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Before I lived in the US, I never really understood the fascination with exploring the USA. I mean – what was so great about another English speaking country?
When I moved to Boston, I learned that there’s actually great deal to be excited about in the US. There are so many incredible experiences here in the US and while many Americans dream of traveling overseas, there is plenty to explore in their own backyard too!
While I can’t list every single incredible US destination in this post (you’d be reading for a long time my friends!) here are some ideas for your next adventure.
So, if you’re after inspiration for your next vacation, read on for the bucket list destinations you can’t miss in the US!
1. New York City, New York
As the most populous city in the United States, NYC is one of the most famous cities in the world.
If you’re a fan of cities, NYC should be at the top of your bucket list – there is something here for everyone regardless of your interests.
Can’t miss experiences include the iconic Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and strolling through Central Park.
NYC is also home to incredible food – from the bustling China Town to delicious brunch, your tastebuds will be on holiday here too (yum!)
Visiting NYC makes for the perfect weekend trip on the east coast (though if I’m super honest, I spent 2-weeks in NYC and I felt like it still wasn’t enough!)
2. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is known for having incredible views of the steep red cliffs of Zion Canyon.
As one of the most popular National Parks in the US, Zion National Park is a must on any southwest or Utah road trip adventure.
Highlights include hiking Angel’s Landing (not for those afraid of heights) and hiking The Narrows (avoid if you don’t want to get wet!)
3. Yosemite National Park, California
Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is famous for Tunnel View, an iconic view of the Bridalveil Falls and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome.
This national park is iconic USA at it’s best and you’ll probably recognise views from here if you own an apple computer – views from Yosemite feature heavily on Mac Wallpapers.
4. Miami, Florida
Personally, I never understood why travelers wanted to visit Miami until I visited myself during a really cold winter in Boston.
While I was after warmer weather, I soon realized that Miami was so much more than sunny beaches, sunbathing, and warm weather.
What I loved the most about Miami was its distinct culture, influenced by immigrants from Latin America that now call this city home.
Highlights include going on an Art Deco Tour, visiting Little Havana, and visiting nearby Everglades National Park.
Psst: If you’re looking for East Coast road trip ideas, Florida (and the south!) is a great place to road trip. Don’t forget to rent a car for your visit!
5. San Francisco, California
The city of San Francisco, also known as SF or San Fran is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and distinct Victorian architecture (the Painted Ladies especially are worth a visit).
San Francisco is more than its architectural delights though – it’s also perfect for the food lovers in your life.
This coastal city has amazing seafood but is better known for its hipster brunch options and for the oldest and most established Chinatown in the US (and as a Chinese-Australian, I can personally attest to having the best dim sum I’ve ever tried in the US here!)
6. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone is famous for its geysers and vividly colored hot springs. As the first National Park in the US, Yellowstone is also home to wildlife like bison, elk, and grizzly bears.
It is located at the top of a dormant volcano, resulting in this national park being home to more geysers and hot springs than anywhere else on earth.
7. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
As one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, no post about bucket lists would be complete without mentioning Grand Canyon.
Famous for towering red cliffs which change shade depending on the time of day, the Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River.
Highlights of the Grand Canyon include hiking down into the canyon via the South Kaibab Trail and hiking the short rim trail from the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Centre to Yavapai Point.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
The city of New Orleans is a must-visit, especially if you’re visiting the south.
While most might know New Orleans for its non-stop nightlife, what makes this city so unique is its culture, a melting pot of French, African and American cultures.
Beyond the famous Mardi Gras festival is a city with endless food delights (hello Po’ boys) and a bustling music scene.
Highlights include enjoying the architecture of the French Quarter, eating copious amounts of food (not even joking), and visiting the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.
9. Disneyland, California
While not officially a city, visiting the Disneyland theme park is a memory that’ll be burned into your brain for years to come.
Known as the happiest place on earth, I still remember visiting Disneyland as a 14-year-old – this is one place that has something for everyone – yes even grown-ups, as my parents enjoyed Disneyland too!
Psst: I’ve listed the original Disneyland here, but Disney’s many other theme parks are special for their own reasons too! While I haven’t had a chance to visit The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, it remains on my bucket list for one day!
10. Washington D.C
As the US capital, Washington D.C (not to be confused with the state of Washington, located on the west coast) is a must-visit for any traveler visiting the US or living in the US.
While you might expect the capital to be super serious amongst the iconic buildings like the White House or the Washington Monument, the reality is that there is so much more to D.C. than its buildings.
Here, you’ll find a city filled with culture, from art museums to its diverse food scene.
D.C. is home to people of more than 170 nationalities and ethnic groups, making it one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Nearly half of D.C’s population is African American, earning it the nickname “Chocolate City”.
11. Page, Arizona
This small-ish city in Arizona is the perfect place to base yourself while you explore some of the amazing sights that Arizona has to offer.
From here, you can visit Antelope Canyon, filled with smooth red wave-like walls or the famous Horseshoe Bend.
For travelers planning on a road trip through Arizona, Page is the perfect addition to your southwest road trip.
There are endless incredible places to see and experience in the US.
While I have barely touched the surface when it comes to my American adventures, I hope this post provides inspiration for your next adventure!