So you’ve booked your flights to the USA. Time to live your American Dream and go on your ultimate USA Bucket List! You’d need an entire lifetime to explore every amazing inch of America, so you’ll have to be selective. Whether you want to get lost in the wilderness or feel like you’re in a movie, prepare your USA Bucket List to make sure you’re getting the most out of every second of your trip. Here are six ideas to get you started on where to go and what to do when on holiday in the USA.
First on your list for the ultimate USA Bucket List, is the White House has been the home and office of every US president since John Adams in 1800. To fully appreciate this icon of American history, you can take a guided tour. All it takes is a little advanced planning, as you need to put through a request for tickets a couple of months ahead of time. If you can’t secure tickets for a tour, it’s worth a visit to stand outside the grounds and take in the view from the front. You can also pop in at the White House Visitor Centre for extra information and context, including architectural facts and anecdotes about the first families who lived there. And while you’re in DC, take your time visiting other significant American landmarks, such as the Smithsonian museum and various War Memorials, not to mention the National Zoo. And if, like many of us, you’re touring the USA on a tight budget, visiting Washington DC is easy on the wallet because many of the attractions here are free.
Glacier National Park
Montana’s Glacier National Park offers a majestic natural experience like no other. While you can visit throughout the year, the summer months are the ideal window because the higher altitude roads are accessible which means you’ll get the most out of those breathtaking vistas. Aim for late May or June, and take a drive along the Going to the Sun road which slices east to west across the middle of the park, coming to a stop at the giddily high Logan Pass Visitor Centre. If walking is your thing, you can walk from here over to Hidden Lake, taking in spectacular views of Bearhat Mountain. Expect to see a range of friendly fauna, including squirrels, bighorn sheep and mountain goats, and keep a sharp eye out for the less friendly park residents, like wolverines and bears. For the very intrepid, the Many Glaciers area provides a base for longer trails like the Iceberg Lake hike, which takes you along a ridge towards a basin lake complete with floating icebergs.
Take in a Broadway Show in The Big Apple
You’d be crazy not to catch a Broadway Show if you are visiting New York. In fact, it’s the shows that bring many people to New York in the first place. Even if you’re not a theatre buff (yet) the experience will be unforgettable, and you will get so much out of the atmosphere of this famous theatre hub. Old favourites like the Phantom of the Opera and Rent are stellar options if you’re new to Broadway, and if you’re someone who keeps coming back, there’s always something new in rotation. Tickets can be a little pricey, but unlike many trips to the theatre, you are assured quality: Broadway is one of the most competitive creative spaces in the world, and nothing stays very long unless it’s deemed truly excellent by crowds of discerning New Yorkers.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a gambler or a nightclub connoisseur, the famous Las Vegas Strip is a hedonistic utopia you have to experience once in your life. You’ll feel like you’re in a movie every second of your crazy stay. And when you’ve had your fill of poker and shows, clear your head in the exquisite Red Rocks National Park, where you’ll find endless opportunities for hiking, scenic drives, camping, and encounters with Nevada’s desert wildlife. Take note: this place is hot! Whether you’re trawling the Strip or hiking a train, be liberal with the sunscreen.
The Grand Canyon
You might think you can picture this UNESCO World Heritage site quite easily because of the proliferation of tourist snaps on the internet, but when you get there and take in the spectacular geographical wonder yourself, you’ll see that no image, in fact, no words, can capture its splendour. There’s a reason Americans and tourists alike flock to this place. Aside from the sheer depth and size, the red hues and panoramas provide a backdrop for the human imagination. For some, standing on the edge and looking across the canyon is staggering enough, but you can also take a day hike down to the bottom or camp overnight.
Aloha! If you’re the kind of person who likes the sound of island life—sandy white beaches, cool sea breezes and fresh seafood for lunch and dinner—don’t end your American adventure without packing your Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops and grabbing a flight to Maui. Whether you want adventure or peace and quiet, Maui has something to offer everyone. You can snorkel with dolphins and turtles, catch the sunrise at the volcano, or a drive down the famous Road to Hana. This stunning route leads you along countless curves with spectacular ocean views and some great stops dotted along the way. Take a hike followed by a swim at Twin Falls, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can enter a dormant lava tube. The amazing blowhole at Waianapanapa State Park is also not to be missed. To get the most out of this route, it’s best to stay overnight in Hana, allowing yourself time to enjoy the spectacular sights and adventures along the way.
As the third largest country in the world, The United States of America is crammed with experiences waiting to be embraced. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a city-slicker or a lover of the natural world, this USA Bucket List will help you plan the trip of your dreams.
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