What’s my dream US trip?
Steve and I have been dreaming of our California road trip for years. It started with San Francisco and then stretched all the way down the coast to San Diego, even adding trips to Portland and New York on either end. So when Brand USA asked me to write about my dream US trip, my first thought was: I’m already doing it! But then I realised that there are so many other trips we’re dreaming of for the future too: New Orleans; the Disney parks in Florida (I can’t wait for Otis to be old enough for them!); so many of the national parks; and I’m also really keen on exploring the East coast, as well as spending more time in Austin. We’re going to have to keep coming back!
A dream trip to the National Parks
For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to dream about what I’d do if we had another few weeks for our California road trip. What places would I add and what would we do there? Mostly I’d be keen to visit some of the US National Parks. I’ve used the new Visit The USA holiday planner tool to map it out.
One good way to do this sort of trip if you’re travelling solo, but don’t want to be alone is to join a group tour. Emily at Emily Luxton Travels has written a guide to 8 reasons to do a Trek America trip (she did a North-East America tour that I’d love to do!).
One of the biggest compromises we had to make on this trip was not going inland to Yosemite, one of the greatest landmarks in California. We wanted to prioritise the coast and couldn’t find a way to include Yosemite in the time we had without adding a large amount of driving time and doing things in a rush. We’ve both been before, so it wasn’t too bad a compromise, but I’d still love to go back with Otis one day. So my dream trip would start with Yosemite, hiking Half Dome at sunset and going deep into the sequoias by day.
Death Valley, California
Next up would be the desert of Death Valley for a chance to experience the expansive dunes of the USA’s hottest, driest and lowest area. On my to do list would be the salt flats, the colourful mountainside at Artists’ Drive, and catching sunset across the valley. O route to our next destination, we’d stop in Las Vegas to break up the journey and take a peek at what it’s all about.
Zion and Bryce Canyon, Utah
I’m desperate to see for myself the otherworldly landscape of southern Utah. The rainbow-coloured rock formations, soaring towers and deep canyons look to be among the most awe-inspiring on earth. Zion Park is at the top of my wish list for this trip, plus I’d love to see the hoodoos (tall pinnacle-like structures) of Bryce Canyon. This Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary looks amazing!
Grand Canyon, Arizona
I went to the Grand Canyon when I was a teenager, but I was pretty preoccupied with my own drama at that age, so definitely didn’t appreciate it as much as I wish I had. I think a repeat trip is necessary to take it in properly and I’d also love to do a helicopter trip across the top. On this itinerary, we’d be on the north rim of the canyon, which is a less touristy option.
Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah
Monument Valley is another out-of-this-world sight that I’d love to see, with its epic crimson towers that dot the barren landscape. I’ve seen it in so many photos and films and would love to experience it for myself. Some days hiking here would be lush.
Canyonlands and Arches, Utah
For a final stop on this trip of natural splendour, I’d go to Canyonlands in Utah. I’d head to the Islands in the Sky district to take in the views of the expansive canyons, mesas and buttes. And I’m also keen to see the sandstone arches of the neighbouring Arches National Park. It’s said to be an easy one to explore with kids. For this part of the trip, we’d likely base ourselves in Moab, an interesting-sounding adventure town where you can recuperate in a hot tub after a long day on the trails.
And finally we’d finish the trip with a stay in Boulder, a place I may have lived if I’d chosen a different path, studying contemplative psychotherapy at Naropa University (one of the many dream I’ve had on my journey!). It’s a place where fair trade, recycling and meditation are the norm, it gets about 300 days of sunshine a year, and it’s surrounded by spectacular nature. Definitely on my wish list! It’s around six hours’ drive from Arches, so I think we’d need to add a little stop somewhere along the way to break up the journey for Otis. I’d also like to extend it into a little South-West Colorado road trip if we had time.
What’s your dream US trip?
So that’s my dream trip, now what about yours? Pick at least five destinations and create your trip with the Visit the USA holiday planner tool. Then leave a comment below with a few words about your itinerary and how you’d spend your time there. Add the hashtag #wanderlustwish
All those who leave a comment will be entered into the competition to win £200. The closing date is two weeks from now on Friday 26 October 2018. Good luck!
This post is in partnership with Brand USA but all thoughts and dreams are my own.