When most people think about traveling to the USA, often cities and places like New York City, L.A., the Grand Canyon etc. come to mind. But what other places are worth visiting according to locals? I’ve asked five of my fellow bloggers to write a short piece on a hidden gem in the state they are living: Hocking Hills Ohio, Tampa Florida, Floyd Virginia, Kalamazoo Michigan, Baton Rouge Louisiana and Charlotte North Carolina.
•••Hocking Hills, Ohio•••
Hi there, my name is Shana from TravelingShana.com. I’m a wanderlust who is always looking for new and exciting places to explore. Someone once told me that “Some of the best vacation destinations can be found in your own backyard”. This inspired me to embark on a journey throughout the state of Ohio to discover places off the beaten path. I’ve uncovered an endless amount of hidden gems, but only one continues to top the charts.
The Hocking Hills Region is located in Logan Ohio and encompasses over 9,000 acres. It is visually unique to the area in that it offers ravenous caves, cascading waterfalls, dramatic gorges and rugged cliffs. The unique landscape affords us the opportunity for a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, zip lining, canoeing, horseback (or mule) riding, rock climbing and rappelling, and so much more! You’re lodging options go as far as your imagine can. You can stay anywhere from Gypsy wagons, yurts, treehouses, tents, and teepee’s to luxurious houses, cabins and hotel resorts. One of my favorite accommodations is Cherry Ridge Retreat (Hellloooo Boat House Luxury Lakefront Cabin) because it’s completely luxurious but doesn’t take away from the authentic Hocking Hills experience. If you ever find yourself wanting to visit the area feel free to reach me at TravelingShana.com and I will be happy to help you.
By Shana ¦Blog: https://travelingshana.com/
Hello friends! My name is Amanda! I was born and raised in Ohio, but now I’m a student at the University of Tampa, in downtown Tampa, Florida, where I am studying International Business. I also blog on the side about all of my travels. Last year I lived in Chambéry, France and got to travel to 13 countries during my time there! As you can probably tell, I love to travel. That’s why I moved to Tampa, Florida because there are so many fun places to visit here!
The Tampa Bay Area is absolutely beautiful!! And I’m not saying that because I live here, I truly mean it! It has so much to offer to it’s residents and tourists alike! Tampa remains a fairly warm temperature year round so many events are held outside. You can spend a day at the beach, enjoy a meal outside in the sunshine, or attend an outdoor festival- there’s always something going on in Tampa! One of the most famous events in Tampa is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival that happens every late January. It’s an event for people of all ages where they celebrate the “Pirates” that came to Tampa in 1904. All of downtown Tampa comes together to celebrate by setting up a parade, live music, and much more! It’s definitely an event that can’t be missed! I’d love to go on and on about this exciting city, so feel free to contact me! 🙂
By Amanda ¦Instagram:@amandamaxim ¦ Snapchat:@amanda.maxim ¦
I grew up in a little place called Floyd. It’s a one stoplight town in the southwestern tip of rural Virginia, with a town population of 400 and a county population of 5,000. Floyd is home to a smorgasbord of characters: farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, good Christian families, “free-spirited” types (“granolas” as my history teacher used to call them), retired millionaires, raging conservatives, raging liberals, world-travelers, and people who have never left the state, all of whom have one thing in common: they choose to live simply.
In this town, business and community are one. Every plate of barbecue you buy goes to feed the family of the little girl you used to babysit; every cup of coffee you buy from the Black Water Loft gives you the opportunity to talk to your old drama teacher, who bought the shop from her mother. One of Floyd’s biggest events is the Farmer’s Market, where, every Saturday morning, a parking lot is converted into an outdoor supermarket for neighbors to buy produce, baked goods, flowers, handmade soaps and bath bombs, and more from one another. It’s not just that everyone knows everyone–we support each other. If it weren’t for the community and enthusiasm around small businesses, no one would be making money. (Plus, what’s better than being able to make a sandwich and know exactly where your fresh baked bread and organic lettuce and tomatoes come from?).People come to Floyd because they want to pause, to enjoy their lives, to make and nurture meaningful connections, and to experience what many believe is “the way life is meant to be.”
(Source Pictures: Sustain Floyd and Mother Earth News)
I often think of Floyd as the town time forgot. Life is simple here. Not dumbed down, but content in the rituals of working, spending time with family, and feeding the soul. In a time of painful differences plaguing the country this town is, in itself, a grassroots movement. I’ve traveled all around the country and I’ve never experienced an American town with so much creativity, community, and character. Along with the crisp mountain air, there is an energy here; it’s in the tender smile between neighbors as they pass each other in the grocery store aisle, the face of the old man with a john deere cap and plaid shirt tucked into his blue jeans rushing to hold the door for you even as you insist, “no, please, I’m trying to kill chivalry!”, it’s in the excited grin the little girl at the Farmer’s Market booth gives you as she points to the cookies she baked. It inspires you, it reminds you how precious time is, and it asks you not to take these winding back roads for granted.
By Maggie ¦Blog: https://mountainmarked.wordpress.com/
•••Baton Rouge, Louisiana•••
•••Charlotte, North Carolina•••