Five Southeastern destinations to visit this summer

Orlando, Fla., not just the major theme parks, is worth a visit. (Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

ATLANTA – With the summer travel season in full swing, there’s no time like the present to head out of Dodge (proverbially speaking) and check out any number of Southeastern destinations.

Here are five worthy destinations to check out this summer:

Orlando/Winter Park, Fla.:There is plenty to see and do in and around Orlando that doesn’t involve a mouse, a wizard or a killer whale. Take Winter Park, for example. This bucolic community located less than 10 miles north of Orlando’s city center, features gardens, museums and tree-lined streets with enough shopping and dining to make most people forget about the bevy of roller coasters within a 30-mile radius.

Greenville, S.C.: The biggest city in The Upstate, often touted as “where new south meets old south,” offers plenty to see and do, from the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum to Falls Park in the heart of the city.

Highlands/Cashiers, N.C.: The drive here is half the fun. Tucked away on a plateau in the Appalachian Mountains, the area is generally considered a “two-season” community: summer and winter. Worthy attractions include hiking and gazing upon scenic water falls.

Chattanooga, Tenn.: What’s so intriguing about Chattanooga – nicknamed “The Scenic City” for a good reason – is the sheer number of attractions. A weekend is not enough time to take in all the sights. Still, a couple of days here will no doubt make for an exceptional getaway, no matter how many attractions you end up seeing.

Athens, Ga.: Athens is home to a lot more than the University of Georgia. “The Classic City” is a wealth of attractions, culture and history. What’s more, Athens is the perfect one-tank trip from Atlanta, if the mood calls for a weekend getaway rather than a full-fledged vacation.

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