10 Best Jackson Hole Airbnbs Near Grand Teton National Park

There are so many great places to stay in Jackson Hole at any time of year, for easy access to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and so much more of wild Wyoming.

Jackson Hole is not a town so much as a region, which includes Jackson, WY as well as Teton Village, Wilson, Moran Junction, Moose, and other smaller villages and towns.

Jackson, WY is the largest city in Jackson Hole and the majority of these Jackson Hole Airbnbs are located here.

The lovely Jackson Hole mountain resort area is truly an all-season wonder, and whether you’re visiting Jackson Hole in winter for skiing and touring Grand Teton in winter, or you’re visiting Jackson Hole in the summer to tour Yellowstone and hike in Grand Teton, you’re sure to find the perfect activities to keep you busy during every day of your trip.

But what about where to stay? Luckily, the Jackson Hole Airbnb scene is full of incredible places to pick from, including cozy cabins, cute cottages, cool condos, and premium penthouses: there’s no shortage of places to stay near Grand Teton National Park in the Jackson Hole area.

While Jackson Hole is a bit of a pricy destination, you can save a bit of money by skipping the pricy ski resort in Teton Village and instead opting for one of these beautiful Jackson Hole Airbnbs that won’t break the bank.

As a bonus, having your own kitchen area means that you can do a combination of dining in and dining out, saving money on food costs as well as compared to a traditional hotel or resort stay.

Here is my curated list of the best Airbnbs in Jackson Hole: note that all these Airbnbs are near Grand Teton too, less than a 30 minute drive away!

10 Best Jackson Hole Airbnbs (Near Grand Teton NP)

Town Square Hideout 4B

Image courtesy of the property

If you want a sunny, homely apartment in the Jackson area, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything better than this beautiful Jackson Airbnb.

Featuring luminous rooms complemented by bright, eye-catching furniture, the apartment evokes feelings of peace and serenity in a vibrant location.

This is amplified by the soothing balcony view, with nothing but green (or white, depending on the season!) whichever way you look. Just by stepping out on the beautiful street, you can get a taste of what Jackson is all about.

If you want a good hub for exploring all things Wyoming, there are few options that can top this apartment – you’ll be within walking distance of various dining and shopping venues, not to mention the variety of arches, filled to the brim with wildlife.

If you’re up for something a more challenging hike or some awesome ski slopes, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is 30 minutes away by car, and Grand Teton National Park, which is even closer, is just about the most scenic natural landmark in the Jackson area!

Book this beautiful Jackson home!

Meadows Family House

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If you want to strip things back to basics, the Meadows Family House is the perfect fit for you, in all its rustic glory.

The interior features an unpretentious, decidedly cabin-like feel, courtesy of the wooden construction and earth-toned walls and furniture.

The house also features a large living room with a fireplace, as well as the always-welcome second bathroom.

The cherry (or cherries!) on top are the other amenities, namely the swimming pool, fitness area, jacuzzis, and free breakfast in the shared areas, as this Jackson Airbnb is part of the 49er Inn & Suites complex.

The house’s location in downtown Jackson makes it the perfect hub of operations if you plan on exploring the area thoroughly.

Alternatively, if you’re just here to warm your bones in a cozy house at night and hit the slopes by day, a ski shuttle is included under your already-long list of amenities at this amazing rental.

It’s worth noting that said the pool and hot tubs are shared with other 49er Inn guests, but with so many things to do, you should easily be able to find a window of time where you can enjoy them all to yourself!

Book this Jackson Hole Airbnb!

Juniper 122

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You may have come to associate mountain vacations with either standard-issue mountain lodges or over-the-top luxury resorts, but the Juniper 122 is just a perfect rental home in Jackson: not too basic, not too luxe.

The house strikes the perfect balance between rustic and modern with its vintage-feeling furniture and homogenous color palette.

The home is located in the serene Aspens community, only 8 miles from downtown Jackson and 4 miles south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski and recreation area.

Unwind in this house enjoying the cozy atmosphere or rustic hardwood floors, leather furniture, lodgepole beds, and wildlife artwork.

Book this Jackson home here!

King Condo

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Jackson has quite a few great Airbnbs, and the King Condo is among the top choices in the city.

Boasting a modest, yet well-furnished interior (complete with a fireplace), the condo guarantees maximum comfort year-round and a homey ambiance.

The decor is definitely more traditional than modern, but it’s an extremely comfortable space for a family who doesn’t mind pulling out the sofa bed for the kids.

Touches like the second bathroom are much appreciated, but the real highlight is the outdoor area – you can enjoy the comfortable seating around the fire pit on the deck area, as well as the large hot tub and swimming pool, the former being available no matter the season!

As part of the greater Jackson Hole Lounge complex, this rental gives you the option to mingle with your fellow guests and explore the beautiful Jackson area.

Book this home in Jackson Hole!

Alpine Cottage Four

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Anyone looking to for a genuine cottage feel to their Jackson stay should quickly book up this popular Jackson Airbnb.

The homey interior has been put together with such care that you’ll genuinely feel at home here, and these sentiments will only be amplified by the breathtaking garden area (equally lovely when covered in snow!).

On top of the forest surroundings and luxurious hot tub, the house is located on the very bank of Flat Creek, a dream come true for any paddler or just someone looking to see some incredible views in any magical season.

Not far from the Alpine Cottages is the Town Square of Jackson, so the house offers great connectivity on top of everything else.

A short drive of just under 30 minutes is all that separates you from the iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and you can drive to Grand Teton National Park in a reasonably short amount of time too.

Book this Jackson home!

Jackson Condo with Fireplace

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What makes this lovely Jackson home stand out is its spacious interior, complete with wooden furniture that’s both vintage and comfortable.

This mountain retreat features a fantastic fireplace, air conditioning, and a comfortable kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave.

There are two comfortable bedrooms as well as cable TV and a cozy place for lounging and resting next to the fire.

It’s important to consider your location when booking a resort in a touristy area, and this rental offers the very best in that regard.

The property is only 2 miles from Snow King, 0.7 miles from Center For The Arts, in an area where skiing can be fully enjoyed.

You can get to downtown Jackson and a number of scenic hiking trails within minutes, not to mention, Grand Teton and Yellowstone are just a short drive away.

Book this home here!

Alpine Cottage Two

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Part of the same complex as the above Alpine Cottage, the specs and design of this Jackson Airbnb are a little different, which make it perfect for design-loving travelers.

This cottage features extremely cozy furniture and plenty of space for up to 6 guests to get around.

The highlight is arguably the garden area, though – stepping out onto the deck, you’ll have access to a hot tub and ample sun-lit seating.

This is the type of rental place you’ll wish could be your home away from home, and a long-term arrangement is negotiable should you grow to love this place!

Adding to the already-impressive list of features is the cottage’s great location – with the Jackson Square only a few blocks away, you can walk to just about any spot of interest in Jackson in minutes flat. Also nearby are Grand Teton National Park, as well as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, only 30 and 15 minutes away by car, respectively.

Book this home here!

Pearl at Jackson

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This incredible house puts the extra in extravagant with its stunning design that’ll keep you coming back to this Airbnb in Jackson year after year!

The main living area features stylish furniture with just a hint of vintage – it comes equipped with a fireplace, designer chairs, a guitar, and plenty of windows that keep the place bright and add to the amazing atmosphere.

While some Airbnbs in Jackson may boast two bathrooms, The Pearl has two full-blown baths, and you can see Jackson and the surrounding mountains in the best light from the third-floor deck.

What’s more, you’ll have access to a fitness area, spa, and an on-site restaurant. Then there’s the outdoor hot tub – completely private and with stunning views of Snow King Ski Resort.

The downtown area is the perfect place for a vacation home, making The Pearl an ideal pick for anyone looking to see as much of Jackson as possible – what little the White Buffalo Club itself doesn’t offer, you can reach in a matter of minutes on foot.

Book this Jackson home!

White Buffalo Deluxe Suite

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Few resorts can compare to the White Buffalo Club, and this suite is one of the ultimate ways to experience this amazing resort which you can book via VRBO.

Featuring a spacious, well-put-together sitting and sleeping area, the suite guarantees maximum comfort and peace whenever you’re not out and about exploring.

Guests are highly encouraged to take full advantage of the abundant on-site amenities, such as the restaurant, bar, and fitness area (complete with yoga classes!)

White Buffalo Club is located in downtown Jackson, meaning anything you could want to see in the town will be mere minutes away.

Perhaps most notable is the resort’s proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, two absolute must-sees for nature lovers and casual travelers alike!

Book this Jackson Hole home!

White Buffalo Club Penthouse Suite

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To stand out among all the incredible Jackson Airbnbs is no small feat, but this particular Airbnb is truly one of the best the entirety of Jackson Hole has to offer!

On top of an incredibly spacious kitchen, a piano, a cozy TV room that can sit well over the 6-guest limit, and the inviting dining room, the suite also features your very own deck on the rooftop, complete with a private hot tub.

This is the perfect spot for enjoying the view of the mountains and downtown Jackson. On top of all that, you have White Buffalo Club’s on-site amenities, namely the fitness area, spa services, bar, and steakhouse. If you’re visiting in the winter, there’s also a shuttle to take you to the slopes.

Above all else, the resort is situated in the very best part of Jackson, placing you within minutes of the best the town has to offer – the nightlife in Jackson is great, so take full advantage of your location.

Also nearby are Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, two places you don’t want to miss out on.

Book this Jackson Hole place!

Pin This Guide to Jackson Hole Airbnbs!

The 15 Best Moab Airbnbs Near Arches National Park

Moab is one of the best places to base yourself when visiting Utah’s national parks.

Whether you’re road tripping the Southwest or sticking to a Utah road trip, no matter what, Moab simply must be on your Utah itinerary.

Its charming small town vibes combined with its proximity to two out of Utah’s Mighty 5 make it a perfect place to call your home base for a few days while traveling Utah.

Frankly, hotels in Moab are absurdly expensive for the quality, even by American standards! These Moab Airbnbs are a better option for a great place to stay that won’t break the bank.

Even better, each of these Airbnbs in Moab has its own unique character, making the place you stay a beloved part of your trip as well, more than just a roof over your head.

Here is a curated list of the best Airbnbs in Moab — which one would you choose?

Best Rental Home in Moab for Being Close to It All: Casa Moab

Two gray and wooden houses connected by a roof and twin staircases leading up the upper level, with gravel on the ground in front of the houses, at this popular Airbnb in Moab.
Image provided by the property.

If you’re looking for a resort near all the main happenings in Moab that also allows for a good night’s sleep, Casa Moab offers the best of both worlds — it’s located on a peaceful, unassuming street that’s only a stone’s throw from the bustle of Main Street!

Locations of interest in the vicinity include Slickrock Cinemas, the Moab Brewery, and Chile Pepper bike shop, as well as plenty of restaurants and shops for all your basic needs.

Casita #4 (there are 5 on the grounds, but #4 has the best decor in my opinion!) is located on the ground floor of Casa Moab, and it comes equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen, smart TV with WiFi and cable, a spacious living area, and a cozy, luxurious bedroom.

However, the outdoor facilities are where Casa Moab really shines – between the outdoor sauna, large private deck, and fire pit table, Casa Moab makes for a great place to gather all your family and friends for an afternoon of fun and a delicious outdoor meal.

If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to have a peaceful evening to yourself, Casita #3 has you covered there, too – you can take full advantage of the elegant bathroom and its walk-in shower, and use all the hot water you want!

Book this Moab home here!

Best Home in Moab for Quirky Design: Moab Digs

Wooden two-story house with orange door and two porch swings in front with a sign on the Moab airbnb which reads "Moab Digs"
Image provided by the owner

Moab Digs has everything one would ever need – its open floor design combines its kitchen, living room, and dining room into one cohesive unit, and the bedroom comes with a king-size bed and plenty of natural light.

What sets Moab Digs apart from other apartments, however, is its unique, industrial aesthetic. The interior is dominated by shades of gray, with the occasional wooden texture, as well as warm shades of red and blue on some of the furniture and paintings – this combination of colors creates the perfect balance of sleek and simple and gives the apartment a very homey ambient.

On top of having a living room balcony, Moab Digs also has 2 patios. In keeping with the unique look of the interior, the wooden design of the patios is beautifully accented by the surrounding greenery and decorative details.

One of the patios comes equipped with a barbecue grill and is more than spacious enough for larger gatherings, and the other is elevated, providing a great view of the neighborhood.

This stylish apartment is well worth the price of admission, but those who are looking to stay for 3 nights or more get a 30% discount! And frankly, we suggest at least 3 nights in Moab to see everything you want to see, anyway!

Book this Moab Airbnb here!

Best Moab Home for a Romantic Getaway: Wisteria Cottage at Cali Cochitta

A romantic, whimsical cottage surrounded by a tree and flowers, with a pastel green porch swing and a small dining table in front of the cottage in Moab.
Image provided by the owner

The Wisteria Cottage at Cali Cochitta is a beautiful choice for couples and lovers of rustic cottage designs and colorful gardens.

The cottage is conveniently located 2 blocks from Main St, and the inside comes equipped with a well-stocked kitchen, bathroom, and a beautifully designed bedroom with a king-size bed. Guests are also provided with a cruiser bike with which to explore the town, as well as secured bike storage.

The two main draws of the Airbnb in Moab, however, are the garden area and hot tub. The green-and-pink scenery is very easy on the eyes, and thanks to the trees and vines, there is ample shade to keep you cool even on the hottest of summer days.

On top of that, the hammocks are a great place to just sit back and unwind to the sounds of the stone water feature, another detail that adds to the dream-like ambient of the location.

The garden is shared with other Cali Cochitta guests, so it makes for a beautiful place to chat with others outside.

If you’re in the market for a Moab Airbnb with an amazing view, a hot tub in pristine condition, and a beautiful interior, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Wisteria Cottage, especially at this price point.

Book this home in Moab!

Best Moab Home for Couples on a Budget: Bogie’s Bungalow

Wooden house with aluminum wall paneling up to halfway up the wall, showing an open layout kitchen with two stools for eating at the bar.
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Located in downtown Moab, Bogie’s Comfort Bungalow is an ideal getaway for a party of one or two looking for privacy on a budget.

The combination of the old-school wooden design, relaxing color scheme, and exposure to natural light gives the bungalow a distinct identity and a cozy atmosphere.

What’s more, this Moab Airbnb is a great pick if you have a furry or feathered friend you wouldn’t want to leave at home, as pets are permitted on the premises, for a small fee – you’ll even receive a complimentary gift bag with food and other accouterments your pet might need!

On top of the rooms being spotless, the hosts are very environmentally conscious, and all the cleaning supplies used by their staff are organic.

The exterior of the cabin is every bit as impressive as the interior – the cabin comes with a private patio and a personal entrance. 

Additionally, you’ll have access to a communal hot tub and barbecue grill – although you do get the cabin all to yourself, it is one of four bungalows owned by 3 Dogs & a Moose Cottages, so the areas are shared by all the guests.

Book this budget Moab home on Booking!

Best Airbnb for Outdoor Lovers: Red Rock Base Camp Teardrop Trailer

A silver teardrop trailer with an awning over it, with two orange camping chairs, next to a solar panel in a beautiful red rock landscape typical of Moab.
Image provided by Airbnb

For those who want to connect with nature but are looking to avoid some of the inconveniences of conventional outdoor camping, Red Rock trailers provide you with everything you could wish for, and more.

For the great price of $90 a night and up, you get a cozy, furnished trailer, as well as a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, to really take in the beauty of your campsite as you prepare your morning coffee!

What’s more, the trailer is delivered to your campsite of choice (first-come-first-serve BLM site or otherwise), sparing you the hassle of having to arrange for transportation yourself.

The delivery fee varies depending on how far you are from town, but it’s free if you’re within a 10-mile radius of Moab.  You can even bring your pet along with you, for only $35!

The trailers themselves come equipped with a cooler and 40 gallons of water, with the option of having your tanks refilled.

If you’re worried about the cold desert nights, don’t be – the combination of good insulation and propane heating is bound to keep you warm, whatever the temperature, and while the trailers themselves do not have showers, you can expect to find some at your campsite or in town.

Book this cool Airbnb in Moab here!

Best Moab Airbnb for Large Groups: Scalatore

Unique Moab Airbnb concept: a bed with a wall at the headboard showing rock paintings, with rock climbing gear and notches in the wall to try out rock climbing on.
Image provided by Airbnb

Scalatore is a condominium located on the top floor of La Dolce Vita Villas, and it’s a rare example of a rental in a popular tourist area that’s every bit as memorable as the local landmarks, if not more.

This unique condo, aptly named after the Italian word for “climber”, has nearly 17-feet-tall ceilings and rock climbing walls in the master bedroom, making the interior an amazing place to practice and muster up some courage for the real thing.

Adding to the atmosphere of the bedroom is the ‘headboard’ of the bed – a custom-made, rocky-desert-themed art piece that gets you into the canyoneering spirit first thing in the morning.  

If you still haven’t had enough of the high altitudes come night time, the second bedroom has 3 elevated bunk beds that turn the simple act of getting in and out of bed into an adventure – there’s even the option of sliding out of bed down a fireman pole (kids will love this, just be sure to supervise!)  

Casting the unique concept aside, though, the living and kitchen areas are very cozy and well-furnished, and the second bathroom is a welcome addition, especially if you’re taking full advantage of the space and visiting with a large group.

Additionally, Scalatore is located on Main Street, meaning this Moab Airbnb is incredibly close to every downtown locale you could possibly want to visit!

Book this unique Moab Airbnb!

Best Moab Home for Design Lovers: Moab Flats #3

Black leather sofa, rug, coffee table, two paintings on the wall in a modern style, and a little white vintage radio on a mid-century modern drawer.
Image provided by the property

The best rentals are ones that look and feel like a proper home, and this suite really delivers in that department – every single detail feels like it belongs, from the stylish furniture to the red-and-orange-heavy art and décor.

The outdoor area is a great place to unwind after a long day of walking around – you can cook a meal on the barbecue grill, spend an evening chatting around the fire pit, or relax as you stargaze from the comfort of the community hot tub.

In terms of location, the condo is in the very center of Moab, so you’ll have quick and easy access to quite a few stores and restaurants, and the fact that there’s a block separating you from Main Street means that you’ll still be able to get a fair bit of peace and quiet.

The Moab area is well-known for its bike trails, so cyclists will appreciate the access to bike storage and a repair station at Moab Flats.

Book this home in Moab here!

Best Home in Moab for Peace and Quiet: Sunny Acres Cabin

Interior of a rustic A-frame cabin with light wood ceilings, glass doors opening up into the Moab landscape.
Photo provided by the owner

This charming cabin is the perfect retreat for couples who want to keep it simple and spend most of their time exploring the beautiful Moab area away from the crowds of Main Street.

It’s worth noting that the lack of internet and TV means that this is somewhat of an off-grid location, so this is a great pick if you’re trying to take a short break from looking at screens.

This is not to say, however, that the cabin is not well-furnished – despite its size, it manages to cover all the essentials, between the kitchenette, small bathroom, and sofa-bed. 

This is a very welcoming Airbnb in Moab – the combination of a predominantly wooden interior, cozy furniture, and abundance of natural light never fail to make guests feel at home, and you can get a great view of the mountains from the patio.

Adding to the hominess is the fact that you can bring your dogs, and the exterior of the property makes for a great place for your pet to run around and play!

The cabin is very well-connected, and options for exploration in the area are plentiful – Moab’s downtown area is just a short drive from the property, as are Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park, two beautiful spots that offer some unforgettable sights.

Book this Moab home here!

Best Pet-Friendly Moab Home: Pioneer Cabin 2

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Pioneer Cabin 2 represents the authentic log cabin providing endless outdoor entertainment! The house features and lower decks, picnic tables, a gas grill, and fire pit. In addition, the home sits at 7,600 feet in elevation on the La Sal Mountain Range with views of 6 mountain peaks. The best part? Canyonlands and Arches national parks are just short drives away!

A cozy home featuring a well-appointed interior and all the necessary home comforts, perfect for families looking for a comfortable home base within a short drive from outdoor adventures.

Built with an open floor plan, authentic log walls, and rustic decor, the house offers ample seating, a fully equipped kitchen, and amenities such as a dishwasher, a washer & dryer, ceiling fans, complimentary toiletries, books & games, parking, and more.

The property is 32 miles from Balanced Rock and 36 miles from Delicate Arch.

Book this home near Arches National Park here!

Best Home in Moab for Tiny House Lovers: Kokopelli West Studio

A brilliant coral pink orange house with four yellow chairs in front and a slanted tin roof, next to other colorful houses (green and yellow).
Image provided by the property

Kokopelli West #6 is ideal for a small group who would like to mingle with fellow Moab enthusiasts.

The property is made up of several tiny houses with a shared patio, where the members of this beautiful tight-knit community can get together and relax in the shade.

The interior of West #6 has everything you need – a studio with bedding and a view of the entire communal area, a well-stocked kitchenette, additional bunk beds, and plenty of windows to keep the place naturally bright.

The indoor space is very well-utilized, and you’ll have more than enough room for everyone even if you come with a party of 4.

Outdoor amenities included in your say are plentiful – aside from enjoying the great you can take a dip in either the pool or hot tub, cook up a delicious barbecue lunch, or just sit back admire the view of the mountains from the patio with your fellow guests.

Also worth noting is the property’s location – Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park are a 10 and 40-minute drive away, respectively, and you’ll be within walking distance of the nearest stores and restaurants.

Book this tiny house Moab home here!

Best Moab Home for Families on a Budget: Purple Sage Flats

Bed with colorful yellow and gray bedspread with the words "MOAB" in block letters written above it with an exposed brick wall painted white to one side.
Image provided by the owner

Purple Sage Flats is a lovely Airbnb in the heart of Moab that’s sure to woo you with its elegance and coziness.

Everything about the interior, from the earthy color scheme of the furniture to the spaciousness and homey atmosphere of each individual room, makes it really easy to relax in this apartment.

Outside, you’ll be able to enjoy the communal hot tub or whip up some barbecue and relax by the fire pit. This communal area is very easy on the eyes, due in no small part to the beautiful murals!

The key to a great vacation at a popular tourist town is finding a rental with a great location, and Purple Stage Flats’ location is about as convenient as it could be.

The apartment itself is located on a peaceful street, yet is only a short walk from Main Street, giving it great connectivity to just about every spot of interest in the Moab area.

Another thing that’s great about Purple Sage is that it has a total of 8 available rooms, which makes it a perfect place for a wedding, or just about any gathering involving a large group of people.

Book this home in Moab here!

Best Cabin for Friends on a Budget: St Dane’s Pinyon Pine Cabin

Image provide by the property

Anyone who’s traveling on a budget or has a soft spot for comfy accommodation will appreciate this charming, affordable cabin.

This beautiful propert can easily sleep 4 people and still leave plenty of room for mobility.

The 420 sq ft cabin which provides panoramic views of the Moab Rim, Spanish Valley and The La Sal Mountains with access to the surrounding National & State Parks, La Sal Mountain loop road and Ken’s Lake Recreation Area.

The cabin comes complete with a kitchenette, a small living area, and a sleeper sofa. Sleeping a total of 4 adults. The bathroom provides a tub with a shower and the cabin comes completely stocked with linens, towels & toiletries at guest check-in.

The Pinyon Pine Adobe Cabin has its own private entrance and parking, with additional parking for adventure equipment on the property. This cabin welcomes dogs with an extra nightly fee.

Book this home in Moab here!

Best Home for Friends Trips: Cabin Overlooking Moab

Image provided by the property

Cabin Overlooking Moab is a stylish cabin that can house 8 guests and has one of the most impressive views in the entire Moab area. 

The property is located off the Sand flats road on the Wilson Mesa at 7300 feet elevation, it’s near the trailheads of Porcupine trail, Kokopelli trail, Slick Rock, and Finns N Things. Besides, the cabin is close to Moab’s Famous off-roading and mountain biking locations, which include Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Warner Lake, La Sal mountain range, and Castle Valley.

This cabin features 1700 sq. feet of modern convenience but still a cabin with breathtaking views of the La Sal Mountains from one deck, the Moab rim from another, and Arches National Park from yet a third. The house is only13 miles from Moab and the Colorado River.

Book this home in Moab here!

Best Moab Tent for Glamping: OK RV Glamping Tent

Large canvas glamping tent with two queen size cots inside with storage places.
Image provided by the property

This cozy little tent in OK RV Park is a great place to book if you want to connect with nature without having to relinquish access to too many commodities.

The tent itself is little more than a place to spend the night after a long day of exploring Moab, and this is reflected in its minimal furnishings – two beds for 2 and some rudimentary seating.

The outdoor area is more in line with what you would expect a rental in this area to have, namely a private patio and a fire pit.

What makes OK RV Park stand out, however, is the community of campers – you can keep to yourself and enjoy your own little corner of the camp, or you can go to the shared patio by the park’s office and get to know some of your fellow outdoorsmen.

Another selling point of the camp is how close it is to the national parks – you can drive to Canyonlands in about half an hour and to Arches in about 15 to 20 minutes.

Book this Airbnb in Moab here!

Other Moab and Utah Resources

Sign for the town of Moab that reads "Discover Moab again & again, the adventure never ends." with red rock landscape in background.

Want more content to help you plan the perfect trip to Moab? Here’s some further reading that might help:

Pin This Guide to the Best Moab Airbnbs!

Best Airbnbs Near Yellowstone: 9 Wonderful West Yellowstone Airbnbs

The sunset at Old Faithful, a geyser spouting into the air with the setting sun showing up in a sunburst behind the geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Planning a trip to Yellowstone?

Lodging in the park books up insanely fast, so if you’re planning something a bit more last minute, these Airbnbs near Yellowstone are the perfect solution.

They offer the comforts of home with excellent prices and allow you to save money by offering amenities like washing machines and kitchens so you can budget better for your Yellowstone trip.

If you want to stay comfortably close to the park, it doesn’t get better or more centrally located than West Yellowstone.

Here are some of the best Airbnbs near Yellowstone National Park!

Best West Yellowstone Airbnbs

Bear Creek Cabin 3

Image provided by the property.

While vacation homes near Yellowstone are plentiful, few West Yellowstone Airbnbs are quite as appealing as this one!

Combining dark wooden walls with a wooden finish and rustic furniture, this house is as inviting as they come, and the 1040 Sq feet ensure there’s more than enough room for everyone to get around.

The living room area comes equipped with a fireplace, ensuring warmth and comfort no matter the season, and if you’re visiting with a large group, you’ll be delighted to know there’s also a second bathroom for your convenience.

Located 6 miles from Gardiner, the original entrance to Yellowstone, the getaway is as convenient for exploring the national park as a rental can be. The old Jardine mine site is part of the beautiful and unique mountain view, as well as being able to see and hear Bear Creek from your back patio! There are also beautiful hiking trails just a short walk from the front door!

The best way to get around during the winter is via snowmobile (read our winter guide to Yellowstone here), and there’s plenty worth checking out in Yellowstone even in the winter – the Rendezvous Ski Trails and (now-defunct) Oregon Short Line Railroad are both a short distance away, as is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center if you’re an animal enthusiast.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Wander Camp Yellowstone Tent

If you don’t want a cabin or condo stay to break the immersive feel of exploring beautiful Yellowstone, consider booking a tent at Wander Camp. The tents are quite minimalistic, featuring a bed and some rudimentary seating, but that’s all you really need at Yellowstone!

The bathrooms are shared, but remain quite private as they are also enclosed within a tent, and if you don’t feel like staying “inside” you can pull up a couple of chairs and enjoy the vast expanse of nature that is the Wander Camp.

The best part of your stay, however, will probably be the unobstructed, mesmerizing view of the night sky on clearer nights!

West Yellowstone is one of the best places to stay if you want to explore the national park in its entirety, and the camp offers you a unique advantage.

On one hand, you can enjoy a quiet, serene vacation with constant exposure to nature, and on the other, you’ll be able to access a number of shops in West Yellowstone, guaranteeing a comfortable, well-supplied stay.

Book this Airbnb near Yellowstone!

The Aspen Condos

Image provided by the property.

Anyone looking to explore Yellowstone likely won’t be spending much time indoors, but this home makes for a great place to start and end your day without breaking the budget.

The interior is nicely furnished and well-illuminated, and you can expect plenty of space and privacy for up to 6 guests.

In the evening, you can relax and relish in the peace and quiet of the West Yosemite area, with National Geographic IMAX Theater and Yellowstone Historic Center Museum nearby, The Aspen Condos provides accommodations with free WiFi and free private parking.

The accommodation feature a TV and a private bathroom with a bath, while the kitchen features a dishwasher, a microwave, and a fridge.

A grill is available on site and hiking can be enjoyed within close proximity.

On that note, although the neighborhood is quite serene, you’ll have quick and easy access to a variety of restaurants, shops, and a number of other locales downtown.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Raven’s Heart

A large open plan kitchen with a bed in the distant studio area
Image provided by the property.

Few Airbnbs in the West Yellowstone area can measure up to Raven’s Heart in terms of charm!

Boasting a largely wooden interior complemented by rustic, but comfortable furniture, the rental offers everything you could possibly need. Add to this the abundant illumination and the tasteful décor, and you’re left with one of the most inviting cabins in the region.

Furthermore, small but meaningful touches like a mudroom for your damp clothes after a long day of hiking will make your stay all the more comfortable and convenient.

Outside, guests will have access to a spacious garden area, as well as a grill for a group cookout just by the entrance.

The real draw of this rental, however, is the great location – West Yellowstone has you covered in every possible regard, as it features several places to shop and eat, and even a fitness center and a number of fishing spots.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Cozy Yellowstone Cabin

A white bed with a red blanket with 3 photos above the bed.
Photo provided by the proprty.

If you’re staying in Yellowstone but aren’t spending most of your time outside, you’re doing something wrong!

All you really need from a rental is a warm bed to sleep in and a kitchen to whip up some meals, and this house has you completely covered in that regard, making it the ideal getaway for a couple looking to explore the Yellowstone area.

You’ll definitely need to do a lot of washing and cleaning after a long day of hiking in Yellowstone National Park, so the house comes equipped with a washer and dryer.

West Yellowstone is perhaps the most convenient gateway to the National Park, so it’s perfect for exploring the area.

In addition, the town has everything from shops and restaurants to a fitness center (in the event that exploring all day hasn’t tuckered you out already), meaning that all your basic needs, and many more, will be accounted for here.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Three Bedroom Townhouse

Brown leather couch and armchair in front of a fireplace with a sliding glass door opening to a patio area
Image provided by the property.

This house is the definitive Yellowstone pick if you’re looking to visit the national park with your family or a larger group of friends!

Boasting a spacious, eye-catching interior, this house is bound to feel like home by the time you’ve unpacked, and the fireplace in the living area makes it a comfortable place to relax no matter the season.

In the interest of privacy, guests will have access to 3 bedrooms, as well as 3 toilets for maximum convenience. On top of the amazing window views from virtually any room in the house, the lush, beautiful garden is bound to leave an impression.

 Lastly, the idyllic location alone is enough to sell this place – located in West Yellowstone, the house puts you in the eye of the storm as far as the national park is concerned, and you’ll find no shortage of shops and restaurants in town to boot.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

1/2 Mile From Yellowstone

Image provided by the property.

Exploring one of the States’ most iconic national parks is more fun with company, and this condo can accommodate up to 7 people very comfortably, between its 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

The house comes with a well-stocked kitchen, and the living room area is all it needs to be – roomy, well-decorated, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to step outside onto the patio and into the spacious garden, the perfect place to let your children run free whenever you’re not out exploring Yellowstone National Park.

Getting around the area is quite easy, especially with a snowmobile in the winter. West Yellowstone makes for a great place to stay if you’re looking to cover as much of the National Park as possible, and this resort makes things even simpler for you, being only half a mile from the park.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

6 Blocks from Yellowstone

Slightly vintage distressed couch with a sign above it reading "mountains" with a coffee table and outdoor patio area
Image provided by the property.

When it comes to spacious apartments near Yellowstone National Park, it doesn’t get much better than this rental.

Featuring 6 beds and more than enough room for 8 guests to move around freely, this is up there as one of the most family-friendly rentals in Yellowstone.

The fireplace in the living room area is an always-welcome addition, and you’ll find yourself captivated by the simple, yet elegant white and wooden furniture and décor.

In addition, having an additional bathroom and a second floor ensures everyone gets their share of privacy here. The exterior features two decks and a grill, as well as a spacious courtyard, perfect for children or a quiet gathering.

Perhaps most importantly, however, the house is only a short walk from Yellowstone National Park, and West Yellowstone cover all your basic needs as far as dining and shopping options are concerned.

In the winter, rent a snowmobile to get around and use it to go through the otherwise inaccessible west entrance to the park.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

The Little Green Apartment

Sofa with a small table and a bed with a quilt and TV with window and curtains
Image provided by the property.

If you’re looking for a homey place to spend the night while vacationing near Yellowstone with your significant other, this rental is everything you need!

The house is exactly what it says on the box – a green vacation home with a cozy bed, fully equipped kitchen, decently sized bathroom and a lovely window view.

The house is located near a forest, right on the edge of town, giving you plenty to explore outside of the park itself. While it’s not remote per se, the place is great for a quiet, peaceful vacation.

At the same time, the house is technically part of a complex of cabins, meaning you’ll have plenty of neighbors to get to know if you choose to stay for an extended period of time.

That aside, West Yellowstone has shops, restaurants, and just about everything else you need to make a proper vacation out of your trip.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Pin This Guide to Airbnbs Near Yellowstone National Park!

27 Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations in the USA

So, you’ve decided you want to honeymoon in the USA — but maybe you don’t know where exactly in the USA to honeymoon just yet!

I gathered the opinions of over two dozen savvy travel writers to suggest their top recommendation for a romantic honeymoon in the USA.

These USA honeymoon destinations range from culture-focused city trips to world-class cities like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, to off-the-beaten-path island getaways like Amelia Island and Sanibel island.

Whether you’re looking for a snowy winter honeymoon destination in the USA, like Aspen or Tahoe, or a forever-summer destination like Key West in Florida, these honeymoon destinations in the USA will have you wishing you could get married over and over again!

Kona, HI

Contributed by Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear

The gorgeous, sunny paradise of Hawaii is not only a beautiful place to spend a vacation but it’s also a great honeymoon destination in the USA that feels like a world away. Kona, Hawaii, in particular, is an amazing spot full of beautiful beaches, Hawaiian culture, and local eats. 

Kona is famous for its dramatic and colorful sunsets lighting up the sky in pinks, purples, oranges, and reds. You can’t visit Hawaii without taking in one of these gorgeous sunsets from a beach filled with palm trees and white sands. 

Hawaiian culture is known for its “Aloha spirit” and you can expect no less from the Big Island of Hawaii. The locals are friendly as you’d expect from Hawaii. Plus, it is not as touristy as Oahu and much less crowded allowing you and your partner to get relaxed and go with the flow. 

The food in Kona is to die for! This makes it the perfect honeymoon destination for foodie couples, but it provides great opportunities for a romantic dinner by the beachfront or a brunch by the ocean. Be sure to grab at breakfast or brunch at a local spot in Kona, you can’t visit Kona without trying some of that famous Kona coffee! 

Kona Honeymoon Highlights

  • Relax on the white sand beach at Makalawena Beach.
  • Have an oceanside brunch at Papa Kona Restaurant.
  • Take a romantic after-dinner stroll along the Ali’i Drive waterfront.

Seattle, WA

Contributed by Dani of Diapers in Paradise

Seattle, Washington is an ideal honeymoon spot for any couple who loves the outdoors. Surrounded by water, mountains, and a temperate rainforest, Seattle has an endless supply of natural wonders to explore. From hiking, to biking, to skiing, to every watersport imaginable – this is a place where you’ll want to get out in nature with your loved one.

Seattle has more to offer than just adventure, however. This is a city that loves its museums, sports teams, music venues, and of course: coffee! (Seattle is home to the original Starbucks and is known for its innovative coffee scene.)

With adorable small-town islands just a short ferry ride away, you can easily take a break from the city life for a few days. Or if the beach is more your style, you can head west to the Pacific coast.

For the couple who wants to spend their days having exciting adventures, and then enjoy the comfort of a world-class city that isn’t too big or crowded, Seattle is a perfect choice.

Seattle Honeymoon Highlights

  • Kayak around Lake Union with a stop at scenic Gasworks Park
  • Hop on the ferry to Bainbridge Island for a wine tasting walk
  • Have dinner at the top of the Space Needle

Charleston, SC

Contributed by Julien Casanova of Cultures Traveled

There is romance peeping around every corner in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The historic homes and intimate gardens turn a simple walk through the city into a romantic adventure.

The South of Broad neighborhood is known for the most exquisite Charleston homes, but if you’re up for a longer walk, start on Church Street south of the Market. Zigzag through the neighborhoods until you end up at White Point Gardens along the Battery. 

In the evening, set sail on a sunset cruise to admire the city from a different vantage point. The Schooner Pride, Charleston’s only tall ship, is powered by three elegant 80 foot sails which allows guests to enjoy a peaceful evening.

To visit the next two picturesque destinations, you’ll need to take a short drive out of downtown to John’s Island and neighboring Wadmalaw Island. The first stop is Angel Oak, an enchanting live oak tree that is estimated to be 500 years old. Its large branches extend from the trunk and curve around as if to welcome you into its majestic arms. It’s the perfect spot for pictures together as newlyweds.

Then venture to the Charleston Tea Garden where rows of tea bushes, each perfectly manicured, extend as far as the eye can see. After a brief tour about the tea process, take a leisurely walk together to explore the grounds of the only tea farm in the United States.

To round out your romantic honeymoon in Charleston, head to Sullivan’s Island, one of several nearby barrier islands for a day in the sun. Before spending a day lounging at the beach, enjoy lunch and drinks at Poe’s Tavern. Or if you’re looking for more adventure with your spouse, explore the trails, lighthouse, and fort on Sullivan’s southwest side facing the harbor.

With its rich history and captivating charm, Charleston is an incredible US honeymoon destination.

Charleston Honeymoon Highlights:

  • Wander the South of Broad neighborhood to admire the beautiful homes and gardens.
  • Experience a different view of the city during a sunset cruise on the Schooner Pride.
  • Explore Angel Oak and the Charleston Tea Garden.
  • Enjoy a day in the sun and sand on Sullivan’s Island.

Eastern Shore, VA

Contributed by Megan Starr of Virginia Travel Tips

One of the most underrated and affordable US honeymoon destinations is Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  The Eastern Shore is a remote area of the state that is connected to Virginia’s mainland by a 17.3-mile bridge-tunnel, one of only 11 bridge-tunnel in the world.

The Eastern Shore is made up of a variety of landscapes and eco-systems but one that is ubiquitous across the region are marshes and low-country.  The quiet landscapes leave the opportunity to set off early in the morning with your partner to watch a colorful Virginia sunrise.

If you’re looking for activities, there are many things to do in Chincoteague from visiting the Assateague Lighthouse to taking a casual stroll along the trails in the National Wildlife Refuge.
Whatever you choose to do, it will likely be affordable and hotels and home rentals are easy to come by and you will get a lot of value for your dollar.

The Eastern Shore may not be the typical conventional honeymoon spot for most, but it definitely has a lot to offer and if you’re looking for a relaxing honeymoon in a quiet place in the US, it is definitely the winning pick.

Eastern Virginia Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a boat cruise through Chincoteague to watch the wild ponies
  • Have a seafood feast at a harborside restaurant in Cape Charles
  • Find a quiet strip of shoreline along the Assateague Island National Seashore

Sanibel Island, FL

Contributed by Lori of Travlinmad

Looking for a tropical honeymoon without leaving the USA?

Tucked away just off Ft. Myers in southwest Florida is Sanibel Island, a small barrier island that’s a world away from the rest of Florida and joined at the hip to its sister island of Captiva by a tiny spit of land.

Sanibel offers one of the most romantic tropical getaways in the US without ever needing your passport!

There’s plenty to enjoy on Sanibel if you love a laid-back island atmosphere. It’s the quieter things that make Sanibel perfect for a romantic getaway or honeymoon — the Sanibel Island beaches are renowned for their soft white sand and incredible seashells that wash ashore.

Couples can cruise to surrounding islands and explore for the afternoon, cycle the network of quiet bike paths that stretch the entire length of the island, kayak pristine nature settings like J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve, or visit the charming Sanibel lighthouse at sunset.

If you’re looking for a unique honeymoon destination, Sanibel Island is perfect for beach- and nature-loving romantics!

Sanibel Island Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a private champagne sunset cruise
  • Enjoy a couple’s massage at Casa Ybel Resort
  • Have a private beach dining experience on the sand at South Seas Resort on Captiva

Marthas Vineyard, MA

Contributed by Shobha of Martha’s Vineyard Tourist

Although many people choose to have their weddings on Martha’s Vineyard, the island is also a beautiful place for a honeymoon.

Depending on how private you would like your location, there are several towns on Martha’s Vineyard to choose from. The island, however, is not very big so you can easily travel between towns.

Edgartown is full of elegant colonial Captain’s houses from the time that the town was flush with whaling money. West Tisbury and Chilmark are more rural and isolated with grey shingle cottages and farmhouses.

Spend your day on Martha’s Vineyard lazing on a beach, shopping at boutiques and eating at nice restaurants. For an active vacation, there are plenty of outdoor activities including SUP, kayaking, cycling, hiking and tennis.

Many of the inns on Martha’s Vineyard are adults only so you will not have to worry about the excited screaming of children on vacation.

The Hob Knob Inn in Edgartown is a beautiful boutique hotel perfect for couples. The romantic Beach Plum Inn has cottages that are secluded in the woods an have fantastic views of the famous sunset over Menemsha Village and a walk down to the beach.

The Obamas have had their date nights at the Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs and the Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha. Our personal favourite is sitting outside at the Outermost Inn restaurant under the glow of Aquinnah Lighthouse. In Edgartown, our favourite restaurant is L’etoile.

The joy of a Martha’s Vineyard vacation is that there is plenty to do if you so chose, but alternatively, it’s perfectly fine to do nothing.

Martha’s Vineyard Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a sailing trip on the wooden schooner Valora either for sunset or to a secluded beach on the Elizabeth Islands
  • Pack a picnic for a sunset dinner at Moshup Beach (all the tourists go to Menemsha so Moshup is blissfully empty)
  • Eat at one of the fine dining establishments in Martha’s Vineyard

Nashville, TN

Contributed by Disha Smith of Disha Discovers

There are so many amazing honeymoon destinations in the USA and Nashville is one of them.

Not only is Nashville the “Country Music Capital of the World,” but it’s also home to an incredible food scene, romantic boutique hotels, and vivacious music venues.

Nashville has everything honeymooners could possibly want: excitement, charm, and relaxation. Nashville has a laid back and relaxing atmosphere.

While there are many adventurous things to do there, there is an equal amount of things to do at a slower pace. Plus, there is always live music to enjoy.

Honeymooners can catch musicians at almost every stage in Nashville from more well-known venues to smaller ones.

Plus, the outdoor scenes around Nashville are epic. Beyond the city, honeymooners can enjoy some solitude and spend time in the rolling hills or kayak in the rivers and lakes around the area.

Lastly, there are so many art galleries, museums, and historical sites that contribute to Nashville’s allure.

All in all, Nashville is brimming with things to do and the possibilities are endless here. Whatever honeymooners choose to do here, they’ll leave with great memories.

Nashville Honeymoon Highlights

  • Dance the night away with your newlywed at a honky-tonk
  • Watch a romantic sunset from Love Circle
  • Enjoy wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards
  • See a show at Ryman Auditorium
  • Revel in luxury at the Hermitage Hotel

San Diego, CA

Contributed By Lisa of Planningaway.com

Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, San Diego is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon.  With its miles and miles of white-sand beaches and amazing weather, the city offers an abundance of romantic and fun attractions.  

The Hotel Del Coronado is your ultimate honeymoon destination.  This historic beachfront hotel is located just across the San Diego Bay and has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities. Why not you and your new spouse?

If you are looking for a little more adventure, exploring San Diego is a great option.  There are so many things to do in San Diego! 

The San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, USS Midway, and Balboa Park are great places to start.  Old Town San Diego and Little Italy are great places to end your day with a romantic dinner.

San Diego is a great romantic destination to enjoy your honeymoon in the USA!

San Diego Honeymoon Highlights

  •  Take some fun surf lessons with your love
  • Enjoy a late night campfire on the beach 
  • Explore the lovely Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego

Savannah, GA

Contributed by Erin Clarkson of Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

Savannah is the quintessential Southern honeymoon destination! Its slow pace beckons couples to relax while taking in the city’s stunning architecture, beautiful squares, and numerous outdoor cafes.

For those who prefer a faster pace, City Market and the newly developed Plant Riverside District offer plenty of nightlife, while Tybee Island is only 20 minutes away and the perfect spot to dig your toes in the sand.

Narrowing down the best time of year to visit Savannah shouldn’t be too difficult, but spring is traditionally the most popular season. There are pros and cons for every month.

Finally, don’t forget that Savannah is a major destination for foodies! Plan to eat out as often as possible. The Olde Pink House, Vic’s on the River, and Alligator Soul are a few ideal spots for a romantic dinner.

NOTE: Savannah is a very LGBTQ-friendly destination, so all couples are welcome and will feel right at home throughout the city.

Savannah Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a romantic sunset stroll down River Street to watch the ships sail into port.
  • Enjoy drinks at one of the city’s many rooftop bars. Peregrin at Perry Lane, Electric Moon Skytop Lounge, and Top Deck at Cotton Sail Hotel are three good options. 
  • Hit up the shops along Broughton Street, and then enjoy a couples massage at Spa Bleu. 

Key West, FL

Contributed by Megan Starr at Megan & Aram

A perfect honeymoon spot in the United States is Key West, Florida… and the Florida Keys as a whole. 

This unique American landscape offers something completely different than what you’ll find in the rest of the United States and it is as adventurous as it is romantic.

The best way to get there is to rent a car and plan a Miami to Key West road trip, stopping by state parks and idyllic beaches along the way.  Be sure to put John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on your list as it was the first undersea state park in the US.  Bahia Honda State Park is also a can’t miss once you’re in the Middle Keys.

There are several resorts and romantic spots to stop along the way from Islamorada to picturesque spots in Key Largo.  In fact, Bungalows Key Largo is the only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. But, Key West tops them all with variety making it the ultimate honeymoon spot.

If you’re looking for a luxury place to stay in Key West, opt for Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.  If you’re on a budget, you can choose to stay somewhere in the Middle or Upper Keys such as Marathon, Islamorada, or Key Largo. 

Key West is definitely a fantastic honeymoon spot in the US where you will find a variety of activities and things to do to suit your partner and you.

Key West Honeymoon Highlights

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Contributed by Derek and Mike of Robe Trotting

For years, Fort Lauderdale has been one of America’s premier LGBTQ+ travel destinations.

It’s no surprise that the sunny southern Florida destination is one of the most popular queer honeymoon destinations in the USA!

Gay Fort Lauderdale is full of spectacular beaches, LGBTQ+ nightlife and lodging as well as chic boutiques and fantastic restaurants. 

The best gay beach in Fort Lauderdale is located on Sebastian Street and stretches to Castillo Street. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sun and sand on a honeymoon and it’s near some of the best gay resorts in Fort Lauderdale. Whether you spend a full day on the beach or visit for a romantic stroll at sunset, Sebastian Street Beach is the perfect place to be in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale is also a popular destination for boating or cruising the intercoastal waterways. A romantic boat ride, dinner cruise or other excursion on the water makes for an enchanting evening with your happily ever after.

Any honeymoon in Fort Lauderdale is incomplete without delicious meals and even some celebratory cocktails. The city’s main LGBT nightlife district is in the adjacent village of Wilton Manors. There you’ll find the second highest density of LGBTQ+ citizens in the country. This active and vibrant community holds many events throughout the year and has over 200 LGBT-owned businesses. Whether you’re looking to go dancing, sing karaoke or just have a romantic dinner on an outdoor patio – you can find your scene in Wilton Manors.

Fort Lauderdale is also home to the Stonewall National Museum and Archive. It’s a museum and archive dedicated solely to the preservation of LGBTQ+ history, culture and the fight for civil rights. It’s a fitting destination to visit while on a honeymoon to celebrate one’s marriage and honoring those who fought to make it a legal right.

Ft Lauderdale Honeymoon Highlights

  • Celebrate marriage equality at the Stonewall National Museum
  • Enjoy the gay nightlife scene in Wilton Manors
  • Take a romantic cruise with your partner out on the water

Temecula, CA

Contributed by Maria Haase of SanDiegoExplorer

Temecula is the perfect romantic honeymoon destination in Southern California for all the newlyweds who love wine!

Located East, about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, it is an easy destination to reach and gives plenty of opportunity for fun day trips.

The rolling hills and warm, dry climate is very similar to Tuscany, yet when you visit Old Town Temecula, you feel like you entered a charming little Wester town right out of a movie set.

If you are in the mood for a little glitz and glamour, you can check out the Pechanga Casino and Resort for a night of gambling, shows, dancing and more. 

Temecula is all about wine. You’ll find over 30 wineries, many producing some amazing award-winning wines. There are plenty of organized wine tasting tours to choose from, either private or in a group. Or you can go explore on your own and visit the ones that appeal to you.

To make your honeymoon extra special, stay at one of these amazing winery hotels in Temecula. They have stunning properties, nestled into the rolling hillside.

Wake up early and take your love for a stroll around the grapevines and watch the sunrise over the vineyards. Very idyllic and romantic and perfect for a romantic honeymoon destination in the USA!. 

Temecula Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Temecula vineyards
  • Do a motorcycle sidecar wine tasting tour
  • Go on a food and cocktail tour in old town Temecula

Amelia Island, FL

Contributed by Victoria Yore of Florida Trippers

Amelia Island is perfect for your honeymoon because it is home to a lot of romantic hotels and tons of things to do such as paddle boarding, walking the beach, exploring nature parks and more. 

Ferdinanda Beach has over 50 blocks of historic city and it is so cute and perfect for a stroll with your sweetheart. There are many restaurants and the seafood on Amelia Island is fresh and tasty!

It is truly one of the best places to spend your honeymoon in Florida! Don’t forget to wake up for sunrise!

Amelia Island Honeymoon Highlights

  • Indulge in a delicious seafood meal with your newlywed
  • Stroll the beautiful Ferninanda Beach
  • Wake up for a sunrise you’ll never forget

Catalina Island, CA

Contributed by Megan Indoe of Bobo & Chichi

One of the best honeymoon spots in the United States sits less than 30 miles off the coast of Southern California depending on where you depart from and even is the subject of a famous old song by The Four Preps, “26 Miles”.

Catalina Island has been a haven for Hollywood stars since the Golden Era and is even where Marilyn Monroe was discovered.

One of the reasons why Catalina is so romantic and a perfect honeymoon spot is that you get the type of escapism of a coastal Mediterranean destination without having to leave the US.

The whole island is full of charming colorful cottages and retro buildings that remind you of its Hollywood glam days and gorgeous turquoise waters.

Catalina Honeymoon Highlights

  • Enjoy a day in a beachside cabana at the Descanso Beach Club
  • Watch a sunset from the intimate bench on the rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Buena Vista Point Scenic Overlook or have brunch with the best views in Avalon at the Inn at Mount Ada
  • Experience an old school date night at the Island’s historic and preserved 1920s Casino Movie Theater 

Newport, RI

Contributed by Jamie Italiane of Adventures in New England

Newport is one of the oldest trading towns sitting on the bottom of Aquidneck Island. It has forts, some of the oldest colonial houses in the US, and the US’ oldest Jewish synagogue.

Newport is also the site of one of the most romantic weddings of this century, that of Jackie and JFK.

Newport is a perfect place to spend a week, exploring its history and relaxing on its beaches, or you can use it as a stop while exploring the rest of New England.

Enjoy a romantic ride in an antique car by the “summer cottage” mansions of America’s earliest millionaires, like the Vanderbilts and Asters, and don’t forget to try a New England lobster roll!

Newport Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a bike ride along Ocean Drive, viewing the Beavertail Lighthouse.
  • Taste wines among the grapevines of Newport Vineyard.
  • Take a romantic stroll on cliff walk
  • Dine on the lawn to see the best views in Newport at The Inn at Castle Hill
  • Take a sunset cruise of Narragansett Bay, seeing the famous Newport Bridge.

Maui, HI

Contributed by Dan Bagby of HoneymoonAlways.com

Maui is a perfect place to relax, unwind, and spend time together after your wedding. The amazing resorts, beautiful beaches and landscapes, delicious food, fun activities, and wonderful weather year-round make Maui an amazing honeymoon destination in the US.

Spend time relaxing on the beach or playing in the resort pool. At several beaches like Maluaka or Wailea, you can even snorkel and find sea turtles.

Take a drive down the road to Hana, stopping along the way to enjoy black and red sand beaches and delicious food like the famous banana bread, chicken from the Huli Huli chicken shack, or BraddahHutts BBQ Grill.

If you are feeling adventurous, go on a helicopter tour of the island, zipline, go surfing, or head to the peak of Mt. Haleakala for sunrise.

Once you have had plenty of adventure, take advantage of some of the more relaxing experiences together. Couples massages are a perfect way to unwind and have a memorable experience together.

You can also enjoy a sunset cruise in the evening or simply rent a convertible to take for an evening drive, parking by a beach and looking up at the stars together.

Maui Honeymoon Highlights

  • Go on a sunset cruise
  • See Maui from above on a helicopter tour
  • Get a couples massage on the beach

Las Vegas, NV

Contributed by Ketki of Dotted Globe

Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in the USA. Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Vegas, but Sin City is popular with honeymooners year-round. The city is full of romance and its lights and sounds are just waiting to sweep lovers off their feet!

While Sin City is known for its casinos, there are Las Vegas attractions for couples besides gambling. The city has multiple shows, events, thrilling rides, concerts, pool parties, top-notch restaurants, and even museums. Outdoor Las Vegas offers hiking, ATV riding, desert gardens, water sports, and striking landscapes for adventurous couples. 

The luxurious casinos of Sin City make the best honeymoon resorts for couples. Stay in a fountain facing suite at the Bellagio or in a penthouse suite with excellent views of the strip.

A honeymoon in Las Vegas is like having a round trip around the world with your loved one — all while enjoying a honeymoon in the USA! Couples can enjoy the splendors of Eqypt at Luxor and the antiquities of Rome at Ceaser’s Palace. 

Need more ideas? Here are the most romantic things to do in Las Vegas for couples!

Las Vegas Honeymoon Highlights

  • Ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris Las Vegas
  • Have a romantic dinner in view of the famous Fountains of the Bellagio
  • Take a gondola ride at the Venetian

Aspen, CO

Contributed by Leticia Alleyne of Chictravelaroundtheworld

Aspen, Colorado is such a great city for a romantic honeymoon whether it
be during winter when it’s cold and snowing or summer when it’s warm and sunny. 

All year round, couples can enjoy Aspen’s mountainous environment with pristine views. There is so much to do for a couple looking to
experience this city!

No visit to Aspen would be without skiing.  Aspen is known to have
some of the best ski trails.  What better way to spend the day with your
partner exploring the trails of Snowmass Nordic Trail System?

Not skiers? A gondola ride to view all the splendors of the Aspen Mountain is such a great way to spend your honeymoon without needing to strap on the skis.

For more winter fun,  ice skating it is one of the most popular winter activities in thiscity.  There’s a couple of great places to enjoy a romantic day of ice skating in Aspen these are the Aspen Ice Garden and Lewis Ice are
popular indoor rinks and for outdoors Silver Ice, Snowmass and Maroon
Lake just to name a few.

Aspen Honeymoon Highlights

  • Go on a hot air balloon as you soar and admire the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
  • A romantic dinner on the top or bottom of the mountain is a special and unique way to celebrate your undying love at restaurants such as Steakhouse No. 316 or the French Alpine Bistro.
  • Get a couple’s massage at one of the high-end spas such as the Remede Spa, St. Regis Aspen.

Kawaii, HI

Contributed by Jessica of A Passion and A Passport

Looking for one of the best honeymoon destinations in the US?! Kauai’s your answer. Not only is the island full of lush jungle scenes, but the weather is perfect for year-round sunbathing! 

Whether you’ve got 3 days in Kauai (as part of a longer Hawaiian honeymoon) or an entire week, you’re sure to find enough activities to fill your time.

The island is filled with tons of natural beauty, and is actually the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. Don’t miss out on all the fresh pineapple, frequent rainbow sightings, and a sunset dinner cruise. There’s also a bunch of hiking opportunities if you’re looking to get a bit active on your honeymoon! 

Kauai Honeymoon Highlights

  • Helicopter tour above the Na Pali coastline: You can’t visit Kauai without soaring above the famous coastline via heli tour. There’s regal mountains and green peaks and turquoise waters to admire! Plus, if one of you is afraid of heights, all the better to hold each other tight.
  • Dinner and drinks at The Beach House: Come for the (exceptionally fresh) fish of the day, stay for the ambiance and sunset. Be sure to come a bit early to take advance of mai tais on the back patio, complete with stellar beach views!
  • Take a dip in Queens Bath: Although you’ll need to head out on a mini hike, the natural tide pool (known as Queens Bath) is well worth the effort. 

Napa, CA

Contributed by Dhara of Roadtripping California

Napa Valley is one of the most incredibly romantic places to visit in California. With beautiful vineyards draped on rolling hills, lots of luxurious resorts and spas, and world-class restaurants, the region makes the perfect honeymoon destination.

One of the most romantic things to do here is to take a tasting tour of the most beautiful Napa Valley wineries. Take the aerial tram to the large terrace of Sterling Vineyards: it’s considered one of the best photo spots in the valley. Or enjoy a sunset wine tasting on the covered terrace of Round Pond Estate. Or a flight of sparkling wines in the French salon at Domaine Carneros.

You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic experiences in Napa Valley. If you enjoy adventure, go ballooning over the vineyards at dawn. Want to stay on terra firma? Book the dinner experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train instead. Or enjoy a couples mud bath in Calistoga for a deeply relaxing time.

Napa Valley’s restaurants serve seasonal menus in a variety of settings. Try several different venues on your honeymoon, from a romantic dinner at the acclaimed French Laundry (reserve well in advance) to the most luscious tacos at C Casa, served in a casual setting in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. Don’t forget desserts at Bouchon Bakery!

No matter how you choose to spend your honeymoon in Napa Valley, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable time!

Napa Honeymoon Highlights

  • Go wine tasting at luxurious Napa wineries
  • Have a romantic meal at the French Laundry
  • Enjoy a couples’ mud bath in Calistoga

Nantucket, MA

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

Nantucket is the perfect destination for a honeymoon. With the charming houses spotted around the island and downtown being the perfect place for a romantic dinner.

There are many museums to learn more about the history of Nantucket like the Museum of African American History, Nantucket Whaling Museum, and Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum.

But one of the most romantic things to do is to explore Nantucket by bike. The whole island is bike-friendly with bike paths crossing to Siasconset, Surfside, and Madaket. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the beaches or go for a walk in the forest to look for wildlife.

Whole days can be spent relaxing on the beautiful beaches if you’re up for some lazy days with cuddles and swimming. You should also walk the Sconset Bluff Walk in Siasconset.

It takes you to Sankaty Light House which is the most beautiful spot for sunset at the island. You can round off with a nice dinner in the little town before heading back to Downtown.

Nantucket Honeymoon Highlights

  • Explore the island by bike
  • Watch the sunset at Sankaty Light House
  • Have a romantic dinner in Downtown
  • Surprise your partner with a romantic picnic at the beach

Los Angeles, CA

Contributed by Sarah Chetrit of From Lust ‘Till Dawn

Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis best known for its film and television, but there’s much more than Hollywood and Universal Studios.

For honeymooners who can’t decide between the city, beach and nature, Los Angeles has it all. Here are three romantic things honeymooners can do:

Griffith Park has over 45 trails ranging from easy to hard. All have a gorgeous view of Los Angeles, which makes it a great place to have a romantic picnic.

Set on the West Coast, Los Angeles has the best sunsets. You can hold your loved one close on Manhattan or Venice Beach as you watch the vibrant colors shift with the sun.

For foodies who love to try different cuisines, check out LA’s vibrant K-Town. Start out spending a few hours relaxing at a Korean spa, which will get your appetite stirred up for Korean barbecue at Soon Won Galbi.

LA Honeymoon Highlights

  • Enjoy a picnic and a hike on one of Griffith Park’s many trails.
  • Watch a sunset at the beach.
  • Spend the day at a Korean spa and grab Korean barbecue afterwards.

New York, NY

Contributed by James Ian of Travel Collecting

So many romantic comedies are set in New York for a reason; it is possibly the most romantic city in the United States.  

Walking the streets of New York City feels like walking in one of your favorite TV shows or movies.  There are plenty of amazing things you can do together that will make this the perfect honeymoon.

No matter what time of year you have your honeymoon, there is something romantic to do.  Wander under the cherry blossoms in Central Park in spring.  Sit on a bench in Washington Square Park in an early summer evening and listen to buskers playing jazz.  Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together in the fall.  Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park in winter.

At any time of year, you can take in iconic sights like Times Square and take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  You can dine in one of the many cozy restaurants that line the streets of the West Village. 

Soho and Fifth Avenue have great shopping, and you can pick up some great souvenirs of your honeymoon.  Head further up Fifth Avenue to visit some of the most iconic museums in the world.  The rooftop at the Met has incredibly romantic views of Central park that you can enjoy together over a glass of sangria.

There are so many romantic things to do in New York City that it is difficult to choose the top three, but my pick of the honeymoon experiences absolutely not to be missed are:

NYC Honeymoon Highlights

  • Enjoy the view from the top of the Empire State Building. Go up in the later afternoon so you can see the sunset and the lights of the city come out after dark.  There is truly nothing more romantic.
  • Row a boat around the lake in Central Park. This is the perfect activity to do together on your summer honeymoon.  Lie back and relax or slowly row around the lake, surrounded by iconic NYC views.
  • See a show together on Broadway. This elevates the ‘dinner and movie’ concept to the next level.  A night of the best musical theater in the world is the perfect honeymoon ‘date night’.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Contributed by Christina of Travel2next.com

In the Sierra Nevadas, Lake Tahoe is a stunningly scenic region that straddles both California and Nevada.

Honeymooning in Lake Tahoe means you can enjoy the charms of two states in a stunning part of the USA, where there is plenty to do. The centrepiece is the lake itself, which is the USA’s biggest alpine lake and the second deepest.

With snow-capped mountains, beautiful beaches, and charming lakeside communities, couples won’t be wondering what to do in Tahoe for long.

There’s plenty to do in this gorgeous spot all-year-round and anytime is a good time to honeymoon in Lake Tahoe. In summer, spring or fall, active couples will love spending time hiking one of the many scenic trails and enjoying activities on the lake such as stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and swimming.

The bright lights of Reno, where you can have a flutter at a casino, is only a 30-minute drive away. In winter, Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts are incredibly romantic when covered in a blanket of snow.

Tahoe Honeymoon Highlights

  • Steal a kiss on the slopes in winter before skiing down Heavenly Mountain.
  • Have a romantic picnic on the beach at Zephyr Cove when the weather is warmer.
  • Have an unforgettable meal at Café Fiore, which is a small restaurant with only seven tables. 

Sedona, AZ

Contributed by Nicole from American SW Obsessed

Sedona is one of those places that will take your breath away.  It is a gorgeous place with incredible energy and only a two hour drive from Phoenix.  Sedona makes for the perfect active honeymoon spot that is a hidden gem.

For an active honeymoon, Sedona is the perfect place to get out and go hiking.  The two most popular hikes are Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock.  Devil’s Bridge is an easy hike that is best done in the morning.  The hike is around 4 miles to Devil’s Bridge where you can take photos on the bridge. 

All along the trail you will see the beautiful red rocks that the area is famous for.  Cathedral Rock is another short but steep hike.  In a quarter of a mile, you gain 600 feet in elevation.  Much of the trail is spent scrambling up the distinct red rocks to the top where you will have stunning views of the area.

If hiking isn’t your thing why not try a Jeep Tour of the area to see Sedona’s stunning landscapes.  This is a popular activity in Sedona and there are several different themes of Jeep Tours you can do.  Jeeps Tours usually last half a day or a whole day and you have a tour guide and driver who will take you around and offers adventure at every turn.  The tour guides are knowledgeable and experienced to ensure you have a fantastic time off-road in Sedona.

When you hear the name Sedona do you think red rocks or red wine?  Well, you should think both!  There are several small production vineyards and wineries around Sedona.  I recommend going to Page Springs Cellars for their wine and food pairings.  You can also take a tour of their vineyard or sign up for a massage by the creek.  They also have yoga so this is a great place to spend the day.

Lastly, make sure you check out the Coffee Pot cafe for an amazing breakfast on the patio and one of these Airbnbs in Sedona with luxury pools for your stay.   

Sedona Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a romantic yet adventurous jeep tour through the red rocks
  • Go wine tasting at one of the romantic Sedona-area wineries
  • Have a luxurious massage at one of Sedona’s wonderful spas

San Francisco, CA

Contributed by Kay of PCH1 Road Trip

When it comes to honeymoon on the West Coast of the US, few destinations can match the allure and enchantment of San Francisco. The city has many romantic hotspots and attractions that are perfect for intimacy.

From its twisting steep streets to historic buildings, San Francisco is the perfect place to spend time with your significant other. The city’s most iconic landmarks – the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts – are perfect places to begin your trip to this charming city by the bay. 

San Francisco has a unique trendy vibe. Its neighborhoods including Chinatown, Haight Ashbury, Mission District, and Russian Hill are perfect for exploring. Take a hand in hand stroll through historic architecture, fascinating murals, boutiques, and eateries. Sip on hot chocolate at the Ghiradelli Square and take a cruise to Alcatraz Island. 

Couples need not limit their honeymoon to the urban attractions of San Francisco. Rent a car and take the Pacific Coast Highway to attractions such as Muir Woods, Point Reyes, and Big Sur. If you love wine tasting and vineyards, visit Napa and Sonoma Counties. 

San Francisco Honeymoon Highlights

  • Take a sunset sail under the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Fly a kite at Crissy Fields
  • See the city lit up at night from Twin Peaks

Sonoma, CA

Contributed by Victoria Watts Kennedy of Bridges and Balloons

Sonoma is the laidback alternative to Napa, and a place to while away days feasting on farm-to-table dining, drinking the region’s best wines and exploring its abundance of gorgeous nature. Romance comes easy in a place like this.

Sonoma County is home to many small towns and areas, but perhaps the most romantic of all is Healdsburg where you’ll find a picture-perfect plaza, and a plethora of high-end restaurants and independent boutiques. It’s also home to many tasting rooms from the region’s best vineyards. This is an ideal place to base yourself for a Sonoma honeymoon.

Other areas to visit in Sonoma include the Russian River for lots of watersports and adventures in the redwoods; the arty town of Sebastapol; and the coastal area around Bodega Bay and North and South Salmon Creek. The drive from Occidental to the sea is one of the most beautiful in the county. And don’t miss the scones at Wildflower Bakery – they alone are a reason to visit Sonoma!

There are many charming guesthouses in Sonoma, such as the friendly Camellia Inn in Healdsburg, or lots of beautiful Sonoma Airbnbs  including cabins in the redwoods and rooms on private farms. You could also stay at one of the area’s wineries, many of which offer honeymoon packages.

Honeymoon Highlights

  • Watch the sunset at Bodega Bay
  • Go full luxury with a room at one of Sonoma’s fanciest inns, such as Madrona Manor.
  • Treat yourself to a romantic meal at one of Sonoma’s best restaurants, such as Single Thread or Valette

Pin This USA Honeymoon Guide!

Planning a Trip to Vietnam: 10 Step Travel Checklist

Planning a trip to Vietnam seems intimidating at first: the country is deceptively large, with so many incredible sights to see spread out all the way from north to south.

Of course, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi loom large on your itinerary wishlist, but other destinations – from Phu Quoc islands in the south to Da Nang and Hoi An and Hue on the central coast to Sapa and Halong Bay in the North – also beg for inclusion on the itinerary.

Add to that a perplexing currency with way too many zeros, a tonal language that’s hard to learn, and a visa requirement for virtually all visitors and you may be a bit overwhelmed with both excitement and confusion when it’s time to plan a Vietnam trip.

But planning a trip to Vietnam doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult, and it’s worth every minute of planning.

I’ve traveled there twice and I’ve spent a total of 5 weeks exploring the country and seen so many incredible places in the country. It’s one of my favorite countries in Asia by far, with incredible food, kind people, beautiful landscapes, and did I mention the food?!

So with all that being said, I’ll walk you quickly through the steps to planning a perfect trip easily through this Vietnam travel checklist, so you can tackle your trip planning one step at a time.

Planning a Trip to Vietnam in 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Check visa requirements

One of the first places people get intimidated when planning a trip to Vietnam is that many countries who aren’t used to needing a visa to travel suddenly do.

If you’re American, European, Canadian, or Australian, you may find yourself in a visa process for the first time in your life!

Only a handful of fellow Southeast Asian countries are visa-free (plus Chile, as an interesting outlier!), and some European countries are visa-free only if your trip is less than 15 days. If you’re unsure if you need a visa or not, research the destination for your nationality.

However, don’t get too stressed: the Vietnam visa process is actually rather easy, and you can now apply for the e-visa online.

The e-visa takes 3 days to process and costs just $25 USD for a single-entry visa valid for 30 days. If doing a simple single-entry e-visa, you can just proceed straight to immigration with your e-visa without needing to pick up your visa on arrival.

If you need a multi-entry visa, you will need  to apply for the visa on arrival online ($25-50 USD depending on country), and you can pick it up when you arrive at the airport in Vietnam.This is the process I did on my last trip to Vietnam, and it only took about 30 minutes at the airport.

Step 2: Book your tickets

Once you’ve got your e-visa all sorted, it’s time to figure out your flights! The main airports in the country are Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon and Hanoi. I suggest looking into flights into both locations, though arrival in Ho Chi Minh City from overseas tends to be cheaper. You can find more information about Vietnam’s different airports here.

On my last trip to Vietnam, I booked a ticket from Sofia, Bulgaria to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam via Qatar Airways for approximately $550 USD roundtrip.

I generally use Google Flights searching for flights as I find their search engine to be the most intuitive, but Skyscanner has good search functionality as well.

You may want to take this time to decide if you want to book tickets for any travel within the country as well. Vietnam is a long, long country: the road distance between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi is 1,700 km, a 31 hour drive in Vietnam traffic terms!

(Oh, and side note: you probably shouldn’t plan to drive in Vietnam if you want to stay sane. That’s best left to professionals – and the Vietnamese!)

So if you want to visit both the northern and southern parts of Vietnam, you’ll probably need at least one or two domestic flights as well. But we’ll get into this a bit in the next section.

Step 3: Decide your Vietnam itinerary!

This is the most fun part, but it can also be the most overwhelming: planning your Vietnam itinerary!

I’ll throw out a few suggestions for you based on my own time there.

If you only have one week in Vietnam, I suggest sticking to the Northern part of Vietnam. Fly into Hanoi and spend at least 3 days there, and plan for day trips or overnight trips to Ha Long Bay and/or Sapa, depending on your preferences.

If you have two weeks in Vietnam, I would suggest doing the North and Central part of Vietnam. Take your Hanoi-Halong Bay-Sapa itinerary and add Hue (optional), Da Nang, and Hoi An to it.

If visiting Hue, you can take an overnight train to save time, taking an overnight train from Hanoi to Hue, and then a daytime train from Hue to Da Nang, which is in my opinion one of the prettiest train rides I’ve ever taken!

If you have two weeks in Vietnam but can’t imagine skipping Saigon, you could also spend one week based around the North and then fly down south for a few days in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.

I absolutely love Ho Chi Minh City and spent three weeks there, but I admit it’s light on sights compared to Hanoi and other places in the North of Vietnam. It’s really cool if you want to see the heart of modern Vietnam and the country’s biggest metropolis, but if you’re more interested in landscapes and historic sights, I’d suggest spending more time in the North.

If you have three weeks in Vietnam or even a month, that’s perfect! You won’t have to make any concessions and you can visit pretty much all of the major destinations in the country if you don’t mind zipping around the country by train and plane quite a bit.

Step 4: Budget your trip

A trip to Vietnam can really be on any budget spectrum. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s one of the most budget-friendly places you can travel – but if you love a bit of luxury, you certainly will be able to indulge in that in Vietnam as well.

If you’re backpacking the country, you can definitely travel for about $20 USD a day, and on $30 USD a day you’ll be living like a king (think private room in a hostel and 3 meals out a day). It’s a pretty comfortable country to backpack in, and when I traveled Vietnam on a budget, I never felt like I was making any big sacrifices.

If you have a mid-range budget, you’ll be able to enjoy the country even more on $50-75 USD a day per person. Think 4-star hotels for $30 a night for a couple, amazing massages for $10-15 an hour, and eating in upscale restaurants instead of street food for a handful of meals (though of course, no matter your budget, you should definitely indulge in the street food scene! It’s one of the best parts of Vietnam!).

If you have a luxury budget, the sky’s the limit! Stay at the finest hotels, take only private tours, eat at the finest restaurants, and you’ll still find yourself struggling to max out your credit card.

I recommend deciding in advance what you want to spend in total, breaking that into a per-day, per-person cost. Allocate about 1/3 of that for accommodations, 1/3 for activities, and 1/3 for incidentals and extras like shopping, transportation between cities, and meals. That should give you a good benchmark for how to budget for Vietnam.

Step 5: Plan Your Activities

I love and hate tours in Vietnam.

On one hand, the tours save you a lot of hassle that would be nearly impossible to surmount independently: you probably don’t want to drive in Vietnam, and public transportation can be a tough nut to crack.

On the other, tours often can feel like you’re being ferried around from one point of sale to the next, often with uncomfortable experiences along the way, like an unexpected captive animal encounter or a really pushy market experience.

Despite my reservations with some of my Vietnam tours, I do recommend booking tour experiences while in Vietnam. It saves unbelievable time and headache, and it does provide a lot of local insight: just be prepared to dislike about 10% of your itinerary and you’ll be much happier having that baseline expectation.

Best Tours in Hanoi

Best Tours in Hoi An

Best Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Step 6: Book your accommodations

Next step is to plan where you’re going to stay! This will depend largely on your budget and itinerary.

Keep in mind too when booking accommodations that many Vietnamese cities are very large and spread out! Location is important, so I recommend sorting your searches by closeness to a desired central attraction.

For example, Ho Chi Minh City has 24 districts – and District 1, the central district, is huge! I was staying in District 1, but I was still about a 30-minute walk or 20-minute cab ride to the central area with the Independence Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Hanoi is similar, and it’s easy to accidentally book something on the other side of the city! So I suggest searching by location first and then amenities second. While transportation around Vietnam is inexpensive, it is time-consuming and occasionally frustrating due to all the traffic, so I suggest being as close as possible to the heart of the action!

Step 7: Research any vaccinations you may need & prepare a travel medicine kit

I’m American, so the CDC is my guideline when checking travel vaccinations for international travel. The website recommends checking that you’re up-to-date in terms of boosters for the following common vaccinations: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus, chickenpox, and polio. This is standard for any trip.

They also recommend Hepatitis A and typhoid, both of which can be gotten from contaminated food or water.

If you’re traveling in rural areas of Vietnam, you may need to take anti-malarials. However, malaria is not present in any of the cities, and it’s rare in the Mekong Delta area, so it’s unlikely that you would need anti-malarials. I’ve never taken anti-malarials in Vietnam. Bug bite prevention is likely enough.

You should, though, pack your own travel medicine kit! While you can find pharmacies in Vietnam, you may not find the exact brands you want or it may be frustrating to deal with a language barrier while feeling ill.

My travel medicine kit always includes stomach tablets like Pepto-Bismol, motion sickness pills, painkillers, and rehydration packets. I also include sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a topical antibiotic, a few alcohol wipes, and band-aids in my mini kit.

Also, research a few private hospitals before going. My first trip to Vietnam, my friend got really bad food poisoning and needed to spend a few hours in the hospital with an IV drip. It was stressful trying to find the information at the moment to get her to the right place where we knew they would speak English and we wouldn’t have any communication problems.

It’s unlikely you’ll get sick on your trip, but having the name of a hospital in each city you plan to visit in case of emergency will ease your mind.

Step 8: Pack your bags!

It’s almost time to go – so logically, next step is to start packing for Vietnam!

I won’t get into it in too much detail here as I have a detailed packing list for Vietnam here, but I’ll give you a quick rundown here.

Depending on where you’re going in Vietnam and when, you’ll likely pack quite differently. In summer in Vietnam, almost everywhere is hot – though in Sapa, you might find it can get quite chilly (I found myself wishing I had a heater one night in August!), and air conditioning in vehicles can be intense, so you’ll definitely want to pack a few cozy things to warm you up, even if most days will be sticky and humid.

Waterproof shoes and a waterproof jacket are essential for downpours which happen all throughout the year in Vietnam. Trust me when I say I’ve never seen rain like I have in Vietnam, and you don’t want to be wearing sneakers when you’re suddenly ankle-deep in rain!

If you’re visiting Vietnam in winter (December-March), you’ll need cool-weather clothing for the North, though the South will still be quite humid and hot.

Keep in mind that Vietnamese people tend to dress a bit on the conservative side and don’t love it when people show tons of skin, so aim for loose, flowy fabric rather than short shorts and skimpy tank tops. It’s actually more comfortable to wear and it’s more respectful to the culture.

Finally, Vietnam is absolutely notorious for its pickpockets. I was nearly pickpocketed in broad daylight walking in a park in Hanoi – luckily, my friend noticed the guy grabbing for my backpack and literally swatted his hand away!

I recommend this backpack with locking zippers which is made by PacSafe. It has some great security features: metal mesh under the surface that makes it slash-proof, inter-locking zippers that can then be threaded into a hard-to-open clasp, and RFID blockers so no one can steal your card data. It’s also very subtle and doesn’t look like a tempting, expensive bag, while also having visual cues that say “I’m hard to steal from, and frankly not worth it”. I’m obsessed.

Another safety note: one of the most common crimes in Vietnam is mobile phone theft, particularly by people on scooters who will snatch your phone on a street corner and zoom away. Never look at your phone while facing the street. I always found a discreet area and turned to the wall while I checked something on my phone.

Step 9: Prep for your arrival

There are a few things you should do prior to arriving in Vietnam that will make your trip start off on the right foot.

1) Download Google Maps offline for the city you’re arriving in. Just in case you don’t have data or don’t buy a SIM card right away, it’s extremely helpful!

2) Book a shuttle to get you to your hotel to save you stress and time. Here’s a trusted shuttle option from Hanoi Airport and one from Ho Chi Minh City Airport.

3) Buy a SIM card online in advance so you can easily access data while you’re traveling.

4) Have some cash in USD in case you have any issues with withdrawing money from the ATM upon arrival, or if you get flagged for fraud. Try to avoid this by notifiying your bank of your travel plans before leaving.

Step 10: Don’t forget travel insurance!

This is last on this list so that it’s first in your mind: you really ought to have travel insurance for your trip to Vietnam!

I’ve been a customer of World Nomads for years, and I love the peace of mind it gives me in case an emergency, accident, illness, or theft impacts my travels.

While Vietnam is a very safe country to travel overall, there are risks inherent to everyday travel, as well as a few risks specific to Vietnam (namely, food poisoning and pickpocketing/phone theft), and travel insurance backs you up in all those cases.

Get a free quote for your trip here.

17 Useful Things to Know Before Planning a Trip to Banff

Beautiful glacial mountains, pristine turquoise lakes, serene scenery everywhere you look.

That’s what Instagram tells you expect when you plan a trip to Banff, and in fact, Instagram and social media are probably a large part of the reason why you’re planning a trip to Banff in the first place.

The truth is that Banff has exploded in popularity in recent years, making it essential to be extremely mindful when planning your Banff trip so as not to end up getting disappointed by crowded trails, closed parking lots, and overly difficult hikes.

This post was written in conjunction with my lovely sister-in-law, Pati, who originally hails from Brazil but has made Calgary her home.

She spends her weekends and free time hiking in Banff and further afield in Alberta, and she has kindly agreed to share her wisdom from being an Alberta local and showing visitors around Banff all her favorite parts of the park.

Here’s what she thinks you need to know before you plan your trip to Banff!

Your expectations will be high – and they should be!

If you plan to visit the Canadian Rockies, you probably have your expectations on high mode already!

For me, for years, the place I later discovered to be Moraine Lake, was my background screen on my computer. So, you know you are set for a fantastic trip.

In my case, I was not disappointed; more than that, it ended up being the place where I choose to live when immigrating to Canada.

Before my first trip in 2016, I did extensive research, and I still believe that the places that I visited for the first time were good choices.

After living for almost three years close to Banff, I’ve included my original recommendations for a first time trip to Banff, but I’ve also made some adjustments to my original list and have a more local touch.

Give yourself enough time to enjoy Banff

Please keep in mind the duration of your trip.

Yes, one week in Banff would be excellent, as it will allow you to fully discover the place and go on some beautiful Banff hikes, but I know that for many people, this is not possible.

So my suggestion of the minimum time in Banff is three full days with a two-night stay. Anything else just isn’t enough!

Prepare for crowds

In the past few years, the tourism scene in Banff has skyrocketed.

While the epic landscapes and scenery will not let you down, be prepared for the crowds.

Be aware that you will have to be waking up early to guarantee a visit to some of the most popular attractions, and there may be some traffic, especially in the main town!

Plan your visit to Banff for the right time of year

To make sure that the lakes will not be frozen, it is best to visit from June to September.

With only around four months to see the lakes in their unfrozen beauty and the growing popularity of Banff, we have the recipe for a packed tourist place!

In my opinion, for a summer adventure, July is the prime time for hiking in the middle of wildflowers.

But overall, inside the June to September window, I prefer visiting in September.

Visiting Banff in fall

The last two weeks of September are the best to see the colors of the fall leaves and yellow aspen, and yet also to have fewer visitors.

In the first week of October, the chances of seeing snow increase; things are not frozen yet, and the lakes and landscapes look fantastic!

However, in October, there is a high chance of having overcast weather all day and a chance of heavier snowfalls.

Any travel after this has no guarantee: roads may be closed, and places that I list here might not be accessible until the next year.

Also, keep in mind that any travel after early-September could mean below-freezing temperatures (especially during the night) so, plan your clothing accordingly.

Accommodations in Banff

To be entirely honest with my experiences in four different hotels in Banff, accommodations in Banff are expensive and are really not that good.

Be prepared to pay the price of a four-star hotel and be delivered with the quality of two stars!

I never stayed in the fancy five-star hotels and resorts in Banff to say if, in that case, they are worth the money. But keep in mind that you are inside a National Park, so accommodations are limited.  

For camping, the booking opens in January and usually, in a matter of hours, it is booked for the entire year!

Alternatively, you can stay in Canmore (a town just outside the park). It will still be expensive, but the quality for the price can be much better.

Note: you cannot trust the pictures on the booking websites! In the past, I booked places that had gorgeous photos, but in real life, it was not the same quality. They can perform miracles in the advertisement pictures, so keep your expectations low regarding hotels here!

Transportation in Banff

There are options for public transit from the Calgary airport to Banff by shuttles, as well as inside the National Park by bus.

But honestly, things are so far away that renting a car will make it easier to move around.

I know that this is the exact reason why some places have the parking lots full at 6:00 am, and you will be contributing to that, but to give you perspective, Calgary is 130 km away from Banff, and the town of Banff is 58 km away from Lake Louise.

So, if you have lots of time in Banff, it can be helpful for everyone to use public transportation to the most crowded places (Lake Louise and Lake Moraine).

In any case, arrange to have a National Park Pass!

Is Lake Louise worth it?

In my humble Banff-affectionate opinion, this is a mandatory place to see when you plan your visit to Banff. I mean, did you even go to the Canadian Rockies if you did not visit it?

Lake Louise is to Banff what Eiffel Tower is to Paris: the heart. There is a reason why this is the most famous place, and I still remember the chills I had when I saw it in person for the first time.

It will be spectacular in any weather, but a sunny day adds color and contrast to your view and pictures.

Tips for Visiting Lake Louise

Lake Louise has a huge parking lot, but it can be filled quickly. Plan to arrive before 9 AM or after 6 PM during spring, summer, and fall.

In winter, I never had much trouble with parking. And yes, Lake Louise is accessible all year round!

Even frozen over, Lake Louise is magical since you can ice skate on it, see professional ice sculptures, or walk and stand in the middle of one of the most famous lakes in the world, completely frozen over, while you are surrounded by snowy mountains and chilly air that can be as cold as -30°C.

There are two hotels at a walking distance from the lake:  Fairmont Château Lake Louise (that is literally in front of the Lake) and Deer Lodge.

At the parking lot, there are public washrooms available, and there will always a national park ranger checking if you have the Park Pass (it must be displayed on the windshield of your car).

If you have the time and are feeling adventurous, you can also go to several hikes that depart from here (4 of the 9 hikes in this Banff hikes list start from here!).

If this is the case, arrive early in the morning, so you have time to enjoy both the lakes and the hiking!

You can also take the Lake Louise Gondola for beautiful views without the hike.

Is Moraine Lake Worth It?

In recent years, Moraine Lake is becoming more and more famous.

Several people claim it to be prettier than Lake Louise, a statement that we can dispute.

It is for sure one of the gems of the Canadian Rockies, but I credit this popularity to the fact that it is a challenge to get there.

Near Lake Louise, you will need to drive through a narrow secondary road for 12 kilometers uphill. But this road is often shut since the parking lot fills up extremely early.

The final piece that makes Lake Moraine so challenging to see is the fact that the road that gives access to it is closed from mid-October to mid-May because of the avalanche risk.

Tips for Visiting Moraine Lake

The parking lot at Moraine Lake is considerably small, and it’s also the departure point to several popular trails, leading to even more people needing to park here.

This means that usually by 6 AM, the entrance to the secondary road is closed by the park’s staff because the parking lot is already full!

In the fall of 2020, the road was already closed around 5 AM on weekends since the most famous hike to see the larches (Larch Valley) starts from the Moraine Lake.

Yes, even in the pandemic without any foreign travelers — it’s that insane!

Apparently, there is a trick that you have a chance to enter if you drive by 8 AM, as this is the time people who only went to see the sunrise at Moraine Lake are leaving.

They will open the road to the lucky people passing there for just a few moments as the first cars are leaving. This, of course, is not a guarantee, but you may have a shot!

Moraine Lake Insider Tips

An alternative if you do not see yourself waking up at 3 AM is to go there at the end of the day.

A few weeks ago, I stayed overnight in the Lake Louise area, and I went to visit Moraine Lake after 7 PM as the road was open again.

I still saw the pretty lake with the ten peaks behind it, but I did not have much time to explore around before getting dark and definitely had no time for any hike.

Finally, you also have the option to use the Roam Public Transit that departs from Banff town and can take you to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.

It is back now for the larch season, but always check, as buses do not go year-round to all places and they were also affected by the COVID-19 situation, so do check online before relying on it.

So, now you know all about the almost-mystic Lake Moraine. The fact that I just spent more time writing about how hard it is to get there than about the Lake itself says a lot!

Visiting the Banff gondola and Sulphur Mountain

Views, views, views! Here, you are going to see the Canadian Rockies from the top.  

The gondola put you at 2,281 meters elevation with a 360-degree observation deck.

I have visited in summer and winter, and both were magical. I saw the entire Banff town, the most prominent mountains around, and even Lake Minnewanka at a distance.

Up there, you have the option to have fine dining in their restaurant or enjoy a hot beverage in the café area. Outside the building, you can also explore a small, well-maintained trail to the Cosmic Ray Station, a National Historic Site of Canada.

This is the place of a former laboratory active in the 1950s that was the most important cosmic ray observatory in Canada, helping to understand how the sun influences the Earth.

Are you feeling like some exercise? You can hike to the top of Sulphur Mountain as well and ride the gondola back down (paying the fee for a one-way gondola trip, of course).

It will be a 5-kilometer one-way hike with an elevation gain of around 740 meters. This is not a walk in the park, but it’s doable for a person of average fitness, as this is a trail full of switchbacks so the incline is not too steep.

It is also one of the safest hikes to do as a tourist since the trail is well-maintained, close to the Banff town, and literally right below one of Banff’s main attractions.

Tips for Visiting Lake Minnewanka

Near Banff town (so far away from Lake Louise/Moraine), we have one of the biggest lakes in the Canadian Parks, Lake Minnewanka.

The description is simple: a vast lake surrounded by mountains. I feel small every time I visit there, the giant half forested, half rocky walls around it even resemble a fjord.

A boat trip sightseeing here in the summer or seeing the frozen lake in winter are both equally memorable.

The vastness and openness of this place make the crowds spread out, and here you can be in a main tourist attraction and still find yourself completely alone, unlike at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Please take care and do not wander, as this is the edge of the core habitat for grizzly bears. Hiking on most of the trails in this area is only permitted in groups of four people or more and carrying bear spray.

Tips for Visiting Johnston Canyon

Note: As of September 2020, access by car to Johnston Canyon is closed due to COVID-19.

Here you will get a different kind of landscape: no lakes or mountains, but instead, a fantastic creek forming a canyon and spectacular waterfalls.

The full walk to the upper falls is 2.5 km long (one-way) full of bridges and steel passages.

I hiked it in the winter, and it was almost like magic: the frozen waterfalls, the silence, it was like time was also suspended with the ice.

As early as November, you can walk in the winter landscape here, and the rock formations become breathtaking covered in ice and snow.

In summer, parking is not as complicated as in the famous Lakes, but it gets crowded, so an early morning visit will give you more peace.

Additional Places Worth Visiting in Banff

The five places listed above are what I consider the core attractions of Banff National Park, and they can easily take three full days and give you a great idea of why this region is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Below, I will mention a few other places that can add an extra sparkle to your visit. There is no right or wrong here: there are endless stops to see in Banff, so enjoy!

Surprise Corner Viewpoint: To see Sulphur Mountain and the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site: Natural thermal mineral springs, the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks.

Banff Upper Hot Springs: To experience for yourself the thermal waters.
*As of September 2020, it is closed due to COVID-19.

Vermilion Lakes: Near Banff town, Lakes in between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.

Banff Park Museum and Banff Downtown: history, restaurants, bars, galleries.

Bow Lake: a good alternative in case you want to run away from the tourists in Lake Louise.

Peyto Lake: This stunning lake deserves a post on its own! Currently, the entire area is closed for construction, and access is strictly prohibited until Summer 2021.

Peyto Lake is also more distant, along the road going to Jasper, so it makes sense to include it in if you are visiting both National Parks.

Other Parks Nearby Banff

Banff is the most famous of the Canadian National Parks for a good reason, but some other adjacent Parks can give you striking lesser-known views and far fewer crowds.

You can also consider visiting the following Alberta National Parks: Jasper, Waterton, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks. You will not regret it!

Pin This Guide to Planning a Trip to Banff

The 13 Best US National Parks to Visit in December

If you’re looking for a great place to travel in the winter in the United States, National Parks in December are a great option to spend the holiday season!

Whether you want a sunny escape to a normally too-hot desert national park like you’ll find in Southern California or Texas or you want a snow-covered winter wonderland like Yosemite, Acadia, or Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll find the perfect national park to visit in December for you somewhere on this list.

I asked fellow travel writers to come up with their best December national park destinations, and they didn’t disappoint. Read on to hear their tips!

The Best USA National Parks to Visit in December

Acadia National Park, Maine

Snow covered rocks with background of Atlantic Ocean and trees.

Contributed by Karen Warren of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

If you are looking to escape the summer and fall crowds at Acadia National Park, try a visit in the winter.

Snow draped mountains and ice formations on the cliffs make this Maine national park a winter wonderland! Enjoy the remote feeling of the wilds of Acadia, only matched by the incredible silence of a starry winter night there.

While most of the park loop road is closed in the winter, two scenic sections remain open.

Ocean Drive brings visitors to Thunder Hole to see and hear ocean waves spout up high in the air with a huge roar. The road to Jordan Pond gives access to 32 miles of groomed cross country ski trails.

Snowshoers will find a variety of tracked trails, where you can take an easy stroll on a frozen pond, or you can attempt a heart-pounding climb of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the eastern seaboard.

Winter hikers seeking to climb a summit should use microspikes or snowshoes, and trekking poles.

  • Cross country ski on the Carriage Roads or the unplowed park roads.
  • Watch a gorgeous winter sunset at Bass Harbor Head Light.
  • Hike the Ship Harbor or Ocean Path trails to see the rugged Atlantic coast in the winter.
  • Hire a Maine guide to learn to ice climb on the frozen cascades of Otter Cliffs.
  • Score an awesome deal on a cozy B&B in Bar Harbor during this low season.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Looking out over vista of a desert landscape with rocks in foreground and rolling greenish mountains in background.

Contributed by Nick of Illness To Ultra

You usually don’t think of traveling to the mountains in winter unless you’re skiing. Well, in Texas, that’s not entirely true!

Big Bend National Park has a mixture of mountains, canyons, deserts, and rivers fit for exploring in the winter while still avoiding extreme weather. 

December is a great month to visit the park as the temperatures are mostly pleasant. Ranging from 60° for the highs and 40° for the lows, it holds a drastic difference to the temperatures seen in summer when it can be truly unbearable. 

Big Bend National park has plenty to offer. If you like to hike, the Chicos Mountain Range can be a small challenge and provide great views across the desert. You’ll also find a whole variety of birds, and not to forget, you may even find some of the only bears in Texas. It’s worth mentioning that the range is much higher than the desert floor, so temperatures can drastically different. 

If you’re looking for a little history, you’ll find many Dinosaurs exhibits scattered around the park, where many spectacular fossils have been found. The prehistoric giant alligator and the Bravoceratops are ones not to miss.

It may still be a little cold for water activities, but if you’re brave enough, you can explore the Rio Grande for some spectacular views of the canyons and gorges.

  • Hike the 4.2 mile Lost Mine Trail to experience views over Mexico.
  • Take advantage of the cold temperatures and explore what the desert has to offer.
  • Marvel at the prehistoric beasts that once roamed the lands of Big Bend National Park
  • Take a river tour and explore the canyons with a different perspective.
  • Cross the Mexican border to experience the traditional village Boquillas.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Snow starting to form on an Ohio waterfall and into a pool of pale green water

Contributed by Michelle Moyer of Moyer Memoirs

Declared a national park in 2000, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park located in Ohio, as it runs from Cleveland to Akron along the Cuyahoga River. 

It becomes a winter wonderland during the winter season, complete with many inches of beautiful Ohio snowfall blanketing nature and freezing the ponds.

The park boasts the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which takes visitors through the park on one-way or roundtrip rides daily.  This railroad becomes a truly unique attraction during the holiday season when it transforms into the Polar Express. 

Based on the hit story, it brings that tale to life as excited guests in their pajamas journey down the rails to the North Pole in order to meet the jolly man himself.  This experience allows visitors to the park to immerse themselves in the magic of the holiday season

For the active visitors there is a Winter Sports Center located at the center of the park with plenty of winter activities.  Located nearby are cross country ski trails, downhill ski resorts, sledding, and tubing hills, all beckoning the Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitor to take part in the adventures. 

After the Winter Sports adventures are completed, there are still many other activities to take part in since Cuyahoga Valley National Park is definitely one of the best US National Parks in December to put on your must-see list.

  • Ride the CVNP Scenic Valley Railroad Polar Express to the North Pole.
  • Get active at the Winter Sports Center with all sorts of winter activities.
  • Hike 125 miles of trails through the park and see icicles hanging from the rocky ledges.
  • Catch and release large-mouth bass while ice fishing at CVNP lakes and ponds

Death Valley National Park, California

Rolling tan hills in foreground, middle layer of brown hills with snow-covered mountains in the background with some cloud cover.

Contributed by Neha of Travelmelodies

Death Valley National Park straddles between California and Nevada and makes for a perfect US winter national park destination. The weather gets pleasant with temperatures hovering around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime to 30-40 degrees at night. 

Even though the name sounds ominous, Death Valley California has intriguing beauty in the dry rocky formations, badlands or the colors spurting through the dry desert. It is the lowest, driest and hottest place in the US apart from being the world’s hottest place.

Due to much milder temperatures, it is easier to explore areas of the park at leisure and advantage of smaller crowds. It might snow at higher elevation points like Dante’s Peak or Telescope Mountain.

Not to miss activities in this winter US national park include:

  • Walk and explore the famous Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and do sandboarding. 
  • Stargaze at the Milky Way and the stars at the darkest skies in the US. Dante’s View, Badwater Basin or Mesquite Sand Dunes are great places to view the night sky.  (Do carry blankets/jackets)
  • Drive the nine-mile long Artist’s Drive (Artist’s Palette) for spectacular views of colored soil mountains. 
  • Experience the magical sunrise and sunset at Zabriskie Point over the unique rocky formations.
  • Hike the easy 1.8-mile-long Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail, the lowest point in North America to experience unique salt formations.

The entrance fee of the National Park is $30 USD for a non-commercial vehicle that is valid for 7 days.

Death Valley makes for a great day trip from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, as both are just a few hours away.

For sure, Death Valley National Park is a must-visit in winter, to enjoy the park at leisure without the scorching summer temperatures!

Everglades National Park, Florida

Lone tree with orange-yellow leaves standing in a marsh or swap area with plant life in the water and marsh in the back.

Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad

Unlike many US National Parks, winter is the dry season in the Florida Everglades and the perfect time to explore Everglades National Park!

The weather is mild — 55-85 degrees (F) is typical — and the lack of rain keeps mosquitoes and no-see-ums at bay.

Located at mainland Florida’s southern tip before you reach the Florida Keys, the Everglades is the only sub-tropical wilderness in the United States and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There are so many things to see and do in the Everglades for outdoor adventure lovers and eco-travelers who love hiking, fishing, and paddling.

  • Hike to places generally unreachable on foot during the rainy summer like parts of Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress.
  • Paddle through the mangrove tunnels in search of wild orchids
  • Search for wildlife like alligators, dolphins, bobcats, black bear, manatees, deer, and the elusive Florida panther. Sightings are generally better given the lack of water.
  • Stop in the Skunk Ape Headquarters for a quirky swamp experience
  • Try the Indian Fry Bread at the Miccosukee Reservation restaurant

There are three main entrances to the Everglades: Shark Valley Visitor Center is closest to Miami, the Gulf Coast Visitor Center is near Naples, and the Flamingo Visitor Center is the southernmost visitor center in the Park accessible from the Main Park near Homestead.

Winter is a great time to visit Everglades National Park and surrounding nature preserves — one of the most under-visited National Parks in the US.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Snow on the edge of a canyon rim looking into the magnificent Grand Canyon on a partly cloudy sky day.

Contributed by Maggie Turansky of The World Was Here First

The Grand Canyon is one of the best national parks in the United States to visit in December.

As one of the most visited national parks in the entirety of the country, the Grand Canyon sees vastly fewer crowds in the winter than it does in the warmer months but it is perhaps at its most beautiful when dusted with a blanket of snow.

Whether visitors want to experience the Grand Canyon as a day trip or a multi-day adventure, there is no denying that it is particularly majestic in December.

Keep in mind that the North Rim of the Canyon is closed to visitors in December (it is only open from June-September) and that, if you want to do some of the more strenuous hikes, you may need to come equipped with ice-specific gear. Some trails also can close at short notice if they are deemed too dangerous for weather-related reasons.

If you’re looking for some fantastic, wintry-things to do at the Grand Canyon, here are some top examples:

  • See the Canyon under a dusting of snow while on a leisurely walk along the Rim Trail.
  • Enjoy fewer crowds and some peaceful solitude on the trails – but be prepared for winter conditions!
  • Warm up with a drink and a spectacular view at the El Tovar Lounge.
  • Get to the Canyon in style and experience a winter wonderland by taking the Grand Canyon Railway from the town of Williams.
  • Spot elk and other wildlife foraging through the snow around the Canyon.

You can’t go wrong with visiting the Grand Canyon National Park any time of year, however, it may be best experienced in December.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina

Snow covered landscape with waterfall still flowing into a small creek with all rocks and plants covered in white snow.

Contributed by Carrie of Trains, Planes and Tuk Tuks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the border of TN and NC, offers some of the highest mountains east of the Mississippi. It’s the perfect destination for snow-capped peaks and icy waterfalls.

December is an ideal time to visit the Smokies to avoid the summer crowds. Most of the park remains accessible, with the exception of a few roads in the Catahoochee area and some of the boat-accessible trails from Fontana Lake.

You can hike, snowshoe, camp, and drive to the many peaks in the park — but beware of rapidly deteriorating conditions up high. When conditions in Gatlinburg are moderate — in the 60s during the day — it can be 30 degrees, snowy, icy, and windy on the peak of Clingman’s Dome. Wear layers!

5 of the top winter activities in the Smokies include:

  • Visit Clingman’s Dome for sunrise — you’ll have it all to yourself!
  • Marvel at icy waterfalls on the Deep Creek Trail
  • Brave the frigid temperatures to camp on Mount Sterling and watch the sunset from the fire tower
  • Drive to Newfound Gap — roughly halfway up the ridge — to see snow-capped peaks above you and the end of fall colors below you.
  • Snowshoe to the top of Mount LeConte

Joshua Tree National Park, California 

Desert landscape with cactus-looking Joshua trees which are brown trees with green spikes, orange rocks and blue sky in background.

Contributed by Carol Guttery of California Crossings

At first glance, Joshua Tree National Park looks like an empty forbidding landscape.

But look more closely and you’ll see a resilient garden of not only the craggy endangered Joshua Trees, but 750 other plants and hundreds of different kinds of wildlife. Combine that with the red rock landscape and epic views and it’s no wonder that nearly three million people a year visit the park.

The park is located in the hot dry landscape of the Mohave and Colorado deserts in eastern California. And it’s for this reason Joshua Tree is such a great national park to visit in the winter.

Summer temperatures scorch up to 99 degrees, but in late January, you can experience a cool, comfortable 61 degrees — perfect for hiking and sightseeing.

If you hustle, you can actually do most of the top sites in Joshua Tree National Park in one day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hike some of the old mining sites such as Barker Dam, Pine Street Mill or Wall Street Mill.
  • Take a tour of the Key’s Ranch and learn how the Keys family managed to make a successful homestead in this dry landscape. (Also, tales of murder and intrigue.)
  • Visit the spiny Cholla Cactus Garden.
  • Check out the Arch Rock, which is a short loop trail near the White Tank campground.
  • Watch the sunset at Key’s View. The panoramic view overlooking the Coachella valley is a must-see.

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Cloudy sky with a view of orange lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean, causing a large cloud of white-gray smoke at the place where lava meets water.

Contributed by Noel Morata of This Hawaii Life

One of the most unique and beautiful US national parks to visit in winter is located on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Volcanoes National Park is ever-changing with the constant lava flows, earthquakes, and the recent collapse of the main caldera in the park that has made it larger and even more impressive.

Now considered a huge caldera like the Pacific version, the park is fun to explore on your own or with a guided tour. A first visit to the visitors center will give you more history, ranger talks, or a wonderful video introduction to the park, history, culture, and what you can view for the day’s events.

You can decide to just do a fun road trip through the park and visit the main attractions around the park, take a easy or panoramic hike through popular trails or even wander through a lush forest and into a historic lava tube that is open for the public to enjoy. 

Here are some things to do while visiting Volcanoes National Park

  • Visit the Visitor’s Center to get information and background on the park’s history and culture.
  • Check out some of the cool vista points for panoramic views and photo opportunities to the gorgeous Caldera.
  • Have lunch at the historic Volcano House with magnificent views of the main caldera
  • Check out a lush lava tube at Thurston Lava Tube
  • Drive the Chain of Craters road and stop at the main attractions and in the end visit the stunning arch on the coastline.

A visit to Volcanoes National Park is a must and if you are exploring the island in more detail, check out my post on free or cheap things to do on the Big Island to inspire and also save on your budget to Hawaii. A visit to the park is definitely the top attraction on the island.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Snow covered landscape revealing a geyser in colors of orange on the rim and deep turquoise blue in the middle. Pine trees in background.

Editor’s Choice

Dreamy geysers spouting hot steam into the air as the snow falls on an otherworldly landscapes. Bubbling hot pools in every color of the rainbow contrasting against the white snow. And no crowds?

Sign me up: Yellowstone is the perfect national park to visit in the USA in December, if you plan it right.

Since Yellowstone’s average elevation is 8,000 feet, you can only access the interior of the park via a chartered snowcoach or snowmobile (information on how to do that here). The only open road runs between Mammoth Hot Springs and the entrance at the northeast, which should be open year-round.

Also note that lodging options are gathered limited, but the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs are two options which are open within the park.

Otherwise, you’ll want to look for lodging in one of the neighboring gateway towns like Gardinier, West Yellowstone, Cody, or even a bit further away like Big Sky or Bozeman in Montana.

Some of the best things to do in Yellowstone National Park in winter include:

  • Go cross-country skiing on the Cascade Lake Ski Trail (4.5 miles)
  • Cross-country ski or snowshoe on the flat Old Canyon Bridge Ski Trail to see beautiful views of the Yellowstone River (1 mile)
  • Go by snowmobile tour to some of Yellowstone’s most beautiful and iconic locations like Old Faithful
  • Head just outside of the park to soak and unwind in the Boiling River, which, luckily, is not actually boiling temperatures!
  • Photograph the park’s wildlife with a snowy backdrop

Yosemite National Park, California

White snow covered landscape with unfrozen Merced River reflecting a snowy scenery in the background including snowy pine trees and snowy granite rock cliffs.

Contributed by Ashley Whitehead of World to Wander

Yosemite National Park is known for its sheer beauty because of its trees, waterfalls, and many rivers. This park is massive, coming in at nearly 1200 square miles!

Yosemite attracts millions of people annually and there are pros and cons to visiting throughout the seasons. However, winter in particular gives a unique opportunity to see the park because of fewer visitors. Let’s not forget the white snow that blankets the rivers and trees!

The park is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It’s important to note the conditions before your arrival as some roads will close or require snow chains to enter.

Tioga Road, Mariposa Grove Road and Glacier Point Road are closed every year from November until Spring. Additionally, some hiking trails will also be closed due to hazardous conditions.

Regardless of closures, there are plenty of things to do to enjoy the park, such as:

  • Head out on a hike to the Lower Yosemite Falls or Mirror Lake
  • Watch the sunrise over the Half Dome
  • Book an adventure tour with lodging, hiking, meals and transportation included
  • Grab your snowboard or skis and head to Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area
  • Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery in the park

If you’re looking for the perfect time to visit Yosemite National Park without the crowds and some peace and quiet, winter is the perfect time.

Zion National Park, Utah

Desert view from Angel's Landing viewpoint with red rock and green shrubbery and plant life dotting the Martian looking scenery.

Contributed by David of The Whole World is a Playground

Utah’s first National Park, Zion is home to magnificent scenery, iconic hikes, and beautiful wildlife.

Winters in Zion are relatively mild: the low elevation of Zion Canyon, where many of Zion’s trails begin, means that snow rarely reaches the canyon floor and most of the park is accessible year-round.

That makes it a great US National Park to visit in December! Some great December activities in Zion include:

  • Rent dry suits in the nearby town of Springdale and hike the water-based Narrows.
  • Hike the incredible Angels Landing, Zion’s most iconic trail. Make sure to take your Yaktrax ice grips if it is icy, as it can be dangerous. Only do this if you have experience with winter hiking, as there are steep drop-offs throughout the hike.
  • Catch an early sunset at the park’s most beautiful viewpoint, Canyon Junction.
  • Stargaze from the wide-open Kolob Terrace Road.
  • Stay warm in the car and drive over to the east side of the park to check out the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel and Checkerboard Mesa. If you’re in the mood for a hike then the awesome views from Canyon Overlook are worth braving the elements for! 

Pin This USA National Park in December Guide

150 Shell-arious Beach Puns for Summery Instagram Captions

Got lots of beach pictures that you took, and you’re looking for some hilarious beach captions for Instagram to go with them?

I love a good travel themed pun, so it’s no surprise that I’ve gathered 150 beach puns that are shore to make you laugh… or groan, to be honest, I don’t care which!

From beach puns to tropical puns to fish puns and beyond, here are my favorite puns about the beach, perfect for beach jokes and summer Instagram captions.

Funny Beach Puns

How are you feeling today? I’m fin-tastic!

Girls just wanna have sun

Don’t get salty with me!

It’s not my salt you got burned!

I’m not shore about this…

I’m a crazy son of a beach, but you love me anyway

Beach, please!

Life’s a beach, but don’t let yourself get tide down

Along for the tide.

Feeling fresh to depth.

Race you to the sand? Beach ya to it.

I’m not mad, that’s just my resting beach face

When there’s a will, there’s a wave

I try to avoid pier pressure and just do my own thing.

Things are not always as they ap-pier

Tell you my favorite beach? It’s really to be so Pacific.

Don’t hate the playa, hate the game

Don’t call me while I’m at the beach: I’m sun-screening my calls.

Arrrr you going to join me at the beach, matey?

Hello there, buoys and gulls!

Holla at ya’ buoy

Surf’s up, hang tan

I’m feeling sand-tastic

Don’t worry, beach happy!

I’m feeling em-ocean-al today.

I’m a boss beach.

Beach better have my money!

Beach, don’t krill my vibe

Waterever will I do when summer is over?

Swimmer down now, no point being angry!

There’s some-fin about Mary.

Living my mermaid fin-tasy!

I reel-y love the beach.

I’ve got no fin left to give!

Bay, you’ve got to stop with the beach puns — they’re too much.

Sea Animal Puns for the Beach

Chilling at the beach: my life porpoise.

Did you splash me on porpoise?

Do you have a fish-ue with me?

Are you squidding me?

I find the ocean really crab-tivating!

My favorite wine? Crab-ernet noir.

Hello, guys and gills.

You’re just jelly.

Me and my old chums.

Can you crab me more sunscreen?

Feeling cray-zy.

I cut myself at the beach. I think I need a sturgeon.

My favorite type of music is orca-stra.

Ready to hear a killer whale pun?

I’m having one whale of a good day.

Better bait than never, I always say.

Cod we be friends?

I otter come to the beach more often.

Currently octo-pied sitting on the beach!

He’s shrimp-ing my style.

Beach days are very shrimportant.

Hate the beach? Shrimp-ossible!

We dolphin-ately need more beach time.

I try to keep to mussel.

I turtle-y love the beach!

I don’t give a clam.

Keep your friends close, and your anemones closer.

Urchin kidding me, right?

Let me mullet over…

I’ve been herring rumors about this beautiful beach…

The ocean is like its own tuna-verse.

I’ve got a great oppor-tuna-ty.

I have my trouts.

That beach pun was so bad, I’m going to have to con-fish-cate it.

I forgot to put sunscreen on my face, now minnows is sunburned!

I manta apply more sunscreen, but I forgot!

I’m hooked on an eel-ing, high on believing…

I’m not eeling well today.

When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s a-moray!

Roe, roe, roe your boat…

This is sardinely an excellent fish pun, no?

Carp-e diem!

Beach lover? Gill-ty as charged.

Oh my Cod!

Oh, the hu-manatee!

Can I make a quick lobster-vation?

Sea Puns

Sea, myself, and I

Long time, no sea!

Sea la vie!

If I hear one more bad beach pun, I’m going to have a sea-sure.

Carpe diem: it means seas the day.

Tis the sea-son to be jolly

I can sea clearly now, the rain has gone…

Time for a sea-esta!

It’ll be our little sea-cret.

I’ll sea you later.

You sea-m nice.

I have a sense of urgen-sea to get to the beach.

Boat Puns for the Beach

Ferry nice!

It’s a ferry beautiful day.

We should go oar we’ll be late.

Kayak you a question?

Dock it like it’s hot!

I’m a-boat to call it a day.

Hey! Water boat me?

Ship happens, okay?

I don’t give a ship!

Does it come with free shipping?

Fish and ships.

You can’t ship with us!

Schooner or later, I’ll run out of beach puns.

There’s a sail going on!

Cheesy Beach Puns and Beach Pick Up Lines

Psst: It’s not cool to go up to strangers on the beach and use these pick up lines on them — only use them, jokingly, with people you already know and love!

Hey, water you doing later?

Shell we dance?

Can we crab a drink later?

I think I shell in love with you.

Excuse me, are you shingle?

I’ve been wading for someone like you.

This might be crazy, but should we tide the knot?

I think we’re mermaid to be together.

Whale, hello there, you.

I’ve been looking for salmon just like you.

I’ve gotten hooked on you.

Wanna get romantically fin-volved?

I get a rush of en-dolphins just looking at you.

Can we cuttle?

Cod I call you later?

Pleased to meet your aqua-intance.

I fish we had more time together.

Do you like these mussels?

If you were a fruit, you’d be a fine-apple

I have to say: I’m totally coco-nuts for you

My cheesy beach pick up lines are shore to win your heart.

And IIIIIIIiiiiiiii whale always love you.

I wanna be Moray than just a friend.

Kelp! I need somebody! Kelp! Not just anybody!

Are you Cinderella? Because I think I found your glass flipper.

Shell Puns

Shell yeah, it’s summer time!

Shell-ebrate good times, come on!

My beach puns are shell-areas!

You’re very spe-shell to me.

Call me shellfish, but I don’t like sharing.

Shell I call you later?

I shell in love with the ocean

You used to call me on my shell-phone…

I’m so tired — think it’s time for me to conch out for a nap

Tropical Beach Puns

Tropic like it’s hot

Keep palm and carry on

He has a palming influence.

Cool, palm, and collected.

I’m coconuts about you.

I’ll never get Bora Bora’d at the beach.

Tahit is on!

I want some Moorea.

Can you be Pacific?

Pin These Beach Puns and Captions!

The Big USA Bucket List: 75 Things to Do in the USA!

There is simply so much to do and see in the USA that completing your USA bucket list could take a lifetime… luckily, that’s kind of the point of a bucket list!

I’ve included some of my must-dos in the USA, but other travel bloggers have also contributed their expertise on the best bucket list activities to add to your USA bucket list!

It’s by no means a full list, but I hope this gets you started!

USA Bucket List: West Coast

Visit Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe

Contributed by Katie of The Hollapinos

Visiting Emerald Bay should be in your travel bucket list when planning a trip to Lake Tahoe.

Being the most photographed place in Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay will mesmerize you with breathtaking panoramic views of a sparkling blue water bay surrounded by granite cliffs and tall pine trees with a small island in the middle.

This small island is the Fannette Island and the only island in Lake Tahoe. The ruins of a miniature castle that used to be the tea house of the owner of the Vikingsholm Castle stands in the middle of Fannette Island. You can rent a kayak or a paddleboard and visit Fannette Island.

Aside from kayaking and paddleboarding, some of the famous activities when visiting Emerald Bay is a tour inside the Vikingsholm Castle, hiking the Eagle Falls, swimming at the beach, and camping at the Eagle Point Campground.

See the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods

Contributed by Kristel and Gabriel Glasier of Chef Travel Guide

Imagine walking through the world’s densest and most impressive stands of big trees, with the distinct smell of pine in the air, the rushing sound of the creeks and rivers, and the dark canopy formed from by the towering redwoods, this is what awaits you at Humboldt Redwoods. Spanning over 53,000 acres, this California state park measures twice the size of the city of San Francisco. 

No trip to this area is complete without driving through the Avenue of the Giants. This 32-mile scenic drive takes you through narrow roads between giant redwoods as you cruise through a string of old-growth groves intermixed with hardwood forests and open fields. In order to see the best groves on foot, make sure to stop by the Founders’ Grove for the largest and most impressive grove; Bull Creek Flats to get a taste of the Rockefeller Forest; and Drury-Chaney Grove for the plush carpet of redwood sorrel.

Go hiking in Joshua Tree National Park

Contributed by Nadine Maffre of Le Long Weekend

Encompassing not one but two deserts, the Joshua Tree National Park offers a landscape like none other.

Otherworldly rock formations, distinctive Joshua trees, cacti gardens, and the unique wildlife make it an infinitely interesting place to go hiking and the varied trails mean there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Those stopping into the National Park for the day will be able to complete several of the shorter trails like the Hidden Valley Trail or the Barker Dam Track – even if you’re visiting Joshua Tree with kids.

The tracks are well marked out and if you stop at the visitor centre on the way in, they’ll give you a handy map with your NP pass. Don’t miss the Cholla Cactus Garden, and be sure to drive up to the Keys View Lookout for sweeping views over the Coachella Valley and Mount San Jacinto.

Go hiking in Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park

Contributed by Heather of Oregon Outdoor Family

When you visit Oregon, one must-do outdoor adventure is hiking through Silver Falls State Park. The entire loop features 10 waterfalls over 7.2 miles. Or you can drive along one end of the loop and hop out for short hikes to five of the waterfalls.

The waterfalls are among the tallest in Oregon and the trail goes behind two of the falls so you can stand behind the falling water. Hear the roar of the falls while the mist brings cool relief on a hot summer day. The “Trail of Ten Falls” hike is suitable for families with kids of all ages.

Take swimsuits and relax by the riverside at the end of the day. Don’t miss visiting the historic lodge for an ice cream cone or coffee. There’s even a nearby campground if you want to split your adventure into multiple days.

Finish your trip with a visit to nearby Panezanellie Breadstick Shoppe for some of the best cinnamon rolls in Oregon.

Go hiking in Fern Canyon

Contributed by Jessica of A Passion and A Passport

Looking to take one of the prettiest hikes in all of Northern California?! Go hiking along the Fern Canyon trail!

Located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, you’ll be walking between lush canyon walls, with waterfalls trickling over the edge and moss cascading down the sides! No wonder it’s so popular! The Fern Canyon hike is literally an emerald gem of Humboldt County.

And the best part? You don’t need to devote hours and hours to admire all the greenery – the hike is roughly a mile and takes approximately 30-90 minutes to complete (depending on how often you stop for photos of course!).

Although it’s kinda a pain to get to (down a dirt road with multiple stream crossings), you’ll be wowed the minute you get there!

Go skiing on Mammoth Mountain

Contributed by Barbara of Let’s Go Mum

Skiing at Mammoth Mountain, California is an essential activity for your USA travel bucket list.

Just a one hour flight or few hours drive from Los Angeles, the gorgeous little town of Mammoth Lakes services Mammoth Mountain, a world-class ski resort for all skiing abilities – from the absolute beginner to the very advanced.

Ski hire is available on the mountain, as are ski lessons for all skiing levels.

For non-skiers there are plenty of fun snow activities too, including tobogganing and snow tubing – plus a bowling alley in the town and some excellent restaurants and bars for apres-ski enjoyment!

The Village accommodation precinct features a heated swimming pool surrounded by snow, fire pits to toast s’mores and a direct gondola to the ski slopes.

It’s worth traveling to Mammoth Mountain for the incredible snowy mountain vistas alone – it’s a beautiful and fun destination in the great state of California.

See a wildflower superbloom

Contributed by Dhara from Roadtripping California

California’s wildflower superblooms are so spectacular that you can even see them from satellites in space! Viewing a wildflower superbloom should definitely be on your USA bucket list if you love nature.

Superblooms occur in many places around the Golden State, so if you are visiting in the spring of a superbloom year, you can easily weave in a few destinations into a California road trip itinerary.

Anza-Borrega Desert State Park, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and the Carrizo Plain National Monument are just some of the places that have showstopper wildflower displays. At peak, you will see entire hillsides painted in swathes of yellow, orange, and purple, and meadows of wildflowers stretching as far as the eye can see. It truly is a sight to behold!

Check out the Golden Gate Bridge

Contributed by Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew

One of the bucket list items in the USA is to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. 

An engineering marvel and an iconic landmark of the city of San Francisco in California, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-visit. More than 10 million people visit this attraction each year, and take in views of the blue waters and the red bridge! 

The bridge is completely free to walk across, view, and photograph. There are sightseeing cruises and buses available if you wish to explore this landmark in a different way. Highly recommend the Golden Gate Bridge and its park area to be part of your San Francisco Itinerary, on your next visit!  

Ascend the Space Needle in Seattle

Contributed by Theresa Ladner of Adventures in Middle Aged Travel

The Space Needle in Seattle is one of the must-do activities when you are there.

Located downtown, it’s easy to find as you can see it from almost anywhere in the city.

For $35 you can ride up the elevator to the observation deck at 520 feet. At 500 feet is the Loupe, a glass-floored walkway that is not for the faint of heart.

You can also get a table in the café on the upper observation deck or book a sunset wine experience.

Do a Boeing Factory tour in Seattle

Contributed by Karen of Big Adventures for Little Feet

Looking for something a little out of the ordinary to do in Seattle? A great activity is visiting the Futiure of Flight Aviation Centre and taking one of their Boeing Factory Tours. Get a behind the scenes understanding of what goes into building a commercial airplane on these really fascinating tours.

The museum within the Future of Flight Avaiation Centre provided lots of contextual information on the history of Boeing as one of the primary aircraft builders in the world. But the real action starts when you start your briefing and head into the aircraft hangars to observe the real-life construction of planes.

The Seattle-Everett Base is home to the Boeing twin aisle planes predominantly the Dreamliners and 777, 787 planes and at the time of our visit there were multiple aircrafts being worked on at the same time. Back outside you can also watch the testing of new aircraft as they run through their routine checks for take-offs and landings.

This is a super activity for all travelers. Tickets should be pre-purchased as they do sell out. 

Wine taste in Napa

Contributed by Anisa of Two Traveling Texans

Napa Valley is the best-known wine region in the US and one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit.  Some of the views will take your breath away.

There are over 500 wineries in Napa, so you will not run out of wines to try. Some of the most popular options are Chateau Montelena, Castello di Amorosa, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Luna Vineyards, and Domaine Carneros. The offerings at each winery vary.  Some run tours and have food pairings, others have lovely grounds to explore.  If you want a fun alternative to traditional wine tasting, you could go on the Napa Wine Train.

Since Napa is not too far from San Francisco, it makes an easy day trip.  Ideally, stay for a least a weekend so you can have more time to explore the area and visit Sonoma County too.  You don’t have to spend all your time drinking, there are also plenty of things to do in Napa besides wine tasting.

Whale watch in San Diego

Contributed by Maria Haase of San Diego Explorer

Whale watching in San Diego is the perfect bucket list item for your US trip. While there are some spots, like Torrey Pines, Cabrillo National Monument, or the Birch Aquarium, where you can see the whales from land, a whale watching tour on a boat is the best way to see them.

You’ll get to see and learn more about some of the most fascinating animals on the planet AND get to spend a day out on a boat off the coast of San Diego. What’s not to love?

Southern California is a great location to go whale watching. Depending on the time of year, you can either see blue whales in the summer or grey whales and humpback whales during the winter.

There are also “residential” whales species like Minke or Fin whales that have been seen year-round in the water of the coast of San Diego. 

Take a Death Valley road trip

Contributed by Katalin Waga of Our Life Our Travel

Road tripping in the Death Valley is a must-have item on your US bucket list. The best way to explore this scorching yet stunning place is by car as the National Park is too hot for spending extended time outdoors during a significant part of the year.

Make sure you take enough water with you and stops at least the most unique sights: the Badwater Basin’s salt flat is the lowest point of the continental US, while Furnace Creek is the hottest place in the world.

The Eureka Dunes are simply spectacular, so are the Ubehebe crater and the colorful badlands near the Zabriskie Point.

Go for a bike ride in Santa Monica

Contributed by Barbara of Let’s Go Mum

Hiring a bike to cycle along the Santa Monica, California beachfront is the perfect USA bucket-list item! 

Hire a bicycle direct from the Santa Monica Pier – but before you go, don’t forget to get a photo with the “End Of Trail – Route 66” sign! 

There are miles of bike paths in either direction, but a must-do trail is The Pier to Venice Beach and back. The trail is flat and easy with no busy roads, so perfect for bike riders and families of all ages and abilities. 

There’s plenty to see along the way with the gorgeous beach and ocean to one side, and the eclectic shops and murals of Venice Beach on the other – and of course the famous Venice Beach skate park. 

Upon your return, head farther along the Santa Monica Pier to the Pacific Park fun fair and ride the iconic Santa Monica Ferris wheel for unsurpassed California coastal views. 

Round off the day by making your way to the end of the Pier and watch the stunning spectacle of a Santa Monica sunset into the sea – just magic!

USA Bucket List: Southwest

Helicopter over Sedona’s red rocks

Contributed by Erin McLaughlin of The Gal On The Go.

Everyone needs to experience Sedona once in their lifetime, but the best way to do so is by helicopter.

This ride is undoubtedly a bucket list item in the United States you won’t want to miss! What better way to see the breathtaking red rock landscape then from an aerial view?

You will fly over iconic rock formations such as Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, and Steamboat Rock. Watch the sunset as you soar above Bear Wallow Canyon.

Be sure to pack a camera to capture the epic views. This unforgettable experience is sure to bring you to priceless memories!

Take a romantic gondola ride at the Venetian, Las Vegas

Contributed by Nikki of Attractions of America

Las Vegas, Nevada, is beaming with amazing places to go for a date night that is sure to make memories that will last a lifetime with your significant other. One such unique activity that Las Vegas offers is taking a Gondola Ride at the Venetian.

Every gondola ride is led by a singing gondolier taking you on an adventure down canals passing by all kinds of sites and sounds. You have the option to take a gondola ride inside or outside to have two totally different views.

You can take a gondolier ride Monday through Thursday, and Sunday from 10 AM-11 PM, as well as Friday and Saturday from 10 AM- 12 AM. No matter where you venture around Las Vegas, make sure to add a date night onboard a Gondola at the Venetian part of your travel itinerary.

Visit the Salt Flats in Utah

Contributed by Deb of The Visa Project

There are very few unique, otherworldly landscapes in North America like the beautiful Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Barely an hour and a half from Salt Lake City, it is perfectly flat and uniform whiteness spanning for 46 square miles. While working in the USA, I lived in Utah and visited it many times.

The aesthetic of the flats makes it the perfect destination for photography. Watching the sunrise and sunset from the flats is as wonderful as gazing at one of the darkest skies full of stars at night. 

And if you can set your personal speed record on the uniform, flat surface of the flats with zero chances of a collision. In reality, many speed racing events are organized yearly on the Salt Flats. 

Salt Flats is open to the public most of the year, without any entrance fees.

Hike the Navajo Loop trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

Contributed by Hannah of Thatadventurer.co.uk

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a beautiful National Park with incredible scenery. Seeing the Hoodoos, tall, narrow rock formations that the park is famous for, is a highlight of any trip and the best way to see them is to take a hike.

The Navajo Loop trail is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park and should be on your USA bucket list!

Starting at Sunset Point in the Bryce Canyon amphitheater you’ll head down amongst the hoodoos going past some incredible scenery including Thor’s Hammer (a small boulder balancing on top of a tower), Two Bridges and Wall Street which is a cool part of the trail where you’re surrounded by the rocks and pass through a fairly narrow corridor between them before returning to where you started.

Go white water rafting on the Colorado River in Utah

Contributed by Heather Raulerson of RaulersonGirlsTravel

One of the most exciting bucket list adventures I’ve been on was experiencing a white water rafting tour on the Colorado River in Moab, Utah.

The white water trek starts calmly enough with the rafts gently floating down the river in smooth waters and you can marvel at the buttes and the stunning red rock canyons that rival Monument Valley as you float by them.

We were even allowed to slide out and swim next to the raft for a bit. Later on down the river, our raft was bobbing up and down with the rapids (Class I-II). 

As we paddled to our guide’s instructions, all you could hear was laughter as someone in the raft got splashed by a wave. If you are new to white water rafting, this portion of the Colorado River in Utah is a fabulous place to start your white water adventure.

Hike in Arches National Park, Utah

Contributed by James Ian of Travel Collecting

You absolutely must go hiking in Arches National Park. 

There are super short and easy hikes like those to Sand Dune Arch and Skyline Arch and the incredible Double Arch in the Windows section of the park.  There are also medium hikes like that to Delicate Arch. 

Time your visit to see the sunset.  The beautiful freestanding arch, which features on Utah’s license plates, glows an incredible golden color in the late afternoon light. 

Or, for the more adventurous, venture into the narrow alleys of Fiery Furnace or the all-day hike into Devil’s Garden.  This last trail takes you past eight arches, across the tops of narrow ridges and deep into Fin Canyon. 

Go fruit picking at the Capitol Reef Orchards

Contributed by Megan Johnson of Red Around the World

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah is totally underrated, but it is full of amazing things to do.  The Capitol Reef orchards are the best and not something you’ll find in almost any other national park. 

It has some of the coolest hikes like Cohab Canyon, Hickman Bridge, Sulphur Creek, Headquarters Canyon, and Surprise Canyon.  Make sure to stop at the Gifford Store for some homemade pie, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, and salsa. 

This is also one of the best places for stargazing in Utah thanks to its location and lack of proximity to any cities. 

Capitol Reef is also the perfect stop to break up the long drive between Moab and Bryce Canyon or Zion, which is what most people will be driving between.  It’s such a unique park and one of my personal favorites.

Go scuba diving at Santa Rosa Blue Hole, NM

Contributed by Nikki of Santa Rosa Blue Hole

New Mexico is full of natural beauty from caverns to sand dunes, mountains, lakes, and more. One beautiful escape in New Mexico is the Santa Rosa Blue Hole, a seemingly beautiful gem of a lake that appears right in the middle of the desert.

The Blue Hole was earlier a National fish hatchery before being transformed into this incredible diving destination in the US. A spring feeds and replenishes the water within the Blue Hole every day, creating perfect and clear diving conditions.

A big draw of Santa Rosa Blue Hole is the pristine crystal blue water that allows clear views for up to 100 feet underwater that stays around 62 degrees year-round.

There is a Santa Rosa Dive Center nearby with scuba diving equipment available to rent for your underwater adventure. The Santa Rosa Blue Hole is truly a geological wonder that people come from miles around to explore.

Hike the Narrows in Zion National Park

Contributed by Caroline Ikeji of Pictures & Words

While there are many incredible hikes in Zion National Park, the Narrows is one of the best. It is one of the most iconic hikes in Zion, and gives you an unforgettable experience of hiking in the north fork, through the narrowest section of the Zion Canyon.

You can either hike the entire span of the Narrows as a 16-mile top-down hike (permit required), or just a part of it as a day hike. Either way, it is an absolute must as it is an absolutely unique experience. 

In the Narrows, you actually hike in the river. At the shallowest part, the water is ankle deep, but gets up to waist high at the deepest point (water levels change depending on rainfall and time of year). The scenery is absolutely breathtaking throughout, and it was cool to see how it changes as you get deeper into the canyon.

At the very least, it is recommended that you hike up to Wall Street, the beginning of the narrowest part of the canyon, about two miles into the hike. This is where the Narrows is absolutely breathtaking, especially seeing the light streaming through the narrow canyon walls. An absolute bucket list experience!

USA Bucket List: Mountain West

Chill at the Dillon Ice Castles

Contributed by Dalya of Sweet Little Journey

If you’ve ever wanted to see what 25 million pounds of ice in the form of a castle looks like, visit the Ice Castles in Colorado during winter.

These castles get constructed by hand every year and feature ice tunnels, an ice slide, fountains, colorful LED lights, and thrones.

They’re built by ice artists using thousands of carefully hand-placed icicles. These castles are highly dependent on the weather and usually stick around from the end of December till early March, so make sure not to miss this wonderful temporary display of frozen winter wonderland.

Your ticket here is a timed entry which allows you to only enter at a certain time. You’re welcome to stay as long as you want, but note that crowds tend to accumulate near the end of the day!

See a live performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver, CO

Contributed by Kara Patterson of Destination: Live Life

This one is for the music lovers out there, and no bucket list could be complete without catching a live performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver, CO.

Red Rocks is a natural outdoor amphitheatre with towering red rock formations that help create the most incredible, natural acoustics. This venue is beloved by fans and artists alike, many of whom dream about the opportunity to play amongst the rocks.

In fact, many impassioned debates have been had about whether Red Rocks is the best outdoor music venue in the country (PS, it is). Due to its proximity, basing yourself in Denver is your best bet.

In Denver you can find an incredible Denver Airbnb options, amazing bars and restaurants, and all the sights and activities a person can handle. It’s the perfect place to round out an incredible bucket list activity!

Take a road trip in the mountains of Colorado

Contributed by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.

For anyone interested in a mountain adventure, a Colorado road trip is a must-do! Start your trip in Denver, head to the hip town of Boulder and then onto Glenwood Springs, Ouray, and Mesa Verde National Park. The latter of which is home to the ancient dwellings of the Pueblo People. From there, you can visit another stunning national park – the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The otherworldly landscape of this park is made up of a sea of sand dunes.

Back in the mountains, experience Buena Vista and Colorado Springs before heading back to Denver. You’ll want to spend at a minimum of 2 weeks on this road trip but if you are anything like us you will end up lingering around much longer than planned!

Try sand-boarding at Sand Dunes National Park

Contributed by Dalya of Sweet Little Journey

Sand boarding is one of those things you have to try at least once in your lifetime! And what better place to try it than the tallest sand dunes in North America!

The tallest dunes in Sand Dunes National Park is almost 700 feet. Keep in mind that the base elevation here is 7520′ which is already fairly high for someone who is not from Colorado so you may feel a bit out of breath climbing these dunes.

You can rent a sandboard or bring your own and go down any dune you have your heart set on. The park is open year-round, but is best experienced in the early spring and early fall when temperatures are milder.

Spend time at a dude ranch In Montana

Contributed by Keri of Bon Voyage With Kids

One of the very best bucket list activities to do in the United States is to spend a week at a dude ranch in Montana

An absolutely spectacular place and experience to get off the grid and spend a week like a cowboy or a cowgirl, it is an amazing experience for couples, solo travelers, families, and multigenerational families. 

While there are many types of dude ranch experiences in different states, a simple ranch in Montana gives you the chance to enjoy the glorious mountain views on guided trails seeing “big sky country.” 

As any visitor to Montana will tell you, there is something uniquely special about this place that makes you want to come back for more. Experiencing it by horseback is an amazing way to connect with nature, disconnect from technology, and enjoy the quiet simplicity of ranch life. 

Our family enjoyed a glorious week at one such ranch this summer, about 30 miles from  West Yellowstone. Beginners are welcome, and we stepped into a life completely foreign to our own. But by the end, we were riding horses like we had been doing it for years.

Walking up each morning to the sounds of horses being wrangled, running for meals at the sound of the meal bell, learning to fly fish in fresh streams, and watching cozy sunsets from the porch of our log cabin was a glorious way to spend a vacation. A Montana dude ranch experience is an absolute MUST DO USA bucket list item for any traveler. 

Driving Going-to-the-Sun Road 

Contributed by Lora of Explore with Lora 

The USA is full of amazing adventures but one you don’t want to miss is driving Going-to-the-Sun Road inside Glacier National Park. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can even try biking it!

Located in northwestern Montana, Going-to-the-Sun Road begins in West Glacier, spanning over 50 miles to the East entrance of the national park in St Marys. It crosses the continental divide at Logan Pass, taking you through majestic mountains, breathtaking valleys, and incredible waterfalls.

Glacier National Park is full of amazing wildlife so on top of the breathtaking landscapes you may also spot mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears while driving along this road! Visitors come from all over the world just to make this drive, so you’ll definitely want to add to your USA bucket list.

Check out otherworldy landscapes at Yellowstone

Contributed by Megan of Megan & Aram

A USA bucket list item is to head to Yellowstone National Park and check out landscapes that are completely out of this world.  The geysers, hot springs, and photogenic scenery will be sure to blow your mind and be a memory ingrained in your head for eternity. 

Be sure to not miss the Morning Glory Pool of the Upper Geyser Basin as it is one of the best sights in the park and needs to be a part of your Yellowstone itinerary.  Mammoth Hot Springs is another jaw-dropping sight to see in Yellowstone.  

Yellowstone may be packed with tourists during the summer months, so opt for a trip out of season to experience fewer crowds and cheaper prices.  The National Park is a must-visit if you’re looking for the best scenery in the United States.

USA Bucket List: The South

Go swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida

Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad

There are lots of bucket list adventures to be had in Florida but for a completely unique experience, try swimming with manatees in Crystal River, on the central Gulf Coast known as Florida’s Nature Coast.

 Here you’ll find the West Indian manatees in large numbers throughout the year. But in winter when the Gulf temperatures drop, manatees head to the warmer waters of the natural springs around central Florida that remain a constant 72 degrees (F).

Crystal River is the only place in Florida where you can swim with these gentle aquatic mammals in their natural habitat. You’ll float around as they swim by and play, passively observing them from a distance.

A truly amazing eco-experience you’ll only find in Florida!

Kayaking to Caladesi Island, Florida

Contributed by Paula of Paula Pins the Planet

One of the best Florida bucket lists is to kayak to the Caladesi Island State Park, and to experience not only the spectacular beach, but also the plentiful wildlife along the way. 

Caladesi Island is one of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast, and you can paddle a kayak from the causeway that goes to Honeymoon Island State Park

While kayaking to Caladesi Island you can see dolphins nearby, magnificent frigate birds overhead, and roseate spoonbills in the mangrove. On the island, you can walk on the three miles of Caladesi Island beach with soft, white sand with many shells and swing on the clear turquoise water.   

Caladesi Island is a beach paradise and very isolated and away from the crowds. In fact, Caladesi Island was named number 1 beach in America in 2008. 

Road trip down Florida to Key West

Contributed by Jenni Fielding of Cruise Mummy


A road trip down the East Coast of Florida from Jacksonville to Key West is the perfect way to see the state’s best sights.

Best done in a convertible car to make the most of the views and the Florida sunshine, the drive only takes eight hours but it’s best to allow a week for the best experience.

Top places to visit on the way include the historic city of St Augustine, Orlando’s theme parks, the Kennedy Space Centre, funky Fort Lauderdale, trendy Miami Beach and then each of the islands in the Florida Keys.

You’ll finish the trip in Key West, at the southernmost tip of the USA.

Admire the murals at the Wynwood Walls

Contributed by Roshni of The Wanderlust Within

The Wynwood Walls in Miami, is one of the most colorful places in the US. This outdoor art exhibition is ever changing and has showcased the work of over 50 graffiti and street artists from 16 different countries.

The exhibition is made up of insta worthy murals that line the Wynwood District and have become a must see attraction in the USA and inspired many famous Miami quotes

Even though entry is free, it is best to do one of the paid walking tours so you can learn more about the background of the piece and some insight into the behind the scenes process. 

Eat Cuban food in Little Havana, Miami

Contributed by Rose Monday of Where Goes Rose

Experiencing Cuban culture in Miami is a must for your USA bucket list. This area was populated when Cubans fled their homeland under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro.

When you wander the neighborhood today, you’ll find more Spanish than English spoken and stumble across Cuban cigar stores and galleries displaying Cuban artwork. 

The best activity might be exploring the best restaurants in Little Havana and sampling Cuban cuisine. Must-trys include Cuban coffee and empanadas at Le Pub, mojitos at Ball & Chain, gelato at Azucar Ice Cream and Cuban sandwiches with ham, swiss cheese and pickles at Old Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina.

Not only will you try the food but you’ll meet the locals and learn about their culture!

Walk the squares in Savannah

Contributed by Erin Clarkson of Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

When Oglethorpe landed along the banks of the Savannah River in 1733, he established the city built around four squares. Today, there are 22, and many are surrounded by historic homes.

If you’re planning to explore all of them, it IS possible to do in one day. However, it’s better if you have an entire weekend to get it done.

Here are a few of the more well-known squares to prioritize:

Chippewa Square is the picturesque spot where Forrest Gump famously sat on a bench while narrating the story of his life.

The Mercer-Williams house, from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame, faces Monterey Square, which is also home to Temple Mickve Israel..

The beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is adjacent to Lafayette Square, where you’ll also find Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home.

Wright Square and Calhoun Square are known for being two of the most haunted!

Go to the Houston Rodeo

Contributed by Yo Schlachter of Texas Wanderers

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the most popular things to do in Texas, drawing millions of people each year. The event lasts three weeks, and is packed with exciting rodeo events like bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and more.

Don’t miss the mutton bustin’ where tiny kids compete to stay on their sheep longest, hanging on as they race to the other side of the arena. Ending off the rodeo events every night is a concert by another popular musical artist.

Outside the rodeo, a carnival offers 80+ different rides, with dozens of food vendors selling typically Texan fare like smoked turkey legs, funnel cakes, and even a deep-fried cookie dough sundae!

Bring the kids to the livestock show to watch baby chicks being born, view newly birthed cows, and walk through the ‘farm experience,’ where kids can pick fake vegetables, milk a fake cow, collect fake eggs, and then ‘sell’ it all at the market.

Take a driving or biking tour of the Natchez Trace

Contributed by Jennifer Campbell of Just Chasing Rabbits

Taking a driving, biking, or motorcycle tour of the Natchez Trace is a must-do when visiting the state of Mississippi. This 444-mile parkway follows a historic trail that winds from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, providing beautiful scenery and stops where visitors can experience nature and learn about thousands of years of history on one of America’s oldest roadways.

The original path was created by migrating animals, like deer and bison, as well as the Native Americans that followed the herds. Travelers on the Trace can visit Native American sites like Emerald Mound, Pharr Mounds, and Chickasaw Village Site.

Later, the Trace would be used by explorers, pioneers, soldiers, and more. One of the original inns (Mount Locust) still stands near Natchez, and graves of unknown Confederate soldiers along the Old Trace are a grim reminder of the Civil War.

Today, the Natchez Trace is maintained by the National Park Service. The visitors center in Tupelo, Mississippi provides opportunities to learn more via exhibits, a film presentation, and knowledgeable rangers.

Hike the waterfalls at the Great Smoky Mountains

Contributed by Corritta from It’s a Family Thing

You can’t have a USA bucket list without including the Great Smoky Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful National Parks east of the Mississippi River.

What makes this park amazing are all of the waterfalls throughout the park. You have to hike through this park to see all of its natural beauty. There are over 100 waterfalls in this 500,000 acre National Park.

The best waterfalls in the Smokies are Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, Abrams Falls, and Mouse Creek Falls. Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife, because black bears, deer, and bobcats are known to frequent the park.

Once you visit this oasis you’ll want to return year after year to see all of the gorgeous waterfalls this massive park has to offer.

Go tubing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Contributed by Rachel of Grateful Gypsies

Tubing down the river never disappoints but there’s something special about tubing inside a national park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers many places for tubing but the best is in Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.

It’s a bit different from other tubing experiences as vendors are not allowed in the park on the North Carolina side. You must first rent your tube. Then you drive it into the park yourself and hike about a half-mile up to the starting point, of which there are two. The lower starting point is more chilled out with fewer rapids.

But if you enjoy a bit of adventure, you should continue on to the upper starting point as there are more rapids and steeper drops. The best part is that you can go down the river as many times as you please. You just need to return the tube, still inflated, by the time the shop closes.

Go wine tasting in Texas

Contributed by Bruna Venturinelli of Maps ‘N Bags

Sipping wine in the Texas Wine Country should be on everyone’s USA bucket list!

Just an hour from San Antonio and Austin, Fredericksburg is a lovely German town packed with some of the state’s best wines!

While discovering the Texas Wine Country, you will want to stop at some of the best wineries in Fredericksburg to taste a couple of wines from the Lone Star State and get personal with the southern hospitality–it’s a fantastic experience.

Tree-lined creeks, rolling hills, and bluebonnets are some of the backdrops you can spot since Fredericksburg is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Excellent wine, sweeping landscapes, and southern hospitality–what’s not to love?

USA Bucket List: Midwest

Drive Route 66

Contributed by Stephanie Craig of Oklahoma Wonders

Route 66 is the ultimate American road trip, and no USA bucket list is complete without penciling in a week or two to explore the “Mother Road.”

Historically important as one of the primary ways Americans migrated west, Route 66 at first became synonymous with Okies who used it to flee the Dust Bowl for a better life.

This was such a common phenomenon that Will Rogers joked “When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states.” Of course, today travelers love Route 66 for its kitschy, throwback vibes.

There’s no better way to see the interior of the country than spending your nights at vintage motels and your days at great American wonders like the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert.

While you’ll never run out of things to see on Route 66, it does help to plan out your itinerary ahead of time. Otherwise you’ll want to pull over to ever motel and every stop along the way!

Kayak around the Apostle Islands

Contributed by Paulina of Paulina on the Go

If you think Lake Superior is peaceful, you are in for a surprise: it is one of the infamous lakes in the world which gets squalls out of nowhere!

But most of the time the lake is dead silent, and there is no other lake anywhere in the world in the world where you could find a complete silence while you’re paddling your kayak. 

A lot of people visit Apostle islands to see the famous sea caves as the weather and the waves have managed to carved intricate passages through the rocks. You can easily find arches and caverns to slip your kayak through. In addition to this, finding luxury cabins in Wisconsin for your stay is quite easy near the national park. 

As the summer season starts to rise, the national park is a perfect place for kayakers to test their paddling skills while still enjoying the view. 

USA Bucket List: East Coast

Go wild blueberry picking in Maine

Contributed by Naomi of Roaming the Americas

While Maine is most well-known for lobster, there’s another food it deserves renown for: wild blueberries. Trust me when I tell you that you haven’t had a blueberry until you’ve had a wild blueberry, and picking them is a Maine summer rite of passage. 

These tinier, flavor-packed versions of high-bush cultivated blueberries grow wherever they feel like it all over Maine—low to the ground in rocky, acidic soil—but are most prevalent on the coast from the Acadia National Park area to Canada. 

Wild blueberry season is typically during the first few weeks of August, though it may come slightly earlier or later some years. There are a few pick-your-own operations, and it’s common to find them along hiking trails. If you’re on public land and know how to identify them, pick to your heart’s content.

Go leaf-peeping in Vermont in fall

Contributed by Tara Schatz of Back Road Ramblers

New England is arguably one of the best places to experience fall foliage in the United States, and when it comes to leaf-peeping, Vermont definitely takes the prize.

If you have never experienced Autumn in Vermont, you are in for a treat. The trees start to change colors in late September and are usually at their peak in mid-October. 

A road trip on Route 100 will take you 216 miles through the heart of the Green Mountains with incredible leaf-peeping opportunities, not to mention cute New England villages, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes and ponds.

Highlights of a fall road trip along Route 100 include the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Moss Glen Falls in Granville, and the mountain town of Stowe, which is home to Vermont’s tallest mountain. With forest covering three-quarters of the entire state, it’s easy to see why fall foliage season in Vermont entices travelers from all over the world.

See the cherry blossoms in Washington DC

Contributed by Julie McCool of Fun in Fairfax VA

One of the most beautiful bucket list experiences in the Eastern U.S. is to see the cherry blossoms in bloom in Washington DC. Every spring, the cherry trees explode with pink and white blossoms adding color and delicate beauty to the backdrop of DC’s granite monuments.

The Tidal Basin is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in the DC region. Here, you can stroll a two-mile paved trail thick with blossoms. For a less crowded view, rent a pedal boat and enjoy the cherry blossoms from the water.

It’s a fun way to capture gorgeous photos of the Washington, Jefferson, and MLK Monuments rising above the flowering trees. Parking at the Tidal Basin is very limited, but it’s just a short walk from the Smithsonian stop of the DC Metro.

Attend a Broadway show in NYC

Contributed by Jennifer of World On A Whim

Attending a Broadway show during a visit to New York City should absolutely be included on your USA bucket list. There are very few things better in this world than watching professional singers belt out classic show tunes like “On My Own” from Les Miserables or the “Tonight Quintet” in West Side Story. You’ll laugh, cry, and feel all the feels.

Eight shows are typically performed each week in one of the 41 professional theaters found in the Theater District in Midtown, Manhattan. Performances are held Tuesday through Saturday nights with matinee shows on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Monday nights are usually “dark” which means there isn’t a show that night.

I’d recommend purchasing tickets well in advance from the box office if you are planning on seeing a popular show like Hamilton. If the musical has been on Broadway for awhile, you can probably find some tickets at TKTS, a discounted ticket booth with three locations in NYC.

Some of my personal favorite must-see shows that are currently on Broadway include Hamilton, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Come From Away.

Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Contributed by Moshe of The Top Ten Traveler

The 9/11 terror attack on the US has left a deep hole in the soul of the American nation and had an impact on the whole world. The World Trade Center in New York City has changed its appearance in the aftermath of the attack and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum were built where the twin towers once stood.

The actual location of the buildings is now the Memorial with two big square pools, each about an acre in size, with 30 feet manmade waterfalls descending in, and another 20-feet-deep hole in their center. The Memorial represents “absence made visible”, according to the architect, and seeing this place is a powerful emotional experience.

Next to the memorial stands the museum, with exhibitions telling the story of the attack (and also of the 1993 bombing of the WTC), and over 70000 artifacts from victims, survivors, and responders.

Walk around Downtown Manhattan

Contributed by Daphna of A Tiny Trip

There is nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan on a weekday morning!

Start your visit with a walk in the Financial District, where you can see the infamous Wall Street and take a picture with the Charging Bull. Then walk through the Oculus to One World Trade Center, where you can visit the One World Observatory for a view of New York City from the 100th floor. Pay tribute at the stunning World Trade Center Memorial before crossing to over to discover Battery Park City parks.

Walk through the parks, along the Hudson River to Bowling Green for a view of the Statue of Liberty. With time to spare you can even take a ferry ride to Liberty Island and Ellis Island!

Take in the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights

Contributed by Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World

Whether you spend 4 days in New York or a full month there, you absolutely have to head to Brooklyn Heights.

This is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and the first suburb of New York City, packed with Victorian-style buildings, lovely churches and quaint shops.

Yet, the main attraction there is the breathtaking view of Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Hardly ever crowded at any time of year, this is a perfect place for a walk and for people’s watching.

It’s a great place to visit both during the day and at night, if you want to see the many lights of Manhattan.

Getting there is very easy: once you get off the Brooklyn Bridge, head south on Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and cross Whitman Park. Turn right on Tillary St. then left on Clifton St. and right again on Pierrepont St.

Stroll the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island

Contributed by Jackie Gately at Enjoy Travel Life

Newport is perhaps best known for opulent mansions, once summer “cottages” to some of the wealthiest families in the United States during the Gilded Age. For a nominal fee, you can tour the plush interiors of the mansions, now maintained by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It’s especially wondrous to visit the Newport Mansions at the Holidays!

However, the most enjoyable—and free—way to see the mansions is to stroll along the Cliff Walk. This 3.5 mile public right of way over private property offers sweeping views to the Atlantic Ocean and the Newport Mansions. You’ll discover stunning vistas of the mansions and their well-coiffed estates.

To begin the trail, follow the signs at First Beach. Two-thirds of the path is easy, but a small portion of the southern half is best-suited to appropriate shoes and some caution: you’ll pass within steps of a 70-foot drop.

Tour Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Contributed by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting

Independence Hall is the most important building of the many Philadelphia historical sites. It’s a landmark that belongs on any bucket list because the beloved structure not only hosted the Second Continental Congress and signing of the Declaration of Independence, it’s also where the American Constitution was written and adopted during the summer of 1787. 

The building where America was born is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has long been a symbol of freedom. Construction on the building finished in 1753 and it originally served as the Pennsylvania State House during colonial times. The iconic structure is where all three branches of Pennsylvania’s colonial government met. When the colonies needed a meeting place, Pennsylvania provided its Assembly Room to the men of the Second Continental Congress.

The belltower of Independence Hall is the original home of the Liberty Bell, which is now located in a pavilion across the street. You can check Independence Hall off of your bucket list by reserving a spot on one of it’s daily tours. The free guided tour lasts about 30 minutes and can be arranged from the nearby Independence Visitors Center.

Explore Colonial Williamsburg

Contributed by Lyndsay of The Purposely Lost

As the largest living history museum in the United States, Colonial Williamsburg deserves to be on your USA bucket list.

Hundreds of restored, original buildings still stand from when Williamsburg, Virginia was the capital of the Commonwealth, and make up the exhibits of the museum.

Spend at least a day in Williamsburg wandering through the museum’s buildings, learning about their history from historical reenactors, who will tell you about the Colonial era from a first-person perspective.

Colonial Williamsburg also offers various guided walking tours throughout its more than 300-acre grounds, focusing on different aspects of its history, including a few ghost tours.

Visit Nantucket by bike

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

Only a day trip from Boston or Cape Cod, you can explore the cute island of Nantucket by bike.

Either by bringing your own bike or by renting one on the island, Nantucket is crisscrossed with bike paths so you can enjoy the whole island. Make sure you go to Siasconset to explore some of the oldest houses on Nantucket.

The beach there is wonderful, and you can cycle all the way out to Sankaty Head Lighthouse. Explore the bike trails out to Madaket and Surfside for the beaches.

There are also great hiking opportunities in lush green forest and you get all the way to the trails only 15-20 minutes by bike from Downtown.

Go ice hiking at Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

Contributed by Karen Dawkins of Family Travels on a Budget

Ice hiking at Ricketts Glen State Park in the Pennsylvania mountains is an exhilarating winter adventure. Geared up with winter coats, water bottles, and sunglasses, guides provide crampons for boots and ice picks for balance, for a fun winter adventure.

Trained guides lead tour groups down the Ricketts Glen falls trail to see the frozen wonderland created by the waterfalls each winter. Huge icicles, snow covered trees, and a shiny glaze of ice along the trail is breathtaking!

The star of the show is the 94-foot Ganoga Falls, with stunning ice walls muffling the sound of the rushing water. Conquering the trail is a thrill in itself, and the reward — stunning views few ever see — is totally worth it!

Do a Covered Bridges Bike Tour in New Hampshire

Contributed by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

What is more quintessentially New England that a historic covered bridge? The Bike the Bridges cycling loop in southern New Hampshire brings you past four picturesque covered bridges. 

The 12-mile bike trip is one of many exciting outdoor adventures in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. The family-friendly cycling tour travels on quiet country roads and partially on the Ashuelot Rail Trail.

Starting in Keene, NH, you bike past farm fields with mountain views through quaint New England towns to discover each covered bridge. Stop at a farm stand to pick up treats for a picnic on Swanzy Lake along the way.

The covered bridges were built in the 1800s and bring you back to a time when life was more relaxed. This bucket list bicycle ride to the covered bridges is particularly stunning during the fall foliage.

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Contributed by Nicole Sunderland Of Bucketlistlists

One of the best USA bucket list destinations is the Blue Ridge Parkway located in Virginia. This unmissable location is most known for its beautiful drive. Hailed as one of the best drives in America, these twists and turns are packed with beauty.

The best activity on the Blue Ridge Parkway is driving to see the changing of colors. A top fall bucket list item is the fall foliage. Along these 469 miles of grandeur is rolling mountains with shades of red, orange and yellow as far as the eye can see on a clear day.

USA Bucket List: Hawaii & Alaska

Hike the Manoa Falls Trail in Hawaii

Contributed by Clara from Petite Capsule

Hiking the Manoa Falls Trail in Hawaii is a must for your USA bucket list. It is a beautiful walk before arriving at the 150-foot tall waterfall. There is lush green jungle-like vegetation, eucalyptus trees and a bamboo forest. The scenery may remind you of the Jurassic Park movie, as some of the movie was filmed here. 

Manoa Falls is rated as an easy hike. You can do it when traveling with a baby and toddler, children, and adults. The length of the walk is 0.8 miles to the waterfall or 1.6 miles return. The path is mostly shady, which is excellent.

It is a dirt track, which gets muddy in some parts, especially after rain. As you get closer to the waterfall, there are stairs, and it gets a little steep and rocky as well. The Manoa Falls Trail is a fantastic activity to add to your USA bucket list.

Watch the sunset on Waikiki Beach

Contributed by Sally from Our3kidsvtheworld

Waikiki is the place you’ll see on all the Hawaii postcards, a sun-drenched white sand beach, many a sun umbrella and bikini-clad tourists sun-baking or swimming in the year-round perfect conditions. 

These perfect conditions also lead to the most spectacular evening sunset shows and all you have to do it look towards the horizon. You’ll see a crowd of tourists and locals gathered each evening along the Waikiki beachfront waiting to see what mother nature serves up and whilst it’s different every night, it’s always dazzlingly beautiful. 

Book a beachfront view room at any one of the many luxury hotels facing Waikiki Beach and enjoy the evening sunset from your balcony while sipping a cocktail before heading out for dinner. 

Skydive over the North Shore in Hawaii 

Contributed by Sara Stanisz of Our Kind of Crazy

Bucket list activities are always our favorite thing to do when we travel. And what better place to check off a top bucket list check of jumping out of an airplane, than to do it over the beautiful North Shore?!

Plus Honolulu, Hawaii is a great vacation spot for couples and families! Skydiving in Hawaii not only gives you the thrill you seek, but also gives you some of the best views in the world when you’re floating down on your parachute.

We saw sea turtles in the water below, watched the waves crash up to the island, and had the most serene experience. It’s definitely one to add to your bucket list! 

Take a North Shore Oahu road trip

Contributed by Amanda of Fly Stay Luxe

Known for its big wave surfing, gorgeous waterfalls and delicious food trucks, the North Shore of Oahu is much more laid back than the tourist mecca of Waikiki on the other side of the island. Spending a full day road tripping along the North Shore of Oahu is the perfect way to explore this beautiful side of Hawaii’s main island.

If you’re staying in Waikiki, I recommend starting the day at Haleiwa town and making your way north towards Turtle Bay. However, if you plan to stay around Turtle Bay, this road trip can easily be done in the reverse!

First up – grab a morning coffee from Island Vintage Coffee in Haleiwa, and check out the local markets in town before heading north along the Kamehameha Highway towards Waimea Bay. Here you can try cliff jumping into the turquoise ocean waters, or take a short hike to the beautiful Waimea Falls. 

Continue along the highway to Shark’s Cove for some of the best snorkelling in Oahu. This is also a great place to stop for lunch at one of the famous food trucks on North Shore Oahu for a feast of garlic shrimp or tacos. Two of the best food trucks are located right across the road from Shark’s Cove! 

After lunch, jump back in the car and continue north towards Banzai Pipeline. If you’re visiting between the months of November and February, you can watch hardcore surfers tackle the epic waves. Alternatively, check out nearby Ehukai Pillbox Hike for some epic views over the ocean, if that’s more you scene. 

Finish up the day with afternoon snorkeling at Turtle Bay, where you’ll have a good chance of spotting the beautiful Hawaiian green sea turtles during the calmer months (June to August). For the adventure-seekers, another great place to finish your road trip is Climbworks at Keana Farms, where you can experience a thrilling sunset zipline ride.

Visit a luau in Hawaii

Contributed by Alexis Robinson of Sorta Crunchy Mama

My husband and I traveled to Maui, Hawaii for our honeymoon.  We did a ton of fun activities while we were there but a luau was one of our favorites! 

It can be a little touristy but we loved getting to see traditional hula, fire dancers, Listen to Hawaiian music, and watch them roast the pork in the sand. 

We had a delicious dinner and it was a great end to our visit.  It’s something everyone who gets to Maui should do at least once (and if we ever go back I’d love to do it again!).

Anywhere in the USA

Watch a Live NBA Game

Contributed by Maria and Rui of Two Find a Way

When we booked our plane tickets to New York, the first since we did was checking if there were any NBA games during our stay. We got lucky, and in a few minutes, we had our tickets to see the Knicks vs the Hawks play at the Madison Square Garden.

It was one of the most expensive parts of our budget trip to New York City, but it was also one of the most fun experiences we’ve ever had.

If you’re not a fan of the sport, watching a basketball game may not seem particularly enticing, but truthfully, basketball is just a part of the show during a NBA game.

There is plenty of entertainment besides the game: the historic arenas, the energy around you, the food, and, of course, the halftime shows (there was even live music when we went). With so much going on, we felt like we were in one of “those” movies we grew up watching.

Our experience was extra special because it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day, but we’ll always try to watch an NBA game when we go back to the USA (no matter the date or the location!).

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