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Vacation season is here (or right around the corner.) America is full of watery wilderness vacation spots that aren’t well known by people outside of that particular region. That means they’re fresh experiences for most everyone else. Get ready to get wet!
The Outer Banks is a 200-mile stretch of small islands just off the North Carolina coast. The Wright Brothers’ first flight lifted off from Kitty Hawk here in 1903. But, be careful! The area has the nickname ‘The Graveyard of the Atlantic’ due to all the shipwrecks that have occurred in its dangerous waters.
Indiana Dunes State Park
The Indiana Dunes State Park, all 1,500 acres of it, is just 50 miles outside Chicago. Visitors hike, swim, picnic or bird-watch. The lake is supposedly haunted by ‘Diana of the Dunes’, a drowned skinny-dipper.
South Dakota. Falls Park is operated by the city of Sioux Falls, and it’s close to the city’s downtown. The ‘heart’ of the Park is the Sioux waterfalls on the Big Sioux River. Come for bicycling, hiking, star gazing and jogging in the warm months. In the winter there’s skiing, snowshoeing and tubing.
Alabama. Dauphin Island sports a 164-acre bird sanctuary. The island is often the first land migrating birds encounter on their annual return from the south. What a bird-watching location! It also has great beaches.
Florida. Kings Bay’s waters are fed by 50 warm water springs. Each winter, that year-round warmth attracts some 400 manatees from the cooling Gulf of Mexico. Come swim with the manatees!
The Boundary Waters region of Minnesota is the most visited wilderness in the United States. It’s a beautiful site carved by glaciers featuring forests, bogs and rock outcroppings. Come for the camping, fishing and canoeing.
A National Historic Landmark, Michigan’s Mackinac Island was an important commercial center for the Great Lakes fur trade going back deep into the 18th Century. Fort Mackinac remains an important Revolutionary War site. In the 19th Century it was a famous tourist spot, visited by writers as famous as Thoreau and Melville.
Wisconsin’s Devil’s Lake is a natural magnet for water sports enthusiasts of all kinds, especially fishermen and boaters. Each year the Ho-Chunk Nation holds a celebration which, they say, summons the not-so-long-departed spirits of the dead.
Pennsylvania’s Ohiopyle State Park is a wonderful spot for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and – with its abundance of trails – running, hiking and biking.
Ozarks, Arkansas. Beaver Lake is an artificial reservoir formed in the ’60s by the construction of a dam. It sports caves, exposed rock layers, limestone bluffs and all sorts of flora and fauna.
Not many know New Hampshire has a huge lake with 253 individual islands. For a romantic getaway, take a slow trip on a Mount Washington paddle steamer and enjoy a leisurely boat ride over the lake’s tranquil waters.
California. Lake Tahoe is one of America’s largest and most beautiful lakes. It’s hardly a secret, and it has become as much a destination for wealthy people as Vail, CO. It’s a wonderful place to rent a boat, and in the winter, come for the skiing.