USA

USA! USA! USA!
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Where Should You Visit?

NORTH, SOUTH, EAST or WEST?

TRAVEL ALL AROUND THE USA

Although I was born and raised in Canada, I have now lived in the United States for over 25 years. I still have a lot more of this big and beautiful country to explore but I’ve made a good start so far – visiting 31 of 50 states.

Currently I am enjoying slow travel around the USA (4 year road trip!) usually spending a month at each location. It’s also fun do go away for a few days or a weekend getaway to see someplace new. While in southern Utah I decided to spend a couple of days in Page Arizona and another 5 day trip to Moab to visit a few of the national parks in Utah all in one road trip.

Since I am driving around the United States, I won’t visit Hawaii, obviously :) and I’m not going to drive the Alaskan Highway in my little Toyota Yaris.

What I’m learning as I drive around America is that each region has it’s beauty. There is no one place that I can call my favorite spot in the United States – my favorite place is always where I am currently exploring!

I hope you enjoy traveling in the United States as much as I do.

AUSTIN TX

My adoptive hometown. I moved to Austin in 1999 after visiting for 3 weeks and falling in love. Austin is the gem of Texas, that’s what I usually tell people when they ask what Austin is like. Some folks know that Austin is different than the rest of Texas. Although, it’s gotten a wee bit too hipster cool for me! There’s loads of cool street art and snazzy shopping districts in Austin now. It used to be packed with a lot more of the weird and cool and funky….alas it is still my home and I still LOVE AUSTIN!

One of the main draws form me, besides the incredible music scene, is the OUTDOORS IN AUSTIN – you can hang out with the peacocks at Mayfield Park, explore the beautiful Zilker Botanical Garden, run, bike, kayak or paddle board at Lady Bird Lake, or find a field of bluebonnets at the Wildflower Center.

5 Best Hikes in Austin

Canoeing with the view of downtown Austin Texas skyline

View of downtown Austin skyline

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

Although Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited national parks in America it is one of the best places to go hiking. It’s also a great Texas road trip with some cool and cute small towns like Alpine, Marathon, Marfa, and Terlingua to name a few.

Get all the info about hiking in Big Bend and roadtripping in West Texas.

LAFAYETTE LA

Don’t tell Austin, but this is my new favorite city in the United States.

Lafayette has a great and groovy music scene and the best Cajun food around. They know how to cook and how to use seasoning in Louisiana! And they know how to pass a good time – Laissez les bons temps rouler!

There are tons of great things to do in Lafayette Louisiana and many excellent day trips from Lafayette – including visiting the Evangeline Oak in St Martinville.

Plan a week in Acadiana with my 7 Day Lafayette Road Trip Itinerary.

I love all the small towns around Lafayette. You can make day trips and half day trips in every direction from Lafayette and get to know more about Cajun Country. Check out 11 Amazing Day Trips from Lafayette.

Plate of boiled crawfish from Hawk's

Boiled Crawfish from Hawk’s

TUCSON AZ

One of my first nomad homes in 2015 – I stayed for 7 weeks and loved Tucson! There is some great hiking around Tucson – 7 Falls was my favorite.

Here is my guide to Tucson AZ

To the northern region of Arizona you can find amazing views and hiking at the Grand Canyon, and in Page – home to the famous Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and the Glen Canyon Dam.

SOUTHERN UTAH

If you want to explore 5 US National Parks in one trip, then southern Utah is your happy place! You can easily visit all five Utah National Parks during a 2-week road trip: Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion – all amazing places!

There are also some cool Utah State Parks such as Fremont Indian State Park. And national monuments – not yet national parks but still significant and worth visiting – Cedar Breaks National Monument for example – it’s like Bryce but not so busy!

ST AUGUSTINE FL

America’s oldest city is a beauty! St Augustine Florida has beautiful beaches, cute gopher tortoises, and tons of amazing birds. St A is a fisherman’s paradise. Add the historical sites into the mix and you have the perfect place for a solo travel or family vacation.

Check out my 50 Best Things to Do in St Augustine for some ideas on your next Florida vacation.

And you’ll want to visit the Best beaches around St Augustine. I went to them all, tough job but someone has to do it!

MAINE

Autumn in New England – a dream of mine for many years – but the dream came true when I spent a whole month in beautiful mid-coast Maine. Stunning fall colors and a plethora of sweet small towns are waiting for you in Maine.

You may FALL in LOVE with MAINE just like I did! Read my guide to mid-coast Maine and the charming small town of Belfast Maine.

Belfast Maine is an ideal location for a Maine vacation. There is wonderful hiking at Camden State Park, the unique hike at Rockland Breakwater, and stunning views and coastal hikes in Acadia National Park.

Maine road trip in fall, sighting of a weathered barn and a tree with bright red leaves

Maine road trip in fall, sighting of a weathered barn and a tree with bright red leaves

BAY AREA – SAN FRANCISCO – OAKLAND

From beautiful beaches to hip bars and restaurants the Bay area of California is a fun place to stay and play! You can visit San Francisco and hop across to the East Bay to Berkeley and Oakland. Then drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County – home to Point Reyes National Seashore and gorgeous coastal redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument.

Read more about the Bay area:

Point Reyes National Seashore

Ladybug hike in Oakland

Marin County – Muir Woods

PALM SPRINGS

I used to think Palm Springs was only for rich folks who golf and shop during their vacation. Now I know better. Twice I visited this jewel of Southern California. There’s a reason it became known as the playground for Hollywood, but you can have just as much fun as those tinsel town peeps, I’ll show you how.

Read my giant guide to Palm Springs

One of my favorite national parks in the United States is Joshua Tree – it’s a quick trip from Palm Springs!

Did you know you can travel from the desert to the alpine forest in Palm Springs?! Take the incredible Palm Springs Tram up to San Jacinto Mountain for outstanding views, wonderful hiking, or enjoy dining at the restaurant.

PORTLAND OREGON

Portland Oregon is the unofficial sister city to Austin Texas. You’ll find a healthy hipster crowd and outdoor loving folks in Portland – one of the most bicycle friendly cities in America. Find out what to do in Portland OR with my 3-day Itinerary. It’s a great city of solo travelers!

One of the beautiful things about Portland is that you can visit the mountains and the beach within easy reach. Spend a day (or more!) on the Oregon coast.

St Johns Bridge from Cathedral Park neighborhood on the North Portland Peninsula

St Johns Bridge from Cathedral Park neighborhood on the North Portland Peninsula

AUSTIN TO PORTLAND OREGON ROAD TRIP

Not that many people would take such a road trip but if you have the time or just want to check out some of the highlights from along the way you can live vicariously through me. I took six months to make my way from Austin to Portland.

Hop over and check out ATX to PDX via the highways.

SEATTLE WASHINGTON

Biggest city in the Pacific Northwest region, Seattle is a happening tech city. There are a ton of fun things to do in Seattle – art, great food, quirky and funky places, boat trips and trippin’ out on the music. Seattle is another great solo traveler city in the PNW!

Find out what to do in 1 day in Seattle – you will be amazed!

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Before visiting Yellowstone National Park, I looked in wonder at photos of the waterfalls, geysers and hot springs – Grand Prismatic Spring and its otherworldly beauty. I dreamed of visiting Yellowstone.

One day I decided to plan a road trip to Yellowstone (and Glacier) National Park on my way from the southern United States up to Canada in the springtime. This was one of my smarter decisions in life!

Check out 5 Reasons you should Visit Yellowstone. Then find out all the details you need to plan a visit to Yellowstone National Park here.

Grand Prismatic Spring is a sensational sight at Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring is a sensational sight at Yellowstone National Park

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

The logical thing to do after visiting Yellowstone on my way to Calgary was to visit Glacier National Park in Montana. About eight hours drive from Jackson Hole WY to West Glacier it’s a beautiful drive. I fell in LOVE with Glacier immediately!

A great intro hike to Glacier National Park is the Trail of Cedars.

Then check out the wonderful hike (from the same trailhead) to Avalanche Lake – it’s a beauty! I hiked it twice :)

Grab your beverage of choice, get comfortable, and dig into my Ultimate Guide to Glacier National Park.

Now you have some ideas about places to travel in America. Next you need to decide how you will travel – bus, car, train, or plane? Each mode of transportation has it’s pros and cons. Personally, I prefer to travel by car but it’s also easy to get around the bigger cities (and many small towns) on foot or via ride-share such as Uber or Lyft.

No matter how you travel in the United States I hope you have a wonderful time exploring! Have FUN!

Oldest Oak Tree in Texas – The Big Tree – Goose Island State Park

Oldest Oak Tree in Texas – The Big Tree – Goose Island State Park

The Oldest Live Oak tree in Texas, known as The Big Tree, lives at Goose Island State Park near Rockport Texas.  I paid a visit to the Big Tree in February on my way back from the coastal town of Port Aransas. This old Texas oak tree is amazing! Although the Big Tree is no longer the largest […]

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Bluebonnets and Hiking Trails

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Bluebonnets and Hiking Trails

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin’s southwest includes botanical gardens, hiking trails, as well as a research center including the Restoration Research Trail. After leaving Washington DC Lady Bird Johnson worked to encourage the beautification of Texas highways. Mrs Johnson’s passion for the environment and wildflowers eventually lead to the creation of The National […]

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Mayfield Park – Peacocks and Hiking Trails in Central Austin Texas

Mayfield Park – Peacocks and Hiking Trails in Central Austin Texas

Mayfield Park is an absolute gem. This Central Austin park includes a 27 acre nature preserve, 2 acres of beautiful gardens, an historic cottage, water-lily ponds, and peacocks greet you at the entrance! Mayfield is one of my favorite free things to do in Austin. Certainly there are plenty of beautiful Austin parks to visit, but […]

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Lady Bird Lake – Downtown Austin Texas Hike and Bike Trail

Lady Bird Lake – Downtown Austin Texas Hike and Bike Trail

Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in downtown Austin Texas is the perfect inner-city getaway! A beautiful escape to nature without leaving the city – I often make a pit-stop for a quick walk by the water when I’m in-between client appointments. It’s the perfect place to get a little exercise and unwind. For […]

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SXSW – An Afternoon on 6th St in Austin Texas

SXSW – An Afternoon on 6th St in Austin Texas

South by SouthWest (SXSW) in Austin Texas is the annual film, interactive, music conference and festival which began in 1987. My first SXSW experience was in 2000 when I purchased a wristband for $95 and found out I still had to wait in lines and could be turned away even with the wristband. I went […]

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Spring in Austin TX Red Bud Begins Blooming

Spring in Austin TX Red Bud Begins Blooming

Spring in Austin, Texas starts early compared to my hometown of Calgary Alberta Canada. When I see the red bud trees blooming I consider it the first sign of spring in Austin. Noticing a few red bud trees blooming in Austin in late February I decided on a visit to Zilker Botanical Gardens to see […]

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Portuguese Man O’ War – Looks Pretty but Don’t Touch!

Portuguese Man O’ War – Looks Pretty but Don’t Touch!

This Portuguese Man O’ War arrived on the beach of St Jos Island in Texas while I was walking along taking photos of the collection of things washed up on shore. The Portuguese Man of War was by far the most interesting and colorful item on display at the beach. Also known as a blue […]

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Hiking Enchanted Rock Texas the Perfect Austin Day Trip

Hiking Enchanted Rock Texas the Perfect Austin Day Trip

Looking for places to hike in Texas Hill Country? Add hiking Enchanted Rock State Park to your bucket list. Enchanted Rock is one of the best day trips from Austin or San Antonio. In the Hill Country of Central Texas lies a massive granite boulder known as Enchanted Rock. The huge granite mass known as […]

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Road Trip from Austin to Fort Worth – Visit to The Modern Art Museum

Road Trip from Austin to Fort Worth – Visit to The Modern Art Museum

It was the Kimbell Art Museum’s exhibit the Age of Picasso & Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago  that enticed me to make a road trip to Fort Worth this past weekend.  For several years I heard from friends and acquaintances that Fort Worth was home to many renowned art museums and they […]

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Woven Wall Sculpture by African Artist El Anatsui

Woven Wall Sculpture by African Artist El Anatsui

Elaborate woven wall sculptures are El Anatsui’s specialty. Looking at his art work for the first time I initially thought it looked like cloth but a closer look revealed something else. This sculpture by El Anatsui consists of copper wire and aluminum. Thousands of liquor bottle wrappers sewn together with copper wire creating a rich […]

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