The continental United States of America’s land mass measures 3.797 million mi². The country is broken down into regions based on climate and other factors such as farming or culture. One such area is the Southeastern region of the United States.
This area of the country consists of 13 states and spans from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf of Mexico. The region is mostly sunny and warm, owing to its proximity to the equator. The area is prone to extreme weather conditions on a seasonal basis because many of its states have coastal boarders that correspond with the Atlantic Ocean, colloquially known as “hurricane alley.”
Despite the seasonal weather concerns, the Southeastern United States encompasses a rich tapestry of Americana and is an exciting place to explore.
Why Should You Visit the Southeast?
The Southeastern United States is a melting pot of vibrant culture with something for everyone. From beaches to music and all the food in between, a trip to one of these Southeastern states is the perfect idea for those seeking variety in a travel destination.
- Capital: Nashville
- Population: 6,829,174
- Area: 42,143 square miles
Tennessee is rich in geographical diversity. The Great Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Plateau (Cumberland Mountains), which contribute to the area’s mountain traditions overlook East Tennessee. Middle Tennessee features fertile flatlands and picturesque hills for a balanced commercial and agricultural region. West Tennessee is mostly flat land and is suitable for agricultural endeavors such as cotton farming.
- Capital: Raleigh
- Population: 10,488.048
- Area: 53,819 square miles
North Carolina is one of the 13 colonies that would later form the United States of America. North Carolina was one of the first areas of the Americas to be colonized by the British. Roanoke Island is the site of the infamous lost colony of settlers that disappeared mysteriously sometime between 1587 and 1590. The eastern region keeps some remnants of colonial lifestyle, while the Piedmont region is the state’s industrial hub. The western region is home to the mountains and the states rural culture.
- Capital: Columbia
- Population: 5,148,714
- Area: 32,020 square miles
If you love local history, then South Carolina is the place for you! South Carolina established the country’s first museum in 1773. At the Charleston Museum you can explore the natural history and culture of Charleston, as well as view artifacts and exhibits. The Elloree Heritage Museum & Cultural Center hosts special events that focus on South Carolina’s rural history. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is a rich site for Civil War history, while historic Brattonsville is a resource for African American heritage in the state.
- Capital: Atlanta
- Population: 10,617,423
- Area: 59,425 square miles
The state’s early economy depended on the slave plantation system. Georgia was one of the first states to secede from the Union and support the Confederacy (Confederate States of America) during the American Civil War. Atlanta is the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., and served as headquarters for the civil rights movement. Today, the city is home to some of the biggest allures of the state. Major attractions include the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, World of Coca-Cola, and the Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site.
- Capital: Montgomery
- Population: 4,903,185
- Area: 52,419 square miles
Alabama’s landscape has been the scene of many notable events during the nation’s history. European powers fighting for new world land turned Alabama into the battleground for wars between the indigenous peoples and European settlers. Moreover, the state acted as ground zero for the struggle between the South and the North during the American Civil War, and the civil rights movement. Famous historical and cultural sites include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the First White House of the Confederacy, and the Fort Morgan Historic Site.
- Capital: Jackson
- Population: 2,976,149
- Area: 48,430 square miles
The state derives its name from a Native American word loosely translated as “father of waters” or “great waters.” Mississippi has deep, rich soil and abundant rivers, making it suitable for agriculture. Extreme temperatures are rare, so the land is suitable for farming year-round. All these factors contribute to a favorable environment for both animal and plant life. Various pine species and live oaks thrive in the southern counties, while hardwoods and fruit trees thrive in the north. Tourist attractions include the Center for Marine Education and Research (CMER) and the Tupelo Automobile museum.
- Capital: Tallahassee
- Population: 21,477,737
- Area: 65,757.70 square miles
Florida was the 27th area to gain statehood in 1845. With over 21 million residents, the state is the most populous in the Southeastern region. A substantial portion of Florida lies on the peninsula and it shares a land border with Georgia to the east and Alabama to the west. You can find historical sites and tourist attractions at Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, and Sanibel. One of the biggest draws to the state is its theme parks. Universal Studios and Disney World are in Orlando.
Non-Core States of the Southeastern United States
Officially known as the Commonwealth of Virginia, this is a Mid-Atlantic state between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast. It is home to historic cities such as Jamestown and Richmond, and sites such as Shenandoah National Park.
West Virginia is known as the Mountain State. It is the highest state east of the Mississippi River, with an elevation of 1,500 feet above sea level. Popular attractions include the Monongahela National Forest and Blackwater Falls State Park.
The state is at the intersection of the Midwest and South regions of the US. To the north are industrial cities, with rural regions in the west and south. Popular destinations include cities such as Louisville and Lexington. Kentucky is the home of bluegrass music, which is a music genre that combines elements of English music, traditional Appalachian music, Scottish elements, and jazz.
Missouri ranks high in terms of industrial activity and urbanization. It has an active and diversified agricultural scene. The weather is unpredictable, and the area is prone to violent thunderstorms, hot summers, and winter blizzards.
The Natural State is famous for its beautiful outdoor spaces such as the Ouachita Mountains, Ozarks, and Hot Springs National Park. Most state rivers from the northwest to the southeast, empty into the Mississippi through the Red and Arkansas rivers.
The state has five distinct natural regions. The Coastal Marsh which accounts for 40 percent of the US continental wetlands, the Mississippi Flood Plain, and Red River Valley, which begins in the eastern area of New Mexico and flows through Texas and Louisiana to the northwest of Baton Rouge. Low rolling hills and low prairies dominate Louisiana’s inland areas.