Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting All 50 States in the US.
From AI and a real person like Tēnn Khong Lîm who has been to all of them, Read below:
- Alabama is known for its rich Civil Rights history and its role in the Civil War. The state is located in the southeastern region of the United States and has a diverse landscape that includes mountains, forests, and beaches. Alabama’s culture is heavily influenced by its history, with music, food, and festivals reflecting its African American and Native American heritage.
- Poverty is fairly widespread all over the place, but Birmingham is a nice city. I enjoyed going to all the Civil Rights sites.
- The people in Alabama speak the with the thickest southern accent (I would argue it’s getting closer to a dialect). I actually have a hard time understanding Alabamans at time.
- I’ve also been to Mobile, but Mobile is a really boring city. I would not recommend
- Alaska is a vast and sparsely populated state with a diverse landscape that includes glaciers, mountains, forests, and tundras. The state has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with its indigenous people living off the land and sea. Alaska’s culture is heavily influenced by its indigenous heritage, with a strong emphasis on subsistence living and preserving the environment.
- It’s a huge state, the largest there is. Most of it is wilderness, so you’ll probably need a private plane to fly you in. As a result, it’s very expensive to explore all of Alaska.
- I’ve only been to Juneau, but it is a nice city with plenty of hiking trails all around the place. The Mendenhall Glacier is a must visit.
- Alaska is very isolated. Juneau borders the sea to the west, but is cut off from Canada by impassable mountains to the east. Island fever was real for me.
- Arizona is known for its desert landscape, Native American culture, and Old West history. The state is home to several national parks and landmarks, including the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Petrified Forest National Park. Arizona’s culture is diverse, with influences from Mexican, Native American, and Anglo-American traditions.
- The best state if you like desert scenery. I don’t even like the desert, but I ended up liking Arizona.
- You’ve got the Grand Canyon (must see), Petrified Forest (underrated national park), and Saguaro NP (saguaro cacti are those cool looking cacti that you see in old Western movies. Although they give you the sense that saguaro cacti grow all over the desert southwest, the truth is, saguaro cacti are found only the Tucson area).
- The little town of Tombstone is where OK Corral’s gunfight happened. It’s a very nice little tourist town; definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of the Old, Wild West.
- Chiricahua (near the border with New Mexico) is the most underrated national monument that I’ve been.
- Arkansas has a rich history dating back to Native American tribes that lived in the region for thousands of years. The state is known for its natural beauty, with the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs National Park, and the Buffalo National River attracting visitors from all over the world. Arkansas’s culture is heavily influenced by Southern hospitality, music, and cuisine.
- Little Rock is one of the most underrated cities in the US. Great southern food, plus wonderful southern hospitality from the locals.
- Little Rock Central High is a must visit on the weekends. Go look up the history behind it during the segregation era. On weekends when class is out, you can stand on the podium where soldiers were called in decades ago. Admire the fact that the podium is peaceful and quiet, while decades ago, the podium was the place where a second civil war almost broke out, because the governor couldn’t accept the fact that black kids could go to the same school as white kids could.
- In northwestern Arkansas is Bentonville, home of the original Walmart. It is now a FREE museum, with a 50’s style ice cream bar at the end. Did I mention that the museum is free? When you’re part of the Walton family, you have the privilege to run museums to the public for free! https://www.arkansas.com/discover-arkansas
- California is the most populous state in the United States and is known for its vibrant culture, diverse landscape, and iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood. The state’s history includes the Gold Rush, the entertainment industry, and the tech boom. California’s culture is a melting pot of various ethnicities and traditions, with a strong emphasis on art, music, and innovation.
- Expect terrible traffic and cities with homelessness like you’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, a lot of the criticisms about California is true.
- However, we also have Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. Yosemite is the most beautiful valley and canyon that you will ever see (well… maybe Grand Canyon could rival it). Sequoias are some of the tallest trees that you’ll ever see.
- San Francisco is a beautiful city, despite the homelessness. Walk along the pier and feel the ocean breeze, especially in the summer. I’m from Los Angeles, with summers that are hotter than hell. Since SF is surrounded by the ocean on three sides, summers are cool, and even a little chilly. Walking along the pier or by the Golden Gate Bridge during the summer, when the rest of California is burning, is such an experience. It’ll make you forget about the heat at home.
- As someone who has lived in SoCal for most of my life, I’m sorry to say this, but SoCal (southern California) is not very fun. It’s a wonderful place to live and work, but for tourism? Not so much. The only thing here that’s really worth it is Disneyland if you have kids, but other than that, SoCal is a suburban sprawl that never ends with traffic that never eases up. Also, many of our beaches used to be beautiful, but are now ugly tourist traps (looking at you, Santa Monica and Venice).
- Colorado is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde National Park, and the Garden of the Gods. The state has a rich mining history, with gold and silver being the primary resources that fueled its growth. Colorado’s culture is heavily influenced by its outdoor lifestyle, with skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities being popular pastimes.
- The best state if you like mountains! The views are out of this world.
- There are 4 national parks in the state, and I’ve been to all 4. Every one of them is worth it.
- Driving here is a little bit rough, though, if you get carsick easily (like me). While the mountains are beautiful, the drive through them can be tough.
- Connecticut is a small state with a rich history dating back to the colonial era. The state is known for its beautiful coastline, historic landmarks, and thriving cities. Connecticut’s culture is diverse, with influences from Italian, Irish, and other European immigrants, as well as Native American and African American traditions.
- It’s a small New England state.
- Hartford is a nice little city. There is the Mark Twain House.
- The river walk is also nice and pretty.
- Delaware is known as the First State, as it was the first state to ratify the US Constitution. The state’s history includes a strong agricultural tradition and a role in the Underground Railroad. Delaware’s culture is influenced by its location on the East Coast, with a thriving culinary scene and a love of beach culture.
- The first state is surprisingly boring. I once asked a lady in a tourist office on what is there to do in Delaware, but even she struggled to come up with an answer.
- The only fun thing in Delaware that I could find is the Nemours Estate. It belonged to the DuPont Family, former French aristocrats that got chased out after the French Revolution. They became rich again through gunpowder.
- Florida is known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and theme parks. The state has a rich history, including Spanish exploration and colonization, the Seminole Wars, and the Civil War. Florida’s culture is heavily influenced by its diverse population, with influences from Cuban, Haitian, and other Caribbean cultures, as well as Native American and African American traditions.
- People seem to either really like or hate this state, lol. It is definitely tropical with lots of humidity, so come during the winter if you don’t like that.
- Pensacola Beach was beautiful. And while I normally don’t like graffiti, I really enjoyed the Graffiti Bridge in Pensacola.
- Miami has two national parks; both worth it.
- The drive down the Florida Keys is unforgettable. The turquoise water is really out of this world.
- Georgia is known for its rich history, including its role in the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and as the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. The state’s landscape includes mountains, beaches, and forests. Georgia’s culture is heavily influenced by Southern hospitality, with a strong tradition of storytelling, music, and food.
- The Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta is really something. It’s a quirky museum, but it’s arguably one of my favorite “tourist trap” museums in this country. They have a room where you can drink every Coca Cola product ever made.
- The Gone With The Wind House north of Atlanta is surprisingly small with an admission fee; I would not visit unless you are a fan of the book.
- Rock Gardens in northwestern Georgia was also pretty cool. There is a part where you can see all of Georgia’s northern neighboring states.
- Hawaii is a group of islands located in the Pacific Ocean and is known for its unique culture and breathtaking natural beauty, including active volcanoes and stunning waterfalls. The state’s history includes the arrival of Polynesian voyagers, European exploration, and its annexation by the United States. Hawaii’s culture is heavily influenced by its indigenous heritage, with a strong emphasis on hula, Hawaiian language, and traditional customs.
- Beautiful, tropical islands. Despite the fact that Hawaii is over 2,500 miles from the nearest continent, Hawaii still feels very international because you’ll find tourists from all over the world.
- Honolulu was OK, but to truly enjoy the island of Oahu, I recommend driving to the northern and eastern side of the island, where there aren’t as many tourists.
- Pearl Harbor is a must visit.
- Idaho is known for its rugged wilderness, including the Sawtooth Mountains, Hells Canyon, and the Snake River. The state’s history includes a strong mining tradition and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Idaho’s culture is heavily influenced by its outdoors lifestyle, with hunting, fishing, and skiing being popular pastimes.
- Terribly underrated, especially the northern panhandle. Go to Coeur D’Alene and Sandpoint, especially in the fall.
- From Missoula, Montana, go south into the border with Idaho. There is a Lewis and Clark Center, but the real treat are the trails by the visitor center. Truly a scenic place; the mountains there can rival Colorado’s.
- Southeastern Idaho is the road to Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but it’s kind of boring. Nothing to see in Idaho Falls. However, while I haven’t been there, I heard the nearby Craters of the Moon is really beautiful.
- Illinois is known for its role in Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy, as well as its iconic architecture, including the Willis Tower and the Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The state’s landscape includes the Great Lakes, forests, and prairies. Illinois’s culture is diverse, with influences from German, Irish, and other European immigrants, as well as African American traditions.
- Chicago. That’s all that needs to be said. Go to the Bean. Everything cool is around there.
- Avoid East St. Louis, one of the most dangerous places in the country.
- But if you do happen to be in the area, go to Cahokia. There isn’t much to see, just some manmade hills. But allegedly, Cahokia used to be the second largest Native American city on the North American continent (Mexico City, back when it belonged to the Aztecs, was the largest)
- Indiana is known for its role in the Underground Railroad and its love of basketball. The state’s landscape includes the Indiana Dunes, the Hoosier National Forest, and several lakes and rivers. Indiana’s culture is heavily influenced by its rural heritage, with a strong tradition of farming and manufacturing.
- From Chicago, Illinois, go to the Indiana Sand Dunes. Climb on top of the Sand Dunes, and if it’s a sunny day with low air pollution, you can see Chicago’s skyline.
- Indianapolis was a fairly boring city, though. I think they have a lot of WWII memorials built around downtown, but other than that, not much else.
- Iowa is known for its rolling hills, farms, and friendly people. The state’s history includes a strong agricultural tradition and a role in the Underground Railroad. Iowa’s culture is heavily influenced by its rural lifestyle, with a strong tradition of community events and fairs.
- Des Moines doesn’t have much going on, but it does have a sculpture garden that I thought was pretty cool.
- Not too far from Des Moines are the bridges of Madison County. The bridges themselves are nice, but what’s nicer is that they are usually in a scenic area. The bridges really compliment their bucolic surroundings.
- Kansas is known for its role in the Civil War and its love of football. The state’s landscape includes the Flint Hills, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, and several lakes and rivers. Kansas’s culture is heavily influenced by its agricultural heritage, with a strong tradition of farming and ranching.
- Sorry, but Kansas is the only state that I’ve been to that I thought was truly boring. Nothing to see for the most part.
- Monument Rocks near the Colorado was kind of interesting.
- You can see a real moon rock in the Cosmo sphere in Hutchinson. However, overall, these things aren’t exciting enough for me to tell people to go to Kansas.
- Kentucky is known for its horse racing, bourbon, and bluegrass music. The state’s landscape includes the Mammoth Cave National Park, the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Kentucky Lake. Kentucky’s culture is heavily influenced by its Southern heritage, with a strong tradition of hospitality, music, and food.
- Louisville is very underrated. It is Muhammad Ali’s hometown, and they have a Slugger Museum.
- The restaurant by Kentucky Derby makes some really good sandwiches (and I’m not even a fan of sandwiches)
- Mammoth Cave is the largest cave in the world. However, be warned: if you are claustrophobic, I’d suggest not to go.
- Louisiana is known for its unique blend of French, Spanish, and African American cultures, as well as its love of Cajun and Creole cuisine. The state’s landscape includes the Mississippi River Delta, the Atchafalaya Basin, and the Bayou Country. Louisiana’s culture is heavily influenced by its history of French and Spanish colonization, with a strong tradition of music, dance, and celebration.
- This is a really poor state overall. You will see lots of poverty everywhere you go.
- You do get to see some French architecture in New Orleans, so that’s pretty cool.
- Louisiana does have some signage in French, but I never heard anyone speak French when I was there.
- There are bayous (swamp) scattered throughout the state. Visiting any one of them could be interesting if you don’t live in a swampy area.
- Maine is known for its rocky coastline, lighthouses, and lobster. The state’s history includes a strong shipbuilding tradition and a role in the Underground Railroad. Maine’s culture is heavily influenced by its seafaring heritage, with a strong tradition of fishing and seafood cuisine.
- I’ve only been to the Nubble Lighthouse. It is one of the more photographed lighthouses in the world. I would see it was worth it.
- UPDATE: Got back from a trip to Acadia National Park. Totally worth it. I recommend it even more than the Nubble Lighthouse.
- Maryland is known for its role in the Civil War and its love of crab cakes. The state’s landscape includes the Chesapeake Bay, the Appalachian Mountains, and several beaches. Maryland’s culture is diverse, with influences from African American, Irish, and other European immigrants.
- Antietam is the site of the bloodiest conflict during the Civil War. Go there and show some respect for those who died liberating the slaves.
- Baltimore is where the national anthem was written. Visit the fort for an interesting tour.
- Massachusetts is known for its role in the American Revolution and its iconic landmarks, including the Freedom Trail and Plymouth Rock. The state’s landscape includes the Berkshire Mountains, the Cape Cod National Seashore, and several lakes and rivers. Massachusetts’s culture is heavily influenced by its history, with a strong emphasis on education, art, and innovation.
- Go to Boston and do the Freedom Trail. Everything you need to know about American history is there.
- Michigan is known for its automotive heritage and its role in the Great Lakes region. The state’s landscape includes the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, and several forests and parks. Michigan’s culture is diverse, with influences from Native American, French, and other European immigrants, as well as a strong tradition of sports, particularly ice hockey.
- I like the UP during fall; it’s the most beautiful place that I’ve been to. My personal favorite areas are the Porcupine Mountains and the drive up to Copper Harbor.
- Avoid Detroit. Yes, it’s really as bad as people say.
- Michigan is really snowy. It can snow as early as November 1st.
- Minnesota is known for its 10,000 lakes, vibrant music scene, and the iconic Mall of America. The state’s landscape includes the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the North Shore of Lake Superior, and several state parks. Minnesota’s culture is heavily influenced by its Scandinavian heritage, with a strong tradition of outdoor recreation, including fishing, camping, and hiking
- Minneapolis was kind of a disappointment, as it wasn’t as scenic and nice as I had thought.
- It is still worth visiting the Minehaha Falls, though.
- UPDATE: I went to Minnesota’s north shore as recommended by a lot of people. I definitely recommend it, especially in autumn (early October). I recommend Gooseberry Falls; Tettegouche State Park; and Oberg Mountain.
- Mississippi is known for its role in the Civil Rights Movement, blues music, and Southern hospitality. The state’s landscape includes the Mississippi River, the Gulf Coast, and several state parks. Mississippi’s culture is heavily influenced by its African American and Native American heritage, with a strong tradition of storytelling, food, and music.
- Another one of the really poor southern states
- Jackson was a really boring city with not much happening, but I did like their restaurants. Their southern BBQ is really good.
- You can visit Jefferson Davis’s winter home in Biloxi… although the area is super redneck.
- Missouri is known for its role in the Westward Expansion, its BBQ cuisine, and the iconic Gateway Arch. The state’s landscape includes the Ozark Mountains, the Katy Trail State Park, and several rivers and lakes. Missouri’s culture is diverse, with influences from German, Irish, and other European immigrants, as well as a strong tradition of outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing.
- Go see the Gateway Arch. It feels really humbling to stand directly underneath it.
- St. Louis has a free zoo, although when I went, there wasn’t much going on.
- If you’re on the western side of Missouri, there is Wilson’s Creek Battlefield near Springfield, probably my favorite battlefield that I’ve visited.
- Kansas City was OK, not as interesting as I thought it would be. I like the barbeque and WWI museum, but the rest of the city didn’t interest me.
- Montana is known for its breathtaking national parks, including Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, as well as its rugged, outdoor lifestyle. The state’s landscape includes the Rocky Mountains, the Missouri River, and several forests and lakes. Montana’s culture is heavily influenced by its Native American heritage, with a strong tradition of ranching and outdoor recreation.
- Glacier National Park is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, although unfortunately, I passed up the opportunity to visit last time. UPDATE: Been there. Definitely nice, although smoke and smog obscured some of the best views. Still worth it, though.
- Still, the town of Missoula and its surrounding areas are very scenic if you are into mountains.
- On the far eastern side, there is Medicine Rocks State Park. The rocks are really weird but cool looking.
- Nebraska is known for its role in the Homestead Act and its love of college football. The state’s landscape includes the Sandhills, the Platte River, and several state parks. Nebraska’s culture is heavily influenced by its agricultural heritage, with a strong tradition of farming and ranching, as well as a love of outdoor recreation.
- Scotts Bluff National Monument is a great place to hike for a day, as long as it isn’t too windy.
- Omaha was really boring, though.
- Nevada is known for its entertainment capital, Las Vegas, as well as its iconic Hoover Dam and Lake Tahoe. The state’s landscape includes the Great Basin Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and several lakes and rivers. Nevada’s culture is diverse, with influences from Native American, Mexican, and other immigrant cultures, as well as a strong tradition of outdoor recreation, including hiking and skiing.
- I like the fountain in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I’d recommend everyone who visits Vegas to at least see one performance by the fountain.
- It is really hot during the summer, so be careful. You theoretically could walk indoors, but I find the indoor areas to be a maze of casinos, and it’s not easy to navigate.
- I highly recommend going to St. George, Utah, and Vegas is on the way. In the middle of Vegas and St. George is Valley of Fire, which has some pretty cool red rocks. However, the red rocks in Utah are cooler.
- Just west of downtown Vegas is Red Rocks Canyon. I like this better than Valley of Fire, but in terms of beauty, it still falls short of Utah’s canyons.
- New Hampshire is known for its White Mountains, quaint New England towns, and the iconic Mount Washington. The state’s history includes a role in the American Revolution and a strong tradition of millwork. New Hampshire’s culture is heavily influenced by its New England heritage, with a strong emphasis on education, community, and outdoor recreation.
- I used to spend summers here, because I have cousins who live here.
- It’s a very rural state, but rural New Englanders are some of the nicest people in the country.
- NH Tourism Winter 22-23
- New Jersey is known for its role in the American Revolution, its boardwalks, and its diners. The state’s landscape includes the Delaware River, the Jersey Shore, and several state parks. New Jersey’s culture is diverse, with influences from Italian, Irish, and other European immigrants, as well as a love of sports, particularly football and baseball.
- The drivers here are terrible.
- Almost every road is tolled.
- That being said, you can find some cheaper accommodations in Jersey City if you’re visiting New York.
- Avoid Camden by Philadelphia. That’s literally one of the worst places in America.
- The state of New Mexico is known for its rich Native American and Spanish heritage, as well as its stunning landscapes, including the Carlsbad Caverns and the White Sands National Monument. The state’s culture is heavily influenced by its history, with a strong tradition of art, music, and cuisine.
- At first, I wasn’t too impressed, because I only visited Las Cruces. However, northern New Mexico is stunning! I love Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
- A lot of houses are built like adobes, which is really cool
- Carlsbad Caverns is amazing. If you can visit only one cave in your life, this one should be it.
- NY is known for its iconic landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, as well as its role in the fashion and entertainment industries. The state’s landscape includes the Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson River Valley. New York’s culture is diverse, with influences from Italian, Jewish, and other immigrant cultures, as well as a strong tradition of arts and culture, including theater, music, and museums.
- I’ve visited NYC a long time ago as a kid. I wasn’t impressed. However, NYC has improved a lot over the decades, and now I can say that I like NYC
- The subways are dirty and gritty, but other than that, they are surprisingly reliable.
- There is a lot of diversity, and you can find people of all racial backgrounds.
- Take the train north into the Hudson Valley. The scenic view of Hudson Valley greatly contrasts with the city view of New York.
- The furthest north in NY state I’ve been to is Poughkeepsie, and they have a huge bridge over the Hudson that is worth walking over.
- North Carolina is known for its role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, as well as its stunning coastline and the Great Smoky Mountains. The state’s culture is heavily influenced by its Southern heritage, with a strong tradition of barbecue, sweet tea, and hospitality. North Carolina is also known for its universities and research institutions, including Duke University and Research Triangle Park.
- Hidden deep in western North Carolina is the Biltmore Mansion. It is the largest mansion I’ve ever been to.
- The Great Smoky Mountains are on its border with Tennessee.
- Raleigh is a really boring city, though.
- North Dakota is known for its vast prairies, its strong agricultural industry, and its oil boom. The state’s landscape includes the Badlands, the Missouri River, and several state parks. North Dakota’s culture is heavily influenced by its Native American heritage, with a strong tradition of rodeos, hunting, and fishing.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the west is definitely worth a visit. It is arguably one of the most remote and isolated national parks in the lower 48 states.
- Don’t go to Fargo, though. It’s really boring, and their zoo literally has ravens on display.
- Ohio is known for its role in the Underground Railroad, its amusement parks, and its love of sports, particularly football and basketball. The state’s landscape includes the Lake Erie shoreline, the Hocking Hills, and several state parks. Ohio’s culture is diverse, with influences from German, Irish, and other European immigrants, as well as a strong tradition of manufacturing and innovation.
- I’ve been to most cities in Ohio, and unfortunately, Ohio cities are some of the worst in the country
- Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is very overpriced ($30 admission, plus paid parking). However, if you are a fan of rock music, then it might be worth it.
- The richest American ever, John D. Rockefeller used to own a vacation home in East Cleveland, which has been converted into a park. To see the gardens that once belongs to the richest man been turn into a garbage dump for gang activities is really something.
- The waterfall in Cuyahoga National Park was truly… uninspiring. In fact, when I took a picture of the waterfall and showed it to my mom, she said, “Why is this waterfall so lame?” I’ve been to plenty of waterfalls in this country, so she knows there are better waterfalls.
- Oklahoma is known for its Native American heritage, its oil industry, and the iconic Route 66. The state’s landscape includes the Great Plains, the Ozark Mountains, and several lakes and rivers. Oklahoma’s culture is heavily influenced by its history, with a strong tradition of cowboy culture, rodeos, and Western art.
- Honestly… Oklahoma is definitely one of the poorest states that I’ve been to. I remember one time driving into Oklahoma from Texas. You could tell exactly where Texas ended and Oklahoma started, because the road on the Texas side is smooth and paved, while the road on the Oklahoma side is potholed and bumpy.
- That being said, the Oklahoma City bombing site is a must visit. The whole place is so solemn and peaceful.
- Cattleman’s Ranch makes some pretty good steak.
- If you like hiking, I would recommend Turner Falls, which is about 1.5 hours south of OK City.
- Oregon is known for its stunning coastline, its vibrant wine country, and the iconic Crater Lake. The state’s landscape includes the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia River Gorge, and several state parks. Oregon’s culture is diverse, with influences from Native American, Asian, and other immigrant cultures, as well as a strong tradition of outdoor recreation, including hiking, fishing, and skiing.
- Absolutely a beautiful state. The Multnomah Falls area is easily one of the most recognizable sceneries in America. I was surprised that so many of my friends commented on my Instagram story on Multnomah Falls.
- Drive northwest of Portland, and you can reach the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s Lewis and Clark’s final spot on their journey to the Pacific Ocean. In addition to it being a historical site, the tall trees in the area will take your breath away.
- Be careful when you visit in the winter, though. Portland doesn’t usually get snow, but about every 5 years or so, a snowstorm will strike. Since Portland doesn’t usually get snow, its services leave a lot to be desired. I actually visited Portland for the first time right after a snowstorm; it was not fun driving.
- Pennsylvania is known for its role in the American Revolution and the Underground Railroad, as well as its Amish country and the iconic Hershey’s chocolate. The state’s landscape includes the Appalachian Mountains, the Delaware River, and several state parks. Pennsylvania’s culture is diverse, with influences from German, Italian, and other European immigrants, as well as a strong tradition of manufacturing and innovation.
- It is a relatively poor state, like its neighbor to its west, Ohio. However, Pennsylvania is heaven for American history nerds.
- Philadelphia is worth visiting for the Liberty Bell alone. Go see Benjamin Franklin’s hometown. If I keep talking about Philly, this will take up too much space.
- Gettysburg is another nice place to visit. It’s the site where Abraham Lincoln gave his “4 scores and 7 years ago” speech.
- Harrisburgh’s eastern town, Hershey, is the location of Hershey’s Chocolate’s corporate center. You can visit the museum and learn about how Hershey’s became successful.
- Pittsburgh was a nightmare to drive through. Pittsburgh probably does have a lot of wonderful places, but driving was no fun; the roads make no sense, and it doesn’t follow a grid pattern. So if you accidentally make a wrong turn, you will probably get lost for a long time before you can find your way back.
- Rhode Island is known for its stunning coastline, its role in the American Revolution, and the iconic Newport mansions. The state’s culture is heavily influenced by its New England heritage, with a strong tradition of seafood, sailing, and education. Rhode Island is also home to several prestigious universities, including Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
- The smallest state… so there isn’t much to see
- Brown University does have a nice campus, though. And it’s opened to the public, so you can take a stroll through it.
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina is known for its role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, as well as its stunning coastline and the iconic Rainbow Row in Charleston. The state’s culture is heavily influenced by its Southern heritage, with a strong tradition of barbecue, sweet tea, and hospitality. South Carolina is also home to several prestigious universities, including Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.
- Another southern state with stark contrasts between the rich and poor. Spartanburg and some random roadside towns are very poor and destitute; however, Greenville and Columbia are where the middle class live.
- Congaree National Park is one of the only free national parks without an entrance fee. It is, however, a rather small national park. Nonetheless, if you’ve never seen a swamp before, I highly recommend visiting.
- South Dakota is known for its iconic Mount Rushmore, as well as its vast prairies and strong agricultural industry. The state’s landscape includes the Badlands, the Missouri River, and several state parks. South Dakota’s culture is heavily influenced by its Native American heritage, with a strong tradition of rodeos, hunting, and fishing.
- Mt. Rushmore is terribly overrated… but since everybody only knows about Mt. Rushmore, I guess you have to visit it.
- Badlands National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve been to. Go. Just go there.
- Wall Drug, just north of Badlands, is also worth visiting, if only for their doughnuts.
- Custer State Park is definitely one of the best state parks I’ve been to.
- Wind Cave National Park is the weakest national park that is a cave, but since it’s in the same area as everything else, you might as well go.
- Tennessee is known for its role in the American Civil War, its iconic music scene in Nashville, and the stunning Smoky Mountains. The state’s landscape includes several rivers and lakes, including the Mississippi and the Tennessee River. Tennessee’s culture is heavily influenced by its musical heritage, with a strong tradition of country music, blues, and rock and roll. The state is also known for its barbecue, hot chicken, and whiskey distilleries. Tennessee is home to several prestigious universities, including Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee.
- I feel like Beal Street has seen better days. When I visited, the place didn’t really live up to the hype.
- I didn’t visit Graceland (Elvis Presley’s home) or the motel where MLK Jr. was assassinated. I don’t know what was wrong with me back then. Please visit those two places in Memphis and tell me how they are.
- Knoxville and Gatlinburg are just a stone’s throw away from the Great Smoky Mountains. Some say that Gatlinburg is a tourist trap, but I actually did enjoy the gondola ride up the hills.
- Texas is known for its vast size, its oil industry, and the iconic Alamo in San Antonio. The state’s landscape includes several national parks, including Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains. Texas’s culture is diverse, with influences from Mexican, German, and other immigrant cultures, as well as a strong tradition of cowboy culture, barbecue, and football. Texas is home to several prestigious universities, including the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
- Big Bend National Park is magical. Go visit the Santa Elena Canyon on the western side of the park. Then, go to the eastern side and cross into Boquillas, a small Mexican town.
- Visit the Alamo in San Antonio… although, the fort was a lot smaller than I expected.
- Visit JFK’s assassination spot in Dallas
- Texas also has the best highway system in the country. On every highway’s exit, the leftmost lane is a U-turn lane that will take you back to the highway. This is so convenient for those who accidentally missed their exits! I don’t know why other states don’t adopt this.
- TexasTexas – Western Experience
- Utah is known for its stunning national parks, including Zion and Bryce Canyon, as well as its strong religious heritage. The state’s landscape includes the Rocky Mountains, the Great Salt Lake, and several state parks. Utah’s culture is heavily influenced by its Mormon heritage, with a strong tradition of family values and outdoor recreation, including skiing and hiking.
- All of Utah’s 5 national parks are worth visiting. My favorite is a tie between Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon.
- Zion National Park is super crowded in the summer; you might not find any parking. Plus, it’s 100 degrees out. Don’t go in the summer. But in the winter time? The weather is just right, and there are no crowds.
- Despite the fact that southern Utah is full of endless beauty, northern Utah (Salt Lake City area) is surprisingly boring and uninspiring.
- The Mormons will share their religion with you, but if you politely tell them you’re not interested, they never forced me with anything.
- Honestly, my review of Vermont is almost identical with New Hampshire: another rural New England state full of friendly people.
- If I must recommend a place, go to Brattleboro. There is a restaurant along the river. Go eat there before dark; the views of the river are incredible.
- Virginia is known for its role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, as well as its stunning coastline and the iconic Shenandoah National Park. The state’s culture is heavily influenced by its Southern heritage, with a strong tradition of barbecue, sweet tea, and hospitality. Virginia is also home to several prestigious universities, including the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
- Vermont is known for its stunning fall foliage, its maple syrup, and the iconic Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. The state’s landscape includes the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, and several state parks. Vermont’s culture is heavily influenced by its New England heritage, with a strong tradition of farming, skiing, and environmentalism. Vermont is also home to several prestigious universities, including Middlebury College and the University of Vermont.
- Arlington and Richmond are two completely different cities. Arlington is cosmopolitan and international, while Richmond is a traditional southern city.
- In Arlington, go visit Washington DC (the metro even takes you there). There is also Arlington Cemetery, which is a must visit.
- Virginia has way too many historical sites. You have the Confederate White House in Richmond; first Thanksgiving location in Berkeley Plantation; the original Jamestown; George Washington’s house in Mt. Vernon; Thomas Jefferson’s house in Monticello; etc.
- Washington is known for its stunning coastline, its strong coffee culture, and the iconic Space Needle in Seattle. The state’s landscape includes several national parks, including Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park. Washington’s culture is diverse, with influences from Native American, Asian, and other immigrant cultures, as well as a strong tradition of outdoor recreation, including hiking, fishing, and skiing. Washington is also home to several prestigious universities, including the University of Washington and Washington State University.
- Seattle is a nice place to visit, especially Pike’s Market area.
- Washington also has three national parks. I’ve been to two: Mt. Rainier and Olympic
- Olympic is definitely the better one. You’ve got mountains, oceans, and rainforests.
- West Virginia is known for its stunning fall foliage, its strong coal mining industry, and the iconic New River Gorge Bridge. The state’s landscape includes the Appalachian Mountains, several rivers and lakes, and several state parks. West Virginia’s culture is heavily influenced by its Appalachian heritage, with a strong tradition of bluegrass music, hunting, and fishing.
- Harpers Ferry is a charming historical town that preserves the story of John Brown’s failed rebellion to save the slaves.
- Harpers Ferry is also a great hiking area, as it is part of the Appalachian Trail
- And finally, Harpers Ferry is the location of John Denver’s “Country Roads”!
- Wisconsin is known for its stunning lakefront, its cheese industry, and the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The state’s landscape includes several state parks, including the Door Peninsula and the Apostle Islands. Wisconsin’s culture is heavily influenced by its European heritage, with a strong tradition of beer brewing, cheese making, and sausage production. Wisconsin is also home to several prestigious universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University.
- Eau Claire is a nice city where several rivers meet. The River Walk region is a nice place to go for a walk on a summer evening.
- You can also visit the lake shores to the north of Chicago. The beaches there are not as crowded as Chicago’s, so it’s a nice place to get away from the crowds.
- Wyoming is known for its stunning national parks, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton, as well as its strong cowboy culture. The state’s landscape includes the Rocky Mountains, several rivers and lakes, and several state parks. Wyoming’s culture is heavily influenced by its cowboy heritage, with a strong tradition of rodeos, hunting, and fishing.
- Grand Teton and Yellowstone (which I’ve never been to) are located in this state.
- On the eastern side, you have Devil’s Tower, which I also I recommend.
Phew, I think those are all of the 50 states. I’ll throw in a bonus one as well.
- It is not actually a state, but it’s America’s capital
- Visit the Memorial Pond, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial
- Washington DC is really hot in the summer, and since you’ll be walking around a lot, be sure to drink water.
Visiting all 50 states in the US is a goal that many people have and for good reason. Exploring each unique state of the country provides an incredible opportunity to experience different cultures, localities, places of interest, and attractions. The advantages of visiting all 50 states range from increased cultural knowledge to the ability to understand the nation as a whole better. Of course there are a few potential drawbacks, such as travel expense and time management skills that come into play. But with proper planning, visiting each state in the Union can be a gratifying experience.
No matter if you plan to tour one state or fifty states there are ample opportunities throughout our vast nation that will pique your interest and leave lasting memories once you’ve reached your destination. Which state do you plan to visit? What is your motivation to visit a US state? If you follow through on this dream to see all 50 states, it will be one of your most extraordinary and rewarding accomplishments.
Which are the top 10 dangerous cities in the US?
Source: Peter Wade
Too many writers focus on the most populated cities and fail to consider all U.S. cities.
Of course, since you’ve asked such a generic question, it depends on what you consider dangerous. You’re probably thinking of crime rates. But I once wrote a Quora post (link below) about why Miami, Florida, is statistically the city in which you are most likely to die an untimely death, including characteristics such as vehicular accidents, weather, and crime. East St. Louis ranked second, largely based on crime.
How to best answer the question
The following research confirms that East St. Louis is probably the most dangerous place in the U.S. for criminal activity, which I’ve often written about. It dispels the common myth that Camden, New Jersey, and neighboring Philadelphia are among the most dangerous American cities (but they certainly have their problems). New York and Los Angeles aren’t even close to the most dangerous U.S. cities based on crime rates, which debunks another widely held myth.
If you only want a list of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates (based on the most recent data), here they are. East St. Louis is double Gary’s murder rate!
1.) East St. Louis, Illinois (164.88 homicides per 100,000)
2.) Uvalde, Texas (144.58 homicides per 100,000)
3.) Jackson, Mississippi (102.16 homicides per 100,000)
4.) Gary, Indiana (83.42 homicides per 100,000)
5.) St. Louis, Missouri (66.48 homicides per 100,000)
6.) Baltimore, Maryland (58.46 homicides per 100,000)
7.) New Orleans, Louisiana (57.83 homicides per 100,000)
8.) Detroit, Michigan (48.86 homicides per 100,000)
9.) Baton Rouge, Louisiana (38.26 homicides per 100,000)
10.) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (35.65 homicides per 100,000)
If you consider danger to include murders and non-fatal assaults, here are the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest violent crime rates (again, mostly occurring in localized areas):
1.) Detroit, Michigan (2,475 violent crimes per 100,000)
2.) East St. Louis, Illinois (2,155 violent crimes per 100,000)
3.) St. Louis, Missouri (2,145 violent crimes per 100,000)
4.) Baltimore, Maryland (2,021 violent crimes per 100,000)
5.) Memphis, Tennessee (2,003 violent crimes per 100,000)
6.) Kansas City, Missouri (1,724 violent crimes per 100,000)
7.) Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1,597 violent crimes per 100,000)
8.) Cleveland, Ohio (1,557 violent crimes per 100,000)
9.) Stockton, California (1,415 violent crimes per 100,000)
10.) Albuquerque, New Mexico (1,369 violent crimes per 100,000)
In a typical year, about 91% of the homicides in the U.S. are committed by someone the victim knew. In general, if you don’t consort with nefarious characters, your chances of being murdered, or even attacked, are extremely low. Even when crime skyrocketed in 2020 during the pandemic, only 1 in 170,000 Americans were killed by a stranger. The vast majority of those deaths by stranger occurred in impoverished neighborhoods, while very few American citizens living outside those neighborhoods ever become a victim of a violent crime. It’s an unfortunate issue.
On that note, one of the scariest statistics is to rank the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rate of random attacks by an unknown assailant, eliminating the majority of crimes which are committed by individuals known to the victim and focusing on our worst fears, the unexpected random assault. I’ve estimated the rate of assaults, rapes, robberies, and carjackings committed by assailants unknown to the victim. This data changes dramatically from the previous list of cities with high violent crime rates.
1.) Baltimore, Maryland (1,021.0 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
2.) Cleveland, Ohio (828.9 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
3.) Oakland, California (723..9 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
4.) St. Louis, Missouri (719.7 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
5.) Memphis, Tennessee (620.0 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
6.) Albuquerque, New Mexico (606.2 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
7.) Milwaukee, Wisconsin (563.4 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
8.) Minneapolis, Minnesota (556.8 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
9.) Chicago, Illinois (504.4 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
10.) Cincinnati, Ohio (497.5 violent crimes by strangers per 100,000)
All of the rankings above take into account places that are dangerous for anyone, including both residents and visitors. I consider that true danger. But if you’re curious about the cities that are most dangerous for only their residents, with visitors not necessarily incurring any sort of elevated risk, we can analyze the top 10 U.S. cities that are most dangerous for their residents based on the probability of heart disease, the number one reason for death in the U.S.
1.) Flint, Michigan
2.) Camden, New Jersey
3.) Reading, Pennsylvania
4.) Youngstown, Ohio
5.) Detroit, Michigan
6.) Cleveland, Ohio
7.) Dayton, Ohio
8.) Trenton, New Jersey
9.) Canton, Ohio
10.) Gary, Indiana
What is Even more shocking, these are the 10 U.S. cities with the lowest life expectancy for their residents.
1.) Beckley, West.Virginia (average resident loses 6.14 years from the American life expectancy)
2.) Gadsden, Alabama (average resident loses 6.12 years from the American life expectancy)
3.) Anniston, Alabama (average resident loses 6.11 years from the American life expectancy)
4.) Charleston, West Virginia (average resident loses 5.83 years from the American life expectancy)
5.) Pine Bluff, Arkansas (average resident loses 5.52 years from the American life expectancy)
6.) Ashland, Kentucky (average resident loses 5.49 years from the American life expectancy)
7.) Springfield, Ohio (average resident loses 5.22 years from the American life expectancy)
8.) Florence, South Carolina (average resident loses 5.03 years from the American life expectancy)
9.) East St. Louis, Illinois (average resident loses 5.02 years from the American life expectancy)
10.) Alexandria, Louisiana (average resident loses 4.54 years from the American life expectancy)
What is the most densely populated city in the United States, excluding New York City and Chicago?
Source: Peter Wade
There is no need to exclude New York City and Chicago. Neither of those cities even ranks among the top five most densely populated cities in the United States. New York ranks 6th and Chicago ranks a distant 75th.
Disclaimer: Geographers have never agreed on a definition of what constitutes a city vs. what constitutes a town. Therefore, arguments that Guttenberg is not a “city” are ignorant, because the word city doesn’t even have a strict definition.
Here are the five U.S. cities that are the most densely populated. If you have a different opinion, write your own post.
1.) Guttenberg, New Jersey
Population density 61,311 people per square mile (2020 population 12,017)
2.) Union City, New Jersey
Population density 53,585 people per square mile (2020 population 68,589)
3.) West New York, New Jersey
Population density 52,544 people per square mile (2020 population 52,912)
4.) Hoboken, New Jersey
Population density 47,202 people per square mile (2020 population 60,419)
5.) Kaser, New York
Population density 32,300 people per square mile (2020 population 5,491)
What are the best places to live in the United States for safety and good weather?
Really, your only choice is San Francisco and the Bay Area, California. Average high temperature in September 70F with little or no rain during the summer, although it can range as high as 106F. Average January low is 47F with about four inches of rain a month (22 inches a year) and the temperature has never dropped below 27F in recorded history.
The Northwest? Mild, but a lot more rain. The Gulf? Brutally hot and humid summers. The East Coast? Very hot and humid summers, plus storms year round. The Plains? Extremes in both directions.
About the only place that can compete with San Francisco is Honolulu. Even Los Angeles and San Diego can suffer from very hot summers and rainy winters, although they’re pretty pleasant. By Steven Haddock
Why is North Carolina seen as a top destination for retirees?
I’m in Asheville, North Carolina visiting my family as I write this.
This area (Western North Carolina) has become a popular destination for retirees because of
- reasonable housing prices (though the influx of retirees has driven that up a fair bit),
- a moderate climate (the mountains usually have fairly mild summers and short winters),
- access to health care (medical facilities specializing in care for older people have boomed as retirees have moved here , and
- a perception that taxes are low (though talking with my brother, it doesn’t appear that his taxes are particularly lower than mine in upstate NY, just differently distributed; for instance, property tax rates here tend to be lower, but you pay personal property taxes on things like cars and boats here which we don’t in NY).
Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting All 50 States in the US: Visiting the USA in July 2023
Reviews and recommendation 1
I would not do a massive road trip for your first visit, especially if you haven’t done road trips before. I do know foreigners who have done stuff like Route 66 or US 40 but it’s almost always someone’s sixth or 12th visit or something like that
How about Pacific Coast Highway? Up and down the west coast is a beautiful road trip, the weather will work in your favor. You can always detour east to hit up some parks as well
Reviews and recommendation 2
Just remember the US is LARGE. All of Ireland can fit into the state of Minnesota with some wiggle room. I think a lot of folks overseas don’t really grasp that until they travel here.
I second all the talk around National Parks. It’s really the best thing about the US, IMO. If you do plan on going to a national park, do a bit of research beforehand. Some parks require you to reserve a time to visit. They do that to limit how crowded parks can get (especially in the summer).
Reviews and recommendation 3
And invest in an America the beautiful pass in advance. $80 for a year entry to all national parks instead of $30 per park.
We’re doing a loop through Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California in May but I’ve done several big driving holidays over there before. We typically cover 2000+miles on those trips
The driving is mostly easier than here, but watch for leaving an airport and your first taste of freeway having 12 lanes…
Reviews and recommendation 4
The weather on the coast will generally be more temperate and there are both cities and beautiful sceneries to take in along the way. San Diego, LA, Santa Barbara (if you like wine, Napa valley is a fun stop, but would be a splurge). The oregon coast is absolutely breathtaking as well. Stop overnight in Manzanita or Cannon Beach for small beach town vibes and beautiful beaches. Portland oregon is a fairly low key city with some fun things to do and amazing restaurants. End in Seattle or even Vancouver which are big cities but also stunningly beautiful with water and mountains all around.
The major national parks are well known for a reason, but they will be swarming with tourists in July. The Route 66 road trip has some nostalgic appeal, but it has lost a lot of its charm since its mid-century heyday.
Reviews and recommendation 5
For a first time trip to this huge country, assuming a 2-week time frame in July, here are some potential itineraries:
A. Boston > New Hampshire (lakes & White Mountains) > Maine (mountains & coast) > Boston (& New York City?)
B. Washington DC > Baltimore > Chesapeake Peninsula (beaches & wildlife refuges) OR Washington DC > Blue Ridge Parkway > Great Smoky Mountains National Park > Asheville NC
C. Portland, Oregon (Pacific coast) > Seattle, Washington (Mt. Rainier, etc.) > Olympic Peninsula
D. San Francisco > Napa Valley > then South to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur > Los Angeles
These each have a mix of major cities, nature, small towns, tourist sites, and decent scenery for a road trip.
Reviews and Recommendations 6
Given the time of year, I would consider the Northern national park circuit but begin in Chicago. Chicago is an incredible city – architecture, history, food, great museums, even a sandy “beach” with Lake Michigan.
Then, hit the national parks: Chicago has direct flights to all the major parks. I would begin with Glacier. Then, it’s around 7 hour drive to Yellowstone National Park. Then, it’s only 1 hour or so to Grand Teton National Park.
You could drive to Denver and fly out from there. It’s roughly 8.5 hours to Denver via car with lots to see and do on the drive. Cheyanne, Wyoming is cool city. Denver is also a really fun city with lots to do.
Another option is fly into San Francisco. Great city. Then, drive to Yosemite which is iconic (around 6 hours from SF). Then, either drive the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles or drive inland and go to Sequoia National Park and then LA.
Reviews and Recommendations 7
Strongly recommend a landscape/park oriented trip instead of cities because that is where you’ll see the real, unique beauty of our country. That’s not to say you cannot see a bit of both. The coasts are your best options. New England sounds nice but is best known for its Autumn colors. I am biased but truly believe driving the PCH is one of the best experiences we have to offer. Additionally, some of the strangest, most unique, most impressive parks and landscapes you will find are in Utah. You could easily drive to Zion and Bryce Canyon in about 2 hours from Las Vegas.
You can see a lot in 3 weeks, but how far the $5,000 takes you is highly variable. I’m not sure if that includes your flight or not. And as far as “less tiring” that depends on how much driving you do and if you enjoy driving.
My vote is a West Coast trip with an optional side trip to Utah if you are feeling up for the extra driving and busier pace. This is how I would do it:
Reviews and Recommendations 8
Option 1: Fly to Las Vegas. It’s a cheap place to fly because they want to draw in tourism. Don’t spend any time in Vegas beyond driving down the Strip once. Drive to Utah and get a room outside Zion. Give Zion and Bryce a full day each. Maybe two days in Zion if you love hiking. Drive back to Las Vegas and fly to San Diego or LA. San Diego is a much better place to visit than LA imo. Being close to the Mexico border adds some flavor and they have the Zoo and Wild Animal Park. This now leads to…
Option 2: If you are tight on your budget you will find cheaper flights into LAX vs San Diego. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t see San Diego, but the choice is yours on what to prioritize as your starting point. If you are not doing Utah, you will have plenty of time to slowly drive up the coast. I would also recommend visiting Yosemite if you are not going to Utah — Zion and Yosemite are similar but different colors (environment/climate) and Yosemite is bigger if more hiking.
Do NOT drive up I-5 — it’s boring as hell (like Route 66). Consider stopping in Santa Barbara, Solvang, Pismo Beach/San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay (could go inland to Paso Robles for some nice wine), San Simeon for the elephant seals, camping in Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz. Give yourself at least two or three days in San Francisco. Visit wine country in Northern CA. Redwood National Park. There is SO much already and you’d only be halfway to Seattle. I could keep going but you get the idea. West Coast, best coast.
Reviews and Recommendation 9:
My perfect road trip for anyone visiting the states for the first time would be:
Fly into Seattle > Olympic National Park (underrated ) > Portland, OR > Bend, OR > Crater Lake > Mount Shasta, CA > Lake Tahoe > Sonoma County, CA (Bodega Bay area) > San Francisco > Big Sur, CA > Yosemite NP > Los Angeles and fly out of there
It’s the perfect balance of incredible scenery and different feeling cities without having to drive more than 5 hours at any point.
Our National Parks are this country’s greatest treasures.
You couldn’t pay me enough to drive from Chicago to LA. Sounds awful in comparison to a national parks tour.
Reviews and Recommendation 10:
I would say Route 66 is a trap. I’ve driven across the U.S. a few times and there is NOTHING between Chicago and Colorado at the earliest, and then it’s hit or miss. I think it’s low key a waste of time unless you already live here. The US is fucking huge and unless you absolutely love driving, it’s basically corn for 4 days straight.
I think a National Parks tour is a great idea, some of the really famous ones are already booked for this summer (Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc) if you want to camp. But you could do a pretty Incredible road trip if you do pacific coast from San Fran and head north to Redwood NP, then cut East to Laseen/Shasta, then head North and hit Crater Lake NP/Bend Oregon, drive through the lower Cascades and hit Hood River and Portland. Drive North from there into Washington and hit Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier and finish in Seattle. Or hit Seattle and then do North Cascades NP/Olympic NP. The plus side of this trip in July is that it will get cooler as you go and you won’t be frying in the desert of Arizona/Death Valley in July.
And this would be a little less “common” so you can see more things and should be less insane than some of the really famous NP (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite in the summer is like walking through Times Square).
Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting All 50 States in the US – Disclaimers:
– Research all your national parks ahead of time for camping reservations and permits. Some parks require day permits in peak season and some of the most popular trails require permits.
– Be prepared for California to be expensive! Gas may be $6/gallon. Basic hotels can easily be $200+ in popular destinations. You may want to consider renting camping gear and making campsite reservations throughout your trip — there is a popular store called REI that will have everything you need.
– Do not waste your time in LA. Unless you are visiting some attraction (eg Disneyland) it’s a pretty underwhelming place for tourists and difficult to navigate.
– Be extremely careful and paranoid about your luggage/valuables and keeping them in your vehicle when you are in cities, mainly San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Property crime, especially car break-ins, are endemic.
FWIW, my Top 6 US Cities:
San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Seattle
Ready to plan your trip? Here are the top-rated national parks in the U.S., according to Google Maps data:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Acadia National Park
- Badlands National Park
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Grand Teton National Park