My upcoming trip to the US has seen me devouring guidebooks, blogs, travelogues and movies. Getting ready to go is half the fun, right? Along the way, I’ve learned so much more about this enormous, diverse country and just how much it has to offer. I’ll be sticking to major cities on my first trip, but these national parks, mountains and lakes are officially on my list!
1. Redwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park in Norther California is home to the towering redwoods – the tallest living things in the world! It’s crazy to think that these magnificent forests were almost completely lost due to logging. Fortunately, they’re now protected as a National Park. Summer is the peak season for the park, so to avoid bumper-to-bumpre (in) action, I want to visit in spring, to see the rhododendrons in bloom, or in autumn, for the gorgeous foliage.
2. The Great Lakes, Midwest
I’d heard of the Great Lakes, but I only recently realised how awesome they are. These five, enormous freshwater lakes are some of the biggest on the planet. So big, they often used to be referred to as inland seas. After seeing pictures of Chicago’s waterfront on Lake Michigan, I can see why!
The five major lakes are Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Between them, there are countless holiday destinations, from popular, crowded hotspots to lesser-known, quieter destinations. I’d love to spend a few days in a quieter spot, like on Mackinac Island in Michigan.
3. The Everglades, Florida
I’m (rightfully) terrified of them, but I loved seeing and learning about crocodiles at Australia Zoo and in Tropical North Queensland. There’s something about these prehistoric creatures that fascinates me! By this logic, I’ll also love seeing ‘gators in the Everglades, a 1.5 million acre wetland on the southern tip of Florida.
4. Yosemite, California
The granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome make up one of the most iconic landscapes in the world. Whenever I see pictures of Yosemite, I think of Yogi Bear – surely this was the inspiration for Jellystone Park? Yosemite is part of California’s Sierra Nevada and is known for it’s giant sequoia trees.
5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
The snow-capped Tetons surrounded by the lush green hills and valleys of Wyoming reminds me of the Swiss Alps – with a touch of the wild west. The tetons are teeming with wildlife you can’t see in Australia, such as beavers, bison and elk, wolves and both grizzly and black bears.
6. Acadia National Park, Maine
Seeing the fall foliage in Acadia National Park is serious bucket list material. I’ll be on the east coast of the US this year, but won’t have time to go all the way up to Maine – I’ll have to settle for seeing a New England fall in Boston!
7. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park has temperate rainforests, glacier-capped mountains and a sandy coastline.
8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone NP has the world’s biggest collection of geysers, but you don’t need to be a geologist to go nuts for Yellowstone. It’s the world’s first national park and is teeming with wildlife – just don’t get too close to the bears or the bison!
9. Monument Valley, Arizona & Utah
You might not think you know Monument Valley, but I bet you’ll recognise it. It’s the ultimate “Wild West” backdrop and has been used in movies and other media since the 1930s.
10. North Cascades National Park, Washington
The lush forests of North Cascades National Park look bucketlist-worthy in their own right, but it’s the spectacular Diablo Lake that has captured my imagination!