Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, USA

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, named for the nearest town of Carlsbad, is located in southeastern New Mexico. It is part of the Guadalupe Mountains. The limestone cavern includes many chambers, the largest of which is called the Big Room and is 4,000 feet 1,219 m) long, 625 feet (190.5 m) wide, and 350 feet (about 107 m) high at the highest point. This chamber is the 7th largest in the world and the 3rd largest on the North American continent. Visitors can choose to explore the caves via a hike down from the natural entrance, or take the elevator directly to the Underground Lunchroom 750 feet (230 m) below the surface. Visitors can take a ranger-guided or a self-guided tour through the caverns. For hours of desperation and more information, see the Carlsbad Caverns National Park official website.

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Credit: pixelmama

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Credit: Dan Sorensen

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Arches National Park, Utah, USA

Arches National Park, Utah

 

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.

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Mono Lake, California, USA

Mono Lake, California

 

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.

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

Credit: Dan Smith

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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.

Lake Lincoln - Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Credit: Len Langevin

Bean - Chicago, Illinois

Credit: Chris Forgie

Chicago, Illinois

Bean - Chicago, Illinois

Willis Tower - Chicago, Illinois

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

In the southwestern part of Utah in the United States lies a wondrous work of erosion – Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is an eroded natural amphitheater rather than a canyon. The most notable features of Bryce Canyon are its “hoodoos”, or geological structures formed by harsh weather erosion caused by wind, ice and water. One of the hoodoos is called Thor’s Hammer because its shape resembles that of a hammer. Visitors to Bryce Canyon can enjoy a scenic drive to 13 viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Tourists can also enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Bryce Canyon is close to both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, as well as the town of Kanab, Utah, where many visitors to the area choose to find accommodation. Lodging can also be found in Bryce Canyon National Park’s two campgrounds or its lodge.

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: 5348 Franco

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: Ashwin Rao

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: Dene' Miles

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Credit: 5348 Franco

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

Credit: David Tormey

Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off the southern coast of Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts on the east coast of the United States. The island is home to a number of quaint beach towns, the three most popular being Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. Martha’s Vineyard has a land area of 232 square kilometers (87 square miles) and has an estimated year-round population of 15,000 residents, though over 60,000 people have been known to visit at once during the summer which is the island’s busiest season for tourism. Most visitors to Martha’s Vineyard simply enjoy the beach town life, bike the extensive trail network and admire the stunning Victorian architecture of the old houses in Oak Bluffs. Gay Head Cliffs is a popular landmark on the western-most part of the island. The cliffs are made entirely of colorful clay. Tourist to Martha’s Vineyard can find excellent accommodation in any of the coastal towns, or opt for a more secluded stay on the interior of the island.

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

Credit: JP06035

Vernal Falls, Yosemite, California, USA

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: God of War

One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park of California in the United States, Vernal fall measures 97 meters (317 feet) high. A hike along the Mist Trail to the fall takes visitors very close to the fall where they become shrouded in its mist. The hike to Vernal Fall is short at only 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long. At the top of the fall hikers enjoy a rest at the Emerald Pool, named for its deep green color, which is a small lake where some visitors choose to swim, though it is against the park rules and can be dangerous if care is not taken. Travelers who wish to visit Vernal Fall should make it a part of a greater trip to the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park where many other spectacular natural sights can be enjoyed. Accommodation is plentiful at the park and includes hotels as well as campgrounds. There is a $20 fee to enter Yosemite National Park.

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: Eli Weiss

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls - Yosemite National Park, California

Credit: Jacquie Winter

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA

Beautiful Lake Tahoe lies in the Sierra Nevada mountain range along the border of California and Nevada in the United States. With 496 square kilometers (192 sq miles) of surface area and lovely mountain scenery, the lake is a major tourist destination year round. There are over 12 ski resorts at Lake Tahoe and visitors can find all manner of winter activities here including snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, and more. Many water sports are also enjoyed here, such as swimming, boating, water skiing, and scuba diving. A large variety of accommodation can be found on the lake, from ritzy expensive resorts to backpacker style hostels.

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA

Credit: Mike

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA

Credit: Ace Sierra

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, USA