Last Updated: 11/7/20 | November 7th, 2020
From sea to shining sea, the united states is home to a diverse landscape — both culturally and physically. spending months traveling across its large landscape gave me a deep appreciation for all my country has to offer.
After traveling across the continental united states through multiple cross country road trips (you never really realize how big Texas is until you drive through. Damn that state is big!), I wanted to share some of my favorite places in the united states with you. I’ve already talked about my favorite restaurants and lessons learned, so it only seems proper to give you a list of the best places to visit in the USA when you come and travel here!
(Note: This list is based only on where I myself have been. There are a lot much more extremely breathtaking places — like Yosemite or Hawaii — I haven’t explored yet, which is why you don’t see them on this list!)
Gritty, industrial, and a bit run down, Memphis appears like its best days are behind it, but don’t let the rough exterior trick you — the city is still home to some killer food and a dynamic blues music scene. Additionally, there’s Graceland (Elvis’s home) for fans of the King, a big waterfront for walking, and the phenomenal, detailed, and moving museum of Civil Rights (it’s huge, so don’t rush it!). I delighted in the city much more than I expected and was disappointed when I had to leave. To use a cliché, it’s a hidden gem!
My new home (surprise! I moved to Austin!), and every visit here makes me love it much more and more. The warm weather, the lively honky-tonks and live music, funky house bars on Rainey Street, outstanding hiking and biking trails, and tons of outdoor activities… Austin has it all.
Thanks to everything from the growing food truck population to the flagship whole Foods store with the amazing salad bar (grilled pineapple!), I eat — and eat well — nonstop. The Austin campus of the university of Texas offers a youthful vigor to the city, and its liberal attitude attracts a diverse and eclectic population. In short, you can’t skip Austin, because if you do, I’ll find you and drag you there.
For much more travel suggestions on Austin, check out these posts:
My complete guide to Austin
My list of Must-See things To Do When in Austin
My guide to eating in Austin
New Orleans is a city with soul. It’s seen some hard times, but it lives on with a zest for life unrivaled by many places. It has a rich and long history and is filled with scrumptious French-inspired Creole and Cajun food, live jazz music, street performers, and an appreciation for all the temptations of life. Life is lived well here in the big Easy. You don’t come here to unwind – you come here to indulge! In my opinion, new Orleans one of the most eclectic and dynamic cities in the United States.
For much more travel suggestions on traveling new Orleans, check out this post on for suggested schedule on how to spend 4 days there.
Asheville is Portland in the North Carolina mountains: full of tasty craft beer, food, and hipsters. I liked the area a lot, including its proximity to some fantastic and beautiful mountain hikes such as the Carolina mountain Trail. Moreover, the town has a lot of parks for those wanting something closer — and be sure to check out the Ashville Botanical gardens near the university campus. The beautiful Smoky Mountains are a short drive away, and the enormous Biltmore estate, the largest privately owned home in the us and once home to George Vanderbilt, is on the outskirts of the city. If you’ve ever seen Downton Abbey, that’s what the house is like! (And, if you haven’t, you should! The show is addicting!)
The Pacific Coastal Drive
The drive up the Pacific coast is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. I have to agree. I didn’t travel the whole coast, but the portion I drove (San Francisco to Portland) was incredible: sheer cliffs, forests descending to the shoreline, miles of beaches, and huge redwoods. It’s jaw-dropping all the way. Be prepared to make slow progress, as you’ll be pulling over frequently to stop, hike, and admire the view. I especially liked Bandon and Coos Bay, Oregon and Mendocino, California.
Redwood national Park
Along the Pacific coast is Redwood national Park, a large expanse of huge redwood trees filled with picnic areas, places to camp, and miles upon miles of hiking trails. trails range from easy to strenuous, and there are numerous loops that head out to nearby beaches. It’s utterly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and humbling in every way. It’s a should for anybody road-tripping around California.
Glacier national Park
Even though I went to when many of the park was still closed (it was too early in the year and there was still snow around), I was still stunned by the area: beautiful snow-topped mountains rising high into the sky; a beautiful, still lake in which to admire those mountains and large glaciers; and hiking trails galore. It was the most mind-blowing place I saw on my trip, and I can understand why everyone raves about it. I can’t recommend a visit there enough.
The mile-high city (not least because marijuana is legal there), Denver has a mix of outdoor ruggedness and big-city living. It has a huge craft beer scene, outstanding restaurants (including, Sushi Sasa, one of my favorite sushi restaurants in the world), a large international airport with lots of connections, and proximity to the mountains (and the Republic of Boulder). It’s clean, and the locals are extremely friendly. There are few cities in the us I want to live in, but I love Denver enough to say that it’s one of them.
When the weather is nice, I don’t think there’s a better city in the United States. set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has world-class food (try the deep dish, sushi, and hot dogs), the fun and kitschy Navy Pier, Millennium Park with its well-known bean-shaped statue, a kick-ass aquarium, and renowned architecture (be sure to take an architecture tour).
And once the winter season deep freeze is over, Chicagoans burst out of their homes to delight in the summer weather, so there’s a positive, pleased vibe emanating through the city. Take advantage of it.
For much more travel suggestions on Chicago, check out this detailed planning guide.
The city that never sleeps. ‘Nuff said. You can’t go wrong here.
For much more travel suggestions on new York City, check out these posts:
The complete guide to new York City
The best walking trips of new York City
21 delicious places to eat in NYC
How to spend 4 Days in new York City
I was many amazed by this Mississippi city. I didn’t know anything about it, but Natchez was recommended as a place to see historic 19th-century homes, built by isolated plantation owners wanting to get away in the summer and interact and socialize with each other. As cotton became king, the houses became ever larger and much more elaborate.
Now, they are historic monuments, and you can trip them while enjoying a view of the Mississippi River. It’s far off the beaten path — and my favorite discovery from my last road trip.
For much more travel suggestions on Natchez, check out this post on my visit there.
Sitting on Georgia’s coast, Savannah escaped the wrath of the Civil War, allegedly because Sherman thought it was too pretty to be destroyed. With streets lined with Spanish moss–covered trees, large and inviting parks, and a bustling waterfront, Savannah is a fantastic place to experience the slow pace of the Old South. I had went to this city many, numerous years ago, but its beauty, southern comfort food, and tranquility stuck with me over the years.
Words can’t accurately describe how amazing the Grand Canyon is. It’s breathtaking in so numerous ways —its sheer size, fantastic depth, red hues, and striking vistas. many people simply stand at the edge of the canyon and look out across it, but its true size and charm are best appreciated with a hike down to the bottom. Make the time to hike down to the Colorado River, hike the less went to trails, spend the night, and hike back up for sunset.
For much more travel suggestions on the Grand Canyon, read this post on hiking the canyon.
A little bit country, a little bit tech, Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, and rightly so. It’s got a fantastic music scene (duh), a growing cocktail bar scene, and some down-home southern restaurants.
There’s not a lot of “touristy stuff” to do here, but what makes this city one of my favorites are the music, the food, the wildly friendly and pleased people, and the positive energy the city seems to exude. When you’re here, plan to spend a few hours at the Tennessee state Museum. It goes into great (though in some cases very one-sided) detail about the state’s history, but it’s much more exciting than you might think.
Food of every nature, hipsters, high tech, and a diverse population make San Francisco one of my favorite places to visit. Additionally, it’s close to some fantastic national parks, like Muir Woods, where you can escape the city and go hiking amid huge trees. This city is changing fast (for good or ill) and I’m always looking forward to my next visit. San Francisco has so much to do that you need at least four days to really appreciate it. The city is one of the cultural centers of the united states and not to be missed.
For much more travel suggestions on San Francisco, read these posts:
The complete guide to San Francisco
San Francisco Itinerary: things to See & do in 3 Days
The best Hostels in San Francisco
White sand beaches, Cuban food, wild nightlife, beautiful people, and outstanding warm weather — what’s not to love about Miami! I don’t think I could ever livehere, but for a weekend of fun in the sun, Miami is perfect.
For much more travel suggestions on Miami, check out this detailed planning guide to the city.
Forever warm and sunny, San Diego’s weather creates a permanently pleased population that’s friendly and outgoing and that loves the outdoors — from hiking, days at the beach, or running….and they are always pleased to show people their city.
The downtown Gaslamp area — as well as the well-known Pacific beach — is full of trendy seafood restaurants, bustling bars, and some seriously life-changing taco stalls. I love San Diego.
California red wine Country
California is home to some of the best red wine in the world, and a visit to the Sonoma and Napa Valley regions will reward you with some fine dining in addition to the wine. Take the short trip from San Francisco and learn to appreciate wine! Tip: Sonoma is less expensive than Napa.
For much more travel suggestions on California red wine Country, check out this post on how to visit Napa Valley on a budget.
Though the water level of the lake, as well as the flora and fauna around it, is sadly depleted due to the California drought, Lake Tahoe is still nonetheless outstanding and beautiful. Ringed by tiny mountain communities, this is a fantastic place for hiking and boating in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Anywhere in Montana
A lot has been written about how spectacular Montana is, but it’s all wrong. It’s even better than words can describe. It’s the most crazy beautiful state I’ve ever been to, filled with wondrous mountains and hills as far as the eye can see. The people are very cool, welcoming, and outdoorsy, too. If I had to pick a favorite state, it would be Montana. I just love Montana.
The capital of the united states is a vibrant, international city, and that’s what I love about it. It’s second only to nyc in diversity of people and food (which is to be expected with so numerous people from international aid organizations and embassies). You hear a million accents in this town! throw in the totally free Smithsonian museums, lots of parks, a riverfront for strolling or running, and some historic government buildings and monuments, and D.C. becomes one phenomenal place to visit, relax, eat, and drink!
For much more travel suggestions on Washington D.C., here are some other articles I’ve written:
Travel guide to Washington D.C.
Free things to do in Washington D.C. in 2019
I spent a lot of summers on the Cape because it’s where new Englanders escape for the summer. You’ll find plenty of small beach towns along the coast (Provincetown and Hyannis being the most well-known but I also love Chatham, Falmouth, Wellfleet, and Brewster). If you’re searching for seafood, beaches, boardwalks, and that ideal family vacation, visit the Cape!
I may be biased because I grew up here, but I love Boston and cherish my visits home. Boston rocks (Go Red Sox!). It’s historic (founded in 1630), smallish, easy to get around, and filled with awesome and faithful people.
It’s home to a ton of activities, like the freedom trail and Faneuil Hall, the JFK Museum, and the Boston Commons and Public Garden, as well as some of the best Italian and seafood restaurants in the country. Be sure to eat at Zaftigs for the best brunch in the city! It’s wicked!
For much more travel suggestions on Boston, check out these posts:
Travel guide to Boston
Free things to do in Boston
Vegas, baby, Vegas! A lot of people are turned off by the bright lights and gambling, but vegas is much much more than the casinos, expensive clubs, and hotels on the well-known Strip. There’s amazing hiking nearby at Red Rocks national Park, a growing art scene, a flourishing tech scene thanks to Tony Hsieh’s downtown Project, and lots of concerts and shows. get off the Strip, explore the real vegas (because technically the strip is located in Paradise, NV, not Las Vegas), and see why people decide to live here.
For much more travel suggestions on Las Vegas, these article