Wild Wonderlands: 5 Scenic Places in the US

Jocelyn Murray April 10, 2015 No Comments



Cumberland Island National Seashore – Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore
photo by Doug Anderson

Gnarled live oaks hanging with Spanish moss, unspoiled beaches, and a diverse population of birds, plants and animals including wild horses live at Cumberland Island National Seashore. At 17 miles long by 3 miles at its widest point, this Atlantic barrier island is found off the coast of Georgia.  Nature lovers will delight in its white sand beach, dunes, tidal mudflats, creeks, marshes and sun-speckled woods. It was once owned by the Carnegie family whose mansions still stand on part of the island, as do moss-clung ruins that only enhance the wild romance of this place. It can be reached by ferry from St. Mary’s, Georgia.


Congaree National Park – South Carolina

Congaree National Park
photo by Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 3.0

The old-growth trees at Congaree National Park in South Carolina steal the show here. Second only to California’s giant sequoias in height, the trees are the tallest around. This protected wilderness is home to river otters, heron, flying squirrels, box turtles, wild boar and close to 200 species of birds. Walking through the magnificent old-growth oaks, beeches, sycamores and bald cypresses is like stepping back into prehistoric times. Part of the hiking trails are on elevated boardwalks due to the natural flooding of the area several times a year. With its meandering creeks, swampy floodplains and sunlight drifting through the soaring arched canopy above, one can almost imagine dinosaurs inhabiting the area.


Fall Creek Falls State Park – Tennessee

Fall Creek Falls State Park
photo by Brian Stansberry / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fall Creek Falls State Park is a scenic wonderland with dramatic natural formations including secluded trails through oak, hickory and mountain laurel trees, caves systems, swing bridges over gorges, limestone sinkholes, and streams met by cascades and waterfalls. There is backcountry camping (by permit) as well as an inn with restaurant, and cabin rentals. This state park has a wild and rugged beauty that is a haven for hikers.


George Washington National Forest – Virginia, West Virginia

George Washington National Forest
photo by Jarek Mazur

There are many places named after the first president of the United States, and George Washington National Forest is one of them. Its accessibility to city folks draws people who love the majesty of the great outdoors. Stretching along the Appalachians with deep valleys, wooded ridges, and rivers, this is a wonderful place for fishing, horseback riding, hunting, canoeing and camping. It is also one of the best places to hike, as the panoramic views are simply spectacular, especially when autumn approaches and the leaves change into dazzling colors.


Green Mountain National Forest – Vermont

Green Mountain National Forest
photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC BY-SA 2.0

This wilderness wonderland encompasses more than 620 square miles of scenic beauty. It has everything from rugged mountains and forestation, to wetlands, ponds, streams and lakes. There are three major trails along with a network of smaller trails that are perfect for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and snow sports in winter like snowmobiling, cross-country skilling and snowshoeing. Camping, boating and fishing are also to be found here. This is a great place to see wildlife like moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, beavers and turtles. The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful.

avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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