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USA Travel Bucket List: 50 Places to Visit Before You Die

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See recent posts by Megan Johnson

While we’re often daydreaming of beaches in the Maldives and vineyards in Tuscany, there are plenty of amazing destinations in our own backyard. To help you with your bucket list, we’ve rounded up 50 places you must visit in the United States before you die — in no particular order.

1. New York City

Central Park aerial view, Manhattan, New York; Park is surrounded

One of the most-visited places in the world, New York City has numerous attractions, a multicultural population, and something for all types of travelers. Tourists should be sure to fit in a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building or One World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square. Central Park offers a respite from the crowds, museums are impressive, and a show on Broadway followed by a slice of pizza is an ideal night out.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Majestic Vista of the Grand Canyon at Dusk

The second-most popular national park in the U.S., the Grand Canyon in Arizona wows with its Colorado River-formed canyon, which stretches 277 miles long and over a mile deep. Visitors can see the park from scenic lookout points, via a stunning helicopter ride , during whitewater rafting, while riding a mule, or by hiking down and back.

3. Disney World, Florida

Orlando, FL, USA - November 5 2022 : Magic Kingdom Park. The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration.

One of the most magical places for people of all ages, the massive Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando has four fun theme parks. Magic Kingdom has the breathtaking Cinderella Castle and nightly fireworks shows, while Epcot allows park-goers to travel around the globe by showcasing 11 different countries — think a pagoda in Japan, a biergarten in Germany, and Eiffel Tower views in France.

 4. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Jackson square

Vibrant, historic, and downright fun, New Orleans is a popular city throughout the year. While most people know about the city’s rambunctious Mardi Gras celebrations, NOLA also offers world-class jazz music, delicious Creole and Cajun cuisines, art galleries, ghost tours, and notable buildings such as the 18th-century St. Louis Cathedral. The French Quarter is best explored with a coffee and beignet or a frozen cocktail in hand.

5. San Antonio Missions, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio Texas during golden sunset. Historic Texas Mission and battle site in the Texas Revolution against Mexico

Sure, you probably know about The Alamo in San Antonio, but it’s actually one of five Spanish missions found across the city. The oldest is Mission Espada , which was built in 1690; original frescoes are still visible inside Mission Concepcion ; and the largest is Mission San José . Visitors can bike or drive between the missions, and park rangers provide free tours.

6. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls

While we’d argue that Niagara Falls is more impressive from the Canadian side , you can still witness the three stunning waterfalls without a passport. Head to Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park for a stellar vantage point, or consider a Maid of the Mist boat tour for a more up-close-and-personal view. Also worth a visit is Cave of the Winds , which is set behind Bridal Veil Falls and offers visitors a sensational view of the falls, often accompanied by a beautiful rainbow.

7. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate, San Francisco, California, USA.

Opened in 1937, the famous Golden Gate Bridge is an orange-colored suspension bridge that impresses with its main span of 4,200 feet and a total height of 746 feet. It connects San Francisco to Marin County, where the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has hiking, historical attractions, and lovely vistas of the bridge and San Francisco. After snapping a photo on land, travelers can bike or walk across the bridge for more picturesque views.

8. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains, autumn sunrise Tennessee

Both a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most frequented national park in America. The gorgeous park is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina, and it has tons of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and water tubing. Fall also offers striking foliage.

9. Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see where the government is run. From the White House to the Capitol to the Supreme Court Building, all three branches of government are found here, in addition to historical monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial , the Washington Monument , and World War II Memorial . Visitors can also spend hours touring the various Smithsonian museums within the National Mall .

10. Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

a bison grazes near the steaming old faithful geyser in yellowstone national park

One of the most well-known geological features in the country, Old Faithful , is a cone geyser within Yellowstone National Park . It was discovered in 1870 and got its name from its frequent and generally predictable eruptions, which occur about every 60 to 110 minutes. An average eruption is 130 to 140 feet high, expelling 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water (depending on the length of the eruption).

Related: The 6 Best National Parks for Winter Wildlife Spotting

11. South Beach, Miami

Miami Florida USA

South Beach is Miami‘s trendy hot spot, home to one of the prettiest beaches in America, gorgeous Art Deco architecture, tasty Cuban fare, and popular nightlife spots. A Latin American influence pervades the city at large, and in South Beach, tourists can shop at fancy boutiques, eat cheap Cuban sandwiches, and lounge at posh beach clubs . A beachside boardwalk is great for strolling or biking and, of course, people-watching.

12. The Narrows, Zion National Park

Orange glow hits the canyon walls in The Narrows of Zion National Park

Within Utah’s Zion National Park , The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. It’s the park’s most popular hike due to its striking setting within a gorge, where the river acts as the trail. Hikers must wade in water that varies from ankle- to waist-deep. It’s particularly pleasant in the hot summer months, but visitors should stay on top of weather conditions, as it’s known for dangerous flash flooding.

13. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Cityscape view in Santa Fe, New Mexico mountains of road street through community neighborhood with green plants summer and adobe traditional houses

Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a charming artsy town with a strong Native American influence. Pueblo-style architecture, a central plaza where vendors sell various handicrafts, and historic sights such as Loretto Chapel give the city a unique feel, plus there’s plenty to keep busy throughout the year. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and restaurants serving New Mexican cuisine are additional highlights.

14. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Bixby Creek Bridge Big Sur California

Whether you choose to drive the entire 659 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway or just a fraction thereof, you’ll be rewarded with sensational vistas. Certain routes can be done in a day, but we recommend taking your time by starting in San Francisco and slowly making your way to Orange County. The best views are arguably in Big Sur, where you’ll find rugged cliffs against the ocean on one side and redwood forests on the other.

15. Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Just outside of Washington, D.C., is Arlington National Cemetery , which spans 624 acres and houses the graves of 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and their families. The graves of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are frequently visited, as is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is a monument dedicated to deceased U.S. service members whose remains haven’t been identified. The moving Changing of the Guard can be witnessed every 30 or 60 minutes while the cemetery is open, depending on the time of year.

16. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, December 6, 2022: Broadway Street on a rainy night.

Even those who don’t love country music will likely be enamored with Nashville, Tennessee. Excellent restaurants and hip bars make for a thriving nightlife scene, and the live music — much of which is country — on Broadway is not to be missed. Top attractions include Centennial Park for its full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon, the Grand Ole Opry concert hall, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum .

17. Freedom Trail, Boston

Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston played a large part in America’s independence, and the city’s Freedom Trail passes through 16 historically significant locations. The two-and-a-half-mile trail takes visitors to Boston Common (America’s oldest public park), the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s House , and the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned ship that acts as a museum today).

18. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Purple sunset and rising moon in Joshua Tree National Park, USA

Located in southern California, east of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is a dreamy destination known for its distinctive-looking namesake trees, big boulders that are ideal for rock climbing, and stellar stargazing opportunities . Visitors can drive through, hike around, camp, or ride horseback through the desert landscape.

19. Road to Hana, Maui

Road to Hana: The Hana Highway turns to cross a one lane bridge beside a waterfall on the north coast of Maui.

The top attraction in Maui on TripAdvisor, the Road to Hana (Hana Highway) is a 64.4-mile drive that connects Kahului, where the airport is located, to the town of Hana on Maui’s more rugged east coast. The drive is not for the faint of heart, as it has over 600 switchbacks and 56 one-lane bridges, but the speed limit never surpasses 25 miles per hour. Travelers who hit the road are rewarded with spectacular lush greenery, stunning black-sand beaches, multiple waterfalls, and spots to buy banana bread.

20. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Colorado

Red Rocks at sunrise, near Denver Colorado

Located about a 30-minute drive outside of Denver, the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is an open-air concert and entertainment venue. The entire theater, including the seating, was built into the red rocks, which make for a phenomenal acoustic experience. Tourists can run up and down the steps in the morning and see big-name acts at night. Past performers include The Beatles, U2, Coldplay, and John Denver.

Related: Maui vs. Kauai: Which Hawaiian Island Is Better for You?

21. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

amazing sundown at horseshoe bend, arizona

Horseshoe Bend is where the Colorado River takes a horseshoe-shaped bend in Glen Canyon. Visitors to Horseshoe Bend have skyrocketed since it gained recognition through Instagram. It’s easily accessible, as travelers can hike a one-and-a-half-mile round-trip trail from a parking lot off the highway.

22. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, USA cityscape on the river and walkway.

The capital of Texas, Austin, is a hip, youthful city where low-frills barbecue joints and big-name tech corporations coexist. From stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Austin to topless sunbathing at Barton Springs Pool , there are a lot of ways to beat the daytime heat. Nights can be spent at upscale restaurants, Sixth Street bars with live music, or watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Buy a University of Texas T-shirt and some cowboy boots while you’re there.

23. Space Needle, Seattle

Amazing View of Seattle From Far Away with mountain tops on the horizon

An iconic landmark in Seattle, the Space Needle is an observation tower that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. With its antenna, it rises 604 feet, allowing for panoramic views of Seattle and the surrounding water. A 100-million-dollar renovation included the creation of the Loupe, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor. A cafe and wine bar entice visitors to linger.

24. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

American flag waiving in front of Mount Rushmore

Located in South Dakota, this famous landmark depicts four American presidents carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore . Constructed between 1927 and 1941, the sculpture features the 60-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

25. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension at Sunrise, Hot Air Balloons

Every year since 1972, Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, in which the sky is filled with colorful hot air balloons. For nine days in October, families and friends gather to watch the largest balloon festival in the world.

26. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

The Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park (the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world)

Another top attraction (and the most-photographed) within Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in the United States, measuring 370 feet in diameter. It’s best viewed from above, as the spring has vibrant bands of rainbow colors.

27. Griffith Observatory, California

Los Angeles Griffith Observatory sunset

Situated on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, Griffith Observatory is a popular observatory with free admission. It has stellar views of the Hollywood Sign and Los Angeles, and visitors can use telescopes, the planetarium, various events, and a cafe.

28. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Biker on the Going-to-the-Sun Road with mountain background, Glacier National Park, Montana

Completed in 1932, Going-to-the-Sun Road is a two-lane highway that allows visitors to traverse the 50-mile width of Glacier National Park . Various scenic lookouts and noteworthy hikes can be found off the road, and it crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Due to weather conditions, it generally doesn’t open until late June or early July.

29. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Skyline

Whether for a bachelorette party, Celine Dion concert, or business conference, there’s a good chance you’ve at least thought about going to Las Vegas. Sin City is renowned for its world-class casinos, nightlife, and celebrity-chef-helmed restaurants, not to mention rowdy pool parties with famous DJs. It’s not all debauchery, though, and many kid-friendly activities dot the city.

30. Acadia National Park, Maine

Bass Harbor Head lighthouse at sunset. Bass Harbor Head Light is a lighthouse located within Acadia National Park, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay

Maine‘s beauty is undeniable, and that’s perhaps best displayed at Acadia National Park . Located near Bar Harbor, the 47,000-acre park sits along the coast and offers ample wildlife, such as moose and peregrine falcons, beaches, lush forests, and granite ridges formed by glaciers. While summer is a popular time to visit, the fall foliage makes for great autumn hiking.

Related: Top 9 Las Vegas Hotels on the Strip for Every Type of Traveler

31. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Girls on vacation hiking trip. Friends standing next to Thor's Hammer hoodoo on top of mountain looking at beautiful view. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

Located a four-hour drive south of Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon is a national park best known for having the largest concentration of hoodoos (irregular rock columns) in the world. The park was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019 due to the great nighttime visibility and many astronomy-related programs on offer.

32. Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Liberty Bell old symbol of American freedom in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Often considered a symbol of America’s independence, the iconic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was ordered by Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751. It was previously housed in Independence Hall, the building where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted. It has since been moved to the Liberty Bell Center within the Independence National Historical Park .

33. Charleston, South Carolina

Broad Street Panorama in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The 1670-founded Charleston is South Carolina’s oldest city, Today, it offers a lovely mix of old-fashioned Southern charm and contemporary style. Cobblestone streets filled with horse-drawn carriages and striking mansions can be found in its well-preserved Historic District, while notable wartime places, like Fort Sumter and Patriots Point , sit nearby. Cute boutique shops and traditional Southern comfort food appeal to visitors, as does Folly Beach , located a 25-minute drive south of the city.

34. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

Hot springs may conjure images of Iceland or Costa Rica, but the aptly named city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, offers U.S. travelers ample opportunities to soak in naturally heated springs. The town is located in the Ouachita Mountains, about one hour from Little Rock. Bathhouse Row has several bathhouse options, including places for coed or gender-segregated experiences. A few dispensers around the city let people obtain cold spring water straight from the mountain.

35. Redwood National and State Parks, California

Hiker in Sequoia National Park, California, USA

Roughly equidistant from Portland and San Francisco, the Redwood National and State Parks encompass 139,000 acres and three state parks. Visitors here will find stunning redwood trees, which are some of the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in the world. On average, redwoods live between 500 and 700 years, and a typical redwood here measures 300 feet tall and 16 to 20 feet in diameter.

36. Oahu, Hawaii

Beautiful day at world famous and popular snorkeling spot Hanauma bay in Honolulu on Oahu, Hawaii

The most popular of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu provides picture-perfect beaches, hiking opportunities, and the conveniences of a city — think budget-friendly hotels, chain restaurants, and an international eatery. Top attractions include Waikiki Beach in Honolulu , Diamond Head — a dormant volcano crater that can be hiked — and North Shore, a beach with huge waves that make it a frequent host of international surfing competitions in the winter. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is also worth a visit.

Girl watching Aurora borealis in Fairbanks, Alaska

The 49th state of Alaska is stunning, with greenery-filled forests, tons of wildlife (think bears, humpback whales, and moose), and massive glaciers. However, it’s not the easiest place to explore, as even the capital of Juneau has no roads leading out of the city. Arguably the best way to see Alaska is on a cruise , stopping at ports like Ketchikan , which has a strong native culture and renowned salmon fishing.

38. Sonoma, California

Sunset at Sonoma California patchwork vineyard at harvest. Vista of Sonoma Valley wine country, with patches of yellow and green vines in autumn. Sunbeams shine on mountains and valleys.

While we love Napa Valley in California, Sonoma provides a slightly less touristy wine-country experience. Sonoma is set among beautiful rolling hills, and many of the over 400 wineries within Sonoma County have a laid-back atmosphere that will put visitors at ease. Like Napa, Sonoma has tons of top-notch restaurants, relaxing spas, bike rentals, and charming bed-and-breakfasts to choose from.

39. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Man on hilltop viewing Crater Lake with full moon

A four-hour drive south of Portland, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is 183,224 acres and home to America’s deepest lake. Crater Lake, a caldera formed by the eruption of Mount Mazama volcano, is 1,943 feet deep at its deepest point and has a striking deep blue hue. Swimming and fishing are permitted, plus park-goers can hike, bike, ski, and stargaze.

40. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Taos Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico

Located 90 minutes north of Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. An active Native American community resides on Taos Pueblo lands, both within the Pueblo and in surrounding areas. The present buildings, which are made of adobe, are believed to have been constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. Guided tours are available of the site.

Related: Best Destinations for Adult-Only Vacations

41. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope canyon, Arizona

Another Instagram darling, Antelope Canyon , is a magnificent, awe-inspiring slot canyon near Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone. It’s located on Navajo tribal lands, and the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons can only be accessed with a guide licensed by the tribe.

42. Minnesota Lakes

Yellow canoe on shore of beautiful lake with island in northern Minnesota at dawn

Minnesota is considered the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” though it actually has nearly 12,000, and many are fantastic spots for a summer vacation. Whether you choose to dip your toes in the chilly Lake Superior — one of the Great Lakes — or go full-on swimming in Mille Lacs Lake (which is large but shallow), there’s a lake in Minnesota for you.

43. Arches National Park, Utah

Jubilation at Delicate Arch, Moab Utah

Just outside of Moab is Arches National Park , famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches — the largest concentration of them on Earth. The most photographed is the 52-foot-tall, freestanding Delicate Arch, plus the park has many other striking geological formations.

44. Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY, USA - October 25, 2017: The exterior of Churchill Downs while it was closed to the public and under construction. A gift shop is open and tours of the inside are available.

Since 1865, the Kentucky Derby horse race has been taking place at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. Women wear elaborate hats, while gentlemen don seersucker suits in pastel hues. Visitors come to watch the 20 three-year-old Thoroughbred horses race 1.25 miles — often with a mint julep in hand.

45. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island view from Fort Mackinac in Michigan

Located in Michigan’s Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is a charming 1780-founded island with a population of just around 1,000 (though it sees many tourists during its peak season). A majority of the island is a state park, which has forests, wildlife, and hiking trails. The use of motor vehicles has been outlawed here since 1898, so expect to ride around on bikes or in horse-drawn carriages and buggies.

46. Santa Monica, California

View of Santa Monica beach and Pacific Coast highway in southern California.

Santa Monica sits due west of Los Angeles, and the town lures travelers with its postcard-worthy beach, pier with amusement park rides, and boulevard lined by shops and eateries. A 22-mile paved bike trail is a great way to see the city, plus the famous Muscle Beach , an outdoor gym dating back to the 1930s, is not to be missed.

47. Space Center, Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS, USA - JUNE 9, 2018: The NASA Space Shuttle Independence and NASA 905 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at Independence Plaza, Space Center Houston, Texas.

The Space Center in Houston is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and home of NASA Mission Control and astronaut training. It allows visitors to view more than 400 space artifacts, as well as traveling and permanent exhibits related to space travel.

48. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Picture Lake Reflection of Mount Shuksan

About a 90-minute drive from Denver is Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park , which attracts millions of visitors each year with its 355 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives to more than 12,000 feet in elevation, and over 50 lakes and streams for fishing. Year-round activities abound, and travelers can either camp within the park or stay at a nearby hotel such as the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for “The Shining”).

49. Fenway Park, Boston

Fenway Park - home of the Boston Red Sox - BOSTON , MASSACHUSETTS

Long considered America’s pastime, baseball is something every U.S. citizen and traveler should witness at least once. There are 30 Major League Baseball teams, and while Wrigley Field in Chicago, Yankee Stadium in New York, and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles are all suitable spots, we love Fenway Park in Boston for its easy-to-reach location. Plus, the many die-hard Red Sox fans make for a fun experience.

50. Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island Sail Boats San Francisco California

Located in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is a fascinating tourist attraction that was developed as a Civil War fortress, followed by a military prison and federal prison (until 1963). Ferries shuttle visitors to the island, where guided tours showcase the complex history of the site and its prison.

How many destinations can you check off the list? Find out down below:

USA Travel Bucket List Checklist

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Ultimate USA Travel Bucket List: 125+ Best Places to Visit in USA

The United States is a large country so even those of us that live here have many bucket list places in the US that we have yet to visit.  Whether you live in the US and want to explore more of this amazing country or visiting the US for the first time and need help planning your trip, I’ve created this epic guide containing more than 125 incredible things to see and do in the United States which are perfect for any USA Travel Bucket List .

Some of these must see places I have already visited and recommend and the rest are places that look so beautiful or sound so interesting that I have added them to my personal America travel bucket list. So read on if you are looking for inspiration and ideas for your own US travel bucket list.

USA Travel Bucket List

USA Travel Bucket List

Alaska Bucket List

  • Explore Denali National Park .
  • See Mendenhall Glacier , a 13-mile long glacier near Juneau.

Arizona Bucket List

  • Take photos at Antelope Canyon. This sandstone slot canyon is made up of two sections (Upper and Lower) and is one of the most instagrammable places in the United States. Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo protected land and is only accessible via guided tours. Click here for more information about tours.

Antelope Canyon is a must on any USA Travel Bucket List

  • See Horseshoe Bend , the beautiful natural horseshoe-shaped curve in the Colorado River.  This picture perfect view only requires an easy short 3/4 mile hike each way.

Horseshoe Bend American Bucket List Challenge

  • Visit the Grand Canyon National Park . The famous Grand Canyon is at the top of most American bucket lists. There are many ways to visit the Grand Canyon including hiking, bike tours, mule rides, by helicopter or by small plane .
  • Hike to the Wave. Getting a hiking permit is very difficult since only 20 people are allowed each day.  Find out more about how to get a permit and other logistics in this guide to Coyote Buttes North (home to the Wave) here .
  • See White Pocket. This lesser known remote natural wonder is a great alternative if you cannot get a permit to the Wave. You need a 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle or else it is best to book a tour.
  • Visit the Arizona desert town of Sedona.
  • Visit the city of Flagstaff, surrounded by mountains, desert and pine forests. It is a gateway to the San Francisco Peaks which is  home to Arizona’s tallest mountain (Humphreys Peak).
  • Visit the Painted Desert , famous for its striking bands of colors.
  • Visit the Petrified Forest National Park.

Arkansas Bucket List

  • Hunt for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park . This state park is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds – anything you find is yours to keep!

California Bucket List

  • Explore San Francisco . Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting Alcatraz are at the top of my San Francisco bucket list. Read: 2 Days in San Francisco: The Perfect Itinerary (As Written By a Local!)

Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best places to visit in the USA

  • Go wine tasting at Napa Valley and Sonoma in Northern California.
  • Visit Los Angeles. There are a lot of bucket list things to do in and around LA including hiking to the Hollywood sign, shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Read: 3 Days in Los Angeles: The Perfect Itinerary
  • Have fun at Disneyland.
  • Explore Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree is one of top California bucket list destinations

  • Visit Palm Springs.
  • Enjoy sunny San Diego.
  • Explore Solvang, a charming historic Danish village.
  • Explore Yosemite National Park.
  • Visit The Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks. These adjacent parks are home to the world’s largest trees.
  • See giant California redwoods at Redwood National Park .
  • Visit Lake Tahoe. Read:   2 Days in Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary
  • Explore Death Valley National Park.
  • Take a Pacific Coast Highway road trip along the coast of California which is without a doubt one of the best road trips in the USA . In addition to San Francisco and Los Angeles, some of the best stops along the way include Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, San Simeon, Malibu, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Read: California Bucket List: 30 Best Places to Visit in California for more bucket list worthy places to visit in California

Colorado Bucket List

  • Visit Denver .
  • Explore Rocky Mountain National Park. You can visit on a day trip from Denver .
  • Visit the Garden of the Gods , a free park full of red rock formations with great hiking.
  • Drive to the top of Pikes Peak .
  • See Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park . Several scenic drives in the park offer great views with relatively easy access.
  • Visit the Maroon Bells, a reflective lake and two giant snow-striped mountaintops and most photographed place in Colorado.
  • See the highest sand dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park .
  • See Pueblo cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park .

Connecticut Bucket List

  • Visit the charming town of Mystic .

Florida Bucket List

  • Visit Miami. Highlights include Miami Beach, Wynwood Walls and the Little Havana neighborhood. One of the busiest time to visit other than spring break is during Art Basel in December.
  • See wildlife at Everglades National Park, the largest designated sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent.
  • Drive from Miami to the Florida Keys on the scenic Overseas Highway (one of the best American road trips ). Read: Weekend in Key West: The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary
  • Have fun at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando.
  • Swim with manatees in Crystal River. You can visit on a day trip from Orlando .
  • Visit St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.  Read: Weekend in St. Augustine: Perfect 2 or 3 Day Itinerary

Read: Florida Bucket List

Georgia Bucket List

  • Visit Atlanta.  Read: 48 Hours in Atlanta: The Perfect 2 Day Itinerary
  • Visit the beautiful historic city of Savannah.

Cheap Car Rentals

Hawaii Bucket List

  • Seeing the beautiful Na Pali Coast in Kauai is a must on any Hawaii bucket list. You cannot visit by car. The entire Kalalau Trail is 11 miles long but you can hike the first couple of miles in a day or half a day. If hiking is not your thing, you can also view the Napali coast from helicopter tour or boat tour.

the best things to do in Kauai

  • See the Waimea Canyon in Kauai, a large canyon known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. There are hiking trails but you can enjoy great views from two lookout points.

top things to do in Kauai

  • Hike to the top at Diamond Head State Monument in Oahu for great views of Honolulu. The 1.5-2 hours round trip hike is not too challenging but go as early as possible in the morning because it gets hot!
  • Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu which marks the Japanese attack on the U.S. in World War II.
  • Drive the Road to Hana in Maui.
  • See a beautiful sunrise or sunset from the top of Haleakala Crater , a dormant volcano and the highest point in Maui. Unless you are visiting on a tour, you will need to make reservations in advance to access the park at sunset. Read: The Perfect Maui Itinerary: How to Spend 5 Days in Maui (As Written By a Local)


Idaho Bucket List

  • See the beautiful Shoshone Falls (which are taller than Niagara Falls).
  • Soak in one of the many Idaho hot springs .

Illinois Bucket List

what to do in chicago

  • Explore Chicago . Maybe I’m biased because it is my hometown, but Chicago is one of the best cities to visit in the US. There are a lot of bucket list worthy things to do in Chicago : watch a baseball game at historic Wrigley Field, take a selfie in front of the Bean at Millennium Park, take in the amazing views from The Skydeck at Willis Tower and/or 360 CHICAGO, take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River and more! Read:  Best Things to Do in Chicago in the Summer and Most Instagrammable Places in Chicago
  • Visit Starved Rock State Park (one of the most popular attractions in Illinois) and the nearby Matthiessen State Park . Both parks have great hikes, stunning sandstone cliffs, canyons and beautiful waterfalls. You can even visit on a day trip from Chicago .

Read: Best Things to Do & Places to Visit in Illinois for more bucket list worthy places to visit in Illinois

Indiana Bucket List

  • Visit the the capital city of Indianapolis.

Iowa Bucket List

  • See the covered bridges of Madison County .
  • Visit the Iowa State Fair. The eleven day fair (August 12-22, 2021) has food, games, rides and competitions, livestock exhibitions, shows, concerts and more.
  • Recreate the famous American Gothic painting in front of the original house in Eldon depicted in the painting. Visitors to the American Gothic House are provided with costumes to wear while the staff takes photos in front of the house.

Read :  Beautiful Sunflower Fields in Iowa That You Can Visit

Kansas Bucket List

  • Eat BBQ at the famous Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que  in Kansas City.

Kentucky Bucket List

  • Visit Louisville during the Kentucky Derby.
  • Journey on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail .

Louisiana Bucket List

  • Explore New Orleans.  Visit NOLA during Mardi Gras is a bucket list worthy experience.

Maine Bucket List

  • Explore Acadia National Park, a great spot to see the fall foliage in New England.
  • Visit Portland, a charming coastal city.

Maryland Bucket List

  • Visit Baltimore. See the historic waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point and make sure to try Maryland’s famous crab cakes.

Massachusetts Bucket List

  • Visit Boston. Some Boston must dos include walking the Freedom Trail, watching a game at Fenway Park and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Relax at Cape Cod.
  • Learn about the history of the witch trials at Salem.
  • Visit Martha’s Vineyard , a tiny island which is a popular summer vacation destination for wealthy East Coast residents.

Michigan Bucket List

  • Explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore .
  • Visit historic Mackinac Island. The entire Victorian-themed island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is car-free so visitors can only explore by foot, bicycle or horse drawn carriage.

Read: Best Places to Visit in the Midwest

Minnesota Bucket List

  • Visit Minneapolis-St Paul. Don’t miss the Minnehaha Regional Park (and the stunning Minnehaha Falls).
  • Explore the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior .

Mississippi Bucket List

  • Explore the Mississippi Blues Trail, nearly 200 trail markers throughout the state including cotton fields, train depots, cemeteries, clubs and churches that tell stories of famous blues artists and significant sites. You can even download an app to help you follow the trail.

Missouri Bucket List

  • Enjoy the view from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
  • Eat some of the best BBQ in the country and explore the underrated Kansas City. Read : Weekend in Kansas City: The Perfect Itinerary (According to a Local!)

Montana Bucket List

Glacier National Park one of the top 100 places to visit in usa

  • Explore the beautiful Glacier National Park. One of highlights of the park is driving the famous Going-To-The-Sun Road .

Nebraska Bucket List

  • Witness the Annual Sandhill Crane Migration in the spring.
  • See Carhedge . This quirky man made attraction built from 38 vintage American cars covered in gray spray paint is a replica of England’s famous Stonehenge.
  • Visit Toadstool Geologic Park (referred to as the “badlands of Nebraska”) to see unusual rock formations and fossils.

Read: 7 Cool Things to do in Nebraska

Nevada Bucket List

  • Gamble, party, eat and have fun in Las Vegas. Read : Weekend in Las Vegas: The Perfect Itinerary (According to a Local!)
  • Visit Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity dam on the border between Arizona and Nevada.
  • Photograph the Seven Magic Mountains , a temporary art exhibition located in the desert outside of Las Vegas, featuring thirty to thirty-five-foot high day glow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders.
  • Explore the Valley of Fire State Park, full of red rock formations just an hour outside of Vegas. It is also home to the Fire Wave, a smaller version of the famous Wave in Utah/Arizona.

Valley of Fire USA travel bucketlist

  • Admire colorful rock formations at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on several hiking trails or on a 13-mile scenic drive.

New Jersey Bucket List

  • Go gambling in Atlantic City, one of the most popular cities in the Jersey Shore.
  • Hang out at Liberty State Park and enjoy great views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

New Hampshire Bucket List

  • Explore the stunning White Mountains, a mountain range with many hiking spots of all levels.
  • Drive Kancamagus Highway , a 34.5 mile scenic drive along Route 112 and one of the best New England drives for fall foliage.

New Mexico Bucket List

  • Visit Albuquerque during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta , the largest balloon festival in the world.
  • Explore Santa Fe.
  • Visit Taos.
  • Visit White Sands National Monument .

north america travel bucket list

New York Bucket List

  • Explore New York City. Read : Weekend In New York City Itinerary
  • See Niagara Falls from the US side.

North Carolina Bucket List

  • Visit Asheville. One of the highlights is a visit to the historic Biltmore Estate , the largest house in the United States.
  • Explore the Outer Banks islands.

North Dakota Bucket List

  • Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park .

Read: 7 Reasons North Dakota Should Be On Your Bucket List

Ohio Bucket List

  • Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland.
  • Explore Hocking Hills State Park and view the beautiful sandstone formations and waterfalls.

Oregon Bucket List

  • Visit Portland, a city that likes to keep it weird.
  • Explore the Columbia River Gorge.  Don’t miss the beautiful Multnomah Falls just a 30 minute drive outside of Portland.

Multnomah Falls American travel bucket list destination

  • See Crater Lake National Park .  The highlight is the vivid blue Crater Lake (America’s deepest lake).

Crater Lake Pacific Northwest bucket list

Read: Bucket List Places to Visit in the West Coast

Pennsylvania Bucket List

  • Visit Philadelphia. Visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Eastern State Penitentiary and have a Philly cheesesteak.

Rhode Island Bucket List

  • Explore Newport, a beach town known for its lavish mansions from the Gilded Age.

South Carolina Bucket List

  • Visit the charming city of Charleston.

South Dakota Bucket List

  • Explore Badlands National Park known for its spires and pinnacles.
  • See Mount Rushmore National Memorial . This sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore features the heads of four U.S. presidents.

Tennessee Bucket List

  • Visit Nashville.
  • Visit Memphis. Highlights include Graceland (home of Elvis Presley), Beale Street and the Duck March at the Peabody Hotel .
  • Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park and a UNESCO world heritage site which straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Trail passes through the Great Smoky Mountains for more than 71 miles.
  • Walk across Gatlinburg SkyBridge , the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the US for beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains.

Texas Bucket List

  • Visit Austin. It is especially popular during South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals . Read : Best Things to Do in Austin in One Day
  • Visit San Antonio.  The Alamo and the River Walk are the top attractions.
  • See the bluebonnets in bloom every spring in Texas Hill Country .
  • Explore Big Bend National Park.
  • Visit the small quirky town of Marfa .
  • Stop at Cadillac Ranch , a public art installation of half-buried Cadillacs on Route 66.

Utah Bucket List

  • Visit Salt Lake City.
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park , known for crimson-colored hoodoos (spire-shaped rock formations).

Bryce Canyon is one of the top United States bucket list places

  • Explore Zion National Park .
  • Explore Arches National Park , home to the highest density of natural arches anywhere in the world.

Arches National Park is a must on any North America bucket list

  • Explore Canyonlands National Park .
  • Visit Monument Valley .
  • Explore Goblin Valley State Park.
  • Take fun perspective pictures at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Vermont Bucket List

  • Do a fall road trip in Vermont to see the beautiful fall foliage.
  • Visit the picturesque town of Stowe .

Virginia Bucket List

  • Visit Virginia Beach.
  • Drive through Shenandoah National Park. Read :  Complete Guide to Shenandoah National Park

Washington State Bucket List

  • Visit Seattle.
  • Explore Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Explore Olympic National Park.
  • Explore North Cascades National Park .

Washington, D.C. Bucket List

  • Exploring the capital of the United States of America is a must on any USA bucket list. Points of interest include Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and National Mall. The city is especially beautiful (but crowded) during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring.

Read: Best Places to Visit in the East Coast

West Virginia Bucket List

  • See the New River Gorge Bridge. If you are feeling adventurous, you can sign up for bridge walk guided tour where you cross the catwalk under the bridge.

Wisconsin Bucket List

  • Visit Milwaukee.
  • Relax in Lake Geneva , a lakeside resort city popular with wealthy Chicagoans that built large historic mansions.
  • Explore beautiful Door County .
  • Explore the Apostle Islands and the sea caves on Lake Superior.

Wyoming Bucket List

  • Explore Yellowstone National Park . Full of mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, geysers and wildlife, it is America’s first national park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include Grand Prismatic Spring (a large hot spring is known for its rainbow effect) and Old Faithful.

Grand Prismatic Spring is a US bucket list destination

  • Explore the Grand Tetons .

Grand Teton USA travel bucket list ideas

  • Visit Devils Tower National Monument , a 870-foot stone monument and the center of many Indian religious ceremonies.

So there you have it – the ultimate USA travel bucket list .  If there is an experience or place I should include let me know in the comments below!

Need more travel inspiration? Check out some of my other travel bucket lists below:

  • Europe Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do
  • Australian Bucket List: Best Places to Visit in Australia
  • Africa Bucket List: 50 Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • South America Bucket List: 50+ Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • Southeast Asia Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do in SE Asia
  • Travel Goals: 100 Things to Do Before You Die
  • 10 Hotels That Should Be on Your Bucket List!

USA Travel Bucket List Places You Need to Visit

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There are so many places in the USA that I have yet to visit. I love that you put together this list by state, it’s a very easy reference to have. It’s embarrassing that I have been to so many places around the world, but haven’t been to 2 of the 3 places in your Wisconsin list (it is the state I grew up in!).

I love ticking things off bucket lists. US is such a diverse country and going through the places you recommended I have realized I still have so much more to see in this amazing country. So far I checked some in California (L.A., Disneyland and a road trip along the Pacific Coast), Florida (Miami Beach, Florida Keys, Everglades), Louisiana (yes NOLA during Mardi Gras is madness, loved it!!), and New York City! You got me wanting to go again and check out so many other places!

This is a fabulous list! I don’t think we will be venturing too far out of North America and the Caribbean this year, so this post will be very helpful for planning some USA travels. Going to Chicago and Las Vegas later this year so will definitely refer back.

Absolutely shows how much there is in the US of A to explore. I love the national parks there and that all the states have something unique to offer. Love this list – and definitely will come back to it to check a few of those places.

This is such a great list! I don’t think you have missed out on anything at all. I didn’t even know many of these places and now I want to visit them.

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I love traveling and my life partner also loves traveling. Recently we got married and planning to visit all over USA. Your List will be more helpful for us and others also.

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Creative Travel Guide


By Author Katie

Posted on Last updated: February 7, 2024


This USA Bucketlist covers every major attraction and destination the US has to offer. We also include some must-eats too!

We love exploring the United States of America; so much so, that after living in the UK and then Asia, we decided to make the big move and live in the US. Whilst living in the windy city of Chicago , we are enjoying every opportunity we have to see as much of this USA Bucket list as possible.

If you are looking for a Camp America Job , these destinations are great places to explore once you have finished your summer working.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see ways you can save money whilst traveling to the USA.


Road of Route 66

1. Drive Route 66

Known as the best road trip in America, Route 66 offers visitors an insight into all areas of the states, making it a great USA bucketlist experience, especially for first-time tourists.

Starting in Chicago and ending at Santa Monica Pier , this route takes you across the country, with some historic, interesting, and exciting places to stop by on the way.

The drive takes around 2 weeks but it is advised to give yourself at least 4 weeks to enjoy and experience the route at your leisure.

Unusual places on Route 66 include the Muffler Man Statue in Cicero, the second-largest rocking chair in Fanning, the Cadillac Ranch art piece, and the quirky Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, California.

Cadillac Ranch Texas Route 66 USA Bucketlist

Tips for visiting Route 66:

  • The route is 2278 miles , meaning it will take around 46 hours of total driving. Use this to plan how long you need for your trip. 
  • Avoid driving for too many hours at once (6 hours or less a day is ideal).
  • Route 66 is not an interstate highway, so you will drive slower . 
  • Outline a general idea of your road trip and book accommodation in more popular cities beforehand. 
  • Make a wish list or a must-see Route 66 attrac t ions , so you don’t miss anything. But also make a ‘would like to see’ and a ‘can skip’ list too, so you know which destinations or roadside attractions are worth your time and aren’t. 
  • Decide your start and end point – if you are short on time, why not drive a section of the road rather than squeeze in the whole route but possibly not enjoy it as much. 
  • Factor in some side trips – there are some amazing attractions near Route 66 but not necessarily on the road. Places like the Grand Canyon , Monument Valley, and Hoover Dam will require a day trip away from the road but are worth the visit. 
  • If you don’t want to drive the whole route, you could take a day trip from Vegas to experience some parts of Route 66 as well as see other nearby attractions.
  • Along the route are vintage hotels, themed rooms, and unique places to stay in the USA . Book these in advance as they are in high demand, especially during the summer months. 
  • When renting a car , make sure you can drop it off at your final destination. Companies like Budget, Dollar, Avis, National, Hertz, Alamo, and Thrifty all offer this service but you can compare prices online before booking. Most people drive East to West, meaning often the drop-off fee is cheaper if you do the reverse and drive from LA to Chicago. 
  • Spring and Autumn is the best time to plan and take a road trip like this USA Bucketlist experience. The western destinations get very warm in July and August whilst it can snow during the winter in Eastern destinations.

Wigman Hotel Route 66 USA Bucket List

Unique experiences:

  • Stay in a Route 66 motel – Wigwam Motel is a fun option for families. 
  • Get spray painting a car at Cadillac Ranch in Texas
  • Muffler Man Statue (Atlanta)
  • The world’s second-largest rocking chair, Missouri
  • Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma
  • Eat at the Mid Point Cafe, half-way between Santa Monica and Chicago
  • Fantastic Caverns, Missouri
  • Amboy Shoe Tree. California
  • The Singing Road, Albuquerque
  • Meteor Crater, Arizona
  • Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, California
  • The World’s Largest Totem Pole, Oklahoma
  • 66 Drive-In Theatre, Missouri
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
  • Calico Ghost Town, Nevada
  • Lincoln’s Tomb, Illinois
  • Cars on the Route (an old service station that inspired the Cars animated movies). 

Statue of Liberty on your USA Bucketlist

2. Climb the Statue of Liberty, New York City

The next USA bucketlist item is the iconic Statue of Liberty brings millions of tourists to NYC every year.

Jump on the ferry to Liberty Island to see the statue or book in advance to go inside and walk up to the crown – one of my all-time favorite experiences in New York City and, in my opinion, one of the best things to do in the USA.

New York is also a great place to explore as a solo traveler and is one of the recommended best places to travel alone in the US!

There are so many things to keep you busy in the city that never sleeps plus you will find lots of food markets so you can avoid sitting alone in a restaurant and there are hostels all over the city so you can save money as a solo traveler.

No matter what season in NYC you are visiting in, make sure to start any trip, if it is just two days in NYC , with a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

View from the crown of the Statue of Liberty

Tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty Crown

  • Allow plenty of time – whether you are visiting the Crown or just heading to Liberty Island, allow plenty of time. It is a popular tourist sight, queues for tickets and ferries are long and the trip up to the crown will take longer than you may anticipate. Allow 5-6 hours if you intend on visiting Ellis Island as well. 
  • Book an early slot – Avoid the queues (and heat during the summer) by booking an early slot, especially on the weekends. 
  • Bring a snack – After walking up to the crown, you will want to eat something. There is food available but it is overpriced and mediocre. 
  • Be prepared for the stairs – If you are heading to the crown, be aware that there are 146 steps up a winding staircase and another 44 up a double spiral staircase to take you to the top. Wear comfortable shoes and stop for breath if you are starting to feel dizzy. 
  • Bring Sun protection – If you are visiting in the spring or summer, bring sun protection, water, and sunglasses. There isn’t too much shade on Liberty Island and no one wants to get sunburnt on their vacation. 
  • Book early – Tickets for the crown sell out quickly so book early on the State Cruises website.  
  • Book a tour – If you want to learn more about the history of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you could book a guided tour , saving you time on queueing for tickets on arrival.
  • CityPass – You can also save money and time by getting the NYC CityPASS .

Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles

3. Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

One of the best places to visit in LA and next on our USA Bucketlist is Hollywood Boulevard.

Take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, see the famous Chinese Theater, and find your favorite performers along the Walk of Fame.

There are so many things to do in LA and exploring Hollywood Boulevard is one of many.

There are some fun things to see and do on Hollywood Boulevard and these include:

  • Walk of Fame – Find your favorite celebrity along the Walk of Fame, just avoid getting into too many people’s way when taking pictures, and watch out for pickpockets in the busy, crowded areas.
  • Hollywood and Highland Center – This is a popular shopping center but head to level 2 to catch a view of the Hollywood sign. 
  • Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – This is an iconic Theatre along the Boulevard; you can take a 30-minute walking tour, offered throughout the day for $16.
  • Dolby Theatre – Tours aren’t available but you can enter the theatre to watch a performance, just check the schedule ahead of your visit.
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum – This wax museum is similar to all Madame Tussauds around the world but can be a fun thing to do in the evenings if you are staying in the local area.
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Dating back to the Golden Era, this is an iconic hotel that reflects classic Hollywood in every sense. The hotel has hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe.
  • Street performers – You can find plenty of street performers and actors dressed up as fun characters along this street. However, if you want to take a photograph with a character, expect to be asked for a tip; for many, this is how they earn a living or support their move to the glamourous city.
  • El Capitan Theatre – This is a fully restored theater, owned by Disney and still showing movies today.
  • Hollywood Wax Museum – This is another fun activity for families the wax celebrities are less up-to-date than Madame Tussauds but this is still a unique museum on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Mel’s Drive-in – This should be on a USA bucketlist itself. This is a fun, themed old-school style diner with huge portions and the best milkshake I have ever tasted!

Zion National Park for your USA Bucketlist

4. Discover Zion National Park, Utah

Explore the wonders of Zion National Park, admiring the sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons.

Fly into nearby Vegas or Salt Lake City, rent a car, and explore at your own leisure – perhaps consider spending a few nights at a lodge in the park.

This makes for a great weekend trip from Las Vegas , meaning you can see multiple USA Bucketlist items within just a week or so when visiting Vegas.

After exploring Zion, make sure you check out the rest of the West Coast National Parks ; they are not to be missed!

Things to do in Zion National Park

  • Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
  • Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
  • The Weeping Rock
  • Lower Emerald Pools
  • Hike around the park – Angels Landing and The Narrows are the most famous hikes. 
  • Riverside Walk scenic path
  • Checkerboard Mesa
  • Human History Museum
  • Horseback riding tours through the Canyons (March to October)
  • Rock Climbing and Canyoneering

Best and Unique places to stay in and near Zion National Park

  • Driftwood Lodge – Located in Springdale, this is a popular lodge choice, with an outdoor swimming pool and sunbathing terrace. 
  • Zion Glamping Adventures – Want to try some glamping? Sleep under the stars in these luxury canvas tents with real beds and heaters too. There is a Barbecue and picnic area for guests to use too. 
  • Ruby’s Inn Campground – Stay in a teepee, which fits up to 8 people. There aren’t any beds though, so you will need to bring your own sleeping bag, camp chairs, and stove. 
  • Zion Luxury Camping – For a luxury camping tent, this is a great choice. Every tent has mountain views which are breathtaking but bathroom blocks are shared. 
  • Cedar Breaks Lodge – This ski resort is perfect, even if you are visiting in the summer. You can enjoy the mountain trails, hotel activities, and scenic chair lifts, no matter what the temperature.
  • The Parry Lodge – This is the lodge of movie stars. Many actors, including Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, stayed here when filming on location. 
  • Red Mountain Lodge – Heading here for a romantic break? This is perfect! No children under 12 are allowed at this lodge, so you can enjoy the pool. Healthy life classes, hiking, yoga, biking, and personal-discovery activities as well as a good massage after a long day exploring the park. 

maid of the mist at Niagara Falls

5. Ride the Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls

I love everything about Niagara Falls and what better way to get up close to the falls than the iconic Maid of the Mist.

Tickets cost $19.95 but if you have the time, cross the Niagara Falls Border Crossing and head over to the Canadian side and check out the unusual wax museum on Clifton Hill or Whirlpool jet boat experience.

Really, the whole area should be on your USA bucketlist, as there are plenty of things to see and do in the area.

How to get to Niagara Falls?

The quickest way to get to Niagara Falls is by flying to either Toronto or Buffalo Airport and then taking a taxi, bus, or train into Niagara. 

Alternatively, you can use the Greyhound bus services from New York City. These trips take 10 to 12 hours and cost $58.

You could also take the train for $78, taking 9 hours. If you are taking a road trip, the drive can take approximately 6 and a half hours.

Niagara Falls up close

Getting around Niagara Falls

Whilst you are in Niagara Falls, there are a few ways to get around.

Walking is the most popular option here, as many of the attractions are close to one another. You can also walk from the US side to the Canadian side and vice versa, using the Rainbow Bridge.

There aren’t too many parking options near the falls themselves apart from hotel or casino parking lots but driving around Niagara itself can be a fun experience; especially for those wanting to visit the vineyards or further afield attractions.

You can rent a bike a women’s road bike under 500 around the falls too or use the Niagara Transit bus network on the US side. 

Alcatraz prisoner cell

6. Alcatraz, San Francisco

This historic, fascinating, and infamous prison off the coast of San Francisco needs to be on your USA bucketlist. Book your tickets online and aim for an early slot to avoid crowds.

I was so impressed with the audio tour and would highly recommend it; it creates an eerie but interesting experience in the city by the bay.

Not sure how to visit Alcatraz,  a summary is:

  • There are different tour options – day tour, early bird tour (the best choice), night tour, behind-the-scenes tour), Alcatraz and Angel Island tour. 
  • Buy your tickets in advance – tickets go on sale 7 weeks ahead of time and book up quickly, especially during the holidays and summer months. 
  • Get the audio tour – it is fantastic, giving information whilst taking you through the history and stories of the prisoners. 
  • Ferries leave from Pier 33 . 

Whilst in San Francisco , make sure to see all of the best San Francisco attractions . You can save money by getting the CityPass too.

The White House is a must-see USA Bucketlist item

7. The White House

Our next USA bucketlist must-see is to head to the capital to see The White House.

This was on our bucket list and when we first visited America back in 2011, we ticked this one off our list.

The White House is iconic and Washington D.C. is full of historic landmarks and museums that make for a great weekend away.

There are plenty of must-dos in Washington D.C . Firstly, begin with seeing the iconic monuments and landmarks. Lincoln Memorial is a must-see sight in DC, and just a short walk from here are the Vietnam Veterans and the Korean War Veterans Memorials.

Also, make sure to see the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial before seeing the famous White House. 

Washington DC has many, many museums so spend plenty of time exploring the best on offer.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of our favorites, as are the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The International Spy Museum is a fun option for families as is the National Zoological Park. 

Take a relaxing walk through the Botanic Gardens, catch a Washington Nationals baseball game, and take a food tour around the city.

Stroll around the Tidal Basin, visit the World War 2 memorial and spend some time exploring the historic Georgetown. 

What do you have to do to visit the White House?

It is possible to visit and tour the White House. These come on a first-come, first-served basis but requests can be submitted up to three months in advance.The White House tour is free of charge. Tours are self-guided but generally, tours will take 30 – 45 ns aieminutes. 

USA Bucketlist Disneyland

8. Disneyland

The original magical park isn’t for everyone but it is definitely on my USA bucketlist. After visiting its sister park in Orlando , I will be heading to Disneyland on our next trip to America for sure!

Best Disney attractions and rides

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle 
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • It’s a small world
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats
  • Fantasmic! 

California Adventure

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Frozen: Live at the Hyperion
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • World of Color Water Spectacular
  • The Incredicoaster
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Red Car Trolleys
  • Soarin’ Around The World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
  • Paint the Night parade
  • Toy Story Midway Mania

Death Valley in the USA

9. Visit Death Valley

Known as the driest, hottest, and lowest National park, Death Valley can often be overlooked but is a great national park for your USA Bucketlist.

There are plenty of places to stay in Death Valley , making a self-drive option my preferred choice, although tours are available from Vegas as well.

Death Valley travel tips:

  • Off-road tires – If you plan on driving across the park’s dirt roads, make sure you have off-road tires and spare tires. Flats are common in this national park. 
  • Gas – Gas is available inside the park from Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, and Furnace Creek but make sure you carry extra if you are moving away from the paved routes. 
  • Carry water – Make sure to bring plenty of water, the national park gets hot and you will need water. 
  • Bring maps – Phones don’t tend to work out in Death Valley and GPS systems are unreliable here. Make sure you bring a map to avoid getting lost on your self-drive. 
  • Arrive early – For gorgeous sunrises, dramatic backdrops, and empty landscapes, head to Death Valley early. 

Best time to visit Death Valley: 

Fall – Late October through to November is ideal, as the camping season has just begun and temperatures range between 50 to 70 degrees. 

Spring – March to early May is the perfect time to visit if you are looking to see the vibrant wildflowers bloom. This is the most popular time to visit the park, so weekends can be busy and campsites get a little more crowded. 

Avoid the summer – it is incredibly hot and you will want to stay inside your air-conditioned vehicle. 

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

10. The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

Outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia , the Liberty Bell is a must for anyone interested in American history and our next USA bucketlist attraction.

Take a tour of the hall if you have time, timed tours are available from 9am to 5pm.

Location: The Liberty Bell Center is at 526 Market Street, with the exit near Chestnut Street. 

Entrance fee: This is a free attraction but entrance tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Creative tip: If you want to learn more about the Bell and see a Park Ranger inside the Liberty Bell Center, why not stop and ask about it? They are full of knowledge! 

Visiting in the Spring or Fall:

  • Spring and Fall is the busiest time at the Liberty Bell, with school field trips arriving almost every weekday. 
  • Arrive early (8.30 am), before the school groups arrive.
  • Allocate about an hour between waiting in the line, security, and viewing; especially from May to June. 

Visiting in the Summer:

  • There are lots of tourists that visit the Liberty Bell in the summer, which is why hours are extended to 7pm. 
  • You can begin to queue before 9 am to avoid long queues. 
  • If the queues are too long, you can still see the Liberty Bell via the showcase windows on Chestnut Street.
  • Visiting at night offers great views of the Liberty Bell illuminated. 

Other things to do in Philadelphia :

Eastern State Penitentiary – A lesser-known point of interest in Philadelphia, this state penitentiary is the oldest standing penitentiary in America and was a home (and a very comfortable one) to Al Capone.

Tickets are available at the entrance for $14 including an audio tour, with the penitentiary open from 10 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is included in the Philadelphia CityPASS . 

Philadelphia Museum of Art – Art lovers should head to the Museum of Art holds innovative exhibitions and popular artworks from around the world.

Open from 10 am to 5 pm, the Museum of Art holds innovative exhibitions and popular artworks from around the world. Definitely worth a visit whilst you’re in town with entrance fees costing $20.

Rocky Statue – As cheesy and touristy as it sounds (and is), no trip to Philadelphia is complete until you have had your snapshot with the Rocky Statue and completed the infamous ‘run’ up the stairs. 

Eat a Philly Cheesesteak – Every deli and sandwich bar sells the Philly Cheesesteak, so make sure you grab one whilst you’re in town. Pat’s King Of Steaks on 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue is a great choice and the founders of the steak sandwich.

Please Touch Museum – Home to two floors of interactive education exhibitions and artistic experiences, the Please Touch Museum was built for children to have fun and learn.

Entrance is included in the Philadelphia CityPASS or children and adult admission costs $17 without the pass.

The Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.

Reading Terminal Market – For some mouthwatering food stalls, head to Reading Terminal Market; as seen on Man Vs Food. The market includes the signature Philly Cheesesteak as well as every other food you could think of from around the world.

Philadelphia Zoo – With exploration trails and a whole host of animals, the Philadelphia Zoo is one of the best Zoos I have visited. Opening times vary with general times being around 9.30 am to 5 pm during the summer months.

Diamond Head in Hawaii has to be on your USA Bucketlist

11. Volcano spotting in Hawaii

Hawaii is stunning but you can’t ignore the clusters of volcanos dotted around the islands.

Take a tour or hire a car and head to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see both the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes – Kilauea is known for being one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Just remember to get your Hawaii packing list sorted and ready for your hiking trips.

Best volcanoes in Hawaii and how to get to them:

  • Diamond head – This is the most famous volcano in Hawaii even though it is an extinct volcano. Hike up the crater for amazing views of Waikiki and the rest of the island. 
  • Mauna Loa – Last erupting in 1984, Mauna Loa is located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is a World Heritage Site and World Biosphere site by UNESCO. You can reach the visitor station from Hwy 200 and even interact with the mountain by walking through the lava tube.
  • Kilauea – This is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The park has 333,000 acres and is known for its amazing volcanic craters, hiking trails, and rainforests. You can drive around the crater rim of this volcano, giving it the nickname of ‘the world’s only drive-in volcano’. 
  • Hualalai – Last active in the 1800s, the volcanic cones price the ash soil for the Kona coffee belt. The volcano is massive and relatively unvisited but take a tour of the hidden craters or take a helicopter excursion to see this enormous volcano from above. 
  • Haleakala – Located on the east side of Maui, Haleakala forms more than three-quarters of the island. The national park preserves the outstanding landscape and is a fantastic day trip. The main road to the summit is windy and slow, so plan at least an hour for the journey.
  • Mauna Kea – This is a dormant volcano and the tallest mountain on earth, five miles above the ocean floor. You can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in around 2 hours, with the visitor center half-way up at 9200 feet. 

Elvis' living room at Graceland for your USA Bucket list

12. Visit Elvis’ Home

Head to Graceland and see where the king lived. Book your tickets online to make sure you aren’t disappointed and enjoy a tour of his Mansion, car museum, and several other exhibits.

This is one of the best places to vacation in Tennessee so make sure to get this on your USA Bucketlist!

Remember to bring along a Sharpie so you can sign the Graceland wall!

Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Tip: Graceland is busier in the mornings but the last mansion tour begins at 4 pm. Head here after 2 pm to avoid queuing and crowds.

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours for the mansion tour, The Elvis Experience tour (includes the mansion, car museum, and exhibits) takes 2.5 – 3.5 hours. 

Ticket Prices: 

  • Elvis Presley’s Memphis + Planes tour (Entertainment complex only, NOT including Graceland Mansion) – $41.50 for adults, $21 for children aged 5-10. 
  • Elvis Experience Tour (Mansion, Elvis’s Jets, and entertainment complex) – $69 for adults and $38 for children aged 5-10. 

This is the option we recommend

  • Elvis Entourage VIP (includes Mansion tour, jets, entertainment complex, front of the link access) – $108.50
  • Ultimate VIP tour (includes Mansion tour, Elvis’ Custom jets, entertainment complex, ultimate lounge, and VIP exhibits plus personal archives and voucher for Vernon’s Smokehouse) – $180

Buy tickets here or in person during opening hours. 

Print tickets or have them available on your smartphone to avoid waiting in line for ticket reprints. 

Address: 3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard

You can even stay at The Guest House at Graceland; an AAA four-diamond hotel that prides itself on sharing the southern hospitality that Elvis always showed. 

View of the strip with the best hotels for couples along it

13. Stroll along the Las Vegas Strip

Head to Las Vegas, catch a show, try your hand in the casinos, and enjoy everything that is Las Vegas .

Just a walk down the strip will take your breath away and whizz you into a world of lights and excitement.

Things not to miss in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of the 100 best places to visit in the USA because it offers so many amazing things to see and do, including many free things to do in Las Vegas .

You have your best experiences in Las Vegas , and the best things to do in Las Vegas for couples , but there are some fun, overlooked attractions near the strip that many overlook:

  • Topgolf at MGM Grand – This is a must-level complex with entertainment on each floor. Enjoy some golfing in an air-conditioned lane, compete with your friends or family, and enjoy some drinks as you go. They even have themed games like Angry Birds, perfect for those visiting with children.
  • High Roller Cabin – The High Roller is a popular observation wheel that offers spectacular views of Vegas. But, did you know that one of the cabins has an indoor bar? You can book this cabin during sunset and enjoy champagne whilst watching the glittering lights turn on. his is one of the more relaxing things to do in Las Vegas and perfect for all types of travelers.
  • Casino Royale – You are likely looking to do some gambling in Vegas but no one wants to lose a fortune. Casino Royal is perfect for those looking to enjoy gambling without the big bucks. Table games offer a $1 minimum, unheard of in many other casinos around Vegas.
  • Eat at the Top of the World – At the top of The Strat Hotel, this revolving restaurant is a bucket list item for many and one of the best places to eat in Vegas . Reserve a table in advance and enjoy a meal with an amazing view of Vegas and Nevada. Other restaurants with amazing views include Americana on Lake Jacqueline, Binions Steakhouse, Mizumi in Wynn Las  Vegas, and Buddy V’s Ristorante. If you have the cash, you could also head to Restaurant Guy Savoy for views of the Eiffel Tower and Bellagio fountain or Spago by Wolfgang Puck.
  • Try the buffets – We love the Vegas buffets and so should you! Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan is our favorite but shop around at the different options and vouchers available and make sure you enjoy a buffet at least once on your trip. 
  • Head to a pool party – Flamingo, The Venetian, and The Cosmopolitan all host pool parties (often on the weekends). Depending on the venue, you can rent a day bed, order a meal or snacks, and dance the day away in the pool.
  • Explore the hotels – Of course, you will want to explore the best hotels in Las Vegas . Each resort not only has a unique theme and decor but many offer some great attractions too; from exhibits to aquariums, shopping malls to museums. This is where some of the most unique hotels in the US can be found too, so browse options before booking a stay.
  • The Chandelier Bar – Head to the Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan to enjoy a cocktail in this glitzy, glamorous bar – the martinis are superb. 
  • Watch a show – When asked is Las Vegas worth visiting , I always say YES because of the many shows! Whether it is your favorite singer or a Cirque performance, you are going to want to watch a show whilst in Sin City. We love the LOVE show in The Mirage (Cirque) but watch trailers online before booking to see which show takes your fancy. 

Palms Las Vegas hotel, one of the best hotels in Las Vegas for couples for couples

T he Best time to visit Las Vegas

Some things to know before you go to Las Vegas is when to visit.

The best time to visit Las Vegas is from March to May and September to November when crowds are lower and the temperature is warm but not too humid. 

The cheapest months to visit Vegas are January, February, April, and September. This is off-season and generally tends to be a cheaper time to visit the city. 

Visiting in December also offers the coolest temperatures and the Christmas displays are gorgeous. 

Summertime is a very popular time to visit but is also incredibly hot and humid. Avoid August if you can, it can be hard to walk along the strip in this humidity but July and August also see an increase in rainfall. 

Buildings of the things to do in Times Square

14. Visit Times Square

There is something special about Times Square. Stand in the center, among the towering skyscrapers and bright adverts, and just watch. There are so many things to do in Times Square .

We loved Times Square so much that, when we returned to NYC, we checked into a hotel on Times Square itself!

Things to do on or near Times Square:

  • Madame Tussauds 
  • One Times Square 
  • Times Square Church
  • Gulliver’s Gate
  • Hershey’s Interactive store
  • The New Victory Theater
  • M&M Chocolate store
  • Duffy Square (perfect for people-watching)
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not! 
  • Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Bryant Park
  • National Geographic Ocean Odyssey
  • Broadway 

The Ride Tour things to do in Times Square

Where to eat on or around Times Square:

  • Dave and Buster’s (arcade and restaurant)
  • Shake Shack (American)
  • Becco Restaurant (Italian)
  • Ippudo Westside (Japanese)
  • Carmines (Italian, perfect for families)
  • Los Tacos No.1 (Mexican)
  • Junior’s (American diner)
  • Churrascaria Platforma (Brazilian)
  • John’s Pizzeria
  • Pure Thai Cookhouse (Thai)
  • The Little Beat (gluten-free) 
  • Junzi Kitchen (Chinese)
  • Virgil’s Real Barbecue (BBQ spot)

New Orleans sign for Bourbon Street, for your usa Bucket list

15. Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is on my USA bucket list and looks incredible. Running through the first month of the year, New Orleans is associated with Mardi Gras and vice versa. I am hoping to catch the parade through the city on our next trip to America.

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras (known as Fat Tuesday) is a carnival celebration of food, just before the first day of Lent. The festival lasts for two weeks but parties and colorful parades come to life during the 5 days surrounding Mardi Gras.

What to expect at Mardi Gras

During the Mardi Gras festival, there is usually one major procession each day, with several smaller parades, masquerades, parties, and balls. 

Most parades go down St. Charles Avenue into the Business District and often include spectators being showered with plastic beads, coins, and cups. 

Tips for visiting Mardi Gras

  • Reserve hotel rooms in advance and be aware that most hotels in the French Quarter and Business District require a 4 or 5-day minimum stay. 
  • The French Quarter is closed to vehicles during Mardi Gras weekend unless you are staying in a hotel. There are off-site commercial parking lots that are expensive and fill fast, so it may be worth paying extra to stay in the French Quarter. 
  • Make sure to try King Cake . These are everywhere but the best is at La Boulangerie . 
  • Mardi Gras is safe but use common sense . Don’t bring expensive jewelry and keep your valuables on your body. There are pickpockets so leave your handbag at home and stick to the essentials. 
  • Arrive early – There are two popular parades and crowds can be 10-deep, so arrive early if you want a great view. 
  • Decide on a meet-up spot – Whether you are traveling as a pair or group, decide on a meet-up spot before heading into the parade zone. 
  • Bring a plastic cup – you can drink with open containers as long as they are in plastic cups. However, it is worth noting that public restrooms are rare. 
  • To avoid the traffic getting to and from the party areas, rent a bike. Some companies even deliver to your hotel but rent a bike and bring a lock to get in and out easily. 
  • Be sensible – Anyone arrested between Friday to Tuesday is not released until Ash Wednesday, so don’t break the law and be sensible. 
  • Avoid the French Quarter if you are visiting with children. 
  • Make sure you dress up ! 

USA Bucketlist Northern Lights from Alaska

16. Watch the Northern Lights in Alaska

An Alaska itinerary cruise is high on my dream American travels but imagine being able to watch the stunning Northern lights over the glistening glaciers – heaven.

Fairbanks is known as the best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, but you can also get a good show in Anchorage; Alaska’s largest city. The best time to see the lights is from August 21st to April 21st, with the average visibility in Fairbanks being four out of five nights. 

This is one of the most romantic things to do in Alaska , but remember to wear layers. Alaska is cold and you will be outside for extended periods of time.

Ways to see the Northern Lights 

  • From Fairbanks, you can drive to a nearby vantage point and wait for them to appear.
  • You can take a tour and watch them from a heated cabin or lodge. You can even see them during dog sledding or ice fishing tours. 
  • Some hotels offer a wake-up call when the northern lights are out. 
  • Fairbanks is the most popular place to see the lights because it is under the “Auroral Oval” and has consistently clear nights, meaning you get incredible views from here. 
  • Denali National Park is also a great place to see the Northern Lights. With no light pollution, you can rent a vacation home nearby and head up the tall mountains for incredible views. 
  • The remove, quiet town of Nome also gives incredible views. Visit in March for the Sled Dog Race or at any time to experience rural Alaska. 

Millennium Park in Chicago during Fall

17. Millennium Park in Chicago

There is something enchanting about Chicago, it always draws me back. Whenever I’m there, I head to Millennium Park; there is more to the park than ‘The Bean’. Many tours leave from near the park too, making it a great place to begin a trip to the city.

The park is free to enter and open 6 am to 11 pm each day. 

Why you should visit Millennium Park:

  • The Crown Fountain with video art and sculptures
  • Lurie Garden
  • Rock Climbing at Maggie Daley Park
  • See the Outdoor art at the Boeing Galleries
  • Eat at Plaza at Park Grill
  • Watch a show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion
  • See a show at Harris Theater for Music & Dance
  • Head to the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Enjoy fine dining with a curated menu at Terzo Piano
  • Visit the Chicago Cultural Center

Big Sur Coastline for your USA BUcketlist

18. Drive along the Big Sur Coast

Experience the ultimate California road trip by driving the Big Sur . This 85-mile scenic route sits between San Simeon and Carmel, along the California coastline. 

Come prepared for this trip, as there are some amazing views that can easily be missed. From Los Angeles , the Big Sur trip takes 3.5 – 4 hours to drive, and another 2-hour drive from Carmel (end of the Big Sur) to San Francisco . 

What to see and do in Big Sur

  • Watsonville
  • 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove
  • Camel-by-the-sea 
  • Mission San Carlos Borromeo
  • Point Lobos State Reserve
  • Point Sur State Historic Park
  • Pfeiffer Beach
  • Mcway Falls
  • Esalen Hot Springs
  • Limekiln State Park and falls
  • Sand Dollar Beach
  • Treebones Resort
  • San Simeon State Park Camp
  • Halter Ranch Vineyard
  • Garrapata State Park and beach
  • Bixby Creed Bridge
  • Henry Miller Memorial Library

Big Sur Day Trip

Things to know before visiting Big Sur

  • Plan your trip – Plan your trip in advance, deciding where you want to hike, eat and explore and plot these out on a map. Do not rely on Google maps or any apps; phone service isn’t reliable along the Big Sur. 
  • If you are in a rush, skip it – You should give at least a day to visit Big Sur. Yes, the drive can be taken in a few hours but there is no point rushing through. If you are in a rush, use the freeway instead.
  • You don’t need to stay overnight – Although there are rustic rental cabins or boutique-styled inns that you can stay in, it is not essential. Give yourself a full day to explore Big Sur but don’t stay along the coastline, as rooms start at $300 but can cost all the way up to $1000 per night. If you do want to stay overnight, check out Airbnb or flip key for better deals than the overpriced camping options or hotels along the coastline.
  • Stay either end – If you do want to stay along the coastline, staying at either end offers better value. Avoid Monterey Peninsula at the northern gateway and, instead, head to the town or Pacific Grove for better deals. At the southern gateway, the beach town of Cayucos is pretty, charming and affordable. 
  • It’s a tourist trap – Big Sur is breathtaking but it is extremely touristy. Hotels, restaurants and even some attractions will be ridiculously overpriced, so either go in with that expectation of prepare snacks and decide on your must-see attractions. 
  • Don’t just stick to Highway 1 – Head off the beaten path and explore other routes such as the Palo Colorado Road or the Nacimiento Road. 
  • Plan time in the nearby cities – don’t just head straight to San Francisco or Los Angeles when you are done. The nearby cities such as Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara are must see destinations in California too. 
  • Book a tour – If you would prefer not to self-drive along the Big Sur, it is possible to experience the beauty of the area by taking a 3-day tour from Los Angeles .

Places to eat along the Big Sur

There are lots of options to eat along the coastline but very few are good. However, if you are stopping for snacks or a meal, these are some of the best places to eat along the Big Sur :

  • The restaurant at River Inn Big Sur
  • Sebastian’s General Store
  • Big Sur Bakery
  • Old Fishermans Grotto
  • Big Sur Deli
  • Sierra Mar’s
  • Big Sur Roadhouse
  • Robin’s Restaurant
  • Casanova Restaurant
  • The Sur House

State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

19. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

This eerie but fascinating almost abandoned penitentiary in Philadelphia is a lesser-known attraction in the city but a must. This was the prison of notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton.

The Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia is a former American prison that operated from 1829 to 1971. It is known as the world’s first penitentiary because it refined the separate incarceration system, emphasizing reform over punishment. 

The design and layout of the prison was innovative and become the model for over 300 prisons across the world.

The prison is open all year from 10 am to 5 pm and audio tours are included in the ticket price.

Hot air Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico

20. Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico

This yearly hot air balloon festival runs every October, with thousands of balloons filling the clear blue sky. This is a spectacular place to visit and, the perfect place to enjoy a hot air balloon; newbie riders, get this on your USA Bucketlist.

When: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held each October, spanning 9 days of ballooning events (typically at the start of the month).

Where: The main events take place at the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

How Long: The events span 9 days but aim to come for at least 3 days to get a good chance of catching the balloon launches.

  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race – This long-distance race starts in Fiesta Park, where pilots compete to see who can go the furthest distance without coming down; sometimes spending up to four days in the balloons. 
  • Dawn Patrol Show – Hot Air Balloons will take off before sunrise to check weather conditions and are normally launched to music. 
  • Morning Glow – Balloons are lined up and teachers to the ground but use their burners to light up, synchronized to one another. 
  • Mass Ascension – Hundreds of Balloons launch in the same morning, in two waves over around 2 hours. 
  • Balloon Launch – This is a smaller version of the Mass Ascension, but groups of balloons launch over an hour. 
  • Evening Balloon Glows – Just before dusk, hot air balloons are inflated whilst tethered to the ground. Then, similar to the Morning Glow event, the pilots use their burners to light up the balloon in a synchronized pattern, which is generally followed by fireworks and lasers. 
  • Special Shape Balloon Events – With balloons resembling your favourite cartoon characters, animals, people, beer mugs, Star Wars Characters, and so on; this is a fun event for the whole family to enjoy. 

Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Los Angeles

21. Tour a studio in Los Angeles

No matter what your favourite TV shows are, you are likely to find a set you’re interested in when exploring LA.

We headed to Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank and checked out the Friends set, Ellen Show studio, the streets of Pretty Little Liars, and the Big Bang Set.

You can also see different exhibits on Harry Potter, Batman, and the DC Universe.

Types of tours:

  • Studio Tour $69 – 2 hours guided, 1 hour self-guided, go behind the scenes and visit some of the working studios at Warner brothers. 
  • Classic Tour $69 – 3 hour tour, focusing on the Golden Age of Film and TV. 
  • Deluxe Tour $295 – 6 hour tour, including the costume department, property department, and lunch at Warner Bros’ Commissary Fine Dining Room. 

Tip: If there is a set you want to see, make sure your tour guide knows! 

Getting to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood:

  • Drive  – If you are renting a car, you can drive to the Studio Tour with parking available on site. Put the address below into your SatNav and follow the signs for Tour Parking once you head into Warner Blvd.
  • Ride-share or Taxi  – You can get a taxi to the studio using Uber or Lyft. Taking an Uber from Hollywood Boulevard will cost around $6 – $10 and takes around 12 minutes depending on traffic.
  • The Bus  – You can get a bus from Hollywood/Highland, Universal, Pasadena/Del Mar and North Hollywood to the Warner Bros Studio Hollywood. For routes and timetables, see the LA  Metro website.

Warner Brothers Studio Hollywood Address: 3400 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Famous street in Charleston South Carolina

22. Explore the history of Charleston

Before the civil war, plantations were dotted around Charleston, growing cotton, rice, and indigo, becoming rich off the backs of slaves.

Many plantations were destroyed during the Civil War or ceased operations but today, you can visit those that have been restored and preserved as museums. 

Each plantation offers a different experience, depending on what you are looking for.

A quick guide to some of the Plantations: 

  • Magnolia Plantation – Perhaps the most popular plantation, founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family. The plantation grew rice but is known for its beautiful and romantic gardens. 
  • Drayton Hall – The Drayton Family also owned a huge network of commercial plantations, with this building becoming a museum, exhibition space, visitor center and cafe.
  • McLeod Plantation Historical Site – This site was one of the original plantations on James Island from the 17th century. Today it is a 37-acre park dedicated to Gullah heritage and African American History. 
  • Boone Hall Plantation – Founded in 1681, this plantation grew cotton and indigo but also produced brick here in the mid-19th century. The plantation is still a working farm, making it one of the oldest farms in America. 
  • Middleton Place Plantation – This is a National Historic Landmark, rich in history whilst also being a beautiful place to visit. The Middleton family were important figures but their home was damaged several times; first in a fire set by the Union troops in 186 then by the Great Earthquake in 1186. However, the restored home is a grand estate with gorgeous landscaped gardens but also the filming location for the film The Patriot. 

Things to know before you go to Charleston

Other things to do in Charleston:

There are plenty of things to do in Charleston beyond the plantations that should also be on your USA Bucketlist.

  • Charleston City Market
  • Nathaniel Russell House
  • Joy Riley Waterfront Park
  • Old Slave Mart Museum
  • Fort Sumter
  • The Charleston Museum
  • Rainbow Row
  • A ghost tour 
  • White Point Garden
  • Drayton Hall
  • South Carolina Aquarium
  • Middleton Place

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must on your USA Bucketlist

23. Walk across Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge was one of my favorite things to do in NYC .

We jumped on the Yellow River taxi that takes you along the Hudson River and jumped off in Brooklyn.

After a walk around the neighborhood, we headed back to Manhattan across the bridge on a warm summer day – bliss.

If you want to drive over the bridge, you could either drive yourself, take a taxi to Brooklyn (or back) or jump on the hop on, hop off sightseeing bus , perfect for those short on time in the city but who want to see the many sights.

Whilst in Brooklyn, check out the best things to do in Brooklyn and try some of the local cafes and restaurants before heading back to Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge is 5989 feet long with the pedestrian walkway being just over 1.1 miles. You can walk across the bridge in around 25 minutes but allow an hour if you intend to take pictures and take in the incredible views. 

The bridge is open 24 hours a day but sunset makes for a gorgeous time to visit. This is especially pleasant in the Spring, when the weather is warm but cooling down; you can experience the bridge no matter what season in New York City you visit in.

Remember to bring a jacket if you are visiting in the spring, fall, or winter, the wind brings a chill when you are walking across Brooklyn Bridge. 

Brooklyn Bridge view from Brooklyn

How to get to Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan

From Manhattan, you can enter Brooklyn Bridge near City Hall along Centre Street in Lower Manhattan. Nearby trains include 4, 5, 6, J, Z, and R lines. 

How to get to Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

If you are coming from Brooklyn Heights or Dumbo, you can take the A or C train to the High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Subway station and follow the signs for Cadman Plaza West. Cross to the park and take the footpath on the far left to access the pedestrian stairway under the bridge. 

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39

24. Fisherman’s Wharf

Whilst in San Francisco, you have to head to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. This is a great place to visit in San Francisco, especially if you are travelling with kids.

Alcatraz trips leave from here but you can also visit an Aquarium, the Sea Lion Center, a 7D experience, fairground rides and a whole host of restaurants, bars, cafes, and food vendors.

Things to do in Fisherman Wharf

  • DarkRide 7D experience rollercoaster (Pier 29)
  • Laser Maze Challenge (Pier 39)
  • Museum of 3D illusions
  • Alcatraz Island (departs from Pier 33)
  • Aquarium of the Bay (Pier 39)
  • Gameday VR Arcade (Ghirardelli Square)
  • Historic Pier 45
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
  • Maritime Museum 
  • San Francisco Dungeon
  • Musee Mecanique (Pier 45) 
  • Sea Lions at Pier 39
  • Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze (Pier 39)
  • Pier 39’s musical Stairs
  • San Francisco Carousel (Pier 39)
  • The Plunge ride (Pier 39)
  • Subpar MIni Golf

Sequoia National Park for your USA Bucketlist

25. Sequoia National Park

Visit the world’s largest trees at the Sequoia National Park . This park is enchanting and impressive with its gigantic trees and deep canyons and has to be on every USA bucketlist, especially if you love exploring the great outdoors.

Head to the Crystal Caves or stay among the elevated landscapes in one of the cabins within the park.

Get the Kings Canyon self-drive audio tour to see the best sights in the park and learn more as you go.

When to visit: The best time to visit is during the summer months , when the weather is warm and reliable. The park is open all year but some areas of the park close from September onwards and winter sees snow. 

Mid-June to August is the busiest time of the year so visit at the end of May through to the start of June if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Getting around: The best way to get around the park is by car or on foot. Once inside the park, you can drive to different areas or park up and follow the hiking trails. 

Things to do in Sequoia National Park

  • General Sherman and the Giant Forest 
  • Moro Rock steps
  • Crystal Cave
  • Mount Whitney
  • Buck Rock Lookout
  • Mineral King
  • General Grant Tree
  • High Sierra Trail
  • Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
  • Boyden Cavern
  • Grizzly Falls
  • Road’s End
  • Junction View
  • Roaring River Falls
  • Zumwalt Meadow

Where to stay in Sequoia National Park

  • Hilton Garden Inn Clovis – This Fresno hotel is perfect for families, with an outdoor pool, and spacious suites which also include living space and a kitchenette. The room rate includes a decent breakfast and Fresh has a lot to offer families, including Island Waterpark, Storyland and Playland. 
  • Lazy J Ranch Motel – a great option in Three Rivers, with free parking, amazing mountain views and an outdoor swimming pool. 
  • Holiday Inn Express Visali – Rooms are bright and colourful and the room rate includes breakfast. 
  • The Kern Lodge – A fantastic hotel in Kerville; The hotel includes an outdoor pool, BBQ area, wifi and the hotel is overlooked by mountains too. 
  • Whispering Pines Lodge Bed and Breakfast – A gorgeous lodge with views of the creek, wifi, BBQ terrace and toiletries. 

The Grand Canyon near Las Vegas

26. Grand Canyon National Park

Arguably the most famous national park in America , the Grand Canyon is a must-see whilst travelling the USA.

Many tourists visit the canyons from Vegas, with tours available from Las Vegas to the various nearby national parks but you can easily drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon too.

Hiking the Grand Canyon is a USA bucketlist thing to do and a MUST.

When to visit the Grand Canyon: The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is March to May or September to November. This is when temperatures are cool whilst the sites aren’t as crowded. The summer is very busy but also incredibly warm. 

Operating hours:

  • South Rim is open all year, 24 hours a day. 
  • North Rim is open for overnight guests at the lodge. 

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Tips for visiting the Grand Canyon:

  • Make sure you reserve hotels in advance if you wish to stay in a lodge or on the South Rim Campground. 
  • South Rim is easier to get to and therefore one of the busier areas; arrive early and expect traffic in the summer months or during spring break. 
  • Take the free shuttle bus around the Grand Canyon Village area on the South Rim. 
  • North Rim lodges are open from May to October. It is much harder to get to and is 8000 feet above ground. 
  • Keep your gas tank full when driving, using gas stations to fill up on your ride. 
  • Carry water in your car, especially during the hot months. 

Walt Disney World Entrance for every USA Bucketlist

27. Walt Disney World

The magic of Disney attracts around 52 million people every year. That is incredible and if you’re a Disney fan, then you can understand why.

With 4 different parks, 2 water parks, and 24 resort hotels, families have flocked to Disney World every year and if you haven’t visited, even just for a few days, you won’t know what you’re missing.

However, if it is your first trip to Orlando , make sure to read up on how to survive the Orlando theme parks ; they can be very hot and very busy!

My hubby isn’t a theme park or Disney fan but even he enjoys visiting WDW and appreciates the attention to detail and theming.

As a couple, we can also enjoy the more romantic things to do in Walt Disney World , like a horse-drawn carriage ride, the Atlantic Dance Hall, and the gorgeous boat and kayak rental options.

Plus, Orlando isn’t as expensive as you may think. There are plenty of ways to save money like booking cheaper hotel options, taking advantage of the many supermarkets instead of restaurants in the area, and of course, enjoying the free things to do in Walt Disney World too. You can also take advatange of the cheaper restaurants and attractions on International Drive .

Whilst in WDW, enjoy the unique things to do in Walt Disney World , visit the other theme parks in Orlando , head out on a day trip to the Everglades and stock up on the best Disney souvenirs available!


28. Catch a baseball game

Everyone around the world has heard of baseball but where better to watch a game than in America!

We headed to Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs and an ivy-covered brick outfield wall) whilst in Chicago but also enjoyed the ‘President race’ in Washington DC and loved sitting among the locals (the cheap seats) in the Yankee Stadium, after our midtown Manhattan walking tour .

How to get baseball tickets in the US? 

You can buy tickets for individual games on Ticketmaster , however, it is possible to get single-game tickets from the MLB website, depending on the team and dates. 

There are also ways you can get cheap baseball tickets too:

  • Go to a weekday game , these are often cheaper. 
  • Go early in the season for cheaper prices. 
  • Wait until nearer the date . Avoid the advance sales and the extra surcharge that comes with this. Instead, head to the stadium for a walk-up purchase or use the team’s online ticket center. 
  • Avoid the big-name teams – As much as everyone wants to see the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or The Cubs, these ticket prices are often a lot higher than in smaller, less touristy cities in the US. 

Napa Valley for your USA Bucketlist

29. Wine tasting in Napa Valley

Spanning across several towns, Napa Valley is known for its luxurious homes, Michelin-star restaurants, and of course, endless vineyards.

I love a good wine-tasting session and will definitely be heading here to try some of the best wines in the world.

Plus, if you are visiting San Francisco, you can actually take a day trip to the Napa Valley wineries , so you can enjoy the wine tasting without needing a designated driver.

The best vineyards in Napa Valley:

  • Inglenook Winery
  • Castello di Amorosa
  • Luna Vineyards
  • Spottswoode
  • Domaine Carneros

Tip: Vincent Arroyo Winery offers free wine tasting, as long as you are traveling in a group of 4 or less, however, you must book ahead. 

French Quarter New Orleans USA bucket list

30. Visit the French Quarter in New Orleans

Unique, colorful, and a great laugh, the French Quarter in New Orleans can NOT be missed.

Make sure you try out the best food experiences the area has to offer, enjoy the nightlife on Bourbon Street, visit St. Louise Cathedral, and jump on a Steamboat down the Mississippi River .

When to visit the French Quarter

One reason that many flock to New Orleans is for the Mardi Gras celebrations, which are in full swing from February to May; when the weather is comfortable and cool. If you are looking for a quieter experience, visit the city in December or January. 

The cheapest time of the year to visit is during the summer months but expect an average temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also worth noting that hurricane season runs from June through to November, with the worst months being August, September, and October. 

Getting around New Orleans

Downtown New Orleans is compact, meaning it is easy to walk from place to place.

There are plenty of cabs available if you are looking to go further afield or use the New Orleans Regional Transport Authority for $1.25 streetcars and buses around the city. 

Things to do in the French Quarter

  • St. Louise Cathedral
  • Carousel Bar
  • The French Market
  • Bourbon Street
  • Royal Street
  • Mississippi River
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
  • Voodoo Authentica
  • Andre Jack Statue
  • William Research Center
  • The Ursulines Convent
  • 1850 House Museum
  • The Presbytere
  • Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmiths shop
  • The Cabildo
  • Gallier House
  • Pirates Alley
  • Le Petit Theatre
  • New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
  • Napoleon House
  • Preservation Hall
  • Pat O’Brien’s Bar

Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC

31. Visit the memorials in Washington DC

Washington DC is home to many memorials that you must visit when in the capital. The memorials are free, open to see all day, every day and most memorials are close to one another; meaning you can spend a day visiting them all. 

The major monuments include:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • World War II Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Other free things to do in Washington DC

St Louis is one of the best things to do in USA

32. Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Along Route 66, you need to make a stop at St. Louis to visit the Gateway Arch monument, standing at 630 feet and towering over the Mississippi River.

It is the world’s tallest arch and tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere – hence why this site is on my USA bucketlist and one of the most unique things to see in America . 

Need to know:

  • You can enter the monument itself, with the entrance through a glass west entrance, which faces Fourth Street and the Old Courthouse. You exit at the monument’s legs.
  • The Gateway Arch is open from 9 am to 6 pm whilst the park grounds are open 5 am to 11 pm. 
  • Riverboats are available from the Arch, which takes you along the Mississippi River, taking in the skyline of St. Louis. 
  • You can buy tickets online, including tram rides to the top but you need to book tickets in advance on the website to avoid disappointment. 

Venice Beach is a must USA bucketlist item

33. Stroll, run, cycle, and play on Venice Beach, Los Angeles

When you think of California, you may think of beaches, sunshine, and a chilled-out vibe. Venice Beach encompasses all these things and more.

Watch the skateboarders along the Ocean Front Walk, shop along Abbot Kinney Boulevard or catch a street performer along the beach itself.

Venice beachfront is known for its quirky characters; with jugglers, musicians, mimes, dancers, and street performers of all kinds, being part of the lively boardwalk. 

A famous spot also includes Muscle Beach Gyms, an old favorite for bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and seen in countless movies and TV programs.

Make sure you head over to the Venice Canals too. Walk through the picturesque neighborhood of charming beach houses and arching bridges. 

Whilst visiting Los Angeles, you can reach Venice Beach by using the hop-on, hop-off buses in the area.

The Empire State Building on your NYC and USA BUCKETLIST

34. Head to the top of the Empire State Building

Of course, a trip to New York City isn’t complete without seeing the Empire State Building, another USA Bucketlist.

Personally, I love heading up the iconic famous skyscraper in NYC ; you may get amazing views from elsewhere in NYC but nothing beats the height and history of the Empire State Building.

Tips for visiting the Empire State Building

  • Visit early – The Empire State Building opens at 8 am every day, so get here for the open time to avoid the crowds. 
  • Passes – Save money and time by getting a VIP Express Pass or a New York City Pass . The VIP is specific to Empire State but the New York City Pass can be used at many attractions and allows you to skip the queue for ticket purchases. 
  • Visit late – If you don’t want to get up super early, then head to Empire State after 8pm. This is when queues and crowds are shorter and you can see the city lit up at night. 
  • Go to the 102nd floor – The standard ticket takes you up to the 86th floor but nothing needs the enclosed viewing area on the 102nd floor, 1250 feet above the city. 
  • Sunset – For the best experience, head here for sunset, giving you views of the city during the day and then watching the city lights flicker on as the sun sets. Make sure you book tickets online ahead of your visit to save time queuing as this is a popular time to visit the Empire State Building. 


35. Visit Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a popular and beautiful place to visit in the USA with highlights such as the Grand Prismatic Spring (a hot spring and volcano), the erupting geyser named ‘Old Faithful’, and the gorgeous Yellowstone Lake.

Visit from May to October to fully experience the park; not all the roads are open in the winter months. 

Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park

  • June, July, and August – Many people visit the park during these months so be patient and expect traffic. 
  • Plan and book ahead – Plan your visit and book accommodation ahead; lodges and campgrounds fill fast. 
  • Cell service is limited within the national park. 
  • Download the free NPS Yellowstone app which can act as your digital guide. 
  • Keep your distance – Do not approach the wildlife as you visit the park. 
  • Visit early or late – visiting the park before 9am or after 3pm will offer a quieter experience. 
  • Book a tour – If you are overwhelmed with planning your own trip, you can book an organized tour , either as a day trip or a multi-day trip.
  • Don’t underestimate distances – The park is massive and often you will experience traffic and road work. Plus parking spots at popular landmarks are in short supply, so plan your time, be patient, and give yourself extra time to visit all your must-see sights. 
  • Stay the night – There are plenty of lodges and campgrounds to choose from but make sure you spend at least one night in the parks. Why? Not only can you get exploring early the next morning but you can also appreciate the incredibly starry sky as the sunsets. 

Skiing in Colorado is one of the best things to do in the USA

36. Ski in Colorado

Colorado may not be the first state that you think of visiting when touring the USA, but if you love your winter sports, then add it to your list! Skiing is a unique thing to do in Colorado for those looking for an adventure.

Head here in February to enjoy deep snow whilst the mountains are fully open. It is possible to ski all year round in Colorado but the best months are from late October to late April, when the snow is falling the most. 

There are many resorts to choose from, some more affordable than others, but the best include

  • Vail Mountain Resort – One of the largest resorts in the world with extensive and varied terrain; perfect for all types of skiers. 
  • Telluride Ski Resort – A scenic ski town, this is ideal for those looking for picturesque destinations in the USA and is one of the more popular resort destinations. 
  • Aspect Snowmass – A combination of four ski areas that create a massive terrain, rivaling Vail in size. This is a family-oriented option with a cute town to match. 
  • Beaver Creek Resort – New at skiing? This is the resort for you. The resort is known for its friendly customer service and formed runs, making ideal conditions for new skiers. 

Mount Rushmore one of the best places to visit in America

37. Visit Mount Rushmore

This massive structure carved into rock has amazed me from a young age. Located in South Dakota , the national park sees around 3 million tourists every year and is a popular USA bucketlist destination to visit. 

Plan at least 2 hours to explore the park but note that there is no overnight accommodation within the park itself.

You can, however, choose to stay in Rapid City, located 35 miles away from Mount Rushmore.

The memorial grounds are open from 5am to 11pm, with the visitor center being open 8am to 10pm.

There is no entrance fee but there is an $11 parking fee.  

How to get there:  Mount Rushmore is located in a rural area of South Dakota, with most visitors making a road trip to the iconic landmark. The closest airport is Rapid City Regional Airport, where you can rent a car or take a guided day tour.

What to do:

  • The Avenue of the Flags (pathway to the memorial)
  • Get a view from the Grand View Terrace
  • The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center
  • Presidential Trail

Whilst in South Dakota, make sure to visit Badlands National Park, one of the best places to find fossils in North America .

When to visit: Mount Rushmore is open all year except for Christmas Day. The busiest times to visit are during the summer months but the park is still easy to visit, even during these busy times. For cooler temperatures, visit in the spring and fall. 

surfing in Hawaii on your USA Bucketlist

38. Go surfing in Hawaii

Hawaii has actually been my dream destination for a long time, ever since I was a child, I dreamt of visiting this collection of beautiful islands.

I have never surfed in my life but surfing in Hawaii is on many USA bucketlist and for good reason. With some of the best surfing spots in the world, Hawaii is the perfect place for beginners and more advanced surfers.

Best surf spots: 

  • Puaena Point
  • Chun’s Reef
  • Turtle Beach
  • Diamond Head Cliffs
  • Popoia Island
  • Launiupolo State Wayside Park
  • Kaanapali Beach

Rockefeller Center for your USA bucketlist

39. Rockefeller Center

Of course, if you are in NYC then you will want to get some gorgeous views of its impressive skyline. Now, personally, I prefer the Empire State Building but the Rockefeller Center gives you a fantastic view of the Empire State itself.

Tickets: Tickets for the Top of the Rock or a tour of the center itself can be purchased directly on the Rockefeller Center website. 

Location: Rockefeller Center is in Midtown Manhattan . From Times Square, head north on Seventh Avenue and then turn right onto 50th Street to reach the Center.

Alternatively, take the B, D, F, or M train to 47th-50th Street, the 1 train to 50th Street, the 6 train to 51st Street, or the N, Q, or R Train to 49th Street. 

Opening hours: The Rockefeller Center Plaza is open 24 hours a day whilst the Top of the Rock observation deck is open from 8am to midnight. Hours may vary during public holidays. 

Zig Zag road in San Francisco

40. Lombard Street, San Francisco

Whilst in San Francisco, visiting this famous Zig Zag Street is a must! Jump on a cable car to the top of the street and work your way down or rent a cool go-kart to drive down it in style.

Why so bendy? 

City planners and San Fran residents struggled with the steep hills of the city. Lombard Street was one of the many hills that horse-drawn wagons struggled with.

So, in 1922, the homeowners on the street decided that their road was too steep and created a plan to include a series of sharp turns to make the road more manageable. 

How to reach the Zig Zag road, Lombard Street:

There are a few ways you can get to this famous road in San Francisco:

  • Sightseeing bus – The sightseeing bus pass makes getting around San Francisco. To get to Zig Zag Lombard Street, take the red route which will take you to the street – it will be the stop after Marina/Cow Hollow.
  • Powell-Hyde cable car  – This cable car route will take you to the top of Lombard Street, ready for you to take a descent down the famous crooked street
  • Drive it  – Many people choose to drive down Zig Zag Street in San Francisco – it can see up to 350 cars an hour during the summer months! If you want to join that statistic, set your Sat Nav to 1099 Lombard Street – the top of this one-way street. Just keep an eye out for tourists – they will be in your way as you reach the bottom
  • Bus  – City bus £19 runs from Beach Street near Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard Street. You can use  511 SF Bay  to find bus routes and schedules. 
  • Walking  – If you don’t mind walking, the Zig Zag road is 5 blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf, taking around 20 – 25 minutes to walk. Take Leavenworth Street to avoid the very steep hills, which will take you to the bottom of the curvy area of Lombard Street. 

American Football game is a fun thing to do in the USA bucket list

41. Catch an American football game

America’s favorite sport is a fun way to spend a day in most cities. We saw the New York Giants play and, although I had no clue what was going on, it was definitely a memorable experience.

NFL tickets can be found on Ticketmaster with resellers selling on StubHub .

If you are new to the game, try and get a seat close to the action whilst seasoned watchers may prefer a higher vantage point. Most stadiums have good seats all over. 

The season usually runs from September to December with playoffs in January leading up to the Super Bowl in early February. However, if you are visiting the US in August, you may be able to catch a pre-season friendly. 

Gorgeous landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park, a unique thing to do in the USA

42. Visit the Joshua Tree National Park

Visit the stunning but stark landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park , where two types of desert meet. This is a peaceful and gorgeous park, offering picture-perfect views for travel photographers.

Head along the walking trail at Indian Cove or try rock climbing at Echo Cave. Visit the gigantic boulders on Arch Rock Trail or walk among cacti in Cholla Cactus Garden.

There are campsites in the national park too, giving you the opportunity to sleep under the zillions of stars.

Tips for visiting Joshua Tree National Park:

  • Never leave your car to explore without carrying a water bottle.
  • Bring extra water in case of emergencies.
  • October to May is peak season so visit during this time but arrive early. Avoid summertime, when temperatures are above 100 degrees.

SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK is a fun place to visit in the USA bucket list

43. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Whilst in California, why wouldn’t you want to head to Santa Cruz? Check out the rides, food, attractions, beachfront and stores. This is an iconic place to visit in the USA and California, making it a great USA bucketlist destination for your travels.

Fun things to do in Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Main Beach and Cowell Beach
  • Museum of Art & History
  • West Cliff Drive
  • Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Garden of Eden
  • Big Basin State Park
  • Penny’s Ice Creamery
  • Downtown thrift stores
  • Hidden Peak Teahouse
  • Roaring Camp Railroads
  • Wilder Ranch State Park
  • Shark Fin Cove
  • Point Market
  • Bigfoot Discovery Museum

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

44. Drive along the Golden Gate Bridge

Drive, Cycle, or walk – whatever mode of transport you choose, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge is a must.

We took a taxi over to the Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point to get some shots of the bridge from afar, then took a short walk around the bridge and walked back to the main island.

Best places to get a view of San Francisco Bridge

  • Baker Beach – Enjoy the sandy beach whilst getting an incredible view of the bridge. This is one of our favorite viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Fort Point National Historic Site – This fortress is underneath the bridge, giving you a unique backdrop for selfies. The park is a short walk from Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center.
  • Fort Baker – A little further from the bridge is Fort Baker, a former military post. The view includes the gorgeous hills and greenery surrounding the park too. 
  • Crissy Field – For side-on views, head to Crissy Field. You can also enjoy a snack from the Warming Hut and view San Francisco Bay from here too. 
  • Battery East Vista – Enjoy a stroll through this National Historic Site; taking either the Presidio Trail or the California Coastal Trail. 
  • Lands End – This viewpoint offers landscape views of San Francisco, with the bridge being a small part of that view. 

Glacier National Park lake with mountain in the background, a gorgeous place to visit in the USA

45. Glacier National Park in Montana

This park is part of the world’s first international peace park and celebrates the peace and friendship between the USA and Canada.

With 35 glaciers and 25 active glaciers, this lesser-known park looks simply stunning.

Make sure you head along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a picturesque alpine road, visit Lake McDonald, or head to one of the many glaciers. To see all the nearby sights and things to do, you would need at least 3 days in Glacier National Park.

Visit Glacier National Park in July for the best weather but this is peak season, so book accommodation and travel in advance. Head here in the spring for the best chance to see the Aurora Borealis. 

To avoid the crowds, make sure to head out along the trails and visit the park early.

The cosmopolitan hotel is one of the best hotels in Las Vegas

46. Get a suite in Vegas

Maybe it’s a British thing but there is something exciting about the idea of booking a gorgeous suite on the Las Vegas strip.

We did just this and it is actually where we got engaged – we chose The Cosmopolitan and would travel back here in a heartbeat. It has the best Hidden Pizza restaurant that you have to discover!

Suites can cost between $200 – $600 a night for a hotel suite on the strip but make sure you head directly to the hotel website to get the best deals. You can also sign up for deals on Vegas hotel sites to save money too. 

Some of the best suites on the strip can be found in Aria, The Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Bellagio, and Ceasars Palace. These are some of the best Las Vegas hotels for couples , so book a suite for your romantic stay.

The Sky Suite in Aria is 20,000 square feet, making it the biggest suite in Las Vegas. 

Join the MLife casino program to earn points for hotel upgrades. 

Boston freedom trail is a historic USA bucketlist thing to do in America

47. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston is a gorgeous place to visit and the Freedom Trail is a popular Boston bucket list thing to do and a USA bucketlist must.

This 2.5 mile-long path through downtown Boston, takes you along a historic route, passing 16 locations that mark important moments in American history.

The walk takes around four hours and runs between the Boston Common and the USS Constitution. You can walk in less time if you plan on spending just a few minutes at each site.

You can take a tour of the trail but most tours don’t include all the sites; if you want to learn more, you may prefer to download the Freedom Trail Foundation audio file for just $15; so keep this in mind when planning your Boston budget .  

What to see on the Freedom Trail

  • Boston Common
  • Massachusetts State House
  • Park Street Church
  • Granary Burying Ground
  • King’s Chapel
  • Benjamin Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School
  • Older Corner Bookstore
  • Old Soul Meeting House
  • Old State House
  • Boston Massacre Site
  • Faneuil Hall
  • Paul Revere House
  • Old North Church
  • Copp’s Hilly Burying Ground
  • USS Constitution and Museum
  • Bunker Hill Monument

Havasu Falls in the USA Bucketlist

48. Swim in the Havasu Falls Pools, Arizona

This natural falls and swimming hole is heavenly! I didn’t even know places like this existed in the USA but 20,000 visitors head to the falls every year making it a unique, beautiful USA bucketlist item.

Why are the falls so secluded? You can’t reach this area by car, you must drive to the Havasupai Hilltop and then take a 9-mile hike down the trail to reach the falls.

Plan at least one night stay for this trip, reaching and enjoying the falls is tricky for a day trip. 

For the perfect temperatures, visit in early spring (avoid spring break) or late autumn. Summer is a great time for camping but start your hike early to beat the heat.

Beyond the falls, make sure to enjoy the fantastic golf resorts in Arizona or discover some of the affordable wellness retreats in the USA .  

Santa Monica Pier USA Bucketlist

49. Santa Monica Pier

With an iconic Ferris wheel, family-friendly rides, a variety of food, drink, and summer summer-filled atmosphere, why wouldn’t you love Santa Monica Pier?

Visiting Santa Monica is a must! They even have an aquarium and classic arcade plus, the pier marks the end of Route 66!

Things to do on Santa Monica Pier and nearby

  • Pacific Park – carnival-styled rides
  • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
  • End of Route 66 sign
  • The Ferris wheel
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Ocean Boulevard
  • Trapeze School
  • Street performers on the Third Street Promenade
  • The Santa Monica Stairs
  • Palisades Park
  • Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
  • Tongva Park
  • Santa Monica Camera Obscura

Where to stay

There are some great hotel options along the beach but you will not find an AirBnB in Santa Monica, as these are illegal in the city. For beautiful hotels with beautiful views, check out Loews Beach Hotel, Hotel Casa del Mar, and the Shangri-La. 

There is parking at Santa Monica Pier but it is limited. If you are visiting on a weekend, during a holiday, or the summer, you will need to find parking elsewhere.

Luckily, there are 5 parking lots just off the beach which are ideal for a day at the beach. You can also find street parking during the evenings.


50. Universal Studios Hollywood

So you like film sets?

Whilst in Hollywood, make sure you head to Universal Studios Hollywood ; where a theme park meets movie set.

You can find sets from Jurassic Park, Home Alone 2, King Kong, Transformers, The Trueman Show, Back to the Future, The Grinch, Psycho, Pirates of the Caribbean, Apollo 13 and the Gremlins – just make sure you book tickets in advance .

Tips for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • Arrive for opening
  • Book your tickets in advance
  • Consider a Universal Express pass if you are visiting during the Summer, during a holiday, or the weekend. 
  • Eat a decent breakfast before arriving
  • Bring a reusable water bottle. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Plan in time to watch the shows
  • Start in the lower lot
  • Do one lot at a time – avoid moving between the lots too often
  • Use the single riders queue
  • Use the child swap system

Man buying Broadway tickets in Times Square

51. Catch a Broadway show

There are some incredible Broadway shows (and some not-so-great ones).

If you aren’t fussed about what you see, head to the TKT office in Times Square for cheaper, on-the-day tickets but if you want to see your favorite musical, you are best to book online or use this guide on buying Broadway tickets .

Hamilton Play Bill Broadway Show

Best Broadway shows to watch out for?

  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Les Mierstables 
  • Lion King (especially with children)
  • Wicked 
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Beetlejuice

Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC are the best things to do in the USA

52. Learn more in the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC

Washington DC is not only known for being the home of the White House but also the home to some of the best museums in the world.

Head to the collection of Smithsonian museums to learn, explore, and enjoy. I personally loved the Natural History Museum and the American History Museum.

The best Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC

Many of these museums are open every day apart from December 25th, from 10am to 5.30pm.

There are two Smithsonian Institutions in New York, but the rest can be found in Washington DC; with most of them in walking distance from the National Mall.

When vacationing in Washington DC , it is worth noting that the museums are free to enter but you need to have a ticket; book early if you are traveling with a large group. 

  • National Museum of African-American History and Culture – This is the only national museum devoted to African-American art, life, history, and culture. The multilevel, engaging museum is fantastic and a favorite to many. 
  • National Museum of Natural History – Discover the world’s scientific heritage and animal origins in the exhibitions at this museum. There are millions of insects inside and this is the perfect museum for families. 
  • National Museum of African Art – Featuring exhibits from the continent of Africa, you can find contemporary and traditional art on display here. 
  • National Air and Space Museum – A great choice for families visiting Washington DC, not only do they have exhibits of space artifacts but you can also see rockets, missiles, and various types of planes. Take a tour of the Steven F. Udvar-hazy Center where you can find two large hangers with a showcase of space items, including the space shuttle Discovery. 
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum – Open from 11.30am to 7pm, this is a gorgeous art museum full of folk and decorative artworks as well as sculptures and photographs. 
  • National Museum of American History – Learn about American history at this museum dedicated to the developments of the USA. 
  • National Museum of American Indian – Holding a massive collection of artifacts, the architecture of this museum is just as impressive. The concept is designated and focused on different Indian communities and tribes. 
  • National Portrait Gallery – Through visual arts, performing arts, and new media, this museum tells the story of important people in America’s history; from presidents to poets. 
  • Anacostia Community Museum – Committed to challenging and bringing people together through critical thinking, this museum is perfect for those deep thinkers. 
  • Freer Gallery of Art – Home to a famous collection of art by James McNeill Whistler, this gallery is home to Asian, American, and Ancient Egyptian Art. 
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Abstract art lovers will enjoy this sculpture garden and plaza, full of contemporary, unique artworks. 

New England in the fall for your USA Bucketlist

53. Visit New England in the Fall

Has anyone else seen those postcards of the gorgeous fall in New England?

Whenever I see pictures, I simply fall in love and feel all cozy inside – which is why this is a must-visit USA bucketlist destination when those leaves turn orange and brown.

New England in the fall is famous for its colorful foliage, gorgeous landscapes, and billions of leaves changing color.

The temperature is perfect for hiking, long drives, and biking around the countryside.

Make sure you stop at the farmer’s market and orchards during your stay. 

Stay in one of the cosy inns or head to Provincetown for a quieter experience. Go hiking in Northern Maine, learn about the history of Salem , and eat your way around Boston. 

north america travel bucket list

54. Watch a country show in Nashville

Apart from Taylor Swift, I don’t tend to listen to too much country music but Nashville is the place where all that changes, as this is the birthplace of live Country music. This is one of the best music cities in the US and should be on any music-lovers USA Bucketlist.

Grand Old Opry is known for its fun shows and is apparently “the show that made country music famous”.

Other venues in Nashville include Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, Ascend Amphitheater, and Nissan Stadium. 

There are also great bars, often with live music, that you should check out whilst you are in Lower Broadway.

Head to Blake Shelton’s Ole Red, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, and Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink, for a good night out. 

Other things to do in Nashville

  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • The Johnny Cash Museum
  • Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
  • Belle Meade Plantation
  • Soundwaves Water Park 
  • Doyle and Debbie Comedy show
  • Radnor Lake State Park
  • Nashville’s hot chicken
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
  • The Band Box

Miami places to go to in the USA

55. Enjoy the Miami sunshine on Miami Beach

When I was a child, someone once told me that Miami was similar to Brighton …they lied.

Miami is warm and sunny all year round, so when planning a trip to Florida , make sure Miami is on your USA Bucketlist.

Be swept away by the Latin music playing out the bars, enjoy the world-renowned nightlife, and explore the artistic areas of this seaside location. Once you have explored Miami Beach, make sure to enjoy a South Beach walking tour to see the art-deco area and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Whilst in Miami, make sure you visit Jungle Island on Watson Island, wander around the Art Deco District or visit the Vizcaya Museum.

Visit a cafe or restaurant along Miami’s Waterfront in Bayside Marketplace or see over 2000 wild animals in the Miami Zoo. 

Alamo San Antonio for your USA Bucketlist

56. Visit The Alamo in San Antonio

This historic Spanish fortress was founded in the 18th century and was the site of the Battle of Alamo in 1836. I have never visited Texas but once we do, this will definitely be a place I hope to visit.

This historic Spanish fortress was founded in the 18th century and was the site of the Battle of Alamo in 1836.

Living history demonstrations and special events take place here throughout the year but the fortress is open year-round to be enjoyed and explored by everyone.

The entrance is free but you can choose to take a guided tour for $15, taking around an hour. 

Also, note that no cell phones or cameras are permitted inside the historic structures, and make sure you read the rules before entering; as a shrine to Texas Liberty, you are expected to be respectful.

Grand Teton National park USA things to do

57. Marvel at the beauty of Grand Teton National Parka

It amazes me how many varied National Parks there are in America and the Grand Teton is a great example of natural beauty at its best.

Take a picture of the gorgeous mountains and their reflections in the surrounding lakes and hike along the different trails for spectacular views.

Visit Grand Teton National Park from mid-May to late September to experience the best weather and hiking trails.

At this time, all the visitor centers are also open and park activities like fishing and kayaking are open and accessible too. 

The National Park is known for the Jackson Hole National Monument but spend time watching the wildlife, visiting Jenny Lake, or taking in amazing views from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. 

Maroon Bells is one of the best places to visit in America

58. The Maroon Bells Near Aspen, Colorado

If you haven’t seen enough parks by now, then head to Aspen and witness the Maroon Bells; another breathtaking viewpoint that is quieter than most.

10 miles from Aspen or 16 from Snowmass, these 14,000-foot peaks are truly remarkable. 

There are five trails, ranging from 1 to 13 miles found trip, depending on which you choose. Some are easier than others but visiting from May to November is the best option for all types of hikers.

Entrance into the park costs $10 per vehicle. 

Pike Place Market Seattle is a fun thing to do on your USA Bucketlist

59. Pike Place Market in Seattle

Not only is this a fabulous farmers market but it also offers local specialty food and includes a craft market. It is a must when in Seattle because of its diverse food and shopping options.

The 109-year-old farmers’ Market is a tourist attraction in itself, seeing more than 10 million visitors each year.

Make sure to visit the fishmongers, try the specialty food, head to the produce stalls, and browse the craft stands too.

Tips for visiting Pike Place Market:

  • Arrive early: This is a popular market place so get here for opening time to make the most out of the market without the crowds. The best time to arrive is between 9am and 10am.
  • Getting there: Walking is the easiest way to reach the market, especially if you are staying in the downtown area or Belltown. Alternatively, you could catch a bus or light rail to the market. 
  • Plan your stops: Many people often overlook how big this market is; it covers 9 acres with more than 500 small businesses! Whilst ticking this off your USA bucketlist, make sure to use the Pike Place website to plan which stores you want to visit. 
  • Don’t miss the lower levels: Did we mention this was a busy market? When visiting, it is really easy to miss the lower levels (which we did on our first visit!), but make sure to head down and visit those lower levels as there are some of the best spots below! We loved the little record stores and quirky magic shop!
  • Chefs tour: For those who want to try the best food in the market, you could choose to take a chef’s tour ; a tour of the market that stops by all the best foodie spots so you can try everything on offer.

Pike Place Market is your top USA Bucketlist

What to expect at Pike Place Market:

  • Amazing food: Pike Place Market is full of delicious food, from local favorites to international delights. Try as much as you can here and visit multiple times; you will want to take advantage of the awesome bakeries and coffee shops in the morning but also return in the evening to head to the breweries. 
  • Arts and Crafts: There are plenty of boutique stores selling art pieces and crafts. From original paintings to leather goods, and jewelry to glass creations, there are plenty of creative local businesses to discover. 
  • Buskers and performers: The market is always a lively place to visit, so don’t expect a quiet stroll. There are plenty of performers playing all sorts of instruments, keeping you entertained whilst you shop. 

Lake Tahoe USA Bucket list

60. Lake Tahoe

I mean, look at those pictures… do I need to say anymore?

Lake Tahoe is another stunning place to visit in the USA and is a great place to unwind and explore at your own pace.

Straddling Nevada and California, this is a popular holiday destination for many.

Spend your days hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains or try skiing in one of the many ski resorts.

If you love the beach, head to the Kings Beach State area or the D. L. Bliss State Park. Visit in the summer to try your hand at one of the many water activities available or go hiking to one of the many viewpoints.

Emerald Bay State Park is stunning Whilst Squaw Valley, Heavenly Resort, and Northstar California Resort are all perfect destinations for skiers.

Take a cruise around Lake Tahoe or jump in a hot air balloon to witness the beauty from above.

Redwood National Park Amazing places in the USA

61. Redwood National Park

Known as the home of the tallest trees in the world, Redwood National Park has fascinated me since I was a child. It has an amazing rugged coastline to explore and wild riverways.

When to visit:

Summer is the high season in Redwood National Park, with most visitors heading here in June, July or August. The temperature is warm and, because of the large size of the park, it rarely feels crowded.

Although summer is a great time to visit, Fall offers milder temperatures and is a beautiful time to visit the forest but just remember to bring layers and a rain jacket. 

Visiting Redwood National Park

  • How long? – You can drive through the park in around 25 minutes if you stick to the 101 but if you drive the Avenue of the Giants, it will take around 2.5 hours, including time for a walk around the woods and a picnic stop. We recommend planning at least a full day if not two. With over 40 miles of coastline and 133000 total acres, there is a lot to explore here. 
  • Location – The park is located in Northern California, around a 6-hour drive north of San Francisco. Most people choose to fly into San Francisco but you can fly into Arcata-Eureka Airport. This is a tiny airport so expect expensive and sometimes unreliable flights. 
  • Fees – There is no entrance fee for Redwood National Park but there is a $5 day-use fee for the nearby state parks.
  • Get climbing – Every March, Tree Climbing Planet founder Tim Kovar, allows a limited number of visitors to climb into the tree canopy, up a grandfather tree; standing between 600 to 1000 years old.
  • Drive-through – There are three drive-through redwood trees along the Avenue of the Giants highway, however , you are charged a small fee to drive through them.
  • Stay near – Alternatively, book a nearby hotel or lodge, such as the Holiday Inn Express in Klamath, the Elk Meadow Cabins, or the Lost Whale Inn. 
  • Don’t miss – There are lots of amazing things to see and do in the national park. Don’t miss the Fern Canyon, the James Irvine Trail, and the Gold Bluffs beach. You can also spot wildlife such as the Roosevelt Elk and the black-tailed deer. 

Camping at Redwoods State Park

There are four campgrounds within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park but they must be reserved by phone or online at least 48 hours before. However, you can book 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment.

The standard camping fee is $35 but there are some basic cabins in the campgrounds that cost $100 per night during the summer. However, we definitely recommend you skip the cabins and enjoy the camping experience by spending the nights in a tent. 

Savannah Restaurants you must visit in the USAA

62. Explore the history of Savannah, Georgia

As the oldest city in Georgia and one of the original 13 colonies, Savannah holds a lot of history.

When planning a trip to Savannah , make sure to take a stroll down the Savannah Historic District, visit Forsyth Park, or explore the Wormsloe Historic Site. After a long day, or sightseeing, make sure to visit the best mom-and-pop restaurants in Savannah too; they have the BEST food!

Things to do in Savannah

  • River Street
  • Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low 
  • Forsyth Park
  • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
  • Savannah’s Telfair Museum
  • Old Town Trolley Tours
  • Georgia Queen Cruise and the Savannah waterfront
  • Bonaventure Cemetery
  • Pin Point Heritage Museum
  • Tybee Island
  • Kayak through Skidaway Narrows
  • City Market
  • The Owen’s Thomas House
  • The Historic Savannah Theatre
  • The Wilkes House

Santa Fe New Mexico is next on the USA Bucketlist

63. Visit serene Santa Fe, New Mexico

Head over to New Mexico and explore one of the coolest cities in America.

See the amazing architecture, visit the hidden away resorts and spas, try rafting down white water rapids, or just road trip through the desert.

The city offers over 400 years of cultural fusion; it is a great place to relax and learn but also offers a sophisticated, hip nightlife. 

Visit from September to November to experience the festivals or in the springtime for the best hotel rates.

Santa Fe sees over 300 days of sunshine each year but temperatures can change dramatically.

Visiting from November to April is ski season, so expect snowfalls during this time whilst summer months offer temperatures in the 90s. 

Remember to stay hydrated and avoid drinking too much – one drink is equivalent to three at this altitude (7000 feet above sea level).

Also, don’t forget to wear a to and bring sunscreen too. 

USA Bucketlist includes San Antonio Riverwalk

64. Walk along the San Antonio Riverwalk

Think Venice but in Texas – that is my impression of San Antonio.

Visit on a warm day and take a boat along the river – you can even hop on the floating bar for a ‘drift and dine’ option. Walking around this area in the late afternoon is a perfect way to end your day. Walking along is free whilst boat rides cost around $12. 

Tucked below street level and only a few steps from the Alamo , the Riverwalk in San Antonio is a place for sightseeing, shopping, food, bars, and fun. 

The San Antonio River Walk is 15 miles long but make sure to stay away from the edge; there are only railings in front of the restaurants. 

The Hollywood Sign has to be on your USA Bucketlist too!

65. See the Hollywood Sign

The iconic Hollywood sign is known worldwide and has appeared in many films and TV series over the years.

You can opt for a tour or drive up to the see sign or, if you are visiting Hollywood Boulevard, you can actually get a decent view of the sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center Mall.

Personally, I love the view from the Griffith Park Observatory.

The Hollywood Sign is located on Mt. Lee in Griffith Park, above the Hollywood Hills. It is a 45-foot-tall billboard and was once lit with 4000 light bulbs. 

Whilst you are in Hollywood, make sure to head to Warner Brothers Studio and see the sets of some of the best TV and Movies. Yes, that includes the Friends set!

Best places to see the Hollywood Sign

  • Hollywood and Highland – This is perhaps the easiest way to see the sign, especially if you are short on time. Head to the second level of the plaza on Hollywood Boulevard for views of the sign. 
  • Griffith Observatory – There is a great view of the sign from the parking lot at the Griffith Observatory with the closest view of the sign being along the railings on the ride side of the parking lot. Head along the trail behind the Observatory to get another great viewpoint.
  • Mulholland Drive – Head to the easternmost viewpoint on Mulholland Drive called the Hollywood Bowl Overlook. Here you can get great views of the sign above the Hollywood homes. 
  • Dante’s view – Hike up Mt. Hollywood for a high vantage point of downtown LA and views of the Hollywood Sign. 
  • From behind – You can’t hike up to the sign itself but you can hike to an area behind the sign. Head up the Hollyridge Trail or visit the Hollywood Reservoir Loop for signs from above and behind.

Everglades national park 100 best things to do in the USA

66. Everglades National Park

Next on your USA bucketlist has to be the Everglades!

So many people flock to Florida for the theme parks but I found taking an airboat ride through the Everglades to be just as impressive.

With alligators and birds surrounding you, the Everglades is unlike any other park you will see.

Some popular activities in the park include airboats, cycling, bird watching, camping, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and geocaching. 

Visit the Everglades from December through to April to enjoy the low humidity and lack of downpours; this is Florida’s dry season. 

Note: The Everglades are not safe to swim in. They are full of alligators and crocodiles so explore these on an organized tour via boat . 

Navy Pier is an iconic pier in Chicago

67. Navy Pier in Chicago

Whilst in Chicago, an evening trip to Navy Pier is ideal. There are many restaurants here and the city center isn’t a far walk if you would prefer to eat at one of the many pizza places.

Jump on a boat to see more of Chicago from the waters or try out one of the rides – this is one of the top 10 things to do in Chicago so make sure to visit it, no matter what time of the year you are in the windy city.

Things to do on and near the Navy Pier

  • Centennial Wheel
  • Architecture River Cruise
  • Tall Ship Windy
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Navy Pier IMAX
  • Crystal Gardens
  • Free events – concerts and performers
  • Art Installations
  • Fireworks show (summer months) 
  • Fishing from Navy Pier’s North Dock
  • Ohio Street Beach
  • Miller Lite Beer Garden

San Francisco Cable Cars must be on your USA bucketlist whilst in San Francisco

68. Ride the cable cars in San Francisco

If you’re exploring San Francisco via public transport, chances are you will jump on a cable car at some point.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have cable cars in the UK but personally, I loved hopping on and off around the city and would definitely recommend it as a mode of transport in San Fran.

One thing to note, however, certain routes (e.g. to Lombard Street or Fisherman’s Wharf ) can get really crowded. We tended to use cable cars in the morning and evening but stuck to taxis or the bus during the day.

White Sands National Park is next on your Texas to California Road Trip

69. Be amazed by White Sands National Park

White sand for as far as the eye can see – beautiful!

This national park can be found in New Mexico and has varied open times throughout the year.  To catch the Cottonwoods changing color, visit in late October to early November. 

To enter the park, you will need to pay $20 per vehicle or $10 per person. There are fee-free days throughout the year as well.

Plan to spend around 2-3 hours in the national monument if you wish to drive through, play in the sand a bit, and visit the visitor center. 

Nearby is the White Sands Missile Range, which can sometimes force the National Monument to close whilst they are testing. You can visit the Missile Range by heading here on their public open days which occur twice a year. 

Mesa Verde is the next USA Bucketlist place you must viist

70. Mesa Verde National Park

Visit this lesser-known park in Colorado and check out the collection of well-preserved ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.

The park was established in 1906 to preserve the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived here from 600 to 1300 CE.

You will need at least 3 hours in the park but to fully experience the sights, plan a full day here. 

Avoid the crowds and heat by visiting after Labor Day in September. Summer is always busy here so avoid school holidays if you can.

There are guided tours available in the Mesa Verde National Park but you can also do a self-guided trip , driving the Mesa Top Loop Road for the 6-mile route. 

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IN Maine is a must visit USA destination

71. Acadia National Park in Maine

Along the Mississippi River, you will find the Acadia National Park; known for its dark sky, Cadillac Mountain, and sandy beach.

Visit here if you love to stargaze and hike through stunning, untouched nature.

Visit the park in late spring and fall for pleasant weather or head here in September to avoid the crowds.

Aim to spend at least 3 days in Acadia, exploring the nearby towns and villages during your visit. 

Don’t miss the Park Loop Road for scenic views then take in the carved rock at Thunder Hole. Cycle or walk along the Carriage Roads and cool off at the Jordan Pond House restaurant.

Head to the highest point of the park (Cadillac Mountain) or challenge yourself with the Beehive Trail. 

To experience the best of the park, get yourself the self-driving tour to self-drive around this gorgeous destination.

Couple rowing in Central Park in New York City

72. Stroll through Central Park

There is something so tranquil about Central Park, even though it is estimated that up to 42 million people visit every year.

Perhaps it is because it is an escape from the busy NYC scene but personally, I love strolling through the park, visiting the historic landmarks and finding gorgeous viewpoints along the way.

Things to see and do in Central Park

  • Belvedere Castle
  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
  • The Shakespeare Garden
  • Strawberry fields and the Imagine mosaic
  • Row a boat on Central Park Lake
  • Alice in Wonderland Statue
  • Hans Christian Anderson and the Ugly Duckling statue
  • Central Park Carousel
  • Delacorte Clock
  • Sheep Meadow
  • Loeb Boathouse

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Romantic places in the usa

73. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

This little island of Cape Cod is a quiet haven that is only accessible by boat and air. The ferry takes around 95 minutes, depending on the tide.

Visit in the summer to enjoy the village, beaches, nature, preserve, and well-known Gay Head Lighthouse and wander around the harbor.

Visit from May to September for warm weather or visit in March or October to avoid the expensive hotel prices.

There are plenty of places to stay here, including gorgeous mansions. Highly recommended options include Isbabelle’s Beach House, The Harbor View Hotel, and The Christopher and Winnetu Oceanside Resort. 


74. Denali National Park

This 6 million acres of wild land is a nature lover’s paradise and one of the more understated and under-visited national parks in America.

See where the dense forest meets the snowy mountains or camp under the stars, either way, you will find yourself unwinding and enjoying the park.

Although drivers can drive into the park, there is only one road (Denali Park Road) through the national park.

This means visitors will need to park up and take the bus ride through the park itself. It can take some time to get to the park, so if you only have a half day, head to Savage River and stop by the Denali Visitor Center.

If you have a full day to explore, ride a transit or tour bus or join a ranger-led discovery hike. Either way, get planning ahead of your trip. 

Atlantic City one of the best places in America to visit

75. Visit Atlantic City

Known as a lesser version of Vegas, Atlantic City is a great place to unwind for your USA Bucketlist.

Not only enjoy the casinos but visit the iconic Boardwalk and large beaches as well as the nightclubs, health resorts, spas, and the Steel Pier.

Things to do in Atlantic City besides gambling

  • Atlantic City Boardwalk and Beach
  • The Steel Pier
  • Watch a show
  • Absecon Lighthouse
  • Visit The Outlets
  • Enjoy a sunset dinner on The Pier
  • Storybook Land Amusement Park
  • IMAX Theatre at Tropicana
  • Atlantic City Aquarium
  • Lucy the Margate Elephant
  • One of the many spas


76. Visit the Village of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Our next USA Bucketlist item is something a little different and often overlooked; the Village of Taos Pueblo.

This native American community has been inhabited for over 1,000 years and welcomes visitors to visit their village and learn more about American history and heritage. 

You can take a tour of Taos Pueblo, with tours beginning at 9 a.m. and running every 30 minutes. Admission fees are $16 for an adult but check their website for closures and special events. 

Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, this is a picturesque hidden gem that needs to be on your USA bucket list. 


77. Kenai Fjords National Park

Take a cruise or boat around the Kenai Fjords to witness breathtaking glaciers and even catch whales in their natural habitat.

If you are hoping to see some whales, I recommend getting a smaller boat around the park; it may not be as comfortable but you are much more likely to be able to see wildlife.

The national park was established as a national monument in 1978, preserving the fjord and rainforest ecosystems in 1980. The park is known for its wildlife, ice landscapes, and archeological remains. 

For a once in a lifetime experience, stay at the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge; an eco-lodge located in a native-owned wildlife sanctuary in the heart of the Kenai Fjords National Park. 

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Alaska so plan out your Alaska itinerary and enjoy this natural beauty in the US.

USA Bucket list Diamond Head

78. Hike up Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii

Hike up the hour Oahu hiking trail to witness stunning 360-degree views of the island. Hawaii has been a lifelong dream destination of mine and when we finally get there, this will definitely be on my list of things to do in Oahu!

The hike takes around 45 minutes to reach the top of the trail but you will want to plan for 2 hours to hike and enjoy the view. You can drive up to Diamond Head if you wish or take a bus up into the park. No matter which option you choose, get your Hawaii packing list together and have a great time.

Visit Oahu from April to June to September to December; these are the shoulder seasons and see fewer crowds and lower room rates. 

Things to do in Oahu

Whilst you are in Oahu, there are a few other things you may want to visit: 

  • The Pearl Harbor National Memorial
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Doris Duke’s Shangri La
  • Waiahole Poi Factory
  • Bishop Museum
  • Waikiki Beach
  • Lanikai Beach
  • Luau at Paradise Cove
  • Haleiwa town
  • North Shore’s famous food trucks
  • Iolani Palace


Deep dish pizza

79. Try a deep-dish pizza in Chicago

Of course, this is a must! We loved Gino’s East but there are so many great deep-dish pizza places around Chicago and they are AMAZING. We have tried making our own at home and it is just not the same!

Where to get Deep Dish in Chicago?

There are many options for deep-dish Pizza in Chicago, but here are some of the best-rated:

  • Gino’s East
  • Lou Malnati’s
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill
  • Giordano’s
  • Burt’s Place
  • Bartoli’s
  • The Art of Pizza
  • Pequod’s

Philly cheesesteak

80. Try a Philly Cheesesteak

Whilst in Philadelphia, head to one of the hundreds of places that offer this roll full of thinly sliced beefsteak and melted cheese.

It is said that, in 1930, Pat Olivieri, a hot dog vendor, threw some beef on the drill to make a sandwich. A cab driver passing had asked for one and the Philly cheesesteak was born. 

Favorite places to pick up this meal include Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, Campo’s and McNally’s Tavern. 


81. Try the famous Po’Noy sandwich in New Orleans

This famous Louisiana sandwich looks incredible – the original is said to have included fried oysters and shrimp but nowadays you can find these sarnies with all types of meat and seafood in them.

You can get awesome Po’ Boys from many places in New Orleans but see are some of the best choices:

  • Guy’s Po-Boys
  • Adams Street Grocery
  • Walker’s BBQ
  • Radosta’s Restaurant
  • Killer PoBoys
  • Bears Poboy’s at Gennaro’s
  • Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket & Po-Boys
  • Avery’s On Tulane
  • Parasol’s

Clam Chowder is a must eat in the USA bucketlist

82. Try Clam Chowder

I had never heard of clam chowder until I was at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and every street stall or café was selling the stuff.

This clam-filled broth often includes potatoes, onions, and celery and we enjoyed it served in a massive sourdough bread shaped as a bowl.

Yes, getting this iconic dish on the Wharf in San Francisco is the best place to give it a try but you can find this popular dish in many restaurants and chains, including Red Lobster (our fave)!

Where to get clam chowder in San Francisco?

  • Boudin Bakery and Cafe
  • Fog Harbor Fish House
  • Blue Mermaid Chowder House
  • Sabella & La Torre
  • Nick’s Lighthouse
  • Alioto’s Restaurant

Lobster from Maine must eat in the USA

83. Try lobster in Maine

Lobster Maine is said to be the best Lobster in the world and we will definitely be trying it when we visit Maine.

Apparently, the warmer waters allow Maine lobsters to be a little softer than Canadian lobsters, meaning the meat is tender and tastes better – sounds good to me!

Where to eat Lobster in Maine?

  • McLoons Lobster Shack
  • Quoddy Bay Lobster
  • Bite into Maine
  • Miller’s Lobster Company
  • Beal’s Lobster Pier
  • Boothbay Lobster Wharf
  • Muscongus Bay Lobster
  • Round Pond Lobster
  • Young’’s Lobster Pound

Texas BBQ is a Traditional American food

84. Try Texas BBQ

Ever since watching that Man vs Food episode where they rub in BBQ sauce on meant with a mop, my taste glands fell in love!

The Salt Lick is a great place to get BBQ food and is said to be one of the best in Texas.

Best BBQ spots in Texas

  • Pinkerton’s Barbecue
  • Ray’s BBQ Shack
  • Lubin City Market
  • Jackson Street Barbecue
  • Mike Anderson’s BBQ House
  • Pecan Lodge
  • Baby Back Shak


  • Franklin Barbecue
  • Micklethwait Craft Meats
  • Black’s Barbecue
  • Spicy Mike’s BBQ Haven
  • Tyler’s Barbeque
  • Crazy Larry’s Barbecue

Seafood in Cape Cod is an foodie bucketlist item in America


Back when I was 20, I worked in America for the summer and EVERYONE talked about the amazing seafood in Cape Cod.

Of course, when we started traveling the US, this was a must-try on our USA bucketlist. Whether you tuck into lobsters or clams, shrimp or cod, it all tastes great in Cape Cod!

Where to eat in Cape Cod?

  • The Beach House at the Chatham Bars Inn
  • Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar
  • Bistro on Main
  • Simply Divine
  • The Canteen
  • Pie and the Sky
  • Maison Villatte Bakery
  • Spoon and Seed
  • Keltic Kitchen
  • Mac’s Shack
  • The Beachcomber


86. Try Buffalo Wings in Buffalo

Head to Anchor Bar , Buffalo where the original buffalo wing was founded (apparently).

Whilst we were in Buffalo, Gabriel’s Gate was recommended to us and we can see why – it was delicious and by far the best wings I have ever had.

Other top places to try these famous wings include Duff’s Famous Wings and Bar Bill & Tavern. 

Of course, you can try Buffalo Wings all over the US but there is something authentic and fun about trying them in Buffalo itself.

USA Festivals & Events

Coachella is the number 1 USA Festival and America bucketlist item for music lovers

87. Coachella

This California festival in the Palm Springs area is one of the most famous in the world.

Every year, thousands of music lovers head to the sunny state to enjoy live music in various tents whilst enjoying the fairground, fun atmosphere.

Tips for going to Coachella

  • Tickets for general Admission cost $499 but adding luxury experiences and VIP tickets can increase the price into the thousands. 
  • Tickets sell out in under 20 minutes, so be prepared to purchase tickets as soon as they go live. 
  • When using third-party ticket resellers make sure they have buyer protection; TicketNetwork and TicketLiquidator are recommended sites to use. 
  • Your ticket price does not include a camping pass; this is a separate purchase. 
  • Sign up for email notifications for Advanced Sale tickets. 

Lollapalooza USA festivals to visit

88. Lollapalooza

This annual festival in Chicago is a fun, slightly calmer option to Lollapalooza, with more alternative music.

This alternative rock, hip hop, and electronic music festival brings around 400,00 people every year and hopefully, one day we will be one of them.

Tips for going to Lollapalooza

  • The festival takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park with the 4-day pass starting around $380 and a day pass costing $145.
  • Tickets sell out within hours but you are likely to find resale tickets on websites like Stubhub.
  • There are various VIP extras you can pay for including shaded private lounges, complimentary soft drinks, golf cart shuttles, complimentary food, and even complimentary mini spas – depending on how much extra you are willing to pay. 

To save money, stay in the suburbs of Chicago; downtown hotels can be up to 77% higher during the festival.

Book flights in advance with budget airlines such as Spirit and skip the VIP treatments.

Also, you can get discounted tickets around a week before the event on reselling websites. 

Burning Man festival in Nevada is one f the unique things to do in the USA

89. Nevada’s Burning Man

This Nevada event is held at Black Rock City; a temporarily erected city for the festival.

A place where art and community combine, the event takes its name from the symbolic burning of a large wooden effigy (the man).

This festival is dedicated to radical self-expression and self-reliance, so it is unlike any other festival in the US. 

Book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment and remember to get an in and out pass if you leave the event but intend to return. 


This event is about building communities and supporting each other but there is nowhere you can buy anything with money. Therefore, you must make sure you bring everything you need and want during your trip and always bring extras to share with your community.

Ultra Music Festival Miami USA

90. Ultra Miami

For anyone who loves dance music, you would have probably heard of Ultra. This music festival is now worldwide but the home and largest festival happens every year in Miami – all the best DJ’s perform here! 

Book tickets in advance and come prepared.

The event sees more than 50,000 visitors every day, so expect the crowds. Parking is not permitted near the venue so use the free shuttle services or use apps like Lyft or Uber. 

There are many stages and areas at this festival, so check the schedule ahead of time and plan your day accordingly. 

More Unusual things to do in the USA

Breaking Bad locations in Albuquerque

91. Visit the Breaking Bad Locations in Albuquerque

If, like us, you are a massive Breaking Bad fan, you will want to visit the locations in and around Albuquerque.

Rent a car and take a drive around the city, visiting the following places. 

  • Walter White’s House – 3828 Piermont Drive
  • Pinkman Residence – 322 16th Street
  • Octopus Car Wash – 9516 Snow Heights Cir Ne
  • Twisters Restaurant (Los Pollos Hermanos)
  • Hooligans Tavern – 9800 Montgomery Blvd (Saul’s office)
  • Java Joes – 906 Park Ave SW
  • Crossroads Motel – 1001 Central Ave
  • Ace Metals – 5711 Broadway Boulevard (Joe’s Salvage Yard)
  • Delta Linen Supply – 1617 Candelaria Street (Laundry office used for the superb)
  • To’Hajiilee Indian Reservation

Coca Cola factory in Atlanta places to visit in the US

92. Visit the Coca-Cola Factory in Atlanta

My husband is a super Coca-Cola geek and loves all things related to the popular drink. So, of course, the Coca-Cola factory has made it to our list of unusual things to do in America and we loved it!

Learn about the history of the famous drink in the Coca-Cola Theatre before learning more about the secret formula in The Volt Exhibition. Watch the mechanics of the factory production line before meeting the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and enjoying the 3D theater.

And finally, enjoy tasting colas from all over the world before browsing the many many merchandise items in the store. 

Tickets cost $17 for adults and $13 for children aged 3 to 12 but the Atlanta CityPass covers the museum entrance.

Tours take around 2 hours but plan more time to explore the rest of the attraction once the tour is over. 

Stay in an American Ranch for unique Things to do in the US

93. Experience an American Ranch

Stay at a ranch, go on horse rides, have barn dances, and all that ranch-type stuff – who wouldn’t want to try this? There are many options across the US for all types of travelers. 

Resort ranches are more relaxed and ideal for families or those looking for a bit of luxury.

Stay for a week in a dude ranch, helping out around the ranch and fully immersing yourself in the cowboy experience. 

Popular ranches include:

  • Marble Mountain Guest Ranch – In the mountains of Somes Bar in Northern California, this ranch is perfect for thrill seekers and adventurous. You can try white-water rafting, waterspouts, trail riding, arena lessons, frontier shooting, and archery.
  • Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch –  Work on the ranch with 900 cattle before relaxing in the evening with a hearty meal. 
  • White Stallion Ranch – With your own custom-fitted horse, you can take rides through the rugged mountains and desert of Tucson, Arizona. This luxury ranch also includes massages, rock climbing, rodeos, a heated swimming pool, a theater, a petting zoo, and a bar. 
  • E lk River Guest Ranch – This smaller ranch (with rooms serving up to 15 guests), is perfect for a romantic escape. North of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, head here for horseback riding, forest trails, hiking, biking, camping, rafting, fly fishing, concerts, rodeo, dancing, kayaking, and cookouts; soaking in the ranch lifestyle. 

94. Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Vermont

Yes, this one is for me. If you don’t like ice cream, then I guess you should move to the next one but I LOVE BEN AND JERRYS! You can take a factory tour with, of course, samples!

The factory was built in 1985 and has been used ever since.

During the summer season, the factory tours can get busy so expect to wait around for a time slot.

Once you arrive, buy your $4 ticket (sold on a first-come, first-served) and spend some time browsing the small ice cream museum; the tour takes around 30 minutes.

The tour includes a movie in the Cover Over The Moon Theater followed by views of the manufacturing process from a mezzanine above the factory itself.

Next, you will head to the FlavoRoom for delicious samples! 

You can buy a cone of your favorite flavor at the Scoop shop; they have around 40 flavors to choose from. 

Relax along the promenade, browse the gift shop, and visit the ‘graveyard’ of abandoned flavors. 


95. Watch the Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming

Head to the Cowboy State to watch a rodeo!

The Cody Rodeo takes place from June through to August whilst the Cody Stampede runs the first few days of July from 8pm and last for around 2 hours.

You can watch competitive events such as calf roping, barrel racing, bronc riding, and bull riding as well as ceremonies and rodeo clowns. 

Other things to do in Cody is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a collection of museums that focus on the history, art, natural history, and development of the West.

For a bit of fun and live music, head to Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue or take a Red Canyon wild Mustang Tour to watch herds of wild horses among the incredible scenery.

There are lots to enjoy in the great outdoors around Cody, including hiking, rafting and kayaking. 

From Cody, you can take a day trip to Yellowstone National Park as well.


96. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio

Head to Cleveland, Ohio, and visit the different exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Here you will find memorabilia, clothing, and history of some of the biggest Rock and Roll legends in the world including The Beatles, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and more.

Entrance costs $26 for adults but plan at least 2 hours to explore and make the most out of the museum.

Buy your tickets in advance to save time waiting in line but before you run into the museum, take time to appreciate the architecture of the building. 

THE SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS IN NEVADAis another unique thing to do in America

97. The Seven Magic Mountains in Nevada

Next on your USA Bucketlist, has to be this quirky art piece on the outskirts of Las Vegas .

The Seven Magic Mountains are one of those kooky, artistic sculptures you see on road trips around America. These colorful, pilled-up “mountains” make for great photos and have become a tourist attraction itself. 

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, created this large-scale, site-specific public art installation near Jean Dry Lake; perfect for those visiting Las Vegas.

The artwork consists of seven towers of stacked, colorful boulders which represent a human presence in the desert; a burst of color contrasting with the endless desert surrounding the installation. 

If you plan a visit, remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat; there is no shade or restrooms near the free installation. 

Salem Witch Museum is one of the more unusual places to visit in the USA Bucketlist.

98. Experience the Supernatural in Salem… Maybe

For something a little more unusual or unique on your USA Bucketlist, learn a bit of history in this haunting destination.

This historic town in Essex County, Salem, Massachusetts is known for the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 (and its appearance in Disney’s Hocus Pocus movie).

There are a whole bunch of tours available for those interested in learning more about Salem’s magical history but also some interesting museums and tasty restaurants to try out. You could also enjoy the spooky bars on a bar tour too.

Fly into Boston then rent a car or take the train into Salem; it makes for the perfect day trip from Boston.

Alternatively, plan on spending a night or two in the town, with restored Georgian homes making an ideal and unique overnight stay. 

Things to see and do in Salem:

  • House of Seven Gables
  • Salem Witch Trial Museum
  • The Witch House of Salem
  • Howard Street Cemetery
  • Old Burying Point Cemetery
  • Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Witch Dungeon Museum
  • Statue of Elizabeth Montgomery
  • Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
  • Peabody Essex Museum

99. Enjoy the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Head along the Kentucky Trail to try the different distilleries: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Four Roses Warehouse & Bottling Facility, Jim Beam American Stillhouse, Lux Row Distillers, Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, and Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Tips for taking the trail tour:

  • Stick to one or two if you wish to do the whole tour
  • Most distilleries are located in Lexington (around a 2-hour drive from Cincinnati. 
  • Plan at least 90 minutes for each distillery, if you intend on taking the tour with a tasting. 
  • We recommend taking the tour for the first distillery but then taking a guided tasting for each place after that. 



This is NASCAR’s biggest and most challenging track; it is said that you could fit 14 football stadiums inside the track!

Tickets are available on the website to watch these exciting races. 

The venue is open all year round with daily tours of the track offered from 9am to 4pm – perfect if you are a fan but not in the area during a big race. 

north america travel bucket list


  • US dollars are the only currency accepted.
  • Drinking age is 21 , even if you are from a country where the drinking age is less. The states are also very strict on ID, so bring out ID if you plan on drinking. 
  • You’re expected to tip in most circumstances . In restaurants, it is common to leave a 15% to 20% tip or more if you received good service. 
  • Prepare to pay more than the prices displayed – many places add the VAT on top of listed prices.
  • The USA is split into 50 states , with each area offering diverse geographical characteristics. Plan your trip ahead and check the weather in each destination you are visiting. 
  • Visit the National Parks – there are lots of amazing cities to explore in the US but the National Parks are just as incredible. Wherever you are heading to, try to plan a visit to at least one nearby park. 
  • Get insurance – do not visit the US without health or travel insurance. The country’s health services are expensive so you will need insurance should you fall unwell on your trip. We have always used World Nomads for our visits in the USA and the rest of the world. 
  • Compare prices when traveling – America is massive, so make sure you compare prices for travel. Flights are often the quickest option but need to be booked far in advance for good prices whilst the the long-distance bus with Greyhound and Megabus is a budget-friendly option. The Amtrak train is another popular way of transport, connecting 500 destinations across 46 states. 
  • You can turn right – When driving in the US, you will see a red light on the right lane at traffic lights – this means you can turn right if it is safe to do so and if there is no sign prohibiting the right turn. 
  • Cheap flights – There are a handful of budget airlines that make traveling around the US a little more affordable. Check out Spirit, Southwest, JetBlue, and Frontier. 
  • Road trips – Road tripping around the USA is one of the best ways to fully explore and experience the country. There are so many roadside cafes, motels, hidden gems, and national parks across the country, that planning a road trip around a certain area or state makes for a wonderful vacation. 
  • Age restrictions – On a similar note, you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car in the US.
  • Uber and Lyft – If you are looking to travel around a city, download the Uber and Lyft apps and use them to get around. Generally speaking, Lyft works out a little cheaper but Uber tends to have nicer cars. 
  • Use Starbucks – No matter which city or town you are exploring, there is likely to be a Starbucks. Use this for decent wifi or a bathroom!
  • Food portions are huge – Do not over-order! We tend to order starts to share and we are full, so order cautiously. 
  • State laws differ – Something else to note is that state laws differ. So something like gambling may be legal in one state but becomes illegal as you cross the state line. 

Helpful Resources

Travel essentials:

  • We LOVE this camera for our travel photography .
  • For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs. 
  • We use this microphone for all our YouTube voiceovers.
  • We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first). 
  • This is our favorite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offers year coverage.

What to pack

  • No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.  
  • We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage. 
  • We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs  and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips. 
  • I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport. 

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north america travel bucket list

20 bucket list experiences you can only have in the USA


The USA is one big country – and that means it’s absolutely jam-packed with bucket list experiences that are distinctly American. From spectacular national parks and road trips, to iconic cities, sporting events and the best food and wine, here are 21 experiences you have to add to your USA travel bucket list.

1. Explore the national parks

El Capitan Yosemite National Park USA

No USA travel bucket list is complete without a trip to at least one national park. The country currently has 62 spectacular national parks , all filled with natural wonders, ancient history and amazing wildlife. The most popular national parks are the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

RELATED CONTENT: 7 unmissable experiences you can now enjoy in the USA with Trafalgar

We also love Bryce Canyon, Joshua Tree, Canyonlands, Redwood, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley and Arches National Park. Whichever national parks you choose to discover, it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.

GET INSPIRED BY: Scenic Parks Explorer

2. Spend a day (or a week!) in New York

View over Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge New York City USA

The Big Apple certainly lives up to its name, and you could spend weeks exploring all its famous treasures. Don’t forget to swing by the highlights including Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Then head down to Lower Manhattan where you’ll discover a hub of diverse languages, food and cultures.

RELATED CONTENT: United States Destination Guide

Pick up a slice of real New York pizza, go shopping in Greenwich Village, or watch an incredible Broadway show. One thing’s for sure – you won’t run out of adventures in the city that never sleeps!

GET INSPIRED BY: New York Explorer

3. Drive the iconic Route 66

Route 66 scenic road USA travel bucket list

There’s no better place to get your kicks than Route 66! The most famous road in the country originally ran from 3,940 kilometres from Chicago to Santa Monica through eight different states. A symbol of the American dream, Route 66 is still the road trip to end all road trips today.

You’ll find plenty of outposts to stop and get a taste of all things Americana, from classic motels and petrol pumps to kitsch roadside diners dishing up steaming slices of apple pie. 

4. Discover the glaciers, whales and northern lights of Alaska

Glacier Bay Alaska USA travel bucket list

Venture off the mainland and you’ll discover the natural wonderland that is Alaska. Explore the spectacular national parks bursting with pristine nature and incredible wildlife, and chase the northern lights, a mesmerising natural phenomenon.

See Denali, the largest mountain in North America and cruise Prince William Sound to see the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled whales, seals, otters, puffins and many more magical creatures in Alaska.

GET INSPIRED BY: Majestic Alaska

5. Party in Las Vegas

aerial view over Las Vegas illuminated at night

With a reputation as big as the fortunes many have made (and lost here), there’s no place like Vegas to let your hair down. As the entertainment capital of the world, all you have to do is head towards the neon lights… Then get lost in the glittering casinos, rooftop pools, and incredible shows.

Check out the Elvis impersonators and the drive-thru wedding chapels. Take a walk down the Strip and see the icons like Caesars Palace, the Bellagio and the Venetian. Or swing by the Downtown area to explore the creative Fremont East District. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Best of The Canyonlands

6. Explore the treasures of Hawaii

green mountains ocean Hawaii USA travel bucket list

You can’t miss out on the 50th state! This beautiful island is a paradise for surfers, nature lovers, foodies, history buffs and thrill-seekers… and you can even see an active volcano. There are five active volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and you’ll witness the red-hot bubbling lava up close.

Besides the volcanoes, you can see giant manta rays swimming in the ocean, spot sea turtles on the famous black sand beach, discover Kauai’s magical Tunnel of Trees, visit Pearl Harbour, learn about local farming on Maui, and marvel at Oahu’s spectacular North Shore… The wonders never end in Hawaii .

GET INSPIRED BY: Hawaiian Discovery

7. Listen to live jazz in New Orleans

band parade Mardis Gras festival New Orleans USA

As the home of jazz, there’s always a reason to party in the Big Easy. This lively city is famous for its rich history, annual Mardis Gras festival and it’s the incredible music scene. It’s always a winner on any USA travel bucket list.

You’ll find funky jazz spots and cosy blues clubs in every nook and cranny of this city, along with amazing bars and restaurants to top off your New Orleans experience.

GET INSPIRED BY:  Tastes and Sounds of the South

8. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

ocean road Pacific Coast Highway USA

Stretching over 1,000 kilometres from Southern California to San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway is one epic road trip. Be sure to soak up the sun in the Southern California Beach Communities.

Then hit the road, making stops at Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur to see the iconic giant redwoods towering over the forest floor. This is western USA at its finest.

9. Go to a unique festival

hot air balloons Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta USA

From the Mardis Gras and Jazz Festivals in New Orleans to the famous Burning Man in the desert and the spectacular Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, there are no shortage of festivals to add to your USA travel bucket list.

If you’ve always wanted to experience a festival in the USA, just ask our friendly Trafalgar staff for the best festivals in your favourite destinations.

GET INSPIRED BY: Southwest Native Trails with Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

10. Hit the theme parks

aerial view of Disneyland illuminated at night USA

If you love amusement parks, you’ve come to the right place. The United States is a mecca for all things theme park, from California to Florida. Whether you want to hit the magical Disney Parks, Universal Studio’s World of Harry Potter, or the Dollywood Stampede, you’ll find your inner child in the USA.

11. Soak up the atmosphere at an American sporting event

NFL football game USA travel bucket list

Whether it’s football, baseball or basketball, the USA goes mad for a sporting event. From crazy mascots to half-time shows, to screaming fans and prancing cheerleaders, a live game in the USA is an exciting experience. Grab your tickets and snacks, and feel the electric atmosphere… you’ll no doubt find yourself cheering along with all other fans.

12. Go wine tasting in California

vineyard Napa Valley California USA travel bucket list

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply a fan, everyone will love exploring the sunny vineyards of California. From the famous Napa Valley to the lush Temecula Valley, you’ll discover a Mediterranean climate shining down on rolling green hills and some of the world’s best wineries. Spend a few days here and you’ll become a wine aficionado in no time at all.

GET INSPIRED BY: Northern California

13. Feel the spray of Niagara Falls

boat ride Niagara Falls USA travel bucket list

Pack your raincoat and your sense of wonder – the Niagara Falls is one of America’s greatest natural marvels. You can get up close to this incredible phenomenon with a boat ride to the base of Horseshoe Falls, the largest waterfall of the Niagara.

Get a stunning view of both the Canadian and American sides of the falls, and feel the spray of the thundering water, as 750,000 gallons of water plunge into the gorge every second. 

GET INSPIRED BY: East Coast USA and Canada End New York

14. Eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich at Graceland

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Elvis Presley's Graceland (@visitgraceland)

The United States doesn’t have a royal family – but it did have a king. Elvis Presley was the undisputed King of Rock and Roll and he lived in his Graceland Estate in Memphis, Tennessee, a mecca for music lovers.

Thousands of visitors flock here every year to worship the King and honour him with his favourite meal – a peanut butter and banana sandwich. You can see his private garden and aircraft, and walk through his glitzy mansion filled with tributes to his music.

GET INSPIRED BY: Tastes and Sounds of the South

15. Marvel at the fall foliage in northeastern USA

red barn and autumn foliage New Hampshire USA

There are few things more beautiful in the United States than the blazing fall foliage of northeastern USA. Hop in a car during peak foliage season (usually October) and drive up the scenic byways that wind through farmlands, forests and the Green Mountains. Start in Massachusetts, then weave through Vermont, New Hampshire and finish up in gorgeous Maine. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Autumn Colours

16. Eat soul food in the South

If there’s one type of food you have to try in the USA, it’s got to be Southern soul food. They have all the comforting favourites like crispy fried chicken, candied yams, steaming macaroni and cheese, and good old-fashioned banana pudding. The secret ingredient? Lashings of love.

17. Experience the Old West in Monument Valley

man riding horse among sandstone towers of Monument Valley USA

As the iconic location for western films like ‘Stagecoach’ starring John Wayne, Monument Valley is just as historic as it is beautiful. You could spend the night among the rich film history at the pioneering Goulding’s Lodge, or experience a Navajo Cookout on the valley floor.

You’ll marvel at the rusty red sandstone towers, then learn about the sacred meaning and history behind this amazing place. Enjoy delicious local specialities and witness a traditional performance from a local Native American. This is one bucket list experience you won’t soon forget.

GET INSPIRED BY: Pioneer Adventures of the Old West

18. Drive from Boston to Cape Cod

Cape Cod coastline USA travel bucket list

This incredible piece of the USA is a true bucket list experience. Starting in the historic city of Boston, make your way along the windswept New England coastline, soaking up picture-perfect scenery and fresh seafood on the beach all the way.

See the colourful cottages and farmers’ markets of Martha’s Vineyard and stroll through the Heritage Museum & Gardens of Sandwich, Cape Cod’s oldest town. Be sure to check out the thriving craft beer scene on Cape Cod.

Visit the popular fishing port of Provincetown and go on a whale-watching cruise. Or take a 4WD tour over the sand dunes along the Cape Cod National Seashore. Don’t forget to fill up on lobster rolls and clam chowder!

GET INSPIRED BY: Boston, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard

19. Get stars in your eyes in Los Angeles

ferris wheel Santa Monica Pier Los Angeles USA

Los Angeles is all about glitz and glamour, and you can’t visit the city without taking a stroll along Venice Beach and the palm-lined Santa Monica Pier, complete with the famous Ferris wheel.

Find your favourite stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and enjoy a spot of people watching on Sunset Boulevard. Check out the mansions of Beverly Hills, or practice your acceptance speech on the steps of the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.

20. See the fish fly at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is unlike any farmers’ market you’ve ever seen before. It has more performers than it does produce and it’s been a Seattle institution for over a century. See the lively fishmongers literally throw their catch of the day around, and be sure to leave your mark on the gum wall in Post Alley.

GET INSPIRED BY: Scenic Seattle, Portland and Oregon Coast  

Have you ticked off any of these experiences from your USA travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below! Feeling inspired? Take a look at more of our unique American experiences on our USA destination guide .


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Our United States Bucket List: 15 Must-See Places for Families

This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy .

Are you looking for a list of must-see places to add to your family’s United States bucket lis t?

The following article contains our actual (still in progress) United States bucket list of places that we’re committed to visiting as a family before the kids leave the nest.

It includes our exact itineraries to the places we’ve already visited and have checked off the list.

Use these ideas to help customize your very own USA bucket list which will include the U.S. cities, towns, and National Parks you dream of visiting.

Happy travels!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.   For more info, see disclosure.

Read on for a fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

Table of Contents

Inspiration For Our United States Bucket List

With the kids getting older, my husband and I realize the years are dwindling before they will eventually leave the nest.

Likewise, because we realize the amazing benefits of traveling with kids , there are certain places we absolutely want to experience as a family.

Consequently, once they ditched the diapers, bottles, and naps, we kicked our family travel goals into high gear.

With a glass of wine and Ipad in hand, we began creating our family’s USA bucket list !

The goal…that we will complete the list before our oldest child turns 18.

First, we pondered popular landmarks, theme parks, national parks, and beloved U.S. cities that we’ve read about and daydreamed about visiting.

We want to experience it all.

Next, we decided on a tentative year to visit each destination based on their location as well as the respective ages and maturity of the kids.

When your children are young, customize your family vacation bucket list to include destinations that are close to your hometown.

Our first two bucket list destinations are within driving distance of our hometown and are places that we continue to love to explore to this day.

The remainder of the places that we’ve visited, and have yet to visit, on our USA bucket list are all well-known and what we consider – “must-see” for all.

Bucket List Family Trips: Accountability

Naturally, time for traveling together as a family is limited due to work, sports, school schedules, and other commitments.

Creating a United States bucket list, however, holds us accountable for accomplishing our travel goals despite our busy schedules.

In addition, anticipating future travel motivates us to set aside the appropriate funds to make our travel goals happen.

The following U.S. bucket list is a chronological outline of the fabulous adventures that we have already taken, as well as the ones we have yet to take.

All of the following itineraries and travel tips are ones that we have experienced while being mindful of cost and the conveniences necessary when traveling with kids.

Allow for flexibility and spontaneity in your United States bucket list. When unexpected ideas or invitations to travel come up – similar to our multi-generational family trip to Dreams Playa Mujeres – by all means… go for it!

A fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

1. Duluth & Lake Superior (Minnesota)

  • Ages: We started visiting Duluth, MN annually when our kids were 6, 4, and 2 years old due to the multitude of things to do with kids in Duluth , as well as its close proximity to our hometown.
  • Accommodations: The Suites Hotel at Waterfront Plaza (Awesome pool area and hot breakfast included with your stay.)

Dubbed the “Best Outdoor City in America,” and “The Craft Beer Capital of Minnesota”, Duluth is one of our absolute favorite family travel destinations.

Duluth sits on the north shore of Lake Superior, which is the largest of the 4 Great Lakes of North America.

It is an active port city where families can witness oceangoing ships transporting coal, iron ore, and grain underneath the harbor’s famous lift bridge.

Duluth is well known in the Midwest USA for its great outdoor activities, awesome cultural scene, and delicious dining.

Duluth Family Vacation Itinerary

Save yourself the work of planning from scratch by checking out our 2-day Duluth itinerary that is perfect for families with kids both young and old.

Our must-do recommendations in Duluth, MN include:

  • Canal Park and the Aerial Lift Bridge
  • Climbing Enger Tower
  • Sipping brews at Duluth’s craft breweries
  • Visiting the Great Lakes Aquarium
  • Riding the North Shore Scenic Railroad
  • Exploring the must-see stops on the North Shore Scenic Drive

A fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan.

2. The Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin)

  • Ages: We started visiting the Wisconsin Dells annually when the kids were ages 7, 5, and 3 years old. This is a great place to visit with small children as there are shallow areas and splash pads at every waterpark and attraction.
  • Accommodations: Great Wolf Lodge (best for visiting with kids ages 3-10) or The Wilderness Resort (our favorite for school-age kids and teens).

Splash and play to your heart’s content in Wisconsin Dells, the Water Park Capital of the World, our second bucket list family vacation!

After all, the Dells has more configurations of indoor and outdoor waterparks per capita than anywhere else on the planet.

As another popular Midwest USA tourist destination, the Dells has so much more to offer than just its famous water parks, however.

Laidback locals, awe-inspiring natural beauty, and year-round attractions lead many families to return here year after year.

Wisconsin Dells Family Vacation Itinerary

We haven’t yet officially put our Wisconsin Dells itinerary into writing.

You can’t go wrong, however, in simply using your waterpark hotel as a base to then add in other fun area attractions as time permits.

Memories are sure to be made in this epicenter of family fun!

Our must-do recommendations in Wisconsin Dells, WI include:

  • Noah’s Ark Waterpark
  • This list of the best indoor activities in the Dells (perfect for cold or rainy days!)
  • Great Northern Railway train ride
  • Explore Witches Gulch
  • A Dells boat tour
  • Pizza and brews at Moose Jaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co.

Read on for a fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

3. The Black Hills and Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota)

  • Ages: We had success visiting this famous United States bucket list destination when our 3 kids were 8, 6, and 4 years old. This is a destination that can be enjoyed at any age, however.
  • Accommodations: Cambria Hotel Rapid City (Central location with a huge indoor swimming pool and hot tub.)

The Black Hills are a small mountain range in western South Dakota that extends into Wyoming. This is a travel region that is so spread out, yet packed with family travel opportunities.

The Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and Mammoth Springs, the world’s largest mammoth research facility.

Further, attractions in the Northern Hills include Spearfish Canyon, historic Deadwood, and the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Black Hills Family Vacation Itinerary

Don’t head to this area without an itinerary in mind.

There are literally so many amazing things to do in the Black Hills with kids that you’ll want to go there prepared.

The area’s best landmarks, attractions, and state parks can all be visited during this perfect 4-day Black Hills Itinerary that we made with families in mind.

Our must-do recommendations in Black Hills, SD include:

  • The South Dakota Air and Space Museum
  • World-famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Dinosaur Park and Storybook Island (both free!)
  • Driving Needles Highway and experiencing that amazing Custer State Park
  • Visiting Cosmos Mystery Park in Keystone, SD.

Read on for a fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

4. San Diego (California)

  • Ages: We visited San Diego when our 3 kids were ages 9, 7, and 5 years old.
  • Accommodations: VRBO vacation rental home adjacent to Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, California.

San Diego is on the coast of the beautiful Pacific Ocean in Southern California.

The city is known for its mild year-round climate, extensive beaches, and a multitude of family-friendly theme parks and activities.

A visit should not be limited to the city alone, however.

Instead, I recommend that you and your family be sure to take excursions to the surrounding communities of Coronado, La Jolla, Encinitas , and Carlsbad.

Each one of these cities has something fun and delightful to offer.

San Diego Family Vacation Itinerary

Be sure to fit in visiting all of the amazing coastal communities (that I mentioned above), by checking out our epic 6-day San Diego itinerary !

Our must-do recommendations in San Diego, CA include:

  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Touring the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier
  • Spending an afternoon on Coronado Island
  • Going to Legoland Hotel and Theme Park (Carlsbad, CA).
  • Hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • Watching the sea lions in La Jolla Cove

Read on for a fun and detailed USA bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

5. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

  • Ages : We visited the Grand Canyon with our kids when they were 10, 8, and 6 years old. If you’re wanting to do extensive hiking, I recommend that your kids be a bit older.
  • Accommodations: Thunderbird Lodge (Family-focused lodge in an excellent location.)

One of the world’s natural wonders, the iconic Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most famous attractions in the United States.

This giant canyon carved by the copper-colored Colorado River exposes billions of years of history in its layers of colored rock.

Most visitors see the Grand Canyon from the South Rim which is open all year and easily accessed by personal vehicles or shuttles.

On the other hand, the North Rim is less populated by tourists because it is in a more remote location and has a shorter tourism season.

Either way, witnessing the splendor of the Grand Canyon is an absolute must on your family’s United States bucket list.

Grand Canyon Family Vacation Itinerary

Check out this itinerary if you only have 1-Day to visit the Grand Canyon .

Our must-do recommendations at Grand Canyon National Park include:

  • Hiking the Bright Angel Trail
  • Check out the Hopi House
  • Walking the Trail of Time
  • Visit the National Geographic Visitor Center
  • Ride the free Hermit Road shuttle bus (Red Route)
  • Explore nearby Slide Rock State Park and Sedona, Arizona

A fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

6. Disney World in Orlando (Florida)

Ages: We visited the Disney theme parks in Orlando, Florida for the first time when our 3 children were 12, 10, and 8 years old.

We’ve also found that there are dozens of awesome things to do in Orlando for adults if you’re visiting there when older.

Accommodations: Holiday Inn, Lake Buena Vista (An amazing and affordable off-site Disney hotel.)

Walt Disney World is the world’s most famous family-friendly destination, which is why it may be of no surprise that it is part of our United States bucket list.

Encompassing 4 major theme parks in 1, Disney is a theme park paradise that appeals to both kids and adults.

Not only is Orlando home to the famous Walt Disney World, but there are tons of things to do in Orlando on Disney non-park days !

Orlando Family Vacation Itinerary

After our visit, we created an amazing, action-packed, 6-day Orlando itinerary that you can customize with the parks and places of your family’s preference.

Our must-do recommendations in Orlando, FL include:

  • 1-day at Magic Kingdom
  • 1-day at Epcot
  • 1-day at Animal Kingdom
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Going to Gatorland
  • Spending a day at Discovery Cove
  • Riding the ICON Observation Wheel
  • Hitting up the thrill rides at Universal Resort’s Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Read on for a fun and detailed United States bucket list from Top U.S. Family Blog, Travel With A Plan!

7. Sightseeing in Chicago (Illinois)

Ages: We first toured Chicago when our 3 kids were ages 13, 11, and 9 years old.

Accommodations: Embassy Suites Chicago (Downtown River North or Magnificent Mile – both are great and very family-friendly!

The magnificent city of Chicago receives recognition as being the “Best Big City in the U.S.”, as well as the “#1 World’s Best City for Having it All”.

As an avid family traveler, my personal opinion is that it is also one of the most family-friendly big cities that we have ever visited – which is why I recommend going on a family vacation here!

Chicago has a vibrant downtown that is home to amazing architecture that even kids will find fascinating.

Likewise, its vastly preserved green space and play spaces create a welcoming atmosphere for the young and old alike.

Magnificent family-friendly attractions sprinkled throughout Navy Pier and Millennium Park will keep you and your family entertained for hours!

Pack like a pro for your next family vacation! Click the following image to get your FREE family vacation packing list that is both customizable and printable!

San Diego Family Vacation packing list

Chicago Family Vacation Itinerary

Check out our awesome 3-day Chicago itinerary that is perfect for visiting Chicago with kids.

And, be sure to check out our list of the best t hings to do in Chicago in winter if you’re visiting there during the colder months.

Our must-do recommendations in Chicago, IL include:

  • Millennium Park (Crown Fountain, the Bean, etc.)
  • Spending an afternoon at Navy Pier with the kids
  • Going on an Architectural River Cruise
  • Eating a Chicago hot dog and other famous Chicago foods
  • Visiting 360 Chicago and riding TILT
  • Exploring the many things to do in Chicago at night

Read on for our list of bucket list family trips that is perfect for families - from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

8. Glacier National Park (Montana)

Ages: We visited Glacier National Park when our 3 kids were ages 14, 12, and 10. These are great ages to go, as they were all able to hike on their own without complaining.

Accommodations: During our family vacation to Montana, we had the opportunity to stay at two amazing properties.

We stayed at both Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Montana, and The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in Whitefish, Montana. You’ll love reading about them to determine which would be best for you and your family!

Glacier National Park is located in the northern Rocky Mountains in northwestern Montana.

Not only is Glacier National Park home to active glaciers, but it’s also comprised of stunning valleys, towering mountain tops, cascading waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and majestic wildlife sightings.

In our opinion, it is the most beautiful place that we have ever been to – and we recommend adding it to your USA bucket list as well!

Glacier National Park Itinerary

Our 3-day Glacier National Park itinerary includes the best scenery, family-friendly hikes, glaciers, and must-see stops to help you plan the perfect visit.

Our must-do recommendations when visiting Glacier National Park include:

  • Explore the 23-best stops on Going-to-the-Sun Road (Glacier’s world-famous scenic drive)
  • Hike Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Lake Trail, and Hidden Lake Overlook
  • Go whitewater rafting in Glacier National Park
  • Enjoy the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana that includes swimming in a huge glacial lake
  • Visit St. Mary Lake and take a Rising Sun Boat Tour
  • Go horseback riding in Many Glacier

United States bucket list destination:  The U.S. Capitol Building.

9. Washington D.C.

Ages: I visited Washington D.C. on a solo trip with my 15-year-old son. This was a fantastic age for him to visit and we both learned a ton!

Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott at Washington, DC National Mall . A 5-minute walk to the National Mall, indoor pool, kitchens with full-sized refrigerators/freezers and microwaves, complimentary evening reception, and complimentary buffet breakfast.

A family trip to Washington D.C. is a US bucket list destination for many American families – including ours!

The District of Columbia (in between the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia) was set aside as the nation’s capital so that the federal government would not be located in any single state.

National symbols such as the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House are accessible to visitors, along with dozens of other tourist attractions, which include world-class museums and important monuments.

With so many amazing opportunities for exploration, it’s important to understand the general layout and to know what there is to do there  before  your arrival.

Washington DC Itinerary with Kids

The main tourist area of Washington DC is enormous, requires a lot of walking, and definitely requires taking into consideration the individual ages and interests of your family members.

It is absolutely essential to consult our Washington DC family vacation itinerary for spending 1 – 7 days in the nation’s capital to help you prepare for this iconic family trip.

In addition, we’ve written about the BEST things to do in Washington D.C. with kids , as well as things to do in Washington D.C. in winter .

Our must-do recommendations in Washington D.C. include:

  • Get reservations for a U.S. Capitol Building tour
  • Spend time at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
  • Photograph The U.S. White House
  • Take an evening walk around Washington D.C.’s monuments and memorials
  • Go to the National Museum of American History (and other free Smithsonian Museums)
  • Attend a performance at The John. F. Kennedy Center

A family vacation bucket list featured by top US family travel blog, Travel With a Plan: Colorado rocky mountains

10. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

Ages: We visited Rocky Mountain National Park when our 3 kids were ages 15, 13, and 11.

You could also go when your kids are a bit younger as there are several easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park and other popular attractions geared toward small children enjoy.

Accommodations: The Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park, CO

I highly recommend staying in the nearby town of Estes Park, Colorado when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are 5 entrances into Rocky Mountain National Park that are within 5 miles of Estes Park, making it the ultimate gateway city.

We love it so much that we’ve written an entire 7-day Estes Park itinerary to use when visiting there!

This includes all of the best things to do in Estes Park , as well as summarizes our amazing adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park!

Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary

You definitely do not want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park without a plan.

With heavy crowds and with so many areas of the park to explore, it’s important to have a good idea of how to get around, where to park, etc.

We write about the best things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park and include our 1-day Rocky Mountain National Park itinerary here.

Our must-do recommendations in Estes Park, CO include:

  • Horseback riding at Sombrero Stables
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Mustang Mountain Coaster
  • Visit Downtown Estes Park and do the Riverwalk
  • Explore Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Hike Bear Lake Loop
  • Drive Train Ridege Road

Bucket List Family Vacations featured by top US family travel blog, Travel With a Plan: Yellowstone

Future United States Bucket List Destinations

We have yet to explore the following destinations that we have on our United States bucket list.

Once we do, we will edit this article to include our crafted itineraries and lists of must-do attractions. (Follow us on our social to stay in touch!)

Check out the remaining places that we are looking forward to visiting as a family before the kids leave the nest.

  • An Alaskan Cruise – Complete in June 2023 – article coming soon!
  • Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
  • The Mighty 5 Utah National Parks
  • Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam (Nevada)
  • New York City (New York)
Have you done any of these bucket list family trips before? What are your family must-do recommendations? I’d love to hear about what’s on your family vacation bucket list! Jen

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

If you enjoyed our USA bucket list as well as our Bucket List Family Trips , click here for our best family travel tips:

  • Top 10 No-Fail Family Road Trip Tips
  • 16 Tips for Effortless Flying with Kids
  • The Ultimate Guide for International Travel with Kids
  • Family Vacation Packing Tips: How to Pack Like A Pro
  • Road Trip Food List: Mess-Free Meals and Snacks

Pin it!

Jen Brommer is a family travel expert. She has been featured as an authority on several notable travel websites and is a member of the Family Travel Association (FTA), Midwest Travel Network, and TravMedia global media network.

A prominent content creator and influencer on Instagram, Jen has over 150K unique monthly blog readers from countries all over the world. She has spent the last 16 years planning fun, and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5.

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We’ve visited Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park several times with our kids since moving to CO a few years ago – highly recommend both! We grew up on the East coast and have been excited to explore the west now that we’re out here. We’re driving to Seattle this week! Don’t know much about the gems in the Midwest, so your post has been so helpful.

Thanks so much for reading Maria! I am so happy to hear that you are looking forward to exploring the Midwest USA! Feel free to reach out if you need additional tips 🙂

Great bucket list! We’re Canadian and haven’t travelled as much as I would like in the U.S. so I was surprised that I have actually done 8 of the trips on your list!! You will love the Alaskan cruise – it was one of our favourite trips. We were supposed to cruise Alaska for a second time this summer but it was cancelled because of COVID. And we love New York City – such an amazing city!!

Thanks Lisa! We had an Alaskan cruise booked on Norwegian that was cancelled due to COVID too! I am sure hoping to cruise again soon!

What a great article! I don’t think we’ve done ANY of these with the kids yet. Our USA experience is pretty limited with them at this point. We have focused a lot on international. But I will keep this list handy when we explore the States! Thanks for putting this together 🙂

Thank you so much Linzey! Yes, some definite ‘musts’! I’m curious what your favorite family vacation has been? 🙂

This is such a great US bucket list for families! We’ve never been to some of the national parks- they’re definitely on our list!

Thank you!! We are so excited for Glacier National Park in just a few weeks! I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

This is a great list! We have done 4 of them so far. We definitely need to visit more National Parks. I kick myself for not getting to more while we lived out west.

We have a 4th grader this year, so we are using the free 4th grader National Park Pass! Check it out if you don’t know about it – free admission to all US National Parks!

Love all of the National Parks on this list!

For sure! I love exposing the kids to history and beauty all in one!

The national parks are a big on for us! One day we will all get there!

I think every family bucket list should include a few National Parks, right?

This is a fantastic list. I bet it wouldn’t take you long to double it though!

I know! The Utah National Parks are a big one that I am currently missing on the list! I need to find a time to fit them in 🙂

So many amazing places to see! I’m really hoping to take my daughter to some US National Parks soon so this is so useful

Have fun! National Parks are definitely memory makers!

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The Great American Bucket List: 50 Things to Do in the US Before You Die

Published on 4/9/2016 at 12:05 AM

Golden Gate Bridge

America is big. Life is short. And whether you're the kind of traveler who strays off the beaten path or one who hits the biggest damn tourist trap no matter the number of selfie sticks, you have to admit that some places across this great land of ours absolutely MUST be visited before you die. Even if you're not starring in a buddy movie with Morgan Freeman.

But where are they? And what should you do when you get there? From national parks and monuments, to baseball stadiums, beaches, and amazing road trips, we narrowed down the most iconic, popular, beautiful, historic, fun, delicious, awe-inspiring (should we go on?) parts of the country to 50 must-do places/activities. And while, sure, some are obvious and others may be a little cliche -- they're all still distinctly, 100% America. Now, how many have you ticked off your list?

north america travel bucket list

Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston

Even if you fell asleep repeatedly in history class, walking this 2.5-mile path (just follow the red-brick line!) that passes 16 historical landmarks -- from Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church to Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution -- is a must for any American. Just don't forget to stop at the Union Oyster House, one of Boston’s oldest restaurants , along the way.

Pat's and Geno's cheesesteaks in Philly

Compare Philly cheesesteaks from old rivals Geno's and Pat's

Team Geno's, just saying. Although, yes, we know there are A LOT of places to get a great cheesesteak in Philly, which is why we put together this neighborhood guide .

Times Square NYC, Broadway

Catch a Broadway Show in New York City

If you can't score Hamilton tickets (don’t worry, pretty much no one can), hit up the TKTS booth in Times Square for same-day discounted show seats to something ; then take your obligatory "NYC baby!" selfie and get the hell out of there. Trying to tackle all of New York's greatness is like trying to keep up with every new dating app, it's damn near impossible. Concentrate on the biggies: eat a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and stroll through SoHo and Greenwich Village.

lighthouse in Cape Cod

Drive Cape Cod to Provincetown in the summer

Yes, there's a lot you don't understand about the Cape , but that's exactly why you should see it all. From the Bourne Bridge to the Chatham Light (and the Squire!), Truro's vineyards to the the Cape Cod National Seashore, plan to eat lobster rolls along the way at one of these waterside spots , stop for a drink at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, and end the night strolling around Provincetown.

Anchor Bar in Buffalo

Eat Buffalo wings in Buffalo

You sort of have to go to Anchor Bar, the famed "birthplace" of Buffalo wings. And when you're done enjoying wings (and live jazz!), walk it all off on an architecture tour of seven Frank Lloyd Wright structures.

National Mall in Washington DC

Bike the National Mall in DC

The best way to cruise DC's many landmarks is on a two-wheeler. Start in Rock Creek Park, head along the Potomac, and finish on the National Mall, peddling past the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial, and the WWII Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Washington Monument... you get the idea. Stop and peruse the Smithsonian museums. End at the Capitol and Union Station. Ideally, do all of this in the spring when you can also appreciate about a million cherry blossoms. Afterward, grab a beer at District ChopHouse & Brewery -- you earned it.

tour boats for Niagara Falls

Feel the mist of Niagara Falls

Sure, maybe it's one of the biggest tourist traps in the whole damn game, but it's one you want to get caught in . Buy a ticket, put on your plastic poncho, and hop aboard Maid of the Mist .

Cantler's Riverside catching crabs in Maryland

Eat blue crabs on the water in Maryland

Be extra legit about it by boating up to Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis. And when you're done cracking crabs, stroll through town or tour the Naval Academy.

New England Foliage

Peep the fall foliage in New England

The move here is to hop a car during peak foliage season (usually in October) and cruise Vermont's byways, a collection of 10 roads that winds through the state's farmlands, forests, and glorious Green Mountains. Then drive up through New Hampshire (maybe hit this bar that sits in two states ) and keep heading east into Maine, only stopping for syrup and cheese along the way.

north america travel bucket list

See a show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

You can't go to Nashville without going country, and this barn-structured stage has housed the world's best (from June Carter to Dolly Parton) since 1925. Sitting in those red velvet seats literally makes you part of music history. Also, Nashville is our No. 1 city in America to spend a weekend -- and this is why .

Overseas Highway

Drive from Miami to Key West

One of the coolest drives in America, the Overseas Highway (aka the southernmost section of US 1) stretches 113 miles over 42 bridges (including Seven Mile Bridge) across all of the Florida Keys. Once you get to the southernmost point in Key West (there's an actual "point" you should selfie next to, duh), snag a slice of Key lime pie at Blue Heaven and drink your way down Duval St. This is all after you've partied your face off in South Beach, of course.

Talladega NASCAR

Watch NASCAR at Talladega

Better yet, rent an RV or pitch a tent in the North Park and spend the whole weekend there. It's totally free and means you'll be hanging out with more than 100,000 of your all-time weirdest (in a good way) friends.

The Alamo in San Antonio

Visit the Alamo in San Antonio

Remember learning what a big deal this battle was in social-studies class? Sure, it might be just a building that some find disappointing , but this pivotal part of Texas and American history is still worth seeing; and after you do, head over to the pedestrian-only River Walk (you know, that tourist-friendly stretch you see during every Spurs home game on TV) and enjoy the bars and restaurants (Pearl Brewery = yes). Now, if you really want to go native -- spend a weekend night at the Cowboys Dancehall. Is it a dancehall? A rodeo? A concert hall? Boxing venue? A place with lots of beer and mechanical bulls? Yes. All of that. Texas forever.

Kentucky Derby

Drink a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby

Preferably several, from the infield. While (not-ironically) wearing seersucker or a fancy hat. Not on the same day (be smart!), but you also shouldn't leave the state without hitting a few of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.


Eat a PB & banana toastie at Graceland

Revere The King in all his glory with his favorite meal at his massive estate in Memphis. (Not that he's really dead, of course.)

Tailgating at the Grove at an Ole Miss Football Game

Tailgate at the Grove at Ole Miss

Honestly, you can't go wrong with pretty much any SEC tailgate (unless it's Vanderbilt), but few schools throw the kind of pre-game party like you'll find at the Grove. You should also probably sit in the student section for the game. Alternate venue: if for some reason you're like, no way I'm going to Oxford, I don't care if it's Faulkner's hometown and that it has that really cool three-building bookstore , the Auburn-Alabama Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa is your move.

The French Quarter in New Orleans

Stroll the French Quarter in New Orleans

Must-stops: Cafe Du Monde for a beignet, Pat O'Brien's for a Hurricane. (Bonus points if you also attend Jazz Fest.)

The Salt Lick BBQ in Austin

Hang out in Austin NOT during SXSW

Experience Austin in all its true weirdness by avoiding the massive nerd convention and doing it up like the locals. Rather than make time for it all , concentrate on stuff like a breakfast taco tour, a dip in Barton Springs, and BBQ at one of these highly touted places (because no local waits in the massive Franklin line).

St. Augustine

Spend a day in St. Augustine

The oldest town in the US (1565!) is actually good for something other than eighth-grade field trips. In fact, it's so great we named it Florida's most underrated destination . After getting your fill of colonial Spanish architecture, spend the day deep-sea fishing, and the night bar-hopping/taking a haunted bar tour in the historic section of town.

north america travel bucket list

Catch a game at Wrigley Field

The fact that the Cubs are actually -- gasp! -- contenders now only makes this epic sports pilgrimage that much better. Shoot for a Cards game, sit in the bleachers, and drink Goose Island while taking down a Chicago-style hot dog. After the game, enjoy a beverage or two at the bars around the stadium -- Wrigleyville isn't known as the "world's largest beer garden" for nothing.

Boundary Waters in Minnesota

Canoe the Boundary Waters in Minnesota

This is about as Great Outdoors as it gets without John Candy. The largest wilderness area east of the Rockies, there are over a million acres of woods and more than 1,500 miles (!!) of canoe routes. Not to mention, some insane sunsets.

Summerfest in Wisconsin

Rock out at Summerfest in Wisconsin

With around 800 bands playing in 11 days, this is the biggest music fest you can attend, pretty much anywhere IN THE WORLD -- and the diversity of acts never disappoints (think everyone from Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams to Alabama Shakes, Styx, and Nelly). Plus, Milwaukee loves to party . Oh, and nearby Madison... well, it's one of the 25 best cities in the country to spend the weekend . So much to do in Wisconsin.

Millenium Force at Cedar Point

Ride the Millennium Force at Cedar Point

Still one of the fastest rides in the game, Millennium Force was the world’s first-ever coaster to exceed 300ft in height. And no matter how much other theme parks have literally tried to keep up since, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (opened in 1870!), will always be the Beyonce of the group (that's Queen Bee, guys). Even if it doesn't get the respect it deserves .

Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor

See a Michigan game at the Big House

Sure, a case could be made for seeing the Buckeyes in Columbus, but come on, it's "the Big House" for a reason. Like, it actually is the biggest college football stadium in the US. Better still, hit the UM-Ohio State game and take in one of America's top sports rivalries. And when you're done, Ann Arbor is the quintessential college down (quite possibly,  the best one in all the land ). Stroll through the Diag, hit up Dominick's for outdoor pitchers, and grab a bite at one of these spots .

fried food stand at Iowa State Fair

Eat "food on a stick" at the Iowa State Fair

The genius of this state fair lies in the high level of culinary attention that's directed at foods eaten on a stick -- there are 75 of them on display! The ones to seek out: the deep-fried Milky Way, chocolate-covered chunky bacon, and the cornbrat (that's a bratwurst dipped in cornbread batter). Also, do not leave without seeing the butter cow. And if you really want to take it up a notch, visit during a presidential election year.

Swimming in the Great Lakes

Swim in a Great Lake

There are many reasons why the Great Lakes are better than any ocean (in fact, we note 12 of them right here ) and the ability to swim in water that's fresh and clean and not totally salty is only one of them. Grand Haven in Michigan is a nice spot to take said dip (as well as to visit the pier, lighthouse, and Odd Side Ales for a pint of peanut butter stout), although any of these Michigan beach towns will do just fine .

upper peninsula sunrise

Watch a sunrise in the Upper Peninsula

Crossing the spectacular Mackinac Bridge into Michigan's Upper Peninsula, there's a feeling like you're entering a primal, Hemingway-esque world... because you are. There's no better way to appreciate the rustic UP than being up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise over a Great Lake. St. Ignace, the first town on the north side of the bridge, offers views of sunup over Lake Huron; head to Manistique for epic sights of the sun rising over Lake Michigan; or venture further north to the shores of Lake Superior and hit Pictured Rocks, Marquette, or -- for the truly adventurous -- Copper Harbor, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula/end of the world. And while you're there, hit one of the best restaurants in the Upper P eninsula , and work it off with some of the  best hiking  you'll find anywhere.

Indy 500 Race

Hear the roar of the Indy 500

Only the greatest car race in America in one of its most underrated cities, the Indy 500 is a sports MUST. Even if you're a bike person. Do your fair share of tailgating beforehand, but be sure to catch the race from the higher seats (according to our Indy insiders, the double-letter rows) for the best views. In fact, longtime fans recommend the front straight for pre/post-race activities, and either E-Stand (first turn) or NW Vista (fourth turn) for first-timers.

north america travel bucket list

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway...

... from Southern California to San Francisco. And take as long as possible to do it. This 500-or-so-mile stretch up the coast is one of America's most iconic and scenic road trips . You're gonna want to eat in all these restaurants , stay in some of these hotels , and absolutely make a pit stop at Big Sur . In fact, consider spending a whole day there and in neighboring Carmel.

Old Faithful

Gaze at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Obviously, Yellowstone in and of itself belongs on this list, but if you can only see one thing while driving through the park, make it that crazy geyser that shoots water almost 200ft in the air. Just think of all the "eruption" dad jokes you can make! You'll no doubt be stopped by a herd of bison somewhere along your park journey (don't get out of the car!), but once you're moving again, head to the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Aspen Highlands in Colorado

Ski Aspen Highlands in Colorado

This mountain is your ticket -- lift ticket, actually -- to arguably the most thrilling ski runs in the Rockies (looking at you, Steeplechase and Olympic Bowl). Plus, the summit offers solid views of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.

Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles

Stroll Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles

Start off with drinks on the deck at the Hotel Erwin (which overlooks Venice Beach ), then walk the boardwalk, pick out your favorite street performers, tour the canals, and do any of these fun things . From there, make the walk to Santa Monica and ride the Ferris wheel at sunset -- the views are killer.

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

Drive into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

No, you can't see an actual concert there, but still. The natural rock formation is one of world's most amazing sights. And if you don't feel like driving Highway 63 in, you can ride a horse instead.

Cannon Beach

Hang out on Cannon Beach

Sadly, the home of the Goonies has been shut down by the home's actual owner, but you can still eat razor clams and Dungeness at Buoy's, then head south to the Pelican Pub in Seaside yelling, "Heeeyyy you guysssss!" Although before you skip out, Cannon is one of the best small beach towns on the entire Pacific coast and well worth a little time. Don't miss the distillery.

vineyard in Santa Barbara

Take a wine tour in Santa Barbara

Nab a bike on a guided tour and cruise through the canyons; put your kickstand down to taste wine and olive oil. Or, take a guided picnic tour and get bussed around to four different wineries. Either way... heaven is real, guys.

Glacier National Park in Montana

Hike through Glacier National Park in Montana

And take a ton of #nofilter Instagrams. This is by far one of America's most spectacular national parks , so drive up through the 6,646ft Logan Pass at the top of Going-to-the-Sun Rd to hike the Highline Trail. When you're done appreciating the glaciers , either pass out in your own damn caboose in the middle of the wilderness at the train-themed Izaak Walton Inn in Essex or head over to Whitefish, one of the coolest little towns in Big Sky country .

surfers in San Diego

Take a surf lesson in San Diego

Sign up for surf school in Mission Beach, or if you're feeling fancy, nab a private one-on-one in Del Mar. Either way, celebrate that two seconds of standing by downing cheap drinks at the Beachcomber . Or maybe with dinner at Draft .

Joshua Tree rock

Stand in Arch Rock in Joshua Tree

But before you take the money shot, walk the half-mile loop on the Arch Rock Nature Trail and appreciate all the other rock formations.  

Pike Place Fish Market

Watch the fish fly at Pike Place Market

Sure, this market where dudes literally throw fish around is a tourist attraction, but it's one you can't leave Seattle without visiting. Although on the way out, you should leave your "mark" on the gum wall in Post Alley.

Redwood National Forest

Get lost in Redwood National Park

Warning: if you don't post a picture on social media of you hugging a giant sequoia tree, it didn't happen.

rodeo in Wyoming

Catch a rodeo in Wyoming

Cody Nite Rodeo happens every summer night in Cody and has been going on for 76 years. This is the rodeo capital of the world. And that is not an overstatement. Also, there are fewer than 55 days until rodeo season -- mark your calendar.

Mount Rushmore

Visit Mount Rushmore

But don't complain that it's smaller than you expected . It's still fantastic. Before you gaze at these stone-faced presidents, though, stop at Murphy's Pub for fried pickles and a Bloody Mary. Then drive through the Black Hills National Forest.

Golden Gate Bridge

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

Start in the Golden Gate National Rec Area, cross over the bridge, wave to Alcatraz, then end in Golden Gate Park. After all that walking, you should hop on a cable car. Come on, it's San Francisco!

Las Vegas Strip

See the Hoover Dam/gamble in Vegas on the same day

We suggest renting a car and hitting the Hoover Dam, one of the country's most impressive engineering feats, first (less than an hour drive from Vegas), because once you land on the Strip, Lord knows what's going to happen.

Powell's Books

Peruse the shelves at Powell's in Portland

Get learned (but hopefully not lost) as you stroll through the world's largest bookstore . Founded in 1971, it takes up an entire block, stocks one (raise pinky to mouth) million books, and reportedly buys 3,000 more a day. As you're already smack dab in the middle of Portland, you'd be remiss not to spend the rest of the day hitting brewpubs like Hopworks and Breakside, donut shops , and strip clubs .

Orcas Island

Take the Washington State Ferry to Orcas Island

The views are insane. Once you get there, take a half-day kayak tour through Free Willy country to see some Orcas in a, thankfully, non-SeaWorld environment.

North Rim in Grand Canyon

Trek the Grand Canyon's North Rim

The South Rim is for tourists; the North Rim receives one-tenth of the visitors and is 1,000ft higher. Also, you can still (and should!) day hike INTO the canyon on the North Kaibab Trail. Just be sure to bring TONS of water, leave before 7am , and do NOT try to go all the way to the bottom and back in the same day. Also, also, don't wear dress loafers. Seriously, people do it -- it's nuts.

north america travel bucket list

Dive into Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Bay 

By far one of the most beautiful places in Puerto Rico , not to mention the world, Bioluminescent Bay lights up at night (thanks to science) with the blue glow of little creatures called dinoflagellates. The best way to experience the show is either by diving or on a kayak -- it's like you're in Narnia.

Alaskan Northern Lights

Marvel at the northern lights in Alaska

Sure, we told you that Juneau and its exploding culinary scene was Alaska's most underrated destination, but when it comes to gazing in awe of the aurora borealis (aka the Northern Lights), Fairbanks is your move. Just make sure you go during the winter (November through April) when it's dark all the time.

lava in Hawaii

See a lava flow in Hawaii

While seeing a volcano erupt isn't really an everyday kind of thing, you can catch plenty of red-hot, bubbling, molten lava on the Big Island in Hawaii. There are five active volcanoes there and you can hike right up to 'em at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park . Or, if you'd rather appreciate from afar -- catch a helicopter ride and just pray those puppies don't go off while you're circling overhead.

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Liz Newman is a freelance writer for Thrillist, and was dismayed to discover she had only done exactly 19 things on this list. Tweet her how many you’ve checked off (unless it’s more than her) at @lizn813 .

Travel Blog

13 Unique North America Bucket List Destinations You Need to See!

Are you looking for some amazing North America Bucket List destinations? Then look no further!

North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere, ranging in the North from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea in the south. Due to the massive size of the continent, there is an insane diversity in landscape, culture, and people to discover.

But how to find the most inspiring places to put on your North American bucket list? I have collaborated with some of the best travel bloggers out there to find the best bucket list destinations in the USA and beyond!

Not only have I included fabulous destinations – but also found the most impressive activities and adventures you need to take in North America.

Keep on reading and find out where your next adventure in North America shall take you!

Table of contents

1. grand canyon, 3. lake louise, 4. white sands national park, 5. oaxaca for day of the dead, 6. the big island, hawaii, 7. fall in new england, 8. catalina island, 9. winter in north dakota, 10. grey whales at baja peninsula, 12. yukon, canada, 13. edisto island, south carolina, best national parks in north america, most important monuments in north america, conclusion: north america bucket list.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Read my  disclaimer  for further information.

One of the most iconic landmarks in the United States is the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon should be a destination on everyone’s North America and USA bucket list for 2023. After all, Grand Canyon National Park is a 1.2 million-acre park in Arizona that is home to gorgeous bands of layered red rock that formed throughout millions of years. Grand Canyon is one of many amazing National Parks on the West Coast.

For the best panoramas of the area, visit the  best viewpoints in the Grand Canyon , like Mather Point, Desert View Watchtower, Yavapai Point, and more. If you have the time, I suggest you do the 25-mile Desert View Drive. It begins at Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim and takes you to Navajo Point, Moran Point, and Grandview Point. Plus, if you time it just right you’ll be able to see a stunning sunset from Grandview Point.  Also, the most iconic views along this drive are on the left-hand side. So, take it slow on the way back and set the alarm for well before sunrise to avoid the crowds.  Next, get out there and do one of the many hikes that the park is known for. Some of the best include Bright Angel Point in the North Rim and the Trail of Time in the South Rim.  And if you’re looking for an intense hike, try the South Kaibab Trail or the Rim to Rim Trail which will take you from the South Rim to the North Rim. It’s an intense, 19.3-mile hike that requires advanced backpacking permits and that will take roughly 2 or 3 days to complete. The hike is worth it though since the farther you hike, the lighter the crowds get.  You can also visit the  Grand Canyon in winter  to avoid people and to see the region covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. For a well-priced place to stay in the South Rim, book a simple but comfortable cabin at Bright Angel Lodge. This is an adventure that should be high up on your travel bucket list USA.

Picture of the Grand Canyon overlooking the Canyon, a girl in hiker clothes on top of a cliff.  USA bucket list adventure

2. Colchuck Lake, Washington

Nestled deep in the North Cascade Mountain range in northern Washington, you’ll find the teal alpine Colchuck Lake. Known as the gateway into the ever-popular Enchantments, a hike to Colchuck gives you the chance to experience the magic of this place, without dedicating multiple days to a backpacking trip. This place should be so high up on your North America and USA adventure bucket list.

An 8-mile round-trip hike leads you through the forest, past towering mountain views, and eventually opens up to reveal the incredible lake. Colchuck Lake sits underneath Dragontail Peak, which towers above at nearly 8,900 feet. Keep an open eye for mountain goats, as these magical creatures roam the trails. 

This stunning lake is especially gorgeous as a hike during the fall when the golden larches are beginning to change colors. During the summer months, pack a swimsuit and take a dip into the chilly waters of the lake. Although it’s cold, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Be prepared to see many others along the trail, as this is one of the most popular destinations in the state. You may also see many backpackers, as they head up and over Aasgard Pass into the Enchantments Core Zone. After you’ve visited the lake, head into the small Bavarian village of Leavenworth for some shopping, eating, and a place to rest. Book a stay at the Leavenworth Village Inn to rest your head for the night.

A picture of Colchuck Lake a beautiful mountain lake with green water, big snowy mountains in the background and a beautiful forest USA bucket list adventure

Lake Louise is famous for its turquoise-color water fed by glaciers in the mountains. Every year, this location brings in millions of guests worldwide to visit Alberta, Canada. While the drive up to Alberta can be quite strenuous, there are also fun things to do along the way, like making a stop in Calgary.

Although many people choose to spend a hefty amount to canoe on the lake, I highly recommend that you choose to hike on the trails instead. This hike is a perfect idea for your North America and USA adventure bucket list.

There are several hiking trails available that range from beginners to advance. A popular hike is the Lake Agnes Trail, which is a moderate hike that leads to the Lake Agnes Tea House. On the way, you will surpass Mirror Lake, where you can enjoy the view and take a break. Once you are up at Lake Agnes, you can grab a snack, rest a while and decide if you want to continue to more advanced trails such as the Big Beehive or Plain of Six Glaciers Trail.

I chose to continue on the Big Beehive, which was personally quite challenging for me. It was a total of 10.9 km and the elevation is quite steep in the final 30 minutes – 1 hour. It is also on the side of a cliff so you have breathtaking views (quite literally). Once you reach the top, you have an incredible birds-eye view of the turquoise lake and the Fairmount Lake Louise hotel! In conclusion, the effort was worth it!

big beehive view over lake louise USA bucket list adventure

Located in the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico you can find one of the most magnificent, yet underrated natural wonders of the world – the White Sands National Park. The White Sands National Park should definitely high up your list of USA adventure bucket list destinations.

The glistering white desert in New Mexico is consisting of 275 square miles of gypsum sand. Throughout the year you can join a guided walking tour with a park ranger in a bigger group. The tour is free and the ranger will tell you everything there is to know about the flora, the fauna, and the history of the National Park.

The closest city to the White Sands National Park is Alamogordo. If you are looking for something else to do in the area, make sure to check out Cloudcroft, a cute mountain town. What an amazing adventure bucket list destination in the USA.

Plant at sunset in the White sands national Park in New Mexico USA bucket list adventure

Día de los Muertos in Mexico is a stunning celebration of life that everyone should experience. And Day of the Dead in Oaxaca is one of the most authentic celebrations in the country.  Each year at the beginning of November, Mexicans believe the deceased make a long journey from the underworld to visit. This is such a great destination for your North America bucket list.

Families spend days preparing for their return. They decorate an altar in their home with photographs of their loved ones, their favorite foods and drinks, candles, and flowers. They clean the grave sites of the deceased and adorn them with candles and pungent yellow marigold flowers whose strong smell and bright color are thought to help guide the souls home. 

At night during Day of the Dead, the cemeteries in Oaxaca are awash in a golden hue of candlelight and marigold flowers. Families spend the entire night around the grave sites, singing and telling stories as they welcome the souls of their loved ones. 

To witness this celebration is a profoundly touching experience that should be on everyone’s North America bucket list. While Oaxaca City is a festive place throughout the year, Day of the Dead is one of the most anticipated festivals in Oaxaca . 

If you want to go, you should start planning now as hotels in the city book up quickly. It’s best to arrive at least a few days ahead to soak up the vibes as the city and its residents begin their preparations. For convenience, book a hotel in the center of Oaxaca City so that you can attend the random parades and other festivities.

day of the dead cemetery decorated in oaxaca

The Big Island, Hawaii should be a bucket list destination for the USA in 2023. Not only is it a beautiful tropical island but there are many adventures to be had that can’t be found in most parts of the world.

One excursion that should make it on your USA adventure bucket list is night snorkel with manta rays . Manta rays are gentle giants of the sea (not dangerous like their look-alike stingrays). After sunset, take a short boat out to the open ocean, get in the water with a lit up boogie board, and watch the manta rays swim and dance below you while they feast on plankton. You shouldn’t ever touch the manta rays, but don’t be surprised if one bumps into you!

Another one-of-a-kind experience on the Big Island is to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park . There are few places on earth where you can visit an active volcano. During the day explore a lava tube, steam vents, sulfur banks, various volcanic craters, and a petroglyph field. At night, hike to see glowing lava, if it’s flowing.

Kilauea is an off and on volcano where you can see lava one day and the next it may stop. If it’s “on”, take a short, one-mile hike to the overlook and see hot lava coming out of the ground. The best time to see the lava glow is right before sunrise as it is still dark and there are hardly any crowds. 

These are just a fraction of the exciting adventurous things to do in Hawaii to qualify as a bucket list destination for North America in 2023.

Snorkeling with manta rays in Big island Hawaii

A great idea for your North America bucket list is experiencing fall in new England. If you love fall, you’ll adore these  things to do in New England!  Your route can start from any location, but consider the foliage calendar and car rental locations if you are hiring a car. For ease, this journey will begin in Boston, Massachusetts, where you can walk the Freedom Trail, dine at Quincy Market, and visit the historic Beacon Hill. 

From Boston, you’ll want to stop in Salem to learn about the Witch Trials and see the Hocus Pocus locations. It is spooky season, after all! If you have ample time, take advantage of the Maine coast, stopping at the beaches to sample lobster rolls. If you are limited on time, drive straight to New Hampshire, the more north you go at the start of the leaf-peeping season, the better chance you have of experiencing the colors. 

Fun stops in New Hampshire include the cute towns around Lake Winnipesaukee, and the famous Kancamagus Scenic Byway, which connects Conway and Lincoln and all its fall splendour. Many visitors stay around Conway or Lincoln but consider that hotel prices are at a premium during the fall. If you like to hike, head to Franconia for the (crowded) Artist Bluff or Bald Mountain, which is a little quieter. 

Hop over to Vermont to visit Montpelier and enjoy a creemee from Bragg Farm. Next is the popular Stowe and Mt Mansfield, which you can drive up or take a gondola ride. Other stops worthy of a trip include Burlington for city life, Killington for biking, and Woodstock to see the IG farmhouse. This item must definitely be included in your North America bucket list.

From Vermont, you can drive back to Boston or extend your trip through Western Massachusetts, to Connecticut, and finally to Rhode Island to see the mansions and more fall colors.

This is only one of the many great places to visit in the US on the East Coast.

Fall forest with beautiful colored trees in New England

Santa Catalina Island is one of the most glamorous places to visit in the United States and should be on your list of bucket list destinations USA. It is located in the southwest of Los Angeles, California. You can visit Catalina Island on a day trip as well.

The best time to visit the island is during the summer months but expect it to be crowded and a bit pricey. If you go there during winter, you can visit the same attraction with less crowds and save some money. The weather in winter is slightly cold. A good sweater should do the trick.

My favorite activity is parasailing. It is because you can enjoy the breeze of the ocean while contemplating on Avalon glamorous beauty from above. The Avalon Bay is within distance and contains several beaches that you can take a sunbath or enjoy their ample activities. The Eco Zip-lining tour is one of the hidden gems that Catalina has to offer.

Since Santa Catalina is an island, you can only get to it by sea or air. You can rent a helicopter or book a ticket for a passenger ferry at Los Angeles mainland port. Choices can be an adventure depends on your preference.

You should stay in the best-rated hotel on the island, which is Pavilion Hotel. The price rate range between $160 to $191 per night. It is a bit pricey, but worth every penny. It is located on Crescent Avenue, which is close to Avalon Bay, shopping areas, and restaurants.

Paragliding at Catalina island

Do you need travel insurance in North America? Yes, travel insurance in North America is highly recommended. Unsafe roads, water sports accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy.   EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance  with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.

I admit, Winter in North Dakota with temperatures way below the freezing point sounds scary. However, it was also one of the most magical trips I have taken so far. There are many reasons why North Dakota in winter should be on your USA adventure bucket list for 2023.

One of my favorite things to see in North Dakota in winter is the sun halo. Sun halos, also known as 22 degree halos, are optical phenomenons that occur due to sunlight reflecting in the ice crystals of the snow in the atmosphere. It takes the form of a ring with a radius of roughly 22 degrees.

Another spectacular thing to see in North Dakota are the Northern Lights. Ribbons of green, blue and yellow lights dance across the North Dakota winter night sky. They can best be observed between November and March. Pro tip: try to get at least 20 miles outside of a city to avoid light pollution.

Lastly, I have enjoyed the destination tremendously because it was incredibly serene there. Due to the cold, we stayed inside a lot and enjoyed our hotel spa and the fabulous view of the mountains of snow outside. Also, the sunsets and sunrises are magical. This is definitely an amazing USA adventure bucket list destination.

Sunset in North dakota, pink sky snowy white fields and airplane wing

At the very end of the Baja peninsula, near an unassuming small fishing village is a magical network of lagoons and protected waters known as  Magdalena Bay.  This sheltered space is home to many majestic and migrating pods of sea-creatures throughout the year, but perhaps the most fascinating species to make their base here is the Eastern Pacific Grey Whale.

Despite their rather uninspired name, the Grey Whales that spend their winters along the Baja Peninsula offer one of  the most unique wild animal encounters  humans could possibly have.

Nearly hunted into extinction in the early 20th century, Grey Whales have not only made a population comeback, but have made a name for themselves as the “Friendly Ones”.

Why? Because the Grey Whales love humans! For some unknown reason these gentle giants have an inexplicable curiosity of the top-world, and will approach tour boats to interact with the humans on them. The whales will rub against the boats, present their young, and even reach out their noses for a pet (called “sky hopping”).

This population of the Pacific Grey Whales migrate between the Arctic Ocean and the Baja Peninsula every year, so the best time of year to witness this phenomenon is in the winter when they come to birth their young in the warm, protected waters. February is the peak season to tour, but January and March also offer great opportunities to see the Grey Whales!

This is one of the most unique interactions humans can have with wild creatures, and many people are moved to tears throughout the experience. A visit to the Grey Whales is definitely worth being added to your 2023 North America travel bucket list!

Grey whale petting in Baja Peninsula, two people in a boat and one whale

One of the most beautiful USA bucket list destinations to visit in 2023 is Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is known for its gorgeous red rock buttes, incredible sunsets, energy vortexes and so much more. There are a lot of amazing things to do in Sedona, but one of people’s favorite things to do is experience the beautiful red rocks by getting out in nature and hiking.

One of the best trails to see Sedona in all of its glory is the Airport Loop Trail that is located high above Sedona and gives you great views out over the entire area. Another thing people love to do while in Sedona is  set up camp among the gorgeous red rocks  so you can enjoy them at all times of day.

If you’re not one for camping, there are a ton of wonderful places to stay, like  this incredible Geo Dome  located just outside the city. No matter what, just being in Sedona will make you happy as it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. It should definitely be high up on your adventure destinations bucket list in the USA.

Red mountain range in Sedona, Arizona in the evening with moon on the sky

Northern Lights viewing in the Yukon, Canada:

An ideal location to watch the majestic Aurora Borealis is the Yukon, Canada. Sat below the Arctic circle, it’s a slice of winter wonderland tucked away for you to discover. 90% of the population resides in the city of Whitehorse, so you have the whole of the wilderness to experience.

The Northern Lights are best seen from September to April, and can appear as soon as the sun sets. Watch for the different types, as the ethereal glow shifts from arcs and rays, winding to coronas and back. Stand on the lake as the ice speaks beneath you, the aurora whispering above you, and create a forever memory.

A fantastic place to stay is at Southern Lakes Resort in Tagish. A 1.5 hr drive south of Whitehorse, the final 14 km snow-covered dirt road feels like a northern adventure. Until you arrive at the resort and the road opens up to Tagish Lake and the snow-capped mountains beyond. See their website here .

Watch the light show from your cozy bed, or venture out on to the frozen lake for a thrilling view. The snow seems to dampen noise and it feels serenely quiet here. The mountains loom overhead, and if you’re lucky you could also see a moose or caribou lazily crossing the lake.

Tagish is home to the Carcross Tagish First Nations people, which we acknowledge.

Another great spot to see the Northern Lights is Alaska.

Amazing capture of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis in Yukon, Canada

Dog sledding in the Yukon, Canada:

Nothing says adventure quite like dog sledding! Bundled up in warm clothes as a team of sled dogs pull you through snowy trails; just like how it was done during the Klondike gold rush in the late 1800’s.

The trails in the Yukon can vary from winding paths closed in by pine trees, to crossing huge frozen lakes. These exuberant dogs live for running and once they stop, they are enthusiastic to get going again. Along these trails it’s rare that you will encounter another person, but look out for wildlife. The Yukon is teeming with moose, caribou, elk, bears and wolves.

There are a whole host of dog sledding teams in the Yukon. One to consider are Tagish Lake Kennel Tours, run by the legendary Michelle Phillips and Ed Hopkins. They are veteran Yukon Quest and Iditarod long-distance mushers and have a wealth of knowledge, which shows in their dog team.

A second choice is Gypsy Kennel Adventures , run by Nathalie Claing. A strong woman who has made the Yukon her home and leading her dog team to new heights! Passionate about her vocation, her young dogs are bursting with energy and raring to show you this snowy wilderness.

Dog sledding is an adventure of a lifetime. You will discover an appreciation for the frosty north that will stay with you forever.  

Dogs with Sleigh in Yukon, Canada

Edisto Island i n South Carolina is located just off the coast of Charleston and offers visitors a true escape from everyday life. The island is a beautiful little island on the Atlantic Sea in South Carolina. The majority of the island is a part of Charleston county. The island is a great day trip destination with its sandy beaches and marshlands.

It’s a one-hour drive from downtown Charleston. The island has great historical significance as it was once home to wide plantation areas and enslaved people. It became largely abandoned in the aftermath of the Civil War. Later, in the twentieth century, it was reconstructed as a tourist destination while paying respect to the original inhabitants and their heroic sacrifices. The main plantations have been reformed into a wildlife area known as Botany Bay.

Botany Bay encompasses an area of 4,000 acres of greenery. Drive on Highway 174 National Scenic Byway to witness other historically important landmarks such as Windsor Plantation, some churches with beautiful architecture and the Edisto Island Museum. The museum is mainly based on the history of the natives and accounts of the Civil War.

Enjoy your leisure time on the three-mile-long sandy beach. Have a small picnic on the picnic tables under the shades of palm and oak trees. Loggerhead turtles are sometimes seen on the beach during sunset in summer.

The salt marsh area has seven trails interlacing each other. You can walk or ride your bike through these. Fishing and boating are also allowed here on bringing your gear.

Club Wyndham Ocean Ridge, Edisto Vacay, and Change in Attitude Beach Cottage is the best option to stay in Edisto Island, Carolina.

north america travel bucket list

If you are a nature enthusiast like me, you will love visiting some National Parks while you are in North America. Here is my list of my favorite National Parks in North America that need to be on your USA Bucket List:

  • Yellowstone National Park (United States)
  • Banff National Park (Canada)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (United States)
  • Yosemite National Park (United States)
  • Glacier National Park (United States)
  • Jasper National Park (Canada)
  • Mesa Verde National Park (United States)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (United States)
  • Zion National Park (United States)
  • Acadia National Park (United States)
  • Grand Teton National Park (United States)
  • Olympic National Park (United States)
  • Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada)
  • Everglades National Park (United States)
  • Shenandoah National Park (United States)
  • Gros Morne National Park (Canada)
  • Volcanoes National Park
  • Redwood National Park

If you are not such a big fan of hiking and National Parks, you might find visiting some important monuments in America much more fun. Many bucket list items are in New York City , but there is so much more to see on the continent.

Here are some of the most important monuments in America that definitely need to be on your North America Bucket List:

  • Statue of Liberty (New York City, United States)
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota, United States)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (California, United States)
  • Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania, United States)
  • Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)
  • Lincoln Memorial (Washington, D.C., United States)
  • National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C., United States)
  • CN Tower (Toronto, Canada – located in the Americas)
  • Gateway Arch (Missouri, United States)
  • Mayan Ruins of Tulum (Quintana Roo, Mexico)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (New York, United States)
  • Castillo de San Marcos (Florida, United States)
  • St. Louis Cathedral (Louisiana, United States)
  • Casa Loma (Toronto, Canada – located in the Americas)
  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Liberty Bell
  • Times Square (New York City)

In this post, you learned about my favorite North American Bucket List Destinations. From stunning National Parks like White Sands in New Mexico to Banff National Park to fun celebrations of the Day of the Dead. There is something to see for everyone in North America.

See the fabulous Santa Monica Pier or the Northern Lights in Canada – there are so many adventures waiting for you. Of course Clearwater Beach in Florida needs to be on your bucket list as well.

Not sure if Northern America is the right place for you? If you crave a bit more heat, why not check out the most fabulous destinations in the Caribbean or in Europe?

30 Best Bucket List Trips For Your Lifetime!

  • North Island New Zealand Itinerary 5 Days: Discover Hidden Gems
  • 10 Best Things to Do at White Sands National Park
  • 35 Most Instagrammable Cafes in London 2023 (With Map)
  • Ultimate Europe Travel Bucket List for 2023

North America Bucket list 2023 pin with collage of pictures of America

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.

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65+ Best Travel Bucket List Destinations in the US & Beyond

Updated 06/6/2022 Published 11/27/2019

Klaudia Krystyna

Klaudia Krystyna

Contributing writer

Got the travel bug? Learn how to build the perfect travel bucket list with destinations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure .

Whether you’ve caught the wanderlust bug permanently, are daydreaming about life outside of the office, or need inspiration for your next trip, we’ve come up with a guide that covers a big chunk of the beauty planet earth has to offer. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Travel bucket list destinations in the u.s., travel bucket list destinations in europe, travel bucket list destinations in asia, travel bucket list destinations in africa, travel bucket list destinations in south america, travel bucket list destinations in north america (non-us), travel bucket list destinations in oceania.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” What are you waiting for? Leave a trail on these 65 unique and adventurous bucket list destinations.

Share your final wishes, just in case.

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If you don’t want to stray too far from home, there are incredible destinations right in your backyard. From colorful reefs to sweeping views, these U.S. destinations deserve a spot on your bucket list . 

1. See where angels land at Zion National Park in Utah

Visit beautiful sandstone cliffs in shades of pink, red, and orange at the first national park in Utah. If you’re brave enough, you can climb Angel’s landing. Chain cables are the only thing stopping hikers from falling off this 1,488-foot cliff. Surprisingly, this is one of the most underrated hiking destinations in the US.

2. Visit waterfalls at Yosemite National Park in California

Home to the largest waterfall in North America, this popular park won’t disappoint you. There’s plenty to do for both the occasional outdoorsman and avid hiker. You can access Yosemite Valley by car to see the most famous cliffs and waterfalls in the park. If you’re feeling brave, hike the Half Dome 5,000 feet above the valley.

3. Take a picture at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan

This national park is an all-season destination. You can ski, hike, canoe, or camp at these 42-mile-long rock formations. Explore rock arches and sea caves, or watch boats pass at the many lighthouses on the shore of Lake Superior.

4. Jazz up your next vacation with a visit to Chicago

Home to the best deep-dish pizza, a vibrant music scene, and astounding architecture, the city of Chicago is sure to please any city dweller. For an adrenaline rush, You can see four U.S. states (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan) from the deck of the 110-story Willis Tower. Take in spectacular skyline views at Northerly Island park afterward.

5. Sail to the Statue of Liberty 

Standing on Liberty Island, the 305-foot statue is a symbol of American freedom, and nearly 3.5 million bask in her glory every year. After you ferry from New York City to the island, step into the past at the Statue of Liberty Museum. Immerse yourself at a walkthrough theatre and see first hand how lady liberty was made.

6. Hike your way to the Nā Pali Coast in Hawaii

The rugged coastline of these spectacular sea cliffs is only accessible by an 11-mile hike, boat, or helicopter ride. You can snorkel with sea turtles, explore caves, and greet dolphins in the secluded wilderness park. The producers of Jurassic Park (and Jurassic World) didn’t underestimate the beauty of this park when they choose to film here. 

7. Savor Southern hospitality in Savannah, Georgia

Dive into history in one of the most haunted cities in America. Savannah was a port city during the American Civil War and still exhibits an old-world charm. Walk along the cobblestone streets or take a horse-drawn carriage ride. This is a piece of American history you want to check off the bucket list.

8. Snorkel in the Keys

Witness an underwater world in the Florida Keys. After you lay on Miami's famous beaches, drive 15 miles south to North America's only coral reef.

9. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge 

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic landmark known around the world. The signature orange bridge connects San Francisco to neighboring Marin County, California. It’s only a two-mile bike across the bridge to the bay town of Sausalito where you can enjoy a sunset dinner and take the ferry back to the city. 

10. Drive in the desert 

America’s darling — the enormous Grand Canyon in the desert of Arizona is one of seven wonders of the world. Take in the sunset hues of the canyon with a 25-mile scenic drive or hike from the bottom 5,000 feet up to truly experience its immense size. 

If you’re looking to cross the Atlantic, Europe will keep your bucket list busy. Check out our guide on how to store your wishes and make a bucket list before you go.

Even though it’s the second smallest continent, Europe has two times the population of the United States. The architectural wonders below are just a slice of the incredible history and rich culture you’ll experience there.

11. Visit Russia’s culture capital 

Saint Petersburg, Russia, is home to the Hermitage Museum, which boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world. The city offers a mix of beautiful palaces, cathedrals, and sprawling waterfront views.

12. Travel to Medieval Europe in Kotor 

This UNESCO world site (one of over four hundred in Europe) in Montenegro dates back to the middle ages when Kotor was an artistic and commercial hub. Visit the medieval fortress of Saint Ivan or walk along the city walls. 

13. Take a tour of Dracula’s castle in Romania

High above the village of Bran sits a gothic fortress rumored to be Dracula’s castle. Make sure to pack some garlic in case you encounter Dracula under one of the many secret passageways in the castle. 

14. Soak your worries away in Hungary

If you’re feeling jet-lagged, then a luxurious bath in one of Hungary’s 1300 thermal spas may be the cure. Let the medicinal properties of these mineral-rich waters melt your worries away.

15. Get lost in a Croatian forest

Known for its lakes, waterfalls, and wooden boardwalks, Plitvice Lake National Park is a magical getaway in the Balkans. Snap a picture of one of the 16 lakes as they turn different shades of blue, green, and turquoise throughout the day. 

16. Visit a magical island in France

Mont-Saint-Michel is an isolated medieval monastery. This architectural marvel used to be a holy site, but now millions of tourists visit each year. As you reach the island by a narrow bridge, you will see the 302-foot spires of the abbey soar towards the heavens. It makes for an unforgettable sight. 

17. Boat through a Blue Grotto in Italy

The Blue Grotto in Capri is an island sea cave , and when sunlight strikes the cave at just the right angle, it illuminates the waters in the cave a turquoise blue. Picture yourself on a romantic Italian gondola as you boat through the peaceful blue waters of this magical marvel. 

18. Take in a breathtaking view in Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets. The jagged rocks and ethereal moss that cover the canyon will make you feel like you’re in another world.

19. Ride a cable car up a Swiss mountain 

For an unforgettable experience, you can hike up two miles or take a cable car up the Monte San Salvatore mountain in Switzerland. This spectacular vista point offers sweeping views of the Alps and charming town of Lugano.

20. Climb the Eiffel Tower in Paris

No bucket list is complete without a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Did you know it’s possible to climb to the top? One thousand six hundred sixty-five steps to be exact.

If you're looking for inspiration, read our guide on the best adventure bucket list ideas .

With its colorful culture, unique cuisine, and magnificent views—the continent of Asia tops any bucket list. From edible insects to multicolored landscapes and nature walks with monkeys, we’ve compiled an action-packed list of adventures you’ll never forget. 

21. Care for elephants in Thailand

Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand is a conservation project for the endangered Asian elephant. Go on a jungle walk or give these majestic animals a moisturizing mud bath. You can even play with them in their very own custom-built swimming pools!

22. Pay a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal

One of the seven wonders in the world and a tribute to love. An Indian emperor built this incredible marble mausoleum for his wife that died in childbirth. We recommend skipping sleep (and the crowds) by coming at sunrise, where you’ll see the smooth white marble turn a magical pink hue. 

23. Cruise through Hạ Long Bay

This dreamy seascape is a UNESCO world heritage site in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. Admire the jagged limestone formations as you sail through turquoise waters on a traditional wooden junk boat. 

24. Walk on glass in Shanghai, China

The Oriental Pearl Tower is the gem of Shanghai’s skyline. With a revolving restaurant, sightseeing deck, and glass floor overlooking the cityscape—this is an adrenaline-rushing addition to your bucket list. 

25. See a sea of stars 

The Maldives is a chain of islands nestled among sandbars and lagoons. Gaze over the Indian Ocean to see millions of plankton light up, causing a star-like effect over the waters. 

26. Fly in a hot air balloon

Cappadocia, Turkey, is a magical landscape of cliffs, mountains, and river valleys. Experience the stunning Turkish sunrise in flight as you ride a balloon over one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

27. Discover Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur

Take in the historic temples, sample local cuisine, or see wild monkeys at the local park. The capital city of Malaysia has no shortage of bucket worthy attractions.

28. Receive blessings in Bali 

The most famous island in Indonesia has enchanting villas, tree houses, green terraces, and tropical beaches. Spiritual Bali Hinduism is central to the island, and you can receive blessings from a high priest in a magical one-of-a-kind Balinese experience.

29. Visit rainbow-colored mountains in China

Thousands of years of rain and wind formed layers of different colored sandstone to make China’s Danxia landforms. Also called “rainbow mountains,” this multi-colored landscape range is a unique addition to your bucket list. 

30. Smell the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan

Thousands of cherry blossom trees in Japan bloom in spectacular shades of pink, white, and red all throughout spring. Stroll or boat through Tokyo’s famous lush gardens as you enjoy the blizzard of pink petals and the seemingly unending picnics. 

When thinking of African travels, safaris might come to mind. With a rich history and incredible climate, Africa offers much more than that. If you aren’t familiar with the 54 African countries here’s a bucket list to get you ready for your next African adventure. 

31. Stroll around Morocco’s most vibrant market 

Marrakech is a North African hub of Arabic culture. Whether you’re visiting a mosque, adventuring in the desert, or shopping around in the medina, also known as Jemaa el-Fna, this is a must-see spot on your bucket list!

32. Ride a camel 

The pyramids of Giza in Egypt are the last remaining ancient wonder of the world. Take a half or full-day tour on your very own camel while you admire the incredible views.  

33. Explore history in Cairo

The sprawling metropolis of Cairo is the largest in Africa. Visit the Egyptian museum to see mummified monkeys or shop at the exotic, open-space Khan el-Khalili bazaar. You won’t be disappointed. 

34. Take a helicopter ride over Cape Town 

The best way to view the majestic landscape of Cape Town or the “Mother City” in South Africa is by helicopter. Bathe in glistening waters or take a day hike in the mountains and experience the joys of Cape Town. 

35. Play with lemurs in Madagascar

Lemurs are found virtually everywhere in Madagascar — an island country off the coast of East Africa. These adorable little creatures love bananas and that’s what you can hand feed them on Lemur Island, a reserve in Andasibe National Park. 

36. See a “moonbow” at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe 

This massive waterfall is famous for being the largest in the world. It’s best to visit in the evening during a full moon where you can see a unique moonbow — a night-time rainbow. 

37. Camp in a safari tent at Amboseli National Park in Kenya 

Instead of the typical safari jeep outing, why not camp in the wild brush instead? Amboseli Bush Camp is in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, right on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, and can be an incredible adventure off the beaten path. 

38. Discover a volcanic giant in Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa and a world UNESCO site. If you’re an experienced hiker, make a plan to climb its snowy peaks or opt for a magical hike in the mountain forest surrounding it instead.

39. Scuba dive in the Seychelles

It’s easy to forget that this archipelago of 115 islands is part of Africa. The islands are a diver’s paradise with all types of marine life living in the turquoise Indian Ocean. 

40. Sample a taste of Africa 

One of the best places to try new food is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Try injera — traditional sourdough flatbread — or legume stew and raw beef, to broaden your palate. Is it an adventure if you don’t try the local fare?

Tip : Read our guide on the best food bucket list ideas for some more tasty travel inspiration.

41. Cruise in a Keke in Lagos, Nigeria

Locals and tourists in Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, cruise down the streets in rickshaws or “Kekes.” Take your very own Keke for a spin on Lagos’ sandy beaches. 

If you’re looking for an adventure closer to home, then check South America off your bucket list. Whether you have time to backpack across the colorful landscapes or have time for one visit, the rich culture (and affordability!) of these countries won’t disappoint. 

41. Journey to Machu Picchu 

Machu Picchu is an archeological gem tucked away in the Andes Mountains. You can reach the top of this spectacular mountain citadel by train or walk in the steps of the Incan tribe via hike. 

42. Take a four-day hike in Chile 

The Torres del Paine National Park is the place to reconnect, reflect, and rejuvenate. See the iconic mountain towers and glaciers as you trek on the “W circuit,” a once-in-a-lifetime backpacking adventure you’ll never forget. 

43. Sandboard in nature’s oasis 

Drive five hours south of Lima, Peru and in the middle of the desert, you’ll reach Huacachina — a dreamy oasis in a sea of sand. Bring out your inner child and slide into the dunes, face-first, on a sandboard!

44. See Christ in Rio 

Christ the Redeemer is a marvel of Brazilliian and French engineering. This iconic statue is a symbol of Christianity around the world (and for more about Christianity, check out our guide on Christian funerals ). The best way to cross this wonder off your bucket list is by a train ride to the top.  

45. Wonder at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina

Approach this natural wonder of the world from either Brazil or Argentina. The raised walkways are retractable and make for a breathtaking one-of-a-kind experience. 

46. Visit a volcano 

As you fly into Ecuador’s capital, Quito, you’ll notice a snow-capped cone shape that’s part of the everyday landscape, Pichincha Volcano. If you’re feeling brave, climb to one of the top peaks of this active volcano; for a tamer, experience visit the wild horses at the base of the park.

47. Sample seafood in Cartagena 

Cartagena is known for its beautiful beaches and charming old city center, but if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path, you’ll find the best seafood fare in Colombia. Fifteen minutes from Cartagena’s city center is Bazurto, a bustling seafood market, with the best locally caught seafood in Colombia. 

48. Learn to Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you’re looking for a sweet adventure with your partner, the vibrant capital city (and the birthplace of tango) has you covered. Put your dance skills to the test at a tango dance club, also known as a milonga , or sip wine, eat traditional empanadas, and watch a tango show. 

49. Enjoy a wine tasting in Santiago, Chile

Chile’s seaside climate and unique landforms are the perfect mixes to produce some of the world’s most delicious wine. Travel outside of the city and experience breathtaking views of valleys and mountains in wine country. Also, enjoy some locally produced bubbly on a downtown wine tour. 

50. Get lost in the jungle 

For a unique jungle adventure travel to Bolivia’s Amboró National Park — a hidden gem that receives few tourists. The best way to experience the Amazon rainforest is with a multi-day tour.  You might see spider-monkey, pumas, or even a jaguar! 

If you’re looking for even more chances to tick off your bucket list you don’t have to go far. Our list is a mashup of Candian and Central American experiences (including hidden gems!) that is sure to quench your thirst for adventure on this side of the Atlantic. 

51. Explore Mayan ruins in Tikal, Guatemala

Visit mysterious Mayan ruins at this untouched world UNESCO site. It’s rumored to have been the largest city in the Mayan empire. As you walk through the rubble of temples and palaces you’ll feel transported back in time. 

52. Walk on a suspension bridge in Vancouver, Canada 

High above the West Coast rainforest, the 450-foot swaying Capilano suspension bridge is a thrill-seekers dream. It’s the go-to experience to get your adrenaline rushing. 

53. Discover the Canadian Rockies at Banff National Park 

Canada’s flagship national park in Alberta isn’t a destination you want to miss. If hiking isn’t your thing then walk along the river, watch wildlife, or ride a gondola up the ethereal Rocky Mountain peaks. 

54. Walk in the clouds in Costa Rica

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a magical destination for local flora and fauna. Walk over a hanging bridge, bird-watch, find sloths, and chase waterfalls all while feeling like you’re in a cloud. 

55. Visit a Mayan village in Guatemala 

Nestled between mountains and volcanoes in Guatemala's western highlands is Lake Atitlán. Walk around the city and you’ll find locals in traditional Mayan garb or venture to the sacred caves to immerse yourself in a fire ceremony.

56. View the Salvadoran coast

The best way to view El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua is on top of a volcano. The Volcán de Conchagua in El Salvador is a bucket list find not to be underestimated. The volcano features a spectacular panoramic point that will take your breath away.

57. Take a free walking tour 

León, Nicaragua is the understated capital of culture and politics in Nicaragua. As you walk past the churches, monuments, and murals, marvel at the colonial architecture in one of the oldest cities in Central America. 

58. Step into history in Panama

Old meets modern in the buzzing metropolis that is Panama City. Casco Viejo, the ancient heart or “old quarter” of Panama, has a vibrant nightlife, charming streets, and palaces for you to enjoy.

59. Relax in Tulum, Mexico

If you’re tired from too many bucket list adventures, then grab a hammock, a good book, and head to Tulum. Known for its yoga retreats, green juices, and eco-resorts — It’s the perfect sunny destination on the Carribean coastline.

60. Montréal, Canada

A two-hour flight from New York is the French-Canadian island Montréal. Enjoy the colonial architecture and local cuisine (poutine anyone?) It’s a bucket list adventure that’s only a hop, skip, and jump away from home!

Adding Oceania to this bucket list will only make it harder for you to decide your first destination! The smallest continent in the world is mighty with adventures and here are the must-dos. 

61. Hike a fiord in New Zealand

The rugged beauty of the Milford Sound (sea cliffs formed by glaciers) is incredible. Despite its name, it is actually a fiord located within Fiordland National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage site. At Milford Sound, you can hike to your heart’s content! 

62. Swim with sea life in French Polynesia 

From Tahiti, swim on a high-speed ferry to the remote island of Mo’orea. As the locals say: La vie heureuse , happy life, and it truly is when you’re swimming in the most beautiful coral reef in French Polynesia. 

63. Let glowworms light your way in New Zealand

Glowworms line the walls and ceilings of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to give the illusion of stars or pearls. This fairy-tale experience is high on any bucket list as people travel from around the world to see these tiny otherworldly creatures.

64. See a show at the Sydney Opera House

The iconic shell structure is the hallmark of Australia's capital, Sydney. Take in a show or tour and then have dinner at a seaside restaurant. This bucket-list destination is Oceania’s jewel.  

65. Relax in Cairns, Australia

Cairns is a tropical city with plenty of indigenous history, local markets, and sandy beaches. It’s a relaxing getaway as you near the end of your bucket list journey. 

Live in the Present, Plan for the Future   

The best way to enjoy the present moment is when you’ve planned for the future. Before you begin this bucket list, start your end-of-life-planning .

You can also check out this handy list of advance directive forms (medical decisions in case something happens to you) before boarding your next flight. It’s always a good idea to plan your medical care and death wishes before leaving the country.

Cake has your end-of-life planning needs covered so that you can fully get lost in your next bucket list adventure. Bon voyage and happy planning! 

If you're looking for more items to add to your bucket list, read our guide on the most beautiful places to see before you die .

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. www.en.unesco.org
  • National Park Service. www.nps.gov/index.htm


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General Travel Bucket List Ideas

Travel bucket list ideas for europe.

Heading to Europe and wondering what to do? These are some quintessential travel ideas to add to your European travel bucket list.

P.S. Check off Europe travel bucket list adventures as you do them with my printable and digital European bucket list. Shop Etsy here .

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Give The Gift Of Travel!!

Surprise your loved one with the gift of travel with my printable Vintage Travel Voucher.

Have An Espresso In Italy

An espresso at home is not the same as having an espresso at an Italian cafe… in Italy. There it’s all about a quick caffeine boost, you don’t even need to sit down. Have an espresso shot at the bar, and then get back right to your day!

Visit Ancient Roman Ruins In Rome

Get transported back in time in the middle of Rome at the Roman Colosseum – the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world. Plus don’t forget to tour the Roman Forum while you’re there!


Go Wine Tasting In Tuscany

Wine tasting in the Tuscan mountains, while watching the sunset… can it get more dreamy than that!?

Toss A Coin & Make A Wish In The Trevi Fountain In Rome

Tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain is tradition after all, and you must do it properly. The theory goes that if you turn your back to the Trevi Fountain and toss a coin in above your head, you will one day return to Rome!


Get Serenaded On A Gondola Ride In Venice

I’ll admit, it’s definitely a bit of a tourists trap – and an overpriced one at that, but you definitely can’t experience being serenaded like this anywhere else!

Rent A Scooter On The Amalfi Coast

Visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy should be a travel bucket list item on its own, but once you’re there, make the most of an iconic Italian experience by renting a scooter to drive through the winding road!

Try To Push The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Back Up!

There’s not much else in Pisa, Italy, other than that simple bell tower. Although it’s adjacent to a grand Cathedral, that 4 degree lean is what made taking a photo trying to push it back up a top travel bucket list item!


See The Tulips In Bloom In The Netherlands

The Netherlands are known for the beautiful tulip season in the Spring. See all the bright colourful fields in full bloom!

Bike Around Amsterdam

Biking and the Netherlands go hand it hand. So feel like a local by biking through the streets of Amsterdam. We biked to the windmills just outside of the city and had a wonderful half day adventure… read more about it here .


Enjoy Afternoon Tea At Fortnum and Mason In London

The Brits are the kings and queens of afternoon tea. A quintessential spot for tea in London is Fortnum and Mason. They are among the leaders in the art of English tea and offer two spots to enjoy this tradition. Find out more here .

Hear Big Ben Ring In London

Big Ben is not the tower in London, but rather the bell inside the clock tower attached to the Palace of Westminster. It chimes every hour on the hour and if you’re in London, you have to go hear his chimes!

See The Changing Of The Guard At Buckingham Palace

The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is a ceremonial parade of when the guards change… literally. It’s when one group goes off duty and welcomes in the next. It’s a parade down the Mall in London and becomes quite the spectacle.


Ride A Double Decker Bus In London

You’ve seen it in TV shows and movies, so add riding a double decker bus in London to your travel bucket list!

Ponder At Stonehenge At Sunset

Stonehenge is prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire – and there’s really not much else in the area.

But it’s still a travel bucket list item to see at least once. We still don’t know why it was built, so maybe you can figure it out while you’re there! Watching the sunset between the rock structures is a true sight!

Have A Baguette In Paris

France is all about the fresh bakeries and there’s nothing more French than a Baguette. Pick up a fresh baguette and bring it to have a picnic in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower!


Add A Lock To Love Lock Bridge In Paris

Lock your love on the original love lock bridge in Paris, The Pont des Arts. Just remember that it isn’t actually forever, they cut all of them off every few months otherwise the bridge will collapse under the weight of so many locks.

But it’s a fun travel bucket list idea to do with that special someone in your life!

Smile Back At The Mona Lisa In Paris

The Mona Lisa is a classic painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and a real travel bucket list item to see it in person.

It is on public display at the Louvre in Paris.

See A Fashion Show In Paris (Or Milan)

Why not head to one of the fashion capitals of the world (Paris, or even Milan) and see a fashion show!? It doesn’t have to be a fancy show either, they have smaller shows that are still just as much an experience to see.

In Paris, a popular fashion show to see is at Galerie Lafayette – check it out here .


Have a Glass Of Champagne… In Champagne!

Having a glass of Champagne in Champagne, c’mon, does it get any better than that!?

Relax On The Beach On The Côte D’Azur

The Côte D’Azur in the South of France is the epitome of a summer beach vacation in Europe. Hit up one of the main beaches in Cannes or Nice. Or head to a smaller more hidden gem like Ezes or Menton.

Walk Through Lavender Fields In Provence

Provence in the South of France is all about the lavender fields. Don’t forget to pick up some dried lavender to bring back home while you’re there!

Book a tour to the lavender fields on Viator here .

nice-views-one-day-cote-dazur day-trips-aix

Sleep In A Glass Igloo In Finland

How many people can say they slept under the stars in the arctic and didn’t freeze!? Well, make it happen in a glass igloo in Finland for a memory of a lifetime! Maybe you’ll even get a chance to see the northern lights when you’re here too! Book your glass igloo at Kakslauttanen here .

See The Northern Lights In Tromso, Norway

Seeing the Northern Lights are on everyone’s travel bucket list – so why not see them in one of the best places, in Tromso Norway!? Tromso is the heart of the aurora zone in the Norwegian Arctic, which makes it an ideal place to see them!

Enjoy A Quadruple Beer In Belgium

Belgian Beer opened my eyes to a world where beer doesn’t all taste like cleaning product or bubbly urine (not that I know what that tastes like!).

So a fun travel bucket list idea is to try beer in Belgium, and maybe even a quadruple beer! Let’s just say a quadruple beer is uniquely Belgian, and they don’t have a lot of guidelines as to what qualifies as a quadruple. The only hard rule is that it has to be above 10% in alcohol…


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Belgian Beer Guide: Why Is It The Best Beer In The World?


Try A Deep Fried Mars Bar In Edinburgh

Sure you’ll want to try Haggis in Scotland, but as it turns out, Haggis isn’t originally from Scotland . So instead, scout out a deep-fried Mars bar, which actually DID originate in Scotland!

It might not be on the menu, but you should be able to find it at most fish and chip shops… all you have to do is ask!


Top 10 Edinburgh Hidden Gems You Won’t Want Miss

See The Hairy Cows of Scotland 

Highland cows were bred specifically to endure the harsh climate of the Scottish Highlands. They are built to last, with strong horns and absolutely beautiful long hair, hence where they got their nickname … the hairy coo!

Needless to say, they’ve become somewhat of a mascot for Scotland over the years. There are a few places to spot them in Scotland, and some can even be reached easily from Edinburgh… check out where in my posts here .


Drink Scotch In The Scottish Highlands

Is there anything more classic than drinking Scotch IN THE Scottish Highlands!? There are a few distilleries in the Scottish Highlands that you can visit, like Dalwhinnie , to try some Scotch whisky while you’re there.

Try To Find Nessie At Loch Ness (In The Scottish Highlands)

Everyone knows the story of the Loch Ness monster, right?

Well the Scotts have nicknamed her Nessie, and loch is Gaelic for lake. So, there’s only logical thing to do here… take a boat over Loch Ness in search of the infamous monster!


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sunset over loch ness vibrant purples and yellows

Sleep In An Ice Hotel In Sweden

Why stay in a regular hotel with heating when you can bundle up for the night and stay in an ice hotel!? The IceHotel in Sweden is the original hotel from 1989. Of course, every year they have to rebuild it every winter. Book your stay here .

P.S. You can also stay in an ice hotel in Quebec City, Canada

Eat Paella In Spain

There’s nothing like eating Paella in Spain! If you want to really honour the dish, try it in Valencia for a truly authentic taste.

A traditional Paella is actually made with chicken and or rabbit as the main protein. Seafood was only added to the mix later! A fun way to try it is at a market when you see them making it in a GIANT skillet.

Enjoy Pintxos in San Sebastián

Pintxos (or Pinchos) are small finger foods that are traditionally from Northern Spain – or the Basque Country. So go back to where you can find the best Pintxos in San Sebastián.


See a Castell (Human Tower) In Barcelona

A tradition in Catalonia is to build the tallest human tower (a Castell) at festivals. And yes, people are actually standing on top of each other. To cap it off, a child climbs all the way to the top!

You might get lucky and see teams practicing in the streets of Barcelona, or if you’re visiting during one of the many festivals throughout the year.

Learn Flamenco Dancing In Andalusia

Flamenco dancing is a solo dance of expression that originated in Southern Spain in Andalusia. See a traditional flamenco show, but also why not take part and try to learn some of the moves yourself!?


Hike Through Swiss Alps

The Swiss Alps are something to be admired from afar, but why not also hike through the mountains to visit the small mountain towns, grab a beer, or take photos.

You should also add climbing to the top of the tallest of all the mountains, Mont Blanc, to your travel bucket list!

Relax At A Thermal Bath In Budapest

Budapest is all about the thermal baths. There are no shortage of thermal baths to choose from in Budapest, but the traditional one is the Szechenyi baths, which is over 100 years old!


Relax at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

A classic travel bucket list experience in Europe is to relax at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Of course, we all know it’s touristy, and man made but it’s still a geothermal heated pool in the lava rocks – which is pretty cool!

Check out the Blue Lagoon here . Or you can opt for a more traditional spa experience in Iceland at the Sky Lagoon here .


The Sky Lagoon Vs Blue Lagoon: Which Is Better For You?

See A Geyser Explode In Iceland

Geyser’s are rare underground hot springs that explode with boiling hot water and steam. It’s no surprise that Iceland is filled with these wonders.

And they have what people call The Great Geysir , one of the first and largest ones ever discovered! And where we got the name from. It’s truly an experience to watch it erupt… although you migth be waiting a while since it hasnt exploded since 1980!

You can see it’s little brother explode next to it called Strokkur – that one errupts every 4-10 minutes!


Drive The Ring Road In Iceland

The Ring Road in Iceland takes you all the way around the country. Though the drive itself is only 17 hours, if you want enough time to stop and enjoy all the popular sights, you’ll need a good ten days to two weeks – but it’s worth it!

See A Peacock In Lokrum, Croatia

It turns out, there’s an entire island of Peacocks in Croatia. Take a boat to the island and then just wait to see your first peacock of many!


Chug A Beer At Oktoberfest In Munich

Oktoberfest is probably one of the most famous festivals, and actually is the largest Volksfest (a type of German festival), in the world!

It’s chaotic, and probably the most expensive time to visit Germany, but it’s just one of those experiences that every traveler needs to do at least once – so add it to your travel bucket list!


Europe Bucket List!

Don’t miss a quintessential European experience with a digital European Bucket List! Shop on Etsy !

Visit Cologne During Carnival

After visiting Cologne ( and falling absolutely in love !), all I want to do is to visit again during Cologne Carnival. Carnival is their centuries old festival that literally dates back to the Middle Ages. Of course, it’s changed over the centuries, but it’s still a celebration at its core.

Carnival a week long party where people dress up every February and ends with a parade on Ash Wednesday. Don’t forget to cheer “Kölle Alaaf” (Cologne is Everything!) while you’re there to fit in!


See Dracula’s Castle At Bran Castle In Transylvania

Although Dracula is very much a fictional character created by Bram Stoker (from Britain), there are some striking similarities to Bran Castle in Transylvania. Add a visit to Dracula’s Castle to your travel bucket list to discover some spooky historical realities!

Watch The Sunset In Santorini, Greece

An ultimate bucket list travels is to go to Santorini, Greece and watch the sunset. Just take a moment to appreciate the picture perfect view .

Go Island Hopping In Greece

Greece is compromised of the mainland, Greece (Athens), but it’s also made up of over 200 Cycladic Islands . Santorini and Mykonos are among the most popular to visit. Add it to your travel bucket list to take a ferry (or plane) to the different islands in Greece!


Spend St. Patty’s Day In Dublin, Ireland

St. Patty’s day is celebrated worldwide, but make it really special one year and celebrate it where it all started – Dublin, Ireland. Party all night long and seeing the River Liffey turn are just part of the celebrations!

Kiss The Blarney Stone In Ireland For The “Gift Of The Gab”

Its tradition to climb up to the top of Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. But! You can’t just bend down and kiss it!

You must first wait in a long line, and when it’s finally your turn, you must lie on your back, and then, and only then, may you kiss the Blarney Stone. Now you have been gifted the gab (to speak with eloquence and persuasion!).


Try Guinness In Ireland

These days, you can get Guinness worldwide. But the Guinness in Ireland is not the same as Guinness you’ve had anywhere else. You can actually get it on tap there, and there’s no better place to try it than at the Gravity Bar with a view!


Dublin Ireland: A Complete Guide For What To Eat, See & Do

Walk On The Giants Causeway In Ireland

The Giants Causeway in Ireland is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s about 40, 000 basalt pillars jutting out from the coastline that you can walk on.

Giants-causeway-dublin-irealnd- travel ideas

Sip Port In Portugal With Dessert

Port is Portugal’s fortified red wine that is often paired with dessert. Fortified wine is when a distilled spirit is added to wine. For Port, it is typically Brandy that’s added. It’s a must to try Port in it’s place of origin, Porto!

Ride A Cable Car In Lisbon, Portugal

If you’ve seen any images of Lisbon, then you know about those iconic yellow cable cars climbing up the hilly city roads. And that’s why you need to add this experience to your travel bucket list. You need the picture, and the experience of riding the traditional cable car in Portugal!

Attend An Opera At The Vienna Operahouse

You have to add going to an opera at the Vienna Operahouse (Wiener Staatsoper) to your travel bucket list, stat!

Even if you aren’t a fan of opera or classic music, this is the only place in the world where you need to listen to it – and the best way to do that is to experience standing at the opera house in Vienna so you don’t even have to break the bank for tickets!


Top 10 Tips For Planning The Best Trip To Vienna


Jump Off Mostar Bridge In Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar Bridge (also known as Stari Most) is the Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. This bridge was actually rebuilt in 2004 based on the 16th Century Ottoman bridge that was destroyed in the Croat-Bosniak war in 1993.

Jumping off the bridge is actually a century old tradition from when the original bridge stood there. Dating back to 1664, 16-year old boys would jump off as a rite of passage.

A travel bucket list item is to actually become an official member of the Mostar Dive Club by jumping off the Mostar bridge today. The bridge is  20-27 metres high depending on the height of the river (that’s around 65 to 89 feet).

P.S. diving boards in the Olympics are 3 or 10 metres high…

Do not try this without taking lessons firs though . To jump off safely, you have to take lessons from divers for how to jump and land safely in the river below. Find out more here .

Watch The Grand Prix In Monaco

The Grand Prix is a Formula One car racing event that takes place in the country every year. The city is transformed into a race course for the drivers, and it’s one of the hardest courses to drive.

Monaco views- one day Côte D'azur

Say Hi To The Monkeys Of Gibraltar

Monkeys along the border of Spain in the UK!? No one knows exactly how these little fellas got here, but they’ve now made Upper Rock their home bringing millions of tourists a year.

Tour Castle Ruins In Europe

Europe is all about castle ruins and delving deeper into history. Scotland and Ireland are filled with castle ruins, but you can find them all throughout the continent! Cross off visiting some castle ruins from your travel bucket list!

See my guide to Scottish castle ruins from Edinburgh here .

Go On A River Cruise In Europe

Another quintessential experience in Europe to cross off your bucket list is to go on a river cruise in a city.

European cities were typically built up along rivers, so most have one running through it – and luckily for you, today they often run cruises along them!


River cruises give you a different perspective and view of the city, and often offer some extra history! Popular river cruises are the Bateau Mouche along the River Seine in Paris, or along the Danube river in Budapest.

Drink Mulled Wine At A Christmas Market In Europe

Christmas Markets have blown up in the last few years. But, don’t just go to pick up some locally made Christmas gifts, try some traditional mulled wine as well. Mulled wine is a hot and spiced wine to enjoy.

Bucket List Travels In North America

From driving down Route 66 to seeing the White House in Washington, here are some travel ideas in North America to add to your bucket list.

P.S. Don’t miss a classic North American experience. Shop my North American travel bucket list to make the most of your travels! Shop Etsy here .

Try Smoked BBQ In Texas

Nothing compares to the barbecue in Texas. They slow smoke their meat using only post oak wood. They’ve really mastered it over the years, and it’s reached the ultimate. To try the best of the best in Texas, head to Austin for Franklin’s Barbecue to really cross of this travel bucket list!

Read more about BBQ in Texas !


Go To A Rodeo In Wyoming

Although the first rodeo was in Texas, Wyoming has created a name for itself in the rodeo world. Today, the rodeo in Cheyenne Wyoming is known as the “Daddy of ’em All”.

Cheyenne Frontier Days claims to be the “world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western Celebration”. And it’s not that new either, dating back to 1897! Find out more here .

But, you can also go to a rodeo in Texas – it is their national sport after all !

See The Bison Of Yellowstone National Park

It’s a sight to see the bison roam free in Yellowstone National Park, just make sure to not get too close!


North American Bucket List!

Don’t miss a quintessential North American experience in the United States, Canada or Mexico with my travel bucket list! Shop on Etsy !


Tailgate At A Football Game In The U.S.

Get the full American experience and don’t just go to a football game in the States, but tailgate one. This is when you go a few hours before the game even starts to eat some food and drink some beer by your car with your parking lot neighbours.

Attend Burning Man Festival in Nevada

The Burning Man festival takes places every year in Nevada. It’s a festival about artistic freedom and self expression. They build up a community and leave no trace of it at the end of the festival.

And, the most defining characteristics – the festival ends with them burning a large wooden effigy – signifying, the man!

Test Your Luck In Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is one of the most unique cities in the country, there’s no other place like it. Gamble, go to a Cirque de Soleil or magic show.

P.S. See my top tips for saving money on your next trip to Vegas here .


Surf The Waves In Hawaii

Live the real surfer lifestyle and learn how to surf the waves in Hawaii!

Hike A Volcano In Hawaii

Hawaii is an amazing geological land, as many of the islands are home to active and dormant volcanoes. Cross it off your travel bucket list and climb one – safely of course!

Drive On Route 66 In The U.S. 

Route 66 is a historical route that goes from Chicago to Santa Monica, Los Angeles. This was one of the original highways in the United States and you can still drive on parts of it today. It was mainly used by traveling salesmen in the 60’s.

We drove on part of it on our road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas .


Try Lobster In Maine

If you’re looking to try fresh lobster, Maine is the place to go. Lobster season is all year round there!

Kayak On The Emerald Waters Of Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a wonder in Banff, Alberta with crystal emerald water from the melting glaciers!

See The Red Sand Beaches Of Prince Edward Island 

Prince Edward Island (the smallest Canadian province) is known for its unique red dirt and red sand beaches (and also the red headed Anne of Green Gables!) . See magnificent red rock formations before they disappear over time from erosion and weather.


Kayak With Beluga Whales In Manitoba

From June to September, Belugas visit the Churchill River in Manitoba to breed.

See A Hockey Game In Canada

Canadians LIVE AND BREATHE hockey. They play it all winter and always root for their home team.

Be part of the culture and go see a hockey game in a Canadian city. If you want to see the depths of this rivalry, head to a Toronto Maple Leaf Vs. Montreal Canadiens game.


Eat A Fresh Bagel On The Streets Of Montreal

There’s nothing better than a fresh warm Montreal bagel!

One of the best ways to enjoy one is to pick it up from one of the oldest shops in the city (St. Viator or Fairmont) and just enjoy it on your walk back home as a snack!

P.S. Montreal has the best bagels in the world, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise…

Experience Winter In Quebec City

Quebec City is the last fortified city in North America – and it’s really something to see on it’s own. But, there’s something so magical about seeing the Old Town under a blanket of freshly fallen snow! Keep in mind, this is easier said than done! Winter in Quebec is not always so magical…

Ski (Or Snowboard) Down Whistler Blackcomb Mountain 

If you’re in to winter sports, then you already know an iconic mountain is Whistler Blackomb in British Columbia Canada. These are two twin peaks – Whistler, and Blackcomb.


Take A Train Through The Canadian Rockies

One of the best (and actually most authentic) wat to see the Canadian Rockies is to take a train. Sit back, order a drink, and take in the views all around you.

See the Rocky Mountaineer !

See Mount Rushmore In South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is a mountain side with the heads of the famous presidents carved out of it!


You might also be interested in…

My digital and printable packing guide on Etsy here . Filled with packing planning prompts for your next trip!

Gaze In Awe At The Grand Canyon In Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world. A deep canyon with rivers flowing through it, hike down, or just be in awe at the jaw dropping views from above!


Hike Through Antelope Canyon In Arizona

Antelope Canyon is the most epic natural rock sculpture you can walk through in Northern Arizona.

Go To A Music Concert In Nashville

Nashville is where country music legends are born! It’s home to the famous music venue The Grand Ole Opry House. Add going to a concert there to your travel bucket list!

Rock Out At Coachella 

The music festival to rule all music festivals – attend Coachella in California one year! See who’s performing this year.


Drive Along The Pacific Coast Highway In California In A Convertible

You have mountains on one side, and the ocean on the other. Why not add to this travel bucket list experience by driving down in a convertible and feeling the wind in your hair!?

Take A Boat To See The Statue Of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty in New York City stands tall on Ellis Island. You can see it from the city, but take a boat to see it up close and how tall she really stands!

See A Broadway Musical In NYC

There’s nothing like a live performance and the Broadway musical does not compare to anything else! See one of the long time running shows, like Wicked, or catch a new musical! See what’s playing on Broadway here .

See The View From The Top Of The Empire State Building

Go to the top of one of the most iconic buildings in New York City – featured in almost every rom com imaginable!


Bet On A Horse At The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the largest horses races of the year! Bet on a horse and hope you win big!

Take A Photo With Mickey Mouse At DisneyWorld

Orlando, Florida is home to the DisneyWorld theme parks, made up of four epic parks to visit (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios). Just be sure to find Mickey Mouse and Cinderella’s castle for the ultimate photo op!

Get Soaked By Niagara Falls In Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in North America, spanning across the Canadian and U.S. border. You can go behind the falls, or opt to get soaked on the maid of the mist !

P.S. it’s better to see them from the Canadian side, so bring your passport if you need it.


Go Dog Sledding In Alaska

How about a mode of transportation you’ve probably never tried before: dogs! bundle up and let the dogs of Alaska pull you through forests in the winter snow!

Question Whether You’re Driving Up Or Down Magnetic Hill

The many wonders of the world can be found in a small town in New Brunswick Canada. There’s a hill where you think you’re going down, but you’re actually going up.. or wait, is it the opposite… we’ll never know!

Walk Along The Ocean Floor At Hopewell Rocks

Walk along the ocean floor during low tide in New Brunswick, with giant rock formations towering above you. Or, opt to wait for the tide to kayak through the rocks instead.


Swim In The Atlantic Ocean In Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is a hook shaped peninsula with the Cape Cod bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other! Swim in the cold ocean water and just relax on the beach all day long!

Try To Escape From Alcatraz 

Alcatraz was the most secure prison in the U.S. at one point. Add it to your travel bucket list to visit and see if you can escape? Tickets sell out months in advance, book a ferry and tour of the prison here .

Ride A Cable Car In San Fransisco

San Fransisco is a hilly city and is most famous for their traditional cable cars taking you up and down the hills.

Skate On The Rideau Canal In Ottawa

The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is the longest, naturally frozen, skateway in the world . 2023 was the first year that it was never able to open at all.

Vendors set up stalls right on the ice, so make sure to grab a locally made Beaver Tail (don’t worry, it’s not what you think!).

P.S. travelling to Ottawa in the winter? Read more about visiting in the snow here .


Have A Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago

Chicago has put its own spin on pizza which is cooked in a pan. It’s high crust allows for more cheese and chunkier sauce!

Visit The White House In Washington

See where the current, and past Presidents of the United States have lived and worked. It’s probably one of the most famous buildings in the world.

See A Baseball Game At Fenway Park In Boston

One of the original baseball teams are the Boston Red Sox in the U.S.. Their field at Fenway Park is famous for the Green Monster – a tall wall that the ball can barely get over. It’s a real feat if someone hits a home run here!


See The Leaves Change Colour In New England

Every year from around September until October the leaves change colours from green to yellow, to orange, and sometimes even red before completely falling off for winter.

New England is one of the best places to witness the changing the leaves. There’s such a short time frame to see them at their peak that a visit has to be perfectly timed.

New England includes: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Visit Salem On Halloween

Salem, Massachusetts is famous for the horrendous witch trials that took place in 1692. Today, it’s become a go-to place to visit over Halloween.

It’s very busy on Halloween itself, but festivities began as of October 1! Find out more here .


See The Liberty Bell In Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell symbolizes freedom in the United States. But its defining characteristics is that it’s actually cracked. But before being retired, it actually cracked two more times!

Have A Philly Cheesesteak In Philadelphia

Sure, you can get a Philly cheesesteak in most States these days, but there’s something to be said for trying one in Philadelphia where it originated from! Thinly sliced pieces of beef, melted cheese, in a roll… yes please!

Try Tire Sur La Neige In Quebec

Tire sur la neige is a winter treat in Quebec – and a must add to any serious travel bucket list! Maple syrup is poured onto fresh snow and instantly cooled. It becomes a maple popsicle and it’s delicious!


Try Gumbo In New Orleans

The official state dish of Louisiana – a seafood stew!

Drive Through Death Valley National Park

Hit up this national park in the California and Nevada desert. Featuring canyons, salt flats, and ghost towns!

Go Wine Tasting In Napa Valley

Napa Valley is the renowned wine country of the United States. Set up on rolling hills, spend a day going from vineyard to vineyard.

Walk The Hollywood Walk Of Fame In Los Angeles

See the stars! On the ground that is! Find your favourite celebrities and walk where they walked!


Go On A Road Trip Through The U.S. 

An iconic family road trip through the United States, anyone? Rent a car and drive to different cities, stopping at all the unique attractions on the way! Drive from East to West, North to South, or make up your own unique route!

Admire The Chichén Itzà in Mexico

The Chichén Itzà is one of the seven wonders of the modern world! The highlight is a centuries old temple built by the Mayans.

Travel Bucket List Ideas in The Caribbean

Head to the Caribbean for some tropical and paradise bucket list travel ideas!

P.S. Don’t miss a classic travel bucket list adventure. Shop my travel bucket list to make the most of your travels! Shop Etsy here .

Tour Havana Cuba In A Brightly Coloured Car

If you visit Havana, have a bit of fun and show off your inner rainbow with a brightly coloured car! It’s the perfect way to vibe with the city!

Snorkel At A Coral Reef In The Caribbean

Get a glimpse of some of the underwater life in the Caribbean Sea!


Swim With Sting Rays In The Cayman Islands

Observe and swim with wild stingrays. They are actually quite curious and friendly animals but you should still respect their space!

Visit Multiple Islands On A Caribbean Cruise

Why commit to one beach in the Caribbean when you can take a cruise to a different one every day?

Take a relaxing beach vacation through the many Caribbean islands!

Swim With Pigs At Pig Beach In The Bahamas

You can actually swim with cute pink pigs in the Bahamas at Pig Beach. These are free roaming pigs that just live here.


Bucket List Travel Ideas In South America

Travelling to South America? Here are some must-do activities to add to your travel bucket list!

Hike To Machu Picchu In Peru

Another wonder of the modern world: Machu Picchu. Although it’s not easy to get up there, it will pay off when you reach these ancient village ruins high up in the mountains!

Attend Carnaval Festival In Rio

Don’t just visit Rio, visit during the Carnaval Festival. One of the oldest Carnival’s, and THE biggest in the world! This is the travel bucket list item of a life time!

Hike To Christ The Redeemer In Rio

Christ the Redeemer is one of the largest statues of Jesus and the tallest art deco statue in the world . It’s so impressive it was voted to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.


Spot Unique Wildlife In The Galápagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a series of islands off the coast of Ecuador and are home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world. Try to spot the Galapagos giant tortoise, land iguana and lava lizard .

See The Monolithic Moai Statues Of Easter Island

Easter Island is home to almost 900 statues known as Moai. They’re carved human figures with oversized heads dating back to the 13th–16th centuries. Easter Island is a remote volcanic island in Chile.

Surround Yourself By The Iguazu Falls Between Brazil, Argentina, & Paraguay 

Iguazu is surreal place to be as it borders three countries: Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. But the best place to see the falls is in Argentina!

Drink Coffee In Colombia

Colombia is among the world leaders in the coffee industry. The only catch? They drink what’s known as Tinto, which is the Colombian term for black coffee… better start trying forgoing any milk or sugar now to prepare!


See The Penguins Of Magdalena Island

Magdalena Island has the largest penguin colony in entire South America. This is where they come to breed from September to March. You might even get lucky and see a baby chick if you plan you visit for February !

Zip-Line Through Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

This is THE place to zip-line through the trees! Maybe you’ll even spot some local wildlife life on your way down!

Hike Rainbow Mountain In Peru

Who said a sand mountain had to be yellow? Thanks to the minerals in this mountain range, you can see a rainbow of colours from turquoise to purple to gold and more!

Enjoy Some Yerba Mate With Friends In Paraguay 

Yerba Mate is a smoked tisane that is actually caffeinated. This traditional drink is commonly enjoyed from a gourd (a dried and hollowed out squash) with a bombila (a straw). It’s often shared with friends and family.

P.S. Learn more about what Yerba Mate is here .


Go Sand Boarding In Huacachina

You’ve heard of snowboarding, so why not try sand boarding? It’s the same idea only on sand instead of snow!

Walk On The Salar De Uyuni Salt Flats In Bolivia

You can look like you’re walking on water at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia. This is an experience like no other to add to your bucket list!

Attend The Festival Of The Flowers (Feria de las Flores) In Colombia

Some of the best travel bucket list ideas are festivals – and the Feria de las Flores in Colombia is no exception! It takes place every August in Medellín, Colombia, celebrating flowers!

Hike The W Trek In Torres del Paine National Park In Chile

If you love hiking through surreal landscapes, add the Torres del Plaine to your travel bucket list. The W Trek is the ultimate hike – taking you to the most beautiful spots in the park.


See The Flamingos At Laguna Colorada Lake In Bolivia

Laguna Colorada is a shallow salt lake that’s home to a rare species of flamingo. The flamingos are something, but the lake is a sight to see as well. It’s actually red from red sediments and the pigmentation of some algae.

Take A Boat To The Marble Caves In Chile

The marble caves in Chile will definitely take your breath away! They’re not actually marble, just nature at work eroding calcium carbonate cliffs. The best way to see them is to kayak through this natural wonder!

Walk On A Glacier In Argentina

The Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world – and you can walk on it. You can hike to a view point on the top, or take a boat right up close to the glacier wall!


Bucket List Of Travels In Asia

There are so many travel bucket list ideas in Asia – here’s just a few ideas to add to your travel list!

Go Horseback Riding In Mongolia

Mongolian horses are a rugged and beautiful breed of horse that are only found in Mongolia. Experience some of the best of Mongolia on horseback by taking a trail ride through the Mongolian wilderness!

Trek The Trans Bhutan Trail

This is a newly restored trail that takes you through the Himalayan mountains in Bhutan. It’s perhaps the best way to see the country – passing through monasteries, villages, and temples in the mountains. It takes 36 days to complete the entire hike.

One of the most jaw dropping monasteries of them all – Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest), on the mountain’s edge.


Visit The Taj Mahal In India

Your travel bucket list needs every seven wonders of the modern world, and the list would not be complete without the Taj Mahal in India. Although it looks like a palace, it’s actually a shrine. It’s just so impressive that this was built in the 1600s!

Get A Henna Tattoo In India 

Don’t worry – henna tattoos aren’t permanent (although you might end up wishing it was!). Henna is called mehndi in India. And these are works of art that are hand painted on your hands or even feet.

Get Colourful At Holi Festival In Mathura India

Holi – the festival of colours – is celebrated all throughout India, but one of the largest, and supposedly best, celebration is in Mathura, which is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Read more here .

Let Go Of A Lantern At The Pingxi Lantern Festival In Taiwan

Talk about a magical experience! The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival takes place every February when people light a lantern and send it off to the dark night sky in the hillside village of Shifen . This traditional is rooted in history where farmers would release lanterns with wishes asking for a good harvest for the coming year.


Feel At Peace At The Mahabodhi Temple In India

The Mahabodhi Temple is said to be where Buddha attained enlightenment. Come here to meditate and fine inner peace.

See The Cherry Blossoms In Bloom In Japan

The cherry blossoms are beautiful pink flowers that populate Japan every Spring in April/ beginning of May.

See Sumo Wrestling Match In Tokyo

Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport with a long history, it’s only natural to see a professional sumo wrestling match in Tokyo!

P.S. Read my full guide on going to a sumo tournament in Tokyo here .

Enjoy A Traditional Matcha Tea Ceremony In Japan

Although it seems like a new fad in America, Matcha has been enjoyed for centuries in Japan as part of a traditional ceremony. Have matcha made for you in the traditional way, while being served traditional desserts along with it.


Go On A Ramen Frenzy In Japan

Go on the search for the best ramen you’ve ever had in Japan! Try new flavours, or enjoy some of your favourites to see if they’re better in Japan!

See All Of Mount Fuji

It’s more of a feat to see all of Mount Fuji than to hike it. It’s often covered by haze and clouds. And, apparently, it’s also prettier from far than close – so I guess no need to work up a sweat here!

Try Sushi In Japan

Some of the best sushi can be found where you least expect it. Japan undoubtedly has some of the best sushi in the world, even if it’s in a subway station (although good luck getting a reservation !).


Walk Through Bamboo Forests Of Kyoto

Another travel bucket list item unique to Japan are the bamboo forests you can walk through. Bamboo shoots grow tall and are unlike typical trees you might be used to seeing.

Stay In A Pod Hotel In Tokyo 

In an attempt to save space (and money), Japan has created the pod hotel – quite different than your typical hotel room. This is just big enough to fit a bed. If you’re lucky you’ll have room to even sit or stand inside. There’s no denying that this is quite the unique travel bucket list experience!

P.S. Read about my stay in a pod hotel in Amsterdam here .

Stay In A Traditional Japanese Ryokan

Quite the opposite of a pod hotel in Japan, which is the modern way to stay, a Ryokan is a traditional inn. It offers guests a place to rest with dining options. The rooms usually feature a tatami floor with sliding doors, and the bed is a simple futon.


Walk The Great Wall Of China

Walk on ancient world wonder that is over 2,000 years old and spans approximately 13,170 miles long.

The sections were built throughout different centuries, but the most popular part to walk on is Badaling – it’s close to Beijing and is in good condition!

See The Terracotta Warriors Of Xi’an

Although kind of creepy, The Terracotta Warriors Of Xi’an are quite the sight. They depict the army of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It was meant to protect him in the afterlife.

Be In Awe At The Giant Buddha In Leshan, China

See the largest Buddha in the world: The Leshan Giant Buddha which is actually carved into a mountainside!

Enjoy Tea In A Gaiwan In China

A gaiwan (a cup with a lid) is the traditional way of enjoying tea in China, and has been for centuries. Head to a teahouse and enjoy some tea the traditional way.


See The Temples Of Bagan In Myanmar

There are a whopping 2, 229 temples and pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan (although at one point there were believed to be 13,000!).

Hang Out At An Elephant Sanctuary In Thailand

Elephants in Thailand have become somewhat of celebrities. Help out at one of the ethical sanctuaries to get up close to one of these beasts and help care for them!

Go To A Floating Market In Thailand

Why go to a market on the ground when you can get on a boat and float to one on the river. The Damnoen Saduak floating market is one of the largest and most well known in Thailand.

Go Island Hopping In Thailand

Go island hopping to explore the best of Thailand. Take a boat through the Phi Phi Islands or focus on the large island of Phuket.


Visit A Royal Palace Dressed In A Traditional Hanbok   In South Korea

It’s popular for locals to wear Hanbok (a traditional Korean dress) and even tourists when visiting Gyeongbokgung  palace. As it turns out, entry is free when you wear one – so why not fit in and take some beautiful pictures while you’re there!?

Swim In An Infinity Pool In Singapore

Swimming in a rooftop pool is fun enough. But now make it an infinity pool… hell yes! The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore did just that and it’s EPIC!

The only problem is that you will have to book a room at the hotel to access the pool, but I think it’s worth it for this once in a lifetime bucket list experience!

Walk Through Gardens By The Bay In Singapore 

You’ve probably never see a garden like this. Jump ahead to the future in Singapore with these larger than life fake trees.

Watch The Sunrise Over Angkor Wat In Cambodia

Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world! If that’s not a reason to add it to your travel bucket list, I don’t know what is! Well there’s also that you get an incredible sunset views with a reflection of the temples in the moat in front!


Meet A Holy Monkey At The Monkey Temple In Kathmandu, Nepal

Swoyambhu Mahachaitya is the more traditional name for this Buddhist temple in Kathmandu. It’s an impressive temple to visit, and it’s probably the only temple in the world where monkeys roam free. They’re considered sacred monkeys and are cared for by the temple.

Cruise On Hạ Long Bay In Vietnam

Ha Long Bay reminds me of Pandora’s floating mountains in the movie Avatar. Home to dense rainforests, these limestone islands soar high above the emerald water. Cruise between the islands to be totally captivated by them!

Swim In The Puerto Princesa Underground River

This is an 8.2-km (5.1-mile) section of the 24-km (15-mile) St. Paul Underground River Cave.

It’s something that not too many people have done, making it a truly special travel bucket list item. Let’s just say that you’ll either need a permit or travel with a tour group. But apparently, it’s worth it .

Hang Out On The Kandy to Ella train in Sri Lanka

The train ride from Kandy to Ella is one of the most scenic (and possibly cheapest!) in the world. A 5 hours train ride can cost less than $10, and the views are spectacular! You pass by tea plantations, villages, and more on this route.


See The Forbidden City In Beijing

Although the Forbidden City was really less of a city and more of a palace for emperors and their servants. It served as a religious and political centre for over 500 years in China and it’s open for you to visit today!

Visit The Grand Palace In Bangkok

The Grand Palace in Bangkok is in the centre of the city as the kings house. It was surprisingly used until 1925!

Swing High Above The Trees In Bali

Step up your swinging game and soar through the trees in Bali. Plus, these rugged swings make for great photos ops too!

Go On A Yoga Retreat In Bali

There’s no denying that traveling can be exhausting. So make a point to go on a self care retreat in Bali and do some yoga on the beach for a change of pace!


Stay In An Overwater Bungalow In The Maldives

This has to be on every serious travellers travel bucket list as one of the most unique places you can stay. These little houses floating on the water are only connected to the mainland by a floating dock!

Bucket List Travels In Australia & New Zealand

Travel to Oceania and cross these items off your travel bucket list!

Climb The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Are you brave enough to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia!? It’s one of the world’s largest steel arch bridges in the world, and you can actually climb it! Find out more here .

Go To An Opera At The Sydney Opera House

One of the most unique pieces of architecture in the world is the Sydney Opera House in Australia. But don’t just look at this iconic skyline building, actually go inside and enjoy it for what it was meant to be – an opera house. See an opera, concert, ballet, or even play here.


Go Scuba Diving In The Great Barrier Reef In Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. Scuba dive to get a sneak peak of a whole other underwater life!

Let Glowworms Light The Way In New Zealand Caves

Who needs fireflies when you have glow-worms lighting your way in the caves of New Zealand!?

See Where Hobbits Live In New Zealand

Any Lord of the Ring fans knows that most of the movie was filmed in New Zealand. But, a sheep farm actually turned into the Hobbits home and is now known as Hobbiton that you can tour .

See Uluru Rock In Australia

Uluru rock is a massive monolith in the middle of the flat desert. Learn about how it’s sacred to the indigenous and see this massive rock up close!

See The Twelve Apostles In Australia

The Twelve Apostles are rock formations along the coast in Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia.


Swim At Bondi Beach In Sydney

If there’s any beach you have to go to in Australia, it’s Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach isn’t just a beach in Australia! You have the iconic beach of course, but then there’s the Icebergs swimming pool, trendy cafes, and more at this local hotspot.

Snap A Photo With A Koala In Australia

Australia is home to many unique species to the continent. Some of the cutest, and most popular though, the Koala! Give one a hug, or try to find one in it’s natural habitat sleeping in the trees!

See The Kangaroos of Kangaroo Island

See the best of Australian wildlife in their natural habitat on Kangaroo Island. Most importantly, see the kangaroos who populate this island to warrant it being named after them.


Bucket List Travel Experiences In Africa

Going on a safari is a classic travel bucket list adventure in Africa, but there’s so much more! Here are some other travel ideas to explore!

Go On An African Safari

You can’t go to Africa and not go on an African Safari. It’s one of the best ways to safely see African wildlife in their natural habitat.

See The Largest Falls (Victoria Falls) In The World In Africa

Cross it off you travel bucket list to see Victoria Falls – the largest falls in the world. They measure 1,708 m wide.

Walk The Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar

Baobas line the unpaved road leading you from Morondava to Belon’i Tsiribihina in Madagascar. These trees are so cool looking!


See Gorillas In Uganda

Marvel at gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda! Find out more here .

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Although it’s not Mount Everest, it’s still an incredible feat to climb this dormant volcano in Tanzania.

Bucket List Travels In The Middle East

The Middle East is home to some of the craziest world wonders, historical sites, and unique experiences.

Ride A Hot Air Balloon In Cappadocia, Turkey

Have a dreamy night in Turkey floating in a hot air balloon high above the world!


Meet All The Cats In Istanbul, Turkey

Cats are treated like celebrities in Istanbul (as they always should be). There are so many street cats here that they practically run the city!

Find The Hidden World of Petra in Jordan

Hidden among the desert cliffs, you might miss it all together! This city was built into the mountainside by carving out the rock itself, and is incredible to see.

See The Great Pyramids Of Giza In Egypt

One of the only original wonders of the world are still standing in Egypt today – the Great Pyramids of Giza. See if for yourself up close – and maybe even go inside!

Ride A Camel In The Desert

Why go horseback riding when you can go camelback riding… through the desert!

ride a camel in the desert

Feel Spiritual At The Western Wall In Jerusalem 

See one of the most spiritual walls in the world. Also known as the “Wailing Wall” or the “Kotel”, it’s the last remaining outer wall of the ancient Jewish temple.

Shop At A Market In Marrakech, Morocco

The best way to shop local is at a market in Morocco. Shop anything from food, spices, tea, or home decor!

Go To The Top Of Burj Khalifa In Dubai

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world – so it’s only logically to take it upon yourself to make it to the top to cross off your travel bucket list!

Float In The Dead Sea In The Desert

The Dead Sea is quite possibly one of the most unique experiences in the world. You can literally float on the water here ! There is such a high salt content in the Dead Sea that it exfoliates your skin and lifts you up! Find out more here .


Go On A Polar Plunge In Antarctica

A polar plunge is when you jump into the freezing cold waters of the Arctic Ocean. Don’t spend too long in there though! The best part is afterwards when you can cozy up right away in your bathrobe!

A travel bucket list isn’t just about specific destinations, sometimes it’s also about having new experiences and doing something you wouldn’t normally do at home.

Fly First Class (Or Business Class)

Splurge on yourself and fly first class at least once – if for no other reason than just to cross it off your travel bucket list!

It’s one of those travel ultimates that we all strive for. If this isn’t an experience of a lifetime, I don’t know what is!

And now I can tell you from first hand experience – it’s all worth it!


Go Back To Your Favourite Destination

Instead of exploring somewhere new, go back to a place you’ve already been. There’s something special about returning to a place you’ve already visited .

You feel more comfortable, there’s less stress to see it all, and you just focus on your favourites, or maybe something you missed your first time visiting.

Rent A Fun Car You Would Never Buy

Renting a car is usually practical, but just once, why not have some fun!? Rent a fun car you would never buy back home. Maybe a convertible, luxury car, or even a Jeep!


Eat At A Michelin Star Restaurant

Michelin Star restaurants are more about the experience than about the food itself.

This doesn’t even have to break the bank either, there are some pretty good 1-2 star Michelin restaurants that aren’t all about showing off how much you can spend on one meal!

Stay At A Fairmont Hotel

Fairmont hotels are often in old chateaus that have been turned into luxury hotels. They range from $150 to over $1000 / night.

You can sometimes get a deal on a small room at one of their historical hotels. Some of the most iconic Fairmont hotels to stay at are the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City or Lake Louise Fairmont in Alberta.


Go To An All Inclusive Resort

Add staying at an all inclusive resort to your travel bucket list. You don’t have to stay at a beach all inclusive resort either if that’s not your style of travel – although it is a different experience to relax and not have to think about anything while on vacation!

Visit All 7 Continents

Make it a goal for yourself to try to visit all 7 continents – North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica! Antarctica should be very fun!

Visit All 50 U.S. States

Why not add visiting all 50 U.S. States to your travel bucket list while you’re at it!? Every state is so different and definitely worth visiting them all!

P.S. I have a U.S. State checklist included in my North American travel bucket list… check it out on Etsy here .


Visit all 13 Canadian Provinces & Territories

If all 50 U.S. States seems like a bit much of a task, start with visiting all 13 Canadian provinces and territories instead!

Visit all 46 European Countries

Or make it your goal to visit all 46 European countries. Start off with a summer and a Euro rail pass for 33 countries … check it out here .

P.S. I have a European country checklist included in my European travel bucket list… check it out on Etsy here

See All UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Good luck! As of January 2023, there are a total of  1,157  World Heritage Sites across 167 countries. But this is a good life time travel bucket list goal to have if you want one!

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Tailor-Made Luxury Travel, Unique Road Trip Adventures and Bucket List Travel Experiences

What's on your Travel Bucket List?                2021 and beyond...

What's on your Travel Bucket List? 2021 and beyond...

north america travel bucket list

N orth America

Our suggested itineraries, all of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you. our sample itineraries are intended to give you a flavour of what we can do..

Blaycation Travel - Road Trip Adventures in America

Western USA gives depth and beauty to the American wild. The landscapes here are stunners, from the high Rockies to the dramatic coastline, from the Great Plains' hypnotizing big-sky horizons to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.  Red rocks, plunging gorges and prickly-pear deserts lure hikers and cyclists to the Southwest and Grand Canyon. Over in the Rockies, snowcapped peaks offer world's-best skiing and snowboarding. Western cities have distinct personalities. In California there's the hey-bro friendliness of San Diego, the Hollywood flash of Los Angeles and silicon-meets-bohemian in San Francisco. Further north in Seattle, cutting-edge joins homegrown, often over a cup of joe. Rootsy vibes and outdoor fun pair in Denver, while patio preening and spa pampering give Phoenix a strangely compelling spoiled vibe. Artsy, historic Santa Fe is a world unto itself. And then there's Vegas, a glitzy neon playground where you can get hitched in the Elvis Chapel, spend your honeymoon in Paris and then bet the mortgage – all in the same weekend.

It's all just a big Adventure!

Blaycation Travel - Road Trip Adventures in America

The East Coast offers plenty of chances to get your beach on, from the whale-rich waters of Cape Cod to the taffy-shop-lined boardwalks of Ocean City, the towering golden sand dunes on Lake Michigan or the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. Inland, nature puts on a show in the swampy Florida Everglades, wolf-haunted Boundary Waters, mist-tipped Appalachian Mountains and New England’s forests, which blaze red, orange and yellow each autumn. Slowpoke byways unfurl throughout so you can soak up the landscapes. The East Coast is also a land of mighty metropolises. Brimming with 8.6 million people, the megalopolis of New York is the cultural capital of the Eastern USA, offering a mind-blowing array of cuisine and entertainment. Cloud-poking Chicago, power-brokering Washington, DC, history-steeped Philadelphia and Latin-infused Miami are close on its heels.

From a megacity to a gator-filled swamp in the space of a plane ride – the East rolls out adventure from the Atlantic to the mighty Mississippi River. 

Blaycation Travel - Road Trip Adventures in America

The globe's second-biggest country has an endless variety of landscapes, and nature is why many visitors come. Sky-high mountains, glinting glaciers, spectral rainforests and remote beaches are all here, spread across six times zones. They're the backdrop for plenty of 'ah'-inspiring moments – and for a big cast of local characters. That's big as in polar bears, grizzly bears, whales and everyone's favorite, moose.  The terrain also makes for a fantastic playground. Whether it's snowboarding Whistler's mountains, surfing Nova Scotia's swells, wreck diving in the turquoise waters off the Bruce Peninsula or kayaking the white-frothed South Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories, adventures abound. There are gentler options, too, such as strolling Vancouver's Stanley Park and swimming off Prince Edward Island's pink-sand beaches. Canada is also a smorgasbord of local food. If you grazed from west to east across the country, you'd fill your plate with wild salmon and velvety scallops in British Columbia, poutine (French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds) in Québec, and lobster with a dab of melted butter in the Maritime provinces.

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Blaycation Travel - Build a tailored trip- We listen and  then we create. Working with you, we'll craft an unforgettable trip and tailored itinerary.

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Blaycation Travel - Book with confidence We're here to help with everything before, during & after your trip, from the smallest to the biggest request.

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north america travel bucket list

Lifestyle News


Add these 20 unusual U.S. destinations to your travel bucket list

Many of us are busy planning our upcoming road trips. And while you may have a few beloved tourist destinations and popular sites in mind, veering off the beaten path is one of the best ways to see incredible landscapes, weird roadside landmarks, and so much more.

Flip through the slideshow for 20 of the country's most underrated U.S. sites, all of which should go on your travel bucket list. From North America's highest paved road to the Smoky Mountains' dramatic vistas, every destination on this list is worth a visit. 

Mount Evans, Colorado

The highest paved road in North America, Mount Evans, is not for the faint of heart. But for anyone who wants to see some of the most gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains, plus plenty of wildlife, it's definitely worth the drive to Colorado. 

Marfa, Texas

This tiny town in far west Texas is a haven for artists and is best known for being the filming location for the Elizabeth Taylor film "Giant." Use it as a home base to explore the high desert and make a trip to the not-too-far-away Big Bend National Park if you've got the time. The views there are otherworldly — and breathtaking. 

Flathead Lake, Montana

Situated not far outside of Montana's stunning Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It's also stunningly clear and filled with colorful stones, thanks to the water's high mineral content. Don't be afraid to stick your feet in during the summer, either — this water is cold but also refreshing. 

Bar Harbor, Maine

Sure, you probably know Bar Harbor as a vacation destination for rich people, but it's also one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast. Browse the shops, take a side trip to Acadia National Park, or simply enjoy the gorgeous views. 

Most folks think of the desert as a totally barren place, and Moab's a great place to see the desert in a whole new light. Even if you're not interested in skiing, there's rafting, hiking, and tons of natural beauty to enjoy here. 

Florida's Emerald Coast

Home to gorgeous white-sand beaches, stunning blue water, and plenty of family activities, the towns along Florida's Emerald Coast are perfect for anyone's vacation bucket list. Pretty much anywhere you go along the 30A Highway, you're guaranteed to find a beautiful place to soak up the sun. 

Wisconsin Dells

Home to theme parks, river tours, and great shopping, there are few family vacation destinations more appealing than the Wisconsin Dells. If you prefer to be more in the great outdoors, head to Mirror Lake State Park for camping and natural beauty galore. 

Michigan's Upper Peninsula

If you've never seen Michigan's Upper Peninsula, you just might be gobsmacked at its natural beauty. In the summer, it's a great destination for kayaking, lazy beach days, and gorgeous scenery like the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. 

Block Island, Rhode Island

First settled in the 1600s, Block Island is a tiny island with a ton of history, from early Dutch settlers to the War of 1812. It's also a great place to see old lighthouses, pretty beaches, and do lots of seashell hunting. 

Solvang, California

The Danish influence is prominent in this California vacation town, from its name to its dominant architectural style. More than a million tourists visit Solvang yearly to sip wines, scope out the Hans Christian Andersen museum, and see outdoor attractions like the stunning Nojoqui Falls. 

Tennessee's Smoky Mountains

Plot a road trip through Tennessee, especially in the fall, for some of the South's most gorgeous scenery. And while you take in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, maybe consider making a side trip to Nashville, or, heck, even the Dollywood theme park, for a little bit of unique Tennessee culture. 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Situated beneath the towering Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole's natural beauty has made it a favorite among celebrities who probably didn't even know Wyoming was a state before moving there. Summer is probably the best time to visit, when you can get great views of the mountains and really temperate weather. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Art and the gorgeous landscapes of the American Southwest collide in Santa Fe. Check out the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, buy pottery and crafts from local artisans, and learn about Native American culture, all while surrounded by beautiful views. 

San Juan Islands, Washington

Hitch a ride on a ferry to the San Juan Islands, just off the coast of Washington State. Depending on the time of year, you can see orca whales as they migrate, kayak the Salish Sea, and engage in some really great bird-watching. 

Chincoteague, Virginia

If you're looking for a laid-back beach destination that won't be too crowded, look no further than this Virginia destination. Nearby Assateague Island, which you may remember from Marguerite Henry's famed novel "Misty," is home to wild horses that can be seen in the summer months. 

Asheville, North Carolina

This quirky little town offers a seriously wide range of stuff to do that doesn't feel too overwhelming. You can check out fine art in the luxurious Biltmore mansion or explore the Pisgah National Forest, along with taking a scenic drive down the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Salem, Massachusetts

Even if it isn't Halloween, Salem is just a short drive away from Boston, and it's definitely worth the trip. Browse the witch trials museum, spend the afternoon browsing the House of the Seven Gables, and don't forget to stop by the Old Burying Point, one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. 

Newport, Oregon

Use Newport as a home base to explore as much of the stunningly rugged Oregon Coast as your time allows. There are tons of beaches, and lighthouses to explore, and if you go far enough north, you'll hit Haystack Rock, which you might recognize from "The Goonies." 

Texas's Hill Country

Wine and scenery? What's not to love. Texas's Hill Country is a beautiful destination for late summer and early fall. Head to Fredericksburg for wine touring and old-town charm, or try glamping in a yurt in Wimberley. 

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

This tiny town in the Ozark Mountains is off-the-beaten-path and a total charmer. After the Civil War, its mineral-infused waters were believed to be healing, and it remains a place replete with good vibes. Enjoy the gorgeous outdoor scenery, then explore the town's quaint shopping district. 

Amy McCarthy is a Texas-based journalist. Follow her on twitter at @aemccarthy . 

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Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime

Written By: The Planet D

Travel Bucket Lists

Updated On: February 8, 2024

We have put together the ultimate travel bucket list to spark your imagination. Dave and I made a dream list of our travel bucket list travels way back in 2006. And we fulfilled every travel adventure we ever dreamed of. Now we want to help your dreams come true and share the best bucket list travels that we’ve ever done.

These are 52 destinations that you need to do at least once in your lifetime. We’ve got one idea for every week of the year! You may also like The Best Adventure Destinations For The Ultimate Vacations

Table of Contents

Travel Bucket List Ideas

So, let’s look at the most mind-blowing beautiful places in the world. Oh, by the way, these are bucket list travels that we’ve done ourselves. It’s not a Google search like so many things on the internet these days.

1. Iguazu Falls

There was something magical about staying right in the heart of Iguazú National Park at the Belmont Hotel Das Cataratas. Having this natural wonder all to ourselves in the early morning was like a fairytale. We walked from our hotel to the long platform leading to the center of the massive cascade surrounded by thundering waters.

For a bucket list experience, this was spectacular. Be sure to take a helicopter tour over the falls and hop on a jet boat to get soaked. They seriously put the boat right underneath the waterfall. If there is one item on your travel bucket list. This should be it!

  • Getting Soaked – The Ultimate Iguazu Falls Tour
  • 11 Fun and Unexpected Things to do in Iguassu Falls

2. Amalfi Coast

We thought we had seen the beauty of Italy when visiting the Cinque Terre, but the Amalfi Coast is the Cinque Terre on steroids. The beautiful coastal towns along the Gulf of Salerno took our breath away at every turn. Rent a car and drive this famous highway that clings to the side of sea cliffs. There is nothing more romantic than driving the towns of Positano , Ravello, Amalfi, and Sorrento. Make sure to splurge on a room overlooking the terraced buildings of Positano and its beach.

  • The Best Things to Do in Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • 10 Most Romantic Italian Coastal Towns for Couples
  • Watch our Amalfi Coast Video
  • Hiking Cinque Terre – The Beautiful Five Villages in Italy

3. Maldives

Staying in an over-the-water bungalow in Bora Bora or Tahiti is on everyone’s travel bucket list. But we did this in The Maldives and I cannot think of a place that is more beautiful in the world. The turquoise waters surrounded our bungalow complete with a glass floor so we could watch the fish swim by was superb. I don’t think I have seen such white sand beaches anywhere on earth.

  • 15 of The Best Things to do in the Maldives
  • Scuba Diving in Maldives – A Beginner’s Journey
  • Best of the Maldives Video – On YouTube
  • Snorkeling in the Maldives

4. Petra Jordan

By the time we made it to Petra Jordan, we had seen a lot of famous ancient cities with our own eyes. We expected to like it, but we didn’t expect to be wowed by it. Boy were we wrong! Petra is in a league unto itself. The hidden city of Petra is located within a 1.2 km rock passage reaching 80 meters into the air. Once you arrive at The Petra Treasury you are treated to an awe-inspiring scene. A massive building complete with columns is carved into the stone.

  • Watch our visit to Petra on YouTube

5. African Safari

There is nothing more magical than an African Safari. We’ve been lucky to go on Safari in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa , and Botswana. And trust me, it never gets old. Seeing the majestic lion stalk its prey and watching a herd of elephants walking through the African savanna is a scene that is forever etched into our brains. There is something special about visiting Africa. As the saying goes “I left my heart in Africa” and every time we leave the continent we feel the same way.

  • African Safari Animals: 34 Photos to make you want to visit Tanzania
  • What to Wear on Safari – Africa Travel Inside and Out
  • Kenya Safari – The Masai Mara Experience

6. Churchill Polar Bears

Speaking of safaris, have you ever thought of a safari in Canada? I don’t think there was anything more awe-inspiring than seeing polar bears in the wild. It is even more of a bucket list ticket to be able to walk with polar bears. Going up to the arctic tundra in summer is not only unique, but it is also a chance to see polar bears in a different environment than in snow. We visited the Polar Bears twice with Churchill Wild . Once in the winter and once in the summer.

  • Walking with Polar Bears – The Greatest Arctic Safari
  • Kayaking with Beluga Whales – A Paddlers Dream
  • The Ultimate Arctic Safari on YouTube

7. Santorini Greece

We had seen Santorini in the yogurt ads for years and dreamed of one day visiting. Once we arrived, we understood why it has been featured in so many commercials. When we looked over the cliffs of the caldera, the views didn’t seem real. Whitewashed buildings with blue domes lined the high cliffs of the caldera. Staying in a cave hotel overlooking the Aegean Sea was the ultimate dream.

  • 25 of The Very Best Things to do in Santorini
  • Where to Stay in Santorini
  • Places to Visit in Santorini, Greece
  • A Photography Guide to Santorini – Getting that Postcard Shot
  • Iconic Santorini: A Cave Hotel Experience

8. Kayak and Camp in Antarctica

If you haven’t noticed on our blog, a lot of our bucket list adventures have been in cold regions. And Antarctica truly tops the list. We were lucky enough to visit Antarctica with Quark Expeditions where we fulfilled every travel dream. From camping on Antarctica to kayaking around icebergs, Antarctica was an adventure lover’s travel dream.

  • 11 of the Best Things to do in Antarctica
  • Sea Kayak Antarctica – The Adventure of a Lifetime
  • Camping on Antarctica
  • See our complete Antarctica Expedition on YouTube

9. Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp

Staying in the cold weather for a moment, the ultimate bucket list adventure is to trek to Everest Base Camp. When we can all travel again, this is something anyone can do regardless of climbing skills Follow the footsteps of Sir Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to see the Khumbu Ice Fall, Everest Base Camp, The Tengboche Monastery, and Mighty Mount Everest herself. Secure the ultimate bragging rights among your friends and trek to Everest. Our friend Dipendra at SimRik Real Nepal Treks is waiting for you.

  • Everest Base Camp Trek – All You Need to Know from Start to Finish
  • Remarkable Everest Base Camp Trek in Photos
  • Flight to Lukla – A Scary Thrill Ride to Everest
  • See our Full Everest Playlist on YouTube

10. Cappadocia, Turkey

Nearly everyone is familiar with the famous scene of balloons soaring through the air above fairy chimneys. Turkey’s Cappadocia really does feel like a fairytale. This had been our bucket list since seeing dozens of balloons in the air on Instagram nearly a decade ago. A morning hot air balloon ride fulfills the ultimate travel dream list.

  • Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon: How to Choose the Right Company
  • A Tour of a Cave Hotel on YouTube
  • The Incredible Landscape of Cappadocia on YouTube

11. Himalayas of Bhutan

Bhutan is the happiest country in the world and you can’t help but fall in love with the people and landscape when you visit this bucket list destination. Trekking through the Himalayas is an incredible journey but hiking to Tiger’s Nest Monastery in the Paro Valley is what draws people to the country. This iconic scene doesn’t disappoint.

  • 18 Things to do in Bhutan – A Comprehensive Guide of What Not to Miss
  • Bhutan Trek to Laya – A Himalayan Adventure to the Remarkable and Remote
  • Watch our trek to Tiger’s Nest Monastery on YouTube
  • And see what happened when we met the King of Bhutan

12. Great Wall of China

We have visited the Great Wall of China twice. And it lives up to everything we ever expected. Looking at this marvel of engineering truly did inspire wonder and awe. No wonder it is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. We loved visiting both the Mutianyu and Badaling Great Wall, they were equally beautiful yet very different experiences.

  • The Great Wall of China – Mutianyu vs. Badaling

13. Machu Picchu

Speaking of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is another beautiful destination to add to your bucket lists. Hiking the Inca Trail is on many people’s adventure bucket list, but even seeing this extraordinary Inca City will take your breath away. Literally. Located in the Andes Mountains at 2,430 meters/7,972 feet in elevations, it is a wonder to see.

  • Machu Picchu Hike: All You Need To Know To Be Perfectly Prepared
  • How to Plan a Trip to Machu Picchu

14. Great Barrier Reef

The UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of Australia is the largest coral reef in the world. It tops many a traveler’s bucket list. Even if scuba diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing, it is a must-visit. There are many ways to see the Great Barrier Reef. You can take a helicopter ride over the reef or even take a boat out to a platform in the middle of the sea to let you swim, snorkel, and sunbathe in the middle of this beautiful piece of ocean.

  • Diving the Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s Ultimate Adventure

15. Pyramids of Giza

We had always wanted to see the Great Pyramids of Giza with our own eyes. We didn’t know what to expect, but when we first spotted them they seemed surreal. They cut through the haze of Cairo standing the desert looking like a mirage. We have had the privilege of visiting them twice and can say that for a fun way to explore them, hire a camel to take you through the pyramid complex to feel like a true Bedouin.

  • The Red Pyramid of Egypt – Experience it Inside and Out
  • 10 Amazing Temples of Egypt – That We’ve Seen

16. Gobi Desert of Mongolia

We are always fascinated by deserts, but there was something truly unique and spectacular about Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. It is filled with life. From the herds of Bactrian camels (two-humped camels) to the nomadic people of Mongolia moving their Ghers from camp to camp that was always something to see. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Read more at Mongolia Pictures from the Russian Border to the Gobi Desert

17. Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Ecuador that have their very own ecosystem. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most biodiverse of destinations on earth. AND 97% of the Galapagos is a national park. The top draw to the Galapagos is to see its endemic species that are unique to the islands. From the Galapagos giant tortoise, marine iguanas, and the Galapagos penguin, the wildlife experiences.

  • 27 photos that will transport you to the Galápagos Islands
  • Playing With Sea Lions on San Isabella in the Galapagos

18. Mount Kilimanjaro

If there is one mountain to climb in your lifetime it is Mount Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa. Kilimanjaro National park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing the highest point in Africa. The six to seven-day climb is part of the seven summits and is a spectacular bucket list vacation. So don’t wait to start planning your climb up the highest freestanding mountain on earth.

  • Read more: Complete Guide to Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

19. Bagan, Myanmar

A visit to Myanmar is a trip we’ll never forget. Bagan was the highlight of our travels through the country. Taking an early morning ferry along the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, we emerged at the most extraordinary complex of temples we had ever seen. Built in 1057 and covering 16 square miles Bagan houses 2200 pagodas. It looks like a massive forest of temples that you must see with your own eyes.

  • Read More – The Incredible Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

20. See the Northern Lights

Have you ever wanted to witness the dazzling display of the Aurora Borealis? Once you see the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky, it doesn’t seem real at first. Are your eyes playing tricks on you? Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. We didn’t have good luck there but have witnessed them several times in Canada and in Greenland.

  • Incredible Greenland – The Final Frontier for Adventure Travel

21. Mexico Cenotes

For scuba divers’ the Cenotes of Mexico are a top bucket list diving adventure. But you can tour many cenotes without diving. The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has several adventures where you can rappel, snorkel, and paddle through Cenotes. But it was the Rio Secreto Cenote that was truly extraordinary.

  • Rio Secreto Cenote – Mexico’s Magical Underground Caves
  • Cenotes in Photos – Discover Mexico’s Extraordinary Underground Caves

22. Rome’s Colosseum

The city of Rome is like no other. It is packed with ancient ruins and none as famous as the Colosseum. We had the good fortune of staying directly across the street from the Colosseum with a view of the amphitheater from our room. You think that you know everything about the Colosseum, but nothing can prepare you for seeing it for the first time.

  • 22 of the Best Things to do in Rome
  • 20 of the Best Free Things to do in Rome
  • 3 Days in Rome – The Ultimate Rome Itinerary

23. Christ the Redeemer – Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and Christ the Redeemer stands proudly over the city keeping watch. Seeing “Christo Redentor” standing with arms outstretched at the top of Corcovado Mountain is on many bucket list travelers list. You can see it by hiking up the mountain, taking the train, or a scenic bus ride but nothing compares to flying around it by helicopter.

  • The Top 18 Most Excellent Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

24. Ha Long Bay – Vietnam

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that needs to be seen to truly be appreciated. 1600 towering limestone islands reach up from the emerald waters of Halong Bay. What makes the bay even more picturesque are the junk boats that take tourists to explore the many islands and caves.

  • Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay – How to Choose Your Cruise?
  • The Very Best Things to do in Vietnam from North to South

25. Have Champagne at the Eiffel Tower – France

Paris is the city of love and we never tire of seeing the Eiffel Tower . Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the city of lights is such a romantic scene, but you must go up the Eiffel Tower. And did you know you can have a glass of champagne? Celebrate a milestone, get engaged or just enjoy a toast as you take in the Parisian skyline.

  • Where To Stay In Paris – The Best Neighborhoods in Paris
  • 3 Days in Paris: The Best Paris Itinerary for Your First Visit

26. Helicopter Tour of Victoria Falls – Zambia

We happen to live one hour away from Niagara Falls in Canada and we do love that city and the iconic Canadian cascade. So when we had the chance to visit Victoria Falls in Zambia we were very excited. The Falls That Thunder is located in the center of Mosi Oa Tunya National Park and is the largest waterfall in the world. The setting is completely different than Niagara Falls as it is surrounded by jungle. At a Whopping 1.7 km wide (1 mile) it is massive, and the way to take in the scope of Victoria Falls is to get up in the air.

  • Incredible Things to Do in Victoria Falls, Zambia

27. Soak in the Blue Lagoon – Iceland

Sure, the Blue Lagoon of Iceland is overcrowded these days, but no trip to “The Land of Fire and Ice” would be complete without stopping to soak in its healing waters. It tops many a traveler’s bucket list, especially after National Geographic named it one of the top 25 Natural Wonders of the World.

  • How to Visit The Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  • Best Places To Visit In Iceland

28. Explore the Canals of Venice – Italy

We truly fell in love with Venice. Staying in the city for four days allowed us to get off the beaten path to explore more of the quiet corners of the floating city. Not bucket-list travels would be complete without adding Venice to your list. While a gondola tops many bucket lists, it was the private taxi tour that we found to be far more romantic. Riding through the Grand Canal in style viewing scenery made us feel like movie stars.

  • 3 Days in Venice – The Complete Venice Itinerary
  • Where to Stay in Venice – The Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for Every Budget

29. Spy the Sun Stream at Antelope Canyon – USA

It is one of the most recognizable caves in the world. But where is it? Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona is located in the United States. Once a day a gorgeous waterfall of light seeps through tiny openings lighting up the layers of sandstone in this famous slot canyon. Read: The 17 Best Hikes in Arizona

  • Antelope Canyon Photo Tours – How to Make the most of it

30. Hike Through Meteora – Greece

Santorini may be the luxury escape of Greece, but the Monasteries of Meteora are the wonders of Greece. Sitting at the top of massive rock monoliths reaching up to 500 meters (1500 feet) from the valley floor, ancient monasteries dot the landscape. Dating back to the 9th century, the Meteora Monasteries can be visited today by hiking to the top, walking across bridges, or simply taking in the view from one of the many lookouts.

  • Meteora Monasteries of Greece – Magic Monoliths in Photos
  • The Best Places to Visit in Greece

31. Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

A visit to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland will make you believe in giants. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Northern Ireland’s most famous attraction and tops many a travel bucket list. To see the perfectly arranged basalt pillars leading out to sea makes you believe that a giant built a causeway to Scotland rather than a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago.

  • The Legend of the Giant’s Causeway – Do You Believe?

32. Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

We didn’t know if we’d be in awe of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, but seeing it in person did indeed live up to the hype. Pisa alone is worth visiting. This picturesque city located on the Arno River is filled with history dating back to the 14th century.

  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Is It Worth The Visit?

33. Stand in the Center of Times Square – New York

Standing in the center of Times Square in New York fills you with energy and excitement. New York is certainly one of the most exciting cities in the world, and while Times Square is filled with tourists, its with good reason. You feel as if you are in the center of the universe as massive LED screens surround the entire square.

  • Best Things to Do in New York City
  • Where to Stay in New York City – Top Places and Hotels For All Budgets
  • Fun Facts About New York

34. Go to the Top of the Burj Khalifa – Dubai

It’s the tallest building in the world sitting amongst several other massive skyscrapers. Dubai is out of this world. With each impressive structure built, there are four more in the works. Going to the top of the Burj Khalifa to see the most impressive skyline on earth is the definitive bucket list item.

  • 17 Fabulous and Fun Things to do in Dubai

35. Go Sandboarding in Huacachina – Peru

I never expected sand dunes in Peru to be so massive. When we booked a bus ticket to Huacachina in Peru, we thought we’d be sitting in a tiny oasis, but instead, we were surrounded by the largest sand dunes we’ve ever seen. The way to explore them is to take a dune buggy tour or to hop on a sandboard and glide down them. You’ll be covered in sand, but what a hoot and it is something you must try at least once in your life.

  • 24 Best Things to do in Peru

36. Cross the Shibuya Scramble in Tokyo

Until you’ve seen Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo with your own eyes, it’s difficult to comprehend the number of people that take this crossing every few minutes each day. A quarter-million people cross this intersection each day. The best way to see this bucket list item is to go to the top of Magnet’s Mag 7 from the glassed-in viewing area.

  • Awesome Things to do in Tokyo, Japan
  • Best Day Trips from Tokyo

37. Golden Temple – India

The Taj Mahal may top everyone’s bucket list, but we found the Golden Temple of Amritsar to be a more authentic experience. Don’t get me wrong, the Taj Mahal is a wonder to see, but the Golden Temple is a beautiful display that is still a working temple. Join one hundred thousand pilgrims each day as they pay their respects to Sikkhism’s most holy site.

  • Golden Temple of Amritsar – India’s Shining Star

38. Road trip to the Grand Canyon

I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from the Grand Canyon, but during our road trip through California and Arizona we popped into the Grand Canyon and I was taken aback by its beauty and sheer size. The Grand Canyon is on everyone’s American travel bucket list and it is spectacular. The Colorado River cuts through the 466 km long (277 mile) Colorado Plateau canyon of the Colorado Plateau and let me tell you, a pop in won’t do it justice. you must get out and explore the beauty of America’s natural wonder.

  • 15 Fun Facts That You Need to Know About the Grand Canyon
  • The Absolute Best Things to do in The Grand Canyon
  • United States National Parks in Photos

39. Amazon River – Peru

The mighty Amazon River is the largest river by water volume in the world and it is the land of legends. It still feels as if much of the Amazon River Basin has yet to be explored. When you set out on a river cruise through the Amazon, you can almost feel what it was like to be an early exploring cutting their way through the largest jungle on earth.

  • What to Expect on an Amazon River Cruise – Life on the River

40. Marvel at the Glaciers of Greenland

Glaciers are melting fast on this planet and nowhere on earth is it more prevalent than in Greenland. Visit the world’s most active calving glacier in Ilulissat and sail through a sea of floating skyscrapers of ice. Icebergs dwarfed our ship as we explored the west coast of Greenland on this truly magnificent bucket list adventure.

  • Kayaking in Greenland – The Greatest Arctic Adventure in Photos

41.Swim with Whale Sharks

There is something truly magical about swimming with whale sharks. While it might be a frenzy of tourists beaming with excitement below is calm and quiet. To see these gentle giants glide effortlessly through the sea is the ultimate bucket list travel experience. There are many places to swim with whale sharks around the world, most notably off the coast of Cancun Mexico, and in the Philippines.

  • Swimming with Whale Sharks Cancun – A Massive Adventure

42. Hornblower at Niagara Falls

Okay, we cannot forget to include going into the center of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara, Ontario. We have always taken this bucket list adventure for granted because we live so close to Niagara Falls, but when you go on the Hornblower, it truly is a spectacular scene. Feel the power of one of the world’s largest waterfalls as you sit at the bottom of the plunging waters. It is so powerful that everyone gets a rain poncho to wear on the boat. If you make your way to Canada, don’t miss seeing Niagara Falls.

There are so many things to do in Niagara Falls, the Hornblower is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our full round-up of Our Favourite Things to do in Niagara Falls – Plus Where to Eat & Where to Stay

And these are our most amazing bucket list travels on earth. We’ve been lucky to be able to see and do all of these bucket list adventures in our lifetime. As I went through this list, I cannot believe that we have experienced each and every one of these. It all started by creating a dream list a decade ago, and now we have achieved travels beyond our wildest imagination. We can’t wait to add more when we can travel again.

  • 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World to Visit – That We’ve Been
  • Beautiful Isolated Places on Earth – In Photos
  • 31 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
  • 16 of the Best Cities in Spain – Beautiful Places to Visit Right Now
  • How to Travel Around the World – The Ultimate Travel Resource

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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5 thoughts on “Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime”

wow such a wonderful list for everyone. I am from India and I was surprised when I saw the golden temple on your list because everyone includes the Taj mahal in their top list when anyone visits India. waiting for your next blog. ok, take care of each other Dave and Deb.

Chopta Chandrashila Deoria Tal Trek is a prestigious package for visitors to Chopta, which has mesmerizing panoramic Views of beautiful Himalayan peaks.It’s 5km and takes about 3 hours. We can organize a trip for you to this amazing destination. The hike up to Deoria Tal, amidst dense forests and filled with Rhododendrons (in summer) is part of the Chopta-Chandrashila trek. There is a famous Hindu story about it. When the 5 Pandavas were on their way to heaven, they stopped at the place and tasted the water.

I love these bucket list places to travel to!! Some of my favorites from the list were going to see the Churchill polar bears, kayaking in Antarctica, the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Northern Lights. This blog post reminds me of all the beautiful places I have yet to see and cannot wait to go to!

What an amazing compilation of great places. Cant wait to travel after this pandemic.

The Harmiandir Sahib (Golden Temple) of Amritsar has a unique distinction of offering free food at Langar Seva — The world’s largest community kitchen. People visiting the Golden temple must not miss the Langar food.

Thanks for curating a great list.

Travel with Jasmine

Top Bucket List Tips & Picks Must-Visits in North America

north america travel bucket list

North America, with its enormous landscapes, rich history, and different cultures, is a treasure trove of bucket list locations for tourists seeking exceptional experiences. This continent offers something to fascinate every explorer, from amazing natural wonders and national parks to busy renowned cities and cultural destinations. North America offers it everything, whether you’re looking for exhilarating outdoor activities, wildlife encounters, historical and cultural treasures, or gourmet delights.

Table of Contents

Buckle up, my fellow travelers! It’s time to explore the wild and beautiful world of bucket list locations in North America. This continent has it everything, from breathtaking natural treasures to pulsing metropolitan centers. North America will never cease to surprise, whether you’re an adrenaline seeker looking for outdoor thrills or a cultural tourist yearning dynamic metropolitan life. So take your camera, your spirit of adventure, and prepare to cross these incredible events off your bucket list.

Natural Wonders: Unforgettable Landscapes and National Parks

1. majestic mountains and breathtaking peaks.

Prepare to have your breath taken away and your jaw dropped by the breathtaking mountain ranges of North America. These peaks are a playground for outdoor lovers, from the towering Rockies in Canada to the rough Sierra Nevada in the United States. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a hard climb or a casual nature lover looking for breathtaking views, these mountains will leave you speechless and yearning for more.

2. Tranquil Lakes and Pristine Waterfalls

Nothing quite calms the spirit like the peacefulness of a calm lake or the hypnotic surge of a beautiful waterfall. North America is brimming with stunning natural treasures, each more enthralling than the last. From the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe to the thunderous force of Niagara Falls, these treasures provide a welcome respite from the stresses of everyday life. So take a picnic blanket, relax, and let Mother Nature do her thing.

3. Enchanting Coastal Landscapes and Beaches

All beachgoers, unite! The coastal vistas of North America are poised to take your breath away with their splendor. There’s something for every sandy-footed tourist, from the craggy coasts of Big Sur to the lovely beaches of the Caribbean. Whether you want to lounge on the beach or surf the waves, these coastal places will have you saying “Aloha” to breathtaking sunsets and “Hello” to a soul-refreshing sea wind.

Iconic Cities and Cultural Hotspots: Must-See Urban Destinations

1. the vibrant metropolis: exploring urban marvels.

The inherent appeal of lively metropolises in North America is as seductive as a fresh donut on a Sunday morning. From the glitz and glamor of Times Square in New York City to the laid-back appeal of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, these metropolitan wonders provide an intoxicating combination of culture, history, and never-ending excitement. Prepare to walk through crowded streets, eat a variety of cuisines, and feel the magnetic energy of these great cities.

2. Cultural Hubs: Museums, Galleries, and Historical Sites

Prepare to have your senses tingling with excitement in North America’s cultural hotspots if you’re a culture lover. These cities are teeming with artistic expression and historical treasures, from the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. to the vibrant art scene in Montreal. Immerse yourself in enthralling exhibits, get lost in world-class galleries, and let your inner history buff luxuriate in the stories told by awe-inspiring landmarks.

3. Architectural Marvels: Landmarks and Iconic Structures

Architectural wonders that make us stop and marvel at human ingenuity are unquestionably interesting. North America is home to a plethora of these breathtaking structures, each more renowned than the last. From New York’s Statue of Liberty to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, these icons are not only physically magnificent, but also bore testament to the passion and ingenuity of their individual towns. Take a selfie, appreciate the craftsmanship, and let these incredible constructions take your breath away.

Unparalleled Wildlife Encounters: Wildlife Safaris and Sanctuaries

1. national parks and reserves: spotting native wildlife.

All animal lovers, unite! The national parks and reserves of North America are eager to present you to some of the world’s most amazing species. Witness the elegance of a stately moose or the stealth of a prowling cougar in their natural settings. From Yellowstone National Park’s enormous expanses to the tropical delights of the Everglades, these protected sites offer a shelter for wildlife enthusiasts looking for remarkable encounters with local animals.

2. Marine Adventures: Whale Watching and Sealife Encounters

Dive into the waters of North America and ready to be enchanted by its aquatic treasures. These aquatic activities give insights into a world rarely seen by land-bound tourists, from the magnificent humpback whales of Alaska to the fun dolphins off the coast of Mexico. Get on a boat, grab your binoculars, and watch the magic unfold as you see these incredible creatures in their natural home.

3. Birdwatching Havens: Exploring Avian Biodiversity

North America is a treasure mine of avian species for ardent birdwatchers. These havens will have you reaching for your bird guidebook and camera, from the beautiful plumage of tropical parrots in Central America to the sweeping migrations of snow geese in the Great Lakes. Take out your binoculars, put on your explorer hat, and get ready for a symphony of chirps and songs as you explore the fascinating world of birds.

So, whether you’re looking for the majesty of nature, cultural immersion, or wildlife encounters, North America offers it all. It’s time to dust off your bucket list and start crossing these outstanding events off your list – adventure awaits!

Adventure Seekers’ Paradise: Thrilling Activities and Outdoor Adventures

1. hiking and trekking: conquering challenging trails.

Calling all nature lovers and anyone who enjoy a good challenge! North America has a plethora of spectacular hiking and trekking paths that will test your boundaries while rewarding you with breathtaking surroundings. There is no shortage of possibilities for daring adventurers, from the rough terrains of the Appalachian Trail to the breathtaking grandeur of the Canadian Rockies. So lace up your boots, pack your munchies, and prepare to face some of the world’s most difficult and rewarding routes.

2. Water Sports and Aquatic Adventures

If you’re more of a water baby, don’t worry! There are several possibilities in North America to quench your hunger for aquatic experiences. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Florida Keys for world-class snorkeling, or try your hand at surfing California’s famed waves. Either go white-water rafting down Colorado’s wild rivers or kayak across Canada’s immaculate lakes. Water sports and aquatic experiences in North America will create a splash, whether you’re a novice searching for a new pastime or an experienced adrenaline seeker looking for the ultimate kick.

For those looking for a rush of excitement, North America has a plethora of extreme sports to choose from. Feel the wind in your hair as you skydive over Hawaii’s gorgeous landscapes, bungee jump over bridges in the Pacific Northwest, or zip line through Costa Rica’s lush woods. Whether you’re searching for a death-defying leap or a thrilling high-speed ride, these extreme sports will give you a rush that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Just make sure you have adequate coverage for those heart-pounding occasions!

3. Historical and Cultural Gems: Immersive Experiences and Heritage Sites

History lovers, rejoice! North America is full with amazing historic neighborhoods and landmarks just waiting to be discovered. From the cobblestone lanes of Boston’s Freedom Trail to San Antonio’s famed Alamo, there are several opportunities to travel back in time and immerse yourself in the continent’s rich legacy. Take a stroll through the lovely alleyways, listen to enthralling stories from skilled guides, and watch the past come to life in front of your eyes.

Furthermore, North America is home to a rich tapestry of Indigenous cultures, each with its own distinct set of traditions, dialects, and legends. Visit cultural institutions, attend powwows, or participate in guided tours to learn about and appreciate the rich tradition of Native American communities. Immersing oneself in Indigenous culture, from the Navajo Nation in Arizona to the Inuit settlements of Canada’s Arctic, is a significant approach to develop a better knowledge of North America’s beginnings.

4. Living Museums: Historic Reenactments and Heritage Sites

Have you ever pondered what life was like in the past? Living museums in North America bring history to life via immersive experiences and reenactments. Step into the shoes of a Civil War soldier at Gettysburg or see how early settlers lived in Colonial Williamsburg. These living museums transport you back in time, allowing you to engage with costumed interpreters and obtain a hands-on understanding of the past. It’s like walking through a living history book!

Culinary Delights: Foodie Destinations and Gastronomic Experiences

1. food capitals: exploring culinary hotspots.

Calling all foodies! North America is a foodie’s desire, with a plethora of culinary locations just waiting to be discovered. There are numerous possibilities to delight your taste buds, from New Orleans’ dynamic culinary culture to Portland’s unique cuisines. Tour busy food markets and go on scrumptious culinary excursions that will take you on a gastronomic adventure unlike any other. Remember to bring some stretchy pants!

2. Regional Specialties: Unique Dishes and Flavors

Discovering the various regional delicacies that distinguish each place is one of the many thrills of touring North America. Whether it’s a deep-dish pizza in Chicago, poutine in Montreal, or fresh lobster in Maine, make sure to sample the local flavors wherever you travel. North America’s regional delicacies will leave you wanting more, from hearty comfort dishes to inventive gourmet creations. Good appetite!

Finally, North America’s bucket list locations provide a world of adventure and enchantment. This continent has something for every tourist, from breathtaking natural beauties to dynamic cities, rich history, and gastronomic pleasures. Whether you’re looking for adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a chance to relax amid stunning scenery, North America has it all. So, organize your schedule, pack your luggage, and get ready to cross off those must-see sites. North America’s treasures await, ready to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

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The 2024 travel bucket list

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A palace in the snow in Sweden

Digging a snow cave and sleeping in it was a "boyhood dream" of mine, said Kevin Rushby in The Guardian, but not one it has been easy to realise in the UK. In the icy forests of central Sweden, however, it's a realistic goal – and Do The North can help you achieve it. This adventure company runs week-long trips that feel "like going away with a gang of friends" – kayaking and camping on Sweden's islands in the summer, and exploring the wilds of Dalarna province in the winter. 

The first stop in Dalarna is an "idyllic" cabin in the woods, with log burners, lanterns, antique furniture and a sauna. Activities include cross-country skiing and ice-skating, and an "extraordinary" range of kit (including beautiful old sleds) is then distributed for an expedition up to the alpine plateau of the Fulufjället National Park. There, you learn how to put up a tent in a blizzard – and, if conditions are right, those who want to can dig a snow hole. On my trip, we created a "palace", with reindeer skins and niches for candles. Wonderfully cosy within it, I enjoyed "one of the best night's sleep I've ever had". 

The trip costs from £1,437pp ($1,821); dothenorth.com

Big Sky: glamour in Montana

For decades, Big Sky was off the radar of most winter sports enthusiasts: "being somewhat difficult to get to, and offering great skiing but not much else". But this resort in Montana is "in the midst of a transformation", said Gloria Liu in Travel + Leisure, with "increasingly luxe" accommodation, and ever-more "hip" bars and restaurants. And there are now more direct flights to nearby Bozeman from cities including New York. 

It still can't rival the "off-mountain glitz" of Aspen or Jackson, but its "down-to-earth vibe" has an appeal of its own – as does the sheer quantity and quality of skiing to be had here. Big Sky is the third-largest ski resort in North America, after Whistler Blackcomb and Park City Resort. It has more thrilling advanced terrain than any other US resort, but also has a lot to offer beginner and intermediate skiers. Among the resort's swankiest hotels are the Montage and the Yellowstone Club, and a One&Only resort is due to open in 2025. Expert skiers might also enjoy a few nights at the Summit Hotel, which offers early morning lift access to some of the most challenging slopes.

Raiatea: a delightful island in French Polynesia

Crowned with verdant volcanic peaks and encircled by a lagoon so translucent that to float in it feels like "levitation", the island of Raiatea is a sliver of heaven in the heart of the South Pacific, said Oliver Smith in the FT. Often said to be "Hawaiki", the central homeland of Polynesian mythology, it belongs to the Society Islands, one of five archipelagos that make up French Polynesia. But while some nearby islands, such as Tahiti and Bora Bora, are quite urbanised and touristy, Raiatea is the sort of place where "people still wave to passers-by". There are a dozen villages around its coast, with "peach-coloured" Protestant churches, and bungalows with corrugated iron roofs that "chime like glockenspiels during tropical downpours". 

The island offers wonderful walking, snorkelling, kayaking and sailing, and also has one of Polynesia's greatest archaeological sites, the temple of Taputapuatea, from which the priest Tupaia joined Captain Cook on his first Pacific voyage, in 1769. 

See tahititourisme.uk , raiatea-lodge-hotel.com , and tahitiyachtcharter.com

The Algarve's mellow charm in winter

I used to be dismissive of the Algarve, said Audrey Gillan in The Times, imagining it as "a place for golfers and fly-and-floppers who like a drink". But then I visited this region, in the far south of Portugal, saw what lay beyond the bars and golf courses – including glorious beaches, elegant old towns, and beautiful hiking trails – and liked it so much that I moved here. My favourite time of year is the low season, when it's less busy, but the weather is often mild and sunny, and the sea, though nippy, "is still dippable". 

The regional capital, Faro, is a "funky" city with a pretty, cobblestoned historic centre and lots of fine modernist architecture. From there, you might take the train east along the coast, stopping at the enchanting fishing town of Olhão (which is where I live) and "lovely" Tavira. Among the "chicest" of the region's five-star hotels is the Vila Vita Parc, which has a restaurant with two well-deserved Michelin stars, and also manages some "luxurious" holiday lets with butler service. But there's also plenty of excellent accommodation at more affordable rates (such as Casa Âmago and Morgado do Quintão), and many other wonderful restaurants (I particularly recommend Austa, in Almancil, and Alameda, in Faro).

Beautiful Grenada's dramatic past

Grenada is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt islands in the Lesser Antilles, said Mark Stratton in The Daily Telegraph – and that is partly because of the short-lived socialist revolution of 1983, which scared off the big hotel chains just as prime coastlines in other Caribbean nations were disappearing under concrete. Today, roughly 80% of the island's tourist accommodation sits close to the pretty capital, Saint George's, beyond which lie towering mountains, undeveloped beaches, coastal villages and "bird-rich" rainforest – all "a delight to explore". 

There are spice farms too, as well as small-scale, "bean-to-bar" chocolate makers, most of which are open to visitors. And here and there you find reminders of the tragic events of 40 years ago, when the violent overthrow by hardliners of the country's moderate socialist leader, Maurice Bishop, prompted the US to invade and occupy Grenada for two years. Eeriest of all is the disused Pearls Airport, where two Russian-made planes still stand, decaying, as though US marines had only withdrawn a few weeks ago.

Art and culture in Turin

Turin doesn't enjoy the same fame as "fashion-fuelled" Milan, but I've always preferred it to its relatively "brash" neighbour, said Nick Trend in The Daily Telegraph. Long the seat of the Duchy of Savoy and, from 1861 to 1865, the capital of newly unified Italy, it is a handsome city, with baroque avenues and squares, and its fine museums make it one of Europe's most indispensable destinations for art enthusiasts. 

Among the best are the Sabauda Gallery (Old Masters); the Museo Egizio (which "outguns" the British Museum with its ancient Egyptian treasures collection); and the Castello di Rivoli, Italy's "leading museum of contemporary art". Most distinctive, however, is the Lingotto building, the old Fiat factory on the roof of which Michael Caine's gang raced Minis in "The Italian Job". Built in the 1920s, it is one of the world's most beautiful concrete structures, and now houses an excellent art museum, the Pinacoteca Agnelli.

A new tour of Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc stands proud as Western Europe's highest peak. Its snowy slopes and rocky ridges have long attracted adventurers seeking an ultimate high. Yet for those after a more immersive adventure, a high without ascending the heights, Inntravel is introducing a new Tour of Mont Blanc holiday for 2024. The 11-night trip offers a variation on the classic Tour de Mont Blanc, a Grand Randonnée route, taking in France, Italy and Switzerland, with a non-stop panorama of some of Europe's finest mountain scenery. Inntravel's holiday allows for a rest day in Courmayeur, as well as shortening certain sections through use of shuttle buses or riding by cable car, itself an iconic Alpine experience. 

Available from 26 June to 15 September 2024. Price from £2,195 ($2,727) per person based on two sharing, including 11 nights' b&b accommodation, four dinners, route notes and maps. Flights extra. Guests can also travel from London by rail, from £2,735 ($3,398) per person: UK to Paris (Eurostar), Paris to Geneva (TGV); inntravel.co.uk  

Highlights of Japan family holiday

Intrepid Travel will have more than 100 new itineraries on its 2024 calendar. One of the trips is a "Japan Highlights" holiday, where families can learn the spiritual traditions of the country, from geishas and temples in Kyoto, to modern youth culture of quirky fashion, street art, and hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants in Harajuku. They'll also stay at a rural tea farm and see how tea is harvested by local farmers.

The eight-day trip starts from Tokyo and finishes in Osaka. Seven breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, transport (Metro, local train, bullet train) and accommodation (hotel for six nights and a farm stay for one night) are included. From £2,709 ($3,435) per person; intrepidtravel.com  

Wilderness walking: highlights of the Highlands

This new nine-night, fully guided trip by Wilderness Scotland combines the very best of the Highlands' wild beauty with superb, luxury hotels, offering the finest seasonal food, all while enjoying some stunning hiking. Highlights include a boat trip to the remote shores of Loch Coruisk on Skye; hiking in Glencoe in the company of red deer and golden eagles; a visit to the Culloden battlefield; hiking in the Cairngorms National Park; and guided tours of Scone Palace and the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre. The group will stay in the Highlands' most sumptuous hotels, including the Fife Arms and Isle of Eriska Hotel. 

Price from £4,895 ($6,205) per person sharing, including nine nights' accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart 6 May, 3 June or 26 August 2024; wildernessscotland.com  

Ski and surf adventure across Chile

Embark on an extraordinary Chilean adventure with Pelorus that blends heart-pounding skiing in the Andes with breathtaking surfing at Punta de Lobos. Starting at El Morado Lodge, in the Maipo River valley, a week of helicopter-assisted skiing unfolds, guided by experts with decades of experience traversing the Central Andes and Patagonia. Transitioning to a private ski lodge in Curico, your journey takes you closer to the allure of Pichilemu’s coastal treasures and the iconic waves of Punta de Lobos. Days are flexible, allowing you to choose between skiing and surfing as conditions and whims dictate. 

From July to December 2024, eight nights from £30,000 ($37,253) per person; pelorusx.com

Loch Ness, The Jacobite and Skye rail tour

The Adventure People has launched a new collection of train-based tours in Scotland and Ireland, including an itinerary to Loch Ness, The Jacobite and Skye. Running from April to October 2024, the trip departs from Glasgow and ends in Edinburgh. Guests will travel on the stunning West Highland Line, including a journey on the world famous Jacobite steam train. Other highlights include exploring the rugged beauty of the Isle of Skye, enjoying a cruise on Loch Ness, catching a glimpse of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and discovering the lively capital of the Highlands, Inverness. 

Price includes accommodation in small hotels or b&bs, daily breakfast, two lunches and three dinners. Seven days from £2,273 ($2,823) per person; theadventurepeople.com  

Nepal: hike the Forbidden Kingdom

Journey into the heart of the mystical and untouched Himalayas in Nepal. Take your own spiritual journey through the Forbidden Kingdom with Pelorus, exploring the very landscapes that have captivated adventurers for generations – a privilege granted to only a few. Embark on an unforgettable three-day trek through the rain shadow of the Himalayas, leading you to the mystical kingdom of Lo Manthang. Traverse arid deserts, ancient caves and snow-capped peaks as you forge your path. 

The journey culminates in an extraordinary helicopter ride back to Kathmandu, a spectacular flight between the towering walls of Fishtail and Annapurna South, granting you an unparalleled perspective of Annapurna Peak, Gangapurna and the lake town of Pokhara. 

From March to May and September to October 2024; 12 nights from £22,000 ($27,888) per person; pelorusx.com  

A £1m three-month family world tour

Luxury tour operator Destinology has launched one of the world's most expensive family holidays – a three-month trip to Africa, India, Asia, Australia and Dubai that costs £1 million for two adults and two children. Departing London on 10 April 2024 and returning on 20 July 2024, these travellers will visit a total of 10 countries, and accommodation will include the finest city hotels, exclusive wilderness lodges, beautiful rainforest cabins and luxury glamping. All air travel is business class or by private helicopter charter. 

Prices start from £250,000 ($316,916) per person based on four people travelling. Includes all flights, luxury accommodation throughout and excursions; tailor-made-holidays.destinology.co.uk  

An expedition into Chad's Sahara Desert

Chad's Ennedi Desert is typically only ventured into by nomads and their camel trains. In 2024, Explorations Company is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for intrepid adventurers to join a small group expedition into this Unesco World Heritage site. Guests will experience a privately guided safari at Warda Camp and a camel trek across the Sahara, with expert guides on hand throughout their off-the-grid two-week trip. And to soak up the breathtaking landscape from a different perspective, a helicopter trip taking in the Tibesti Mountains and Zakouma National Park can be arranged too. 

From $23,000 (£18,340) per person based on a group of six. Price is based on a two-week trip, excluding helicopter supplement and international flights; explorationscompany.com

A Swiss heli-ski safari

Thrill-seeking skiers can take their passion to new heights with this 10-day cross-border itinerary curated by Leo Trippi, winner of the best ski travel agent at the World Ski Awards in 2023 for a record 10th year in a row. Take a helicopter to the top of some of the best peaks in the most renowned resorts in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps before carving your way off-piste, across remote mountains and down glaciers. No two heli-ski safaris are the same, with guests being encouraged to tailor their adventure to suit their preferences. And, for those looking to improve their snow skills, lessons with the likes of Marc Garcia and Jean-Jacques Rey can even be arranged too. 

From CHF24,000 (£21,666/$27,170) per person based on a group of eight including transfers, accommodation, ski guide, ski passes and ski rental;  leotrippi.com

 The 2024 travel bucket list


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