Double red rock arches against blue sky

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Bucket List — USA Top 10 Travel Bucket List

Hike Utah’s Mighty 5

Utah’s Mighty 5 Parks is a must-see for any traveler and is at the top of my list of the top 10 USA travel bucket list destinations. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the terrain is magnificent. Towns like Moab and Kanab make great bases for exploring the parks, offering plenty of amenities and lodging. The five parks to visit include Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. Highlights of each park include Arches National Park’s iconic red sandstone arches, Canyonlands National Park’s stunning canyons, Zion National Park’s lush canyon walls, Bryce Canyon National Park’s hoodoos, and Capitol Reef National Park’s unique white sandstone domes.

View from lower in canyon up to rim of Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park is a breathtaking destination. It features more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, as well as stunning rock formations and stunning views. Highlights to see include the famous Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, and Landscape Arch.  Lodging options are plentiful in Moab. Looking for an amazing sunrise or sunset check out The Best Spots For Sunrise And Sunset In Arches

Canyonlands National Park is a stunning desert landscape in southeastern Utah. It’s home to thousands of canyons, mesas, and buttes, as well as the Colorado and Green Rivers. Highlights include Mesa Arch, the iconic White Rim Road, and the Cave Spring Trail. Moab is a good base for exploring both Arches and Canyonlands.

Capitol Reef National Park is a stunning national park located in Utah. It is known for its breathtaking red rock formations, canyons, and sandstone cliffs. Highlights of the park include exploring the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth’s crust, and driving the scenic 24-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive. The nearby town of Torrey is the perfect place to stay for a visit to the park, offering a great selection of restaurants, lodging, and shops. Need an itinerary for your drive from Moab to Capitol Reef and beyond? Check out my post Drive Moab To Capitol Reef To Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is a stunningly beautiful place to explore. Located in Utah, the park is known for its unusual geological structures, the hoodoos, and its multicolored rock formations. Highlights of the park include the breathtaking views from the rim of the canyon, the amazing hiking trails, and the variety of wildlife. For those looking to experience the park in its fullest, the best town to stay in is the nearby town of Tropic. Where to stay for a visit to Bryce Canyon is always a challenge, check out my post Where To Stay Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, Check Out Yonder Escalante.

Zion National Park is an amazing destination for anyone looking for a unique and exciting outdoor adventure. Highlights to see include the famous Zion Narrows, the majestic Zion Canyon, and the iconic Checkerboard Mesa. Visitors can also explore the Kolob Canyons, hike Angels Landing, and take in the stunning views from the top of Observation Point. For those looking for a place to stay, Springdale is a great home base. The town offers shuttles directly to the park entrance. Want to avoid the park shuttles here is how, How to Visit Zion National Park Without Riding the Shuttle.

Gallery Hopping in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a city full of culture and history, and is the perfect destination for any traveler. With its unique blend of Spanish and Native American influences, Santa Fe is sure to offer something for everyone. A highlight of visiting Santa Fe is the incredible art gallery scene, with galleries showcasing everything from traditional Native American artwork to modern, contemporary pieces. The best time of year to visit is in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are not as large. There is also plenty of great hiking and outdoor activities to enjoy while in Santa Fe, so don’t forget to pack your walking shoes!

Sip Wine In Sonoma

Sonoma Wine Country is a must-see destination for any wine lover. With over 400 wineries and endless rolling hills, it’s the perfect place to experience the best of California’s wine culture. The best time to visit is in the summer when the vineyards are in full bloom, and the days are long and balmy. There’s no better way to spend a romantic getaway than by tasting some of the finest wines in the world and exploring the charming towns of Sonoma Valley. Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or just starting to explore the world of wine, there’s something for everyone in Sonoma Wine Country.

Wine Tasting Napa Valley
Hawaii Volcanos National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-see when visiting the Big Island. With stunning landscapes, lava flows, and a unique geological history, this park offers a variety of activities and attractions. Highlights of a visit include the Kilauea Volcano, Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Road, and the Jaggar Museum. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from May to October. The park has a long history, and was established in 1916 to protect the area’s unique geological features. There are a number of nearby accommodations for visitors, such as the Volcano House, where you can sleep by the glow of the crater! Be sure to add this to your top 10 USA travel bucket list!

Albuquerque Balloon Festival

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is one of the most eye-catching festivals in the world! Every October, hundreds of colorful hot air balloons take to the skies above the New Mexico city. Highlights of the festival include the Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascension, and the famous Balloon Glow, where hundreds of balloons light up the night sky. To get the full experience, it’s best to visit during the first week of October. If you’re looking for where to stay, downtown Albuquerque has plenty of lodging options, making it the perfect place to enjoy the festival.

Balloon festival in Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico Photo by Raychel Sanner for Unsplash
Great Dunes National Park

Great Dunes National Park is a stunning natural wonder that should not be missed. Located in New Mexico, this park is full of towering sand dunes, rugged terrain, and breathtaking views. Highlights of the park include the Great Sand Dunes, the Medano Creek, and the Sandhill Wildlife Area. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beautiful views!

Bike The Golden Gate Bridge

Biking the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a must-do activity for any traveler visiting San Francisco. The breathtaking views of the bay and the city skyline make for a memorable experience. You can rent a bike at several locations near the bridge, including Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bike. The best time to bike the bridge is early in the morning when the fog is still present, or in the evening when the sun is setting. Regardless of when you go, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience biking the Golden Gate Bridge! Read my post The Ultimate Guide To Staying In The Presidio for ideas on where to stay and biking the bridge.

Biking The Golden Gate Bridge
Biking The Golden Gate Bridge
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a must-visit destination for any traveler. With its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, there is something for everyone. Highlights include the iconic Old Faithful geyser, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone has a rich history, having been established in 1872 as the first national park in the U.S. There are plenty of options for lodging and dining in and around the park. For the best accommodations, the Yellowstone Park Lodges offer a variety of lodging for all budgets. And for dining, the lakefront restaurants of Lake Yellowstone Hotel are a great choice.

Sunrise In Acadia

Acadia National Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers! Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, this spectacular park offers majestic mountains, rocky shorelines, and beautiful forests to explore. Highlights include Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast of the United States, and Thunder Hole, a geological formation that creates a thunderous roar when waves crash against the rocks. For the best experience, plan to visit in the summer when the weather is at its most pleasant. Accommodations range from camping to inns and resorts, so there’s something to suit every budget.

Hike The Napali Coast

The Napali Coast of Kauai is a must-see for any traveler. Hiking the 11-mile Kalalau Trail is one of the best ways to experience its dramatic beauty. The trail takes hikers through lush valleys and past towering waterfalls, providing stunning views of the coastline along the way. The best time to hike the Napali Coast is during the dry season, from late spring to early fall. With its breathtaking scenery and challenging terrain, hiking the Napali Coast is an unforgettable adventure and a definite must on any top 10 USA travel bucket list.

Hiking The Napali Coast
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Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS and are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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