LAST UPDATED – 10/20/22 – Top Things to See in the United States
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.
|Top 50 Places to Visit in America (41-50)|
|Top 50 Places to Visit in America (31-40)|
|Top 50 Places to Visit in America (21-30)|
|Top 50 Places to Visit in America (11-20)|
|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!
In this edition of my countdown of the top United States travel destinations, I am going to conclude my countdown with items 1-10 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!
10. Kilauea Volcano
The second destination in the state of Hawaii on my list happens to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Located on the southern section of the Island of Hawai’i, which is known locally as “the Big Island”, Kilauea volcano attracts roughly 2.6 million visitors annually. Visitors can marvel at this incredible force of nature from one of the public viewing areas or from a helicopter where the views are absolutely spectacular. It is especially cool to see the fresh lava from Kilauea run into the ocean where it gives off a ton of steam. If you are looking for a little adventure and to see something incredible, the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii should be near the top of your list of things to see in the United States.
9. Mount Denali National Park
While it may not be an active volcano, Mount Denali in the state of Alaska is notable because it has the distinction of being the highest mountain in North America. Reaching 20,310 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level, it is a towering mountain that as drawn mountaineers to try and tackle its peak for decades. While climbing the mountain may be difficult, accessing Denali National Park is not. Situated roughly 170 miles (275 km) southwest of Fairbanks and about 130 miles (210 km) north-northwest of Anchorage, it is an easy drive from either of those cities. Even if you aren’t an alpine enthusiast looking to conquer North America’s tallest peak, Denali National Park is a great place for visitors who love beautiful mountains, crystal blue lakes, and wild places to explore.
8. Niagara Falls
From North America’s tallest mountain one of North America’s biggest waterfalls. Niagara Falls in upstate New York is such a natural treasure that it really doesn’t need much of an introduction. The falls are actually a combination of three falls that come together to make one of the largest waterfall systems in the world. On the American side is the American Falls, with the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. In between is the Bridal Veil Falls, which happens to be the largest of the three falls.
Measuring 176-feet tall with 150,000 U.S. Gallons / 567,811 Liters of water pouring over its brink each second, the American Falls is an awesome display of Mother Nature’s power. Niagara State Park, which is the public land surrounding the American Falls, was established in 1885 and is one of the oldest parks in the United States. If you would like to see one of the most beautiful sets of waterfalls in the world, then a stop at Niagara Falls in New York during your next visit to the United States is an absolute must.
7. The Statue of Liberty
For the next item on my list of the Top 50 Things to See in the United States, we stay in the state of New York where the country’s most infamous monument resides. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t need much of an introduction to most people throughout the world as it has become a beacon for freedom to many people both inside and outside the United States. The statue was a gift to the United States by the country of France and ever since arriving has sat on tiny Ellis Island in the harbor of New York City.
The statue is a symbol of freedom that has welcomed both visitors and immigrants to the United States since it was opened to visitors back in 1886. Today, there are several different ways in which you can see the statue. From certain points of New York City, you can see the statue from the shore. If you would like a closer look, you can take a boat tour that will get you up close to the statue and even onto Ellis Island if you would like a more personal view of Lady Liberty.
6. Yosemite National Park
The United States has a lot of amazing national parklands and Yosemite National Park in the state of California happens to be one of the most popular. Known worldwide as a paradise for rock climbers, the magnificent granite monoliths that are known as El Capitan and Half-Dome have made this park legendary for outdoor enthusiasts. Yosemite Valley is so beautiful that it will blow your mind when you see it in person for the first time.
Even if you aren’t visiting the park to conquer one of its legendary rock-climbing routes, there are ways in which you can get up-close-and-personal with the granite peaks of El Capitan and Half-Dome. For those adventurous enough, you take the full-day hikes up to the top of the peaks where the views are mind-bogglingly beautiful. For those who aren’t up for hiking to one of these amazing viewpoints, there are several viewpoints accessible by a car that will amaze you as well.
5. Walt Disney World
When compiling a list of the Top 50 Things to See in the United States, it would be impossible to leave off a place that is affectionately known as the “Magic Kingdom”, so Walt Disney World has its place cemented on this list of the top places to see in America. Located near the city of Orlando in the state of Florida, Disney World opened its doors in 1965. It’s not to be mistaken with Disneyland, which is located in the state of California, is smaller, and opened a decade earlier in 1955.
There are four main theme parks in Disney World in Orlando. The main park, which is the most famous, is the Magic Kingdom. This is the park with the famous Disney Castle and home to such rides as It’s a Small World, the Swiss Family Robinson tree fort, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain. There is the Epcot theme park, which allows visitors to eat and drink around the world as they visit parts of the park that are designed to mirror different parts of the world.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest of its four theme parks and was designed to allow visitors to get a real safari experience without going on safari. The Tree of Life, which is located in the center of the park and has become symbolic of the park itself. In the tree, you can see carvings of various animals, which symbolizes that we are all in some way connected. However, outside of the safari, the highlight of the park is undoubtedly the Avatar world that includes two amazing rides thru the world of Avatar.
The final theme park is Disney’s MGM Studios. If you ever wanted to see what goes into the magic behind some of Disney’s most infamous movies, then MGM Studios is the theme park to visit. The park includes a brilliant new section devoted to Star Wars where visitors can immerse themselves in this iconic science fiction world. There are also a variety of live shows to keep visitors entertained as well.
4. Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons
Yellowstone National Park has the significance of being the very first national park in the entire world, which alone makes this park special. However, add to that all of the mystique and beauty that extraordinary landscape offers visitors and you will quickly see why it has such a high spot on my list of the top places to see in America. While Yellowstone National Park is often referred to as America’s Serengeti because of all the wildlife you can view in the park, its neighbor park to the South is known by a different nickname.
The Grand Teton National Park is located just a short 60-minute drive from Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Teton, which is the most well-known of the park’s many peaks, is often referred to as America’s Matterhorn as the two mountains both share the same jagged type of look. The Grand Teton Range is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of America’s mountain ranges, which explains why the park sees so many visitors throughout the year. If you are interested in visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I have included a link to my Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park Visitor Guide below for you to review.
|Yellowstone and Grand Teton Visitor Guide|
3. The Grand Canyon
Out of all the national parklands in the United States, the Grand Canyon is without-a-doubt the most famous. This iconic canyon is a mile deep and stretches for 277 miles through the state of Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River over thousands of years, the Grand Canyon is one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world. In addition to a plethora of amazing hiking trails for visitors to enjoy, there are also horseback riding excursions, helicopter sight-seeing trips, and even a see-through walkway for visitors to experience this amazing canyon.
If you would really like to experience the canyon and the river up-close, I would recommend trying your hand with a white-water rafting trip. These fantastic trips through the canyon allow you to get a true sense of the magnitude of the canyon’s size and the power of the river that carved it. For those who would really like to be adventurous, there is a trail that traverses the canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim (or vice versa). This multi-day hike is an adventure that will challenge even the toughest of outdoor enthusiasts.
2. The National Mall
What better way to see the United States than to explore the nation’s capital. If you would like to get a good sense of the history of America, then Washington DC is the place I would start. Between its beautiful monuments, iconic buildings like the Capitol Building and the White House (where the president lives), to its world-class museums, Washington DC is the epicenter of the country.
If you plan ahead, you can even take part in a tour of the White House that will allow you to see the inside of this historic building. I would also recommend taking the time to explore the various war memorials (the World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War memorials are all very neat to see in person) and the national mall. The iconic Lincoln Memorial, which sits on the other end of the mall from the Washington Monument is a favorite of visitors.
1. Times Square
For the top item on my Top 50 Things to See in the United States, I am heading back to the state of New York and the largest and busiest city in America. Without a doubt, the heartbeat of New York City is Times Square. In addition to being one of the busiest parts of the city and one of the best places in the whole country to people watch, Times Square is the city’s largest commercial intersection where you will find some of the largest entertainment companies in the city.
Located at the intersection of the infamous Broadway Street and 7th Avenue in the trendy Midtown Manhattan section of the city, in many ways Times Square is the entertainment capital of the country. It’s here where the country tunes in to see the countdown to each new year and it is one of the most visited places in the country, with hundreds of millions of visitors each year. If you are going to be visiting the United States for the first time and New York City is on your destination list, then Times Square is an absolute must-see for any first-time visitor.
A great series, Josh. Who knew a nature-lover would make the heart of NYC his #1? 😉
Indeed! It surprised me too!! 😀
We are hoping to go to Yellowstone in 2021!
Excellent!! It is such an amazing place! 😀👍
I can’t wait! Also, Denali National Park is beautiful!
Absolutely! Denali is a dream of mine! 😀
Great end to the series! Been to four out of the ten so still a few to go! 🙂
Thanks Jason!! 😀👍
I’ve been to the top 3 as well as 7 & 8 and I’d agree Times Square is a must-see for anyone. I’m glad you put the National Mall so high too, I thought it was absolutely stunning and there is so much to see and do in a relatively small area.
Thank you so much for reading and for your feedback!! It is always great to get the perspective of other travel enthusiasts 😃
Enjoyed reading your choices. My husband and I have been to all but three on your list in our travels, so we must be somewhat aligned in our likes. The three are Nashville, Mackinac Island, and Navy Pier. We have not been to the Kentucky Derby, but have toured Churchill Downs where the race takes place. And, we have not driven the entire Route 66, but many sections of it from California to Oklahoma. In 2012, we visited a great little museum in Elk City, OK devoted to it.
Amazing Susan!! You have seen more than I have. What amazing travel stories you must have! 😃