Almost everyone has travel as one of the items on their bucket list. There is no need to save for years to experience the world – get out there now while you can! All you need is a car to hit the open road and satiate your desire for adventure.
The United States has many exciting and stunning locations to venture to on your road trip. Balance your journey between exploring natural beauty in national and state parks and visiting new cities to get a taste of life beyond your everyday routine.
Sample the barbecue you see advertised on billboards in Houston, get lost on Bourbon Street in NOLA, and connect with nature by camping out beneath the stars. Ready to start planning your next trip? You’ll have to see eight southeast and southwest United States places.
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1. Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia to North Carolina
Start your trip by driving along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the huge Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Unlike busy highways, a speed limit of only 45 mph forces you to slow down along the route and truly take in the beauty this region of the US has to offer.
2. New Orleans – Louisiana
After taking it slow, head to the Big Easy for the party of a lifetime! New Orleans is the world’s jazz capital; take in some tunes while you explore this vibrant city, which is truly unlike any other. Taste authentic creole cooking – and don’t forget to grab an order of the iconic beignets from Café du Monde. Stay up late drinking hurricanes.
3. Houston – Texas
As you head across the country, hit another of the mainly diverse cities in the US. Houston is a bustling metropolis with various activities the whole family can enjoy. Try out the brisket at one of the many famous barbecue joints throughout the city. Once you’re full to bursting, head to the Space Center Houston and learn how man made it to the moon!
4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Texas
Now that you’ve spent the last few days living big in the city, slow it down by spending some time at Guadalupe Mountain National Park. Various hiking trails allow you to explore the mountains and deserts in the area, which were previously home to the Mescarlo Apache people. If you visit during the fall, take in the foliage from the mountain tops and bask in America’s bounty.
5. Meow Wolf Santa Fe – New Mexico
Now that you’ve seen the beauty of nature interact with art in vibrant color indulge in the power of the human imagination. Head to Santa Fe to enjoy an immersive art experience unlike any other. Meow Wolf is a maximalist art installational featuring 70 rooms to explore, allowing you to get lost inside a psychedelic work of art.
6. Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona
Everyone should see the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. You may have seen this iconic US destination in photos, but they genuinely do not do this wonder of the world justice. Created by millions of years of natural erosion from the Colorado River, the canyon provides a unique peek into the geological timeline of the United States. Reserve a spot early if you plan to hike into the canyon and camp below the rim, as spots fill up quickly.
7. Las Vegas – Nevada
After spending time hiking and camping at the Grand Canyon, you’ll probably be ready for a bit of pampering. What better place to treat yourself than Las Vegas, Nevada? Hang by one of the many sparkling pools and sip a cocktail. Enjoy dinner at one of its numerous 5-star restaurants and then prepare to be wowed by a remarkable performance by Cirque du Soliel. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and win big!
8. Zion National Park – Utah
After visiting the Grand Canyon, you may wonder what walking through the river along the bottom will be like. The Narrows Hike in Zion National Park allows you to wade through the river, explore narrow canyons, and enjoy the view below. If you are daring, you can try out the more strenuous Angels Landing hike, it may have steep drop-offs, but the picture at the end is worth it.
North America has hundreds, if not thousands, of unique destinations. On your road trip, there are only a few places worth visiting in the Southeast and Southwest United States. Plan by reserving camping spots in National Parks early, but be willing to let your curiosity guide you along your route. Where will you head first when you hit the open road?