As winter’s coldest days begin to be behind us, more and more travelers are looking towards the solitary peace that can be found in nature’s most majestic environment, the mountains. Though, if you’re looking for a mountainside retreat or escape wherein you’re not likely to run into swarths of tourists or buzzing crowds, then this list of the mountain destinations from Southern Living is sure to set you up for success.
Time to yourself is a commodity that cannot be taken for granted in our fast-paced, technology-driven world. That’s why surrounding yourself in the Southern United States’ mountain towns that have an immense amount of small-town charm, southern hospitality, and ample supply of fresh mountain air is the perfect way to spend your time away from home this year.
As a reminder, no matter where you’re traveling to in these uncertain times, it’s always a responsible move and a good idea to check local travel advisories, city ordinances, and state mandates that may have been implemented due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Travel safely and rest assured that you’ve done your due diligence by referring to CDC travel guidelines.
Located at the foothills of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains is the small town of Galax, Virginia, this mountain destination is a location that’s incredibly rich in history, tradition, opportunities for recreation, and unforgettable natural beauty. Once you find yourself in this town that has its southern roots so deeply buried in country music history, you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more and more time outdoors. After a day of shopping in Galax’s quiet downtown district, consider embarking on a tubing expedition down New River, a hike along the New River Trail, or a visit to the must-see waterfalls like Foster Falls and Chestnut Creek Falls. Other outdoor pit stops that you simply shouldn’t miss out on are found along the Blue Ridge Parkway, since (after all) the town of Galax is known as the scenic gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along the Parkway is Mabry Mill, a water mill run by the National Park Service and complete with its own crafting center, a handful of self-guided trails, and restaurant, as well as Grayson Highlands State Park, the state park located adjacent to Virginia’s two highest mountains, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain.
Located along the Little Buffalo River in Northwestern Arkansas is the celebrated city of Jasper, Arkansas. Consistently associated with words like “quaint” and “scenic,” the town of Jasper is surrounded by the beauty generated by America’s first national river, the Buffalo National River, and where it begins to flow. Offering ample outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing, hiking, caving, rock climbing, hunting, horseback riding, and mountain biking, Jasper’s setting of the Ozark Mountains makes it the ideal outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Located only about 60 miles southeast of Eureka Springs, Jasper offers its visitors the most bountiful expanse imaginable in the 1.2 million-acre Ozark National Forest and the Buffalo River Corridor, making Jasper the Elk Capital of Arkansas. Because these majestic animals have a proclivity of roaming Erbie, Ozark, Pruitt, Newton County, Boxley Valley, and Steel Creek in herds of 450 elk, you would benefit from stopping into the Hilary Jones Wildlife Museum & Elk Information Center or Ponca Nature Center to learn more about these creatures.
Other key mountain destinations locations, indicated by the full article as being the best mountain towns that are “under the radar” are Morganton, North Carolina; Mentone, Alabama; Frostburg, Maryland; Dillard, Georgia; Alpine, Texas; Arcadia, Missouri; and Mountain Home, Arkansas.
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