My Outdoorsy Southeast USA Bucket List

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This winter (last winter, now) instead of making a yearly state to-do list, I decided to just make a bigger state bucket list.  Then I decided to turn this into a little series.  I wanted to do specific states that I spend a lot of time in, want to spend a lot of time in, or am close to a lot.

I also wanted to do more general regional bucket lists for all the other things I want to do, which is a lot.  They are all pretty outdoor focused with a few non-outdoorsy things, too.

Next up in this little series is the southeast!  This is a region I would love to see a lot more of, so I’m very excited to work on this southeast bucket list!  I already have a post for Florida and North Carolina, so they won’t be included here.

As I do things and write posts for them, I’ll update this to link back to those.  If I do something and don’t have a post, I’ll just cross it out.

I would like to do one a month with 12 total.  These bucket lists are partially to help me keep track of things, but also to inspire you to get out there, too.   

Bucket list posts


Alabama bucket list

First up on our southeast US bucket list is Alabama, a state I’ve had little desire to visit and honestly still do. I would like to go and hike there but other than that, it’s going to take some convincing to get on board.

And I don’t say all that to be negative, just keeping it real here. I want to see it but there are a lot of other places I would like to go first. Maybe on a drive up to Wisconsin I’ll squeeze some things in here.

  • Explore Little River Canyon National Preserve
  • Visit the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville
  • Visit Noccalula Falls Park
  • Visit Unclaimed Baggage, the only lost luggage store in the world
  • Visit the Gulf Shore
  • Explore Dismals Canyon
  • Hike in Oak Mountain State Park
  • Visit DeSoto State Park
  • Climb Cheaha Mountain
  • Visit the Moundville Archeological Park
  • Explore Cathedral Caverns
  • Relax on Dauphin Island
  • Admire the fall colors
  • Kayak to see eagles at the Coastal Bird Fest
  • Do a ghost tour in Birmingham
  • See the Jordan-Hare-Sized meteor crater
  • Defy gravity on Gravity Hill Road (here’s an explanation of these gravity spots)
  • Explore Wind Creek State Park
Hot springs national park arkansas in the fall

Arkansas bucket list

I’ll start this saying, the only thing I’ve done in Arkansas is visit Hot Springs National Park but from what I saw driving through the state, it looks beautiful.

I feel like this is another outdoor hidden gem and one I would love to explore more of. But where don’t I want to explore more of, really?

  • Visit Hot Springs National Park
  • Paddle down the Buffalo National River when the dogwoods are blooming
  • Look for the mysterious Gurdon Light
  • Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park
  • Attend the Johnson County Peach Festival
  • Kayak on the Mulberry River
  • Do the Talimena Scenic Drive
  • Go to The Blytheville Book Company (formerly That Bookstore)
  • Climb Pinnacle Mountain
  • Hike on Petit Jean Mountain
  • See Six Finger Falls
  • Visit Bayou Bartholomew, the longest Bayou in the world
  • Explore the Arkansas Grand Canyon
  • Visit Devil’s Den State Park
  • Stay in a haunted hotel in Eureka Springs (Crescent and Basin Park Hotels)
  • Drive the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop
  • See Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls
  • Explore Blanchard Springs Caverns
  • Drive the Scenic 7 Byway
  • Drive the Greers Ferry Loop to Pinnacle Mountain
  • Drive the Arkansas section of the Great River Road
  • Drive the Pig Trail
  • Hike to the Hawksbill Crag
  • Hike White Rock Mountain
  • Watch the sunrise (or set) at Mount Nebo
  • See Eden Falls
  • See Cedar Falls
  • Visit Mount Magazine
  • Explore the Richland Wildnerness area

Georgia bucket list

I’m so close to Georgia now that we live in Florida and I definitely want to head up there to do all the hikes, see all the waterfalls, and visit Helen.

There’s a lot more to do in Georgia than I realized and I want to do all of it. Since it’s so close now, hopefully I’ll be able to get cracking on crossing off this Georgia bucket list.

  • Hike up Brasstown Bald
  • Bike the Silver Comet Trail
  • Walk the 270-foot swinging bridge over to Toccoa River
  • See Jacks Creek Falls
  • Explore Savannah
  • Visit Cumberland Island
  • See Tallulah Gorge State Park
  • Paddle through the Okefenokee Swamp
  • See the tiny doors in Atlanta
  • Explore Cloudland Canyon State Park
  • Visit Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island
  • Explore Providence Canyon to feel like you’re in Utah
  • Visit Helen to feel like you’re in Europe
  • Go to the Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race
  • Explore Fort Mountain State Park
  • Paddle around George L. Smith State Park
  • Explore Indian Springs State Park
  • Do a ghost tour in Savannah
  • Visit Stephen C. Foster State Park
  • See the Etowah Indian Mounds
  • See the world’s largest peanut
  • Go to the Georgia Peach Festival
  • See Wormsloe Plantation and Bonaventure Cemetery
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Explore Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area
  • Drive the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway
  • Drive the Meriweather-Pike Scenic Byway
  • Drive the Colonial Coast Birding Trail
  • Visit the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
  • Drive the Ridge Valley Scenic Tour
  • Visit Amicalola Falls State Park
  • Explore Chattahoochee Bend State Park
  • See Helton Creek Falls
  • See Raven Cliff Falls
  • See Anna Ruby Falls
  • See Minnehaha Falls (not to be confused with the one in Minnesota)

Louisiana bucket list

Louisiana is another state I’ve driven through a million times but have done nothing but sleep in. It’s also another state I would like to see more of now that I live close-ish by.

I want to eat literally everything there, see New Orleans, hike the trails, and get back into the swamp. I may hate the roads there but it’s a place I’m very curious about.

  • See Oak Alley Plantation
  • Take a New Orleans Jazz Cruise
  • Go for an airboat ride in the Atchafalaya Basin
  • Visit Lake Martin
  • Eat beignets at Cafe du Monde
  • Explore the Kisatchie Bayou
  • Visit Jean Lafitte National Historic Park
  • Visit during Mardi Gras
  • Paddle on Caddo Lake
  • Take a New Orleans ghost tour
  • Visit Grand Isle
  • Explore Sabine National Wildlife Refuge
  • Eat some gumbo
  • Drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
  • Ride a streetcar in New Orleans
  • Visit the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • Drive the Creole Nature Trail
  • Hike the Wild Azalea Trail
  • Visit the Barataria Preserve
  • Explore Lake Claiborne State Park
  • Drive the San Bernardo Scenic Byway
  • Drive the Toledo Bend Forest Scenic Byway
  • Explore Sam Houston Jones State Park
  • Visit Chemin-A-Haut State Park
  • Drive the Louisiana section of the Great River Road
  • Drive the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway
Photo by Margaret River

Kentucky bucket list

I don’t know how many times I’ve driven through Kentucky without having done anything there. I know almost nothing about it but I do know I want to go hike all the trails there.

I also want to go back to spend a night at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium but I won’t lie, I’m a little terrified to do that. But I will do it someday! And Mammoth Cave, of course.

  • Visit Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Do a haunted tour at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium
  • Go to the Kentucky Derby
  • Drink mint juleps
  • Drive the Bourbon Trail
  • Look for a moonbow at Cumberland Falls
  • Hike up Black Mountain
  • Stay in a castle at Castlepost in Versailles
  • Explore the Red River Gorge
  • Visit Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  • Explore Breaks Interstate Park
  • See Broke Leg Falls
  • See Eagle Falls
  • Explore Carr Creek State Park
  • Visit Carter Caves State Resort Park
  • Explore the Columbus Belmont State Park
  • Drive Kentucky Highway 68 from Maysville to Paducah
  • Visit Wickliffe
  • Do a Louisville ghost tour
  • Drive the Duncan Hines Scenic Byway
  • Explore Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
  • Drive the Kentucky section of the Great River Road
  • Visit Cumberland Gap
  • See Cumberland Falls
  • See Princess Falls
  • See Torrent Falls
  • See Flat Lick Falls

Mississippi bucket list

The only thing I’ve done in Mississippi is spend the night at an Airbnb in Hattiesburg on the drive from Utah to Florida once. It was dark out, we left early, that’s all I know of it.

But I want to go back for two major things: to drive the Natchez Trace and to drive the Great River Road along the Mississippi River all the way up to Minnesota.

  • Drive the Natchez Trace
  • Take the ferry to Ship Island
  • Explore Clark Creek Nature Area
  • Visit the Petrified Forest
  • Follow the Tamale Trail
  • Visit Mississippi’s Little Grand Canyon
  • Explore Tishomingo State Park
  • Climb Woodall Mountain
  • Drive the Mississippi section of the Great River Road
  • See wildflowers bloom on the Wildflower Trail on US 51
  • Drive the Blues Highway
  • Drive the Secret Pearl River Run
  • Drive Highway 605
  • Drive the Grenada Lake Loop
  • Drive Beach Boulevard (Old Highway 1)
  • Drive Scenic Highway 18
  • Visit Gulf Islands National Seashore
hiking in congaree national park

South Carolina bucket list

Now that I’m living in Florida, I’m hoping to see more of South Carolina, too, since it’s not all that far away. I want to go back to Congaree, do all the ghost tours, and hike everything.

I feel like this is a state I’ll find so much more that I want to do in once I actually go and do more things there. But really that’s probably a lot of these.

  • Explore Charleston
  • Visit Myrtle Beach
  • Visit Congaree National Park
  • Explore Table Rock State Park
  • Visit Caesars Head State Park
  • Drive the Falling Waters Scenic Byway
  • Drive the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway
  • Explore Hunting Island State Park
  • Explore Huntington Island State Park
  • Visit Jones Gap State Park
  • Visit Fort Sumter
  • Drive the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway
  • Drive the Savannah River National Scenic Byway
  • Visit Poinsett State Park
  • Paddle on Lake Jocassee
  • Visit Boneyard Beach
  • Relax on Hilton Head
  • Look for dolphins at Hilton Head
  • Visit Burkes Beach on Hilton Head
  • Visit Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve by Folly Beach
  • Relax on Crescent Beach
  • See synchronized fireflies at Congaree National Park
  • See Venus Flytraps at the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve
  • Visit Botany Bay
  • Do a Charleston ghost tour
  • See the Angel Oak in Charleston
Rocky fork state park tennessee

Tennessee bucket list

If any one state on this list is high on my own southeast US bucket list, it’s Tennessee, simply for all of the waterfalls, state parks, scenic drives, and hiking options.

It also has Memphis and Nashville, two must-visit cities for music lovers, and of course, the ultimate tourist town (I mean that in the most loving way) of Gatlinburg outside of the most visited national park.

  • Visit Rocky Fork State Park
  • Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
  • Enjoy country music in Nashville
  • Admire the view from Lookout Mountain
  • Visit Ruby Falls
  • Check out the murals in Nashville
  • Explore Burgess Falls State Park
  • Explore Fall Creek Falls State Park
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Drive “The Dragon” road on US-129
  • Visit Frozen Head State Park
  • Drive the Jack Trail
  • Explore Nashville
  • Drive the Promised Land Trail
  • Visit Cummins Falls State Park
  • Drive the Antebellum Trail
  • Drive the Upper Cumberland Wine Trail
  • Hike the Mountain Goat Trail
  • Explore Memphis
  • Visit South Cumberland State Park
  • Visit Dunbar Cave State Park
  • Visit Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
  • Drive the Middle Tennessee Waterfall Trail
  • Explore Short Springs State Natural Area
  • See Rutledge Falls
  • Visit South Cumberland State Park
  • See Greeter Falls
  • Explore Rock Island State Park
  • Do a Franklin ghost tour
  • Explore Cumberland Caverns
  • Explore the Bone Cave State Natural Area
  • Drive the Little River Road
  • Drive the Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway
  • See Altamont Falls
  • See Twin Falls
  • Drive the Cherohala Skyway
  • Go to the Grand Ole Opry
  • Explore Grundy State Forest
  • Drive to the top of Roan Mountain
  • Drive the Tennessee section of the Great River Road
  • Drive the Ocoee Scenic Byway
  • See Ozone Falls
  • Hike the Twin Arches Trail at Big South Fork
  • See Carmac Falls
  • See Machine Falls
  • See Sink Creek Falls

Virginia bucket list

I don’t know much about Virginia other than Washington DC and Shenandoah but there are a lot of state parks and hikes here I would like to see and do.

This outdoor-focused Virginia bucket list is sure to get you out into nature to see what else it has to offer. Plus, there is the Blue Ridge Parkway and a surprising number of ghost tours.

  • Visit First Landing State Park
  • Explore Sky Meadows State Park
  • Explore Grayson Highlands State Park
  • Make a wish at the Luray Caverns Wishing Pool
  • See Cascade Falls
  • Do a Williamsburg ghost tour
  • See Crabtree Falls
  • Go for a hot air balloon ride over Woodstock
  • Explore Occoneechee State Park
  • Visit Natural Tunnel State Park
  • See Mount Vernon
  • Relax at Westmoreland State Park
  • Go stargazing at Staunton River State Park
  • Visit the Grand Canyon of the South at Breaks Interstate Park
  • Visit Pocahontas State Park
  • Do a Virginia Beach ghost tour
  • See the Natural Bridge
  • Visit Shenandoah National Park
  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Do a ghost tour in Lexington
  • Climb Mount Rogers
  • See Great Falls
  • Hike the Strickler Knob Trail
  • Hike White Oak Canyon Falls
  • Explore George Washington National Forest
  • Drive Route 5 out of Richmond
  • Visit Grayson Highlands State Park
  • Drive Skyline Drive

West Virginia bucket list

Finally, West Virginia. I think this is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. I didn’t realize how much hiking there is to do here, all the waterfalls and state parks.

Plus, it’s home to Mothman and not one, but two places for ghost hunting: the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and the West Virginia Penitentiary. We didn’t get to do much here on our trip through but I would love to go back so I can see more and cross more off my southeast USA bucket list.

  • See Harpers Ferry
  • Visit New River Gorge National Park
  • See the New River Gorge Bridge
  • Explore the Seneca Caverns
  • Relax at the Salt Cave and Spa
  • Paddle the Cheat River Water Trail
  • Ride the Cass Scenic Railroad
  • Hike the Endless Wall Trail
  • See the world’s largest teapot in Chester
  • Drive the Route 60 Midland Trail
  • Drive Route 32 through Canaan Valley
  • Explore Blackwater Falls State Park
  • Explore Hawks Nest State Park
  • Climb the Via Ferrata
  • Do a ghost tour at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
  • Do a ghost tour at the West Virginia Penitentiary
  • Go stargazing at Spruce Knob
  • Drive the Highland Scenic Highway
  • Hike to Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory
  • See the Mothman in Point Pleasant
  • Relax at the Berkeley Springs
  • Go rock climbing at Seneca Rocks
  • Visit Beech Fork State Park
  • Go to the Morgantown Hot Air Balloon Festival
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Explore Lost World Caverns

Have you done any of these?  Which ones?  Anything I should add to my Southeast bucket list?

5 thoughts on “My Outdoorsy Southeast USA Bucket List

  1. Oh my goodness this must have taken aaaages to put together! I am so impressed with your planning. I have a list like this in my head of places I’d like to see in BC, but the more I visit, the more I discover, so the list keeps getting longer and longer!!

    I can’t wait to see the posts as you start ticking these off.

    1. Haha, thank you! It took a good portion of a day but I’ve been in a writing mood so I was chugging along pretty good.

      I feel you on that list! I have a massive one for Utah that’s constantly getting longer haha.

  2. You have an awesome list! Thanks for the inspo. I highly recommend you add biking Cades Cove to your TN bucket list! I’ve got a post on the best of Nashville and Charlottesville that you might like. I’m talkin’ best tacos of your life 😛 Happy travels!

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