What’s your dream USA trip?

Monument Valley / Photographer: Mark W. Lipczynski / copyright 2015 Mark Lipczynski
Monument Valley. Photo courtesy of Arizona Office of Tourism

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!).

 Yosemite, California

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.

Boulder, Colorado

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.

Here’s a screenshot from the planner outlining the route we’d take

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.

17 thoughts on “What’s your dream USA trip?”

  1. 1 Niagara falls. Just to see the splendour of the falls
    2 Cape Cod. What a fantastic place to enjoy the very best of the local seafood
    3 Yosemite Park. Just to marvel at Half Dome
    4 SAN Francisco. To visit Alcatraz Prison
    5 New York. Just because you have to


  2. New York City – For the pizza slices, ice rink and snow!
    Yellowstone National Park – To see everything that it has to offer, the nature, volcanos, and geysers!
    San Fransisco – Visit Alcatraz
    Las Vagas – Experience the casinos
    Orlando – DISNEY!


  3. Texas – drive the long roads
    Chicago – explore the historic sites
    New York – Go shopping and eat lots of food
    San Fransisco – Alcatraz
    Orlando – To do the classic touristic things


  4. 1. New york, i would love to see in the new year.
    2. Vegas, apparently you need to see it to believe it.
    3. San fransisco – alcatraz ^^^ like Mick
    4. florida – to take the children to the theme parks
    5. Hawaii- because it is beautiful, the beaches etc


  5. 1. New York city: Museums and sights
    2. Grand Canyon: Wonderful view, what more can I say?
    3. San Francisco: Alcatraz and Food
    4. Yosemite The great outdoors and Black bears
    5. Yellowstone – wolves and geysers

  6. 1. Monterey: Whalewatching and the Acquarium
    2. San Francisco: Cable Cars and Alcatraz
    3. Chantilly Virginia: Smithsonian National Air and Space museum
    4. New York: Museums and Tourist sights
    5. Yellowstone: Wolves and Mountains

  7. #WanderlustWish

    1. New York City – because it’s one of my favourite cities in the world!
    2. San Francisco – because, as someone who is LGBT+, I feel like I’d feel right at home there.
    3. Washington DC – because I’m a history nerd!
    4. Hawaii – because, it’s Hawaii! Also I’m a huge Lost fan and it was filmed there.
    5. Boston – because I’ve only heard good things about it!

  8. #Wanderlustwish

    1. New Orleans – for the food and music!
    2. Orlando – for Disney and Universal
    3. California – for sun, sea and sand
    4. Hawaii – for the natural beauty
    5. Philadelphia – for the Philly cheese steaks!

  9. 1. Grand Canyon for the views
    2. Utah for the scenery
    3. New England in the autumn – imagine the photos!
    4. Alaska because of the extremity of it
    5. Appalachian mountains for the views!


  10. 1. Memphis for the music
    2.orlando for the rides
    3. Washington DC for the White House and monument
    4.new York for the shopping


  11. 1. Florida keys- for wildlife spotting
    2. Miami for relaxing and a bit of a party
    3. Orlando to see mickey
    4. Florida to go crocodile (gator) spotting


  12. 1.california – for the sunsets
    2. Vermont – in autumn to see the leaves
    3 Seattle – the coffee
    4. Sanfrancisco – Alcatraz
    5 New York – to shop and see the sights!

  13. This is such a great tool! I really want to see more of the Pacific Northwest (am I crazy to love the rain?) so I think these 5 places would make a great trip:
    1. Seattle, Washington
    2. Portland, Oregon
    3. Ashland, Oregon
    4. Crater Lake National Park
    5. Mount Rainier National Park


  14. I’ve been dreaming about a USA trip for a while now! But now that we have a little one who loves the outdoors, I think it will have to be:

    1. San Francisco – from what I’ve heard about it so far, I think this city speaks to me
    2. Las Vegas – For the lights and the buzz.
    3. Grand Canyon – bucket list must. Every person I’ve spoken to who’ve been have been in awe.
    4. Bryce National Park – To admire its beauty
    5. Zion National Park – To go hiking and camping with our 1 year old outdoorsy girl


  15. Very useful article! Thanks for sharing! My friends and I are going to make a similar trip with just a little smaller route. We have already rented a car and start our journey from Los Angeles.


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