Hidden Gems: Off the Beaten Path Destinations for Fun Weekend Getaways in Southeast USA

As a transplant to the southeast US from the northeast, I have been excited to explore the area with weekend get aways. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.

When it comes to weekend getaways, exploring lesser-known destinations can add a sense of adventure and discovery to your travels. In the Southeast USA, there are numerous off the beaten path gems waiting to be explored. In this article, we’ll unveil some hidden destinations that offer unique experiences, natural beauty, and cultural charm for a memorable weekend escape.

1. St. Augustine, Florida:

Step back in time by visiting St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. Explore the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history. Don’t miss the beautiful beaches, unique art galleries, and vibrant culinary scene that make St. Augustine a perfect weekend getaway.

2. Cumberland Island, Georgia:

For a tranquil retreat, head to Cumberland Island, Georgia’s largest barrier island. Accessible only by ferry, this unspoiled paradise offers pristine beaches, undisturbed wildlife, and fascinating ruins. Explore the island’s trails, spot wild horses, and discover historic sites such as the Dungeness Ruins and Plum Orchard Mansion.

3. Chattanooga, Tennessee:

Escape to the scenic beauty of Chattanooga, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will find an abundance of adventure, from hiking along Lookout Mountain and exploring Ruby Falls to kayaking on the Tennessee River. Don’t forget to experience the vibrant arts scene and indulge in delicious southern cuisine.

4. Asheville, North Carolina:

Known for its vibrant arts community and breathtaking mountain scenery, Asheville offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. Discover the iconic Biltmore Estate, explore the vibrant downtown area with its eclectic shops and farm-to-table restaurants, and embark on scenic hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

5. Mobile, Alabama:

Experience the charm of Mobile, a city rich in history, culture, and Southern hospitality. Explore the historic districts, visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, and stroll along the scenic waterfront. Don’t miss the Mobile Carnival Museum and indulge in the city’s famous cuisine, including fresh seafood and mouthwatering BBQ.

6. Beaufort, South Carolina:

Escape to the picturesque coastal town of Beaufort, known for its historic charm and natural beauty. Take a leisurely walk through the Antebellum homes in the Historic District, enjoy a boat tour to explore the nearby islands and estuaries, and savor Lowcountry cuisine at one of the local seafood restaurants.

7. Hot Springs, Arkansas:

Unwind in the natural hot springs of Hot Springs, Arkansas, nestled in the Ouachita Mountains. Soak in the healing waters at Bathhouse Row, explore the beautiful Garvan Woodland Gardens, and hike through the scenic trails of Hot Springs National Park. Don’t miss the quirky and charming downtown area with its art galleries and unique shops.


Venturing off the beaten path in the Southeast USA unveils hidden gems that offer unforgettable weekend getaways. From historic cities and pristine islands to mountain retreats and coastal towns, these destinations provide unique experiences, natural beauty, and a chance to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the region. Pack your bags, escape the ordinary, and discover the hidden treasures that await you in the Southeast USA.

Jim Dowdell

I am a 63-year-old, husband (42 years), father of 5 beautiful children, and grandfather of 8 precious grandkids.


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