5 Hidden Gems Found in South East U.S.

Here are five places in the south east United States that you may or may not have heard of before. In my opinion they are worth paying a visit!

I’ve been in the Southeast part of the U.S. for basically as long as I can remember. I’ve lived in Georgia. I went to school in North Carolina. I’ve visited Florida with my friends. I’ve gone to South Carolina for spring break. In my opinion, it’s easy to pick the places that everyone wants to go: Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Raleigh, Charlotte. Basically the big well-known cities; The cities that offer theme parks, attractions, and sights. But what about the great places that aren’t as well-known? The smaller{er} places with places with personalities just as big as the larger cities? Ready to learn where to find some gems in the southeast? Let’s go!

1. High Springs, Florida:11866293_10153667810771869_1826106304108782297_n

First stop: High Springs, Florida. I obviously need to take more pictures when I go back because this is the only one I have from my trip! But anyways…here you will find one of the clearest springs in Florida. Grab a group of friends, a cooler of food and drinks, and head up for the day. You can bring your own tubes, or rent them there. You also have the option of tying your tubes together so you don’t drift away from your group. With so many groups on the river, it’s easy to befriend those enjoying the day with you. While floating down, you can stop at little alcoves along the way where you can explore the clear waters and the underwater caves! When I went, there was a group of divers going down into the caves, so that was pretty cool to witness. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend the day, then this is a great option. Don’t forget to bring your waterproof speakers so you can jam while you float down the river.

Although we didn’t do this, I know there is also the option of camping here. We saw a lot of camping grounds set up, and walked past them when we walked back to the start of the river. Everyone looked like they were having a good time!

2. Seaside, Florida:208429_10150204020716869_5427202_n

Next stop: Seaside. Now I know this beach is really popular and well-known in the south, but I’m not sure about the rest of the United States. There’s a reason people keep coming back to this beach side town, time and time again. Be it summer, fall, winter, or spring {especially spring break}, you will find the sidewalks and beaches full of people. There’s a main “downtown” area that many visitors choose to bike to, or even walk due to limited parking. This area boasts unique boutiques, some specializing in clothes, toys, or artwork. There’s an amazing ice cream place in there too. You can also find various food trucks and delicious restaurants. I tried my very first fish tacos in Seaside…and I was hooked! Also, you’ll find a local seafood market called Goat Feathers! So many fresh options…check it out! There are also so many options when it comes to renting a house or a condo. There are some super cute ones on the side of 30A that are painted with bright colors or vibrant pastels, and they have their own names. I have yet to stay in one, but who wouldn’t want to stay in ‘Hakuna Matata’ or ‘Sweet Sunshine’! Seaside is not a far drive away from Destin or Panama City Beach, if you’re wanting to make a day trip to other beaches.

3. Marietta, Georgia:734737_10207221077819631_5148825880885664299_n

Next up: Marietta. This Atlanta suburb has a beautiful spot appropriately named the Marietta Square. Locals just refer to it as the Square. The Square boasts a plethora of restaurants, ice cream shops, coffee shops, unique boutiques, and much more. And you guessed it. It’s all placed in a square formation…for the Square is actually a square. Not only is this a great place to visit on any given day, but the Square hosts various events throughout the year, sometimes even closing down the streets to make the entire square a pedestrian event. They just started hosting a drop for New Year’s. For the Fourth of July, the streets are littered with booths selling handmade items, and food trucks selling deliciousness in the form of fried. If you’ve never tried a Fried Oreo, this is the place to do it! People also come out for the fireworks. Lawn chairs and blankets are spread all throughout the Square, for everyone to celebrate Independence Day together. It’s really something great to experience. In the winter, the Square is dressed with decorative lights and all types of holiday cheer. They have a small ice skating rink set up in the middle. Basically, the Square has something for anyone and everyone! If I had to recommend only one place to go {which is super hard, because they’re a lot of great places}, I would have to say do NOT miss SweeTreats! You have to stop by here to get some ice cream. The options seem unlimited! First you choose your size: kid cup or cone, or adult cup or cone. I always go with the kid cone because it takes me forever to eat my ice cream and I hate when it starts to drip. Next up is the base: chocolate or vanilla. Ice cream or frozen yogurt. Last are the add-ins: choose anything from fruit to chocolate to candy. Seriously. Your head will be spinning from all the choices! To make things a little easier, they do have pre-selected options that you can choose, as well as some of the employee favorites! They also sell various candy, and numerous coffee selections. No matter what you choose, the end result will definitely be a sweet treat!

4. Kiawah Island, South Carolina:482340_10151542409096869_1461811515_n

Fourth stop: Kiawah Island. Driving to get to this island is beautiful. There are Weeping Willows arching over the road with their branches and leaves framing the street, creating the illusion of a fairytale. The route is so scenic, you won’t mind the little drive it takes to get out to the island. As it is on the way, you can choose to stop at Angel Oak, which is a magnificent oak tree. It is believed to be approximately 400 years old, and trust me when I say this tree is at least one in a million.  Also, on the way is this super cute shopping area, Freshfields Village. This center contains a grocery store, various shops, and numerous eateries. The people and the atmosphere are so friendly, it makes you keep wanting to come back for more. The beach is not that far away either. Definitely a place to lay out and enjoy some peace and quiet. If you’re wanting a night out on the town, Charleston is just a short 30-45 minutes away as well. Enjoy having the best of both worlds!

5. Angier, North Carolina:10347400_10152757022551869_169036691513487815_n

Final Destination: Angier! I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream! This super small and quiet town comes with a big and loud personality, in ice cream! Having been mentioned on the Food Network Channel, the Travel Channel, and various websites, people from all over travel to this tiny town to sample the various homemade flavors Sunni Sky’s has to offer. You can find everything from the classics like chocolate, vanilla, and cookie dough, to more unique choices like Rice Krispie {which is my personal favorite}, dark chocolate cherry, and popcorn. They also offer sorbet and sherbet. It doesn’t stop there…you can also choose to get a milkshake. They also have seasonal flavors, so be sure to look out for those. Before deciding on something {or multiple flavors} though, don’t forget about the free samples! Trust me, it will just make the decision process ten times harder. But then you’ll just have to come back to try all the flavors…and that’s okay!

Funny story: One time I was shopping with my mom, and I was looking at some clothes on a rack. The TV was playing in the background, but I wasn’t facing it, and I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said. But then I heard the words “sunny skies”. I swear my head has never whipped around so fast. I assumed they were talking about the ice cream place {even though I was in Georgia at the time}. They were not talking of the ice cream place. They were discussing the weather for the week!


Have you been to any of these places? What was your experience like? Would you want to go to any of them, if you haven’t been? Let us know in the comments!

18 thoughts on “5 Hidden Gems Found in South East U.S.”

  1. This is a great list! I’ve lived in Asheville on and off for a few years and never been to any of these! I’m an ice cream lover, though, so I see a trip there coming soon! Thanks for the great new list of SE destinations!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I think it’s pretty obvious I have a deep love for ice cream haha. I hope you enjoy tasting all the ice cream! And I’ve heard Asheville is a great place too! Unfortunately the only place that I’ve seen there is the pool at the university, but hopefully I’ll be able to change that soon!

  2. I haven’t been to any of these! And like you said I’ve been to all the major cities of the SE!!!

  3. I’ve lived in the SE most of my life too! I am originally from Orlando, FL and now I live in Atlanta. I have heard of Seaside and High Springs but never visited. I’ll have to add those to my list next time we’re in FL!

  4. I’ve never heard of any of these – I love hearing about new vacation spots! How are these in the summer? Super hot/humid? I’m trying to figure out somewhere to go end of August!

    1. Haha yes, you definitely guessed it! Hot and humid would be an accurate description. I haven’t actually been to Kiawah Island in the summer though, so that may not be true. I hope you’ll be able to visit somewhere new in August! I always love seeing new spots 🙂

    1. I love that too! At first it’s confusing, when you’re trying to find parking. Some streets are one way, while others are not. I can’t ever remember which streets are which, so there is a lot of turning around when I go. But walking-wise, it’s super easy and convenient!

  5. These all sound like wonderful destinations! I’ve never been to any of them even though I’ve been to all of the states mentioned. Great idea to visit smaller towns instead of the “popular” choices occasionally 🙂

    1. Well, next time you’re in one of these states and happen to be near one of these cities, maybe you’ll stop by. And almost all of them have great ice cream, so what other reason do you need? 🙂

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