On our family vacation this year, we went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On our way to the beach, from Kentucky, we had to drive through Eastern Tennessee. You know, where Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located? Right in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains.

I love this part of the country. It's so gorgeous. If you have ever driven to either of these two cities, from the Tristate, you pass by one of THE most incredible waterfalls in the US, other than Niagara Falls. But in this waterfall, you can actually play and swim.

Take a look at the breathtaking waterfalls at Cummins Falls State Park, in Cookeville, TN. The park is about a 4-hour drive from Evansville or Owensboro.

Doesn't this look amazing? It's like paradise.

If you go, while you are there, you can hike too.

I would never want to leave this state park. When we drove by the exit to this Cummins Falls State Park, while headed home on Highway 41, I remember saying to Quenton, When we get home, I'll Google this park and see if it's worth driving back here to visit and camp. Well, I think it is, don't you? Those waterfalls are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

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If you would like to plan a trip to visit the falls, the park is open year-round. But, I would make a plan to go when the weather is perfect for getting into the falls and time is running out for that. Cummins Falls State Park has a calendar of activities all year long. Get more info on this beautiful Tennessee State Park and plan a trip, HERE.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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