Florida’s forgotten coast
Apalachicola, Fla., is a glimpse of what the state was like when “gators still ruled the swamps,” said Jeanine Barone in National Geographic Adventure. Along a stretch of forgotten coastline in the northwestern part of the state you’ll find Apalachicola National Forest, the largest in Florida, which boasts “half a million acres of longleaf pine groves, clear-water sinkholes, two runnable rivers, and open, grassy savannas that are more East Texas than South Beach.” Just to the west is Torreya State Park, 13,217 acres full of deciduous trees with a “vibe more Appalachian than Floridian.” Visitors up for an adventure can attempt the Torreya Challenge, a 16-mile hike through canyons, over pine bluffs, and past old Confederate camps. Others can venture south to kayak Tate’s Hell State Forest, the “magnificent wetland” named for local farmer Cebe Tate—who once chased a panther into the swamps only to re-emerge a week later, “white as a sheet,” claiming “‘I just came from hell.’”
Contact: Floridastateparks.org

Missouri’s ‘Little Dixie’
A journey along the Missouri River offers a “trip deep into African-American history,” said Pamela Selbert in the Chicago Tribune. The riverbank areas were once known as “Little Dixie,” because they had a large slave population even before Missouri became a state. Today, a trail of sites leading west provides lessons that “history books don’t tell.” Start in St. Louis, a “pivotal point on the Underground Railroad,” with stops at the George Washington Carver Garden, Black World History Museum, and new Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, which honors the free black woman who helped slaves cross the Mississippi into Illinois. The Daniel Boone home in St. Charles reminds visitors that one of the state’s favorite sons was, in fact, a slaveholder. Lincoln University in Jefferson City is the only “historically black college started by African-American Civil War veterans.” The trail finally comes to a close in Kansas City, home to both the American Jazz Museum and the “first-rate Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”
Contact: Greatriverroad.com/dixie