Natural Hidden Gems in the South

Get off the beaten path and explore some of the South's hidden gems.

There have been many songs written about the charm of riding down an old dirt road, but what would you really find after traversing those bends and bumps?

What lies at the end of the road are not the results of a Google search query, “fun things to do in the South.” The Lowcountry is home to some hidden gems and natural treasures that cannot be found anywhere else, far less a Google search. Here are a few reasons to take the road less traveled by. 


📍Goodale State Park

1. Goodale State Park

Somewhere almost smack-dab in the middle of South Carolina is a Civil War-era mill pond filled with old, enchanting cypress trees. This paddler’s paradise offers a three-mile canoe trail that winds through aquatic plants, offering a unique, close-up encounter with marsh wildlife. This little-known trail is the best way to grab your canoe and get gone.


📍Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, FL/ Photo courtesy of Three Sisters Springs

2. Three Sister Springs

If you have been lucky enough to spot an elusive manatee bumbling along a coastal waterway, you might understand the majestic, mystical quality this fascinating marine mammal possesses. Manatees flock by the hundreds to Three Sisters Springs in the winter, seeking refuge in the warm waters. The park provides land access, but visitors may also access the park by water.


📍Butterfly Sanctuary, Pine Mountain, GA

3. Cecil B. Day Butterfly Sanctuary

Todo, we’re not in Georgia anymore. The glass-enclosed, meticulously gardened sanctuary creates an air of pure magic as butterflies flutter about. Hear the sound of 1,000 butterfly wing-beats and see a myriad of color swirl like nowhere else in North America.