Ever been to the East Coast? It’s beautiful. How about the West Coast? Pretty gorgeous as well. So is New England, the Gulf, and the Great Lakes region. America is filled with breathtaking travel destinations and endless possibilities for enjoyment. With so many people looking to get out for a nice Summer adventure, it’s hard to narrow your trip down to just one spot.
Good news: you don’t have to. Instead of wasting all your vacation days on a sweltering July week, split up the monotonous work year into quarters, each with a weekend reward waiting. Don’t forget the most important condition though—no routine destinations! If you’ve been there before, scratch it off the list. In a land of possibilities, there’s no reason to repeat a memorable trip from the past. Get out and explore something new. Starting to get excited? Good. There’s just one more stipulation. Ensure you enjoy yourself by bringing something soothing from home. The entire point of vacation is to relax, so pop that bottle of wine you’ve been saving, sit back with your favorite electronic cig, or take a movie collection to help you appreciate one of these 10 places you have to visit.
1. The Grand Canyon
Okay, so maybe this is an obvious choice. That’s why I’ll extend America’s greatest natural treasure to include Antelope Canyon, Arizona. You may think that once you’ve seen an impressive canyon, you’re finished. You’d be wrong. Antelope Canyon has incredible geology and structure that is dissimilar to any place on earth. Take a tour in a rugged truck or camp out and check in on some more of the local scenery. Close by is Lake Powell—the second largest man-made lake in the United States. You’re also in driving distance of some of the country’s other most famous national parks. All of your hiking, climbing, and exploring needs are taken care of with a fun trip to Northern Arizona.
2. Redwood National Park
Surely you’ve heard of the California park with the tallest trees on earth. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, do yourself a favor and plan a trip right now. The view is indescribable, and certainly better than the simple snapshots you see online. Handicap accessible and even drivable in some areas, this forest of evergreens is as beautiful of a place as there is in the country.
3. McWay Falls
Many probably haven’t heard of McWay Falls, but the Big Sur landmark is a must see for every adventurer. The 80-foot water plunge from the rocks flows year round for all gathers to take in.
Drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, tour one of America’s largest mansions, or explore an impressive downtown. No matter what you are looking for, Asheville has it. And, bonus, fantastic beaches line the coast just a few hours to the east.
5. Yosemite Valley
Rivaling Redwood National Park for the most beautiful spot on the west coast, Yosemite Valley offers breathtaking views, countless hiking trails, and world class rock climbing. It’s probably better to let the professionals do the climbing, though.
6. Manele Bay
Possibly the world’s most perfect beach, this Hawaiian getaway features some of the best snorkeling and diving on earth. Oh, and 70-degree water temperatures don’t hurt.
7. Monument Valley
With heights up to 1,000 feet, the Utah tribal park delivers majestic views of rugged topography, sun-kissed deserts, and clear blue skies.
Perhaps a little different from the beaches you’re used to, this Massachusetts getaway is home to comfortable bay swimming and gorgeous lighthouses. And when you’re done, historic cities like Boston and Providence are just a short drive away.
9. Clearwater Beach
Now this is what you were thinking when you heard the word beach. Tucked on the Florida Gulf, a three-mile stretch of sandy shores and calm water create an oasis perfect for your Summer getaway. From fishing, parasailing, and wakeboarding, to sun-bathing, swimming, and lounging, this Sunshine State haven has it all.
Home to the hipsters and sanctuary to the foodies, Oregon’s largest city is multiple vacations wrapped into one. Check out the scenery of the Pacific Northwest or sample some of the best craft brews in the world. The art community, amazing cuisine, and renowned zoo are enough to keep you entertained for the entire week.