In my short 22 years of life, I have been fortunate enough to travel to some spectacular places in the United States. You don’t need to go out of the country to see amazing things. Put a little money aside of each paycheck and save to splurge on a road trip. I provided a short, diverse list of top places that you NEED to visit in 2015, which include natural landmarks to large cities. Whether you love nature and exploring or are a city folk, you will be sure to find something for you included below.
#1.) Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO
This National Natural Landmark and public park is a breathtaking exhibit of geological red rocks and unique formations. Popular for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, this is a great exhibit to bring your family to. There are over 15 miles of trails to explore, along with a wheelchair assessable trail. The park is unique for strange looking rocks; the “balancing rock” is especially noteworthy.
#2.) Chicago, IL
If you love big cities and have never been to Chicago, you are missing out. The third largest city in the U.S., it hosts an abundance of attractions that tourists will love. Specific attractions that I recommend include the Shedd Aquarium, the largest indoor aquarium in the world; Navy Pier, a 3,300 foot long pier along Lake Michigan filled with entertainment, dining, and seasonal celebrations; and the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in America. It has a sky deck that is open 365 days a year. I am personally a small town girl and fell in love with Chicago. It is by far my absolute favorite city that I have visited thus far.
#3.) Mission Beach, San Diego, CA
Mission Beach spans for two miles of ocean front in San Diego and is a very scenic and beautiful area. A boardwalk runs along the beach and hosts many cute shops and great places to eat near the ocean, and typical activities include sunbathing, biking, surfing, horseback riding, skateboarding, and Frisbee. There is also an abundance of bars that are relaxed and feature bar and grills as well. I visited Mission Beach during my spring break, but it was not mostly made up of spring break partiers. Alcohol is not permitted on the beach and it was very family-oriented. Bring the kids!
#4.) Door County, WI
Door County, WI is a popular summer tourist destination for those in the Midwest, and hosts over 300 miles of shoreline next to Lake Michigan and the bay of Green Bay. It is popular for its abundance of boutiques, restaurants, winery’s, lighthouses, outdoor recreation, and beaches. The lodging gives you a “home away from home” feel, with high-quality luxury resorts, rustic cabins, and bed & breakfast inns. Being a Wisconsin girl, I have been going to Door County ever since I was a little girl. My mother and I go on an annual mother/daughter trip every summer, which always includes amazing food and a trip to the winery. Last January, my boyfriend and I stayed at a lodge for a little winter get-away. I highly recommend visiting Fish Creek, a little unincorporated town that hosts many of my favorite boutiques and restaurants that I enjoy visiting.
#5.) Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
I have always heard of how awesome the Grand Canyon is, but you truly can never understand the majesty of it until you go and see it for yourself. Pictures just don’t do justice, I promise you! 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, the vastness of the canyon is hard to comprehend. My boyfriend and I camped at Grand Canyon National Park and enjoyed watching sunsets over the canyon, in addition with biking around the area. Arguably THE coolest place I have ever been to in my life.
#6.) Nashville, TN
A huge fan of country music, visiting Nashville had always been a dream of mine. Even if you are not a country music fan, Nashville is known for other music genres as well, and is a melting pot of culture. Live entertainment is always available while you enjoy dinner and drinks. With the streets, restaurants and bars full of hopeful musicians to make a name for themselves, you just never know who will become the next big star. The Country Music Hall of fame was particularly one of my favorite points of interests; as well as the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly country music stage concert that presents the best of the best country artists, along with new coming stars.
#7.) Badlands National Park, SD
Located in southwestern South Dakota, this national park covers 244,000 acres that you can walk, hike, and drive though. Nature lovers need to visit! The Badlands include a vast area of rugged rock and landmasses that have formed into beautiful geologic deposits. It is truly stunning to see!
What other places do you recommend to visit? I would love to chat! Have a great start to your 2015, make it great!