At more than 9.5 million square kilometers, the United States is one of the largest countries in the world. Realistically, nobody will ever have the time, money and logistical capability that’s necessary to visit every single square kilometer of the country in their lifetime.
Touring the U.S. is therefore an exercise in careful planning and prioritization. It’s best to aim to see one or more major regions of the country each year. The following are places you should consider going to this year.
1. Ocean City, MD
Ocean City is Maryland’s sole coastal community so it’s not surprising that the beach is its biggest attraction. It’s a popular summer destination on the Eastern Seaboard. Take a relaxing stroll along the three-mile boardwalk, tee off on the mini-golf courses and stock up on souvenirs.
During the peak season, the beach is teeming with beach bonfires, special concerts and kids’ events. Ocean City’s hotels such as Princess Royale, Dunes Manor, Princess Bayside and Howard Johnson Plaza, are packed to capacity at this time. If you love wildlife, take the short trip to Assateague Island that’s home to wild ponies and deer.
2. Lincoln, NE
The state capitol of Nebraska is named after the person considered America’s best president by historians: Abraham Lincoln. It’s a big name to live up to and the city does not disappoint. It’s a great getaway for kids, outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs.
Enjoy the panoramic views of Lincoln from the capitol building’s observation tower. Take a tour of the building grounds where you’ll find a beautiful Lincoln monument. Take a tour of the Governor’s Mansion whose colonial exterior is at odds with the diverse architectural designs inside. Children will love Folsom Zoo while outdoorsy types can head to Wilderness Park.
3. Orange County, CA
Despite a construction and high-tech boom, tourism remains a major contributor to Orange County’s economy.
With its palm trees and tropical flowers, the coastal stretch between San Clemente and Seal Beach is sometimes referred to as the California Riviera. Huntington Beach as a surfer’s paradise, artsy Laguna and posh Newport Beach are usually seen as the standout attractions.
Yet there’s so many more things to do in Orange County that shouldn’t be neglected. Corona del Mar and the picturesque Catalina Island offshore are worth a visit for sunbathing, snorkeling, diving and hiking. Go biking on the oceanfront, ride the roller coasters or see the Disneyland Resort.
4. Charleston, SC
As you wander through Charleston’s Historic District, you’d be forgiven for thinking you are on a movie set. Numerous church steeples dot the skyline as stately salons and centuries-old town houses and mansions offer a signature touch of Southern comfort.
After more than three hundred years of epidemics, wars, hurricanes and fires, Charleston is remarkably one of the best-preserved cities in the South. Thanks to rigorous architectural guidelines and an energized local preservation movement, the city’s old structures seamlessly blend in with the new.
Despite this rich past, Charleston is also a modern town. It hosts upscale restaurants, parks, beaches, waterways, international concerts, operas, dance performances and plays.
Narrowing down on the most scenic travel destinations in America is a near impossible task. These four sports are however worth placing high up in your bucket list.