Some of us feel quite ready to travel like we were back in 2019, but unfortunately, our world is not quite there yet. In some countries, restaurants are closed or simply operating at 50% capacity. The same applies to museums, monuments, and shops. Besides, many of us have been cooped in for so long, we’re not quite sure how to re-enter the world of touring. So why not take baby steps towards starting up our travel engines? Below, you’ll find three states that offer a wide range of outdoor sites that will surely satisfy your desire for discovery and requirements for fresh air.
Is there anything to see in Arizona besides the Grand Canyon? Absolutely! Like its most famous landmark (and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World), Arizona is also vast and ancient, with gorgeous color and impressive geology. After standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and taking in the hues of orange and red of the cliff walls, you can hop into your car and drive across the desert on historic route 66 to Flagstaff. Located at 7 000 ft elevation, Flagstaff is surrounded by desert, mountains, ponderosa pine forests and is the gateway to Arizona’s tallest peak.
On the list of must-sees is also Sedona. This city has one of the most beautiful settings, surrounded by stunning red rock mountains and buttes. It is also considered by some to be a highly spiritual place and the surrounding area is home to many ancient Native American dwellings.
If wine is your thing, you can check out Sonoita, where you’ll find Arizona’s wineries tucked away in the countryside. On your way, why not stop at Kartchner Caverns State Park? This park features limestone caverns, home to Arizona’s tallest natural column and the world’s longest stalactite.
With its rushing rivers and snow-capped mountains, Arizona offers larger-than-life outdoor adventure where you will surely run out of time, before you run out of things to do.
When we think of Florida, beaches are the first thing that come to mind. The Sunshine State is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, which makes it home to 663 miles of postcard worthy beaches. Whether you want to enjoy the low-key atmosphere of Sanibel Island, or are more interested in surfing the waves at Cocoa Beach, you are sure to find just the right spot for burying your feet in the sand.
Besides a well-deserved dose of relaxation after the year we have had, Florida also offers a plethora of outdoor adventure. It is home to 175 state parks with an array of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, fishing, star gazing and observing wildlife. You can choose to swim with the manatees at Crystal River State Park, observe the crocodiles and panthers at Everglades National Park, or take a tube down the river at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. These are just a few examples of what awaits you in Florida, so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen.
Once you’ve landed in California, all you need is a car and some good tunes to begin your adventure. Whether you chose to travel from north to south, west to east, or just remain in one area of this beautiful state, you will leave surely planning a future visit. California is just as diverse as its weather, which ranges from wet temperate in the north, snowy in the mountains, hot, dry desert in the interior, and warm Mediterranean in the rest of the state.
You will find countless trip itineraries for visiting the top tourist attractions in California, the majority of which are outdoors. Most suggested itineraries begin in San Francisco for convenience and of course, the Golden Gate bridge, but you can start as far north as Mount Shasta, an ice-topped volcano popular for skiing and hiking. Depending how much time you have, you may choose to make a straight-line passing trough Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego, or divert to the many national parks located in the Golden State, two of which are Unesco World Heritage Sites (Redwood and Yosemite).
Wine country is often a welcomed stop for many visiting California and, in itself, a reason for traveling there. The first regions that come to mind when we think of California wines are Napa Valley and Sonoma County, but these are only two out of the dozen unique wine countries in this state. You can choose one based on your vacation style, itinerary, or wine preference.
The Internet is flooded with famous quotes about California, but our favorite is: “California is always a good idea”.
Until next time, travel safely!
Written by: Nadine Ishak