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IT SEEMS THAT EVERY TIME SOMEONE GETS A TASTE OF THE SOUTHEAST, they’re drawn back for more. It could be the sweet tea and cornbread. It could be the magnolia- and pine-scented air. Or more likely it’s the picture-perfect weather providing the ideal excuse for slipping away to the putting green. Every few months, the change of seasons lends excitement to the air. The arrival of spring brings wildflowers and azaleas to a greening landscape. Summer is just the right time for a jaunt to the beach. Come October, forests burst into a quilt of oranges, reds and yellows. Then life slows down a bit as winter settles over the landscape. The occasional snowfall leaves a dusting of white that is deep enough for skiing at higher elevations.

Another advantage of living in the Southeast is the proximity to many of the country’s most popular playgrounds. Within just a few hours, residents can be mountain trekking or sea kayaking. They can be teeing off in Myrtle Beach or sailing across Florida’s aqua blue waters. Officially, the Southeast is made up of 11 states stretching from Louisiana to Virginia; however, the most famous for golf are Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.


The Peach State is made up of refreshing contrasts. The corporate hub of the South, Atlanta is known for outstanding restaurants, heart-thumping sports and a vibrant art community. Some of the nation’s best business opportunities can be found in bustling Atlanta. Yet within just a few hours, residents can find themselves surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, country farms or peaceful salt marsh.

The Georgia Club

The north Georgia mountains are a popular location for second homes and weekend getaways. Retirement communities, golf resorts and rental cabins make it easy to escape from the everyday. Scenic waterfalls, abundant hiking trails and lush forests of rhododendron can be found throughout the region. At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville is the tallest cascade east of the Mississippi River. Anglers consider Duke’s Creek to be one of the top fly-fishing streams in the state.

During the past two years, Atlanta has made global headlines as it opened the world’s largest aquarium. The awe-inspiring attraction features 8 million gallons of both fresh and saltwater tanks. Its most famous residents include beluga whales and whale sharks, as well as sea lions, hammerhead sharks, Japanese spider crabs, otters and African penguins. The city is also home to an excellent zoo, botanical gardens, outdoor concert venues, the High Museum of Art, the King Center, and countless other attractions. Southern charm and colonial architecture make Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah, one of the most popular towns for romantic getaways. Made famous by the book and movie ”Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil,„ Savannah is filled with elegant B&Bs, gourmet restaurants and 18th century garden squares. Stroll the cobblestone path of River Street and watch barges navigate Savannah’s port, a major point of entry for global trade.

One of the fastest growing regions of Georgia is the ”Colonial Coast.„ Four barrier islands, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, make up the Golden Isles. Historic Jekyll Island was once the playground of the wealthiest men in America, including J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Many of their ”cottages„ have been carefully preserved and can be seen on tours of the Millionaire's Village.

While both Jekyll and Sea Island are known for spectacular links, Georgia has even more to offer golfers. The state’s new Dream Pass program provides exclusive privileges and benefits at participating courses. The Peach State is home to the nation’s oldest golf club, the Savannah Golf Club. And what golfer hasn’t daydreamed of playing in, or simply watching in person, The Masters™? The nation’s most prestigious golf tournament is held each spring at Augusta National Golf Club, where the world’s most famous players tee off.


No other state has as many stunning beaches as Florida. Slip into your flip-flops and start walking the sugary sands. If you traveled a mile a day, it would take more than two-and-a-half years to circle the entire Sunshine State. Each year, beach aficionado Dr. Stephen Leatherman — better known as ”Dr. Beach„ — ranks our nation’s best beaches, and his list always includes many mentions of Florida’s shoreline. During 2006, he chose both Barefoot Beach Park in Bonita Springs and Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin among the top ten beaches, rivaling those in Hawaii.

Florida’s famous Panhandle sports emerald waves and white sands that look like they belong in the Caribbean. Even butterflies can’t resist the warm beach breezes. Each fall, the migration of monarchs pauses just for a moment along the Gulf of Mexico, adding flitting glimpses of orange to the blue skies.

The unique atmosphere of Florida’s Keys makes them seem like their own country. The most famous is quirky Key West, known for laid-back pubs and the feline-friendly estate of Ernest Hemingway. Legend has it that the author was given a six-toed cat by a visiting ship’s captain, and many of the kitty’s descendents are among the 60-or-so cats residing at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. To this day, many of the cats have extra toes. Even more curious than the funky felines is the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Tourists and residents alike gather at the nation’s southern-most tip to watch street performers and psychics perform as the orange sun slips beyond the horizon.

St. Simons Island

Known for bimini tops as much as bikini tops, the Keys are a mecca for boating and diving enthusiasts. Within the protected waters of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, shipwrecks tell maritime stories, humpback whales raise their young, kelp forests dance with the currents and rocky reefs flourish. Non-divers can watch rainbow-colored fish from glass-bottom boat tours at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Snorkelers will find some of the best underwater scenery in the country at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Florida is more than glistening beaches, cool springs and sunny everglades. Florida is also known for vibrant cities, decadent spas and luxurious golf resorts. Miami’s tropical beat is more Latin than laid back, with chic nightclubs lining Collins and Washington avenues. Even larger than Miami is bustling and business-friendly Jacksonville. Naples is said to have more millionaires per capita than any other place in the state.

With its many theme parks, Orlando is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. In contrast to the ”newest„ and ”hottest„ atmosphere of Miami is the historic town of St. Augustine. Settled in 1565 by Ponce de Leon and his soldiers, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied community in U.S. history, having been founded 55 years before Plymouth Rock.

History is preserved at Colonial Spanish Quarter as costumed re-enactors demonstrate cooking techniques, blacksmithing, candle making and other crafts of the 1740s. The actual stone cross that Ponce de Leon and his men displayed in Florida’s sand can be seen at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Park.

North Carolina

With gently rolling mountains and sandy Atlantic shores, North Carolina is a virtual paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether mountain biking at Tsali Recreation Area or catching a record-size walleye from Fontana Lake, opportunities abound. North Carolina may be best known for outstanding whitewater rafting and the numerous outfitters that provide access to rivers like the Nantahala. The nation’s largest artificial whitewater river can be found at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, set on the banks of the Catawba River near Charlotte. Here, boaters can perfect their skills on Class III and Class IV rapids created by re-circulating water.

With elevations as high as 6,000 feet, North Carolina gets its fair share of snow. The winter craze of snow tubing first began at Ski Beech and has spread like, well, a blizzard. Since it doesn’t require the skill of snowboarding or skiing, anyone in the family can do it. After the last winter snow melts away, golfers set out for the more than 500 courses dotting North Carolina, many designed by the fabled Donald Ross.

The ancient mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park were shaped by eons of wind and water. Extending into Tennessee, this is the nation’s most-visited national park, with most travelers concentrating around Gatlinburg, Cherokee and Cades Cove. A portion of the park can be seen from the twisting roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway; however, the best scenery lies ahead for those with hiking boots and a sense of adventure.

Tired of the mountains? Pack your sunscreen for a trip to the beautiful Outer Banks, where you’ll find the tallest dunes on the east coast. The salty waters of the Atlantic were once patrolled by Blackbeard himself, but today, the beaches are patrolled by shell seekers. Many collectors say that the best treasures can be found at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Shackleford Banks, Hammocks Beach State Park, Wrightsville Beach, and Ocracoke Island — recently ranked by ”Dr. Beach„ as one of the top ten beaches in the country.

For wildlife more exotic than seagulls, spend the day at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. Many consider this to be the country’s largest and finest walkthrough natural-habitat zoo, with more than 1,100 animals and five miles of trails in just the North American and African exhibits alone. North Carolina is much more than lush forests and sunny shores. It’s vibrant cities as well. Raleigh, part of the famed Research Triangle, is best known for world-class museums, historic sites, Broadway shows, sporting events and shopping. Abundant museums, ballet, theater, symphony and art have earned Raleigh the nickname of ”Smithsonian of the South.„

South Carolina

Life seems to slow down just a bit in South Carolina. Perhaps it’s the proximity to the genteel Lowcountry and its reputation for elegance and grace. Or perhaps it’s the comfort of knowing that no matter where you reside in South Carolina, you’re never more than four hours from a cool mountain hike or a sun-filled day at the beach.

The romantic port city of Charleston was founded in 1670 and still boasts 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings. Stroll the cobblestone streets and take a peek at the private gardens tucked behind ornate iron gates. Wonder among hundreds of historic shops and homes, then browse Old City Market where Gullah women — members of a distinct African-American culture — peddle hand-woven baskets. You can almost feel the ghosts of Colonial merchants walking along with you.

Currahe Club

South Carolina is famous for golf, hosting numerous pro tournaments and charity events each year, including the Celebrity Chef Classic on Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head has some of the best golf and tennis facilities in the South, four exclusive resort communities and development policies that are in tune with nature. Buildings can be no higher than trees and billboards are not allowed on the island.

In contrast, Myrtle Beach is famous for high-rise condos, kid-friendly amusement parks, colorful nightlife and more than 100 golf courses. Tiger Woods once described Myrtle Beach as ”probably the golf Mecca of the world.„ It’s no surprise that the region has a high number of retirees who have moved closer to their favorite playground. The Palmetto State has also been praised for having particularly women-friendly golf courses.

South Carolina is good for business as well. Greenville is home to BMW’s first plant outside Germany and car enthusiasts are invited to tour the facilities. Greenville’s revitalized downtown won the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2003 Great American Main Street Award. Numerous attractions keep residents and visitors entertained, particularly the Liberty Bridge pedestrian walkway, Greenville Zoo and Roper Mountain Science Center.

For an escape from the city, South Carolina’s creeks, rivers and swamps are ideal. The Edisto River is the world’s longest free-flowing blackwater stream, winding from the midlands to the Lowcountry. The tea-colored water, stained by the tannic acids produced by decaying vegetation, welcomes boaters for a leisurely float. Adrenalin junkies can get their fix on the rushing Chattooga, a National Wild and Scenic River. Numerous outfitters and parks make it easy to explore South Carolina’s remote wilderness.

Come Stay in the South

With spectacular outdoor recreation, affordable housing and business-friendly cities, it is no wonder the southeastern United States is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. Once people visit, they usually come back — sometimes for a lifetime. Fortunately, an abundance of welcoming communities makes it easy for families to find the perfect place to call home. And an abundance of golf courses makes it easy to perfect your swing.


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