5 Best Places I’ve Ever Been
5 Best Places I’ve Ever Been features a diverse range of spectacular locations. From the Grand Canyon’s colossal walls to a roadside diner that served Kerouac his stewed coffee, these spots offer front-row seats for nature’s beauty.
Dusty boots and unforgettable memories await in Moab’s red rock wonderland. Embark on a hiking adventure and discover an ecosystem of mountain vistas and glaciers.
1. The Grand Canyon
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, The Grand Canyon is a spectacular gorge that stretches 277 miles across Arizona. Its rock layers offer a record of Earth’s geologic history dating back more than two billion years. The canyon’s dramatic beauty inspires awe and wonder in visitors from around the world. It has influenced science, art, environmental values, popular culture, and tourism.
The Grand Canyon has also played an important role in the lives of Native Americans who have long made connections to this unique landscape. Throughout the park, visitors can experience many aspects of Native American culture and history. The canyon is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The red rock canyons and mesas of southeastern Utah offer seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Hiking, biking, auto touring, 4-wheeling and rafting are just a few of the ways to experience this amazing scenery.
The area is famous for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks as well as spectacular sandstone arches, the Colorado River, La Sal Mountains and thousands of square miles of incredible public lands. This natural beauty coupled with small-town hospitality makes Moab one of the most visited destinations in the Southwest.
The town also boasts a number of eateries, microbreweries and shopping options. Diners can find cuisines that range from regional southwestern fare to world-class gourmet offerings. Shopping opportunities are equally diversified, with t-shirts, art galleries, shops and trading posts all lining downtown Main Street.
3. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, Montana, is a million-acre wonderland of rugged mountains, pristine forests, and alpine meadows. The stunning landscape is punctuated by 25 active glaciers, an iconic scenic highway (the Going-to-the-Sun Road), and 740 miles of hiking trails. A grizzly bear habitat and mountain goats are just two of the wildlife to be found here.
The Park’s history also encompasses an unmatched engineering feat—a road built out of rock and logs—and the story of a retired millionaire, a railroad baron, a naturalist, and other figures who worked together to establish the park. The National Park Service’s historic work camps and hotels, including the magnificent Lake McDonald Lodge, offer glimpses into a past that has shaped America’s westward expansion. A night under the star-studded sky here is a humbling experience that puts our small place in the universe into perspective.
4. The Napali Coast
The Napali Coast, which means “The Cliffs” in Hawaiian, is a natural wonder that leaves visitors in awe of its beauty. Towering cliffs, hidden beaches, and dramatic landscapes create a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Visitors can explore this stunning coastline on a variety of outdoor tours and adventure experiences including helicopter experiences, hiking the coastal trails, sailing through rough ocean areas or even when conditions allow kayaking the coast.
The Napali Coast was once home to ancient Hawaiians and traces of their lifestyle can still be seen at places like Nualolo Kai today. However, western influence and outbreaks of disease led to a decline in their population. The secluded Napali Coast is now protected as part of the Na Pali State Park and can only be reached by foot, boat or air.
5. Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks feature a spectacular forests of coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) trees, miles of pristine coastline, and rich cultural resources. Each year, more than 1.5 million visitors travel to this region in Northern California to stand in awe of these majestic giants and explore the vast forest, wild rivers, and miles of breathtaking beaches.
The parks also preserve a number of historic sites including Indian villages, and are dotted with numerous trails and campgrounds. One of the most popular hikes is the out-and-back Boy Scout Tree Trail, which leads to a large old-growth redwood tree.
The nearby city of Eureka is known for its Victorian buildings, artistic culture, and one-of-a-kind shops. The town is also home to the world famous Fern Canyon, which is a stunningly beautiful hiking destination literally dripping with ferns from wall to wall.