The South is an often under-explored part of the U.S., however it is rich in history and completely random but totally stellar hidden gems. We put together a list of these places located throughout the Southeast to get you started on that bucket list of cool places to visit with your friends. We start in good ole Kentucky and travel through seven states to finally reach the southern tip of the beautiful sunshine state of Florida. Take a walk on the wild side and go on a road trip with friends, or heck maybe even rent a bus down to Miami and go with a larger group.
Mammoth Cave – Mammoth, KT
There are not many caves in the Southeast that can touch this one with over 400 miles of pure cave to explore, baby. Can you say longest cave in the world? Located just South of Louisville, Mammoth Cave National Park offers a unique experience to explore one of the worldÕs most vast cave systems. With large chambers and long corridors, there is more than enough see. One of these unbelievably awesome cave tours requires the use of headlamps and kneepads. You get to crawl and slither amongst five miles of undeveloped passages. If hiking along a crumbling cave is not your thing, there are other pre-lit, safer options you may pursue. Gather a group together and explore this underground world.
Lost Sea – Sweetwater, TN
Welcome to AmericaÕs largest underground lake. Filled with rare cave flowers and some of the largest trout in North America, fishermen can only dream of spots like this. And not to mention, well you know, the part about it being underground. Located just outside of Knoxville, this rocky locale allows you to explore your dangerous side. Dare devils spend the night in the cavern and explore some of the lesser-seen parts. If slithering amongst crumbling rocks is not your thing, take a tour of the caverns and board a boat to explore the rest of the cave by the Lost Sea. After your exploration, you can relax and regroup at Old Sweetwater Village. Walking along authentic log cabins, you will have the chance to visit their general store, grab yourself a scoop if ice cream, mine for gems and watch some glassblowing. This is the perfect spot for groups like scouts, schools trips, camps or just a group of friends.
Kindred Spirit – Bird Island, NC
I bet you have a secret you donÕt want to hold in. Whether it is someone elseÕs or you have a deep dark secret or your own, there is one place it is totally ok to let it out. Located just North of Myrtle Beach, Bird Island holds something very special to North Carolina. What if I were to tell you there is a mailbox that holds peoples secrets from all around the U.S.?
Right on the beach, there is a mailbox where you can share your innermost thoughts or read about the lives of others. People have traveled from all over the country to write down their thoughts and share it with the world. Although it may seem simple, the mailbox serves as a symbol for hope and allows the power of secret to live on. Be careful what you spill, you never know who might show up.
Oyotunji African Village – Sheldon, SC
Take a second to leave the U.S. and step into a different culture. The Oyotunji African Village is the first international community based out of a West Africa. Based on the practices of Yoruba and Dehomey tribes of West Africa, this village represents the customs and rituals followed by this community. This place is a center for learning, exploring and celebrating ancient practices. This is a great road trip stop to learn more about various art and traditions of the people that inhabit this village. Be polite and plan ahead, they prefer to not be disturbed and know you are coming.
Rock city – Lookout Mountain, GA
Calling all nature lovers. If hiking along gorgeous scenery including hundreds of various trees and plants is something you dream of doing, look no further.
Rock City, located in the northeast section of Georgia, leads you on a trail through a variety of bizarre rock formations distinct in itself. With traditional rock sculptures and formations that incorporate backlight-responsive sculptures, this is one unique attraction you will not want to miss. Famous for their road signs reading ÒSee Rock CityÓ decorated on various barn roofs and side, this is something you will not want to miss on a road trip. Take your family or a group of friends and hike along the rocky trails to end up at the High Falls located in the Rock City Gardens. Lets just say this place truly rocksÉno pun intended.
Colonial Park Cemetery – Savannah, GA
If you have the guts, visit Colonial Park Cemetery. This place has a record of having the most paranormal activity of any cemetery in the United States. Located in South Georgia, Savannah is often considered the most haunted city in America. People travel from all over the country every year to see for themselves if all the paranormal claims are true. Here you can hang out with ghosts and experience paranormal activity. DonÕt believe in that stuff? You will when you leave there. This place has been around since 1750 but many were buried before then and paved over. There are over 10,000 people buried there and barely 1,000 markers. Gee, I wonder why it is so haunted. I would be upset too. My suggestionÉgo with a group. Not a fan of scary stuff? It is also a beautiful locale to visit if you are fond of fine dining and River Street walks.
St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church – Miami, FL
This isnÕt just any Church, but the oldest known building in the Western hemisphere. This ancient place is located in one of FloridaÕs most well known cities, Miami. If you are into visiting reallyÉreally old stuff like we are then you will not be able to turn your head away from this one. These cloisters were built in the 12th century and were originally an apart of a medieval Spanish monastery in Segovia, Spain. Now they make up an Episcopal church. Although the cloisters currently reside in Florida, they didnÕt exactly start out there. For 700 years the cloisters were in Spain, it wasnÕt until 1925 a man by the name of William Randolph Hearst bought them and had them taken apart and shipped in 11,000 separate boxes. Sad for him, they werenÕt put together until after he passed away. Lucky for us, we can still go see them alive in action.
Well there you have it folks, a list of places that you would never know about unless I told you about it right here. All of these locations are great road trip stops and can make any journey 10 times weirder. DonÕt be afraid to seek out those unconventional corners of the world and let your adventurous side speak for itself.