U.S. Travel Bucket List: Top 15 Experiences

No doubt about it: the U.S. is a stunningly diverse country, with a wealth of cities to explore and landscapes to see. But beyond the photo-ops and bucket-list sights, we believe the best thing about the U.S. is the abundance of experiences. From river rafting to salsa dancing, here are our choices for the top 15 experiences in the United States.

black bear standing by a redwood tree
A black bear in Sequoia National Park. Photo © Nstanev/Dreamstime.
  1. Hike among the redwoods in California. Gaze up at these incredible trees along the Avenue of the Giants, in the Redwood National and State Parks, throughout Sequoia National Park, or in Muir Woods.
  2. Move to the beat of Music City. Nashville’s music scene is legendary: sway to the strums of a local singer-songwriter, toe-tap at a rowdy honky-tonk, or belt out country classics at a karaoke joint.
  3. Camp in Nevada’s otherworldly landscapes. Choose the Black Rock Desert, Cathedral Gorge, Pyramid Lake, the Lunar Cuesta—or all of the above.
  4. street corner in Miami with a brightly colored rooster statue
    Calle Ocho in Miami. Photo © Fotoluminate/Dreamstime.
  5. Dance in Miami’s Little Havana, where vibrant Calle Ocho is the historic heart of Florida’s Cuban-American population.
  6. Explore the distant past at New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo. Seemingly rising organically from the earth, these adobe buildings make up the oldest continually inhabited community in the United States.
  7. Go brewery-hopping in Portland, the quirky, flannel-clad epicenter of the craft brewing revival.
  8. DC visitors milling around a statue of Martin Luther King
    Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Photo © Samantha Sault.
  9. Walk the National Mall in Washington DC, where you’ll witness beautiful, moving, and iconic monuments to the nation’s history and heroes.
  10. Tame the wild and scenic Snake River on a river rafting adventure in Grand Teton National Park.
  11. Experience cowboy culture in Texas. Hear the distinctive clip-clop of longhorn hooves on Fort Worth’s brick streets, watch a genuine cowboy herd cattle at the iconic King Ranch, or cheer on the bull riders, barrel racers, and bareback riders at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.
  12. a yellow boat on the river in Chicago surrounded by tall buildings
    Chicago Architecture Foundation Boat Tour. Photo © Rebecca Holland.
  13. Take an Architecture River Cruise in Chicago, and learn the story of the Windy City through its most fascinating buildings.
  14. Dive into the spicy, flavorful cuisine of the Southwest in Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, where the food is as creative as the art and as distinctive as the high desert landscape.
  15. Follow in the footsteps of rebels, redcoats, and America’s founders along Boston’s Freedom Trail.
  16. A red lobster house on the rocky coast on a summer day.
    A lobster house in Stonington, Maine. Photo © Visions of America LLC/123rf.
  17. Feast on Maine lobster. Whether you’re dining on reinvented lobster rolls or picnicking on a pier, these crustaceans are quintessential New England.
  18. Take a scenic drive on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, which boasts the gorgeous bluffs of Cape Flattery, haunting mists of Ruby Beach, and miles of sea stacks, tide pools, and rock-lounging seals.
  19. Marvel at the geological wonderland that is Yellowstone, which houses more than 60% of the world’s geysers and hot springs. Check out the rainbow of colors at Grand Prismatic Spring, or the powerful eruptions at Old Faithful.

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