From huge wildernesses that take your breath away to cool urban outdoor spaces, the South has got ‘great’ covered.
To the average Brit, the term “the great outdoors” conjures up scenes of wind-buffeted peaks and dales. But ask Americans about getting outdoors and they are much less predictable, which is hardly surprising given the staggering range of terrains – desert, swamp, prairie, rainforest, mountain – in the South alone.
Add in the variety of urban parks, gardens, biking trails and cityscapes on offer and there really is no excuse for staying in.
Arriving in a great gateway city opens up opportunities to sightsee and enjoy the very best food and culture as well as a wilderness adventure.
In Virginia, for example, you can soak up history as you walk or bike among the monuments of Washington, D.C.’s National Mall and enjoy a picnic in the National Arboretum.
Then, less than two hours’ drive away, Shenandoah National Park is a haven of woodland, wildlife and waterfalls with spectacular mountain views.
Blazing a trail
Black bears roam the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is divided by the Appalachian Trail.
Fly into Atlanta and start by walking or biking the Atlanta BeltLine, an amazing project in which a 22-mile old railway corridor around the city is being turned into a trail taking in parks, green spaces, outdoor art and more.
Trace of time
Fly into Jackson, Mississippi and enjoy canoeing and exploring the nature trails in LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.
For serious walking, head out to the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 440-mile forest trail following ancient buffalo paths, used for hundreds of years by Native Americans and steeped in local blues history.
Majesty in 3D
America Wild: National Parks Adventure, a 3D documentary, is released this year to mark the centenary of the U.S. National Park Service.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Greg MacGillivray and narrated by Robert Redford, the film takes audiences on a journey deep into the heart of the most stunning scenery in the USA.
The stars of this IMAX® 3D show are the giant redwoods, erupting geysers and towering mesas that make the national parks featured – including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Arches – so remarkable.