The Everglades. The Great Smoky Mountains. Shenandoah National Park. From Virginia to Florida, these are just a few reasons to explore our national parks in the South!
Want to learn more about travel to our National Parks? Check out these National Parks tips.
Some of America’s most beautiful and dramatic national parks reside in the southern portion of the country. From the gorgeous Smoky Mountains in Tennessee to the surreal wetlands of the Everglades, southern parks offer adventure, learning, and a chance to connect to the country’s southern heritage. Road Scholar offers a variety of tours through national parks in the South.
Every tour is headed by a knowledgeable and experienced guide who can offer local insight into the landscape, history, and people who call this part of the country home. Our tours of the southeastern national parks are ideal for lifelong learners, seniors, and families who want to create great memories.
Head south, and you’ll discover a vast swath of wilderness, natural treasures, and amazing stories connected to the land. Here are a few of our favorite southern U.S. national parks and related tour recommendations.
Located at Florida’s southern end, Everglades National Park spans 1.5 million acres and is like a world unto itself. Explore wetlands, swamps, rivers, and grasslands and search for endangered species, like the American crocodile and the Florida panther. Take the Eco Pond Trail or the Royal Palm Trail to see local wildlife and do some bird-watching. You can also take a boat ride across several lakes for a different view of the park.
This extraordinary tour will take you to protected islands, allow you to explore coral reefs, and provide you with lectures on pirates and shipwrecks. Over seven days, you’ll learn about the natural history and cultural heritage of the Florida Keys from a master naturalist. This tour also takes you to Everglades National Park, John Pennekamp State Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Biscayne National Park, among others.
One of the most popular southeastern national parks is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site straddles Tennessee and North Carolina and offers visitors a dramatic forested landscape filled with unique flora and fauna. Visitors can wander popular trails and enjoy views of mountains shrouded in mist and picturesque waterfalls. Popular destinations within the park include Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and Morton Overlook.
Visit the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where you’ll learn about Appalachian culture while traveling aboard two exciting trains. This trip begins in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and makes its way to Hiawassee, Georgia. Along the way, you’ll enjoy musical performances, learn about Cherokee life, and visit two sister towns in the mountains. This is an excellent tour for seniors.
When it comes to national parks of the South, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem for sure. Often overlooked by outsiders, this park on Virginia’s eastern shore offers a natural wonderland to those in the know. Visitors can search for wild horses while hiking the popular Wildlife Loop. The refuge also includes a pristine beachfront and a beautiful lighthouse.
This unique tour allows you to work directly with the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and other local organizations to assist with conservation efforts. Over six days, you might help clean beaches, repair trails, or preserve historic sites. You’ll also be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the refuge and play a role in protecting that beauty for future generations.
The beautiful southern U.S. national parks are calling your name. To see the South like never before, sign up for the experience of a lifetime. Our easy-paced tours are perfect if you’re looking for a trip geared toward seniors.