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 spring 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) Jerome Bron (2) Chao Yen (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) Frank Wittig

3. Monument Valley, UT

The sandstone buttes of Monument Valley stand like towers in the Four Corners region of the Western US.
(1) Robert Murray (2) John Fowler (3) Chao Yen

4. Niagara Falls, NY

The tourist vessel “Maid of the Mist IV” does a float-by of the American Falls.
(1) Diego Torres Silvestre (2) Kalen Emsley

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) Arnaud Mesureur (2) clockwise L to R: Denys Nevozhai, Jeremy Bishop, Wilson Ye

6. Grand Canyon, AZ

A mile down from the canyon’s rim, the Colorado River is still cutting.
(1) Ana Filipa Neves (2) Joshua Earle (3) Jad Limcaco

7. Mammoth Cave, KY

Mammoth Cave National Park protects a portion of the longest known cave system in the world.
(1) Peter Rivera (2) Margaret River

8. Florida Everglades

The Everglades are a 60-mile-wide, super-slow-moving subtropical river covering the tip of Florida.
(1) Brian Crawford (2) Clockwise L to R Todd Huffman, Murray Foubister, Alex Shutin

9. Hubbard Glacier, AK

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

10. Black Hills, SD

Harney Peak (pictured at top), within the Black Hills National Forest, is the highest east of the Rockies.
(1) Chris M Morris (2) Britt Reints

11. The Mississippi

This monster river system drains 31 US states and is the fourth longest in the world.
(1) Jon Haynes Photography (2) Green Fire Production

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) Andrew Smith (3) Marc Smith

13. Mt. Desert Island, ME

The island is protected by Acadia National Park and is all rocky shoreline and crumbly mountain woodland.
(1) Chris Potako (2) Asaf R

14. Crater Lake, OR

Collapsed volcano, now a deep blue lake in southern Oregon.
(1) alans1948 (2) Powderrun

15. Arches, UT

The national park preserves land that’s home to over 2,000 of these weathered sandstone arches.
All images: Arches National Park

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) Austin Shmid (2) Etienne Desclides (3) L to R: Perry Kibler, Johannes Andersson,

17. Carlsbad Caverns, NM

The caverns’ “Big Room” is the third largest cave chamber in North America.
All images: Mathieu Lebreton

18. Old Faithful, WY

This geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupts a 140-foot spout of water at regular 45- to 120-minute intervals.
All images: Yellowstone National Park

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.