It sort of dawned on me the other day while I was flying back to the UK that I’d be spending the next five to six years in the US. In light of this revelation, I’ve put together, what I think is, a fairly manageable list of places to see in that time. I’ve no idea where I’ll end up after my PhD, so I’d really like to tick these places off!
Glacier National Park MT
The Glacier National Park in Montana was, as the name suggests, carved out by pre-existing glaciers. Stretching well over 1500 square miles, this national park covers much of the state of Montana and even crosses the country’s border into Canada. It honestly just looks magical.
Kenai Fjords National Park, AK
Alaska is a state that’s been on my travel bucket list for a while now, and the Kenai Fjords National Park is certainly one of the main reasons it’s on there. Comprised of fjords (as the name suggests), but also snow-capped mountains, and glaciers, this park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including black bears, sea otters, whales (!!), and sea lions. Get me there now!
Yosemite National Park CA
Located in California’s Sierra Mountains, Yosemite National Park takes up some 1,200 square miles. Though it’s famed for its waterfalls and those giant, ancient trees (Sequoias), Yosemite also features large meadows and deep valleys. Due to its diverse habitats, the park is home to well over 400 species of animals of which 40 have special endangered status. In fact, according to the nps.gov, three species – the grizzly bear, California red-legged frog, and foothill yellow-legged frog – are thought to be only present in the park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park HI
Ok. Let’s just clear this up. I have to go to Hawaii. There’s no questioning it. Anyway. Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have the active volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa at the very heart of the park. Volcanoes were always my favorite topic in geography, so it’d be educational, right..?
Niagara Falls State Park NY/Canada
My parents and sisters went up to the falls last summer, and I missed it/was insanely jealous. They saw it from the Canadian side, and I think I’d be willing to trek through immigration just for this, to be honest! It’s also apparently the oldest state park in the US, which is kinda cool.
Yellowstone National Park WY
Yellowstone is giant, and I’ve wanted to visit ever since the BBC did a series on it a few months ago. Spreading well over 3,000 square miles across the states of Wyoming (predominantly), Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone is made up of some extremely diverse landscapes. These include giant canyons, rivers, luscious forests, hot springs, and geysers. Because of this, wildlife is varied and in abundance and (apparently) you’ll find animals including bears, wolves, elk, antelope, and bison.
New Orleans LA
As a musician, New Orleans has long been on my US bucket list.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve CA
This beautiful little place popped up on my Instagram feed about 2 months ago. I need to go there. Located in Los Angeles CA, it’ll be about a 5 hour drive from where I’ll be living for the next 5 or so years. A state-protected reserve, this piece of land is home to the most consistent blooms of poppies in California – which just happens to be the state’s flower.
Everglades National Park FL
I feel as though I’ve been to Florida a fair bit since moving out to the States. However, the one bit that I still really want to see is the Everglades National Park. There was a show on CBBC yeaaaars ago about it, and I’ve been wanting to go ever since. Obviously I couldn’t cover all 1.5 million square acres (casual), I’m desperate to see all the wildlife it has to offer. Totally different to pretty much everywhere else listed in this post, the Everglades is home to leatherback turtles, Florida panthers, and the west-Indian manatee, amongst others animals.
Lassen Volcanic National Park CA
Located in northern California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is super-rich in hydrothermal sites, including bubbling mud-pots! It also features the very clearest of lakes, meadows full of wildflowers, and (kinda) active volcanoes. In fact, if you head to the Devastated Area, you’ll find lava rock after lava rock from Lassen Peak Volcano’s last eruption nearly 100 years ago.
Rainbow Falls HI
Found in Hilo (located on the Big Island), the Rainbow Falls stand a solid 80ft tall. If you time it right (around 10am), the mist thrown up by the waterfall creates a rainbow effect, hence the name. To top it all off, the falls flow down over a lava cave, home to the ancient Hawaiian goddess, Hina.
Which bits of the US do you want to see? Do you have a travel bucket list? Let me know below! If you’re new, why not click on the follow/subscribe button to stay up to date with my ramblings? If you’ve been here a while, thank you!