Ask people to share their travel bucket lists and they’ll start talking about Australia, Fiji, Machu Picchu, and other distant and exotic locations. But don’t forget about some spectacular bucket-list locations right here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.
10. Walk through the Ozark Caverns
The Ozark Caverns tour is about a half-mile round trip, and offers some truly spectacular views you won’t find on earth’s surface. There are otherworldly rock formations, shaped by dripping and seeping water. These include soda straws, helictites, stalagmites and other geologic wonders. You might encounter wildlife, such as salamanders, bats, and gooey invertebrates. One of the most famous things to see is Angel Showers, a never-ending waterfall from the cave ceiling.
9. Visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta lifts off in early October every year. More than 500 hot-air balloons take to the sky over Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a once-in-a-lifetime sight, but you have to get up early to take in the majesty of their early-morning flights. During the rest of the day, there is live music, children’s activities and evening glows. More than 955,700 people attended last year, so book early.
8. Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
There are so many majestic peaks and valleys to experience in Glacier National Park, but one of the best is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The 50-mile route winds through the mountains and offers spectacular views at every turn. The key is timing your visit. Plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a monumental challenge each year. This past year, the entire stretch was open between July 3 and October 5.
7. Ride the Loon Mountain Gondola Ride
If you are visiting New Hampshire, don’t miss this scenic adventure. The Loon Mountain Gondola will carry you up to the peak of Loon Mountain with panoramic views of the White Mountains. Then once you are on the summit, you can explore glacial caves, hike the nature trail, or climb the observation tower for an even-better view. If you time your visit for autumn’s feast of colors, you’re in for an even better visual treat.
6. Hike through Arches National Park
Arches National Park offers some of the most iconic scenery in the entire Southwest. The park features towering rock spires, amazing balanced rocks and over 200 natural stone arches. There are hiking trails crisscrossing throughout this amazing landscape. Only those with the sharpest eyes will be able to spot the rare desert bighorn sheep. Reintroduced into the park in the 1980s, there are 75 or so that are extremely shy and blend well into terrain.