If you’re considering a trip to America, you may have a long list of things you want to do, and not enough time to do them in.
Even if you’re planning to make money whilst travelling and can, therefore, have an extended trip, you’d need a whole lifetime to fully explore the USA. You’ll have to be selective as you plan your trip, and there are bound to be things you don’t have time for.
But never fear!
Here are some great ideas to help you get started on your ultimate American Bucket List. (Hint: part of planning this holiday might have to involve planning your next holiday, crammed with sights and attractions that didn’t make the cut for this one!)
The White House has been the residence (and “home office”) of every American president since John Adams, who resided in 1800. To fully understand this important symbol of US history, you can a guided tour.
Don’t show up and expect a tour on the day, though, as your ticket request must be made a couple of months before the day of your tour. If you can’t get your hands on tickets for a guided tour of the interior of the White House, it’s still well worth a visit, as you can stand outside the grounds and enjoy the view of the building’s imposing facade.
The White House Visitor Centre also has interesting information and can provide useful context for your visit, including historical anecdotes about past inhabitants and facts about the architecture. And don’t leave DC without visiting other iconic US landmarks, like the Smithsonian museum and a range of war memorials.
The National Zoo is worth a visit, too! It’s also worth noting you’re your visit to DC need not cost the world, as many of the attractions in the city are free.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park offers a spectacular natural experience like no other. Spanning almost 3,500 square miles, this wilderness area is positioned on a volcanic hot spot. Situated predominately in Wyoming, Yellowstone spreads into areas of Idaho and Montana.
Expect alpine rivers, majestic canyons, hot springs and geysers, and green forests. Expect to see a range of animals, including bison, elk and antelope. Keep your eyes for bears and wolves, too!
To get the most out of the Yellowstone experience, guided tours are recommended, but the intrepid traveller can also explore this magnificent park solo.
Get Your Broadway Tickets!
You’d be insane not to take in a Broadway Show if New York features on your US tour itinerary. In fact, it’s the fabulous shows on Broadway that attract many people to the Big Apple in the first place.
Even if you’re not super into theatre, the experience is once-in-a-lifetime, and the atmosphere of this world famous hub of arts and culture will be unforgettable.
Old classics like Rent and the Phantom of the Opera are great choices if it’s your first Broadway experience, but if you’ve been before (and just can’t stay away) there’s always something new showing.
Tickets can be expensive, but the quality is always guaranteed, as Broadway is a highly competitive creative location, and no show remains there unless crowds of discerning New Yorkers deem it to be truly excellent.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a ‘gambler’ per se, and you’re not even a nightclub goer, the famous Las Vegas Strip is an insane world you have to experience at least once.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a movie set for the duration of your visit, and yes—it is as hedonistic and crazy as it seems in the films. When you’ve had enough shows and blackjack, you might like to regain your equilibrium in the stunning Red Rocks National Park nearby.
Here, you’ll find countless opportunities for scenic drives, hiking, camping, and seeing the amazing array of wildlife in the Nevada desert. Just remember: this place is hot, so if you’re already dehydrated from partying in Vegas, be sure to drink plenty of water and wear loads of sunscreen!
The Grand Canyon
Thanks to the proliferation of tourist photos on Instagram, you might think you can easily imagine this often-cited bucket list destination, but when you arrive there yourself and take in the spectacular grand canyon, you’ll see that no photo—perhaps no words!—can accurately convey its splendour.
Once you’ve seen the grand canyon with your own eyes, you’ll see there’s a reason why international tourists and Americans alike flock to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Aside from the immense depth and width, the glowing red hues and vast panoramas offer the ideal backdrop for the imagination.
Many people find that standing on the edge of the canyon and taking in the view is amazing enough, but you may also like to take a hike down to the bottom. You can even camp overnight!
Aloha! If island life appeals to you (think cool sea breezes, sandy white beaches, and flapping-fresh seafood) don’t end your American journey without packing your sandals and Hawaiian shirt and jetting off to Maui.
Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or a little adventure, Maui has something for every holidaymaker. You can snorkel with turtles and dolphins, watch the sunrise over the volcano, or take a drive along the memorable Road to Hana.
This exquisite route takes you along curve after curve with spectacular sea views and some amazing stops along the way. Take a hike and enjoy a swim at Twin Falls, or (if you’re feeling intrepid) you can go down a dormant lava tube.
The incredible blowhole at Waianapanapa State Park is also a must-see. To get the most out of the Road to Hana, it’s best to stay in Hana overnight, giving yourself enough time to make the best of the spectacular views and activities along the way.
As the third biggest country on earth, the United States of America is full of amazing experiences waiting to be enjoyed. Whatever you want from your American adventure, this Bucket List will help you make sure your trip lives up to the hype.