The breathtaking Red Rocks of Sedona are a group of several limestone rock formations located near the city of Sedona in Arizona, United States. The rocks are known for the incredibly vibrant red and orange glow they exhibit when illuminated at sunrise and sunset. A few of the better known formations include Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge natural arch, and the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole. Visitors to Sedona can enjoy endless hiking and mountain biking trails in and around the rocks. A Red Rock Pass must be acquired from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center to use the trails.
Yosemite is one of the most well known national parks in the world. With over 3.7 million visitors every year, this California park is an incredibly popular nature destination in the United States. Yosemite National Park is known for its awe-inspiring granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and over 800 miles (1,300 km) of hiking trails. Half Dome, a massive granite cliff jutting out of the earth, is one of the famous icons of the park, along with Cathedral Peak and El Capitan. Most of Yosemite’s iconic peaks, lakes, and waterfalls are located in the tourist-heavy 7 square mile (18 sq. km) area of Yosemite Valley, but the entire park actually encompasses an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 sq. km). Yosemite has the honor of being the first national park ever designated, thanks in large part to conservationists like John Muir and Galen Clark. These men and others worked hard to protect the park both for the impressive diversity of plants and animals that lived there, and also for the enjoyment of future generations. Today, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a favorite destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers, and nature lovers of all kinds.
Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado river. Located in the United States between Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell is surrounded by magnificent Navajo sandstone canyon walls in bright oranges, reds, and whites. These striking colors contrast beautifully with Lake Powell’s blue-green waters. Lake Powell is a sprawling, winding lake, and is the second largest man-made lake in the United States. The lake was made when Glen Canyon Dam was constructed in the early 1960s, flooding Glen Canyon. The lake, along with Horseshoe Bend and the notable Rainbow Bridge National Monument rock formation, is now part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Visitors to the lake can tour its waters via boat rental or guided tour. Tour operators and lodging can be found in the nearby town of Page in Arizona.
Washington DC is the capital of the United States. More formally known as the District of Columbia, this federal district is not part of any one state, though it is bordered by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Washington DC is home to many of the important government buildings of the United States, including the White House and the US Capitol Building. But that’s not all this magnificent city is known for. Washington DC is also a hotbed a culture, housing some of the finest art and history museums in the United States. And of course, there are the many impressive monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, the towering Washington Monument and reflecting pool, the Jefferson Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the US Marine Corps Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Other popular stops for visitors include the Library of Congress, and the 19 museums operated by the Smithsonian Institution. The city is also known for its performing arts centers, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (home to the National Symphony Orchestra), the Washington National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Nature-loving tourists flock to the city in the spring when the cherry blossom trees that line the city’s streets are in full bloom.
Utah is known for its impossible canyons and rock formations. Arches National Park in Eastern Utah is one of the most impressive. Here, natural sandstone arches, formed over millions of years when salt beds covered the area, create an amazing orange brown landscape. The area has a rich history as well as fascinating geology, it was home to the Ute and Paiute tribes. Ute petroglyphs from around 250 years ago can still be seen today. Bryce Canyon, also in Utah, should not be overlooked as a destination if beautiful rock formations captivate you.
In Mono County, California, just Northeast of Yosemite National Park, lies a fascinating 760,000 year old saline lake. Mono Lake has no outlet to the ocean, and has become very salty and alkaline. The most notable feature of Mono Lake is it strange tufa formations, giving the lake an other worldly or moon-like quality. The tufa at Mono Lake are limestone formations that were once underwater but have slowly been exposed as the lake’s water evaporated. Tufa deposits are also found at Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.
In beautiful Wyoming you will find the breathtaking Grand Teton National Park, which features the 46 mile long Grand Teton mountain range. Grand Teton National Park is just 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, and a visit to one should include a visit to the other. The park is named for Grand Teton mountain, the tallest mountain in the park at 13,775 feet (4,199 m). Grand Teton National Park has a rich history of Paleo-Indian and Native American settlements, dating to over 11,000 years ago. The park also has fascinating geography, with glaciated mountains, lakes, and valleys creating a unsurpassed landscape of beauty.
The Windy City, Chi-Town, The City That Works, whatever you want to call it, Chicago has a charm and appealing allure to it that other cities aspire to emulate. Home to over 3 million residents, Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois in the Midwestern United States. It ranks in the top ten of the world’s most powerful Global Finance Centers and it is the third largest city in the USA. Visitors flock to Chicago for its rich cultural offerings: the city is abound with famous jazz clubs, theaters, symphonies, and of course the Chicago cubs baseball team. The architecture of Chicago is also a main attraction. The city was rebuilt in an impressive way after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which decimated the city. Today, Chicago is home to the Willis Tower, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, both of which appear on the list of the 10 Tallest Buildings in the World. Also notable are the various sculptures about Chicago, including the Cloud Gate, known locally as “the bean”, a reflective bean-shaped orb located within “the loop” in Chicago. Chicago is incredibly accessible, and its O’Hare International Airport is the second busiest airport in the world. Because of this accessibility, Chicago is the third largest convention center in the United States.