I have never been to America, but it is definitely one place I would desperately love to travel to. The United States is a well spring of amazing stops for the cross-country traveller. Rich with amazing history and stunning wilderness, a cross-country trip should be a bucket list item for everyone. Below are 5 stops I would love to visit when I do make it on my grand adventure.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
An adventure in and of itself, the Pacific Coast Highway is a must-see. If not the entire length, at least a portion will be a drive you’ll never forget. California State Route 1 will take you through the colossal Redwood Forest, Big Sur, and all the way down to Los Angeles. You can see the best California has to offer in terms of beautiful golden coast.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone may be a bit of a cliche in terms of bucket list items, but that cliche exists for a reason. Yellowstone has a caldera super-volcano brewing under its surface. The volcano is so powerful that if it were to erupt, it could be as devastating to the United States as nuclear war. This grim fact is also the cause of the area’s unmatched beauty. Geysers, springs, and weirdly-high soil fertility make for a wilderness area like no other. The crowds and cliches are worth navigating for the opportunity to visit such a majestic destination.
3. Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Enough with the cliches, now for something a bit more obscure (but equally awesome). Colorado is one of those states that deserves its own trip to really experience. In fact, we highly recommend renting an RV and checking out all the state has to offer. But if you’re going to make a single stop, definitely make it the San Juan mountains. In the town of Durango, Colorado you can grab a ticket on the narrow gauge railway. The train will take you 50 miles through winding forests in the San Juan wilderness to the silver mining camp of Silverton, Colorado. The trip is truly something you will remember, especially if you time it for the fall aspen change. Do not miss this stop.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
If you don’t love great food, music, cool people, and unusual experiences then you probably shouldn’t be traveling. New Orleans stands out as a bucket list city to visit. The infamous Bourbon Street is worth giving an evening to. Every night the bars lining the street fill with blues bands and continuous little events. During the day, the French Quarter will keep you wandering until your feet are sore. Voodoo shops, amazing food everywhere, and of course plenty of booze.
5. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. There is a good reason why 2 national parks ended up in this part of the country. Along the route you’ll run across countless overlooks and sprawling views. Like Colorado, if it can be timed to see during autumn you’ll be able to catch all of the changing colours. The route also has caves to visit, waterfalls, lakes, restaurants, and obviously 2 different national parks.
Whether you use this list or create your own, a cross-country trip in the U.S. is a must. What makes travel valuable is novelty. Novelty provides perspective in life and is even shown to significantly increase general creativity. By travelling across the country and seeing a bit of everything, that effect is maximized. When you fill your trip with lots of novelty, you will remember it forever.