18 Epic Outdoorsy Things In New Jersey Anyone Can Do

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Kristen is a writer, editor, and social media maven who loves her state. Born and raised in New Jersey, sharing all it has to offer is her passion. After attending Montclair State University, she continued her education online, obtaining certifications in social media management.

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If you’re craving outdoor adventure, the Garden State is one big, giant playground just waiting to be explored! From incredible parks and preserves, to must-visit attractions, there’s no shortage of adventure in New Jersey. Need proof? Here are 18 of the very best outdoor adventures in New Jersey:

outdoor places to visit near me

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Which of these outdoor adventures in New Jersey are you most excited to try? What other fun outdoor activities in New Jersey would you add to this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

And for more incredible adventures in The Garden State, we have a year of epic road trips that will surely satisfy your wanderlust!

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Outdoor adventures in new jersey.

What are some fun things to do in New Jersey?

New Jersey has so many incredible places to visit. From museums and monuments to beaches and beautiful parks, there are simply so many fun things to do in New Jersey! In addition to the fun outdoor adventures in New Jersey listed above, the  Liberty Science Center is one of the most magical museums in the state. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the interactive experience and the museum offers the largest IMAX dome theater in the United States. And history buffs must check out  Liberty State Park , which offers spectacular Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan views. While you're there, hop a ferry to the Statue and/or Ellis Island. Both are important pieces of American history. 

What are some fun ways to enjoy New Jersey nature?

The Garden State is one of the best places to enjoy the Great Outdoors, and our hikes truly are amazing. It’s hard to top the natural beauty of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area! Take a hike up from Dunfield Creek to the top of Mount Tammany, and continue on to Sunfish Pond for a full-day adventure. On the northern side of the preserve, hike along Rattlesnake Ridge for breathtaking views. In between, there are dozens of other side trails that take you up to the Appalachian Trail – try heading up from the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center to get started! And if you're into waterfalls (and who isn't?), the Delaware Water Gap boasts several small and large waterfalls along its scenic trail .

What are some of the best New Jersey adventures?

There's no shortage of fun in The Garden State, and we've put together a year of epic day trips for the ultimate New Jersey adventures! Some highlights include  Morristown, a city of museums. Take a day trip and visit three of the most popular - the Morris Museum, Macculloch Hall, and the Ford Mansion. The Morris Museum offers art, history, science, and one of the world's largest collections of mechanical musical instruments and automata. Macculloch Hall offers incredible art and a unique carpet collection. Ford Mansion was one of Washington's many headquarters in New Jersey. The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is another awesome New Jersey experience.  While you're there, be sure to check out nearby attractions like Historic Smithville in Galloway, a one-stop-shop fr unique shopping, dining, and fun events. And if the weather isn't cooperating, Sahara Sam's is an 80,000 square foot, indoor waterpark with  slides, a lazy river, special areas for the little ones, a wave rider (for boogie boarding), and more. There's also an arcade.

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Moscow parks – leisure, nature and historical

Moscow is the most green megapolis in the world. There are over a hundred parks and green spaces like gardens, squares and boulevards. You will definitely bump into a few of them wherever you go. Whether you are interested in memorial, historic parks, parks of wildlife or you just want to have a calm break from the speedy city life – city parks have something special for everyone.

Moscow leisure parks

The leisure Moscow parks are undoubtedly the most popular and famous with the locals and travelers. Today such parks provide a great number of exciting entertainments for Muscovites and city guests, adults and children.

The Gorky Park

The Gorky Park

Gorky Park opened in 1928 and was the first holiday park in the Soviet Union with playgrounds, a sports stadium, exhibition halls and attractions for kids. Today it has a fresh, vibrant appearance. The park features bike rental stations, a comfortable business area with Wi-Fi, an outdoor movie theatre and a greenhouse where you can buy fresh greens such as basil and lettuce. To contemplate the sky and the stars, go to the observatory and look through the telescope while listening to fascinating stories from astronomers. Enjoy many sports in the park: volleyball, handball, football or a peaceful jog around the beautiful surroundings.

Zaryadye Park

Zaryadye Park

Opened in September 2017, Zaryadye is the youngest on our list. Located just a few minutes away from Red Square, it includes various activities like the floating bridge with its thin V-form extension, an ice cave, also concert hall and an amphitheater. The entire territory of the park was divided into four zones of Russia: forest, steppe, tundra, and the floodplains.

Neskuchny Sad

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By walking along the Moskva River’s bank from the Gorky Park towards Vorobievy Gory (Sparrow Hills) you’ll reach Neskuchny Sad («Not Boring» garden), a wonderful place in the Moscow center, one of Moscow’s oldest parks, charming slice of wildlife. The park mostly consists of pristine forest, dotted with old summer pavilions, ponds and quaint little stone bridges. There are a lot of opportunities for different activities lots of children playground, a ping-pong and chess clubs, football fields and tennis courts, horse riding, tree climbing and having rest in one of the nice cafes.

Museon Park

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Hermitage Garden

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Hermitage Garden has always been known as an amusement, entertainment center with theatres, shows, cafes, summer pavilions, pergolas since 1830. Shalyapin, Sobinov, Nezhdanova – great Russian opera singers starred on the garden stage. Famous Russian composer Rakhmaninov conducted the orchestra. Sara Bernar, Maria Yermolova, outstanding actresses, played in the open air performances. Tolstoy and Lenin had a stroll in the garden. So lots of celebrities from different epoques liked it a lot and spent their time in Hermitage Garden. You can find here three theatres in the garden: Hermitage, Sphere and New Opera. During winter an ice rink works here and in summer a musical stage is assembled to host jazz and brass band festivals.

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In Sokolniki Park visitors can play billiard, chess or draughts, table tennis, as well as go cycling, roller blading and swimming in the summer and ice skating or skiing in winter. Each season is highlighted by special memorable and bright events, for example, Summer Jazz Festival or Baby Fest (for future mums), open air beach disco parties, Ice Cream Day, International Clown Festival and many other shows and exhibitions. The park has an observatory, kids center and a co-working zone with free Wi-Fi which is really nice for spending high quality work time there.

outdoor places to visit near me

Moscow nature parks

The nature parks are national reserves with the amazing forestry and incredible variety of animals and plants there. The breath of wildlife and the chance to be closer to the virgin nature excites both children and grownups. Hundreds of different species of animals can be found in Moscow nature parks. The richest woodlands with old and even ancient trees, like a 200 years pine-tree in the Elk Island National Nature Park, are the point of passionate interest for visitors.

Aptekarsky Ogorod

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden)

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden)

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden) is one of the oldest gardens in Moscow. It was founded in the XVIII century by Peter the First (great Russian emperor). A larch that he planted himself still grows in the garden, so it’s more than 250 years old. At the time of its foundation, it was a garden with herbs and medicinal plants and was used as an educational center for doctors. Today there are the orangery with its tropical palms, the carp pond, and the immense trees that dot the landscape and turn wonderful golden shades in the autumn. Several restaurants and cafes work here making it a very nice spot for relaxation no matter what season it is. You can book a special tour or join the guided excursion group.

Losiny Ostrov

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park)

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park)

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park) is located at the north of Moscow. It covers 22 km from the west to the east and 10 km from the north to the south and it’s one of the most beautiful national parks in Moscow. Two rivers, Yausa and Pechorka begin here. You can find lots of fields, ponds, meadows, streams in the park as well as elks. Here you can enjoy guided tours, available in English. You can choose a guided tour about flora and fauna of the area, you’ll learn why elks are there, which animals are their neighbors. Or enjoy another excursion, which is totally devoted to historical past of ancient tribes once lived there, you’ll know about old Russian mythology, rituals and traditions.

Serebyany Bor

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Serebyany Bor (Silver Forest)

Serebyany Bor (Silver Forest) is a famous pine forest in the west of Moscow. The park has 230 forms of plant life, and is also home to watersports complex, providing a lot of activities for visitors. The layout of Serebryany Bor is unusual, as it is located on an artificial island between a meander in the Moscow River and a channel. There is an artificial lake, the Deep Gulf and picturesque Bezdonnoe (Bottomless) Lake in the depths of the forest. Serebryany Bor’s beaches are the cleanest in the city and very popular among Muscovites. On weekends it is difficult to find a free spot here, especially because a whole range of services are offered to visitors, from simple deckchairs to catamaran and yacht rides. Driving is prohibited on the territory of the island so be ready to use trolleybus to reach the entrance.

Botanichesky Sad

Greenhouse of Botanical Garden

Greenhouse of Botanical Garden

Main Botanical Garden of The Russian Academy of Sciences is the largest and most famous is Moscow. The garden is a real museum of nature with a very rich (more than 18000 types) collection of plants. The park was founded in 1945 at the place of the 17th century Apothecaries’ Gardens. The garden’s collection is turned into botanical expositions, made with use of modern receptions of landscape architecture. Here you can see a tree nursery, a shadow garden, hothouse complex, collection of flowers, a rosary, exposition of coastal plants, garden of continuous blossoming, Japanese garden and expositions of cultural plants and natural flora plants. The biggest part of Garden is the Tree nursery occupying the space of 75 hectares. About 2 thousand wood plants grow here. Another big exposition of the Garden is nature Flora, divided into six botanic-geographical collections: European part of Russia, Caucuses, Central Asia, Siberia and Far East. Pride of the Main Botanical Garden is the collection of tropical, coastal and water plants, which is considered as the best in Europe. The Japanese garden, a great model of Japanese landscape gardening art has a 13-level stone pagoda of the 18th century, stone Japanese lamps, ponds, falls and streams, tea lodges and more than 100 species of the most character Japan plants. It is especially decorative in spring, during Oriental cherry blossoming and in fall, when foliage blazes in crimson colors.

Moscow historic parks

Historic nature parks and estates once were the mansions of the Moscow aristocracy. At that far times the estates were outside the Moscow city limits, but after the city expansion and urbanization, they became easily accessible.



Kolomenskoye Museum and Park

The chief attraction of the park is undoubtedly the stone Church of the Ascension of the Lord. It was constructed in 1532 by order of Tsar Vasily III to commemorate the birth of his son and heir, Ivan the Terrible. But there is a lot more to see in the park: the pretty Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan – with its bright azure domes and plenty of gold. Further into the park there is a charming Church of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, built by Ivan the Terrible to mark his coronation.


Kuskovo Park

Kuskovo Park is one of the oldest country estates in Moscow. It was given to General Sheremetev by Peter the Great in 1715, but was left to fall into neglect before being plundered by Napoleon’s troops in 1812. Nowadays the estate has been restored to its former glory and is a good example of Russian 18th Century imperial architecture. The palace is a fine and rare example of wooden neoclassicism. It was completed in 1775, and the rich interiors remain unchanged since 1779. It includes a room hung with exclusive exquisite Flemish tapestries, an abundance of silk wallpaper and an impressive collection of 18th century European and Russian paintings. The palace looks onto the lake, which is surrounded by smaller pavilions: pretty Italian, Dutch and Swiss Cottages, Blank’s Hermitage and the old Orangery, where the State Ceramics Museum is located now, an extensive and absorbing collection of porcelain from the 18th century to the present day. On the other side of the lake is a large wood popular with local cyclists and joggers.

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Day trips near me

Tap the compass below to get your current location and map places within a day's drive of where you are now. It may take a few seconds to get the GPS coordinates, so if you're in a hurry, you can enter your local city in the form instead.

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Top 10 places for a day trip from Moscow

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Moscow offers tourists many great sights to see, but if you ask locals, they will tell you that Moscow is not all there is to Russia, so it’s worth getting away sometimes. Without exploring further, you miss something of the Russian unique character. If you wonder what to visit near Moscow, we recommend you 10 places where a tourist can go for a refreshing recreation, new impressions, and acquaintance with Russian history and culture.

01 Sergiyev Posad

Sergiyev Posad is one of the most beautiful towns located around Moscow. It’s not only famous for its monastery, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, but also for the fact that it’s the only town in the Moscow Region that is included in the Golden Ring of Russian cities. Its cities and towns influenced the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. But the main thing which one should visit Sergiyev Posad is the Lavra for sure. You may spend there all day, walking around and enjoying the sense of its power and strength. You absolutely have to buy some honey cakes as souvenirs for friends and feed Lavra’s pigeons when entering the monastery. Besides, you may visit Sergiyev Posad State History and Art Museum-Reserve, which has quite an impressive collection, take a look at the displays in the National Museum of Toys, and taste truly Russian food in local cafes and restaurants.

You can reach Sergiyev Posad by suburban electric train, by bus, or by car. The electric train departs from the Yaroslavsky rain terminal every thirty minutes, and the trip lasts for an hour and a half. You may take a bus near the ‘VDNKh’ metro station, and you’ll be in Sergiyev Posad in an hour and a half at least and in two hours at most. Your car will take you there in an hour and a half at most, too. You should drive the Yaroslavskoye highway. 

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If you want to look at a city that combines hi-tech and historical past, you should absolutely visit Kolomna. It is one of the most famous ancient cities in Russia, a beautiful port on the Oka River. Kolomna has its own Kremlin, which is made of red brick, like the Moscow Kremlin. Inside it, you may find many monasteries and churches, including the one in which Dmitry of the Don, Prince of Moscow, and Grand Prince of Vladimir, had his wedding to the Grand Duchess of Muscovy Eudoxia of Moscow. There is still a reserved residential area which is called Posad, right in the Kremlin territory. The buildings date back to merchants’ times. There are some interesting churches, too. In 2006, the Kolomna Speed Skating Center, known as the Kometa Ice Rink, was opened. Its futuristic look contrast the picturesque views of the ancient Kolomna Kremlin and its beautiful churches.

The best way to reach Kolomna is an electric train that departs from the Kazansky rail terminal. The trip lasts for two and a half, or one hour and forty minutes by the Ryazansky express. You can also choose a bus from the Vykhino metro station (1.4 to 4 hrs due to traffic jams) or a car.

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03 Shakhmatovo

Shakhmatovo was a manor of the well-known Russian lyrical poet Alexander Blok. His grandfather Andrey Nikolaevich Beketov bought it, and young Blok used to spend it there every summer. Later, he moved there with his wife Lyubov Mendeleeva, who was the daughter of the famous chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. Blok’s grandfather decided to buy Shakhmatovo because of its picturesque views. They are really very nice, and the better time to visit this place is spring and summer. According to his own project, Blok’s mansion is a wooden house built by the poet but burnt by peasants in 1921. It was rebuilt in 2001, and since that time, it often holds big events and excursions. There is also a stable in Shakhmatovo territory, and everyone interested may ride a horse, or rent a bicycle in the summertime, or ski in wintertime.

Shakhmatovo can be reached by car because other options combine train departs from the Leningradsky rail terminal, then changes to bus till the Tarakanovo manor, then goes by foot, or bus from the Vodny stadion metro station, and then also by foot. Travel time is 1.4 hrs.

04 Zakharovo

It is a manor located in the Odintsovo District of the Moscow Region, where everybody interested may learn more about the greatest Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. In 1804, Zakharova was bought by his grandmother Mariya Alexeevna Gannibal, and young Pushkin was brought here every summer from 1805 through to 1810. He recalled Zakharovo in his poems as well. Now, the house which Pushkin visited as a child doesn’t exist anymore, but it was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century on the former basis. Now it is a quiet and nice place with a museum dedicated to the famous poet's childhood, where one may spend a day enjoying the spirit of the time when young Pushkin ran across manor’s paths. From that time, linden park, approach alleys, and pond were saved. Not very far away from Zakharovo, another place connected to Pushkin’s name is located. It’s called Bolshiye Vyazyomy, and there the young Pushkin’s brother Nikolenka was buried after his death at the age of six.

The best way to go there is by train, which departs from the Belorussky rail terminal and goes to Zvenigorod. You should leave at the Zakharovo station. Travel time is an hour and a half.

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05 Borodino

Borodino is truly a sacred place for all those who honor the great Russian past. The Borodino Battlefield held the most important fighting during the Patriotic War of 1812. This place was made a museum area in 1839, just after 27 years after the battle. More than two thousand memorable things are stored in the museum, including some monuments of military honor, architectural objects dated back to the 19th and 20th centuries, and fortification facilities. Besides, there is also an exhibition dedicated to the famous novel ‘War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, who visited Borodino in person and described this battle in his book. Every year, reconstruction events occur in Borodino, which is considered the best for visiting. But if you want to feel the spirit of the battle past, it’s better to visit it in more quiet time.

outdoor places to visit near me

To go there, you should take a train from the Belorussky rail terminal, leave in Mozhaysk, and then change to the bus. The whole travel time is about 2 hrs.

06 Melikhovo

Melikhovo is considered one of the most important museums dedicated to Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, one of the brightest Russian writers and playwrights. Chekhov had been living in Melikhovo from March 1892 until August 1899 with his parents and close relatives. Melikhovo is where he wrote his plays “Uncle Vanya” and “The Seagull.” He sold this manor before going to the Crimea, and it became vague after the revolution. But in 1939, it was decided to establish a museum based on Chekhov’s place of living. Anton Chekhov’s sister Maria and his nephew initiated the process, and the museum opened its doors in 1941. Now Melikhovo shows the path of Chekhov not only as a writer but as a doctor and public figure as well. Some paintings of famous artists such as Isaac Levitan and Vasily Polenov, who were Chekhov’s friends, are being stored. It’s a nice place to visit to learn more about Chekov’s life and work.

The best way to reach Melikhovo is by bus, which departs from the Yuzhnaya metro station, and goes to Protvino, Obolensk, or Serpukhov, or by the direct 365 bus. Also, you may choose an electric train from the Kursky rail terminal. Travel time is 1,5 hrs.

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07 Abramtsevo

This is another manor connected to the lives of important Russian people — not only writers but also artists. Abramtsevo, located close to Sergiev Posad, was a property of Sergey Aksakov, a writer and a Slavophiles, and later of Savva Mamontov, a well-known patron of the arts. Abramtsevo used to be visited by writers Ivan Turgenev and Nikolay Gogol, poet Fyodor Tyutchev, and such artists as Isaac Levitan, Vasily Polenov, and Mikhail Vrubel, and by the great Russian singer Fyodor Shalyapin as well. The exhibition in the museum is dedicated to famous Abramtsevo owners and guests. It was made a museum in 1917, and its first curator was Alexandra Mamontova, Savva Mamontov’s daughter. The main sightseeing view is a wooden building made in the 18th century and saved in Savva Mamontov's form in the 19th century. There are also some bright buildings such as hut pavilion or hut bath-house. You have to remember that the main manor house may be visited only with an excursion group on the weekend.

Electric train to Abramtsevo departs from the Yaroslavsky rail terminal and goes to Sergiyev Posad or Aleksandrov. You may reach Abramtsevo by bus as well. Travel time is an hour and a half.

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08 Yasnaya Polyana

Yasnaya Polyana is known as a place of residence of the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. He was born there, wrote his novels ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina,’ died and is buried. He’d been living in this manor for fifty years. Yasnaya Polyana is located in the Tula Region, 200 km from Moscow to the south. This manor consists of many interesting and significant objects. For example, the interior of the main house where Tolstoy lived is being kept like it was in 1910 — it was the last year for the writer. All things in the house are considered to be personal belongings of Tolstoy and his family. Besides the main house, the Yasnaya Polyana ensemble includes the so-called Volkonsky house — the house of Tolstoy’s grandfather, the Kuzminskiye wing, which is a part of the oldest house where Tolstoy was born, now non-existent, the birch alley made by Sofya Andreevna, Leo Tolstoy’s wife, stable, ponds, and favorite Tolstoy’s bench. Leo Tolstoy’s tomb is located close to the ravine's edge — it’s where he wanted to be buried.

The whole travel time to Yasnaya Polyana is about 4 hrs as long as it’s located near Tula. It can be reached by train, or by car. First, you should go to Tula by train from the Kursky rail terminal or by bus from the Tsaritsyno, Domodedovskaya, Prazhskaya, or Ulitsa Akademika Yangelya metro stations, and then change to bus, or by trolley bus for Yasnaya Polyana.

outdoor places to visit near me

09 Polotnyany Zavod

This place which title can be translated into Russian as ‘linen factory,’ is known for its connection to the Goncharov family, from which Natalia Goncharova, Alexander Pushkin’s wife, originated. The real linen factory was built on the bank of the Sukhodrev River in the Kaluga Region in 1718 by Peter the Great order. Goncharov, Natalia’s great grandfather, was one of the companions who participated in the factory’s development. Every companion built his own manor close to the factory’s building, and even for those times, it was quite an uncommon situation. Polotnyany Zavod was visited by the empress Catherine the Great, the Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, and Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol. In 1999, when everybody celebrated the bicentennial of Alexander Pushkin, Polotnyany Zavod was made a museum, and now it welcomes many guests who come to see dramatized excursions and to learn more about Pushkin times. The poet himself visited this place two times, in 1830 and 1834. Polotnyany Zavod has the most picturesque panoramic view in the Kaluga Region.

To go to Polotnyany Zavod, you should take a bus from the bus station near the Tyoply Stan metro station, and go to Kondorovo. It takes a little more than three hours.

Tarus is just another little town in Kaluga Region, which is considered to be typical Russian. It’s located on the left bank of the Oka River and has really magnificent views. It feels like time stands still there. Tarusa managed to preserve the best from the past, and even now, it consists mostly of one-storeyed houses made of wood or stone. They say it’s because Tarusa residents declined railroad construction. This town became popular among Russian intellectuals at the beginning of the 20th century when famous artist Vasily Polenov discovered it and told about Tarusa to anyone in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Tarusa is known to be a hometown for Russian writer Marina Tsvetaeva, whose family spent summertime there. Tsvetaeva museum is a museum every guest of Tarusa should visit for sure. Besides, Konstantin Paustovsky, another famous Russian writer, lived there till his death and was buried in Tarusa. The absolutely must-do in Tarusa is to walk along the embankment of the Oka River.

The best way to reach Tarusa is by direct bus which departs from the bus station near the ‘Tyoply Stan’ metro station. Travel time is about two hours.

outdoor places to visit near me

  • Baikal Lake read
  • 25 Reasons to Visit Russian Regions read
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  • 7 Top Things to Do in Karelia Region read
  • The Altai Mountains read
  • Siberia read
  • Mountain Elbrus read
  • 1. Sergiyev Posad
  • 3. Shakhmatovo
  • 4. Zakharovo
  • 5. Borodino
  • 6. Melikhovo
  • 7. Abramtsevo
  • 8. Yasnaya Polyana
  • 9. Polotnyany Zavod


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Moscow   Travel Guide

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7 Best Things To Do in Moscow

Updated February 11, 2021

Art, museums and history reign supreme in Moscow, one of the most pristinely and magnificently preserved cities. This beautiful walking city is also recommended for couples. Here you can stroll through 15th-century cathedrals, explore Russian

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Red Square Red Square free

One of the world's most famous public squares, the Red Square sits at the physical center of Moscow and is considered the symbolic center of all of Russia. Bluntly speaking, Red Square is a must-see in the city. Allot a decent amount of time to take in the views, capture them on your camera and to just soak in the atmosphere of the place.

You'll find the Red Square is bordered by the massive GUM shopping mall on the east, St. Basil's Cathedral on the south, the State Historical Museum on the north and Lenin's Mausoleum on the west.

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Tretyakov Gallery Tretyakov Gallery

Many say the Tretyakov Gallery features the best collection of Russian fine art in the world. This museum is filled to the brim with masterpieces ranging from the 11th century to the 20th century. The gallery is actually comprised of two buildings, often referred to as the "Old Tretyakov" and the "New Tretyakov."

If you make time for only one museum in Moscow, make sure it's this one. Frommer's says, "This collection of masterpieces awes both newcomers to Russian art and connoisseurs." With works from Russian icons like Vrubel and Kadinsky dotted throughout the museum, you could easily find yourself whiling away the whole day here.

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St. Basil's Cathedral St. Basil's Cathedral

St. Basil's Cathedral, also known by its much longer title as the Cathedral of Intercession of Theotokos on the Moat , is the most iconic landmark in Russia. It's located in Red Square , immediately recognizable by its unique bonfire-style design.

Built in the mid-16th century under the orders of Ivan the Terrible himself, (a popular legend says he had the architect blinded to prevent him from duplicating the beauty) St. Basil's Cathedral is most known for its vibrantly colored onion domes. Frommer's says the cathedral is "essentially a union of nine different churches and styles, and nine different chapels, beneath nine domes, each unique in size, form, and color."

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Cathedral of Christ the Savior Cathedral of Christ the Savior free

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is located along the bank of the Moscow River and only a few blocks away from the Kremlin . Tourists come to the cathedral for its impressive architecture and design, as well as for its equally impressive (and strange) history.

The cathedral was originally built to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon in 1812 and to honor the soldiers who gave their lives fighting him. Then in 1931, Stalin had the structure dynamited to make room for his Palace of the Soviets project -- an ambitious skyscraper (it would have been the tallest structure in the world) that never materialized. Instead, the site was transformed in 1958 into the Moscow Pool, one of the largest public swimming pools in the world. The pool closed in 1994 and the cathedral was rebuilt in its place in 1997.

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Moscow Kremlin Moscow Kremlin

Often referred to simply as "The Kremlin," this fortress is located in the center of Moscow, off of the Red Square . It is the most well known of the Kremlins (Russian citadels) and serves as the official residence of the Russian President. The Kremlin encompasses four cathedrals, four palaces and a number of towers.

One of the major highlights here is the Armory Palace, one of the city's oldest museums. The Armory Palace was originally the royal Russian arsenal where weapons were produced and stored. It wasn't until the early 1800s that it was converted into a museum. Now, it showcases Western European, Asian and Russian weapons and armor, as well as several collections of work from goldsmiths, silversmiths and jewelers. Don't miss the Fabergé egg exhibit. 

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Lenin's Mausoleum Lenin's Mausoleum free

Lenin's Mausoleum is located in Red Square and is probably one of the stranger tourist attractions you'll ever come across. It contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, a disturbing site that has been on display almost every day since his death in 1924.

Lonely Planet says, "Whether for the creepiness value or an interest in mummification, the granite tomb of Lenin is a must-see, especially since (if some people get their way) the former leader may eventually end up beside his mum in St Petersburg." Apparently, the Bolsheviks leader made a specific request to be buried alongside his mother before he died.

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Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is located on Volkhonka Street across from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior . It houses the largest collection of European art in Moscow, and it was named in honor of one of Russia's premier poets, Alexander Pushkin.

You don't go here to read sonnets, though. Instead, you should look to find art spanning a wide range of eras and movements, from ancient Greece to the Renaissance to French Impressionism. Masterpieces from the likes of Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso and Van Gogh easily make this museum deserving of a visit.

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What are the best places to visit in the USA?

Who is excited to have a super fun family day out across the USA? There are certainly plenty of great places to visit across this amazing country, your family day out bucket list might just keep growing as you explore the site! No matter what kids fun you love, Family Days Out are here to help!

The USA is just filled with incredible places to visit, great outdoors to explore, amazing National Parks to enjoy, history to learn and everything in between. Why not visit the far reaches of Alaska, where kids can enjoy whale watching, stunning scenery, adventure tours for kids and plenty of photographic opportunities!

Kids can learn all about the fascinating history of New England, and how the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Kids fun continues with rodeos in Wyoming and Montana, theme parks in California, or zoos in New York.

You might want to visit children's museums in Indiana, art galleries in Vermont, or waterparks in Texas! SPLASH! You know that the USA has some of the best waterparks in the country, so why not make a trip to visit all off the biggest in one journey! Kids might want to spend time in fun museums in Oregon, learning about history, the natural world, aviation or science. They might prefer to enjoy indoor play in Washington. Here and across the country kids fun comes in the form of soft play, inflatable bounce houses and toddler areas for the little ones. Celebrating a birthday party? Just look out for the many fun indoor play for kids on the site and they are just what you need for birthday party ideas for kids!

Take on an adventure in Idaho, or explore amazing underground caves in Virginia. Want to find some dinosaur attractions for kids? In places like Colorado and South Dakota you will have plenty to choose from! Kids fun can come in all forms, and family fun is waiting for you in every corner of the country!

Whether it’s a day out in summer, or a weekend away in the Fall, we have thousands of GREAT activities for you. Fun things to do with family, and amazing places to go with kids – we’ve got you covered!

Midwest farms in the fall? You know it! Plantation houses in Louisiana that offer tours? Great! Everglade tours in Florida? How exciting! Whatever you want to enjoy as a family on the weekend, or if you want to find fun family getaway ideas for the holidays, you'll find it across one of the thousands of things to do with kids we have listed on the site. 

Do you often find yourselves endlessly searching the internet with the following:  "fun things to do near me", "things for kids to do near me", "places to visit near me", "attractions near me", "places to take kids near me", "kid friendly activities near me". All of these will likely bring you back to, well us! Because we have a host of fun family activities across the USA all ready and waiting to be enjoyed by families like you!

So, how do you use us? Well, just use the simple search button and press enter! You can search via zip code, or city, and even state, and we will list for you all the fun places to go! Maybe you fancy historic attractions, or your kids want to enjoy a thrilling theme park? Each of the attractions are listed by category (and in very fun colors), so you can easily find what you’re looking for! From the largest thrills to the family amusements, Family Days Out list some great USA theme parks where families of all ages can enjoy it!

Love animals? Great because Family Days Out list a TON of amazing petting zoos and aquariums to visit with kids? You can explore the rivers of the Amazon, learn about the sharks of the oceans, and see river otters up close and personal! From San Francisco aquarium fun, to Midwest aquariums for kids, you will be surprised how many fun things to do with kids near you there are!

Kids love to learn? We hope so, because the USA is filled with great family friendly museums, where kids can learn about events and people of the past. There are even fun roadside America style museums covering the weird and the wonderful!

Art lovers in the family can enjoy many galleries, or if you prefer the great outdoors? You got it! The USA has so many great national parks for kids to visit, summer fun ideas in nature and kid friendly activities that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor adventure for the family. 

From playgrounds, active fun for kids, tours, excursions, and even birthday party ideas, you will be sure to find that perfect places to go with kids and the family – from the teenie tots to the tallest teens!

Want to get away for the weekend? Well, grab those tents and those RVs and check out the amazing campsites all across the country! It all can be found with those simple questions including things to do near me this weekend, what to do near me, or fun things to do with kids near me. 

So start exploring Family Days Out, and discover all the best activities and places to go with kids that this country has to offer. You might want to just explore your own state, or take to the highways and byways and see parts of the country you never knew existed. Make it a road trip! Discover parts of the country will surprise you, activities that will excite you and discover those hidden gems right at your doorstep. Family Days Out is where you can answer what things to do with kids near me are possible on my next family adventure?

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Yes, you can search for family-friendly activities and attractions in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia using familydaysout.com. The website offers a wide range of options for families looking for fun days out with kids, including theme parks, museums, zoos, water parks, and other attractions.

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38 Amazing Outdoor Spots Across the U.S. to Add to Your Bucket List

By Jenny McCoy

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In today’s tech-tethered world, it can be easy to overlook the magic of Mother Nature. We’re guilty of it, we admit. But carving out time for the great outdoors can deliver amazing benefits for both your mental and physical health.

Exposure to nature is associated with a slew of brain-boosting perks, including increased happiness, positive social interactions, memory, and creativity. Moreover, people who spend time in green spaces have lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, according to research . Plus, it can just be a pretty amazing way to spend your free time.

Cool thing is, there are lots of different ways you can enjoy the outdoors—whether you’re moving, playing, or recharging —and tons of places across the country to get your nature fix. We asked 38 outdoor enthusiasts for their hands-down favorite outdoor place in the United States. Whether you’re looking for space to run, watch the sunset, or sit with your thoughts, there’s an outdoor place for you.

To be clear, this is by no means an exhaustive list of must-see spots in the U.S. There are thousands of places across the country where you can find outdoor bliss, including well-known locations not included here, like the Grand Canyon, the Pocono Mountains, and some of the more well-known National Parks (to find a park site near you, check out the National Park Service website ). Our intention with the following list was to highlight some of the country’s hidden gems—places you may not have heard of that are nonetheless chock-full of Mother Nature’s magic. Let these suggestions be the inspiration you need to get outside today and find your own special place.

1. Sedona, Arizona

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Name: Kristina Brewer Social handle: @​​kristinabrewerart Outdoor expertise: Landscape painter who sources material for her paintings in the outdoors Best for: Plein air painting, hiking, camping Best time to visit: Spring and fall Why the spot is awesome: I am drawn to Sedona because it is such a contrast from the super-green Midwest scenery where I live. The earth there is very red, orange, and purple, which gives me a whole new painting and visual experience looking at the landscape. I love the way the mountains are constantly changing color as the light changes throughout the day. I hiked Little Horse Trail in Sedona and painted this tiny painting with oil paint in an Altoids container.

2. Hobbs State Park, Rogers, Arkansas

Image may contain Human Person Ground Path Trail Tree Plant Vegetation Outdoors Nature Land Forest and Woodland

Name: Hailey Middlebrook Social handle: @​​haileyharper7 Outdoor expertise: Runner for 15 years; ran cross-country and track in college Best for: Trail running and mountain biking Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: Arkansas may not be the first place that comes to mind for trail running, but it's called the Natural State for a reason. The Karst Loop Trail in Hobbs State Park is eight miles of pure bliss, with a rolling single track that winds through thick woods and bluffs with sweeping lake views. Go in the fall when the leaves are at peak color, and be sure to keep an eye out for mountain bikers.

3. Gold Bluffs Beach in Redwoods National Park, California

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Name: Nikky Martinez Social handle: @nikkymoves Outdoor expertise: Has been camping for as long as she can remember Best for: Sunset yoga, morning meditation, hiking Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: Gold Bluffs Beach is the most magical beach campground nestled at the edge of the Redwoods National Park. I love this spot because it is very secluded yet has ample things to do, like hike, spend the day at the beach, yoga, fish, and more. The scenery is insane—you drive through the beautiful redwoods to get to your campsite, which is nestled right on the bluffs of a beach and is walking distance from an unbelievable waterfall hike named Fern Canyon.

4. Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park California

Name: Joe Sills Social handle: @joesills Outdoor expertise: Explorers Club member; freelance writer and photographer for National Geographic Best for: Watching the sunset Best time to visit: Late spring or late fall Why the spot is awesome: Sentinel Dome is located off the same road as the more popular Glacier Point, but there are much fewer crowds. It’s a two-mile hike to get to the top of the dome, and your reward is sitting next to a tree that Ansel Adams used to photograph with basically unhindered views of iconic Half Dome to the right and Cathedral Rocks and Yosemite Valley to the left. At sunset, it’s the most magical place in America.

5. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado

Dunefield at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Colorado

Name: Kori Lugar Social handle: @sky_chemicals Outdoor expertise: Certified Texas Master Naturalist and graduate student studying ecology Best for: Backpacking and day hiking Best time to visit: Late spring and early summer Why the spot is awesome: Great Sand Dunes is awesome because you can hike to the top of the tallest sand dunes in North America and take in gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. I love how otherworldly the landscape looks, and backpacking there is a unique experience since there are no trails or campsites in the dunefield. Other fun things to do include sledding or surfing down the dunes and cooling down in the nearby creek.

6. Wilderness on Wheels, Grant, Colorado

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Name: Erica Smith Social handle: @erricasmith Outdoor expertise: Has been camping and exploring the outdoors for as long as she can remember Best for: Wheelchair hiking, accessible camping Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: Wilderness on Wheels features a mile-long wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that reaches 9,000 feet at its summit. It also has an accessible fishing pier, campsites, and cabins for rent. I love that I can be in nature here, judgment-free, and that although the boardwalk is “accessible,” I still feel like I’m getting a challenge when hiking it in my manual wheelchair.

7. Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, Florida

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Name: Kaila DeRienzo Social handle: @kailaderienzo Outdoor expertise: Outdoor runner for eight years Best for: Walking Best time to visit: Spring, fall, or winter Why the spot is awesome: Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. This historic structure built from Spanish stone sits right on the coast. There’s a trail that goes around the area that you can walk on and get really great exercise. The vibe there is quiet, and the surrounding beaches are beautiful. The weather’s usually really pretty year-round.

8. Tate’s Hell State Forest and Apalachicola National Forest, Florida

Tates Hell State Forest Carrabelle Florida and Apalachicola National Forest Sopchoppy Florida

Name: Don Hardeman Jr. Social handle: @tailsfromthewild Outdoor expertise: Wildlife biologist for 12 years Best for: Wildlife viewing Best time to visit: Winter Why the spot is awesome: These adjacent forests on the Florida Panhandle are bordered by rivers to the west and east. The area is massive and has a lot of biodiversity—I spent years hiking in Tate’s Hell working with black bears, and Apalachicola is a hot spot for amphibians and reptiles. It’s an area of boundless opportunity where you can go hiking and see what you find.

9. Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Crystal River Florida

Name: Lauren Gay Social handle: @outdoorsydiva Outdoor expertise: Creator of Black Women Outdoors Instagram; host of the Outdoorsy Diva podcast Best for: Kayaking Best time to visit: Winter Why the spot is awesome: You can only access this small, turquoise lagoon via paddling or swimming. It’s just quintessential Florida: The water is crystal clear, there’s a sandy bottom, and you’re surrounded by greenery and rocks. When the temperatures drop, the manatees come in, and you can see literally hundreds of them gathered in these waters.

10. Chicago Lakefront Trail, Illinois

Chicago Lakefront Trail Illinois

Name: Cindy Kuzma Social handle: @​​cindykuzma Outdoor expertise: Distance runner and coauthor of Breakthrough Women's Running: Dream Big and Train Smart Best for: Running, cycling, walking, birding Best time to visit: Summer—but every season has its beauty Why the spot is awesome: A nearly 200-year-old mandate designated Lake Michigan’s urban shoreline “forever open, clear and free,” and for the most part, it worked. The 18-plus–mile paved trail that runs its length, with split routes for pedestrians and cyclists, serves as a north-to-south tour of the Midwest’s biggest city. Travel it all—which I’ve done on both bike and foot—and you’ll pass neighborhood barbecues, sports fields, stunning skyline views, bird sanctuaries , and tourist highlights like Buckingham Fountain and Jackson Park. Spring through fall, there are water fountains and open public bathrooms; in winter, most facilities (and sometimes the slippery portions of the trail) are closed, but pile on the right gear and you’ll get treated to otherworldly landscapes like ice volcanoes.

11. Lake Michigan shoreline, Indiana

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Name: Rose Conry Social Handle: @roseconry Outdoor expertise: Backpacking since 2009 and leading outdoor group trips since 2010 Best for: Watching waves roll in, hiking Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: The part of Indiana that sits along Lake Michigan is underrated. Most people don’t recognize Indiana for its beauty, but this area—which includes Indiana Dunes National Park—is really beautiful. If you go there at sunset, you may see the sun setting over Chicago, which is really cool. It’s nice to go out and watch the waves crash into the shore and get lost on some of the trails. You can find peace here.

12. Yellow River State Forest, Harpers Ferry, Iowa

Yellow River State Forest in Harpers Ferry Iowa

Name: Bri Postlewait Outdoor expertise: Trail runner for four years; enjoys birdwatching, remote camping, and wild plant identification Best for: Hiking, trail running, remote camping, birdwatching, reading, and writing Best time to visit: Spring and fall Why the spot is awesome: Yellow River State Forest is positioned in the Driftless Area, a region made up of steep hills, forested ridges, and deeply carved river valleys. The state forest shoulders the Mississippi River and is also near the Effigy Mounds National Monument, making this a great outdoor getaway with lots of beautiful geography and history to explore. I love this location for its topography, remote camping, and challenging trails.

13. Olathe Prairie Center, Olathe, Kansas

Olathe Prairie Center in Olathe Kansas

Name: Diana Bliss Social handle: @​​itsmynature365 Outdoor expertise: Naturalist and outdoor educator Best for: Hiking, fishing, birdwatching, photography, creek walking, wildflower viewings, wildlife sightings, and educational programs Best time to visit: All seasons Why the spot is awesome: This site is easily accessible—but often overlooked—in the Kansas City area. It’s awesome because you can escape the hustle and bustle of city living and reconnect to nature and yourself. Once you get there, you immediately step into a pocket of tallgrass prairie, which is Kansas’s natural landscape and one of the most endangered and rare ecosystems in the world.

14. Joe W. Brown Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Name: Ebony Blackwell Social handle: @livinginthebreeze Outdoor expertise: Six-time marathoner, avid hiker, and outdoor yoga practitioner Best for: Running Best time to visit: Summer Why the spot is awesome: This park is nestled in a residential area, and it’s really the only park that services a large span of the community in New Orleans. It’s near predominantly Black neighborhoods, which are often underserved when it comes to green spaces. This park has playgrounds, a rec center, baseball fields, archery, a football field with a gorgeous blue track, and a pond with turtles and an alligator. It’s a really well-maintained, safe, family-friendly space.

15. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park Maine

Name: Allison Tsai Social handle: @thekickwriter Outdoor expertise: Associate director of health at SELF who loves watching animals in the wild Best for: Hiking, trail running, photography, or popping into the Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: Acadia National Park is an absolute treasure. It's on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor—the cutest little resort town—so you can satisfy your hiking itch by climbing on and around Cadillac Mountain while also enjoying the lapping ocean waves on the rocky terrain. It’s peaceful and beautiful, and just the perfect place to recharge your soul. The Jordan Pond House, tucked in among the trails, is a lovely respite from all the physical activity. They offer tea and homemade popovers to fuel you up for your next adventure. 10/10 is my favorite place to get outside.

16. Little Sebago Lake, Gray, Maine

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Name: Cathryne Keller Social handle: @cathrynekeller Outdoor expertise: Associate wellness director at SELF and forever water baby Best for: Swimming and floating Best time to visit: Summer Why the spot is awesome: When the pandemic put my family’s summer vacation tradition on hold two years in a row, my mom/quarantine buddy and I decided to book a house on Little Sebago Lake in Maine, and it’s now one of my top nature spots. Most of my best childhood memories involve summertime lake life, and Little Sebago is the ideal setting for perhaps my favorite outdoor activity of all: Floating in calm water, on a warm sunny day, surrounded by deep green trees and bright blue skies. Therapy is my therapy, but chilling in a lake comes pretty close.

17. Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City boardwalk and beach Ocean City Maryland

Name: Christa Sgobba Social handle: @christa_sgobba Outdoor expertise: Associate director of fitness and food at SELF and avid outdoor runner Best for: Reading and running Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: This is a huge tourist spot in the summer, but when the throngs of people depart in the fall, it turns into a quiet, beach-y respite. The boardwalk plays double-duty here for me then: It’s great for a nice, flat, five-mile morning run—I especially love passing by Fischer’s as they begin to pop their caramel corn—and then it becomes the perfect spot for reading on one of the benches that overlook the ocean later on in the day. Bonus: The water really warms up in September, and the air temperature generally remains pretty warm then too, so swimming is much more enjoyable than in the summer, when the water is brisk and beaches crowded.

18. Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

Mississippi National River  Recreation Area  Minnesota

Name: Mikah Meyer Social handle: @mikahmey Outdoor expertise: First person to explore all 400+ National Park Service sites in a single journey Best for: Running Best time to visit: Summer to fall Why the spot is awesome: The MNRRA runs directly past the booming skyscrapers of the Twin Cities, creating a beautiful juxtaposition between pristine, well-preserved riverfront and shimmering, modern skylines. Every day I run a seven-mile loop around the downtown Minneapolis section of this national river, and I’m treated to wildlife, the ever-changing colorful lights of the city’s iconic buildings, and one of the cleanest sections of America’s most storied rivers.

19. Sioux Passage Park, Florissant, Missouri

Sioux Passage Park in Florissant Missouri

Name: Adam Turbe Social handle: @​​mo_plant_daddy Outdoor expertise: Biology graduate student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Best for: Plant identification, great views of the Missouri River Best time to visit: Spring, summer, fall Why the spot is awesome: Sioux Passage Park is perfect for getting a spectacular view of the Missouri River and identifying plant species that live only on floodplains. On top of that, there are many prairie restorations occurring in the park that are full of wildflower blooms during the summer.

20. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park Montana

Name: Nadia Ruiz Social handle: @irongirlnadia Outdoor expertise: Trail runner for 25 years Best for: Trail running, hiking, exploring Best time to visit: Summer to early fall Why the spot is awesome: Montana’s Glacier National Park is a wonderland of outdoor beauty covering one million acres of glacier-covered peaks, valleys, mirrored turquoise lakes, waterfalls, and dense forests. One of my favorite lakes in the park is Iceberg Lake–it’s pretty distinct and surrounded by glacial peaks. I ran a trail half marathon just outside the park and explored as many trails in the area as I could afterward. I never wanted to leave this magical place.

21. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, Nevada

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Las Vegas Nevada

Name: Tara Bushey Social handle: @runtararun24 Outdoor expertise: Runner for nine years; has hiked in six different National Parks in the last two years Best for: Hiking and trail running Best time to visit: All seasons Why the spot is awesome: Situated about 30 minutes off the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon is a gem with absolutely gorgeous views, hiking trails galore, and a 13-mile scenic drive great for road running or cycling. It’s a dream for any outdoor enthusiast! If you do one of the “difficult” hikes to a peak, you’ll have a view of Red Rock Canyon from above, plus all of Las Vegas—including the Strip—in the distance.

22. Saddle River County Park Trail, Saddle Brook, New Jersey

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Name: Cheryl Carlin Social handle: @​​cheryltwin Outdoor expertise: Senior manager of analytics at SELF and former avid outdoors runner Best for: Running, biking, bird-watching, skating, and walking. Best time to visit: All seasons Why the spot is awesome: When I was training for long runs, I always had the hardest time finding a nice place outdoors. Once I found this trail—which is an out-and-back 12-mile loop—I knew I had found the perfect place to run. This beautiful trail winds through wooded landscapes, past some ponds, and along the Saddle River for all six miles. The best part, though, is that there are markers for every tenth of a mile. When I wanted to get my friends into running, it was so easy to tell them, “Just run to the 0.5-mile marker, and then we will walk.” Plus, the path isn’t too congested, so I can go all times of the year.

23. Montauk, New York

Image may contain Human Person Shorts Clothing Apparel Architecture Tower Building Sunglasses and Accessories

Name: Gaelin Rosenwaks Social handle: @gaelingoexplore Outdoor expertise: Marine scientist; professional ocean photographer and filmmaker Best for: Fishing, free diving, and paddling Best time to visit: Summer and fall Why the Spot Is Awesome: Montauk is at the end of Long Island, so it’s nearly surrounded by water. Everywhere you turn, the ocean is there. This place is pretty special because it’s not very developed—there are some homes dotting the shoreline, but it’s mostly open space. Beyond the beach in the summer, you’ll see whales breaching.

24. Ooms Conservation Area, Chatham, New York

Ooms Conservation Area Chatham New York

Name: Sara Coughlin Outdoor expertise: Senior commerce writer at SELF, enthusiastic rock climber, and somewhat enthusiastic hiker Best for: Dog walking, walking without a dog, pondering by the water Best time to visit: Spring Why the spot is awesome: I recently visited this area on a whim with my boyfriend and dog during a weekend climbing trip, and I'm so glad we did. Surrounded by swaths of upstate farmland and countryside, this little pond looks like the setting for The Wind in the Willows. Trails are lined with reeds and trees, and have boardwalks where things get muddy. We even saw a turtle taking a swim in the pond—so it’s probably for the best that my dog refused to set foot in the water.

25. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Image may contain Tree Plant Outdoors Tree Trunk Nature Human Person Road and Ground

Name: Sarah Hulsey Social handle: @thestrongsarah Outdoor expertise: Rock climber who works with brands to promote body positivity and advocacy in the outdoor industry Best for: Climbing and hiking Best time to visit: Late spring and early summer Why the spot is awesome: This is a special place; my husband and I did our honeymoon there, and we go at least once a year. Each time we like to do different activities—there’s tubing, fly fishing, climbing, mountain biking, and tons of hiking trails and waterfalls everywhere. We especially like hiking or climbing up Looking Glass Rock. The views at the top are amazing—just fields and fields of trees, rolling hills, and outlines of the mountains.

26. Cross Ranch Preserve and Cross Ranch State Park, North Dakota

Cross Ranch Preserve and the adjacent Cross Ranch State Park North Dakota

Name: Elisha Mueller Social handle: @​​elishakat Outdoor expertise: Conservation biologist Best for: Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping Best time to visit: Spring and fall Why the spot is awesome: You get so much diversity in the landscape between these two spots. From the Missouri River and its old-growth cottonwood forests to the rolling hills and wide-open prairies, there is something for everyone to love! The preserve offers beautiful views, an abundance of wildflowers, and bison. The state park, in contrast, immerses you in a forest of tall cottonwood trees that are hundreds of years old.

27. East Fork State Park, Bethel, Ohio

Image may contain Animal Mammal Horse Human Person Equestrian and Bird

Name: Sally Anderson Social handle: @sallyrealtorcolorado Outdoor expertise: Horseback rider for 20 years Best for: Horseback riding Best time to visit: Spring or fall Why the spot is awesome: This place is beautiful. There are lots of trees, lush grasses, rolling hills, and creek crossings. And there’s wildlife, like deer, possums, and raccoons. There’s a huge lake as well as open fields with picnic tables where you can stop and have lunch. Sometimes it’s really muddy, which is actually kind of fun to ride horses in because you slide down the hills.

28. Quartz Mountain State Park and Lake Altus-Lugert, Oklahoma

Quartz Mountain State Park and its lake Lake AltusLugert Oklahoma

Name: Stephen Ofsthun Social handle: @​​okla_photographer Outdoor expertise: Photographer and fan of the outdoors since 1998 Best for: Camping, photography, hiking, nature spotting Best time to visit: Spring, summer, fall Why the spot is awesome: The beauty of the rocky hills, lake, and sandy beaches in Quartz Mountain State Park really stand out in my state of Oklahoma! There’s a beautiful lodge nestled in the hills on the west side of the lake. There’s quite a diverse range of things to do around here and wildlife to see.

29. Napatree Point, Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Napatree Point Watch Hill Rhode Island

Name: Sarah Yalowitz Social handle: @sarahroseyalowitz Outdoor expertise: Director of programming and development at SELF, avid hiker, and beginner surfer Best for: Beach walks and runs, bird watching, and swimming Best time to visit: Summer Why the spot is awesome: Napatree Point is a public beach and wildlife preserve that I’ve been going to since I was a kid. It never gets too crowded, and it’s a very peaceful place to walk, run on the beach, and go for a swim when the water is warm enough. But it’s also great when it’s colder out: I particularly love going for strolls there in the winter, when the summer town is asleep and there are few other people around. A walk on the beach at Napatree Point always quiets my mind and leaves me with a feeling of peace and contentment.

30. Buzzards Roost Trailhead, Rapid City, South Dakota

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Name: Jordan Smith Social handle: @​​jordan.smith._ Outdoor expertise: Avid hiker for 10+ years Best for: Hiking, mountain biking, advanced trail running Best time to visit: Late spring, summer, fall Why the spot is awesome: Buzzards Roost offers a serene hiking spot with beautiful views just minutes outside of the city. There is a network of trails that allow for over 10 miles of hiking, but if you just want to go for the view, it’s about a 2.8-mile loop. You’ll get a beautiful view of miles of the Black Hills and other surrounding peaks.

31. Big Bend National Park, Texas

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Name: Nina Cardenas Social handle: @​​ramblinroundtexas Outdoor expertise: Park ranger for 10+ years and has visited over 70 state and national parks with her daughter Best for: Stargazing, hiking, escaping from society! Best time to visit: Fall or spring Why the spot is awesome: Big Bend is like no other place in Texas. It’s wild, rugged, remote, and jaw-droppingly beautiful. It is my favorite place to go to truly be alone with nature, but at six-plus hours from the Austin area, you’ve got to work for that solitude!

32. St. George, Utah

St. George Utah

Name: Carolyn Todd Social handle: @carolynltodd Outdoor expertise: Health editor at SELF and hiking fan Best for: Hiking, mountain biking, ATVing Best time to visit: Fall, winter, or spring Why the spot is awesome: My parents recently retired to St. George, Utah, which is truly a hiker’s paradise with the ridiculous amount of great trails in the area, dry air, and sunny days year-round. When we visit, my dad takes us to a new, recently discovered gem every morning. I love the stunning contrast of the brilliant red sand and rocks with the clear blue skies—as well as the desert flora and interesting geologic formations. Plus, the number of low-traffic trails makes it easy to find peace and silence.

33. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park Utah

Name: Maggie O’Neill Social handle: @maggieoneill19 Outdoor expertise: Senior news editor at SELF and lover of all things hiking, water skiing, and glamping Best for: Hiking Best time to visit: Spring Why the spot is awesome: Zion’s hiking scene is unmatched. There are quiet, meandering trails that feel more like a casual stroll and strenuous, uphill climbs for the days you really want to sweat. On top of the variety, Zion’s monstrous red cliffs offer truly breathtaking views wherever you go in the park.

34. Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, Waynesboro, Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro Virginia

Name: Asher Freeman Social handle: @nonnormativebodyclub Outdoor expertise: Biked the TransAmerica path, a 4,215-mile route across the U.S., in 2018 Best for: Biking Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: On the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs from Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, Virginia, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina, you’re riding along the top of a mountain range. The colors there are really magical in the fall, with amazing vistas every corner that you turn—you can look down and see many miles of foliage. There are visitor centers every few dozen miles, which is nice for taking bathroom breaks along the way.

35. Hood Canal, Washington

Jess Caldwell Clamming with a Friend

Name: Jess Caldwell Social handle: @jess_wildkindacademy Outdoor expertise: Founder of Wildkind Academy; teaches courses on foraging, fishing, and bow hunting Best for: Foraging for oysters and manila clams Best time to visit: Early spring Why the spot is awesome: There is nothing like immersing yourself in wild places and harvesting food that is being offered in nature. This 70-mile-long fjord is ideal for fishing, crabbing, clamming, and oyster harvesting. You can camp and hike into the Olympic National Park and explore beautiful waterfalls and ancient forests.

36. San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands Washington State

Name: Marley Blonsky Social handle: @marleyblonsky Outdoor expertise: Cofounder of All Bodies on Bikes; been on 100+ bike camp trips Best for: Biking Best time to visit: Summer Why the spot is awesome: All the islands are just magical. There’s a bioluminescent bay, so at night it looks like the water is glowing. In the summer the sun is up from about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s a really spectacular place; it feels like you’re in a different time and place.

37. New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, Glen Jean, West Virginia

New River Gorge National Park  Preserve Glen Jean West Virginia

Name: Brandon Ellis Social handle: @theeyesofb Outdoor expertise: Professional adventure photographer/filmmaker Best for: Climbing Best time to visit: Fall Why the spot is awesome: This is a new national park, and you don’t have to make reservations. It’s got something for everybody at every level—from kayaking to whitewater rafting, deep-water soloing, rock climbing, camping, backpacking, fishing, and boating. One of my favorite times of the year is Bridge Day in the fall–that’s when Summersville Lake drains and an entirely new area to explore opens up at the lake bottom.

38. String Lake, Wyoming

Image may contain Sunglasses Accessories Accessory Clothing Apparel Hat Human Person Plant Tree and Outdoors

Name: Nailah Blades Wylie Social handle: @nailahblades Outdoor expertise: Avid hiker and founder of Color Outside, an organization focused on helping women of color create a safe space in the outdoors Best for: Hiking Best time to visit: Summer and early fall Why the spot is awesome: String Lake is a gorgeous lake tucked away at the base of the Teton Mountains. It’s perfect for hiking, taking a boat ride, or even seeing a bear out in the wild. I love the peace and tranquility of the entire area and that there are so many ways to appreciate nature there.

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SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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The Top Things to Do in Moscow

Statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky in front of St Basils Cathedral

As a vibrant capital and Europe’s largest city, Moscow is a powerful mix of history and edginess, full of world-famous sites. Russia ’s capital was just a small town when it was first recorded 800 years ago, but there is enough here today to keep you busy for months. Here’s the ultimate first-timer’s list of things to do in Moscow, from exploring the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral to getting a cable car from Sparrow Hills or skating in Gorky Park.

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The heart of Russia’s capital, Red Square is surrounded by striking sites including the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum, and is where so much of the country’s history has unfolded. What was once a humble market square has become known as the place where rebels have been executed, protests staged and military strength put on show throughout Russia’s tumultuous history.

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St Basil’s Cathedral

However long you’re visiting Moscow for, you must set aside some time to soak up the archetypal image of Russia’s capital with the glistening rainbow roofs of St Basil’s Cathedral. The onion-shaped domes were designed to make the building look like flames on a bonfire. The cathedral was commissioned in the 1500s by Ivan the Terrible and according to legend, the Tsar thought it so beautiful he ordered that the architect be blinded so they would never surpass this creation.

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Lenin’s Mausoleum

The love-it-or-hate-it of Russia attractions, Lenin’s Mausoleum houses a glass sarcophagus containing the embalmed body of the legendary Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin. First opened to the public in August 1924, the Mausoleum attracts around 2.5m visitors a year, who presumably don’t mind queueing and going through a thorough search to enter Lenin’s presence.

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Moscow Kremlin

The biggest active fortress in Europe , Moscow’s Kremlin offers a week’s worth of attractions on its own. Once you get behind the 2,235m (7,332ft) of walls, there are five squares to wander around, various buildings to explore, 20 towers to learn the names of, and the world’s largest bell and cannon to see.

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State Historical Museum

An attraction in its own right, the State Historical Museum, founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin and Aleksey Uvarov, was once the principal medicine store, also containing antiquaries owned by the royal family. It now houses an impressive collection, which includes relics of prehistoric tribes that once inhabited the territory of present-day Russia, the country’s largest coin collection, as well as 6th-century manuscripts and artworks collected by the Romanov dynasty, among other treasures.

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Russia’s main department store, GUM’s stunning interior houses a variety of high-end boutiques. Built between 1890 and 1893 and known as the Upper Trading Rows until the 1920s, the legendary store is now home to over 100 boutiques selling a variety of brands: from luxurious Dior to the more affordable Zara. Even if shopping is not on your list of what to do in Moscow, the GUM is still worth a visit; the glass-roofed arcade faces Red Square and offers a variety of classy eateries.

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Arbat Street

An elegant, pedestrianised street right in the historic city centre, Arbat is one of Moscow’s most touristy spots. With lots of cafes and restaurants , live music performers and caricaturists, as well as souvenir shops and tattoo parlours, monuments and a theatre, Arbat draws crowds of visitors every day.

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Tretyakov Gallery

Built between 1900 and 1905, Tretyakov Gallery started as the private collection of the Tretyakov brothers, who were 19th-century philanthropists. Designed by Viktor Vasnetsov, the gallery is home to one of the largest collections of Russian art in the world. Here you can see icons including Rublev’s Trinity, and pre-revolutionary masterpieces such as Girl With Peaches by Valentin Serov, Demon by Mikhail Vrubel and The Rooks Have Come Back by Alexei Savrasov.

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Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

The largest foreign art museum in Moscow comprises three branches housing a collection of incredible works by masters of ancient civilisations, the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age. The main building contains masterpieces by Botticelli, Tiepolo, Veronese and Rembrandt, some of which had never been displayed before. The Gallery of European and American Art, located next door, stores an incredible collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

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Moscow’s premier green space, Gorky Park offers entertainment for every taste: outdoor dancing sessions, yoga and fitness classes all summer, as well as beach volleyball and ping-pong, rollerblading, skateboarding and cycling opportunities, along with Segway and boat rentals. In winter, half the park turns into one of the city’s biggest ice skating rinks. The park is also home to an open-air movie theatre and one of the less obvious places to visit in Moscow for art lovers, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Sparrow Hills

If you take a walk from Gorky Park along the Moscow river embankment, you’ll end up in the city’s other legendary park, Sparrow Hills. Although the park doesn’t offer as many activities as its hip neighbour, here you can take a closer look at the tallest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers (the Moscow State University), admire the view from the observation deck or get a cable car ride.

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Bolshoi Theatre

Opened in 1856, the legendary Bolshoi Theatre is one of the pest places in Moscow for an evening of entertainment. It’s the home of Bolshoi Ballet and the Bolshoi Opera – among the oldest and most famous ballet and opera companies in the world. Alongside the classics, the theatre also stages contemporary works by young international composers and choreographers. The theatre’s imperial decor was restored in a six-year refurbishment that finished in 2011.

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VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre

The enormous VDNKh contains about 400 buildings and is said to cover an area bigger than Monaco. The centre started out as the all-Soviet agricultural exhibition in 1935, and now serves as an open-air museum of Soviet architecture. With the iconic fountain at its entrance, the park complex is home to a number of museums, shopping pavilions, multiple eateries , a massive oceanarium, a zip-line, a horse-riding rink and a Russian space shuttle. In winter a skating rink opens – the largest in Europe.

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Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve

The former summer residence of Empress Catherine the Great was commissioned in 1775, and succumbed to deterioration during the Soviet era. The whole of Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve has been fundamentally renovated since the 1980s to look even brighter than the original. With its opulently decorated buildings, gardens, meadows and forests, Tsaritsyno Park is the perfect place for a green respite in Moscow.

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Mostly known for the city’s largest flea market, the district of Izmaylovo is home to a maze of shops where you can get just about anything: from handmade items to Soviet antiquities. It’s also one of Moscow’s largest green spaces, where you can hide from the city buzz.

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Ostankino TV Tower

Built in 1967, Ostankino TV Tower was the tallest free-standing construction in the world at the time. Now it’s still the best observation deck with a glass floor and 360 degree views. So be sure to book one of the hourly tours; the speedy elevators will take you 337m (1,105ft) in no time.

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A 10-minute metro ride from the city centre will take you to Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve, where you can get an idea of what Medieval Moscow looked like. Here you’ll find ancient churches (one dating back to the 16th century), the oldest garden in Moscow and a favourite estate of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, father of Peter the Great.

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Novodevichy Convent

Founded in 1524, the Novodevichy Convent is a place steeped in history. Behind the walls that once served as a fortress, there are four cathedrals with a fascinating icon collection and a venerable cemetery. Back in the day it was common for women from noble families to retire in monasteries, and the Novodevichy Convent had some notable residents such as Princess Sophia and Eudoxia Lopukhina, both related to Peter the Great (and imprisoned by him). The former was his half-sister who claimed the throne; the latter was his first wife, who stood in the way of his marriage to Catherine I.

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

One of Russia’s most visited cathedrals, Christ the Saviour is a truly remarkable site. The grandiose cathedral was built in the 1990s where a 19th-century church of the same name stood before it was demolished in 1931 by the Soviet authorities. Designed to look like its predecessor, the modern building also contains the icon Christ Not Painted by Hand by Sorokin, which survived the demolition of the original cathedral. The cathedral was the site of feminist punk collective Pussy Riot’s 2012 protest that led to the imprisonment of several members.

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Moscow City

Home to Europe’s tallest office building, Moscow City, also referred to as Moscow International Business Centre, is one Russia’s most ambitious engineering projects of recent years. With its various high-rises, the business district is where you should come for great crowd-free shopping and the best panoramic views of the city.

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Izmailovsky Market

For those on a budget, ditch window shopping at the exclusive GUM and take a foray into the bustling world of Izmailovsky, Russia’s best flea market. Delve into the bargains, rifle through the artisan crafts, admire the local handiwork and be tempted by the silky smooth traditional fur hats. Expect walls of matryoshka dolls, fascinating Soviet memorabilia, and glittering hand-crafted jewellery. Head up to one of Izmailovsky market’s cafes for a warming mulled wine before continuing your shopping spree.

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Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

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What do you love about your job, it's the personal contact, the personal experiences. i love meeting people from all over the world... i really like getting to know everyone and feeling like i'm traveling with a group of friends., what destination is on your travel bucket-list, i have so many places on my list, but i would really lobe to go to africa. i consider myself an “adventure girl” and africa feels like the ultimate adventure.

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Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

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Film & TV

‘killing eve’ – konstantin’s world.

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Guides & Tips

Stay curious: experience moscow from your living room.

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See & Do

How to spend a summer day in moscow, russia.

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How To Make the Most of 24 Hours in Moscow in Winter

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A Weekend in Moscow with Curator Catherine Borissoff

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The Best Clubs in Moscow, Russia, for Partygoers

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The best restaurants in moscow's tverskaya.

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The 7th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

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The Best Shopping Malls in Moscow

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Best Kids Activities Near Me

Looking for ways to entertain the kids? Check out these fun activities, which are sure to keep them happy and busy. From outdoor parks to indoor play spaces, museums, and concerts, there's something for everyone. And don’t worry—many of these activities are fun for adults, too.

Imagination Playhouse on Yelp

  • Imagination Playhouse

5628 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Park Children's Playground on Yelp

  • Golden Gate Park Children's Playground

Near Park Entrance At Haight And Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA

Peek-a-Boo Factory on Yelp

  • Peek-a-Boo Factory

5411 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

Children's Creativity Museum on Yelp

Children's Creativity Museum

221 4th St, San Francisco, CA

California Academy of Sciences on Yelp

  • California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA

Messy Art Lab on Yelp

Messy Art Lab

1371 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA

Little Oceanauts on Yelp

Little Oceanauts

1917 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, CA

Koret Children's Quarter on Yelp

Koret Children's Quarter

320 Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco, CA

House of Air on Yelp

House of Air

926 Mason St, San Francisco, CA

Slime Kitchen on Yelp

Slime Kitchen

49 Serramonte Ctr, Daly City, CA

Bay Area Discovery Museum on Yelp

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum

557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA

JAMaROO Kids on Yelp


2116 Union St Office, San Francisco, CA

Alta Plaza Playground on Yelp

Alta Plaza Playground

Jackson St & Steiner St, San Francisco, CA

Children's Fairyland on Yelp

Children's Fairyland

699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA

Aquarium Of The Bay on Yelp

  • Aquarium Of The Bay

PIER 39 Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA

Esmeralda Street Slides on Yelp

Esmeralda Street Slides

Esmeralda St And Winfield St, San Francisco, CA

Most Reviewed Kids Activities Near Me

K1 Speed on Yelp

160 Beacon St, South San Francisco, CA

Yerba Buena Gardens on Yelp

Yerba Buena Gardens

750 Howard St, San Francisco, CA

7D Experience on Yelp

7D Experience

39 Pier, San Francisco, CA

Ripley's Believe It or Not! on Yelp

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

175 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA

Dogpatch Boulders on Yelp

Dogpatch Boulders

2573 3rd St, San Francisco, CA

Circus Center on Yelp

Circus Center

755 Frederick St, San Francisco, CA

Color Me Mine on Yelp

Color Me Mine

445 Westlake Shopping Ctr, Daly City, CA

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Clear water of Lake Tahoe California in summer with snowcapped mountains in the background--one of the best places to visit in the USA bucket list

USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US

From snowcapped mountains to tropical beaches, from some of the world’s most iconic cities to some of its most incredible deserts, from the east coast to the west, one thing is incredibly certain: there is absolutely no shortage of awe-inspiring, utterly diverse, and incredibly beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Our home country boasts one of the most incredible national park systems on the planet, along with a huge variety of cities, small towns, and other gorgeous places that ensure that a lifetime would not be long enough to see all of the best travel destinations in the USA.

… But that won’t stop us from trying to enjoy as many of the most amazing vacations in the United States as we can.

We teamed up with several other travel bloggers to put together this giant USA bucket list, and definitely added a few new spots to our personal list of places to see in the US in the process!

From coast to coast, city to countryside, here are the best places to visit in the USA.

Table of Contents

Best Cities to Visit in the USA

National parks + other beautiful places for a us vacation, beaches + islands for your usa bucket list, other beautiful places in the usa to visit.

antelope canyon in arizona with a beam of light streaming into the canyon

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New York, New York

From Disha of Disha Discovers

New York is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the United States and even the world.

It truly is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their lives even if it’s just for a quick weekend in NYC !

The tall buildings are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring, it’s home to some of the most exquisite museums and galleries in the world, and New York City is brimming with so much to explore and see.

Plus, NYC is a foodie’s heaven with cuisines from all over the world.

… And, these are only a few of the many reasons to visit this magnificent city.

kate storm standing at a magnifying glass on liberty island overlooking financial district manhattan

Some bucket-list-worthy things to do in New York City are to watch a play on Broadway, see the Statue of Liberty, hang out in Time Square, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and take a stroll around Central Park.

A few museums to visit are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Guggenheim, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, and Chelsea Market are must-sees as well.

Whatever you decide to do in New York City , you’re in for a real treat!

This city will leave you feeling inspired and you’ll want to book another trip to come back!

kate storm spinning in front of manhattan bridge in brooklyn, a must see duing 4 days in nyc

Miami, Florida

From Veronika of Travel Geekery

Vibrant and colorful Miami is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in the US.

The downtown area merges into wonderfully diverse neighborhoods from Little Havana to Coral Gables.

However, most visitors to the vibrant yet laid-back city head to its beaches located on a long stretch of a barrier island.

South Beach especially is where the glamor’s at, topped by stylish Ocean Drive, which is lined with elegant Art Deco houses including Versace’s mansion, trendy restaurants, and nightclubs… the scene is pretty lively there.

Kate in a pink dress next to a blue Vespa on Ocean Avenue.

The beach itself features uniquely colored watchtowers spread around nice light sand. The waves are mostly mild. Pelicans like it here too and often float on the water near people.

Watching a sunrise on the beach belongs to one of the best experiences one can have in the area.

Miami City and its beaches can easily be visited  even without a car .

The public transport network and the ample ride/bike-sharing services make it an easy destination for any type of traveler.

Blue and yellor art deco lifeguard stand on South Beach in Miami, which is a must-see beach for your USA bucket list!

San Diego, California

From Maria of San Diego Explorer

San Diego is the perfect California beach city and a must on any USA bucket list.

Also known as America’s Finest City, San Diego has a lot to offer, whether you are looking for a beach getaway at one of the many beach resorts in San Diego , a fun time in the city, or a mix of both.

Here are some of the best things to do in San Diego!

In Downtown San Diego, there is something for everyone: from eating delicious Italian fare in Little Italy to visiting the Midway Museum to strolling through Seaport Village, and having a fun night out in the Gaslamp Quarter.

If you love the outdoors and animals, visit Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.  

cityscape of san diego california on a sunny day

And then, there are the beaches: San Diego has some of the best beaches in Southern California.

Some of the most popular ones are Mission Beach, Coronado, and the beaches in La Jolla.

You can relax on the sand, take surfing lessons, or ride your bike along the boardwalk for a fun day on the beach.  

San Diego has so much to offer and is simply a fun city, no matter what you are in the mood for. 

San Diego CA harbor with rows of sailboats in the foreground and the skyline in the back right of the photo

Austin, Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World and capital of the state of Texas is located in the heart of Texas Hill Country and offers a fantastic combination of excellent nightlife, plenty of outdoor activities and day trip opportunities, and truly phenomenal food.

Don’t leave without having at least one giant meal each worth of TexMex and barbecue!

While in Austin, be sure to visit trendy South Congress Avenue, watch the bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge (if you’re visiting at the right time of year, that is), see a show, and go for a hike (or if it’s too hot, hit the lake!).

Want to get out of town?

Austin is within an easy day trip of natural swimming holes, Texas’ wine country, and adorable small towns.

Austin TX skyline with the South Congress Bridge in the foreground

New Orleans, Louisiana

Good food, good music, and good times: of all the best places to visit in the USA, NOLA definitely ranks toward the top of the list for places to go to simply have an amazing time.

There’s far more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and beignets, though.

With a dark and complex history heavily impacted by slavery and a constantly evolving modern culture, New Orleans deserves more than just partying during your visit–though there’s plenty of time for that, too.

While in New Orleans, be sure to listen to some jazz, learn a bit about the city’s history, visit the famous Jackson Square, head to the Garden District, check out the beautiful oak trees in City Park, and–this is very important–eat your heart out.

NOLA is indisputably home to some of the best food in the country–so good, in fact, that the food alone would be a good enough reason to add New Orleans to your USA bucket list.

For those interested in New Orleans’ spooky legends, a ghost tour through the French Quarter at night is also worth adding to your to-do list!

Street in NOLA French Quarter at night with neon lights from the bars lighting it up--don't miss a chance to experience the legendary New Orleans nightlife during your 3 days in NOLA itinerary!

Washington, DC

From Jordan of The Solo Life

One of the best travel destinations in the United States is the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

With everything from museums to monuments to the White House and Capitol Building, DC has something for everyone .

In addition, DC’s public transportation and numerous free attractions make it a surprising destination for the budget-friendly traveler.

Kid-friendly options include the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum.

Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art or the Hirshhorn Museum for modern and contemporary art.

sunset on the national mall in washington dc facing the washington monument, one of the best places to visit on the east coast america

History buffs should check out the Library of Congress and the National Archives Museum.

Besides museums, the National Mall and Tidal Basin are must-visit locations to see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial, among others.

The best times to visit DC include early summer before it gets too hot or in the fall once summer break is over.

Although extremely crowded due to the Cherry Blossoms, springtime is also a gorgeous time to visit.

No matter what time of year, Washington, DC is one of the best destinations to visit in the US.

Washington Monument in Washington DC framed by cherry blossoms in the foreground. Washington DC is one of the best places to visit in the United States

San Francisco, California

The city of hills, ocean views, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge is at the top of many people’s lists of bucket lists for the United States.

And, with an endless list of things to do that cater to all interests, why not?

Be sure to pay a visit to the touristed highlights that most interest you–Fisherman’s Wharf (and its adorable sea lions!), Alcatraz, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the Painted Ladies (of Full House fame), and checking out Lombard Street.

Once you cross those highlights off your list, though, make time for a few less-obvious attractions, like San Francisco’s Japanese Garden, the Land’s End Labyrinth, and Fort Point.

And, of course, you can’t forget to go for a walk in the woods while visiting San Francisco!

Visiting the Muir Woods is an unforgettable experience worthy of your time on any weekend trip to the area.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco CA shot from above on a clear day

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia has been one of the coolest US cities to visit for centuries, and–like Boston–it features strong ties to the American Revolution.

This is where the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution were signed, touring Independence Hall and visiting the nearby Liberty Bell are among the best things to do in Philadelphia today as a result!

You can’t miss Philly’s food scene when visiting, either–from whoopie pies to Philly cheesesteaks, the city has a (literal) flavor all its own.

elfreths alley in philadelphia, one of the best places to vacation in usa

Start–but don’t finish–exploring Philadelphia’s food scene at the historic Reading Terminal Market.

Be sure to also make time to visit some of Philadelphia’s incredible museums during your visit, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution (we loved this one), and touring the dark but fascinating Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is also home to another essential stop in this iconic East Coast City: the Rocky Steps.

And, if you’re willing to work up a sweat, definitely consider running up them yourself during your classic American vacation in Philadelphia!

independence hall in philadelphia on a sunny day with red and pink flowers in the foreground. attractions in usa things to do

Chicago, Illinois

From Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

Chicago is the third-largest city in the US, and also one of the most ethnically diverse.

Its skyline reflecting off the waters of Lake Michigan is a sight to behold.

No matter what your interests are, whether it’s music, shopping, culture, art, or dining, you could spend months exploring all that Chicago has to offer.

On a shorter USA vacation, though, you can still see quite a few of the best sights in Chicago!

The city’s top museums include the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Don’t forget to check out the many outdoor sculptures and other public works of art around the Loop, either.

View of Chicago IL skyline from willis tower skydeck, a must-see during a 3 day Chicago vacation

A walk along the Magnificent Mile will take you past upscale department stores and through Millennium Park, home of the famous sculpture known as The Bean.

A visit to Bronzeville, also known as “the Black Metropolis”, is a must to learn about the city’s rich African-American history.

Architecture buffs will be interested to know that this is where Frank Lloyd Wright established the Prairie School architectural style. You can find some of his earliest buildings here in Chicago.

You’ll work up an appetite walking the streets of this massive city. This is a good thing, because the restaurant scene here is amazing!

You can find pretty much any cuisine you could imagine, from stylish Japanese to homestyle soul food, and there are even lots of vegetarian and  vegan restaurants in Chicago .

Photo of Chicago train traveling on a bridge over car traffic--using Chicago's public transportation is the best way to get around on a Chicago weekend getaway!

Houston, Texas

From Thanh of The Traveling Asian

Houston, Texas is one of the coolest places to visit in the United States, and while an unexpected vacation option, certainly one that will impress.

After all, it is the 4th largest city in the USA and is often ranked as the most diverse city in the country!

Because of this size, you can expect there to be all kinds of things for you to see and do here in this city.

One of the most iconic places you must visit in the city is Space Center Houston.

There you can learn about NASA and space travel as well as take a tour around the famous mission control center. If you love space, then this place is for you.

sunset over houston texas skyline with pond in the foreground, one of the unexpected places for vacation in usa

Houston is also home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which is the biggest rodeo of its kind in the country.

There, you’ll be able to eat some delicious rodeo foods, pet some livestock, learn about animals, play at the amusement park, and even watch a concert by famous celebrities.

But aside from the attractions, Houston is known for its food. Since it is the most diverse city in the country, you can find just about everything available here in this city.

For instance, you can find Tex-Mex, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, and many other ethnic cuisines available all around the area.

So if you love food and all things fun, then Houston is definitely the place for you.

Skyline of Houston Texas as seen on a sunny day with a park in the foreground, Houston is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas

Las Vegas, Nevada

From Kimberley of Two Travelling Toques

If you’re looking for a cool place to visit in the USA, you can’t get much cooler than Las Vegas .

This well-known city has been depicted in numerous movies such as The Hangover and Ocean’s Thirteen as party central.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it in Vegas.

Long known as both the wedding capital for a quick place to get married, or the perfect spot to hold a bachelor or bachelorette party, either way, it’s the spot to bring your friends, let loose, and have fun!

Gambling has been a big draw to Las Vegas since the early 1930s, and there is no shortage of showy and extravagant casinos to choose from.

view of venice st marks square in las vegas, one of the best attractions long weekend in vegas getaway

Nightlife also takes center stage here.

From world-class musicians to top-notch magical acts, to dependable artists like Wayne Newton who have had a residency here for years. 

During the day, you can grab a fancy drink and chill by the pool. Or hit up one of the pool parties and listen to the headlining DJ.

Either way, be sure to bring lots of money for the high-end shops, ever-flowing drinks, and dazzling casinos looking to draw you in. 

Welcome to Las Vegas sign, one of the most popular weekend getaways in the USA

Savannah, Georgia

Without a doubt, the small but stunning city of Savannah, Georgia is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Featuring absolutely stunning architecture, 22 of its original 24 town squares, endless oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and some of the best food in the country, spending a few days in Savannah is bound to be a delight.

While you’re there, be sure to meander down beautiful Jones Street, check out Forsyth Park, hear some of the city’s most enduring legends on a ghost tour, enjoy views from River Street, and take in some of Savannah’s complex history at its various house museums and houses of worship.

Don’t forget to set aside plenty of time to eat!

Kate Storm in a black dress in front of a brick home on Jones Street during a long weekend in Savannah GA

While there are dozens of incredible  restaurants in Savannah , favorites include The Olde Pink House and The Grey for special occasions, The Collins Quarter for their legendary lavender mocha latte, and Leopold’s Ice Cream for a scoop of their famous Tutti Frutti ice cream.

Have enough time for a quick  day trip ?

Tybee Island –also known as “Savannah’s Beach”–is less than a 30-minute drive away, and while you certainly won’t want to swim in the summer, strolling along the sand and climbing the lighthouse are a treat.

Jones Street in Savannh GA with a green house in the left foreground and an oak tree on the right. Jones Street is one of the best Savannah photo spots

Los Angeles, California

From Trijit of Budget Travel Buff

Looking for the coolest place to visit in the United States?

Visit Los Angeles; a unique combination of the entertainment industry, gorgeous beaches, great food, and vibrant nightlife.

It is certainly not the cheapest place in California , but for the right travelers, LA is definitely worth the price tag.

Los Angeles is a large city full of tourist attractions that won’t let you stay idle.

If you are a beach lover, LA won’t disappoint you with its stunning beaches that include Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, and so on.

There are several fantastic museums in LA. LACMA is the most popular one for its diverse art collections and special exhibits.

Skyline of Los Angeles CA with palm trees in the forground, one of the best places to visit in the US

Some other renowned museums are the Grammy Museum, Natural History Museum, and Museum of Broken Relationships.

While visiting LA, you will notice entertainment at every corner of the city. You can see a concert or enjoy a ride at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

If you rent a car in Los Angeles, go for a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that carves through the mountains of Malibu.

Los Angeles has some of the best restaurants in the US.

Once you are done with LA sightseeing, have lunch at any of these food spots – Diakokuya for ramen, Langer’s for a pastrami sandwich, Guisados for tacos, or pizza at Mozza.

aerial view of santa monica beach near los angeles, one of the best places to vacation in the united states

Seattle, Washington

Set right on the water with the dramatic backdrop of Mount Rainier, it’s no wonder that busy and beautiful Seattle is one of the best USA travel destinations.

When visiting Seattle, be sure to eat your way through Pike Place Market, head to the top of the Space Needle, visit the famous Chihuly Museum, and check out the fun and interesting Museum of Pop Culture.

Looking for interesting neighborhoods?

Head to Fremont, where the self-proclaimed unofficial motto is “des libertas quirkas”, aka “the freedom to be quirky”.

Hoping to spend some time outside?

Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Pacific Northwest, endless waterfalls, trails, and mountains–even Mount Rainier itself–are located within day-tripping distance from Seattle.

Seattle Waterfront with space needle visible through the ferris wheel

Charleston, South Carolina

Located just a couple of hours north of Savannah, Charleston shares a lot of similarities with its neighbor to the south.

Fantastic Lowcountry food, Spanish moss dripping from the trees, beautiful architecture, and lots of history to uncover are wonderful to appreciate in both Charleston and Savannah –but Charleston absolutely has its own distinct personality as well.

On your Charleston vacation, be sure to visit the beautiful and photogenic Rainbow Row, check out the tea-making process at the Charleston Tea Garden, visit the gorgeous and interesting Angel Oak Tree, stroll through Waterfront Park and Battery Park, and check out City Market.

Photo of Rainbow Row in Charleston SC, a must see during a 3 day weekend in Charleston SC

If you’d like to do some shopping while in Charleston, King Street is the place to go.

Those interested in US military history will no doubt want to visit Patriots Point to tour the former US naval ships docked there and Fort Sumter for its history (and views).

Beach lovers, don’t miss the chance to check out nearby Folly Beach and/or Sullivan’s Island!

Kate Storm sitting in front of the pineapple fountain in Charleston SC--choosing whether to visit Savannah or Charleston is no easy task, but we wrote this guide to help!

Orlando, Florida

As the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is one of the most popular places to visit in the USA for both domestic and international visitors, mostly on behalf of one iconic mouse.

As home to Walt Disney World , Orlando is a must-see USA bucket list item for many families across the world, and with four amazing Disney parks packed with rides, experiences, and intense amounts of nostalgia, it’s no wonder why.

Disney isn’t the only theme park game in town, though!

Universal Studios Orlando, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is also a fantastic theme park to visit, and big roller coaster fans may even want to take a day trip to Tampa Bay to experience Busch Gardens.

Though the parks are a big draw for people visiting Orlando with kids and kids at heart alike, theme parks aren’t the only places to visit in and around Orlando.

The Kennedy Space Center, plenty of beaches, and even cool swimming holes like Wekiva Springs are within day-trip distance of Orlando.

Lake Eola Park in Orlando Florida with swams in the water and a skyline visible in the background. Orlando belongs on a bucket list for the United States

Portland, Oregon

Much like Austin, Portland proudly embraces its weirdness, celebrating the eclectic and bizarre in all possible ways–and that makes it endlessly fun to visit!

Bookworms like me will immediately head to Powell’s City of Books–I still think it’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever visited–while foodies will want to head directly to the local ice cream obsession, Salt & Straw. 

Voodoo Doughnuts, now with a few locations nationally, also originated here and remains popular with tourists (though depending on who you ask, not locals–for what it’s worth, we’d rate the doughnuts 7/10).

During your weekend trip to Portland, make time to visit the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden, especially if you visit when everything is in bloom.

Plenty of incredible parts of the Columbia River Gorge, including famous Multnomah Falls, are also within easy reach of Portland and deserve to feature on your USA bucket list!

Photo of steal sign stating "portland oregon" in front of a blue sky, a must-see during 3 days in portland or

Nashville, Tennessee

From Apryl of Southern Traveling Gal

No doubt about it, there’s something about Nashville, that casts a long-lasting spell on travelers.

For travelers visiting Nashville, it’s not unheard of to plan a return trip as soon as the current one is over!

Only in “The Music City” is it possible to catch the latest exhibit at the Frist Art Museum, see a replica of the Parthenon and enjoy live music at venues along the Honky Tonk Highway.

For first-timers, touring country music icons like the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-do.

Don’t overlook artist-specific museums such as the Johnny Cash Museum and Glen Campbell Museum that provides a closer look at these music giants, either.

Much of Nashville’s allure lies within its distinctive neighborhoods, like the Gulch, filled with shops and restaurants.

Skyline of Nashville Tennessee at sunset overlooking the river, one of the most romantic getaways in the United States

It isn’t unusual to spot a long line or two here, typically featuring either people waiting in line to take a photo with the “What Lifts You” mural or getting into Biscuit Love.

Save some room for some barbecue from Peg Leg Porker!

12thSouth offers locally-owned boutiques, stores, and eateries. Also found here is Draper James, the flagship store of Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line.

Be sure to take home some cookies from Christie’s Cookie Company and snap a photo with the “I Believe in Nashville” mural.

Across the Cumberland River is the eclectic East Nashville. Don’t miss out on the mini doughnuts at Donut Distillery.

Depending on time, consider visiting Cheekwood Estates and Gardens, a 55-acre botanical garden, as part of your Nashville getaway.

Of course, no trip to Nashville is complete without hot chicken from Prince’s Hot Chicken or biscuits from Loveless Cafe, located near the Natchez Trace Parkway.

country band playing banjois in nashville tennessee

Boston, Massachusetts

From Linn of Brainy Backpackers

Boston is such a cool city to visit in the USA, rich in history, architecture, and food.

Along the waterfront, you can walk the 43-mile-long Harbor Walk.

But there is so much more to add to see during your trip to Boston, like the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path taking you to 16 significant places in American history.

It is well marked and technically be walked in as little as 90 minutes, though you can download the app and visit each place which will take at least a whole day to complete.

Boston is home to the oldest public park in the United States, Boston Common, which is situated next to Boston Public Garden.

boston public garden in the summer, one of the best things to do in boston ma

You can wander the parks and enjoy a ride in the Boston Public Garden’s historic paddleboats.

Nearby, you’ll find the Boston Public Library at Copley Square, which is an incredibly beautiful Renaissance Revival structure from 1895 that you should visit.

You’ll also find the beautiful neighborhood of Beacon Hill nearby, as well as the trendy neighborhood of Back Bay.

For the best views of the city during your Boston itinerary , visit the Skywalk Observatory.

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Beacon Hill

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

From Melissa of Parenthood and Passports

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the United States and one of the best places to visit in the entire country.

Known for its geothermal activity, more than half of the earth’s geysers are located in the national park which straddles the borders of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. 

Old Faithful is one of the most popular things to see in Yellowstone National Park .

The active and predictable geyser erupts approximately 20 times each day.

Visitors to the park gather around to watch the geyser blast hot water and steam into the sky.

Although quite impressive, Old Faithful is just one of many must-see geothermal features found in the park.

View of Grand Prism in Yellowstone National Park, one of the best places to visit in USA

One of the largest hot springs in the world, the Grand Prismatic Spring, is another popular attraction in Yellowstone.

Visitors can get an up-close view of the spring or take a short hike for a stunning overview of Grand Prismatic’s vibrant colors.  

Beyond all of its geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park also boasts beautiful waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, rivers, and more than 200 species of animals.

Bison, deer, moose, wolves, and even bears live in the park.

Because of all the wildlife in Yellowstone, visitors are strongly encouraged to use caution when hiking or camping and to carry bear spray to protect themselves in the event of an encounter.

herd of bison crossing the road and causing a traffic jam in yellowstone national park, one of the best places to vacation usa

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

From Allison of She Dreams of Alpine

Idaho is often overlooked when it comes to cool places to visit in the US, but the tiny town of Stanley serves as the gateway to an abundance of outdoor adventures in the stunning Sawtooth Mountain range and along the swift Salmon River.

Although it has a population of less than 100, Stanley is easily accessible in a 3-hour drive from the main airport in Boise or about a 1-hour drive if you’re coming from Sun Valley.

The best way to explore the Sawtooth Mountains is on one of the many hiking trails.

The hike to Alice Lake is a perfect introduction to the area, and you can either do a 12-mile day hike or backpack the longer Alice/Toxaway Loop over the course of a few days.

sawtooth mountains idaho on sunny day with lake in the foreground, one of the best places to vacation usa

Whichever option you choose, you’ll discover gorgeous views of Alice Lake framed by the “Dragon’s Back” peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains, including Idaho’s own “El Capitan.”

For fun on the water, you can go fishing along the Salmon River or swim in Redfish Lake.

When you need some rejuvenation after your adventures, you can reward yourself with great food and drinks at the Stanley Supper Club and take a dip in the hot springs at the Mountain Village Resort.

Once you head home, you’ll surely find yourself raving to your friends about this hidden gem of a mountain town – unless you want to keep the Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley a secret for yourself!

Sawtooth Mountains Idaho with a lake visible on the left of the photo and mountain peaks in the background. These mountains definitely belong on your USA bucket list!

Oregon Coast

From Kay of The Awkward Traveller

The Oregon Coast is one of the most underrated travel destinations in the USA, but for those who love moody, dramatic scenery, it is the best place to be.

Although the actual coast isn’t very long (338 or so miles, about a 7.5-hour drive without stopping), it makes for a great weekend or longer trip with added stops.

Starting at the north end, about 2 hours outside of Portland, the city of Astoria will serve as your jumping-off point with picturesque bridges and locations from The Goonies.

Heading south, take a pitstop at the cheese capital of the state  –  Tillamook , Oregon.

One car driving along the oregon coast as shot from above

Visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and gorge yourself on all things dairy before continuing on to stunning Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

The highlight of the coast will be Yachats, Oregon, with incredible farm-to-table restaurants that are dedicated to sourcing local sustainable fish, meat, and produce providers.

On the southern end of the coast, you can find sand dunes in Florence, and natural rock arches among the cliffs in Brookings.

If your tolerance for rain is low, summer will be the best season to visit weather-wise, while winter and spring will have smaller crowds and lower prices.

Oregon Coast at sunset looking toward Haystack Rock, one of the prettiest places in Oregon

Acadia National Park, Maine

From Ale of Sea Salt & Fog

Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the eastern United States, perfectly showcasing the beauty of the Maine coast.

Acadia has miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as easy coastal access for kayaking and sailing. 

When visiting, plan to spend at least  2 days in Acadia National Park  so you can make the most of your time there.

One of the best things to do includes watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, where you’ll get stunning views of the islands that dot the coast.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Drive Park Loop Road to enjoy some of the park’s most famous attractions, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Jordan Pond (don’t forget to stop for popovers at Jordan Pond House!).

For hiking, choose a paved Carriage Road to take you down to one of the many picturesque ponds and lakes in the park.

Plan your visit in the fall to see the famous New England fall foliage in full display, or in the summer to enjoy long, sunny days perfect for hiking.

If you love the outdoors, add Acadia to your list of places to visit in the US – you won’t be disappointed.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

From Monica of This Rare Earth

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is an incredible destination in the United States. 

This desert ecosystem became a national park as recently as 1994, and it’s easy to see why it was chosen!

The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, which means that you will see two very different landscapes depending on which half of the park you are in.  

The Mojave Desert is home to the famous Joshua Tree – a tall and spindly yucca – as well as giant boulders popular with climbers and hikers. 

The majority of the park’s hiking trails are found in this region.

desert landscape at sunrise in joshua tree national park, an excellent part of several of the best west coast road trips usa

However,  while planning your Joshua Tree National Park itinerary , it would be a mistake to skip the Colorado Desert at the southern end of the park.  

The Colorado Desert is hotter, lower in elevation, and flatter, but holds gorgeous landscapes full of cacti and, at the right time of year, wildflowers. 

 In the summer months, avoid strenuous hikes or leave early in the morning as temperatures can reach over 100 degrees.

Joshua Tree National Park is a designated Dark Sky Park, perfect for stargazing and well outside the bright light of the city.  

Joshua Tree is roughly 2.5 hours outside of Los Angeles.

Joshua Tree NP in California with a Joshua tree on the right side of the photo

From Chris of Called to Wander

Alaska is known as the Last Frontier, evoking adventure for those looking to travel to a truly unique place.

Because the state is massive, at over twice the size of Texas, you could spend as much or as little time exploring it as you have.

Many people take cruises through the Inside Passage and make stops in places like Ketchikan, Haines, and Seward.

Others fly into the main cities of Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent vehicles and head off on their own adventures.

By far the best way to make the most of an Alaska vacation (though it requires a steep time commitment) is by driving to Alaska and spending as much time as you’d like wandering from one place to the next.

glacier in glacier np in alaska with water in the foreground and a mountain in the background

You can drive to the Arctic Ocean along the Dalton Highway, view North America’s largest mountain (Mt. Denali), or observe wildlife like caribou, grizzly bear, and moose.

Or, catch a flight out to a handful of the most remote national parks, or drive up to and hike out to massive, ancient glaciers.

If you enjoy fishing, go after halibut in Homer or salmon in the famous Russian River.

Regardless of what kind of travel you prefer, Alaska offers adventure for everyone and should definitely be on your travel bucket list!

Train along an Alaska mountainside with wildflowers in the foreground and a mountain in the background. Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the us

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From Dan of Cabin Critic

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most popular national park in the US, hosting over 10 million annual visitors, and it definitely belongs on your bucket list for the USA.

Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, the park has diverse animal life, plants, and natural attractions. There are tons to do and see. 

If you are feeling adventurous you can go zoom down zip lines, go white water rafting, or go mountain biking. 

For a more relaxed trip, you can go on hikes, see beautiful waterfalls, or simply go for a scenic drive.

sunrise of great smoky mountains, one of the most beautiful national parks in the us

Cades Cove, for example, is a broad valley surrounded by mountains you can drive through that is well known for providing the best opportunities for seeing wildlife like white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, and more.

When you aren’t enjoying the outdoors there are numerous mountain towns to enjoy like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Asheville .

Stay in  one of the cabins with a view  of the mountainsides and check out the local attractions like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville . 

View of the Great Smoky Mountains during fall foliage season in the southern USA

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

From Michele of Adventures Abound

Just a 2-hour drive from both Portland and Seattle rest the foothills of the towering volcano Mount Rainier.

Known to the Indigenous since time immemorial, Mount Tahoma is covered in unimaginable beauty and can be enjoyed year-round. 

Visit in the summertime for hiking through meadows strewn with wildflowers of every color, and in the fall for ripening berries and a better chance to catch the trails and lakes free of ice and snowmelt on a variety of great day hikes just outside of Seattle .

To extend your visit overnight, pitch a tent in an established campground, stay in a rustic lodge in the national park, or backpack along the Wonderland trail that circumvents the park.

Not feeling up to a lengthy hike?

hiker in a field of wildflowers in mount rainier np with mount rainier visible in the background

Just driving through Mount Rainier National Park will afford endless views of waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, and even the chance to spot wildlife. 

For those thrill-seekers looking for a more challenging adventure, apply for a permit to climb more than 8,000 feet to the summit, but be aware this is only for experienced mountaineers.

Mount Rainier National Park can also be enjoyed in the winter when the park sees an average of 55 feet of snowfall or more.

Head to the Crystal Mountain gondola to catch a great view of the peak while skiing and snowboarding down the slopes, or pick one of many great locations to snowshoe and backcountry ski along the mountain.

Whatever the choice for season and activity, Mount Rainier National Park is sure to be full of memories and adventure in one of the most beautiful destinations in the United States.

Snowcapped Mount Rainier with wildflowers in the foreground, one of the most beautiful places in usa

Arches National Park, Utah

Home to over 2,000 naturally-occurring sandstone arches, Arches National Park in Utah is one of the most uniquely beautiful places in the USA.

Whether you’re hiking to the incredible Delicate Arch (so iconic that it’s featured on Utah’s license plates), wandering through the Devil’s Garden, or taking one of the shorter hikes to visit some of the most impressive arches in the park, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Even one day in Arches National Park is well worth your time, but more would certainly be better.

Arches National Park is also home to internationally-recognized dark skies and some of the best stargazing in the United States–in order to see the best of the park, be sure to visit at least once after dark!

And, while Arches National Park is easily one of the best places to vacation in the US in its own right, the nearby town of Moab also makes an excellent launching pad to visit Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Double Arch in Arches National Park Utah

Olympic National Park, Washington

From Sophie and Adam of We Dream of Travel

Not only does Olympic National Park cover nearly a million acres, but it is also the most biodiverse of all the US national parks.

It has it all, from glaciated mountains to breathtaking coastlines, crashing waterfalls, ancient rainforests, enchanting hot springs, and plentiful wildlife.

With such a treasure trove of natural landscapes, Olympic National Park is easily one of the best places to visit in the US.

Mountain lovers should budget plenty of time to hike the trails of Hurricane Ridge.

Here you will discover stunning views above the clouds, as well as an abundance of wildlife.

Rocky Beach in Olympic National Park washington at sunset, a fantastic view along a west coast usa road trip destination

A great way to explore the park is on foot, particularly as much of the park is roadless. There are numerous multi-day hikes to choose from and it’s popular with backpackers.

The 17.4 miles Hoh River Trail is one of the most impressive, taking you through a flourishing rainforest to the base of Mount Olympus.

For coastal visitors, Second Beach is one of the best Olympic Park photography  locations and a perfect spot for sunset. 

However, with 73 miles of wild coastline, there’s plenty to explore!

There are endless options for the waterfall, forest, and nature lovers too.

In Sol Duc forest you can watch crystal water plunge into the lush greenery.

Or, you can choose to explore the vibrant green mosses of the Hoh Rainforest.  

No matter which part of Olympic National Park you visit, you will not be disappointed.

Forested trail in Olympic National Park with a river flowing across the photo. Olympic National Park definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Stretching over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona is one of the largest–and most impressive–canyons on the planet, and one of the most popular places to visit in the USA!

Come to Grand Canyon National Park to admire views from the rim, hike into the canyon , watch the sunrise and sunset, and perhaps even hike all the way down to the Colorado River.

If you do want to hike to the river, though, be warned: doing so is a 2-day commitment!

Anyone taking a southwest road trip in the USA should consider adding a visit to the majestic Grand Canyon to their list: it’s truly a sight that you’ll never forget.

View of the Grand Canyon from the south rim near sunset. The Grand Canyon is one of the best USA travel destinations

Death Valley National Park, California

From Michelle of The Wandering Queen

One of the best places to visit in California is Death Valley National Park .

This park is filled with bright white salt flats, mountains splashed with pastel colors, and eerie rocks that move on their own.

This park is such a strange yet unique environment which makes it perfect for avid photographers.

One of the best things to do is to watch the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. The views are glorious as the sun slowly sets on the unique colorful mountains.

Afterward, make sure to hike the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop Hike. The trailhead is right next to Zabriskie Point.

mesquite dunes in death valley national park during a pink sunrise

Another popular activity is visiting Badwater Basin. The basin stands at 282 feet below sea level and is filled with white salt.

This is a great spot to take pictures of the salt in contrast with the tall, dark mountains in the distance.

Nearby the salt flats, you can visit the devil’s golf course where spikey salt formations cover the ground.

The next outstanding area to visit is the Artists Drive. The mountain is sprinkled with pastel colors like yellow, pink, purple, and green.

It truly is a spectacular thing to see!

Rocky Mountain National Park

From Jyoti of Story At Every Corner

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most gorgeous parks in the US.

It’s also easily reachable from Denver, Colorado, which has many flights from across the country, making it fairly simple to access and one of the most popular places to vacation in America!

The best place to stay is in Estes Park , a quaint little tourist town in the mountains.

There are many small towns all around the park and many choices for all price points. 

white and green shop in downtown estes park. shopping downtown is one of the best things to do in estes park colorado

The easiest way to visit RMNP park is by car.

You can then enjoy the park by making stops at each vista point and taking hikes from there.

Most stops have short and long hikes; easy and challenging hikes.

There is a hike for everyone, but there is also spectacular scenery right at the vista points, even without a hike.

Keep in mind that the popularity of Rocky Mountain National Park means that certain places, like Bear Lake Road, must be accessed via reservation.

Kate Storm standing in front of Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the best places to visit in colorado

The most popular road that goes across the park is the scenic Trail Ridge Road.

If you don’t have time to visit anything else, I recommend driving Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to the town of Grand Lake.

Other major attractions include Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, to the south of the trail ridge road.

They offer absolutely stunning views and many wildlife viewing opportunities along with the drives. 

There is so much to do around Denver that RMNP can be part of a week-long itinerary visiting Colorado  or a trip just for RMNP. 

jeremy storm in a gray backpack hiking in rocky mountain national park

Set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most beautiful places in the US.

With crystal-clear water and plenty of activities in and out of the water, from hiking to SUP to swimming, there is no shortage of ways to appreciate the otherworldly beauty of Lake Tahoe .

To enjoy the views of the lake itself, summer is definitely the best time to visit–but winter has its charms, too, including plenty of skiing and incredible views of the lake framed by bright white snow.

From romantic couples’ retreats to fun getaways to Lake Tahoe with kids , all kinds of travelers will find something to love about Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe from above during the summer, one of the best USA travel destinations

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Located on Havasupai tribal lands not far from the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is simultaneously one of the most famous waterfalls in the USA and one of the hardest to access.

In order to visit Havasu Falls, you’ll need to secure an extremely competitive permit (they sell out months in advance) and complete a 10-mile hike in each direction.

You’ll also need to spend the night nearby, as it’s one of the permit requirements set out by the Havasupai people.

If you manage to swing both the logistics and the hike, though, the rewards are pretty spectacular.

Havasu Falls in Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in USA. Turquoise waterfall with orange walls surrounding it

Zion National Park, Utah

Home to some of what are quite possibly the best hikes in the country, Utah’s most-visited national park is absolutely one of the best places to see in the US.

Test your fear of heights (if you have one, that is) by hiking the incredible Angel’s Landing, and be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon.

Venture deep into the Virgin River by hiking The Narrows , a hike that takes place literally in the river!

Seek out incredible views along Observation Point, the Canyon Overlook Trail , and the Watchman Trail.

Try to score a permit to hike the Subway, but if you can’t get one, don’t worry: there’s more to see in Zion National Park than you can cover in one vacation.

No matter how you spend your days at Zion National Park, there’s no doubt that you’ll be experiencing something worthy of a bucket list!

Kate Storm at the viewpoint at the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park Utah

Texas Bluebonnet Trail

California’s magnificent wildflowers may be a bit better known outside of the country, but Texas’ phenomenal spread of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes that decorate the countryside each spring absolutely belong on anyone’s USA bucket list.

Whether you choose to visit the official Texas Bluebonnet Trail near Ennis (not far from Dallas) or head to the Texas Hill Country , there is no shortage of places to admire bluebonnets in Texas.

Though the blooming times can of course vary a bit depending on the weather, late March and early April are generally the best times to experience the beauty of Texas’ bluebonnets.

Wooden cart parked in a Texas field surrounded by bluebonnets. Beautiful countryside like this close by many of the best weekend getaways in Texas!

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

From Emily of Em’s on the Road

If you’re looking for unforgettable outdoor experiences without the price tag of popular destinations out west, then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the place for you.

One reason the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.) is really unique is that it is an ideal place for adventure seekers all year long. 

In the warmer months, the U.P is a great beach destination in the Midwest thanks to its location with beachfront on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

In the fall, pack your hiking boots and tackle rocky hiking trails for colorful views you’d never expect in the Midwest.

With an unobstructed panoramic view of Lake Superior, the hike up  Sugar Loaf mountain in Marquette, Michigan  is one of the most popular in the region.

Thanks to some serious snowfall, there’s so much to do in the U.P. in the winter months.

There are cross-country ski trails, snowmobiling trails, downhill skiing, dog sledding, ice climbing, and more. 

View of Lake Superior with a rainbow over it during fall foliage season on Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan

Redwood National Forest

From Dhara of Roadtripping California

Most visitors to the Golden State put   California’s national parks at the top of their itineraries because they are just so spectacular.

Redwood National and State Parks, in the northern part of the state, offer you the chance to stroll among giant redwoods, some of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet.

A group of five parks, Redwood National and State Parks feature not just the towering redwoods, but also epic coastal views, beautiful prairies filled with wildflowers in season, and the chance to see birds and wildlife.

Enjoy some of the scenic drives in the parks: Howland Hill Drive, Coastal Drive, and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway are all great choices.

Two people walking through a doorway in a fallen redwood tree in california usa

Do some of the trails through the redwood groves to see the giant trees up close: the Big Tree Wayside Walk, the Stout Memorial Grove Trail, and Lady Bird Johnson Grove are all super scenic and relatively easy walks.

Gaze up at the trees, and enjoy the ferns and rhododendrons in the understory.

You can also go biking in the parks, and camp if you plan to stay for a few days.

Redwood National and State Parks are about 5.5 hours north of San Francisco by road, and you can visit all year, although you will have the best weather in the summer.

Man standing in front of enormous Redwood trees with a sunflare in the top left corner of the photo

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

From Jase of Roaming Vegans

A little-known gem in the north of Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands.

This island archipelago on Lake Superior looks like it belongs in Southeast Asia – not on the shoreline of a humble midwestern town.

However, its tucked-away location makes it all the more special for visitors.

While the lake freezes in winter, the islands come to life in summer with many activities like  sea kayaking , island hopping, and cliff jumping.

There is even an island home to one of the largest concentrations of bears in the Midwest–yes, bears!

The largest and most populated island is Madeline Island which makes for a great base to explore the nearby smaller islands.

sea caves as seen from the water at apostle islands, one of the best places to visit in the us

Maui, Hawaii

From Jessica of I’m Jess Traveling

Famed for her elegant beaches,  world-class resorts , and next-level surf, Maui attracts visitors from all over the world. 

It’s no surprise that Maui was named Condé Nast Traveler’s best island in the U.S. for 23 consecutive years. 

There are countless things to see and do in Maui depending on your travel style. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, hike through a majestic bamboo forest ending at a 400-foot waterfall.  

Ocean lovers can test their skills at surfing or set sail on a sunset cruise.

Bright blue water as seen along the Road to Hana in Maui, one of the best USA road trip itinerary ideas

There won’t be a shortage of exotic beaches to explore, no matter what your travel style is.

The adventure seekers have their pick among plunging the popular Road to Hana or watching the sunrise above the clouds at 10,000 feet inside Haleakala National Park. 

Whatever your draw, sunsets, beaches, luxury, or adventure, Maui has it all. 

Not only is Maui one of the best USA travel destinations but it’s one of the best places to take a tropical vacation in the world. 

Couple walking along Kaanapali Beach in Maui, shaded by a palm tree. Kaanapali Beach is one of the best beaches in America

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

For adorable beach towns, sandy beaches, and some of the best seafood you’ve ever eaten in your life, head to the classic New England summer getaway of Cape Cod.

While you’re in Cape Cod (or as New Englanders say, “on the Cape”), hit one of the beautiful trails, visit a lighthouse or two, stick your toes in the sand, and eat lots and lots of lobster.

While Cape Cod’s swimming season is much shorter than popular beach destinations elsewhere in the country, it’s still well worth visiting.

Just be sure to plan ahead, because rental houses for summer on the Cape tend to book up before winter even wraps up!

Provincetown Massachusetts on Cape Cod as seen from the water

Nā Pali Coast, Kauai

Towering cliffs covered in dense jungle, dramatic waterfalls, small valleys, and views of the Pacific Ocean far below: welcome to the Nā Pali   Coast.

Without a doubt, the Nā Pali   Coast on Kauai is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the US.

Stretching 17 miles along the northwest portion of Kauai, the Nā Pali   Coast is best admired from air–usually via a helicopter tour–or from a boat on the sea.

Whichever option you choose, there’s no doubt that what is arguably the most beautiful corner of The Garden Island is bound to impress.

Na Pali Coast of Kauai Hawaii. Kauai is one of the best road trips in USA.

Florida Keys

For a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the USA, head to the Florida Keys!

Not only is the overseas drive from Miami to Key West one of the most scenic road trips in the USA, but the Keys themselves are also fantastic, home to beautiful beaches, colorful architecture, great food, and plenty of things to do.

While you’re there, be sure to hit the water via snorkeling or scuba diving, go for a swim, enjoy the famous Duval Street, tour the Ernest Hemingway House, and eat several slices of the region’s famous Key Lime pie!

Highway over the Caribbean Sea leading the to Floriday Keys as shot with a drone. The Florida Keys are one of the best places to visit in USA

Big Island, Hawaii

From Patricia of Travel Fam Life

The biggest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) is a cool place to visit.

That starts with the weather: you’ll experience a lot of sunshine temperatures ranging from 85°- 90° in the summer months and 79°- 83 in the winter months, making it the perfect place to escape year-round. 

Hawaii is going to impress anyone that decides to visit.

The food is phenomenal and the choices are vast with plenty of history and cultural backgrounds.

The array of activities ranges from land to sea, from memorable ancient sites to beautiful folklore traditions. 

Some of the best things to do when taking a vacation to the Big Island include:

woman snorkeling in hawaii with orange fish in the foreground

Zip Lining over waterfalls is an activity that can be very exhilarating if you are an adrenaline junkie.

This can also be enjoyed as a family activity, some companies allow kids as young as 5 years old to participate.

Volcano National Park is a breathtaking experience with its majestic hikes, thrilling ride down to the Chain of Craters, and some spectacular scenery and photo opportunities.

Papakolea or Green Sand Beach is one of 4 green sand beaches in the world.

The hike to this remote beach is very worthwhile, and the backdrop of the Hawaiian blue ocean that keeps you company makes the whole experience priceless.

And the list goes on, you can check it out here .

Helicopter tour of Volcano National Park in Hawaii shot from inside the helicopter with lava visible through the windshield

Outer Banks, North Carolina

With sandy beaches framed by sand dunes and rolling waves, the Outer Banks of North Carolina may not boast the bright water of the Florida Keys or the tropical beauty of Hawaii, but they are stunning all the same, and absolutely one of the best places to visit in the USA.

Come for the small beach towns, the history of the Wright Brothers taking their first flight here, the southern food, the historic forts, and the beautiful lighthouses. 

Come for the sunken pirate ships, for the wild horses that live on some of the islands, for the great places to swim, and for the great day trip opportunities.

If you’re looking for a classic, all-American vacation, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that make up the magnificent Outer Banks.

2 wild horses on a beach in North Carolina. Both horses are brown and they are standing near sand dunes

Oahu, Hawaii

From Sydney of A World in Reach

While visitors sometimes think of Oahu as just being a stopping point before visiting Hawaii’s other islands, the island has so much to offer than overcrowded beaches and tourist attractions.

Oahu is home to delicious food, beautiful scenery, and captivating history and is one of the best travel destinations in the United States.

Most visitors to Oahu will base themselves in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital and largest city.

Guidebooks often recommend spending little time in Honolulu; however, this city is a melting pot of culture and is home to some of the best food on the island.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional Hawaiian meal or some of the best Asian food in the United States, you can easily find a delicious meal in Honolulu.

Start your visit to Oahu off by exploring Honolulu, seeing the sights, and eating all of the delicious food.

oahu hawaii beach at sunset with palm trees in the foreground

Spend a day at Waikiki Beach – it might be touristy, but it’s still worth a visit.

Plan a visit to Pearl Harbor, where you can learn more about one of the darkest days in US History, and spend a morning hiking Diamond Head, one of the best hikes on Oahu .

Spend the rest of your time on the island exploring the North Shore, visiting the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, and indulging in shave ice from Matsumoto.

Visit the beaches along the North Shore, where you might see some surfers catching waves, and hike through a botanical garden to a beautiful waterfall at Waimea Valley.

Lanikai beach in Oahu Hawaii as seen from above. One of the best beaches in USA

Napa Valley, California

Northern California’s wine country is definitely among the most beautiful–and for wine lovers, tastiest, places to visit in the USA.

With beautiful small towns, great boutiques, and rolling hills filled with vineyards that almost feel like being in Tuscany, both Napa Valley and Sonoma County have plenty to offer those looking for a laid-back, wine-filled getaway.

Vineyard in Napa Valley CA with a wood barn visible in the background, one of the best honeymoon destinations in usa

Door County, Wisconsin

From Paulina of Paulina on the Road

Wisconsin often isn’t the first US state that people think of visiting, but from beautiful beaches to quirky attractions like House on the Rock , it has plenty to offer.

One of the most beautiful USA landmarks, Door Country, Wisconsin welcomes you on board with 300 miles of stretched shoreline and an awestruck sunset over the water, you could not leave without a witness. 

It allows your soul to breathe and relax. Wisconsin lets you explore aesthetic art galleries, and thousands of miles of stretched orchards, cherish the local brews and wines, paddle along the beautiful lakes, and devour the cheery pies.

winding road through fall foliage in door county wisconsin, one of the best hidden usa secret vacation spots

Moreover, Green Bay, the capital of the region, is an underrated city that eventually captivates its visitors.

Though it’s a small city, the vibrant culture offers amazing  things to do in Green Bay .

Green Bay entertains visitors with prominent wineries. They produce their wines right up there which adds up to be a vital part of their culture. The landscape and heritage inspire the artists.

Walleye fishermen have the best water. It’s clean and portrays immense beauty. The botanical gardens and zoological parks play their role in charming travelers. 

Green Bay is an enchanting place that charms visitors with its intriguing features. 

Lakeshore at golden hour in Door County Wisconsin with evergreen trees on the right side of the photo

Route 66 isn’t technically just one place, but as one of the most iconic travel destinations in the United States, I couldn’t bear to leave it off this USA bucket list!

Stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 is America’s best-known road trip and the perfect place to find not-quite-forgotten slices of Americana, from quirky roadside attractions like Cadillac Ranch and the Catoosa Whale to beloved diners and 50s-era-inspired motels.

Route 66 passes through nine states in total (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California), and is a fantastic way to experience some of the best of what traveling in the US has to offer, all in one large trip.

jeremy storm sitting on top of a car at cadillac ranch in amarillo

Big cities, small towns, incredibly diverse landscapes, and beloved national parks are all featured heavily on Route 66.

Though it’s not technically on the route, even the Grand Canyon is accessible as an incredible side journey when road-tripping Route 66.

Whether you want to find a quirky campsite in Oklahoma or go hiking in Arizona, there’s no doubt that Route 66 is a classic US travel destination.

Route 66 in California with Joshua trees on either side. Route 66 is one of the absolute best road trips in USA

Big Sur, California

From Lauren of Ready, Set, PTO

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the US and should definitely be on your bucket list.

Cruising along the winding Pacific Coast Highway with sweeping views of the Pacific is a magical experience.

This rugged area is located in Central California, about 5 hours north of Los Angeles.

If you aren’t able to find available lodging within Big Sur, check out nearby towns of Carmel and Monterey for more options, or try car camping with an epic view!

mcway falls as seen on big sur from above, one of the best places to visit in california

There are plenty of amazing  things to do in Big Sur .

I definitely recommend checking out the iconic Bixby Bridge (as seen in HBO’s Big Little Lies), admiring McWay Falls, hiking in Andrew Molera State Park, and Limekiln State Park, having a drink with a view at Nepenthe and watching the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach!

There’s not much cell service in Big Sur, so be prepared for an off-the-grid weekend of relaxation and gorgeous views.

Pacific Coast Highway California shot from above, one of the best romantic vacations for couples in the United States

Page, Arizona

The small town of Page, Arizona may seem like no more than a small town worthy of a brief stop on a road trip at first blush–but this small, unassuming town is home to some of the most incredible sights in the entire southwest, and it definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Page is where you can find the famous Antelope Canyon, as well as Horseshoe Bend , the Instagram darling of the Colorado River (for very good reason).

Just outside of Page, you can also find the remarkable Glen Canyon Dam, one of the largest dams in the US, as well as Lake Powell–but to see the best of Lake Powell, you’ll actually need to cross into Utah!

That’s not hard to do, though: Page is located right next to the Arizona/Utah border.

With such an outsized list of fun attractions, there’s no doubt that Page is one of the coolest places to vacation in the USA.

2 photos of the USA, first from a train ride in Alaska and one from a geothermic spring in Yellow. Black and red text reads "50 bucket list usa travel destinations"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

3 thoughts on “USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US”

Great info. I know its great because I have been to most of the beaches you mention!

Thank you – will also look at your Italian small towns to see which ones we should visit and maybe retire to.

Thank you so much, Laura!

Retiring to Italy–sounds like quite the dream! 🙂

Absolutely amazing article, just loved it.

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8 Must-See Stops on the Ultimate Idaho Road Trip

Idaho’s rugged, diverse beauty is accessible from all sides, making a road trip one of the best ways to explore the state. To make your experience on four wheels as simple and pleasant as possible, this road trip welcomes you in the southeastern corner of the state from nearby Salt Lake City and snakes you all the way north into Idaho’s panhandle. Drop the top and prepare for high mountain deserts; deep, jagged canyons; dense, lush forests and lots of cool, fresh mountain water — and plenty of adventure — along this most scenic of routes.

Getting There

From Salt Lake City, take Interstate 84 northwest to Twin Falls, where your Idaho road-trip adventure begins.

See & Do

Perched across the awe-inducing Snake River Canyon lies the I.B. Perrine Bridge — your scenic gateway to Twin Falls. As you cross, watch for BASE (Building, Antenna, Span or Earth) jumpers. These thrill-seekers come from all over the world to load up with a parachute, leap from the bridge and free-fall before pulling their chute and floating to the canyon floor. If you’re ready for some more jaw-dropping views, head to Shoshone Falls (“the Niagara of the West”), which cascade 212 feet into the Snake River. Snap a selfie on the overlook and then hit Dierkes Lake Recreation Area for hiking trails, rock climbing and water activities. When hunger hits, grab a seat on the patio at Elevation 486 , where the impressive dishes are matched only by the spectacular view.

man paddleboarding by a waterfall

Nearby & Noteworthy

  •       Milner’s Gate
  •       Koto Brewing Co.
  •       Zip the Snake
  •       Canyon Springs Golf Course
  •       Putters Mini Golf
  •       Cloverleaf Creamery
  •       Thousand Springs Scenic Byway
  •       Bruneau Dunes State Park

From Twin Falls, take I-84 west.

Idaho’s capital city tops all types of lists for livability due to its vibrant arts and culture scene, outdoor recreation opportunities, and flourishing culinary options. Stretch your legs on the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, where you’ll find more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails offering views of the city below. For a more leisurely stroll, rent a Boise GreenBike to explore the Boise Greenbelt , which winds through downtown and multiple parks along the Boise River. Stop off at the Capital City Public Market or The Boise Farmers Market for fresh, local foods and arts, crafts and more. Grab a bite at one of Boise’s palate-pleasing dining options or a raise a glass of Idaho craft beer or Idaho wine at one of several local breweries and wineries . If you’re staying the night, book tickets to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival (tip: you’ll want to book in advance as performances can sell out quickly) for an unforgettable night of theater under the stars.

hot air balloons over river

  •       Basque Museum & Culture Center
  •       Freak Alley Gallery
  •       Boise Whitewater Park
  •       World Center for Birds of Prey

From Boise, take Highway 55 north.

Wrapped around the southern banks of Payette Lake , McCall is a charming mountain town packed with outdoor adventure for any age or level. Spend a day at the lake, where you can rent everything from paddleboards and kayaks to jet boats and pontoons or book a lake cruise . Hike or bike the variety of trails Ponderosa State Park or get your downhill thrills at Brundage Mountain Resort and then catch the sunset with a spectacular lake view at Osprey Cliff Overlook. When it’s time to cool down from all your activity, head straight to Ice Cream Alley .

A father holding his child on the dock on Payette Lake.

  •       Payette River Scenic Byway
  •       Whitewater rafting on the Payette River
  •       Lake Cascade State Park
  •       Kelly’s Whitewater Park
  •       Tamarack Resort
  •       Gold Fork Hot Springs
  •       Jug Mountain Ranch
  •       Locals’ Favorite Hikes
  •       Local Breweries

Cambridge & Hells Canyon

From McCall, take Highway 55 north through New Meadows and onto Highway 95 south.

The small town of Cambridge offers access to big adventure in the nearby Hells Canyon National Recreation Area . Stunning Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge (ever deeper than the Grand Canyon) and a staggering 10 miles wide at some points. Book a half- or full-day jet boat tour or a single- or multi-day whitewater rafting excursion (or a combo trip). Don’t miss an opportunity to take a breathtaking hike or fish for salmon and steelhead. Pro tip: The splendor of Hells Canyon lies 24 miles west from Cambridge, so be sure to load up on gas, ice and snacks as you come through town.

jet boat navigating the river in hells canyon

  •       Mundo Hot Springs
  •       Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
  •       Weiser River Trail

From Cambridge, take Highway 95 north through New Meadows.

Lewiston is home to Idaho’s newest wine region (Lewis-Clark Valley AVA), where you’ll find 10 wineries producing award-winning wines. Book a wine tour to experience the area’s best sips and learn the history’s rich viticultural history and then indulge in the distinctive dishes at Mystic Café . A launching point to the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area , Lewiston is an ideal base camp for tours on the Snake River that introduce you to wildlife, historical sites, and more.

wine glasses and food

  •       Northwest Passage Scenic Byway
  •       Nez Perce National Historical Park
  •       Monastery of St. Gertrude
  •       Dog Bark Park
  •       River Dance Lodge

From Lewiston, take Highway 95 north.

Surrounded by miles upon miles of rolling hills and fertile farmland, the charming college town of Moscow is an oasis of art, food and drink with enough hiking and biking to balance it all out. Play a round at the University of Idaho Golf Course or stroll through the garden displays at the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Gardens . Learn the significance of the horse to the Nez Perce at  the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center . Take a hike in Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve or bike the Latah Trail . Enjoy an eclectic mix of sandwiches and soups at Kitchen Counter and then top it off with a pint at Hunga Dunga Brewing Co . or a glass of wine at Colter’s Creek Tasting Room.

people walking on path among trees

  • White Pine Scenic Byway
  • Elk River Backcountry Byway

Coeur d’Alene

From Moscow, take Highway 95 north.

This stop in Idaho’s panhandle area features plenty of chances to get on or in some pristine Idaho mountain water. Spend the day at City Park & Beach on Lake Coeur d’Alene (kore-duh-LANE) — home to sandy beaches, barbecue pits, volleyball and basketball courts and more. After all that fun in the sun, treat your taste buds to some comfort food at Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese . Tame the fiercest of hunger pangs with the seasonal Huckleberry Heaven sandwich and then head to McEuen Park for an evening of music at Life After 5 . Start your next morning off by fueling up with a Cajun-inspired breakfast at Ten/6 . Then it’s off to soar above and among the trees with fantastic views of Lake Coeur d’Alene on a zipline canopy tour . If you have any energy left, plan an evening hike on Tubbs Hill to catch the sunset on a lakeside trail or enjoy a sunset dinner cruise .

Coeur d'Alene Resort, Coeur d'Alene. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

  • Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway
  • St. Joe River Scenic Byway
  • Silverwood Theme Park
  • Route of the Hiawatha
  • Red Horse Mountain Ranch
  • Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
  • Idaho Centennial Trail

From Coeur d’Alene, take Highway 95 north.

Sandpoint hugs the shore of Idaho’s largest and deepest body of water, Lake Pend Oreille (pond oh-RAY), where you’ll find one of the best sunrise spots at City Beach as well as paddleboard, kayak and jet ski rentals. Huddled among the Selkirk, Cabinet and Bitter Root Mountain Ranges, Sandpoint is surrounded by hiking and biking trails for all levels. For a one-stop-shop of ultimate adventure, purchase the Ultimate Fun Pass at Schweitzer Mountain Resort , which gives you a full day of all-you-can trampolining, ziplining, rock climbing and scenic chairlift riding. If you’re cruising into town in August, the Festival at Sandpoint is a must-do. When replenishing fuel stores is critical, Sandpoint delivers. Load up on locally sourced pub fare and a cold one at Baxter’s on Cedar or settle into a martini or classic cocktail served up with unrivaled fare and a waterfront view at the splendid Trinity at City Beach .

scenic byway curving away from tree-covered mountain and over Lake Pend Oreille

  • Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
  • Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway
  • Pend Oreille Scenic Byway

For more trip ideas, check out the Idaho Roadsider and when you’re ready to hit the road, be sure to download the Idaho 511 app for real-time traffic updates.

Visit Idaho

Published on February 14, 2020

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Idaho (ID) » 15 Best Things to Do in Moscow (Idaho)

15 Best Things to Do in Moscow (Idaho)

In a landscape of fertile rolling hills on the Idaho-Washington boundary, Moscow is the county seat of Latah County and the home of the University of Idaho, founded in the early 1890s.

The city has a cozy downtown with historic brick buildings from the turn of the 20th century and lots of community events, like a weekly farmers’ market spring through fall, and a bustling artwalk in June.

As you would expect, the University of Idaho plays an important role in the city’s cultural, social and sporting life, and many of the attractions in this list are connected to this institution in some way.

The surrounding Palouse landscape of rambling hills decked with wheat fields, can be explored on two paved rail trails, heading out east and west of the city.

1. University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden

University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden

The loveliest feature of the university campus’ verdant grounds is the UI Arboretum & Botanical Garden.

You’ll find it in 63 acres, just south of the President’s Residence and the university’s golf course, with undulating Palouse hills in the background.

Open to the public with free admission, the arboretum was laid out on a former hayfield in the early-1980s, although its origins go back way before, to the early 20th century.

In fact you can check out the site of the first arboretum, planted in the 1910s with majestic specimen trees, including a giant sequoia, on the north side of the President’s Residence.

As for the “new” arboretum, this counts more than 17,000 plants from over 2,400 taxa, mostly organized into geographical regions, including Europe, Asia and Eastern and Western North America.

On the south end are exquisite display gardens for xerophytes, ornamental willows, irises and heather, as well as a butterfly garden, magical in summer.

2. Latah Trail

Latah Trail

Twelve miles long, this paved trail will take you east from Moscow all the way to the neighboring city of Troy.

The Latah Trail was completed in 2008 and is on the course of a dismantled BNSF railroad line that junctioned at Arrow, some 30 miles to the southeast.

The path is ten feet wide, allowing plenty of space for walkers and cyclists in summer, and snowshoers and cross-country skiers after snowfall in winter.

As this is a rail trail there are no difficult slopes but you’ll be guaranteed breathtaking panoramas of the Palouse, with tilled slopes interspersed with sweeps of coniferous forest.

In Moscow the Latah Trail merges seamlessly with the Paradise Path, in turn connecting with the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail, which we’ll talk about below.

3. Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center

Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center

The Appaloosa, identified by its colorful spotted coat, is a horse breed synonymous with the Palouse region, so it’s fitting that there should be a museum for it, right on the Idaho-Washington state line.

The museum shines a light on a variety of topics, like the history of spotted horses in art and literature, Appaloosas’ various coat patterns, and the importance of Appaloosas to the native Nez Perce people.

Display cases are loaded with interesting objects, from saddles to black and white photography and Native American artifacts. There’s also a hands-on area to keep children engaged, as well as a theater and an extensive library.

4. Moscow Farmers’ Market

Moscow Farmers' Market

Taking place on Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm, May through October, Moscow Farmers’ Market is now well into its fifth decade.

Right on Main Street, this is a celebration of the Moscow area’s farmers, artisans and musicians, giving them an opportunity to connect with the city’s residents and visitors.

For shoppers interested in food provenance the market is a chance to find out where your produce comes from and pick up tips about storage and preparation.

There’s a wide range of vendors for vegetables, fruit, plants, flowers, local grass-fed meat, pastries, honey, jams, cosmetics, home decorations, hand-forged knives and much more.

The market has live music most weeks, as well as freshly prepared food, from tacos to samosas.

5. Bill Chipman Palouse Trail

Bill Chipman Palouse Trail

Following the right of way of the old Union Pacific Railroad, the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail runs west from Moscow, crossing the state line and taking you to Pullman, Washington.

Pullman is the home of the flagship campus for Washington State University, the second-largest institution of higher education in the state.

Seven miles long, the trail, paved all the way, carries you through bucolic Palouse scenery, parallel to State Route 270.

There’s a shallow gradient, and you’ll come across rest areas and interpretive signs along the route. And while the landscapes are gorgeous, the trail also has an important practical use as a commuter route for cyclists between the two university campuses.

6. Prichard Art Gallery

Prichard Art Gallery

This outreach facility for the University of Idaho is located in downtown Moscow, and moved to its current location on Main Street in 1986.

The Prichard Art Gallery has a lively schedule of exhibitions, events and educational programming, receiving upwards of 17,000 visitors a year.

You can check out the creativity of members of the Idaho College of Art and Architecture, as well as temporary exhibits for local, regional, national and international artists in a whole spectrum of media.

The exhibits rotate at short intervals, so there’s always something fresh to see, while the gift shop sells unique pieces by artists and craftspeople from the area.

7. McConnell Mansion

McConnell Mansion

On leafy Adams Street, a couple of blocks east of Main Street, stands the palatial W. J. McConnell House.

In a Stick/Eastlake style, this elegant residence was built in 1886 for William J. McConnell (1839-1925), who served as Governor of Idaho from 1893 to 1897, after previously representing the young state as one of its first United States Senators.

The mansion is the headquarters of the Latah County Historical Society, and you can take a look around a series of themed period rooms, featuring authentic furnishings and appliances.

The society also puts on fascinating exhibits and learning events, often in partnership with the University of Idaho and always well worth attending.

8. Colter’s Creek Winery

Colter's Creek Winery

The rolling country south of Moscow has everything you need to make great wine, and in 2016 the Lewis-Clark Valley gained official AVA (American Viticultural Area) designation.

Colter’s Creek has a storefront and tasting room in Moscow, growing its grapes on the sunny slopes where the Potlatch flows into the Clearwater River.

Planted between the 1980s and 2010s these vineyards produce a wide variety of grapes, running the gamut from Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon, for local handcrafted wines that have earned widespread acclaim.

The stylish Moscow tasting room is in Main Street’s Hattabaugh building, constructed in 1890, and has a choice of estate wines on tap. Wine tasting classes take place regularly, to help you tell a Sangiovese from a Tempranillo.

9. Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre

Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre

On the National Register of Historic Places, this fine old Spanish Revival cinema has a history going back to 1926, and was founded as a vaudeville stage and silent movie house.

The current tiled facade, in a pared-down Art Deco style, has been in place since 1949, and up to the late-1980s this was downtown Moscow’s main movie theater.

Since 2000, the venue has belonged to the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, which carried out thorough renovations in the 2010s. Come for classic, independent and foreign films, as well as a variety of community stage performances and other events.

10. Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center


Summers in Moscow wouldn’t be the same without this public outdoor pool, splash pad and water park, open June through September.

If you want to get your laps in, the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center has a 25-yard, six-lane pool.

Meanwhile parents can bring children to the extensive play area, which features a toddler-friendly slide, tumble buckets, interactive equipment, slides for bigger kids and a small lazy river.

The center also has picnic tables, barbecues, lounge chairs and free Wi-Fi, as well as a full-service concession area, though you’re free to bring your own food.

11. Idaho Vandals

Kibbie Dome

The 16,000-seater multipurpose arena, Kibbie Dome is home field for several of the University of Idaho’s sports teams, all called the Idaho Vandals.

So depending on the time of year you can catch pulsating football, basketball (men and women), soccer (women), tennis and indoor track and field at this venue.

The Kibbie Dome was completed in 1971 as an open-air stadium, and was given its barrel-vaulted roof in 1975.

The football team competes in the Big Sky Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), returning in 2016 after 20 years bouncing around the Big West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic Conferences.

The Vandals’ golden age came between 1985 and 1995 when it reached the I-AA playoffs in ten out of 11 seasons.

If you’re wondering about the name, “Vandals”, it goes back more than a century, when UI’s feared basketball team played defense with such ferocity that they were dubbed the Vandals by the famous coach Hec Edmundson (1886-1964).

12. Ghormley Park

Ghormley Park

Bordered on the south side by Paradise Creek, Ghormley Park is the favorite destination for family fun and outdoor recreation in summer.

The park covers just over ten acres, a large section of which is in the shade of tall, mature trees.

This is where you’ll find the picnic shelter, fitted with BBQ grills, as well as a children’s playground.

Elsewhere there are amenities for baseball/softball, basketball and horseshoes. You can use the Paradise Trail, which traces the creek and connects a number of green spaces in Moscow, to get onto the Latah Trail on the east side of the city and the Bill Chipman Trail in the west.

13. Palouse Ice Rink

Ice Skating

You can hit the ice at this popular local rink on the southeast side of town. Resembling an aircraft hangar, the Palouse Ice Rink has a temporary look about it, and when we wrote this article was making strides raising money for a permanent complex.

There are regular public skate sessions early in the day, after school and in the evening, and skate rental is reasonably priced.

Also on the schedule are casual stick-n-puck sessions, pick-up hockey, drop-in late-night curling, league curling, Palouse Adult League Hockey and much more. Check the calendar for learn-to-skate sessions.

14. Moscow Artwalk

Street Performers

Beginning back in 2004, the Moscow Artwalk is a landmark on the Palouse calendar. On one Friday evening in June, more than 60 businesses and 100 artists around downtown participate in a vibrant cultural and artistic event.

Moscow Artwalk brings exhibitions of a wide variety, as well as live demonstrations by artists, workshops, live music, dance performances and food vendors, on Main Street and its intersecting streets.

You can take in this cultural feast on a self-guided trail, and there’s a passport system, with six stamps making you eligible for a prize draw. And if you miss something, many of the participating businesses also have Saturday hours.

15. Fondo on the Palouse

Fondo on the Palouse

The foundation responsible for the Latah Trail organizes this cycling event, normally staged on the last Saturday in June.

Fondo on the Palouse takes you out into the beautiful rolling Palouse landscape on a variety of group bike rides, all setting off from Moscow.

The Family Fondo is a 15-mile route from Moscow to Troy. If you want something longer but want to stay away from road traffic, there’s a 50-mile ride along the Latah and Bill Chipman Palouse Trails.

And finally the grand Moscow Fondo is a 100-mile tour of the region, passing through Troy, Deary, Princeton and Potlatch, crossing the state line to Pullman and Colfax, WA, before returning to Moscow.

15 Best Things to Do in Moscow (Idaho):

  • University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden
  • Latah Trail
  • Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center
  • Moscow Farmers' Market
  • Bill Chipman Palouse Trail
  • Prichard Art Gallery
  • McConnell Mansion
  • Colter's Creek Winery
  • Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre
  • Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center
  • Idaho Vandals
  • Ghormley Park
  • Palouse Ice Rink
  • Moscow Artwalk
  • Fondo on the Palouse


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