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by Becca K.

When we think about a vacation, most of us turn to beaches, relaxation and traveling to exotic foreign countries. Domestic travel isn’t usually the first thing on our minds; however, the United States has some of the most beautiful and unique scenery and there is no need for us to travel far to access it!  I have spent 6 months traveling the country and have found some unforgettable spots that I never new existed.  If you are looking for an adventure this summer or fall, here are my top recommendations (in no particular order).

  1. Stowe, Vermont  Rolling hills turn into towering mountains.  The landscape here is unreal.  The state itself is quiet and is the perfect getaway from the bustling city and our hectic lifestyles.  I am one who is obsessed with barns.  Driving through the country on the way to Stowe, I am taken aback by the beautiful farms that dot the landscape.  There isn’t much here and you feel like you can finally breathe!  If you are looking for a place that has it all, Stowe is your stop!  The hiking is amazing.  Pick a trail and you will be taken to an alpine lake or peak the highest mountain in Vermont.  If mountain biking is your thing, they have trails for all ability levels.  Did I forget to mention that the home of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is close by too?
  2. Asheville, NC  This has to be one of my favorite cities to visit.  I love the art scene, the food, the beer and the access to nature.  The Blue Ridge Parkway heads though the area and is not only an iconic scenic byway, but lends access to great hiking and camping.  If you are looking for stunning fall colors, plan a trip here and spend some time making your way through the area.
  3. The Colorado Rockies  There are so many amazing areas one can visit in the Rockies.  Fly into Denver, rent a car and head west!  Make a point to visit Independence Pass, peak a 14er (Mt.Sherman is a great one to start with), Visit the Maroon Bells and then head down towards Telluride.  Hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, rafting…. adventure is waiting and there is nothing that you can’t do!
  4. Sonoma, California  When we think of Sonoma we think wine tasting; however, that is not all that this area has to offer.  There are numerous state parks where you can hike through redwoods.  Road cycling the winding and gradual roads will make you feel like you are deep in the Italian countryside.  The Russian River offers paddling and the ocean is not too far away.  If you want a vacation full of relaxation and adventure, this is the spot for you!

So, the next time you think about taking a vacation, consider traveling the US.  You will find yourself surprised by the difference in scenery, wildlife, food and culture from state to state.  You will meet new people, learn new things and have an incredible new adventure!