The United States is a massive country. There are 50 states, some of them bigger than many European countries. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that there are many destinations to explore, much to see and do, and a huge variety of cuisine. Most of us will never be able to visit all 50 states. So, what would be a realistic travel bucket list for the U.S.?
Bucket lists are, by their very nature, subjective. Below is ours. Even if you don’t always agree, it should be enough to get you thinking.
The White House
Situated in Washington, D.C., the White House is where nearly every American President has lived while in office. George Washington was the only one to live and work elsewhere.
This is exactly why this iconic residence is on so many people’s bucket lists when they visit the United States. Some of the most powerful rulers in history have worked and lived here. You can not just arrive and announce that you want to tour the White House, though. Foreign visitors who want to do this have to apply to their country’s consulate or embassy in Washington, D.C. To avoid disappointment, do this as early as possible
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
This massive park is primarily situated in the Northwestern part of Wyoming and covers nearly 3,500 square miles. That means there is abundant space for the seemingly endless variety of wildlife, such as wolves, bears, bison, and elk to roam around freely.
Although the park’s variety of wildlife, beautiful canyons and mountains, and subalpine forests are beautiful enough on their own, what really sets it apart from the rest is the location, right over the massive Yellowstone Caldera – the biggest super-volcano on the North American continent. That creates an incredible array of geothermal features that make this place truly unique. As a matter of fact, more than half of the planet’s geysers can be found right here.
For many people, this must-visit destination will be right at the top of their list. The Grand Canyon is situated in Arizona, and there are quite a few ways to access it. One of the most exciting things anyone can do while visiting here is to walk across the Skywalk that can be found at the West Rim. This 70ft bridge has a clear glass bottom that offers unhindered views of the landscape over 4,000 feet below. We have to warn readers that, while this is a massive thrill, it is not for people who are afraid of heights.
New York City
The Big Apple attracts millions of visitors every year, and as such, it is one of the top tourist attractions in the United States. The Big Apple never fails to delight. It has everything: from massive skyscrapers to trendy neighborhoods and from internationally acclaimed museums to local landmarks.
As the United States’ top urban destination and a global leader in cuisine, art, fashion, and theater, New York is for millions of people from across the globe, the one place in the U.S. they would most like to visit. If you want to visit a single city that’s quintessentially American, it should be the Big Apple.
There is an energy to NYC that few other cities in the world are able to compete with. It isn’t known as the ‘city that never sleeps’ without good reason: this is undeniably one of the most vibrant cities on earth.
Manhattan is one of the most-visited parts of New York because it boasts landmarks such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Broadway Theater.
Alaska and the Northern Lights
Alaska is another U.S. destination that should be on your bucket list because of its great natural beauty and the fact that one can see the famed Northern Lights from here at certain times of the year.
Since the sky has to be entirely dark for it to become visible, there isn’t any guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights at any given time of the year. Your best bet, however, is to go between the middle of September and April.
One of the best locations to see this unique natural phenomenon is Fairbanks in Alaska. From here, you can also embark on an unforgettable tour that crosses the Arctic Circle.
Mackinac Island is viewed by many as the crown jewel of Michigan. This slice of heaven is located between the lower and upper peninsulas of the state. Why is it one of the top bucket list destinations in the United States? The reason is simple: its complete uniqueness. The only modes of transport to the island are small planes and ferries.
There are two more reasons why so many travelers visit the island: the hike to Arch Rock and Mackinac’s famous fudge. Another plus is that Mackinac is situated on Lake Huron – and the beautifully clear waters could easily fool you into thinking that you have someone landed up in the Caribbean.
With its blend of beautiful natural scenery and vibrant cultures, Miami is a one-of-a-kind tourist destination. Situated in the southernmost part of Florida, the culture, climate, and ambiance here are completely different from the rest of the US.
The region is heavily influenced by the Caribbean and Latin American migrant communities who have made Miami their home and who contribute to this amazing city’s unique Latin American vibrancy.
In case you’ve never heard of Horseshoe Bend, it lies in Page, Arizona. The name refers to the remarkable curvature of the beautiful Colorado River here, which offers views that can only be described as breathtaking.
To be fair, we must mention that this is no roadside attraction – one has to walk to Horseshoe Bend. Fortunately, it’s only around 0.75 miles from the parking area to the viewpoint – and we can virtually guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
For the more adventurous, there are also a few other ways to experience this spot’s beauty. One is a helicopter flight over the area. You can also go on a raft or hiking trip.
Skyline Drive is voted as one of the USA’s top bucket list destinations during the fall months year after year. At that time of the year, it’s also a very popular drive for people who want to view the beautiful fall foliage.
Where exactly is Skyline Drive? It’s a beautiful 105-mile stretch of road that crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. Choosing the best time to go can be a bit tricky. Sometimes the fall colors start to appear at the end of September, but often the best time is the middle of October. The higher the elevation, the earlier the leaves will start changing color.
Once they start changing though, you will experience stunningly beautiful layers of reds, oranges, and yellows across the mountains. It’s a sight you will most likely remember for many years.
These falls are partly in the USA and partly in Canada. There is a never-ending debate over whether it’s more beautiful from one side than the other. The fact remains, though, that this is one of the most-visited waterfalls on earth, both by Americans and foreign tourists.
Not only has Niagara Falls been an extremely popular tourist spot for many decades, but it is also an important source of hydroelectric energy. The waterfall began forming more than 12 000 years ago during glacier activity, and over time it developed into what many believe is the fastest-moving waterfall on earth.