Many parts of the South flourish with natural beauty, and offer abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. The southern Appalachian Mountains stretch from Alabama to West Virginia. Hiking, camping, rafting, fishing, caving, and rock climbing are among the most popular outdoor activities in this region. Many public recreation areas can be found here, including the country’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Tennessee/North Carolina border, as well as Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The Appalachian Trail stretches the length of the chain, from Georgia through West Virginia, and offers backpackers a unique view of one of America’s most diverse ecosystems. There is also The Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS. This is the old travel route that boatmen and traders took back North after bringing their trade to the ports in Natchez and New Orleans. The Natchez trace has Indian mounds and lots of historic sites along the way.
For those more inclined to enjoy the view from the road, the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia offers up stunning vistas from the comfort of your vehicle, and provides easy access to the colossal Biltmore Mansion, as well as such mountain towns as Asheville and Boone, NC. Other popular recreation areas include Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, as well as a multitude of rivers, lakes, streams, and marshes.
Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico lie further west. Texas is the second largest and second most populous state in the United States of America. Owing to its remarkable size, distinctive culture and politics, and colourful history, many Texans maintain a fiercely independent attitude, with Texan identity often superseding American identity. Despite having existed under the auspices of six different countries, Texas has maintained its fascinating independent spirit, making for a unique and unrivalled exploration ground for any intrigued and intrepid adventurer.
Known for their generosity, hospitality, unusual accent, and penchant for the larger-than-life, Texans are wonderful people to meet.
New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, became a Spanish colony after conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. New Mexico still has a large native Spanish-speaking population and many Native American communities, offering a unique culture that clearly stands apart from that of other states. A visitor to New Mexico will discover fantastic natural scenery, a major fine arts scene centred around Santa Fe, great outdoor recreational opportunities, and a distinctive regional cuisine.
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