ABOUT THE SOUTHEAST
Most of the southeast is dominated by a humid subtropical climate. Near the southern portions of Florida, the climate gradually becomes tropical. Summers are generally hot and humid throughout the entire region. The Bermuda High pumps hot and moist air mass from the tropical Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico westward toward the southeast United States, creating the typical sultry tropical summers. Daytime highs are often in the upper 80’s to lower 90’s F. Sunshine is abundant across the southeastern United States in summer, and the rainfall comes in quick, but intense tropical downpours, with frequent thunderstorms. Winters are cool in the northern areas like Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and western North Carolina, with average highs in the 45°F (7°C) range in January. Farther south, winters become more mild across interior eastern North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, with average January highs in the 53°F (12°C) range. As one nears the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain and coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina, winters become warm, with daytime highs near or over 60°F (16°C), until far enough south in central Florida where daytime highs are above 70°F (21°C).
Biscayne National Park, Florida – Located in Biscayne Bay, this park at the north end of the Florida Keys has four interrelated marine ecosystems: mangrove forest, the Bay, the Keys, and coral reefs. Threatened animals include the West Indian manatee, American crocodile, various sea turtles, and peregrine falcon.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina – On the Congaree River, this park is the largest portion of old-growth floodplain forest left in North America. Some of the trees are the tallest in the eastern United States. An elevated walkway called the Boardwalk Loop guides visitors through the swamp.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida – The islands of the Dry Tortugas, at the westernmost end of the Florida Keys, are the site of Fort Jefferson, a Civil War-era fort that is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. With most of the park being remote ocean, it is home to undisturbed coral reefs and shipwrecks and is only accessible by plane or boat.
Everglades National Park, Florida – The Everglades are the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. This mangrove and tropical rainforest ecosystem and marine estuary is home to 36 protected species, including the Florida panther, American crocodile, and West Indian manatee. Some areas have been drained and developed; restoration projects aim to restore the ecology.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, North Carolina – The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, span a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5,000 plant species. Hiking is the park’s main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities include fishing, horseback riding, and touring nearly 80 historic structures.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky – With more than 400 miles (640 km) of passageways explored, Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave system. Subterranean wildlife includes eight bat species, Kentucky cave shrimp, Northern cavefish, and cave salamanders. Above ground, the park provides recreation on the Green River, 70 miles of hiking trails, and plenty of sinkholes and springs.
Shenendoah National Park, Virginia – Shenandoah’s Blue Ridge Mountains are covered by hardwood forests that teem with a wide variety of wildlife. The Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail run the entire length of this narrow park, along with more than 500 miles (800 km) of hiking trails passing scenic overlooks and cataracts of the Shenandoah River.
Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands – This island park on Saint John preserves Taíno archaeological sites and the ruins of sugar plantations from Columbus’s time, as well as all the natural environs. Surrounding the pristine beaches are mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
The southeast farms and produces tobacco, hay, soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat
Swamps cover one-fifth of Florida
The Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland in North America, and it is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators coexist
There are over 350 species of birds, 300 species of fish, and 36 endangered or threatened species in the 9 different habitats that make up the Everglades
Animals that are common in this region include wild boar, black bears, elk, alligators, crocodiles, red wolves, gray and red fox, deer, beavers, opossums, armadillos, and jackrabbits