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Amazing State Parks in the East

by Barbara Rogers

Jul 7, 2022

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

North America

In America’s West, many of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders are in national parks, but in the East, many are in state parks. Thundering waterfalls, gorges and strange rock formations make these parks perfect destinations for family travel.

 

Niagara Falls

One of America’s best-known natural icons is in New York’s Niagara Falls State Park, also the nation’s oldest state park. There’s lots to do there, including a boat tour on Maid of the Mist, taking you into the gorge at the foot of the waterfalls. Or descend to Cave of the Winds to stand within a few feet of Bridal Veil Falls. The park is open 24/7 and the falls are illuminated at night.

 

Watkins Glen

Also in New York, Watkins Glen State Park features a 400-foot gorge your family can explore through a series of bridges and tunnels taking you across and underneath the cascades and waterfalls, one of which is 60 feet tall. The Gorge Trail is about two miles long and includes stairs, so not a good choice for strollers or very young children.

 

Chimney Rock

A 315-foot pillar of granite is only one of the natural attractions of Chimney Rock State Park, near Asheville, North Carolina. Just as impressive is the 400-foot waterfall; views from the top of Chimney Rock stretch for 75 miles and include Hickory Nut Gorge. You can reach the top of the rock by elevator and a short set of stairs, or you can climb the 500 steps from the base. Kids enjoy learning about the park’s wild creatures on the half-mile Great Woodland Adventure trail, and meeting some of the animals at the Animal Discovery Den.

 

Tallulah Gorge

As the Tallulah River flowed through rugged terrain northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, many years ago, it carved a two-mile gorge reaching almost 1,000 feet in depth. Tallulah Gorge State Park trails follow the rim and cross the gorge on a suspension bridge that sways 80 feet above the floor of the gorge. From the trail and bridge, you can see the rocky bottom, the rushing river and the gorge’s five waterfalls. For a closer look, you can get a permit to hike the floor of the gorge, but daily numbers are limited.

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