Confession: I have A LOT of bucket lists. Places to travel in the US, places to travel outside the US, experiences with our daughter, places to eat – We would be here for a while if I tried to name every time I have created a bucket list for something. It would probably make more sense to consolidate some (or all) of these categories, but I guess my type A half has control over the mental organization here. *shrugs*
This particular list is for the locations I’ve found in the South that have made my jaw drop and think, I absolutely MUST get my camera to this place.
For the record, by “South” I mean the states closest to me which are the ones that I travel to for shooting. I love traveling anywhere, but for the time being, my photography takes place in South Carolina (base camp!), North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and sometimes Virginia. I feel like these places, along with most places in the Southeast, are easily overlooked when it comes to scenery. Especially when compared to the West – What can compare to the Grand Canyon, the Sunset Cliffs, or Thor’s Well? Nothing, but those aren’t the extent of the treasures in the states. Allow me to introduce you to seven more, found right here in the Southeast!
This one may not be very original, but it’s a classic and I couldn’t not include it! I’ve driven (more like rode shotgun – Thanks, Chris!) along the parkway in both North Carolina and Virginia; every mile gets more and more beautiful! The prime time for this location is in the fall when the trees are rich in color or, if you’re looking for some snow action, the winter. The photo opportunities here are endless!
Fun Fact: The Crafted Space is hosting one of their workshops here in October, so if you’re a photographer you should 100% consider signing up!
This may be redundant since this mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it’s a specific area I have my eye on so I’m including it separately! #norules
Black Balsam Knob is located in Pisgah National Forest as part of the Great Balsam Mountain rage, being the second highest peak with an elevation of over 6,000 feet! There are rolling, green hills and mountains as far as the eye can see here making it a perfect location for bright Spring photos or Autumn images if you’re wanting a deeper color and more cozy vibe (my FAVE).
This beauty is part of the Unaka Range along the Appalachian Trail near Asheville, NC. Roan Mountain is part of a series of five summits that run into Tennessee. Visiting here in the Springtime would be the best time because you can capture (or be captured with!) all the beautiful florals and greenery in full bloom! Imagine running through the flowers here at dawn or dusk as the sun shines through the mountains and sky is all different shades of pink and orange!
I’ve got to admit that while I appreciate the beach, it’s not my first choice of shooting locations. Here’s what makes this island the exception for me: Wild. Horses.
Just off of Georgia’s coast, this place is like stepping into a real fairytale. There’s historic ruins, beautiful beaches, forests, and a plum orchard! I’m not sure it get’s much more romantic than you wrapped up in your love’s arms while wild horses gallop in the background.
Will I ever not sing TLC’s Waterfalls in my head when I talk about actual waterfalls? Probably not.
Am I basic? Perhaps, but I will embrace it as happily as I embrace my love for all things pumpkin spice. The Tallulah Falls can be found in Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia – Rabun and Habersham counties, respectively. The Tallulah River is responsible for the 1,000 for drop of beauty that so many come to visit. Not only is this a killer photo location, regardless of what type of photography you’re interested in, but it’s also an amazing hike!
Did anyone else know Georgia was so scenic? I surely didn’t until I began exploring the mountains there! Providence Canyon is our very own Grand Canyon Jr. Google it and you’ll see what I mean! It’s as if the Grand Canyon and a forest had a southern love child, making it another location with both impressive hiking and photo opportunities!
Last, but certainly not least, we have Cades Cove in Tennessee. This valley has been the home of both the Cherokee and many European setters as far back as the 18th century. You can see the remains of their homesteads along with mountains, and a variety of wildlife. What better way to do this than to rent a couple of bikes or take a stroll through one of the cove’s trails? With this location being such a vast valley, surrounded by mountains, dawn and dusk would also be the best time of day to photograph here!
Knowing me, I’ll never stop adding to this list because there is just so much to be explored! Perhaps I’ll write another post down the road with an updated version of this list (hopefully with some of these crossed off!). To all the people (and I know you’re out there because I couldn’t have been the only one) who thought the South doesn’t have much to offer in the way of scenery, I hope this list has shown you otherwise! All it takes is a little bit of Google and some backyard exploring, no matter where you are, to find some not-so-hidden hidden gems that will truly take your breath away.
I am so excited to share this with you guys because A) I love letting you all into my world and B) It’s YOU who can help me put little check marks by all of these! How, you ask? Because I know there are some of you reading this who have a heart for adventure, like myself, and are down for having a snippet of your life documented while standing on top of a mountain… or in the middle of a valley.
If you’re reading this and are ready to plan your next adventure, consider this an official invitation to contact me so we can make it happen! Bonus: Me tripping at some point is guaranteed and I promise not to hold it against you if you laugh. *wink