A: A Hidden Secret.
For a long time the Panhandle Gulf Coast was considered Florida's Hidden Secret.
This has changed drastically over the past few years. The white sands and blue/green waters has lured many people, including the "Snow Birds" from Canada who come down in the winter to swim in waters far too cold for the average southerner. Even people from the Bootheel have invested in property on the Gulf Coast, and live there at certain times of the year.
Before leaving this subject it is only fair to mention that Florida has another Hidden Secret - one that will not be mentioned in any Chamber of Commerce brochures. The humid climate there produces an endless variety of bugs.
There is one species that is euphemistically called "Love Bugs." They come out in the months of May and September in orgiastic swarms so intent on reproduction they can't wait for a love nest. Copulating as they wing it, these enraptured love makers smash blissfully into windshields obliterating them beyond imagination.
Florida has many rest stops that have high power water hoses to wash this interrupted sex away. Otherwise you can't drive.
Alabama has its own beautiful Gulf Coast that is characteristically called "The Redneck Riviera." But Alabama has a Hidden Secret that many of the state's residents don't even know about. It's called Little River Canyon.
Little River Canyon is part of what is called Lookout Mountain Scenic Parkway.
It starts just outside of Chattanooga going south ninety three miles to Noccalula Falls at Gadsden, Alabama. It is one of America's scenic drives.
The roadway at the Little River Canyon National Preserve parallels the 700-foot-steep-walled rift believed to be the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi. The many scenic stops along the way offer a panorama of trees, canyon, and many waterfalls. You can even follow one of several trails that lead down the sandstone cliffs to the cloistered canyon floor.
This is not meant to be a travel brochure. As Southeast Missourians we know that our own state has many natural wonders that could be visited; as well as those found in neighboring Arkansas. But there is nothing "secret" about the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, or the beauty along the White River in Arkansas.
For some unknown reason the Lookout Mountain Parkway, and Little River Canyon, have remained comparatively unknown. They deserve much more than that; and could be considered by Bootheelers as a possible vacation adventure.
It's not a hop-skip-and jump from here, (approximately 350 miles) but still an easy one day's drive- all expressway after reaching Jackson, Tenn.