While you are here don’t forget to advantage of all the sightseeing the US has to offer. You will find traveling around the US is a bit like traveling around Europe in the sense that customs, dialect, food and music can change drastically from state to state. We lack the train system that makes traveling Europe so easy, but there are a lot of resources to help make a trip easy and fun.
The first recorded road trip took place in Germany in 1888, and the first recorded in the US was from San Francisco to New York in 1903. Ask any kid who grew up in America and they can tell you about a family road trip. Road trips are big here.
There is an abundance of beautiful and interesting places to visit in the 3.806 million sq miles or 9.857 million km² that make up the United States. I have been lucky enough to visit 47 of the 50 states and these are the five places that immediately stand out to me as places I’d recommend. In no order:
Yellowstone National Park – Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
Yellowstone is a magical place. Things are happening to the Earth in Yellowstone that you can’t find anywhere else. The ground is bubbling, ponds look like rainbows and water shoots 120 – 180 feet into the air every hour and a half. As a kid I thought of this place as another planet. There is so much to do and see, here is a link that does a good job breaking it down.
The capital of our nation and most famous for where the president lives, Washington, D.C. is a place of great lawns, monuments and museums. My husband grew up here so I have been to visit many, many times. I have two favorite activities and they both cost nothing. The first is to wander around the National Mall. This is where you find the reflecting pools, monuments and gardens/lawns. The second is to visit any of the 16 Smithsonian museums and galleries.
You can fill several days just walking around and going in and out of famous museums, here is a link that has recommendations.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
For me the Grand Canyon didn’t seem like that big of a deal until I got there. It is only then, that I understood how grand it actually was. It is not possible to imagine the scope until you are standing at the edge of it. I have been to several different locations via car and foot. I also had the amazing opportunity to tour the canyon in a helicopter. It is pricey, but I would highly recommend it. I can’t give a tour company recommendation, but there are a lot to choose from depending on where you want to depart from. A simple Google search will get you started. US News does a good job of providing details on the best time to go and the top attractions.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is most appreciated once you understand it’s history and Creole culture. The City;s diverse heritages are what it make it unique. Wandering around the City is a treat for your eyes and ears. The birthplace of jazz, you can’t go far without hearing live music or seeing something representative of a carnival. At night is when the things really start to get interesting so be prepared to stay up late! Here are some tips.
Mighty 5, Utah
My fifth place is a tie between five national parks in Utah. They are all hiking and nature heaven. I think the Mighty 5 website describes it best: A trip to The Mighty 5 means watching the sunrise over the towering depths of Canyonlands National Park, then watching the sunset through an impossibly delicate rock bow in Arches National Park. It means standing nose-to-nose with ancient petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park, then lying on your back as a meteor shower streaks across the Milky Way. It means gazing down at coral-hued rock hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, then gazing upward at the steep walls of a slot canyon in Zion National Park. It means hiking, river rafting, biking, picnicking, walking, mule riding, exploring and stargazing.
There is an abundance of sites and resources for must see places in the US. A road trip is just one way to do it. You can, of course, fly, take a bus and there are a few trains. Regardless, almost every top 10 list has a place on the California coast as a must visit. Take advantage of living in this gorgeous state and go exploring!
Forbes has a great list of top American road trips, two of the desintations are in CA. Buzzfeed has in impressive list of 29 Surreal Places In America You Need To Visit Before You Die, four of them are in Ca. Get started by checking out Lifehiker’s How To Plan The Perfect Road Trip.
Tell me about your favorite place to visit!