As summer draws near, the desire to travel and go on vacation rises along with the temperature, and the United States is a great country in which to vacation, due to the fact that it is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world. No matter what you want to see, the United States has it somewhere; from the deserts of Arizona to the snow capped mountains of Alaska, and from the seaside resorts of the Carolinas to the tropical party towns of the Florida Keys.
Not only is there an environment for every taste, but many of the cities in these unique settings have equally unique attractions to offer visitors. The right attraction can take an ordinary trip and make it extraordinary. Here are some great options for your next getaway, conveniently organized by landscape!
Mountains: Denver, Colorado
In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is a gorgeous modern city nestled in the middle of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
Much like America itself, Denver offers a wide range of experiences. You can release your inner shutterbug or pioneer hiking and camping in the Front Range, then unwind while taking in the hopping craft beer scene. Finally, you can enjoy the all of the pleasures of a modern metropolis, relaxing and being served at some of the best restaurants in the country,
One restaurant in the area that can’t be missed is Domo. It has twice been voted as the most authentic Japanese restaurant in the U.S. by Zagat and is currently the fifth best Japanese restaurant overall. Great for sushi lovers and hibachi fans alike.
The Tropics: Key West, Florida
The island of Key West, Florida is the Southern-most point in the continental United States. It even boasts a sign on its southern point that reads “90 Miles to Cuba.”
The island is an absolute Caribbean dream town, full of tiki huts and palm trees, roadside vendors, and restaurants offering Key Lime pie made with homegrown limes.
During the summer, there are festivals coinciding with fishing season and these parties can become so wild that the entire island occasionally – and briefly! – loses power from all the pumping electronics. While the power’s out, all you hear are the cheers of the partiers and all you see are the stars over the Atlantic Ocean.
If you are not a partier and prefer a more tranquil experience, the sights of Key West and its surrounding Florida Keys are still a perfect fit. The Seven Mile Bridge, for example, is a marvel of modern engineering. As its name suggests, the causeway stretches seven miles, connecting two of the islands of the Keys and is quite the sight. We recommend driving it at sunrise or sunset and taking advantage of the designated viewing stations along the bridge. The view is as near to heaven as you’ll find on Earth.
Desert: Phoenix, Arizona
In the Southwest lies Phoenix, a bustling metropolis in the heart the Sonoran Desert.
Phoenix is a great vacation destination, offering hours upon hours of entertainment options, including a plethora of performing arts venues (such as The Phoenix Symphony Hall and the Orpheum Theatre). It also serves as a hub to make sure you have any amenities you need before you go and explore the wild world of the Sonoran desert, and the former dwellings of the native Pueblo tribes that once thrived in the region. Plus, if you visit in the spring, there’s no better way to relax than with a few Cactus League Spring Training games!
Beachfront: Clearwater, Florida
There is a reason that Florida is such a huge tourist destination. Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Miami, and the aforementioned Keys are wonderful. But that’s not all: quietly nestled amongst the heavy hitters is Clearwater.
The city faces the Gulf of Mexico, which gives it an astounding view of the sea, but it is tough to top the beach itself. It is a white sandy heaven so smooth it feels like flour between your toes.
The town is preparing itself to become next big tourist stop in The Sunshine State: it has undergone beautification projects to several buildings in its downtown to make sure that tourists experience only the finest.
Great Plains: Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, like Clearwater, is a major vacation destination in its infancy. Seriously.
In recent years, the city has taken strides to challenge Chicago and Minneapolis as hubs of the Midwest. Regardless of the fact that Des Moines lies in the middle of the breadbasket of the country, the city combines the best of two worlds: metropolitan features with rural friendliness.
Due to the myriad of minor league sports teams including the Iowa Cubs, (AAA affiliate club of the Chicago Cubs) and the Iowa Wild (Minnesota’s Minor League Hockey affiliate), Des Moines is ahead of the curve. If you want to see the next big thing, it’s playing in Des Moines.
Summer time in the city turns Des Moines into a breeding ground for arts and music, including the 80/35 music festival, which lasts for two days in early July, and has featured acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Roots, David Byrne & St. Vincent, and the Wu Tang Clan. It’s safe to say that a vacation to Des Moines will definitely not leave you bored.
With the range of vacation spots in the US, you can let that passport rest for a little while. From sea to shining sea, America really does offer something for everyone.
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