North America

The Top 50 Things to See in the United States (11-20)

PART-4

The United States is a very large, very diverse, and very beautiful place.  Few other countries in the world have such a large diversity of landscape and culture waiting to be explored.  Whether you have always wanted to visit America, are looking for a good reason to travel back to the United States, or even if you live here and want to explore some of the regions you are less familiar with, I have you covered.  In this series, I am going to outline the Top 50 Things to See in the United States to give you some inspiration for your next trip.

Travel-Pic Top 50 Places to Visit in America (41-50)
Travel-Pic Top 50 Places to Visit in America (31-40)
Travel-Pic Top 50 Places to Visit in America (21-30)
Travel-Pic Top 50 Places to Visit in America (11-20)
Travel-Pic Top 50 Places to Visit in America (1-10)

So follow along as I countdown my top things to see in the United States and let me know your thoughts on the list in the comments below.  If there is something that you either want to see or think others would want to see, please let me know about it.  I am positive that other travelers reading this article will be thankful as well!

Top Things to See in America Map - 11-20

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In this edition of my countdown of the top United States travel destinations, I am going to cover items 11-20 on my list.  There are some fantastic places to add to your United States travel bucket list on here, some of which are lesser-known travel treasures.  If you don’t have a travel bucket list for the United States, this might be a good time to start one.  With this list, you will have no shortage of amazing ideas!

20.  Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

The state of Colorado has some absolutely breathtaking national parklands, and the crown jewel of these parks is undoubtedly Rocky Mountain National Park.  The park encompasses 265,769 acres of pristine wilderness and is renown for its rugged mountain peaks, beautiful scenic drives, the abundance of wildlife, and breathtaking hiking routes.  The infamous Trail Ridge Road within the park climbs to an elevation of 12,183 feet, which makes it one of the highest roads in the United States.  For those who are avid hikers, the park’s 355 miles of trails are some of the prettiest in the US National Park Service.

19.  Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska

Alaska - Glacier Bay National Park

Everything in the state of Alaska is big and its national parklands are no different.  One of the state’s most breathtaking parks isn’t known as much for its gigantic mountains, which the state has an abundance of, but rather its gigantic glaciers.   Home to the world’s largest marine sanctuary, roughly 27% of Glacier Bay National Park is covered by glaciers and the rest is ocean waters.  In fact, the park’s roughly 1,045 glaciers cover approximately 2,055 square miles of the park.

Among the abundance of wildlife that can be found in Glacier Bay National Park include Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, Alaskan moose, black-tailed deer, raccoons, red foxes, Dall sheep, wolverines, mountain goats, Canadian lynxes, cougars, and marmots.  Most visitors who visit Glacier Bay National Park do so by cruise ship because seven of the park’s largest glaciers are tidewater glaciers, which are much like icebergs floating in the water.

18. Mount Rushmore

South Dakota

Mount Rushmore-6227

If you are looking for an iconic American landmark to see in the United States, there are few landmarks that are as iconic as Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.   Completed in 1941, this gigantic monument of four of America’s most famous presidents cost roughly $1 million to carve.  The workers who carved this magnificent monument used dynamite charges and hung from ropes with drills to bore into the rock to make their precise blasts.  To this day you can still see the blasted pieces of rock at the base of the monument.

If you visit Rapid City, South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, I would recommend that you also make a stop at the nearby Crazy Horse Monument.  While not yet completed, this enormous monument of one of America’s most iconic Native American leaders will dwarf Mount Rushmore when completed.  Another great stop is to the city of Deadwood, which is one of America’s most iconic Wild West towns.  You can visit the spot where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and see the gravesite of Calamity Jane.

17. Waikiki Beach

Hawaii

Waikiki.jpg

If a beach vacation is more your speed, then there are few better options in the United States than arguably the nation’s most infamous beach.  This infamous beach in the heart of Honolulu, Hawaii is world-renown for its turquoise blue waters and soft white sand.  What most people don’t realize is that Waikiki is actually a collection of five beaches that stretch from Ewa to Diamond Head.  These beaches include Duke Kahanamoku, Fort DeRussy, Gray’s, Waikiki and Kuhio.  The beach is so popular that it is responsible for roughly half of the tourist visits to the state of Hawaii with roughly 72,000 visitors a day enjoying the sunshine and the surf on this amazing beach.

16. Olympic National Park

Washington

Olympic National Park-3804

When most people think of rainforests, they tend to think of the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.  After all, these massive forests are some of the world’s most amazing and biodiverse.  However, what many people don’t realize is that the continental United States has its own rainforest and it is every bit as unique and spectacular.  This amazing temperate rainforest is one of the most beautiful areas on America’s West Coast and one of the most popular national parks in the US National Parks System.

Visitors can marvel at the beautiful moss-covered trees in the park’s lush rainforests, climb to the top of Mount Olympus without having to travel to Greece, or visit the breathtaking Hurricane Ridge to take in the views from its amazing vistas.  So if you are planning to visit the Seattle, Washington area in the near future, I would strongly recommend a stop at nearby Olympic National Park to experience its beauty.  I have included my Olympic National Park Visitor Guide below to assist in your planning.

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Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park Visitor Guide

15. Zion National Park

Utah

Zion National Park

The southern part of the state of Utah is home to one of the highest concentrations of national parklands in the United States.  In fact, the state’s 13 national park service units, including 5 national parks, and three national monuments are third only behind the states of California and Alaska.  Out of all the beautiful public lands in Utah, Zion National Park is perhaps the most famous.  This fantastic canyon in the Southwest part of the state has some of the best hiking routes in all of North America.

Not only can visitors conquer the heights of the canyon walls by climbing such routes the infamous Angel’s Landing trail, but they can also take a hike up the narrow canyon channels of the Virgin River in what is known as the Narrows Hike.  If you are interested in learning more about this amazing park and the wonderful viewpoints and hikes that it has to offer, I have included a link to my Zion National Park Visitor Guide below for you to review.

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Zion National Park The Narrows
Zion National Park Visitor Guide

14. Central Park

New York

Central Park-7558.jpg

While my list of the Top 50 Things to See in the United States has included a lot of beautiful and wild natural spaces, not all of the natural spaces in the United States are located in far-flung parts of the continent.  In fact, one of the most famous of America’s parks happens to be located in the middle of its biggest city.  Central Park in New York City is famous the world over for being one of this world’s most beautiful public city parks and is one of the biggest tourism draws for New York City.

The massive 843-acre park is larger than the Vatican City in Rome and almost six times larger than the country of Monaco.  However, it’s not just famous because it is a big park, it is also very popular because it is a beautiful park that has a lot of things for visitors to do.  In addition to the annual concerts and other events held in the park, there is an outdoor museum, miles of beautiful walking trails, and even a memorial to the late, great John Lennon within the park.

13. Hollywood

California

Hollywood.jpg

While the American movie industry has changed a lot in recent decades and many movies and television shows are now shot outside of the state of California, the home of the movie industry in the United States is still widely considered to be in Hollywood California.  Each year, millions of visitors flock to Hollywood to visit popular sites like the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, and the star-studded Walk of Fame.  In addition, there is a wide array of restaurants, bars, and comedy clubs to keep visitors entertained while they aren’t touring this famous American movie hotspot.

12. Las Vegas

Nevada

Las Vegas-0266

Also referred to as Sin City, Las Vegas, Nevada is America’s premier gaming and entertainment city.  While gambling is illegal in much of the United States, it is perfectly legal in Las Vegas.  This alone draws millions of visitors to the cities lush and extravagant casino properties each year.  Not only are visitors able to try their luck at blackjack, craps, roulette, and other games of chance, but there is a seemingly endless amount of other entertainment along the Las Vegas Strip to keep visitors entertained.

Many of the large casinos on the strip host nightly shows, such as magic acts, comedians, musical acts, or entertainment shows such as Cirque du Soleil.  In addition, the Bellagio Casino Hotel has an amazing fountain and light show that visitors can watch while the Venetian Hotel and Casino has an amazing replica of Venice’s Grand Canal that visitors can get a gondola ride in.  So even if you aren’t a big gambler, there is something for almost everyone to enjoy in the wonderful city of Las Vegas.

11. Redwood National and State Parks

California

Redwood National and State Parks

The United States is filled with a unique and beautiful array of landscapes.  From beautiful mountains to serene deserts, to expansive forests, visitors will be amazed at the variety of landscapes they will see while visiting America.  Of all these landscapes, one of the most breathtaking is undoubtedly the giant Redwood forests that can be found on the Pacific Coast of the continental United States.  Located primarily on the coast of California and southern Oregon, the massive Redwood trees are so big they have to be seen to be believed.

In the far north of the state of California are the Redwood State and National Parks, which is a collection of parklands that has some of the highest concentrations of Redwood trees in the United States.  In fact, some of the trees are so large that you can actually drive a car thru them.  If you are into nature and love to see some of this world’s most beautiful natural places, I strongly urge you to check out the Redwood forests of California and Oregon.  There is no better place to do so than the Redwood State and National Parklands near the border between the states.

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12 replies »

  1. I thought you’d like to know that I just read your wonderful post while on our layover in Bangkok! Great choices, and I love the inclusion of Central Park. Some of my students and I just finished reading a photo-essay about Central Park, but even with that I’m not sure I would have thought to include it.

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