Since we can’t possibly talk about all the wonderful outdoor destinations even in just America, I’m sticking with those we’ve personally been to. Maybe we’ll add a Bucket List Page too, where you can chime in on your dream destination(s).
For most of us who love being outdoors, we want to experience as many great places as we can…but we also want to keep going back to the ones we love. It’s a dilemma!
For example—the picture above is the Teton Range in northwestern Wyoming. I was there with my family for only a week a few summers ago. I’d love to go back for a whole summer someday, especially since it butts right up against Yellowstone. What an amazing area!
The great American road trip
I was blessed to grow up in a road trip family. We went on lots of them with my parents—my four siblings and I and the family dog (and sometimes the cat) all piled in the back of our station wagon.
I went to college down in Tulsa, OK and then was blessed to meet friends from all over the country. The road trips continued on many of my semester breaks. I went home with friends to places like North Carolina, Florida, California and Oregon.
Our own kids have grown up as road trippers now too. They’ve been to the Rockies, the Appalachians, Florida, West Virginia and all the states in between there and Minnesota.
Of course the great thing about road trips is you don’t just see your destination—you get to see everything in-between too. No, it’s not always exciting (which is one of the reasons audio books exist) but our country has a vast and diverse landscape that’s worth seeing.
The best places in your own state
Every state in the US has state, regional, county and city parks. Many of them host national parks too. All of those places are designed for you to enjoy the great outdoors.
Chances are there are several near you…near enough for a day trip. And there are several more that are near enough for a weekend trip. Some of them are beautiful enough to spend a week or more in.
If you have a tighter schedule, a tighter budget or younger children those are great places to start.
Maybe you could take a couple weeks, pack up the family or a couple friends, and go “park hopping.” Check out some of the more popular state parks near you and spend a couple days at each. Hike their most popular trails. Bring your bike to see even more.
You might end up with the same problem I have: I love the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota so much I rarely go to other places in the state. There are parts of Minnesota I’ve never been to, and I’ve lived here almost four decades!
But I know people who’ve barely left the Twin Cities. That’s a shame…get out there, people! There’s so much more to see.
You’ll like these, too…
- How to Plan an Epic Family Road Trip
- How to Find Local Parks & Trails
- 9 Ways to Survive the Crowds in the Outdoors’ Most Popular Places
Sharon is the founder and publisher of Active Outdoor Women. She loves getting outside in beautiful places to hike, paddle, camp, snowshoe, ski, ride—and encouraging others to come along! Besides maintaining AOW and her other website, Twin Cities Outdoors, Sharon writes and designs websites, newsletters, blogs, emails, books and other marketing tools for clients.