Established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone actually stretches across parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Visit this stunning gem, our country’s first national park, for its mountains, hot springs, geysers (including iconic Old Faithful), and wildlife like grizzly bears, bison, wolves, and elk.
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- 15 Places Every American Should Visit at Least Once
15 Places Every American Should Visit at Least Once
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
St. Augustine, Florida
Located on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine offers a glimpse into our colonial past. Visitors can explore relics of the city’s Spanish roots, such as the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress. If you prefer outdoor adventures, check out the beaches at Anastasia State Park for swimming, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
There’s a reason why millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year. The mile-deep gorge in Arizona is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Visitors can explore this ancient geological marvel through hiking, biking, rafting, helicopter rides, mule tours, and more.
Crater Lake in Oregon
Pure beauty and awe collide at your first sight of Crater Lake in Oregon. Intensely blue water fills a caldera that was formed by the collapse of a volcano thousands of years ago. The deep blue color of the lake, which is sacred to the Klamath tribe, hints at its impressive 1,949-foot depth, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States. Visit in the winter for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, and cold-weather activities. Those who prefer warmer amusements can opt for a summer vacation filled with hiking, biking, swimming, and boat tours.
Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico
Under New Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert lies Carlsbad Caverns, a cave system filled with chandeliers and temples built of glistening mineral deposits. Choose between self-guided tours and ranger-guided tours of the cave—and if you visit from May to October, be prepared to witness the spectacular flight of bats at twilight.
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado
American history stretches back far beyond 1776. At Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, you can learn more about the ancient cultures who once called this land home. Some of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the Americas, including cave dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people, sit within the 52,485-acre park.
New York City
Iconic landmarks abound in New York City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, One World Trade Center, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, and so much more. Spend some time at the must-see tourist destinations, then live like a local by diving into New York’s world-famous culinary and cultural scene.
The Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., comprises dozens of stunning (and free!) museums, galleries, and gardens as well as the National Zoo. Once you’re done exploring the complex, visit other significant sites in our nation’s capital, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and memorials to WWII and the Vietnam War.
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Red Clay State Park in Tennessee
Reconnect with the tragic truths of American history by visiting Red Clay State Park in Bradley County, Tennessee. Once owned by the Cherokees, this 263-acre park was the starting point of the Trail of Tears in 1838.
Wikimedia Commons via Brian Stansberry
Cahokia Mounds in Illinois
Want to learn more about pre-Columbian North America? Head to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois. This Midwestern treasure, the largest archaeological site north of Mexico, showcases remains of the ancient Mississippian culture.
Santa Fe Art Colony in New Mexico
Under the turquoise skies of Santa Fe, New Mexico, you’ll find 250 galleries and hundreds of artists. This UNESCO-designated “Creative City,” which has a 400-year history, is home to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, loads of Spanish architecture, and the 2018 International Folk Art Market.
Wikimedia Commons via John Phelan
From the National Voting Rights Museum to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, symbols of the struggle for civil rights are plentiful in Selma, Alabama. Consider driving the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which traces the path of the 1965 protest marches for African American voting rights.
Highway One in California
In the mood for a road trip? Take a drive on Highway One, which stretches along the rocky Pacific coastline from Dana Point to San Francisco and beyond. The 655.8-mile road offers prime access to iconic California sites that include downtown Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Hearst Castle, the Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Beyond the Mainland
Don’t limit your domestic travels to the continental United States! Visit the Hawaiian Islands for jaw-dropping tropical landscapes, volcano tours, and outdoor adventures like snorkeling and kayaking. Or you can head north to Alaska for gorgeous national parks, glacier tours, wildlife viewing, and dozens of wintertime activities.
The French Quarter of New Orleans
New Orleans is a cultural and musical mélange known for its annual Mardi Gras festival, vibrant nightlife, and traditional Cajun cuisine. Start your tour in the historic French Quarter and enjoy famous restaurants, unique architecture, classic hotels, and lively Bourbon Street.