Top 5 Tuesday: Parks in the East (Part 2)

Posted by Eric Helms in District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Top 5

  Wagons East!!! Take a trip with me and find out what the Devil, a giant rock, junk food, and Facebook humblebrags have in common.  Spoiler Alert: Nothing, except they’re all  kind of found in the east.  This week I’ll take a look at five of my favorite parks on the right coast, along with some of the best resorts offered by the good folks at Tripbound.

Hancock, MA

Pittsfield State Forest & Mount Greylock State Reservation Massachusetts already has two strikes against it; there’s no way you spell it right with spellcheck, and we can all pretty much agree it has the worst accent in the world. It even makes the gravely “coal speak” of Pittsburgh seem soft on the ears. So, if there was ever a state looking for a win, Massachutsess [sic, but I’m honestly not sure] needed it. Enter the pristine beauty of the Berkshire Mountains; huddled in the extreme western region of the state. Dense forests, rolling highlands, and sturdy mountains make this region prized with nature lovers. The Pittsfield State Forest is comprised of the Berkshire’s most beautiful acres, and contains miles of trails and opportunities for outdoor recreation. In the extreme northwest corner of this preserve sits Balance Rock State Park. People come from far and wide to gaze upon this 165 ton boulder that is appears to be balancing…and I don’t even think I need to tell you how exciting this is! Twenty minutes to the north, and you’ll find Mount Greylock State Reservation; the tallest elevation (3,491’) in the state. Take in some amazing views, or spend the night on its summit at the Bascom Lodge. For a classic New England vacationing experience, check out the Wyndham Bentley Brook proudly offered by Tripbound.

  • Pretending to lift heavy things....classic.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Huntington Beach State Park Myrtle Beach is pretty much the Vegas of family vacationing. Except what happens here, gets instantly plastered on your Facebook wall to make your Mommy Group back home passively furious. Admit it; you know you’re going to post a selfie captioned with “YOLO: Starbucks on the Beach y’all…” Don’t be jealous, actually better yet, do be jealous…that was the point. With 60 miles of stunning Atlantic shorelines, The Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach are endlessly popular among tourist. And of course Tripbound gives you access to only the best resorts in the area; Ocean Boulevard, Seawatch Plantation, and Wyndham Dye Villas. Yet, the short trip to Huntington Beach State Park reveals that there’s so much more to the area than meets the eye. Visitors will find an unspoiled 3-mile stretch of pristine beach; a perfect escape from the more crowed spots found on the rest of the Grand Strand. Rent a kayak, pet a stingray, or cast a line and partake in some of the finest surf fishing in all of South Carolina…all just less than an hour away from Myrtle Beach.

Great sunset, even better Facebook pic.

Atlantic City, NJ

Wharton State Forest The Garden State and the movie Garden State; it’s your classic chicken and the egg scenario. Some historians (mainly me) argue that New Jersey was nicknamed after the mildly popular 2004 dramedy. Yet, still others (everyone else) cite some historical anecdote, way too boring to even write about here. We may never know the truth, and I think we all need to just be ok with that. In any event, New Jersey is probably best known by travelers for the bright lights and boardwalks of Atlantic City. But on your next trip to Jersey, check out Wharton State Forest. Just an hour outside of the city, sits the largest tract of public land in the entire state’s park system. This park is home to the truly unique Pine Barrens, an excellent example of the rare Atlantic coastal Pine Barrens ecosystem. Batsto Village, located in the park, is a tribute to the industrial past of the area, complete with over 30 historic houses and tradesmen shops. Find out how early settlers made a go of things, and how they escaped the evil grasp of Satan. Oh, which reminds me…the Jersey Devil also lives here, probably should’ve mentioned that earlier. So maybe you’d be better off spending the night at the Wyndham Skyline Tower in Atlantic City, and missing a chance encounter with Mr. Pitchfork himself.

Hey Satan, funny to see you here.

Sieverville, TN

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Southern Hospitality, moon pies, and Mountain Dew are all found in abundance in down home Tennessee. After a long day of traveling, you’re willing to eat just about anything. So you’ll be sure to enjoy this caloric one-two gut punch, created right here in the Volunteer State. Every year, droves of vacationers make their way south to visit country music’s birth place of Nashville. Still other stop at Graceland in Memphis to pay tribute to the King, and have a fried peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich (Are you starting to see the culinary theme here…it’s not good.). The Great Smoky Mountains provide just as much excitement, and should definitely be on your list of things to do while in Tennessee. It is expansive (816 square miles) and endlessly popular (9 million visitors per year), and as such, it has earned The Great Smoky Mountains the well-deserved title of “America’s Most Visited Park”. Explore ridge after ridge of these fog filled mountains with a leisurely day drive, intense hike, or interpretive guided tour. There is so much to discover here that a single day will simply not suffice. Tripbound offers two excellent hotels in the charming little city of Sevierville. Both the Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge and Wyndham Smoky Mountains put you practically at the park’s gate!

District of Columbia

A ton of parks! Fun Fact: Our nation’s capital is not only filled with crooked politicians, it is also home to over 20 national parks and 75 national historic landmarks. Washington, D.C is essentially just one giant national park. From the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the National Mall, there is no shortage of historical magnitude in D.C’s parks and monuments.  There are so many significant sites located here, that there can be no “best” attraction. The Capitol Hill Parks connect a patchwork of 59 geometrically shaped greens; a perfect place to enjoy nature, while, taking in the sights of the city. The Korean War Veterans Memorial provides visitors a stark reminder of the high price of freedom, and a chance for reflection. Spend a night or even a week in the well-appointed National Harbor or Wyndham Old Town Alexandria , and to experience the city as it was meant to be seen.

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