This time of year is great for getting out of town, away from the chaos and noise of our everyday lives. Leave your phone behind and cozy up with your family and friends, or even solo. Use this time to connect with the surroundings or read a good book. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find this type of solitude and quiet all around the South.
Waynesville, North Carolina
Waynesville is a small town not far from Asheville, a short drive from some of the area’s most scenic hikes. It’s also home to a rustic lodge at the top of the mountains. My stay at The Swag was just what I needed as there is no cell phone reception. There is WiFi, but only within the lodges, so I remained off the grid during my daytime hikes. You won’t find televisions in your rooms, but can find plenty of board games and an in-house library.
The Amicalola Falls State Park lodge is remote in its own right, home to countless hikes and the state’s tallest waterfall. But to go even further, hike the 5 miles to the Len Foote Hike Inn, a remote and eco-friendly lodge near the starting point of the Appalachian Trail. Meals are communal and the sunrises are epic, best watched from the lodge room, where there’s a fireplace with games and books. Warm up in your bunkroom for the night with a cup of tea.
Little St. Simon’s Island, Georgia
But remote doesn’t always mean mountains! The Georgia Coast has plenty of places to disconnect, especially on the barrier islands. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island is one such place, set on a former hunting lodge property. These days, it’s a luxury resort with chef-created menus and days spent in search of wildlife. The cottages share a living space and porch where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.
Mount Leconte, Tennessee
There’s no better place to experience the Great Smoky Mountains than in the heart of it all. Leconte Lodge is a seasonal guest lodge located at 6,400 feet. Accessible only by hiking one of the five trails, log cabins have propane heat and thick wool blankets. Enjoy family style meals in the dining room before setting out on a day hike. Reservations are required because the lodge books up months in advance.
Cabbage Key, Florida
There are few parts of Florida that are far removed from cities, but Cabbage Key is one such. Located on an island near Fort Myers, you can only access this resort by boat. Cabbage Key Inn is set on over 100 acres with a historic inn and cottages. The island has no paved roads, but instead nature trails with a Indian shell mound.
Meadows of Dan, Virginia
Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Meadows of Dan is very much in the middle of nowhere, but that’s part of its appeal. Primland is a luxury resort set on over 12,000 acres, which is the main draw of a stay there. But there’s also the chic rooms with flat screen televisions, coffee makers, and some even with fireplaces. Leave the television off, instead taking advantage of amenities like golf, hunting, the spa, and observatory.
Homochitto National Forest, Mississippi
Frequently overlooked in favor of other parts of Mississippi, this protected area in the remote southwestern corner of the state is a few hours from Natchez and New Orleans. You wouldn’t know it by your surroundings, though. The Forest is one of the unique places to stay here, made up of private cabins. Relax on the wrap around porch or take in the natural surroundings from the floor to ceiling windows.