This post was written by Austin Crowley, from the Northwestern U.S.
When booking a getaway, people often travel south for the comfort and warmth of Southern comfort. It’s relaxing, but few people give credit to the ways that southern locales can thrill the senses. From exceptional world-renowned dining to all manners of activities for adventurers and daredevils alike, trips to the south never have to be a sleepy bore. Here are just three ways that anyone headed to the Carolinas can make the most of their travels.
1. Experience zip lines in Fayetteville
Kersey Valley Zip Line – © Amy Meredith jjandames on Flickr
There are many ways to appreciate the blue-peaked Smoky Mountains, the highest mountains of the entire Eastern coast. Driving through the mountain-side my first time was memorable enough, but my first hike was even more thrilling. Those who want to take their tour of these gorgeous mountains a level more intense can enjoy the numerous biking paths.
But for the most extreme travelers, nothing beats experiencing the rush of a zip line for the first time – and no other state this side of the country comes close to the number of zip lines here. I’d recommend Fayetteville for zip liners who want a starting point, but there are many locations to get your rush. Nothing beats darting through the lush canopies of North Carolina’s wilderness and beholding the magnitude of the Great Smoky Mountains while soaring across the horizon.
Besides zip lining, tourists can also enjoy white water rafting, rock climbing, ski resorts, and one of the best fishing destinations in the world. And if you’re feeling a little intimidated by some of these offerings, consider getting some travel insurance at a Charlotte insurance agency. But in all seriousness, few things in this world match the splendor and intensity of the outdoors in the Carolinas.
2. Get a taste of real southern comfort at the Oak Steakhouse
Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC – © Timmons Pettigrew on Flickr
We all know the clichés of Southern comfort food, but for a bite of something more than biscuits, grits, and country fried steak, consider making a detour to Charleston, South Carolina for the world-renowned Oak Steakhouse. Despite their name, they have a bounty of more incredible southern delicacies than Paula Deen can shake a stick of butter at, including local shellfish and regional salads.
There are also some more unusual dishes that shouldn’t be dismissed before they are tasted, such as their exquisite bone marrow pudding and their shrimp and lobster mac and cheese. They have an abundant stock of fine award-winning wines, a pleasant rustic-meets-elegance atmosphere, and some of the best service I’ve ever had in the south. And of course, in addition to all manners of dishes equal parts delicious and unique, there are also some of the finest steaks this side of the Eastern border. I’d definitely recommend not missing this incredibly dining experience if it’s within reach during your travels.
3. Explore the only underground gold mine open to the public in Midland
Reed Gold Mine in Midland, N.C. – © Paul Mason on Flickr
In addition to being the first documented site where gold was first discovered in the United States, the Reed Gold Mine also remains the only underground gold mine that the public can access to tour. It goes without saying, and with no pun intended, that the Reed Gold Mine is a national treasure that visitors shouldn’t pass up given the chance. While Midland, North Carolina isn’t the most lively area, it’s worth an excursion.
Tourists can expect a Visitor’s Center, where plentiful exhibits of gold and mining equipment used throughout history are displayed. But more exciting are the tunnels, dug by its namesake Conrad Reed in 1799, in which families can trace back the steps of the first place where gold was struck in the land of opportunity. Visitors can also receive guided tours of a restored ore-crushing stamp mill and surrounding work stations in the area. Children can even sift through ore on their own to discover their own hidden treasure, making the trip a memorable occasion for everyone.
While there is plenty more to discover in the Carolinas, these are a few ways to break the mold the next time you’re prepared to take a voyage to the heart of the Southern United States.
About the Author: Austin Crowley is a travelling writer from the Northwestern U.S. who aims to explore every corner of the Earth. He advocates careful planning when traveling abroad, but knows that spontaneity is the spirit of travel.