The United States of America is a vast, varied landscape, filled with everything from great lakes to parched deserts, from enormous mountains to lush green valleys. Although visiting a far off state can turn out to be the trip of a lifetime, and many people have unique scenery such as that found in Hawaii or Alaska at the top of their lists, there’s just as much beauty to be found in your own local area.
Whether you’re a New York City native or you call California home, you are guaranteed to live near some jaw-dropping terrain, and we’re here to give you the info on how to best appreciate it. There’s something for everyone in America, whether you’re a sports nut, a hiking junkie, or you just crave the quiet life in a forest somewhere. This year, why not decide to forego the cross-state road trip or foreign holiday, and instead really appreciate the land around you? You might be pleasantly surprised.
Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz… San Francisco certainly has lots of manmade monuments to marvel at, but what about the natural ones? Luckily enough, the city is only a 3 hour drive from Yosemite National Park, one of the most recognised areas of natural beauty in the world. It’s got breathtaking waterfalls, enormous sequoia trees, plenty of wildlife and awe-inspiring peaks like El Capitan to gaze up at. Here you can camp, hike, ski, bike, ice skate, ride horses and even play golf, all within the most incredible surroundings that you’ve likely ever experienced. You don’t need to travel far to encounter the true sublimity of Mother Nature; simply drive down to Yosemite for year round picture-perfect scenes.
Over on the East Coast, Georgia is a state known for its sweet peaches, pecans and peanuts but what about the other natural beauties found there? The Appalachian Trail, a mammoth hiking trail spanning the length of the Appalachian Mountains, begins in Georgia and continues for 76 miles through the state before crossing over into North Carolina. Whilst you certainly don’t need to complete the entire trail to enjoy it, you can explore the substantial section found here and discover some of its wild charm. It has some sizeable mountain peaks, wide open vistas taking in the entire horizon, and all sorts of fascinating wildlife to keep you occupied. You can choose to spend a day, a week or even longer getting lost in this fascinating environment.
As a resident of Philadelphia, you might be searching for something more than the bright lights and entertainment complexes found in nearby Atlantic City, or the skyscrapers and shopping malls of New York City. Once you’ve tired of mastering epic 21 game or marvelling at the Empire State Building, look further inland instead to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. These peaks offer plenty of opportunity for river rafting, backpacking, climbing, hiking, skiing and water sports, without ever having to leave the area. They look great at any time of year, come rain or shine, and have something to please everyone. Camping in a luxury bell tent, anyone? Or taking a scenic trip on a train? There’s even activities for daredevils, with paintballing, zip lining and skydiving all available.
Speaking of New York, however, we can’t pass up this opportunity to encourage all native New Yorkers to explore their own state a little. Whether you fancy sailing on the Hudson, hiking around Surprise Lake, white-water rafting on Delaware River, or even kayaking down it, New York State is a water-lover’s paradise. There are so many gorgeous bodies of water here, with plenty of activities available around them. You don’t even have to get your feet wet – simply walk beside the river’s flow and immediately feel soothed. You’ll head back to the city with a clearer mind, a relaxed body and fresh inspiration after just one weekend out in the countryside. There’s no need to jet off anywhere further afield when everything you need is right here.
Let’s head back, one more time, to sunny California, but this time we’re talking to all those lucky stars living in LA. Whilst Venice Beach is famous the world over, it would be remiss to gloss over other nearby beauty spots like Playa Del Rey, Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach and Laguna Beach. There’s no wonder that the beachfronts here end up with names like Paradise Cove, Sacred Cove and Billionaire’s Beach when the scenery is this magnificent. Although, living here, you may take the beach for granted, there’s nothing stopping you from journeying a little further down the coast to discover something newer. There’s a reason that areas like Malibu are written about in so many songs, movies and books – they are simply exquisite.