The Wild South

The Wild South
Words by Shelly Brown

Photos by Nick Simonite, Ethan Reuter, Neemias Seare, and Josh Hild

The Resurrection of the Road Trip.

After a season of being house-bound, we are ready to get back outside and get our Vitamin D and Vitamin Sea in a safe and active way. With our desires of wanderlust battling our desires to stay close to home, this is the perfect time to rediscover the South as our greatest vacation spotno plane ticket necessary. We have gathered a list of some of the best locations you may not realize are in our own backyards. No need to travel halfway across the globethese stunning locations are only a road trip away!


Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail Anniston, Alabama 

The trail system at Coldwater Mountain is ever-expanding, and it already offers some of the greatest trail diversity in the Southeast.

Oak Mountain State Park Birmingham, Alabama

Mountain biking and hiking are two of the most popular activities at the park. With more than 50 miles of trails visitors have plenty of options to choose from, don’t forget to shop local and take advantage of curb side pick up from one of the many award winning restaurants that Birmingham has to offer.

Santos Mountain Ocala, Florida 

81,290 acres of pure off-road riding bliss. Santos is the largest and best known mountain biking park in the Ocala, Florida area.

Unicoi State Park & Lodge Helen, Georgia

Mountain biking would be a great angle for this property, as its trails are designed for the Olympics and considered high difficulty! 

Crater of Diamonds State Park Murfreesboro, Arkansas

This is one of the coolest state parks in America. People can come here and mine for diamonds and other precious stones. Not to mention the fact that you get to keep what you find! If you are looking for an interactive place to go, check this park out!

Fantastic Pit Walker County, Georgia

Below the surface of the ground, a pit as deep as the Seattle Space Needle terrifies some and intrigues others.

Southeast Mountain Guides Campton, Kentucky

A via ferrata—climbing route that employs steel cables, rungs, or ladders, fixed to the rock—along a mountain in Kentucky is a trip with no match. 

Mississippi Petrified Forest Flora, Mississippi

The only petrified forest in the southeast—and one of the few in the whole U.S.—this is a forest that is a whole new world waiting to be explored. 

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio, Texas

Check out the natural limestone sculptures beneath the ground in San Antonio. Numerous tours are sold, and you can also go spelunking. Aboveground, Natural Bridge has mazes, ziplines, and sifting for fossils and gemstones. 

Massanutten Resort Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

A beloved ski resort and home to the most vertical drop in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania at 2,922 feet of elevation. Experienced skiers and riders are welcome to take on Massanutten Resort’s 70 skiable acres, which includes 14 runs serviced by seven lifts, wide-groomed trails, terrain parks and night skiing. 


Devils River Del Rio, Texas

Gracing our cover and named for its rugged terrain and jagged underwater limestone features, this spring-fed beauty replicates the exotic feel of the Mediterranean, in the beauty of West Texas. 

White Sand Beaches Gulf of Mexico

The curve of the Florida panhandle is a must-see for the sand alone. The white sand crystal is some of the softest sand in the world. A rich history of quartz washed downriver from the Appalachian Mountains and churned into flawless sand by the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. And if you are a resident southerner, no plane ticket is necessary for a day trip. See this geological wander at South Walton Beaches in Florida, or in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama.

Surfing Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Jacksonville Beach has a strong surfing tradition boasting some of the best year-round surfing in Florida. During summer, Atlantic Beach is an ideal spot for beginners. Travel south to Jacksonville Beach, near the Jacksonville Beach Pier, to find abundant sand breaks at the end of every beach access. For surfers seeking the area’s largest, most challenging swells, plan a visit for fall or spring.


The Southern Highroads Trail 

Experience the scenic beauty, diversity and rich history found through 4 Southern States as you travel the 360-mile route. The entire trail takes about three days to complete, and includes the Georgia cities of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Chatsworth, Blairsville, Young Harris, Hiawassee, Clayton, Dillard and Mountain City. This route features mountain views, valley drives, historic towns and farmlands.

The Blue Ridge Parkway 

More than a scenic byway, this 469-mile route from North Carolina to Virginia winds through the Great Smoky Mountains. The parkway begins approximately 1 ½ hours from Blue Ridge in Cherokee, North Carolina. Take Spur 60 to Murphy, North Carolina, then Hwy 74/19 north through Andrews and Nantahala. 

Natchez Trace Parkway 

The lovely 444-mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway meanders through 18 communities from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi, following an old trading road with beautiful scenery and historical sites

Old Saint Augustine St. Augustine, Florida

Wander through the oldest part of Saint Augustine, where you can visit the oldest continually inhabited town in the U.S. Check out a school house that has been functioning since the Europeans first colonized Florida.