America’s railroad system is not as developed nor fast as in other countries, and it is not the most popular way to see the country. But if you are a fan of scenic train rides, consider this in your bucket list.
1. Cascade Train
This 156-mile trip through the Pacific Northwest is a journey through green forests. Once you get to Seattle, the ride becomes more interesting. As it passes along Puget Sound, you might get a view of the Olympic Mountains on the western side.
2. Cass Scenic Railroad
Take this road to enjoy the scenery and the old-style locomotives that used to transport wood to mining camps. It is a much shorter ride, 8 miles back and forth, but the views are unparalleled. Take a ride in October when the leaves change color.
3. California Zephyr
If you have the time and the interest, you can retrace the route the pioneers took to conquer the West. You start in Denver where you pass by the Rocky Mountains, before passing by Utah and its red rocks. It continues through Ruby Canyon, then the Sierras and the Donner Pass before finally getting to San Francisco Bay. Taking this train is a good alternative to driving the entire route.
4. White Pass and Yukon train, Alaska
This is a hair-raising trip, especially as you pass by scary cliff-drops. Still, you will go up 3,000 feet and pass by mountain lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. It follows the routes of the miners at the turn of the 21st Century. There are 3 different routes, each with its own highlight.
5. Cape Cod Central Railroad
No need to be a millionaire to explore Cape Cod by train. You will also see special corners that cannot be seen in any other way. You may also go for a sightseeing tour to learn more or simply go for the dinner train.
6. Grand Canyon Railway
This is a lesser-known way to view this natural wonder, and it certainly has no crowds. Step on board in Williams, 65 miles south and pass by the pine forests in Northern Arizona before hitting the desert. You will pass by Native American reservations and see tons of wildlife. You will end up at the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
7. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
The Great Smoky Mountains is too huge to explore, so you should try these 2 excursions. The first is the 32-mile Tuckasegee River Excursion which passes by the green valleys and old bridges before pulling into the small town of Dillsboro. The second, the 44-mile Nantahala Gorge Excursion, passes by the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers, go over Fontana Lake, before going into the gorge.
8. Strasburg Railroad
This is the oldest rail line in the list and goes through the huge Pennsylvania countryside. You will pass by Amish Country, following the trail where goods used to be transported from Pennsylvania to the coast. It was converted into a passenger train in the 1960s and is truly a ride to remember.
Traveling by train has a certain charm to it, and you will love staring out the window if you have the wonderful views the following train rides have to offer.
Arkansas is not at the top of the list of states to visit by international travelers, mostly because they prefer to see the bigger cities. But if you are looking for breathtaking nature, then head over to The Natural State, where there is a long list of beautiful places for you to explore.
1. Garvan Woodland Gardens
The Hot Springs National Park is quite popular as a tourist destination but you should make sure to also check these gardens not so far away. It is a must-see because you can see some unique and uncommon flowers, shrubs, and trees.
2. Mulberry Mountain
Mulberry Mountain is in the Ozark National Forest, just along the Pig Trail or Arkansas Highway 23. The mountain itself is great for hiking trips, thanks to the cabins available onsite. But now it is the site of Wakarusa, a multi-day music fest that is normally held in June. It is becoming even more popular and is undoubtedly the state’s answer to Coachella and Jazzfest.
3. Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
While the city dwellers squeeze in their overcrowded cities, Arkansas has about 400 miles of just hiking trails in the combined Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. While connected, each has its uniqueness that warrants a trip to both. In addition, there are also more than 20 campgrounds in the area so that visitors have a place to stay in while exploring the area.
4. King Biscuit Blues Festival
It is not a place but it is still a must-see for music lovers. Held yearly in October, the festival has been going on since 1986.
5. Ozark Folk Center
Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View (also known as the capital of folk music) preserves the culture and the heritage of the mountains. If you love folk music, then a trip here should be on your list.
6. Thorncrown Chapel
Eureka Springs is where the Thorncrown Chapel is located. This is one of the state’s most unique architecture works. In fact, photographers have been making their way here for more than three decades. Plus, it is quite popular with weddings.
7. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Bentonville has been receiving more guests after the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum. This free museum visit will help you learn to appreciate the beauty and diversity of humans.
8. Buffalo National River
Arkansas is not recommended for short trips. Because there is so much nature to check out, you won’t have time to see everything. One of these must-sees include the Buffalo National River which is perfect for a weekend trip.
9. Christ of the Ozarks
This monument is truly one of the tallest in the country, although some folks are not big fans of the statue’s modernist style. While the statue, having been featured in the magazines, is more modern, it may not be a must-see for everyone.
For an adventure and nature-filled holiday in Arkansas, you should definitely check out the places listed above. Here you can camp out, hike, or play in the Great Outdoors with your loved ones.
If there is one thing you will remember about Arizona, it’s the Grand Canyon. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to this place to witness the changing colors of the rock formations. But what people don’t know is that there are other things to do in Arizona than explore the Grand Canyon. You can do a different kind of exploring here, say, a road trip.
The 4 Best Road Trip Routes to Try in Arizona
If you’re planning to take a road trip to the area, it’s best to choose one that will offer great sceneries. Here are the top 4 routes you will love.
1. Grand Canyon
Even if the Grand Canyon is already a great place for climbs and tours, you should also try planning a road trip going there. This trip will last around 3-4 hours and it’s on your way going to Phoenix. What’s great about this route is that you get to pass a lot of historic sites like the Watchtower and Route 66 as featured in the Disney movie, Cars. Ideally, you start the trip after lunch so that you can witness the sun going down over the canyon.
Unlike the usual Arizona scenery, Scottsdale is a luxurious area for restaurants and establishments. Here, you can go around trying different world-class foods and even shop the whole day. Most of the time, tourists spend the day here to shop and visit the different attractions. You can even visit Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture. It’s also recommended that you book a stay here in one of its posh hotels. If they have a pool, then you would love to swim overlooking the panoramic scenery.
If you love art and nature, then a road trip to Sedona is for you. Sedona is rich in nature and landscape that artists and nature lovers love taking a tour here. One of the most famous spots here is the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is a church built into the red rocks.
To add to that, there are a lot of outdoor activities you can do here in spite of it being a very rocky area. There are a bike trail and a hike you can try. You can also take a Pink Jeep Tour of the area. To cap it all off, book a stay in one of the inns to fully experience the Sedona lifestyle.
Hearing about it for the first time, you might think you’ll be visiting a grave. But Tombstone is actually the place where a lot of wild west scenes are shot. It’s just a one-hour drive from Tucson which is a relatively fast road trip. Here, you’ll get to see where gunfights are filmed and even tour the Boothill Graveyard.
These four road trip routes are just some of the many trips you can take in Arizona. The state is so big that you might want to spend a few weeks here to fully see the whole place. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check in at local inns for an immersive experience of the culture.
Sparsely populated, Alaska offers its visitors untouched beauty and amazing wildlife. Thus, if you are looking for unique places to see, then this should be on your bucket list.
Alaska Destinations You Should Never Miss
1. Denali National Park And Preserve
This national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife like grizzly bears, elk, reindeer, and more than 160 bird species. Not only is Denali National Park one of the biggest parks in the US, it is also the highest mountain in North America is a part of the 6-million acre park. The beauty of the wilderness already draws a lot of tourists, and they have quite a few adventure activities to choose from like mountaineering, backpacking, biking, and hiking.
2. Alaska Highway
Known as Alcan Highway (Alaska-Canada Highway), it is the perfect road to take to soak up on Alaska’ beauty. Although it was initially built for the military, it is now the only land access to the Yukon Territory and southern Alaska. It is also quite popular with recreational vehicle drivers.
3. Kenai Fjords National Park
Found on the Kenai Peninsula in the south-central part of Alaska, it is a protected national park covering almost 670,000 acres. It is home to huge brown bears that love fishing the fatty salmon, and humans can indulge in the picturesque views of Alaska.
4. University of Alaska Museum of the North
Tourists who want to understand the history and culture of Alaska should head over to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. It receives a lot of visitors who want to check out the more than 1 million natural history display items and historical artifacts. Included in the collection are items from indigenous groups, as well as local archaeological finds from all the way back to the prehistoric times.
5. Alaska Native Heritage Center
This is another interesting destination if you want to appreciate the local culture. Visitors can experience Alaska native storytelling and dancing while the Hall of Culture has exhibits and local vendors with handmade artworks and crafts. The heritage center also presents the 11 major cultural groups and their lives and values.
6. Totem Bight State Historic Park
Found in the north of Ketchikan, this is a state park spanning 33 acres. It was born after the US Forest Services started to salvage and reconstruct totem poles. They were restored and erected in this park for visitors to see.
7. Kenai Lake
This lake on the Kenai Peninsula is an interesting destination due to its zigzag shape. It also feeds into the Kenai River, though it is also by itself a wonderful destination for fishing and similar outdoor activities.
Close to Juneau, visitors do not have to travel very far to experience visiting a glacier. The glacier itself is about 13.6 miles long and lead to the Nugget Falls, while visitors can marvel at the ice masses and iceberg-dotted waters. It is also a top adventure destination, where kayaking and rafting are quite popular. From the coast, you can still see interesting wildlife like beavers, black bears, and porcupines.
The landscape and wildlife that Alaska has to offer is unmatched and can make you feel like you are in a movie. Explore everything that the state has to offer by checking out these eight destinations.
While Alabama does not top the list of top tourist destinations in the United States, it is definitely worth a visit. Like other Southern States, it is full of history and beautiful surroundings. With the state’s history dating back to thousands of years before the Europeans settled here, there is much to look back on. Nowadays, it is a place that offers visitors a lot to see, learn, and experience. Make sure you check out these top destinations in Alabama.
1. US Space & Rocket Center
One of Alabama’s claims to fame is being the birthplace of the space program, as it is where the Apollo rocket was refined and set up. To memorialize this, a permanent exhibit can be visited at the US Space & Rocket Center and it has been visited by almost 16 million people. Beyond that, the Center holds popular science camps which draw in thousands of participants yearly.
2. Birmingham Zoo
Very few zoos are spread over so much space as the Birmingham Zoo, which occupies more than 122 acres. Thus, it houses more than 800 species from all around the world, some of them open all year round. Visitors can also attend special classes and camps for kids and teachers alike.
3. Point Mallard Park
More than just a park, Point Mallard Park is an entertainment complex for the whole family. It has pools, wave pools, diving boards, slides, and ponds for the water lovers. There is also a golf course and driving range, clubhouse, as well as campgrounds. Basically, whether you are into sports, hiking, biking, or any other athletic activity, the Park has something to offer you.
4. Cheaha State Park
Visitors can head over to the Cheaha State Park to enjoy some nature in Alabama. It is one of the oldest nature parks in the State and tourists can enjoy the views and the biking or camping trails. Staying overnight is also possible, with the lodges and campsites available.
5. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Those interested in history and military ships should add this to their itinerary. The USS Alabama has been converted into a huge floating museum that visitors can explore. Close by is the USS DRUM submarine and other military aircraft like Blackbirds, Tomcats, and Hornets.
6. McWane Science Center
The McWane Science Center is not just a state-of-the-art museum; it is also an aquarium. Families will love the 4 floors full of interactive exhibits, from Native American artifacts, fossils, rocks, to minerals, and other specimens.
7. Huntsville Botanical Garden
This continually-expanding garden has various displays including a butterfly park, wildflower garden, and an aquatic display. You can also enjoy hundred-year-old dogwood trees in the Dogwood trail that have been transplanted to the site.
8. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Southern States’ history with slaves from Africa has led to years of struggle for freedom and equality among all races. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has documented this history, including the first fights for freedom and how it grew from there.
Tourists will love the natural, historical, and man-made attractions that Alabama has to offer. Beyond just having fun, they can enrich their minds through science and history, as well as have a dose of nature. It is definitely a state that you should add to your travel list.
Before you let go of yourself completely and give in to the hype of traveling and the sense of adventure, there are some things that you cannot do without. First of all, the whole effort of your packing and preparing will go to waste if you find out in the boarding line to your plane that you have not brought your passport with you.
Preparing and packing with care will make your vacation much better if you make sure that you bring with you all the things that you really actually need. Before you go anywhere, a smart thing to do would be to do a bit of research about the place where you will be staying. Besides the most obvious things that you need like a plane ticket, passport and your personal hygiene, there are things that you also need to take into your consideration.
Before you decide to take a trip abroad to a developing country, for example, you need to be sure that you have considered everything. One of the first things that you should look into would be the clothing people wear. Finding out what is culturally appropriate to wear is an important way of how you pay respects to the place that you are visiting. If you pay attention to these little details you can avoid being noticed in a bad way. Having a comfortable footwear is always good and useful.
Wherever you go, you can easily expect to walk a lot so always bring something good for walking with you. Many hotels take your passport when you check in. It would be good to have a copy of it just in case. You can never know what can happen on the streets so if there is a need, you can have some kind of identification with you.
Always consult your Embassy before you leave home. In any case of the emergency, you can get some information about the next course of action. Contact your bank to make sure you always have enough money and it would be wise to have a contact card.