Our Favorite American Vacation Spots
US News recently listed their top 20 American vacation spots. While their list had some of the usual suspects like the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park, it doesn't have too many places off the beaten path. That's where we come in. With a little help from our friends here, we're happy to present our very own top
10 11 American vacation spots (in no particular order).
1. There's no place like home. This is a picture of my mother's beautiful backyard in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. If you want a peaceful, easy feeling, you can't beat sitting on the deck and listening to nature all around you here.
2. James suggests his now-native Washington, DC. You'll see the White House, the Capitol and many monuments. Visit Arlington Cemetery or travel 10 miles south to tour Mount Vernon. And, you can also add to James' annoyance and amusement by fumbling with your metro card, foolishly giving money to the homeless and getting yelled at for standing on the wrong side of the escalater. Sounds like a good time!
3. Gulf Shores National Seashore, Alabama: beaches so white, they could be confused for snow drifts. Lots of places to stay and the warm Gulf of Mexico to swim in. As always, beware of sharks ;-)
4. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness ,Minnesota: 4 million acres of wilderness and lakes untouched by anything with a motor (beyond the border lakes). Hear and see wolves, black bear, moose, bald eagles, and all the standard northern critters. A camper's paradise.
5. One of my favorite places in the world is New Braunfels, Texas. Located in between San Antonio and Austin, this is the perfect place to escape the summer heat by rafting down the Guadalupe River. Then, once you're rested up, head to Gruene Hall and catch people like the Old 97's, Junior Brown and Delbert McClinton in concert in a place that's hosted many a musical legend.
6. Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While Chattanooga has it's share of tourists traps, Lookout Mountain is pretty cool. You can ride the Incline Railway to the top of the mountain and tour the area of the Civil War's "Battle Above the Clouds". Personally, I like to get in a little history with my scenery.
7. Staying in Tennessee, I can't recommend Memphis enough. Sure, it's hot and humid in the summer, but after a few hours on Beale Street, you'll neither notice nor care. Go to Graceland if you must, but make sure you spend some time downtown. On Fridays, you can buy a wristband and drink, people watch and listen to music to your heart's content. Drag yourself out of bed Saturday morning and head over to the Peabody Hotel by 11 am to see the famous ducks march down to the hotel's fountain. It's weird, but worth it.
8. Acadia National Park in Maine isn't really off the beaten path (lots of these places aren't), but it is wild and beautiful. While some people prefer sandy beaches, wild, rocky coastlines are what really get to me. Acadia has plenty of those, as well as Cadillac Mountain, lobsters galore and miles of great hiking trails.
9. A continent away, La Jolla, California offers more in the way of wild waves and coastlines. It's no secret that I love La Jolla. It's beyond beautiful, has cool coves to explore, great little shops and at least one Mexican place that served some amazing fruit-infused tequila. If you're not in the mood for tequila, then relax at La Valencia Hotel's terrace and simply enjoy the view.
10. Oddly enough, this list is pretty Wisconsin heavy. What can I say? We are, after all, God's country. While many people will turn their noses up at the Wisconsin Dells, I think that Noah's Ark can't be beat, especially if you have kids. It's America's largest waterpark and for $30 (note, you can get 10% off if you order your tickets online) you get an all-day unlimited pass. I think that's an incredible bargain. In recent years, the Dells have kind of classed themselves up. It's not all about mocassins anymore. The hotels are better, the casino is decent and I bet you can even find a good meal or two. It's not glamourous, but it's definitely fun.
11. Finally, I'm going to put in a plug for my hometown, Madison, Wisconsin. Come here to see the most beautiful state Capitol in the country, stroll the Farmer's Market, have a brat, enjoy State Street and settle in for a beer on the University of Wisconsin's famous Union Terrace. Check it out, even in rainy weather, the Terrace is lovely. However, don't even think about trying to steal one of the sunburst chairs. Let me tell ya, it's been attempted by better people than you.
I limited my list to 11, so I'm missing so many places I love, like the Austin Motel, the Wind Point, WI lighthouse, the Rockies and more. It just goes to show that there's more to America than big cities and Disneyland (thank God ;-). I'd love to hear some more of your favorite vacation spots, although I understand if ya'll want to keep some secret. After all, who wants a crowd?
Posted by at July 5, 2005 12:03 PM
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|# July 6th, 2005 12:59 PM KVBigSis|
Ruby Beach, Washington. It's the first place I saw the Pacific Ocean, and I'll never forget it.
Mount Vernon. Where a George Washington fan really feels George Washington.
And for something completely different - Times Square. The noise! The people! The shows! The restaurants! The energy! I love it.
|# July 9th, 2005 12:24 AM countertop|
|Heh - I am all about Lookout Mountain, but would strognly suggesty getting down off the mountain itself to take in the true extent of history in this area. The Chickamauga portion of the battlefield is much more interesting than the potion on Lookout Mountain - or you can take a leisurly drive amongst the mansion's and monuments on Missionary Ridge where a young Medal of Honor receiptent named Lt. Arthur MacArthur (as in Gen Douglas MacArther's father) led the valient - if insubordinate - charge of the Army of Wisconsin with the battle cry "On Wisconsin" up the ridge that eventually helped the Union escape from Chattanooga and propelled Sherman on his march to Atlanta.
By the way, what tourists traps are you referring to exactly? Rock City? If you've been there, you'll know why its been America's favorite roadside attraction for 75 years and is hardly a tourist trap.
Chattanooga also has an excellent Aquarium, a great minor league baseball stadium, and the wonderful Children's Discovery Museum.