Wanderlust is engrained in so many of us. It’s a natural thing to be curious and want to explore. So many of us wouldn’t be here today if our ancestors didn’t explore. Life is constantly happening all around us, why not go out and be a part of it? My favorite poet, Walt Whitman, wrote a beautiful poem about how dire travel is for the soul (and that’s not all he has inspired).
I’m sure you have a traveler’s list full of places to visit and things to see when you do. I know I do! I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to the magical wonders I’ll someday visit, not just in the United States, but the entire world.
The places I have at the top of my list though, are the natural wonders of the U.S.
Why? It’s better to start small and then plan big, I think. Natural wonders of the U.S. places are in my own backyard and are generally unaltered by man, only changed by the natural erosions over time and shifts of plates far below the Earth’s surface. I use the word “unaltered” lightly. All of our activities in general affect the Earth and how it changes its self.
Utah’s Red Rock Country
At the top of my list is this park of natural arches. Utah’s Red Rock Country consists of 5 national parks throughout Utah and has some amazing rock formations and diverse wildlife. You can’t see anything like this place anywhere else in the U.S. A little known fact about this area is that it was often used to portray the “wild west” during the Golden Era of film. Stars like Elvis Presley and John Wayne frequented sets in the area. I can only do so much as a writer to convey it’s beauty to you, but there’s really no way I could capture it with description. Just Google it and see for yourself.
Acadia National Park
I’m a sucker for natural color. Fall is my favorite time of year because there are so many different ones to be seen throughout the landscape. So many yellows and reds, and hunter greens and the leaves change color. I grew up in a small west Texas town that was flat and dead. I loved my home, but it just wasn’t exactly a beautiful scene unless you enjoy the sight of pump-jacks strewn across a plain. While yes, that too can be an interesting sight, it gets old when you spend 20+ years next to it. Off the coast of Maine is Acadia National Park. Not only do you get the rugged and beautiful terrain of the mountains, you also get the relaxing sounds of a shoreline. It’s the best of both worlds! Speaking of colors, you will never understand how there could be so many of them swimming across this park. I plan to go in the early Fall, of course, and you should too. Right before it gets cold would be the perfect time to see the leaves change and to the feel the brisk breeze of summer’s end.
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical area that houses such diverse creatures and blends with the Caribbean tropics to make for an even greater diverse habitat. It is nearly 1.5 million acres in size and is known as a National Treasure. There are so many adventures to be had and sites to see in this area. It’s home to many endangered species and a perfect place to go Geocaching.
Yellowstone National Park
To be quite honest, my intention of visiting Yellowstone is strictly based on the fact that it houses a volcano. I mean, how awesome is that?! It is definitely a beautiful park full of wildlife and is actually nationally cherished as one of the last natural ecosystems located between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer (Hello, Henry Miller).
I’m sure you’re definitely wondering why. Well first of all, it’s in Oregon and I just love that state. It’s so beautiful, everywhere you go. However, specifically in Albany is the Northwest Art & Air Festival. If you’ve never seen a Hot Air Balloon festival, you are so missing out. It’s the most beautiful sight to see, all of them leaving the ground and floating off together. My mom took us to one in New Mexico when I was very young, and it’s the one of the fondest memories I have of us all together. (See featured image.)
I could write for days and days about travel and believe me, my traveler’s list is much longer than this, but these are at the top of the list: the Natural Wonders of the U.S. The bad thing about the traveler’s list/bucket list, though, is that you never know when those places will change. The world is constantly changing. It’s so important to never lose your sense of adventure. Henry Miller wrote, “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”