National Parks in the Southeast US include 60+ parks in 9 states and two US Territories: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands
National Parks in the Southeast
- National Parks in the Southeast
- Best National Parks in the Southeast
- The Southeast National Park Service Sites include:
- National Parks in the Southeast US
- National Trails of the Southeast
- Major US Cities in the Southeast Region with Airports
- Park Ranger John's most memorable experiences in Southeast National Parks
- North Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- Virgin Islands
Established on August 7, 1937, the Southeast Region originally covered the entire east coast minus the National Capital Parks. Later the Northeast region was created in 1965. The name was changed to Southeast Region and headquarters was placed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Today, the National Park Service has 7 regions: Midwest Region, Southeast Region, Northeast Region, National Capital Region, Alaska Region, Pacific West Region, and the Intermountain Region
The technical names often confuse visitors and the way I hear visitors explaining the geography would be Midwest National Parks, East Coast National Parks (Southeast, National Capital and Northeast combined), Southwest National Parks and Western National Parks for Intermountain Region, Alaska, and West Coast National Parks for Pacific West Region.
Best National Parks in the Southeast
The Southeast National Parks are filled with numerous hiking trails that spread throughout the United States.
There is the longest known cave system in Mammoth Cave, incredible wildlife viewing opportunities like black bears at the most visited national park in the US, Great Smoky Mountains, you can bring out your inner child and discover forts like Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park in the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida National Parks have some of the best bird-watching opportunities anywhere, you can learn about civil rights, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and even visit the oldest city in the United States, San Juan Puerto Rico!
The Southeast National Park Service Sites include:
6 National Parks
13 National Monuments
4 National Preserve
12 National Historical Parks
10 National Historic Sites
3 National Battlefield Park
7 National Military Park
4 National Battlefield
3 National Memorials
5 National Seashores
1 National River & Recreation Area
1 Wild and Scenic Rivers
1 National Recreation Areas
1 Ecological and Historic Preserve
6 National Historic Trails
1 National Scenic Trails
1 Heritage Areas
National Parks in the Southeast US
There are 6 National Parks in the Midwest. A national park is defined as containing a variety of resources and encompasses large land or water areas to help provide adequate protection of the resources.
These are the big parks that you hear about often.
- Biscayne National Park, Florida
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
- Virgin Islands National Park, US Virgin Islands
While these are the big parks that you hear about don't miss some of the smaller unique parks that are also amazing.
National Trails of the Southeast
Keep an eye out for specific National Park Passport stamps for these trails at the parks and information on how each specific park is a stop on the National Historic Trails.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail (CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV)
El Camino Real De Los Tejas National Historical Trail (TX, LA)
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MO, MT, NE, ND, OH, OR, PA, SD, WA, WV)
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (AL, MS, TN)
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (NC, SC, TN, VA)
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, MO, NC, OK, TN)
Major US Cities in the Southeast Region with Airports
Atlanta, Georgia: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Birmingham, Alabama: Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
Orlando, Florida: Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Miami, Florida: Miami International Airport (MIA)
Nashville, Tennessee: Nashville International Airport (BNA)
New Orleans, Louisiana: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston International Airport (CHS)
Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
Park Ranger John's most memorable experiences in Southeast National Parks
Raising the flag at Fort Sumpter
Watching the historical Weapons Demonstration including shooting the cannons at Castillo De San Marcos National Monument at the top of the fort. Check the calendar on the Carlos De San Marcos page for times.
Why go for a hike on a hot tropical island when you can go swimming? Better yet, why not take the underwater snorkel trail at Virgin Islands National Park! This will be guaranteed to be a trail you won't soon forget.
Kids that grew up in the southeast can tell you about fireflies and mason jars. Now you can go watch the synchronous fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Congaree National Park! What a great experience to get people outdoors after dark and find out how magical the forest is, even at night!
New Orleans is a city known to have great food and great music. Here you can have both because the world-famous Cafe Du Monde is literally on the way to the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. How close? Less than two blocks away, oh and you will literally walk by it walking from Jackson Square to the visitor center os make sure to stop and enjoy some coffee, beignets, and watching National Park Rangers play jazz at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park!
Driving to the Outer Banks of North Carolina is an adventure itself. Once there you can visit where the Wright Brothers took the first flight or go soak up the sun on the shores of Cape Hatteras or Cape Lookout. Make sure to take the ferry ride on Cape Lookout to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. On the way, you might be able to see wild the Shackleford horses on Shackleford Banks.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Big Cypress National Preserve
Fort Caroline National Memorial
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument
Vicksburg National Military Park.
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument
Natchez Trace Parkway (AL, MS, TN)
Vicksburg National Military Park
Blue Ridge Parkway (NC, VA)
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Cape Lookout National Seashore
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
San Juan National Historic Site
Cowpens National Battlefield
Kings Mountain National Military Park
Manhattan Project National Historical Park (NM, WA, TN)
Natchez Trace Parkway (AL, MS, TN)
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Christiansted National Historic Site
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
There are so many amazing National Park Service sites to visit in the Southeast! From historic sites to full National Parks you can learn about the history of the United States and stare in wonder at the beauty and scenery of the Southeast United States.
Do you have a favorite National Parks in the Southeast?