Is your travel bucket list only filled with far off, exotic locales? If so, you’re overlooking some fabulous places right here in the United States that are both unique and accessible (you can start marking things off your list right away). So, whether you want to experience nature, history, culture, or all of the above, consider visiting the destinations below the next time you hit the road.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone, America’s first national park, boasts two-million acres of natural wonderland. Animals roaming freely, grasslands, hot springs, geysers, and Wyoming’s big sky enchant visitors from all over the world. Established in 1872, this preserve remains much as it did in the time of early pioneers.
French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
The French Quarter is home to a culture unlike any other in the United States. Not only are the Cajun food, jazz music, and warm personalities things you must experience, but the cobblestone streets and gorgeous architecture set to the Mississippi River backdrop are truly sites to behold.
Highway 1, California
Undoubtedly you’ve seen this stretch of scenic coastline highway on countless films, but watching it on the big screen is nothing like driving it in real life. It’s 135 miles of bends and curves with the Pacific Ocean on one side and picturesque hills, grasslands, and tree-covered canyons on the other.
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
Even if you don’t consider yourself a history buff, the tales and atmosphere found at this Civil War battlefield will make the drama come alive (having Morgan Freeman as the narrator for the visitor center film helps), and, if you squint, you can almost picture the blue and grey coats fighting it out on the grassy hills.
Pearl Harbor, O’ahu, Hawaii
Visiting Pearl Harbor produces mixed feelings as you marvel at the gorgeous tropical locale yet feel disheartened when considering the men who lost their lives during the battleship air raid. Still, it’s a moment no American should forget, and a visit to the memorial is a memory that will last a lifetime.
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
As an American, visiting the country’s capital should be at the top of your to-do list, and the National Mall is chock full of museums and memorials. Best of all, most of them are free. Spend a few days exploring the sites, and you’ll definitely have a new-found appreciation for U.S. history.
Times Square, New York City
Set in the city renowned throughout the world, Time Square is the epicenter of everything NYC has to offer. Visit in the summer and you can park your lawn chair in the pedestrian-only street to take in the sights, sounds, and, of course, the jumbo TV screens that scale the massive buildings. Or, stop by on New Year’s Eve to watch the famous ball drop. Whenever you decide to come, you can trust the city will be moving full-throttle.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Nothing can put size more into perspective than witnessing the massive expanse of the Grand Canyon, but, for the best views you have to see the canyon from the bottom up. This means traveling beyond the standard lookouts and taking a guided tour from the rim of the canyon down to the Colorado River — definitely worth the effort.
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
A visit to this six-century-old adobe settlement offers a glimpse of what life was once like for Native American inhabitants. It is home to well preserved, multiple-story pueblo dwellings that are occasionally still used for ceremonial rites by the Tiwa-speaking people who live on a neighboring reservation. Taos Pueblo is so unique it is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.