Posts on The United States by Kyle the Vagabond:
With such an expansive amount of territory, a traveler could easily devote a lifetime to simply wandering the 50 United States. Towering mountains, twisted rock formations, and expansive deserts sprawl across the rugged west, while world-
famous cities such as New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco pack the energy of any other global metropolis. Seemingly multiple nations within a nation, there are simply so many different sides to exploring the United States. From Northeastern fishing villages to west Texas ranches, thundering Niagara Falls to the foggy beaches of San Diego, exploring the US is an enthralling adventure well worth taking, for international and domestic visitors alike.
When to Go:
Like many large nations, the question of when to visit is largely contingent on what kind of activity you are looking for. During the winter months of November-April, freezing temperatures and snow are possible in the majority of the country, and the ski resorts of mountain areas are in full swing. Select regions such as southern California, southern Arizona, southern Texas, and south Florida experience year-round sunshine, though even these spots can be prone to chilly nights in the winter.
During the summer months, all inland parts of the country heat up to uncomfortably warm temperatures potentially over 100F, and the only places spared the crippling heat are areas such as Seattle, San Francisco, and from Boston north to Maine. The entire southeastern portion of the country gets the double whammy of oppressive heat and stifling humidity.
During the fall months, the changing of the leaves bring hordes of visitors to the deciduous forests of the Appalachian mountains and the East Coast, while the Rocky mountains in the west half of the country gear up for the first snowfall and the start of winter.Springtime is a pleasant time for the majority of the country, nestled between the temperature extremes and is not a busy time for people to be traveling.
The Vagabond’s Personal Top Picks:
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Marvel at venting geysers, herds of roaming buffalo, and raging canyons, all situated around an enormous and pristine lake.
2. Spend a day in San Francisco, California
One of America’s most multi-cultural cities, take in everything from strolling dockside at Fisherman’s wharf to grabbing a bite in Chinatown; bonfire on Ocean beach or hike nearby Muir headlands. Arguably best city in America.
3. Hike the Cascades, Oregon
Pine trees, towering mountains, and simple mountain hamlets dominate this central Oregon outdoor playground. Stop in Bend for a pint at the Deschutes Brewery
4. Stand atop Half-Dome in Yosemite National Park. California
An epic climb from little Yosemite campground, climbers venture from the world over to peer off this precipice in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada range.
5. Peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Rivulets of color explode against the deep walls of this cavernous canyon. For a real adventure take a multi-day tour down the river in a canoe, or simply a day hike down to the bottom.
6. Get weird in Las Vegas, Nevada
Earning its reputation as “Sin City”, even seasoned Vegas vets never know what a night is going to bring. You can stay in the best Las Vegas hotels on the strip for an affordable price and drink without needing to drive. It is just a very convenient place to party.
7. Look for big game in Glacier National Park, Montana
Big horn ram, mountain goat, and scores of black bear have one of the most spectacular panoramas in the country to call home.
8. Cruise on Mission Beach, San Diego, California
The epicenter of the San Diego beach and party scene, 4th of July brings one of the city’s largest beach parties to the lengthy boardwalk.
9. Party like a college student in Boulder, Colorado
Join thousands of university students in this outdoorsy, frat-fueled, adrenaline outpost in the Rockies
10. Hike the Black Hills and visit Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
Way more wilderness than you would expect from South Dakota, the Black Hills are littered with rustic campgrounds and great hiking. Just next door, anyone interested in US history will get an educational smorgasborg at historic Mt. Rushmore.
11. Grab a beer on 6th St. in Austin, Texas
Party capital of central Texas, the oversized university, warm weather, and happening music scene make Austin one of the most energetic mid-sized cities in the country.
12. Enjoy gumbo and jazz in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
With a culture, cadence, and creole all of its own, New Orleans is the official cajun capital tucked in a world of its own way down south. I’ve heard Mardi Gras is a decently fun time to visit…
13. Eat some fudge on Mackinack Island, Michigan
An historic island in the Great Lakes that bans all motorized vehicles, life moves slow inj ths tourist-town on the water.
14. Relax on the white sand of Siesta Key, Florida
Wild manatees frequent nearby St. Armand’s Circle, and the wide, white sand beach is picture perfect for west Florida.
15. Hit the beach bars of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Good stories and good times abound inthe low country, most notably around the beach volleyball courts of the Tiki Hut
16. Grab lunch in historic Savannah, Georgia
Probably the finest city in the south, the downtown district is as old and storied as the nation itself
17. Hike Mt. Mitchell and the Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
The highest point in the US east of the Rockies, western North Carolina is a mist-shrouded canopy of sloping mountain peaks, winding hiking and biking trails, and scenic drives that hug the picturesque ridges.
18. Walk through the wilderness in Denali National Park, Alaska
America’s most “natural” park, wilderness is preserved precisely as it should be in this wildlife viewing haven. Lucky visitors can catch a view of Denali, North America’s highest peak
19. Eat fresh crab on the beach, Ocean City, Maryland
A world away from the interstates of nearby Washington DC, rustic seafood houses line the foggy shores of the eastern seaboard.
20. Feel the energy of Manhattan, New York
The “center of the world” to many, anything and everything is happening in New York City. Whether it’s shopping, catching a show on Broadway, jogging in Central Park, or simply people-watching in Times Square, Manhattan has a certain energy found nowhere else on the planet.
21. Hang out in a North Atlantic fishing town, Maine
Grab a bowl of chowder ‘cuz it’s cold outside. Wind your way up the coast of “down east Maine”, and feel for yourself how fish and the sea are an entire way of life in the country’s northeastern corner.
22. Rock out to country music in Nashville, Tennessee
The heart of the country music Universe, the bars on Broadway are a music-lovers Mecca.
23. Disappear in the deserts of the Southwest, New Mexico/Utah/Arizona
The entire four-corners region is an intriguing expanse of Indian reservations, painted cliffs, and endless horizons. From Santa Fe, NM north to Durango, CO, and west to St. George Utah/Page, AZ.
24. Snowboard/mountain bike Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
Arguably the world’s most scenic lake, it is also home to an incredibly active community of outdoor enthusiasts that find an adrenaline rush for each and every season.
25. Kayak Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Watch towering glaciers calve directly into the sea, as the calm waters teem with wildlife from orcas to sea lions, bald eagles to puffins. Incomparable scenery.
Posts on The United States by Kyle the Vagabond:
–Winter on Tahquitz (2010)