One might argue that there are too many places in the United States to see. In fact, depending on who you ask, you are going to receive at least ten different answers. Sure, this list could begin with things like Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but really? It’s that a known answer, if you have kids. Rather than go with the spots everyone wants to see, this list is going to tell you about the spots you should really see because of the beauty or wonder they impart. It is not about the most popular tourist destinations like Niagara Falls, NY and Canada. It is about the locations you might not think about.
1. Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK
Mendenhall Glacier has changed in the last 12 years. Global warming has taken a lot of the glacier away, but the glacier is still there and so are the ice caves, which are more reachable now. In the Mendenhall Valley of Juneau, Alaska you can see the 12-mile glacier that allows you to see inside of it. Walk the West Glacier Trail and with safety in mind, you can get inside the caves without any climbing equipment or dangerous maneuvers.
2. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Going from the extreme Alaskan ice to one of the hottest places in the USA, you can find Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. The canyon is beautiful in its reddish brown colors. Here you can walk through tall canyon walls, which used to be underwater. The rocks have strata that help you determine the time frame of when they were underwater, as well as how long ago they were formed. You may want to book a stay in a Lake Powell campground and drive a few miles to Page to see these red-orange canyon walls.
3. Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado
Snowmass Wilderness is certainly a popular location, with its proximity to Aspen. However, the Maroon Bells are big enough for you to lose yourself in the beauty of Colorado. It is 181,000 plus acres of wilderness land that is part of the Gunnison and White River National Forests. The aspens provide a beautiful ambiance in the fall months, with the changing of the leaves, as well as the snowcapped mountain in the background.
4. Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon
Perhaps your holiday will take you from the wilderness of Colorado to Oregon for a quick stop at Oneonta before heading to Alaska. No matter, how you plan your trips around the US, you do not want to miss Oneonta Gorge in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Multnomah Falls is often a busier location in this region, so Oneonta trails are typically overlooked. The trails will take you through a creek bed, waterfall areas, caverns, and close to the Oneonta Gorge scenic area.
Consider, going from Arizona, to Colorado, up to Oregon, through Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls, and up to Bellingham for a ferry trip up to Alaska. Your Grand Tour can also take you east for stops at Whitaker Point in Arkansas, the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and up to Watkins Glen State Park in New York.