It’s exciting to visit new places, try new things, and witness the beauty of the world we call home. There are hundreds of lovely, naturally-crafted locales across the country just waiting to be experienced. This blog lists a few favorites from the corners of our nation.
The Appalachian Trail
Beginning in Maine, as far to the American northeast as one can travel, you’ll find one end of the Appalachian Trail. This 2,185 mile long public pathway weaves through various climates, scenes, and states, eventually winding down to Georgia. You can pick up the trail at any point in the 14 states it weaves through, or, if you’re more adventurous and have some time, start on one end and travel all the way to the other. With an incredible variety of plant and animal wildlife to behold, and multiple educational opportunities along the way, the Appalachian Trail is well worth the time of nature lovers of any age.
Buck Island Reef
Far to the southeast of the United States are the Virgin Islands. One island in particular, Buck Island, is home to an underwater cornucopia of sea life. The island itself is 176 acres, but the reef around it is 4,554 acres and houses over 250 species of fish, various sharks, rays, and turtles. Though the park is visited by a large number of tourists each year, it is a fiercely protected ecosystem with multiple locally-threatened species. If you’d like to learn about these species, explore the enormous reef, and vacation in the water, the Buck Island Reef may be for you.
The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona and Utah offers a stark change in climate from the Virgin Islands, but no less beautiful. This 112,500-acre park has naturally-streaked desert walls, enormous red-rock amphitheaters, and many hanging gardens. Multiple desert faces and a diverse selection of wildlife – including bighorn sheep and deer – encourage thousands of tourists, hikers, and photographers to travel here every year. There are several campgrounds in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs area (some of which may require permits), so plan ahead and stay at one of the many landscapes most attractive to you.
Aniakchak lies along the southern tip of Alaska. Centered on a 6-mile crater of ancient Mount Aniakchak, this natural monument features Surprise Lake, the Gates (where Surprise Lake flows into the Pacific Ocean), and Vent Mountain. This is, by far, the most adventurous destination on our list. Getting to Aniakchak is difficult as the weather is often cloudy and windy. Most travelers fly in by floatplane, but some attempt to hike in from a nearby village. It is a beautiful area rich with caribou, moose, brown bears, gray wolves, and wolverines. If you love the woods and wildlife, then this is the trip for you.
Before you take any of these trips (perhaps Aniakchak in particular), consult your physician and investigate your destination thoroughly. Remember: safety first. Get out there and enjoy the sights, sounds, and sensations America has to offer.