN ACTION FIGURE

Create your very own action figure at MiniMe Factory! Using 3D technology to capture you just the way you are, MiniMe will construct your own lifelike miniature action statuette. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before.

GET ARTSY

Alpharetta’s ever-expanding arts scene includes murals downtown, public sculptures in Brooke Street Park, hands-on art studio experiences, and a new arts center that opened in 2018 with galleries and exhibits.

 

CATCH A SHOW

Enjoy a concert at one of the live music venues in Alpharetta – the 12,000-capacity Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, The Velvet Note, or under the pavilion at Chukkar Farm. The Brooke Street Park Summer Concert Series brings free music to the lawn on Saturdays from May through October.

 

STAY

Spend the night (or week!) at one of Alpharetta’s 26 modern and affordable hotels.

 

 

The Fabulous Forgotten Coast

Franklin County, Florida

 

Franklin County is open for the business of adventure. The charming communities of Apalachicola, St. George Island, Carrabelle, Eastpoint, and Alligator Point make up the Forgotten Coast – a protected oasis with pristine beaches, wooded trails, and scenic paddling sloughs. Here, you’ll enjoy fishing, kayaking, swimming, discovering heritage sites, and of course, sampling fresh Apalachicola Bay seafood. Plan your adventure at floridasforgottencoast.com/opn.

 

FEAST ON SEAFOOD

Foodies agree that Apalachicola Bay oysters are among the best in the world. Wild-caught or farm-grown, fresh oysters along with shrimp and daily-caught fish are available at more than 30 area restaurants and seafood markets.

 

STAY

There are no high rises along Florida’s Forgotten Coast – just family-friendly vacation dwellings. Accommodations range from quaint beach cottages and historic inns to luxurious gulf front villas and riverfront suites.

 

GET FACE-TO-FACE WITH WILDLIFE

The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and Visitor Center in Eastpoint features a wooded boardwalk trail, as well as touch tanks and displays for children to get up close and personal to marine life.

 

TRAVEL THROUGH TIME

Take a self-guided walking tour of historic Apalachicola or rent a golf cart to see the area’s most notable home sites. Visitors can also climb the county’s two historic lighthouses to get a bird’s eye view of the Forgotten Coast.

 

SOAK UP THE SUN

No visit to Florida would be complete without a day at the beach! Visitors will appreciate that the St. George Island State Park beach ranks among the top in the United States. The park features nine miles of undeveloped shoreline and has some of the region’s finest birdwatching opportunities and camping facilities.

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