Brunswick Islands, N.C. – Five quaint islands for family beach fun

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands – five barrier islands featuring six quaint island towns - make for a sweet Atlantic Coast beach escape that you’ll want to return to with your family time and again. This sliver of North Carolina coastline offers plenty of space to relax, explore and enjoy time with family – whether you are visiting for a weekend or a week. Plan to hop between the islands to enjoy 45-miles of south-facing beaches along this historic Atlantic coastline. I visited North Carolina's Brunswick Islands in October – here [...]

April 16th, 2017|Categories: By the Sea, North Carolina|Tags: |

Dunlap, Tennessee – Enjoy a dude ranch stay at the Tennessee Guest Ranch

  The Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch in Dunlap, Tenn., offers a quiet escape to a Tennessee ranch. If you're looking for a place for your family to get comfortable with horses and enjoy some family downtime and Christian reflection in the great outdoors, this is your spot. A long dirt road leads to the Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch and transports visitors to farm life, offering expansive views of the Sequatchie Valley, a narrow valley near Chattanooga that is lined by Walden’s Ridge on one side and the Cumberland Plateau [...]

April 10th, 2017|Categories: Adventure, Family Camp, Tennessee, Unique Stays|Tags: , |

Jacksonville, Florida – A Watery Wonderland

Jacksonville, Florida, is a historic port city that is reinventing itself with a renewed focus on active outdoor fun. Spread over 841 square miles in Northeast Florida and poised alongside the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville offers plenty of options for outdoor family adventure. Beaches Jacksonville features 22 miles of white sand beaches, all within 25 minutes of downtown. Popular beaches include Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach, which holds a Blue Wave Beach certification for cleanliness and ecological stewardship from the Clean Beaches Coalition, a non-profit [...]

October 29th, 2016|Categories: By the Sea, Florida, Wildlife Wonder|Tags: , , |

North Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Paddle the Waccamaw River

The Waccamaw River is considered one of the finest blackwater rivers in the Southeast. The tea-stained color of this slow-moving river that extends 140 miles from North Carolina to South Carolina results from tannins that leach into the water as leaves and vegetation decay. According to the nonprofit organization American Rivers, most blackwater rivers are found exclusively in the Amazon and the southeastern U.S. The headwaters of this oft-overlooked waterway begin near Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina and then flow south to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at Winyah Bay near [...]

May 27th, 2016|Categories: Rivers, South Carolina|Tags: |

Rugby, Tennessee – A quaint mix of history and outdoor fun

Rugby is a unique destination for families looking for a quaint mix of history and outdoor fun. (Photo: Brian Stansberry)The historic village of Rugby in Northeast Tennessee was established in 1880 as a social experiment by British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes, who hoped to provide a better life in America for the younger sons of wealthy English families. Today, Rugby is a unique destination for families looking for a quaint mix of history and outdoor fun, providing easy access to the woods and waters of Big South Fork National [...]

February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Parks, Tennessee, Unique Stays|Tags: |

Northeast Alabama – Explore Cathedral Caverns State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park is located near Lake Guntersville in Northeast Alabama. (Photo: Peter Jones)Two-thirds of the Alabama's more than 4,200 known caves occur in the northeastern section of the state, and one of the region's most visitor-friendly and impressive caves is Cathedral Caverns, located at Cathedral Caverns State Park near Woodville, Alabama. The massive entrance to Cathedral Caverns - 128 feet wide and 25 feet tall - leads to an underground wonderland featuring one of the largest stalagmites in the world (measuring 45 feet tall and 243 feet in [...]

February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Adventure, Alabama, Parks|Tags: |

Tennessee – It’s a short hike to this rustic backcountry lodge

Photo: Charit Creek Lodge, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Set deep within the woods of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, Charit Creek Lodge is the perfect weekend getaway for families looking to rough it—with some amenities. Charit Creek is one of only a handful of backcountry lodges in the country that cannot be reached by car. To get there, guests park their car and hike, bike or ride horseback along either of two well-maintained trails (1.2 miles or 1.7 [...]

November 18th, 2015|Categories: Mountains, Tennessee, Trails, Unique Stays|Tags: , |

Louisville, Kentucky – Underground Bike Park at the Louisville Mega Cavern

The Mega Underground Bike Park has 45 trails for all biking abilities. (Photo: Louisville Mega Cavern)Louisville Mega Cavern is not just one underground adventure, but many Mega adventures in one. This man-made cavern, which stretches for miles at 100 feet below the Louisville Zoo in northern Kentucky, is home to the only underground bike park, zip line course and aerial ropes challenge course in the world. Louisville Mega Cavern opened to the public in 2009 and is co-owned by Jim Lowry and brothers Don and Tom Tyler. This man-made cave once operated [...]

November 2nd, 2015|Categories: Biking, Kentucky, Ziplines & Aerial Adventures|

Canadys, S.C. – Overnight paddle to backcountry treehouses

Photo: Alice Tubley, Carolina Heritage Outfitters Tucked in the woods of South Carolina along one of the longest blackwater rivers in North America, the Edisto River Treehouses are accessible only by canoe. Guests paddle 13 miles for an overnight stay in one of three rustic and secluded treehouses and spend the next day paddling another 10 miles to the Refuge Outpost. Operated by Scott and Anne Kennedy of Carolina Heritage Outfitters, the Edisto River Treehouses are located within the private 150-acre Edisto River Refuge in Canadys, S.C. The [...]

October 6th, 2015|Categories: Rivers, South Carolina, Unique Stays|Tags: |

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee – Tag Monarch butterflies in Cades Cove

Tremont offers free monarch tagging programs each fall. (Photo: Tiffany Beachy, GSMIT) Fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee is dazzling, with crisp hues of red, brown, yellow and orange painting the landscape. Each September and October, the park features another autumn spectacle—the migration of the monarch butterfly. Each fall, these bright orange and black butterflies dance through the Smokies as they begin their journey south to overwinter in Mexico. Ongoing research and tagging programs are helping scientists track monarchs, identify migration routes and understand the dynamics of the population. [...]

October 6th, 2015|Categories: Conservation Education, Mountains, Parks, Tennessee, Wildlife Wonder|Tags: |