I have been fortunate enough to visit many gorgeous and fascinating places around the world. I was raised in Italy, now live in the United States in Utah, and have had the opportunity to visit destinations such as England, Russia, Spain, and Kenya. I’ve climbed mountains, swam in various lakes and seas, and trekked through ancient cobblestone streets. I’ve tried a variety of different cuisines and conversed with people of other nationalities in their native tongues. I hope I have the opportunity to keep on traveling for as long as I can, but I’ve probably already seen more parts of the world than most people do in a lifetime.
Anyway, I’m getting a little carried away. The point of this post is not to brag about my extensive travel experience, but rather to highlight some natural wonders in the United States that will make you feel as though you’ve not just left the country, but set foot on another planet. I hope that everyone gets the chance to travel internationally and experience new cultures, but experiencing someplace truly spectacular may be simpler than you think. Don’t lose sight of the beauty of America in your thirst to explore new places- if you’ve got a car and some time on your hands, get out there and experience these natural wonders for yourself.
- Bryce Canyon, Utah
Lucky for me, this beautiful national park is practically in my backyard! Well okay, not really- it’s about a four hour drive, but in the grand scheme of things that’s not so bad. It’s an easy day trip. If you want to feel small and awestruck, all you need do is take a walk through what blogger Hal Amen describes as “a vast eroded amphitheater, populated with hoodoos. The hoodoos, crimson-colored outcroppings of rock, really need to be seen in person. Words just don’t do them justice!
- The Wave, Arizona
Take one step into the aptly-named “Wave” located in Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness near the Utah-Arizona border, and you’ll feel as though you’ve been sucked into a surrealist painting or landed on the surface of Mars. You’ll want to make sure you have steady feet and are not easily nauseous, because this rippling red sandstone formation is enough to send anyone for a spin! Trust me though, any disorientation you may feel is totally worth it for the amazing views you’ll be rewarded with- the contrast of clear blue sky against fiery red rock is beyond compare.
- Northern Lights, Alaska
The Northern lights look like something out of a fantasy world, and you don’t even have to leave the country to see them! Sure, Alaska is a bit of a hike by car, but it’s worth the miles to see this otherworldly site at least once in your lifetime. This rippling explosion of color across the sky should be on everyone’s bucket list. For optimal light-viewing conditions, travel to Fairbanks or Anchorage between September and April- wouldn’t want your trip to be a waste!
- Niagara Falls, New York
Okay, so technically Niagara falls is in the United States and Canada, and if you take a trip up to Buffalo to see them, there’s no reason you shouldn’t cross the border to take them in from the Canadian side as well as long as you have a passport. These majestic falls deserve to be viewed from every angle.
- Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
A lot of people probably have a picture in their head of what a cave is, from film and television, without ever having been in one. Physically entering a cave, walking through its damp, cavernous spaces is quite a different experience than merely viewing one from afar. With its stalagmites and stalactites jutting up from the ground and ceiling, you’ll definitely feel as if you’ve entered another world entirely.
I’m just skimming the surface here as far as beautiful natural wonders in the United States go. There are so many others (the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, etc.) that I left off the list, but I guarantee that if you just get out there and explore, you’ll find that you don’t have to travel very far to witness the beauty of America.