The Western part of the United States is probably what many people think of when they think of the Great Outdoors in America, with its rolling plains and world-famous national parks such as Yellowstone. However, the Eastern coast isn’t lacking in outdoor getaways either. Here are 10 state parks on the East Coast that are perfect to enjoy some fresh air.
1. Niagara Falls State Park
No list about state parks on the east coast would be complete without at least mentioning Niagara Falls State Park. This gorgeous park features one of the most well-known waterfalls in the world, the titular Niagara Falls. There are several ways to see the falls for yourself, including grabbing a drink at the restaurant that overlooks them or seeing the falls from below with a boat tour.
2. Vogel State Park
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, head over to Georgia to experience Vogel State Park. This popular state park features a gorgeous lake, as well as campsites and hiking trails. Vogel State Park’s wide variety of things to do makes it ideal for families or groups – there’s truly something for everyone. Children will enjoy splashing in the lake, while avid outdoorsmen can check out the park’s 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.
3. Torreya State Park
Located in Florida, Torreya State Park is a great option for those looking to spend a day enjoying some fresh air. This park is named for an incredibly rare species of tree that grows in the area, features a waterfall, and is a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a hike, go fishing, or boat the Apalachicola River.
4. The Catskills Park
This park is a little under a 3 hours drive from New York City, making this a great option for those looking to get away for a little bit. The park offers a huge range of outdoor recreation – everything from camping in the warmer months to ski retreats in the winter. It’s a popular place for fly-fishing – the Catskills area has been called the birthplace of this form of fishing, and is also home to countless hiking trails.
5. Manatee Springs State Park
If you find yourself looking for something to do in Florida, Manatee Springs State Park is one answer to that question that won’t disappoint. If you’re visiting in the cooler months, manatees regularly flock to the warm waters that fill up the springs, making this state park a great place to spot them. While they aren’t as common in the summer, you can look forward to viewing other wildlife such as various birds and fish, as well as activities such as camping and boating.
6. Fontainebleau State Park
Located in Louisiana, Fontainebleau State Park is situated on the gorgeous Lake Ponchartrain. The park features the ruins of an old sugar mill, a sandy beach, and hiking trails. Those looking to spend a few days exploring or relaxing can stay at one of the park’s campsites.
7. Letchworth State Park
Another stunning park in New York State is Letchworth State Park. This park features the Genessee River, which cascades over several waterfalls – some upwards of 600’ tall. The river is surrounded by sprawling forests, home to several hiking trails. Probably one of the most scenic natural places in New York State, those looking to spend a few days taking in the beauty of the park can look forward to staying overnight at the cozy Glen Iris Inn.
8. Baxter State Park
Head over to Maine to experience the sprawling expanse that is Baxter State Park. Home to hundreds of miles of trails, this is the perfect choice for those looking to explore the great outdoors in the Eastern United States. In addition to hiking, some other popular activities at the park include camping and fishing.
9. Cayo Costa State Park (Florida)
Cayo Costa State Park is unique from the others on this list for one reason – it’s an island. Located off the coast of Florida, Cayo Costa features gorgeous sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. The park is accessible only by boat or kayak and is a popular place for shelling, swimming, and camping. If you don’t have a boat or kayak of your own, a ferry offers daily service to the island.
10. Little Missouri State Park
Don’t let the name fool you – Little Missouri State Park is actually located in the North Dakota Badlands. This beautiful park features over 40-miles of trails showcasing natural splendor. Offering both developed and primitive campsites, this quiet park is the perfect place to escape from daily life – either for an afternoon or a few days.
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