United States Travel GuideOur Travel Guide
Remembering when I was a kid, my father loading us into the car and driving from Pennsylvania to California I was in awe of when we got out west. This started a life-long love affair with traveling and exploring. The world seemed to be so huge. Now we hop on a plane and get almost anywhere within a few hours. The United States is a wonderful country. It’s geographic diversity rivals anywhere in the world. With incredible mountains to secluded beaches, the US has something for everyone. We have traveled and explored the country from North to South and from East to West. Whether or not we are in the Smoky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada, we are in awe of the beauty of it’s wild places. We have seen great herds of animals wondering across the plains and experienced polar bears in the arctic. All in the United States. We have put together what we believe to the the Best National Parks, the Best Road Trips, the Best Beaches, Hikes and Mountains. This list is obviously not exhaustive. We live in Florida and still find places we have not seen before. We are building a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with a totally new area to explore. So whether you want a beach holiday, go hiking in the mountains, camping or even digging for dinosaur bones, you can find it in the US.
US at a Glance
Currency: US Dollar ($)
Language: English is the main language, but Spanish is spoken widely in many places.
Visa: A Tourist Visa is required when entering the US.
“I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.” This quote is by Sir David Attenborough and sums up our feelings as well. The US is so large and has so many places to travel, but sometimes we take it for granted. Though the US has some great cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans, we suggest you get out of the cities and explore the country-side. Meet new friends along the way. Explore the roads that are less traveled. Find America on your terms.
Top Experiences in the United States
Best National Parks
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is a must-see for anyone visiting southern Oregon. This impressive lake formed nearly 7,700 years ago after an eruption caused the volcano to collapse. After years of rain, snow and rainwater buildup, Crater Lake was formed inside of the volcano peak. Currently, Crater Lake is renowned for its impressive views and being the deepest lake in the USA. It is also referred to as one of the cleanest and clearest bodies of water in the world. Crater Lake itself only covers roughly 10% of the park land, meaning the rest of the park is occupied by old-growth forests and large prey such as: black bears, elk, and mountain lions. Stay occupied with the various hiking trails, infamous rim drive, and even the excellent star gazing opportunities at the park. Visitors can camp at their local campgrounds or stay at the park lodge that has stunning views of the lake. Crater Lake National Park is located just 5 hours south of Portland, Oregon, and is easily accessible by private car. There is one market and two restaurants spread throughout the park, so make sure that you stock up on needed supplies at one of the neighboring towns before entering the park.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is one of the most iconic parks in the United States. Located in Maine on Mt. Desert Island, this park is home to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, granite peaks, cozy campgrounds, and over 120 miles of hiking trails. One of the best times to visit this park is between September and November, when the infamous New England fall weather is at its peak, and the bright orange and red leaves are on full display. This is also the best time to visit to beat the summer crowds that flood the area during the high season of May-August. Though there is a free shuttle service that runs throughout the park, it is advised to bring a personal car to provide for an easier and more personalized experience. The nearby resort town of Bar Harbor contains quaint inns and lodges to accommodate those visiting the park that want to opt out of camping. This is also a good place to stock up on grocery’s and supplies throughout your visit to the park. Whether you are looking for a rugged outdoors experience, family-friendly hikes, or a more laid-back excursion, Acadia National Park can accommodate all types of travelers whilst providing a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is situated in the Northern part of Montana and was established in 1910. This park lands are sculpted from prehistoric ice rivers, and is home to a whopping 734 miles worth of hiking trails with views of mountainous terrain, forests, waterfalls, 50 glaciers, and roughly 200 cobalt-blue lakes. The park also features picturesque views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Glacier National Park is home to so many activities, that it is often recommended to spend at least 5 days here in order to take-in all that there is to experience. There is accessibility to local campgrounds for backpackers and high-end lodges for those looking to explore the park in a more relaxed and comfortable way. Whether you end up hiking, fishing, or relaxing at a lodge, Glacier National Park is a stunning escape from reality for visitors of all ages.
Best Road Trips
The Sward highway is known as one of the most scenic drives in all of North America. This stretch of road expands from Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, to the quaint fishing town of Seward. The trip will take you past glaciers, wildlife, National Parks, the Chugach Mountain range, and a resort town that borders the northern most rainforest in the world. If you’re looking to add more beauty to this already breathtaking trip, turn left off the main highway at mile marker 79 to enter the small town of Portage Creek. From here, you can visit the Wildlife Conservation Center, Discovery Center, and take a short boat trip that brings you right up to Portage Glacier. Throughout your drive down Turnagain arm, keep an eye out for the moose, beluga whales, and bears that can sometimes be spotted from the road. Once you’ve reached the town of Seward, you will begin to understand why this is one of the most visited towns in the entire state. The charming town is home to an array of locally owned shops featuring Alaskan-made products, the Sea Life Rescue Center, ziplining, restaurants, fishing spots, and many cruise ships that dock in this water-side village.
California Highway 1
The drive from Los Angeles to Big Sur is often listed as a top attraction in the United States. Notable for its breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean and local shops along the way, this drive is definitely one that should be added to your bucket list. At roughly 90-miles long and an average of 3.5-4 hours of drive time, this road trip is the perfect amount of time for families and groups of people traveling together. As mentioned, it is one of the most popular drives in the US, and is therefore recommended to visit during off season (Dec-Mar) or shoulder season (Oct-Dec, Mar-May) in order to avoid large crowds at pullovers and jam-packed traffic. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, pull over at one of the many stops along the way for a quick hike or trip to the beach. The McWay Falls is a short trail that takes visitors from the highway to a local waterfall that can be a perfect spot for a relaxing picnic. It is also highly recommended to get off the beaten path of Highway 1, and venture onto smaller local roads to explore what the area has to offer. If you’re interested in exploring backroads, keep your eyes out for Narrow Palo Colorado road to wind through a redwood forest and spot tiny hobbit houses strewn throughout the trees.
New York City, New York to Portland, Maine
This is the perfect trip for visitors looking to escape the densely populated New York City -or surrounding areas- for a long weekend. Explore some of the best sites in New England as you navigate north 315 miles to the historic city of Portland, Maine. Along the way is an array of different destination points sure to appeal to any type of traveler. Your journey starts with a coastal drive through Connecticut where you’ll witness views of the Atlantic ocean as you make your way to the US’s smallest state, Rhode Island. If you’re looking for a place to explore along this trip, Providence, Rhode Island is highly recommended. This small city packs a punch with its artsy downtown area, historic college hill, and nationally acclaimed food scene. Next, your trip will bring you through the state of Massachusetts, where you can drive through Boston for a look at the marvelous city, or skirt around it to save time on traffic. If you are a fan of history, you can’t pass north through Massachusetts without stopping in Salem; the city notorious for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Continue your drive along the East coast as you pass through the quant towns of New Hampshire. Lastly, you will enter the most north eastern state of Maine. Portland is home to a various array of things to do; from historic neighborhoods, fine dining, and store lined streets, this is the perfect trip for individuals of all ages.
Maui – Napili Beach
We can’t mention the best beaches in the US without mentioning at least one in the great state of Hawaii. There is a reason that visitors all around the world flock to the Aloha state for a relaxing island getaway; any beach you come across is one that is sure to impress. If you’re looking for a smaller, and slightly quainter spot, Napili Beach is a must-see. This expansive white-sand beach has views of the neighboring island, Molokai, and is lined with world-class resorts and restaurants to provide for a relaxing and pampered experience. Though the beach is one of the smaller ones, it still contains all of the fun activities that the larger beaches do, only with slightly smaller crowds. There is even a small natural reef just off the shore that provides for a great opportunity to go snorkeling. The beach is even known as one of the best places to watch the sunset from. As with any popular destination, it is recommended to go during off season to avoid large crowds or during the morning hours if you end up going during the busy time of year.
Kill Devil Hills
Kill Devil Hills is a popular beach located in the outer banks of North Carolina. The first recorded reference of this town name was in 1809, and its origin has remained a mystery since. A common belief is that the name was coined due to the locally made rum that supposedly was so strong it could kill the devil. Regardless of the origin of this tiny town’s name, this beach has many activities to offer for every tourist. Visitors can go surfing, fishing, or exploring the local sand dunes. Since the Outer Banks is located right on the Atlantic Ocean, the local restaurants are a great place to check out for fresh caught-daily seafood. If you’ve got a hiker in your group, the beach is even located just a short distance from the Outer Banks Arboretum & Teaching garden, a serene winding pathway through the large tree-filled gardens. Due to the recent adaptation of a TV show within the area, locals have been noticing an increase in tourism lately. That being said, visiting during the summer months might present a very busy -though still amazing- experience.
Baker Beach, San Francisco
After climbing down a long flight of stairs to reach this iconic beach, visitors remain in awe at the beauty of the sites around them. With panoramic views of the cliffside mansions and the infamous golden gate bridge, Baker Beach is another highly recommended site to see in California. In the summertime, the water heats up enough to swim in, and you might even get lucky and see some dolphins swimming by as well. The northernmost point of the beach is usually clothing option, so if that is not something you are looking for, be sure to stay on the southern end. Perfect for a picnic, sunbathe, family-outing, or for watching the sunset, Baker Beach’s iconic sites will surely make for a memorable trip. If you’re going during the weekend, be prepared for crowds of people and congested parking lots. Visit during the weekdays early in the morning or during the late afternoon if you’re looking for a more laid-back trip to the beach. Local hotels are also situated walking distance from the beach to provide refreshments and a place to grab a bite to eat.
Havasupai Falls Hike, Arizona
Sacred to the local Havasupai tribe, the name itself translates to blue-green water people in English. This trail is considered to be rigorous and therefore not recommended for inexperienced hikers or young children. In order to access the falls, hikers must trek 8-miles to the local village of Supai, 2-miles to the campground, and a final 3-miles to the waterfalls. This comes to a total of a 13-mile hike one way. Once you arrive at the waterfalls, you will witness why this is one of the most popular hikes in all the USA. The stunning falls are roughly 90-feet tall, and create a pool perfect for swimming in at the bottom. Most visitors stay at the campground a night and finish the hike back the following day. However, if you just want to hike in but not out, it is possible to reserve a space on a helicopter to fly you back to the visitor’s center. This option is also popular due to the magnificent views that the helicopter ride provides. No matter which option you choose, make sure to reserve a parking spot so that your car doesn’t get towed away while you’re on your hike.
Nugget Falls Trail, Tongass National Forest
This hike begins at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau, Alaska, and is a must-see for nature lovers. This 1.5-mile hike is perfect for individuals of all ages and provides a chance to witness the breathtaking wilderness that Alaska has to offer. Keep your eyes open for bears, bald eagles, moose, and salmon as you make your way to the 100ft tall waterfall adjacent to the infamous Mendenhall glacier. Make sure to pack close-toed shoes, extra layers, water, and bear spray for this memorable hike in the capital of Alaska.
Antelope Canyon Hike
Antelope Canyon is just another iconic site that Arizona has to offer. This destination is home to some of the most photographed and popular canyons in the entire world and are believed to be formed millions of years ago as a result of continuous erosion within the area. Antelope canyon is located on the Navajo reservation and is therefore required that you book reservations with a local verified tour group in order to explore the canyon. During this hike, the group will be informed on the rich history of the area and why the Navajo tribe considers this land to be sacred. Your group will be surrounded by sandstone mazes on either side as you wind through the narrow passageways throughout the stunning canyon. There is the option of visiting the upper or lower canyon that are both less than a mile, and therefore suitable for individuals of all ages. Since this Antelope Canyon is located in the middle of the desert, it is highly recommended that you make sure to pack a lot of water and sunscreen.
Burroughs Mountain Hike, Mount Rainier National Park
Home to one of the most notable mountains in the world, Mount Rainier National Park boasts spectacular views, wildlife, forests, and lakes. At 9-miles long and 2500ft in elevation, the Burroughs Mountain Hike is not for the faint of heart. The trail takes hikers through open-landscape and lush forest and is known to be one of the best for views of the infamous volcano, Mount Rainier. Goats, chipmunks, marmots, and pika are some of the common wildlife that can be seen on this hike. Make sure to pack hiking shoes, water, snacks, and a camera to take a snapshot of the unforgettable views from the top.
Great Smoky Mountains
These breathtaking mountains obtained their name for the mist that usually hoovers above the treelined throughout the daytime. The mountains themselves are located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is the most heavily trafficked in all of the United States. In fact, this park is so popular that it gets more visitors annually than the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone combined. Home to copious amounts of plant and wildlife, the Great Smoky Mountains provides an excellent viewing opportunity for visitors to the area. Witness elk, dear, and black bears in their natural habitat as you explore the beauty that this park has to offer. View the mountains via scenic drives, hiking, or from the comfort of a local lodge in the park. When you visit the park, make sure to be bear aware, bring comfortable clothes, and plenty of film for your camera so you didn’t miss taking one of the many picturesque shots.
The Denali mountain range is located in the interior of Alaska and is the highest mountain peak in all of North America. Standing at just over 20,000 feet tall, this magnificent mountain is home to an abundance of wildlife and visited by thousands of tourists every year. Located roughly 4-hours north of Anchorage, Alaska, visitors can visit the mountain via a personal car or by taking one of the many tour busses that make the trip each week. The majority of the hiking done around Denali is off trail, as the overarching idea is to enjoy nature and not create many man-made paths that would hinder the forest’s natural state. That being said, if you want to view the mountains in a more relaxed form, there are many lodges spread throughout the park that have stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. There are also small markets and gas stations in order to fuel up and get supplies. At Denali State Park, your odds of seeing brown bears, black bears, and moose increase greatly. Therefore, it is recommended to make sure you travel with extra gear, bear spray, and always be sure to make plenty of noise when outside to ward off nearby wildlife.
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountain range spans from Pennsylvania all the way south to Georgia. These mountains are locally famous for their stunning views and easy accessibility. Visitors can travel via the Blue Ridge Parkway, which provides for a breathtaking drive throughout with views overlooking the range. There are also various small towns spread throughout the entirety of the Blue Ridge Mountains that provide for stunning views and nightly lodging for guests. If you are looking to hike in the area, the best place to do so is within the Shenandoah National Park. Black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes can be spotted within this area, so be aware of your surroundings and always make noise to scare off approaching animals.
There were so many places to choose from. For National Parks we love Yellowstone and have camped there and stayed in the winter. It is a great park. Some of the beaches in southwest Florida are magnificent. The mountains of Pennsylvania are incredible. We love to explore and find something that challenges us. We love to go to lakes and rivers. We have driven, flown, camped, hiked, canoed and biked around the US and still have more to see. We love to go to a wild place and find ourselves.
The United States
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