6 US States that Should be on Everyone’s Bucket Lists
The good old US of A, home to 52 individual states offering every kind of town, city and village you can think of. Whether you’re hitting the bright lights of Las Vegas or hiking in the remote Rocky Mountains, the US has it all. As well as boasting some incredible small towns to stop off at whilst on an awesome road trip, the States are home to hundreds of big cities too. With so many places to choose from, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime planning your American adventure. Exactly this time last year, I had the pleasure of spending all summer there, road tripping from LA to NYC and ticking off 23 states along the way, so I’ve seen a fair few of them! My epic trip was booked with Contiki and it was a once in a lifetime adventure, made even bigger because I had totally quit my 9-5 day job in order to jet off across the pond and spend my summer in style. It was also my first ever solo adventure and, for that reason, it will always be an incredibly special trip to me.
After popping into my local STA Travel store and finding out about all the big tours, I knew I wanted to spend my summer in America, and I knew I wanted to do a huge road trip and a big chunk of the famous Route 66 too. As well as visiting 23 states in 28 days I had the opportunity to tick so many amazing things off my bucket-list, including taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, swamp boating in New Orleans, parasailing over Daytona Beach and celebrating 4th July in New York City. I had the most incredible summer pushing myself to my limits, getting out of my comfort zone and doing things I had always dreamt about. I’ve line danced in Texas, partied in Miami, gambled in Vegas and ghost-hunted in Savannah. I’ve white water rafted in Durango, seen the White House in Washington and walked in Memphis. It was tough to narrow it down after having such an epic adventure, but here are my top six US states, and why I think you should visit them ALL at least one in your lifetime…
Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Disneyland, California has it all. Stretching for nearly 900 miles along the Pacific Ocean, California boasts beaches, mountains, forests and of course the epic Mojave Desert. With the city of Los Angeles being the focal point of the state, and the hub of the world’s entertainment industry, you’ll never be stuck for something to do in the city of stars. Other Californian highlights include the capital city of Sacramento, celeb haunt Malibu, wonderful San Diego, San Francisco with its iconic golden gate bridge and historic Alcatraz Island, as well as popular boating destination Lake Tahoe and the spectacular Yosemite National Park. I only got to spend one night in LA before my tour started so I saw barely any of it, but I know I want to return to Cali as soon as I can to explore everything properly!
Perhaps a little less well known than some of the other states on this list, Georgia is one of the most beautiful states of the entire country offering so much to see and do. The northern part of the state is home to the Blue Ridge mountains, an excellent hiking destination with the most stunning surroundings. Famous cities in Georgia include Atlanta, the capital, Savannah and Augusta, each home to museums, galleries, churches and Atlanta even boasts a number of large theme parks. Savannah is a real highlight though, with its cobblestoned squares, green spaces and fantastic architecture. Forsyth Park is at the heart of the Historic District and is a sight not to be missed when discovering this Georgian gem – unexpectedly, this place became one of my favourite cities on the entire trip and I can’t recommend it enough!
If national parks are your thing you’ll be spoilt for choice in Arizona. Arguably the most visited attraction in the whole state is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River and famed for its incredible landscape and natural beauty. Tourists and locals alike can choose to hike, bike, fly over or raft in the Canyon and all methods of transport offer the most breathtaking views of this geological wonder. Horseshoe bend, located near the town of Page, is a must see during your time in the state, even if it is just to capture those all important photos. You’ll also find the epic Antelope Canyon in Arizona, as well as the stunning red-sand desert of Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border, both of which are a spectacular sight to behold, and both of which gave me the most amazing photos for my Instagram page! Seriously, they blew my mind.
Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, the city of New York in, yep, you guessed it, New York state, is one of the most visited in the entire world attracting over 60 million people every year. Catch a Broadway show, go shopping in Macy’s, pay your respects at the World Trade Centre memorial or take a boat trip over to Ellis Island to learn more about the history behind this fascinating place. Venture outside of the city itself and you’ll find the spectacular Niagara Falls (straddling the international border between America and Canada), the quirky Long Island and the stunning Lake Ontario, all of which are a world away from the buzz and bright lights of New York City. I was lucky enough to spend 4th July in NYC, watching the fireworks sparkle above the Hudson River, and it was so magical I wanted to stay there forever!
Grab your cowboy boots and your Stetson hat and head into the deep south for a true taste of America. The second largest state in the entire country, Texas is home to Houston, Austin, Fortworth, Amarillo and many more interesting cities, but be sure to check out Dallas during your time there to experience the famous Tex-Mex cuisine and immerse yourself in the city’s culture and history. Dallas is a thriving city with a zoo, an aquarium, museums and memorials and is well known for being the site of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963 – if you get time, check out the sixth floor museum, it’s incredibly moving and such an important part of American history. If ranches and rodeos are your thing, head over to Houston for the world’s largest livestock show or stop by the Texan capital of Austin and enjoy their two week rodeo carnival extravaganza taking place every Spring.
Been waiting for this moment my whole life…. Today my dreams finally came true and I went to the happiest place on earth!! I spent 15 hours at Disneyworld being a child running around the parks, looking for characters, going on rides and watching the parades, shows and fireworks! Can't describe the emotion I felt when I was there I was totally overwhelmed it was everything I had hoped for and more!! Disney you'll always have a special place in my heart 💖🌟 #Disney #orlando #florida #waltdisney #disneyworld #magickingdom @waltdisneyworld
The sunshine state of Florida lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most visited areas in the whole country. Brimming with gigantic theme parks, designer shopping malls, gorgeous sandy beaches and vibrant cosmopolitan cities, particular highlights include Orlando’s Walt Disney World and its Universal counterparts, the luscious Everglades, and the city of Miami. Head over to the beautiful St Augustine to discover one of the smaller areas in the state, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, I’d definitely recommend doing this to explore somewhere new for a few days. Spend a week exploring the many theme parks, and then relax and recharge with a week on some of Florida’s many beaches. Head from Daytona to PCB and you’ll soon be feeling fresh after a busy few days seeing the sights and hanging out with Mickey and Co!
So there we have it, the top US states that EVERYONE should visit! I’m just dying to go back to America as soon as I can, and I could have easily spent many more weeks and months there finding new places to tick off my bucket list. Have you ever been to any of them before? What did you think and which were your favourite? Let me know if I should have picked different states to include in this list, or whether you agreed with my top picks!
Love Jess x
I think California would be the one I’d want to visit next but Florida and New York are my faves so far! I’d go back to the Big Apple any day of the year!
Me too Emma, I barely saw any of Cali when I was there so would love to go back! And yesss Florida and also NY were amazing, such highlights of my trip! Glad you loved them too 🙂 Jess x