Who can think of a reason to visit the United States of America? The odds are high that the ones you choose include the Statue of Liberty or Hollywood. For Brits, the idea of seeing the most iconic sights in the US is spellbinding. Plus, New York City and Los Angeles are fantastic places to spot celebrities, so it’s two birds with one stone.
While the classics are worth a visit, the truth is that America is more than skyscrapers and the rich and famous. Among the big, bold and brash lifestyle, there is an abundance of natural wonders waiting to be discovered. Anyone looking to raft or hike their stress away can’t do much better than the USA.
The question is, where should you go and why? Because America is a huge place, we thought we’d help out and relieve some of the pressure. Here are the towns, cities and states to visit and experience the best of the United States of American nature.
On the whole, there aren’t many places in the world that can keep up with Washington State in terms of natural beauty. Mount St. Helens dominates the landscape south of Seattle and is spectacular to look at on a clear, sunny day. But, it offers more than a nice view because there are trips to the top and surrounding hikes that provide jaw-dropping visuals. Other national parks include the Wenatchee National Forest as well as Mount Rainier National Park. One of the jewels in the crown, however, is the Hoh Rainforest. Synonymous with South America, rainforests do exist in the north too, and this is one of the most temperate in the US. And, because it’s protected from commercialization, it will continue to survive for years to come. Don’t use that as an excuse to put off visiting this amazing state, though!
It’s not right to mention one without the other as Oregon and Washington go hand in hand. Sightseeing abounds in Portland, whose reputation as an eco-conscious destination has been honed over the past several decades. Portland has often been designated the “Greenest City in America” by a variety of sources due to its cultural commitment to sustainable lifestyle. Apart from hugging trees, a tourist can surf in the summer and ski in the winter atop the snowy Cascades. Village Properties has an excellent range of accommodation for families and individuals. As well, camping spots are everywhere so it’s a great holiday destination if you like to sleep under the stars, too.
For many people, Colorado is the greatest state in the whole of the Americas. Why? In part, because it has the Rocky Mountains running through it like a backbone. Major ski resorts like Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Vail offer a wide variety of trails and slopes to fit varying skill levels. Apart from the mountain scenery, there is a legendary music festival called Red Rocks. Just outside Boulder, it’s only a short commute from the city center, and Denver is within driving distance. Apparently, the sound of the music bouncing off the rocks is unparalleled and an acoustic must-hear. If “choons” aren’t really your thing, try venturing along the Poudre River from Boulder to Fort Collins for fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Or, take a winding drive following a river gorge up to Estes Park, where you’ll find remnants of the Old West in a popular destination which serves as a base camp for Rocky Mountain National Park.
Yosemite National Park, California
In southern California, LA and San Diego are huge tourist destinations for shoppers and celebrity hunters. But throughout California, nature lovers can take their pick from a variety of destinations and a wealth of ecosystems. From Death Valley to the Sierra Nevada, California has a range of parks boasting waterfalls, desert landscapes, mountains, ocean views and more. Yosemite is probably the most spectacular in terms of sheer grandeur, and the Yosemite Falls trail has to be on the hiker’s list. Experienced free climbers who want to tackle a monster can attempt El Capitan, but regular mortals will enjoy the Park’s ancient sequoia trees, Bridalveil Fall, and Tunnel Vista. When walking and hiking gets too much, visit shops and amenities in Yosemite Village, including the Ansel Adams Gallery, where you can purchase prints and books showcasing the famous photographer’s work in the park. Accommodations have a variety of amenities suitable for every budget.
Asheville, North Carolina
Natural wonders in the United States are not confined to its western states. They exist in abundance in the eastern regions as well. One of the best bases from which to explore natural attractions in the eastern United States is Asheville, North Carolina. This is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the greater Appalachian range, which run from Virginia to the Deep South. In the summer, the hiking opportunities are endless but don’t forget about a scenic drive either. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a route that cuts through the range and takes in some of the best trails and scenery along the way. Also, the Great Smoky Mountains are easily accessible from Asheville by car. In fact, many tourists go from one route straight into the other. At the end of a long day, Asheville gives you the opportunity to relax in picturesque surroundings in a thriving bar and foodie scene, which transitions into nightlife with a youthful vibe.
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes region is an area in the northern, mideast of the US defined by a group of large, interconnected bodies of fresh water along the Canadian border. This is the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet with 21% of the world’s supply of fresh water. From ports such as Duluth to Milwaukee, the system serves shipping routes to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and sightseeing abound. Spring and summer are popular times to visit, but winter phenomena such as rare blue ice stacks, ice balls and lake effect snow belts bring cold weather lovers to the region as well.