50 Reasons to Visit the US During Our .US Sale
Summer is the time for travel. I have been lucky enough to travel to many places, but one place I'm still working on seeing is the US. So far, I've only been to sixteen of our fifty states and my goal is to visit all fifty. Now, I know some of you are thinking that some states are boring and not worth the trip, but I don't believe that's true and here's the list to prove it:
Cathedral Caverns State Park, Alabama: I've been through caves before and although I'm slightly claustrophobic, caves like this one are pretty amazing. The Cathedral Caverns feature a large stalagmite forest including the most improbable stalagmite formation in the world - it rises at a 45 degree angle from a rock formation to the ceiling 25 feet above.
Denali National Park, Alaska: This is definitely on my list. Denali is known for it's amazing scenery and wildlife. I've heard the best way to see Denali is by train, but you can also hike, backpack, and more!
Grand Canyon, Arizona: I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon and it definitely lived up to expectations. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. If you're not into hiking, you can see plenty of beauty just by walking along the top. If you want to hike down, there are several great trails - just remember that you can't go all the way to the bottom during a day hike. I also recommend bringing plenty of water and if you can, not visiting when it's over 100 degrees (early May was only in the 70s this year).
Winchester Mystery House, California: There are a lot of great things to do in Calfornia (my home state), but I wanted to highlight one of the more obscure places: the Winchester Mystery House. The house belonged to Sarah Winchester, wife of famed gun maker William Winchester. The house is known for being continuously under construction for 36 years, supposedly because Mrs. Winchester believed that if she stopped building it, she would die. The house features doors that go no where, stairs going into the ceiling, and more. If you can visit during October, the house features a haunted maze and flashlight tours of the house, which I highly recommend!
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado: If you like concerts, this is definitely a unique place to see one. Red Rocks is a rock structure that is used as an open-air amphitheater that seats over 9,000. You can check out their calendar to see what upcoming events and concerts they have.
Mark Twain House, Connecticut: Mark Twain is the well-known author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among others. His former house in Hartford is now a National Historic Landmark that you can visit. The house is where he wrote several of his books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and today, it showcases his life and work.
Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches, Delaware: According to the website for these beaches, they're the "Nation's Summer Capital." Both beaches offer plenty of beach sports and activities - including a sandcastle contest (which unfortunately we just missed - it was last Saturday).
Kennedy Space Center, Florida: Now I know Florida also has Disney World, but who can pass up the launch site of every human space flight from NASA since 1968? Learn about the space program and if you're lucky you can plan your visit around a launch (as I post this we're T-minus 8 hours away from the next one). Best of all, it's only about an hour and half from Disney World, so you can actually visit both.
Stone Mountain, Georgia: I actually visited Stone Mountain as a kid and remember really enjoying it. Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome that is 1686 feet tall (514 m). You can either summit the mountain via a trail or ride the tram to the top. I don't know how often they do this, but I remember a really cool light show they did on the mountain when I was there.
Hanauma Bay, Hawaii: Hawaii is one of my favorite places, so it was hard to narrow it down. Each island is unique and offers different things, so if you can, I recommend visiting all of them. Since many people choose to visit Oahu, the most populous island, I decided to feature Hanauma Bay. The bay is a nature preserve where you can snorkel and see coral, lots of fish, and even sea turtles.
White Water Rafting, Idaho: According to their website, Idaho boasts more whitewater river miles than anywhere in the lower 48 states. I recently had the pleasure of whitewater rafting here in California and it was a blast. I would definitely be interested in doing it Idaho as well - and since my cousin just moved to Boise, I've added this to my list.
Millenium Park and Cloud Gate aka 'The Bean', Illinois: Millenium Park features a collection of architecture, landscape design, and art including Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean. The Bean is a sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor that has the appearance of a drop of liquid mercury (and also a bean). Before you visit the park and The Bean, be sure to check out the park's calendar because there are hundreds of free concerts, exhibits, activities, and more every year.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana: If you're feeling the need for speed, don't miss the home of the Indy 500. The famous speedway is the home of the world's largest spectator sporting facility. Check their website to plan your trip around the dates of their three races: Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, and Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Field of Dreams, Iowa: Visit the Lansing family farm, sight of the movie Field of Dreams. The site is a bit touristy, but I've heard you can go out on the field and throw the ball around, all while pretending to be Kevin Costner, of course.
Oz Museum, Kansas: There's no place like...Kansas! That's right, the state of Kansas built the Oz Museum, which is an ode to L. Frank Baum's books as well as the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland.
Kentucky Derby, Kentucky: Don't miss "the most exciting two minutes in sports!" Plan on visiting Kentucky in May to catch the two week Kentucky Derby Festival. Just make sure you get tickets early!
Insectarium, Louisiana: If you like insects, this is the place for you! The Insectarium is the largest American museum dedicated to insects and features more than 50 live exhibits. It's located in New Orleans, so you can also catch the famous Mardi Gras parade if you plan on going in February.
Lobster Boat Tours, Maine: Maine is famous for it's fresh and delicious lobster and I can tell you from personal experience that it's for good reason. You can get lobster from many restaurants, but it'll be more fun to experience the catch yourself - especially when you get to eat it freshly caught right after!
Ocean City, Maryland: If you're looking for fun in the sun, check out Ocean City! Ocean City features beautiful beaches as well as "one of the best boardwalks in America."
Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Cape Cod is a great destination to check out the beautiful New England shore and its beaches. The area includes 15 distinctive towns as well as the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. There are plenty of great places to stay and things to do, so be sure to add Cape Cod to your list!
Henry Ford Museum, Michigan: Michigan is known for it's lakes, but it's also the birthplace of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. The museum was started based on Ford's desire to preserve the history of the Industrial Revolution and features exhibits such as JFK's presidential limousine and the Rosa Parks bus.
Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota: The Minnehaha Falls are the centerpiece of the urban Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. This, of course, makes the falls easy to visit for anyone traveling to Minneapolis, the largest city in the state. There is a bridge above and below the falls as well as viewing areas on both sides. The surrounding park also features picnic areas, trails, and more.
Petrified Forest, Mississippi: The Mississippi Petrified Forest is believed to have been formed 36 million years ago. It is the only petrified forest in the eastern US. Visitors can follow the nature trail through the forest as well as visit a museum, which features petrified wood found in every state and various fossils including dinosaur footprints and whale bones.
Gateway Arch, Missouri: The Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made structure in the US. It was built as a monument to westward expansion. Today, visitors can go all the way to the top and see up to 30 miles in all directions on a clear day. The arch is also next to the Mississippi River, so you can also see it from below on a river cruise.
Glacier National Park, Montana: Montana is known for it's natural beauty and Glacier National Park is no exception. There is plenty to do including camping, hiking, horse back riding, and more. You can also choose to stay in one of the park's historic hotels, but make sure you book early because they fill up fast.
Carhenge, Nebraska: If you're on a road trip through Nebraska, Carhenge is a must see. It's exactly what you think it is - an exact replica of Stonehenge with cars. Best of all, it's free!
Las Vegas Strip, Nevada: You can't visit Nevada and miss the fabulous Las Vegas Strip! The strip features lots of casinos. Many are themed, such as New York New York, which looks like the New York Skyline, and the Paris, which features a replica Eiffel Tower. Las Vegas is known for its shows, so be sure and plan ahead to get tickets!
Castle in the Clouds, New Hampshire: That's right there are castles in the US! This 16 room mountaintop mansion has beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains. You can visit the castle or even host an event there - including a wedding!
Atlantic City, New Jersey: If you didn't get enough gambling done in Las Vegas, Atlantic City should be your next stop. The city is known for it's casinos and - bonus - it's right on the beach!
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico: White Sands National Monument is the world's largest gypsum dunefield. One of the more popular activities at the monument is sledding down the dunes. You can also hike around or take the eight mile scenic drive through the dunes.
Niagara Falls, New York: Now I know there is plenty to do in New York City, but don't forget that Niagara Falls is also in New York. You can get up close and personal with the beautiful falls from the decks or from the boats - just make sure you bring your raincoat.
Sliding Rock, North Carolina: Sliding Rock is a 60 foot natural rock slide with a 6-7 foot pool at the end. Niagara Falls might be a more impressive water fall, but you get to ride down this one!
Painted Canyon, North Dakota: The Painted Canyon is located in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It features panoramic views and you may even get to see some bison roaming around the area.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio: This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of rock music. Inductees include Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Madonna, and, most recently, Donna Summer.
Turner Falls Park, Oklahoma: Turner Falls is Oklahoma's tallest waterfall at 77 feet (23 m). The park features hiking trails, swimming holes, caves, and even a walk-in rock castle.
Carter Lake, Oregon: Crater Lake is most famous for it's deep blue color. The best time to visit is the summer, as Crater Lake will start to see snowfall around September. If you like fishing, the lake is a great place to catch salmon and trout.
Mutter Museum, Pennsylvania: Yes, I know Pennsylvania also has the Liberty Bell, but this museum sounds so strange I had to include it. It's a medical history museum started by Dr. Mutter, who wanted to understand the mysteries of the human body. The museum features real specimens, so make sure you have a strong stomach before visiting.
Green Animals Topiary Garden, Rhode Island: The Green Animals Topiary Garden is located on an estate that consists of seven acres of land. There are more than 80 pieces of topiary including animals such as elephants and bears as well as geometric shapes. The gardens are open seasonally, so be sure to check their website to plan your trip.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Myrtle Beach is situated in the center of a large stretch of beach called the Grand Strand. In addition to beach activities, you can visit the beach side amusement park, go ATVing, and even see a local Plantation.
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: Mount Rushmore features the faces of four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Their faces were carved into the granite face of the mountain by a Danish-American sculptor and his son.
Graceland, Tennessee: Follow in the steps of the king himself at Graceland Mansion. Take a tour of Elvis' 14-acre estate and see his house, including the famous Jungle room, as well as his trophy building that features his collection of gold and platinum records.
The Alamo, Texas: Remember the Alamo! The Alamo isn't just the name of a battle, it's also the name of a Mission in San Antonio that played a critical role in the Texas Revolution. The Alamo is the site where a small band of Texans held out for thirteen days during the battle and if you like history, it's a must see!
Arches National Park, Utah: Arches National Park is known for its, well, arches. To be more exact, the park features over 2000 natural sandstone arches including the world famous Delicate Arch. There are many trails you can use to see the red rocks, but make sure to pack plenty of water.
Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour, Vermont: If you like ice cream, then you'll love this tour! Vermont is the home of famed ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Learn about how they make their ice cream and come up with their unique flavors. You'll even get to indulge in their sample flavor of the day at the end of the tour.
Jamestown, Virginia: Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was originally established in 1607, but today, you can still visit the historic city and see replicas of the three ships that sailed from England as well as the colonist's forts.
Hoh Rainforest, Washington: I was recently in Seattle and there are a lot of fun things to do in the city, but when I heard that there was a rainforest on the nearby Olympic Peninsula, I knew I'd have to add that to my list and come back. As we all know, Washington is known for it's rainfall and the Hoh Rainforest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the US. There is camping year round, though it can be wet during the winter.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, West Virginia: Relive the era of steam locomotives at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The park is located in the Appalachian mountains where the town of Cass used to have a booming lumber industry. Today visitors can ride on historic log cars pushed along by a powerful locomotive.
Packers Football Game, Wisconsin: American's love their football and no trip to the states would be complete with seeing a game. We have a few members of our team from Wisconsin and they all suggested seeing the Packers, their favorite team. The Packers are unique in that they're the only non-profit, community owned team in the National Football League (NFL), making them the last of the "small town teams." If you need another reason to see them, you should know they have won 13 league championships, more than another other NFL team.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Last, but definitely not least, Yellowstone is the home of world famous geyser Old Faithful, as well as an abundance of wildlife and beautiful scenery. Old Faithful is the most predictable geyser, guaranteeing you'll get to see it erupt if you wait long enough (it erupts about every 90 minutes).
Can't make it to all fifty states during our .US sale? You can still get your .US for just $5.99 and show off your American pride. .US is the perfect domain for American websites as well as a great domain for family and wedding websites. Don't delay, our .US sale ends 9/30/13 23:59 UTC!
Did I miss the real reason people should visit your state? Feel free to add more US travel tips in the comments!
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who was just in the Grand Canyon this past May and did two amazing hikes. If you're planning on hiking there, keep in mind that the hikes are backwards - you start by going down and end by going back up, which lulls you into a false sense of having enough energy to keep going down. Also, bring water, lots of water.