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I’VE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH to have traveled to some amazing places around the world over the last 10 years: Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Mongolia, Jordan, and the list goes on. But I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that some of my favorite trips have taken place here in the US — typically behind the wheel of my car, on a lonely state highway.

America is just massive. At 3.8 million square miles, it’s three times larger than all the countries listed above combined. So it’s kind of a given that our country would be home to spectacular deserts, mountain ranges, volcanic features, ancient forests, waterfalls, canyons, glaciers, caves, and swamps. But that fact doesn’t diminish the awesomeness of these places.

As summer approaches, my wife and I can’t wait for our next opportunity to hop into our little Mazda with the dog and go find a spot we haven’t been to yet in our thousands of miles of driving around this country that keeps on giving. Hope to see you out there.

1. Death Valley, CA

A section of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the lowest, driest, hottest place in North America.
(1) Trey Ratcliff (2) Pedro Szekely (3) Gleb Tarassenko

2. Kilauea, HI

Kilauea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, sends streams of lava steaming into the Pacific Ocean.
(1) Tumanc (2) Esten Hurtle

3. Monument Valley, UT

The sandstone buttes of Monument Valley stand like towers in the Four Corners region of the Western US.
(1) Wolfgang Staudt (2) Trey Ratcliff (3) clockwise L to R: Bosure, Wolfgang Staudt, Jason Corneveaux, Kartik Ramanathan

4. Niagara Falls, NY

The tourist vessel “Maid of the Mist IV” does a float-by of the American Falls.
(1) Arne Bornheim (2) paul bica (3) Daniel Peckman

5. Redwoods, CA

The tallest trees on the planet hide out in a few remaining tracts of Northern California’s old-growth coastal forests.
(1) m24inStudio (2) clockwise L to R: Giant Ginkgo, Mike Baird, jjgardner3 (3) Justin Brown

6. Grand Canyon, AZ

A mile down from the canyon’s rim, the Colorado River is still cutting.
(1) Ignacio Izquierdo (2) Randy Pertiet (3) Steve Dunleavy

7. Mammoth Cave, KY

Mammoth Cave National Park protects a portion of the longest known cave system in the world.
(1) Peter Rivera (2) clockwise L to R: clarkmaxwell, Peter Riviera, Insley Pruitt, Peter Riviera

8. Florida Everglades

The Everglades are a 60-mile-wide, super-slow-moving subtropical river covering the tip of Florida.
(1) Timothy Valentine (2) Brian Koprowski (3) crow 911

9. Hubbard Glacier, AK

Where Hubbard Glacier meets the sea, its 6-mile-wide face calves huge blocks of ice.
(1) Alan Vernon (2) Mike McElroy (3) Rich Englebrecht

10. Black Hills, SD

Harney Peak (pictured at top), within the Black Hills National Forest, is the highest east of the Rockies.
(1) blucolt (2) Ryan O’Hara (3) Dave Morris

11. The Mississippi

This monster river system drains 31 US states and is the fourth longest in the world.
(1) Jon Haynes Photography (2) Adventures of KM&G

12. Bryce Canyon, UT

Bryce can be more accurately described as an immense eroded amphitheater, populated with hoodoos (pictured at middle).
(1) Todd Petrie (2) Wolfgang Staudt (3) Sam Gao

13. Mt. Desert Island, ME

The island is protected by Acadia National Park and is all rocky shoreline and crumbly mountain woodland.
(1) Scott Kublin (2) clockwise L to R: Andrew Mace, Scott Smitson, Jim Liestman, Howard Ignatius, Frederico Robertazzi (3) A.D. Wheeler

14. Crater Lake, OR

Collapsed volcano, now a deep blue lake in southern Oregon.
(1) Ninad (2) Howard Ignatius (3) Andy Spearing

15. Arches, UT

The national park preserves land that’s home to over 2,000 of these weathered sandstone arches.
(1) Keith Cuddeback (2) Katsrcool (3) Kartik Ramanathan

16. Yosemite Valley, CA

Looking down the Yosemite Valley, you can see Bridalveil Falls and the granite cliff of Half Dome in the distance.
(1) John Colby (2) Nietnagel (3) clockwise L to R: Craig Goodwin, Scott, Nietnagel

17. Carlsbad Caverns, NM

The caverns’ “Big Room” is the third largest cave chamber in North America.
(1) FMJ Shooter~Off to the last frontier (2) G (3) J.J.

18. Old Faithful, WY

This geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupts a 140-foot spout of water at regular 45- to 120-minute intervals.
(1) David Kingham (2) Scott Kublin (3) frazgo


The open road. That’s what it’s all about. Driving down long stretches of asphalt, pulling over at a local diner for some grub, and discovering the most incredible roadside wonders. Roadtrippers is a simple but powerful road trip planner that helps you discover, plan, & book your adventure.