Summer vacation destinations are abundant in the southeast. From the sunny sands of Myrtle Beach down to the magical adventures in Walt Disney World, there are lots of places you can consider in the southeastern U.S. for a summer vacation.

Is it a relaxing and leisurely vacation lounging on the beach you're looking for? Or perhaps you are looking to learn something new and see some U.S. history? Then again, perhaps adventure is awaiting you and you are seeking a thrill.

Whatever kind of vacation you're looking to find, chances are good there is something located  in the southeast United States. Here are a few of my picks:

Treasure Island, Florida

On the western coast of Florida on the gorgeous Gulf Coast you'll find Treasure Island. I feel this beach is beautiful at any time of year - I've spent time during all four seasons here. The beaches are beautiful and, when you're tired of lounging in the sun, you'll never be lacking of things to see and do.

You can stroll along John's Pass which has both eclectic and quaint shops, great eats and plenty of activity. There are some great restaurants too, but its been a while since I've been down there so names may have changed. But we have made several trips to the island and never lacked for finding great places to eat.  For nightlife, we used to go to Gator's for food (yes they really do have gator on the menu!), drink, music and often other special events.  On Treasure Island, you'll also find typical vacation stuff like miniature golf. Along the main strip of Treasure Island it's not uncommon to see pelicans flying near and many visitors fishing or going out on one of the boat tours.

One great thing I love about Treasure Island is the fact it's a great getaway, but close enough to pop over to other places like Madeira Beach, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa and Fort DeSoto. (Fort DeSoto is a great place to visit if you're a history buff, has lovely water views and some neat wildlife to see too).

Fort DeSoto
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

This photo was taken during one of our several visits to Fort DeSoto (I'm one of those types that like to find the history or the wildlife when going on summer vacation, while the beach is fun, I can't do a week of just the beach - I like to see what else is out there).

Night time on Treasure Island is beautiful! We used to stop at the grocery store, pick up some sandwiches and have dinner on the beach. I always have found this destination to be a nice relaxing vacation.

Treasure Island sunset
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

A Treasure Island (Florida) sunset. Going for an evening swim is also pretty popular at this beach

Orlando, Florida

When one hears Orlando, most of the time visions of Disney come to mind. With theme park rides, characters, live entertainment shows, parades, fireworks just for starters, there is plenty to do right in Walt Disney World; you could probably spent at least a couple of days in there alone. After visiting Mickey and friends, you can hop over to Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios (I read this name is soon to be changed), or the Universal parks. In addition to the theme parks there are plenty of other places to go, such as a dinner theatre.

You can go simulated sky diving (I'm too chicken to do the real thing, but this was a blast), visit one of the animal parks (in addition to the main ones at the theme parks, there are plenty of family-owned smaller ones to visit), or simply lounge at the pool. There is also plenty of shopping if that's your thing. In my experience, there's never a lack of anything to do while visiting Orlando. Just be sure to pack the sunscreen and try to plan for both indoor and outdoor fun to give yourself a break from the hot sun (not being on the shore, you can really feel the heat in the summer).

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

In the summer, it's nice to spend the evening outside in the parks when it is a little cooler.  This is a side view of Cinderella's Castle. I love the way it continuously changes the light's colors at night.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is a great choice because it offers a little bit of everything. There are beautiful beaches, great restaurants, nightlife, golf, shopping, amusement parks and more. If you're traveling with your children, Myrtle is a great choice because there are bumper cars, some great miniature golf courses and kiddie rides along the main strip. Broadway on the Beach is a perennial favorite which has much to offer and is great fun for the whole family. Barefoot Landing is another terrific location to stop and spend a few hours or the day. I've only spent a week here - it was a July visit - but do hope to visit again someday.

Myrtle Beach
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

View from our condo's balcony during a 2007 trip to Myrtle BBeach

Charleston, South Carolina

If exploration and history are on your mind, I hear Charleston is a great choice. I've not actually been here (yet!), but it's definitely on my list of my "must" places to see, so have included this location on my list. Many people I know highly recommend seeing this city at least once.  I'm told there are professional tours on horse drawn carriage, boat or on foot. One thing I want to do is explore the city's rich past in the historical neighborhoods. In addition, I hear there's a great variety of art, culture and entertainment to experience; the city is full of wonderful galleries.

The southeast region of the United States is a beautiful place to visit for summer vacation. Sure, it's a little warm at times in this section of the U.S., but with all of the water, indoor and outdoor activity, there is a good mix of things to see and do in various cities.


Other articles you might be interested in:

10 Summer Vacation Ideas for New England

Family-friendly Vacation Spots to Visit in New York