Summer is rapidly approaching. That means summer vacations are almost here! Money is being squirreled away. Courses are being plotted. Instagram feeds are being scanned. America is getting ready to hit the road for some much needed r&r. And if last year’s travel reports are any indication, we’re going to travel a lot this summer.
Last year, we took 2.2 billion trips around America. How can you blame us? There’s so much to explore!
Over at Ranker, they asked their user-base to vote on which attractions around this great and varied nation of ours are worth a trip this year. The voting closed today and it’s full of some stone-cold classics — even if some of our favorites didn’t make the top ten.
Mount Rushmore beat out the Redwoods for the tenth spot. We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that this mountain was sacred to the Lakota living in the area. The USA government took the Black Hills back after their initial treaty promised it to the Native People. Eventually, the faces of former US presidents were carved into the sacred mountain — one of which carried the nickname The Devourer of Towns, while another carried out a mass extermination.
But still… cool faces!
The Golden Gate Bridge is a modern marvel of human ingenuity. Besides the utility of connecting two sides of the Bay area, the bridge also draws over 10 million visitors every year just to take in this engineering wonder.
Washington DC is rife with natural, artistic, and historical wonders in it museums and storehouses. In the center of all the museums and galleries is a grand open space called The Mall and it’s full of grassy fields ready for soccer games and picnics with various monuments celebrating our shared history scattered throughout.
Yosemite is one of the oldest continually inhabited spots in America. And all you have to do is look around at the striking natural beauty to understand why. Half Dome — Yosemite’s most iconic formation — is the figurehead of a truly beautiful corners of our planet. The rest of the park is just as incredible, with lush forests, chiseled valleys, babbling streams, and jagged peaks which seems to gnaw at the sky.
Yellowstone is right there with Yosemite as being home to humans for over 10,000 years. It’s a massive nature and wildlife preserve that now allows a glimpse into a world we’ve lost. The geothermal aspects make the site a truly unique, albeit a little scary, spot for all to enjoy.
On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these immortal words, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” That alone should be enough reason to visit the monument dedicated to the man who maintained the Union through the US Civil War.
This natural wonder helps make up the border between the USA and Canada. And while the best views of Niagara Falls are arguably on the Ontario side, the huge falls still make it on the list of great American stops for tourists. You also get a two-for-one at Niagara. The main falls, or Horseshoe Falls, are in Canada while the slightly smaller American Falls are completely in the United States.
This monumental gift from France is embossed with the immortal words that made America the country it is today — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” For over a century the Statue of Liberty has been a beacon for the people of the world to find a new life. So its rank at number three doesn’t come as too much of a surprise since so many of our relatives have passed by this statue on their route to becoming Americans.
It’s heartening to see a repository of knowledge, history, and science so high on any list of great American places. The museums, galleries, archives, and zoo of the Smithsonian are free to all who wish to peruse the wonders of our country and the world in the Smithsonian’s hallowed halls and aisles.
At last we’ve reached number one. The geological wonder called the Grand Canyon tops the list of great American spots. The canyon regularly gets 4.5 million visitors who are looking for some real adventure. You can jostle down the canyon walls to the Colorado River or just absorb a breath-taking view as the sun sets and the colors dance across the walls from a nice campsite topside. Either way, you can’t beat this amazing natural wonder.