All-American travel destinations

June 20, 2014 |

When planning upcoming family vacations, consider heading to some of the top-ranked All-American spots for a unique, must-see experience.

Many of those on the list are well-known and some are places you may not have always considered as a top vacation destination. They range from mid-western metropolis centers to National Parks and were voted on by the team at the Travel Channel.

The top destinations for 2014

  • Visiting Washington, D.C., is a must for anyone. There are so many free and nearly-free attractions that you’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do. Some of the top places to visit include the White House, Capitol Hill, the Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum as well as the National Archives and National Zoo. Of course, you’ll want to see the presidential memorials in addition to Arlington Cemetery, but don’t forget to check out some of the city’s best neighborhoods, including Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Foggy Bottom.
  • Head to upstate New York and visit the Finger Lakes region for world-class wineries, gourmet restaurants and scenery you won’t find anywhere else. Watkins Glen State Park is one you’ll want to put at the top of your list as it features 19 waterfalls, 2 miles of forest, 200-foot cliffs and crystal-clear streams.
  • When you think of a vacation, Montana probably doesn’t come to mind, but Bannack State Park is definitely a sight you don’t want to miss. This ghost town is perfectly preserved and was founded in 1862 following the discovery of gold in nearby Grasshopper Creek. There’s an abandoned mine and more than 60 buildings, many of which are open for exploration.
  • Head to Everglades National Park in Florida for a glimpse into one of the most unique ecosystems in the country. You’ll see plants, birds and rare wildlife, including manatees, and when you take an airboat tour, you might even catch a glimpse of an alligator or crocodile. Kayaking, canoeing, hiking and biking are all available activities for visitors as you explore tropical mangrove forests.
  • One city that you’ve probably never considered is Pittsburgh. There are more than 39 colleges and universities in the area here as well as sports teams like the Pirates, Penguins and Steelers. Pittsburgh is also home to the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory. It’s considered one of the hippest cities in the country. Head 67 miles south to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater or go whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park.
  • For a complete New England experience, venture to Nantucket Island just off the coast of Cape Cod. There are delectable restaurants, eclectic shops and beautiful beaches. Visit the Whaling Museum to see what life was like for those from the Moby Dick-era and the family will enjoy a visit to the Great Point Lighthouse, located where the currents of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound meet.
  • There’s nothing quite like what you’ll find at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. The lake is a stunning shade of blue and is surrounded by 2,000-foot cliffs. Cleetwood Cove Trail is the only path that offers lake access at the park, as there are swimming spots, areas for picnicking and stops for fishing located along the way.
  • Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert is the best spot for those seeking respite from a busy life and the hustle and bustle of the city. In addition to the beautiful shape of Joshua trees, are rock formations including Skull and Arch Rock. Don’t forget to watch the sunset as it blasts fiery colors over the horizon.
  • If you want a glimpse into rugged America, then check out the natural beauty of the Black Hills region in the Dakotas. This is also the site of Mount Rushmore as well as the Crazy Horse Memorials, some of the largest mountain carvings ever created. Also in Black Hills is Wall Drug Store, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and the Enchanted Highway. You can also see wildlife such as buffalo, prairie dogs and wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.