MY 7 FAVORITE PLACES TO VISIT IN THE USA

After traveling across the continental United States as part of multiple cross-country road trips (you never really realize how big Texas is until you drive through it. Damn that state is big!), I wanted to share some of my favorite places in the United States with you. I’ve already talked about my favorite restaurants and lessons learned, so it only seems proper to give you a list of the best places to visit in the USA when you come and travel here!

In no particular order, here’s my detailed list of the best places to visit in the USA:

(Note: This list is based only on where I myself have been. There are a lot more incredibly breathtaking places I haven’t explored yet, which is why you don’t see them on this list!)
 

1. Memphis

The restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee lit up at night
Image Credit : Google

Gritty, industrial, and a bit run down, Memphis appears like its best days are behind it, but don’t let the rough exterior fool you — the city is still home to some killer food and a vibrant blues music scene. Additionally, there’s Graceland (Elvis’s home) for fans of the King, a big waterfront for walking, and the phenomenal, detailed, and moving Museum of Civil Rights (it’s huge, so don’t rush it!). I enjoyed the city more than I expected and was disappointed when I had to leave. To use a cliché, it’s a hidden gem!

Hostel Memphis – A hip hostel in a century-old building with a fully-equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. The hostel is also a non-profit that donates 100% of its profit to social justice causes around the city.
 

2. Austin

Austin, Texas skyline at dusk shining over the water
Image Credit : Google

I love my new home (I moved here in 2016). The warm weather, the lively honky-tonks and live music, funky house bars on Rainey Street, amazing hiking and biking trails, and tons of outdoor activities… Austin has it all.

Thanks to everything from the growing food truck population to the flagship Whole Foods store with the incredible salad bar (grilled pineapple!), I eat — and eat well — nonstop. The Austin campus of the University of Texas provides a youthful vigor to the city, and its liberal attitude attracts a diverse and eclectic population. In short, you can’t skip Austin, because if you do, I’ll find you and drag you there.

WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTIN: Firehouse Hostel – This centrally-located hostel is located in an old firehall from 1885. They have fast Wi-Fi, plenty of chill common areas, and an amazing on-site bar that serves top-notch craft cocktails.

3. New Orleans

The beautiful and historic buildings of New Orleans, USA at night
Image Credit : Google

New Orleans is a city with soul. It’s seen some hard times, but it lives on with a zest for life unmatched by most places. It has a rich and long history (don’t miss taking a haunted walking tour while you’re here) and is filled with scrumptious French-inspired Creole and Cajun food, live jazz music, street performers, and an appreciation for all the temptations of life. Life is lived well here in the Big Easy. You don’t come here to relax — you come here to indulge! In my opinion, New Orleans one of the most eclectic and vibrant cities in the United States.

WHERE TO STAY IN NOLA: HI New Orleans – An award-winning hostel with spacious dorms, comfy beds, privacy curtains, and fast Wi-Fi. Everything a budget traveler needs!

4. Asheville

A massive old mansion surrounded by visitors in Asheville, North Carolina
Image Credit : Google

Asheville is Portland in the North Carolina mountains: full of tasty craft beer, food, and hipsters. I liked the area a lot, including its proximity to some wonderful and scenic mountain hikes such as the Carolina Mountain Trail. Moreover, the town has a lot of parks for those wanting something closer — and be sure to check out the Ashville Botanical Gardens near the university campus. The beautiful Smoky Mountains are a short drive away, and the gigantic Biltmore estate, the largest privately owned home in the US and once home to George Vanderbilt, is on the outskirts of the city.

If you’ve ever seen Downton Abbey, that’s what the house is like! (And, if you haven’t, you should! The show is addicting!)

WHERE TO STAY IN ASHEVILLE: Bon Paul & Sharky’s – A laid-back hsotel with a spacious front and back porch for relaxing. There’s free parking, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of nearby restaurants and cafes.

5. The Pacific Coastal Drive

A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean from the Pacific Coastal Drive
Image Credit : Google

The drive up the Pacific Coast is considered one of the most scenic in the world. I have to agree. I didn’t travel the whole coast but the portion I drove (San Francisco to Portland) was incredible: sheer cliffs, forests descending to the shoreline, miles of beaches, and giant redwoods. It’s jaw-dropping all the way. Be prepared to make slow progress, as you’ll be pulling over frequently to stop, hike, and admire the view. I especially liked Bandon and Coos Bay, Oregon, and Mendocino, California.

WHERE TO STAY ON THE PACFIC COAST HIGHWAY: Airbnb – Airbnb is your best bet here, unless you have camping gear and want to camp in one of the many parks. There are also lots of cheap motels along the highway too.

6. Redwood National Park

Towering redwood trees in the Redwood National Park, California during the day
Image Credit : Google

Along the Pacific Coast is Redwood National Park, a large expanse of giant redwood trees filled with picnic areas, places to camp, and miles upon miles of hiking trails. Trails range from easy to strenuous, and there are many loops that head out to nearby beaches. It’s utterly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and humbling in every way. It’s a must for anyone road-tripping around California.

WHERE TO STAY IN REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK: View Crest Lodge – Located on the coast in Trinidad, this rustic budget-friendly lodge has basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and TV, and some of their rooms also have full kitchens. It’s a clean, comfy no-frills place to crash for a night.

7. Glacier National Park

Calm waters and snow-capped mountains in Glacier National Park
Image Credit : Google

Even though I visited when most of the park was still closed (it was too early in the year and there was still snow around), I was still stunned by the area: gorgeous snow-topped mountains rising high into the sky; a beautiful, still lake in which to admire those mountains and large glaciers; and hiking trails galore. It was the most mind-blowing place I saw on my trip, and I can understand why everyone raves about it. I can’t recommend a visit there enough.

WHERE TO STAY IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARKCamping – Pack (or rent) a tent and cozy up for a few nights under the stars. You won’t be disappointed.

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