Visiting a state park can be especially fun, but you may not know which ones you should visit in your region of the United States. If you’re living in the South, here are the top 10 best state parks that are worth a visit.
- Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Kentucky
Within the Daniel Boone National Forest in Corbin, Kentucky, there is a breathtaking state park with 20 miles of trails, fishing, white water rafting, and one of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve ever seen. What makes Cumberland Falls unique is the DuPont Lodge, which has more than 50 rooms, many offering beautiful, relaxing views of the Cumberland River.
- Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas
Pedernales Falls is a family-friendly state park where your children can play in calm waters while enjoying the sunshine. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails, 14 miles of backpacking trails, and 10 miles of horse trails. The unique waterfalls pour over Texas limestone, giving them an atmosphere you can only find in the Lone Star State. You can find Pedernales Falls in Johnson City, Texas.
- Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
Fall Creek Falls, located in Spencer, Tennessee, is the state’s largest and most visited park, but there are plenty of other reasons you should visit this place. There are over 34 miles of trails to explore, 222 campsites, and a golf course for everyone to enjoy. The park even has horse stables where you can take a guided tour on horseback. As you walk along the trails, you’ll find the many cascades, waterfalls, gorges, and streams that make this park stand out.
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
Located in Canyon, Texas, Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. It gives you a taste of the Southwest without going all the way to Arizona or New Mexico. Beautiful red clay makes the mountains look orange-red, which you can see as you hike along the six-mile trail. The biggest attractions of Palo Duro are the Lighthouse and the various geological structures that formed during the Permian and Triassic period.
- Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas
Petit Jean State Park, located in Morrilton, Arkansas, has some of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls you’ll ever see. During the rainy season, the waterfalls are worth the hike, but there is so much more. It’s also an historical spot with a legend that says the name came from a young French woman in the 18th century who took the name “Little John” as she disguised herself as a cabin boy so she could remain close to her beloved fiancé.
- Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Buffalo National River was the first National River ever to be designated in the United States. It’s a 135-mile long river that offers canoeing, camping, and hiking and waters that range from calm pools to white rapids. This park also offers a dose of history that will keep everyone enthralled. Buffalo National River was the mining hotspot in Arkansas in the early 1900s, and the original 1938 dams are still standing.
- Alabaster Caverns State Park, Oklahoma
Alabaster Caverns State Park in Woodward County, Oklahoma, has some of the most beautiful caves in the United States. It’s home to the largest gypsum cave in the world at 200 acres. The alabaster takes on different colors throughout the cave, including pink, white, and the rarest color—black. Black alabaster is only found in three places in the world: Oklahoma, Italy, and China. This state park is definitely one of the rarest places on earth.
- Chicot State Park, Louisiana
Chicot State Park, located in Evangeline Parish, is a wildlife reserve where you can see whitetail deer, raccoons, coyotes, and bobcats in their natural habitat. The park has backpacking and hiking trails that are perfect for any age, and campsites where you can spend the night. If you’re looking for something more, Chicot State Park also has boat rentals so you can take your family out on the beautiful waters of Louisiana.
- Cheaha State Park, Alabama
Cheaha State Park is the highest point in Alabama and has views that make you never want to leave. According to the Alabama State Park website, “Cheaha” means “high place” in Creek. At this beautiful park, you can camp overnight or stop to eat at a restaurant that provides a panoramic view of Talladega National Forest. It’s also home to Bunker Tower, which was built in 1933.
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Florida
Located in Fort White, Florida, these crystal clear waters look like a photoshopped picture. It’s almost like something you’d find in Mexico, only it’s right here in the southern United States! At this state park, you can swim, boat, snorkel, hike, or just enjoy the wildlife. One of the unique things about this park is that you can scuba dive. You have to be certified, but the Amigos Dive Center is right nearby.