Travel destinations

9 travel destinations in the United States to try when you can’t travel abroad – Forbes Advisor

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As tempting as international travel is, it’s not always realistic. Getting enough free time from work to catch a plane to seven time zones makes it difficult, and plane tickets for a family can cost more than your mortgage. It doesn’t even take into account the extra steps needed to cross borders such as vaccine passports and Covid-19 tests.

Before you throw in the towel for travel, take a second look inside America’s borders. There are thousands of worthy vacation destinations, some even reminiscent of international favorites. While these nine destinations don’t seem as exotic as going abroad, they do offer similar experiences. You will always end up with a fun getaway and meaningful memories, no passport required.

Skip: Provence, France, Try: San Juan Islands, Washington

The Washington coast is probably not the first place that comes to mind to replace Provence, but you would be surprised. On each island you will find sunny towns, colorful countryside and a joy of living attitude that will leave you wanting to come back. They don’t speak French here, but they embody the same lifestyle.

The activities here also resemble those in Provence. Feast on local produce and ultra-fresh seafood while picnicking outside of town. Pick up a rental bike for a leisurely route from village to village, stopping at small cellars for a tasting or two. In summer, you can even frolic in the lavender fields for a breathtaking photoshoot and full sensory experience. Later, rest in a charming guesthouse or a charming inn.

Skip: Sahara Desert, Try: Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

The tallest dune in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park rises to 750 feet and takes hours to reach the top on foot. If that isn’t proof that you can stay in the United States for epic desert landscapes, then nothing is. Less than four hours from Denver, it is also possible to visit on a weekend as opposed to traveling to North Africa.

In some ways this park is even better than what you will find in the Sahara. Photographers can take a unique photo of sand dunes with the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background. Visitors also enjoy the juxtaposition of the vast sand dunes next to Medano Creek, which in late spring or early summer even contains enough water for tubing and other water sports. Add sandboarding and sandcastle building for the complete, ultimate excursion.

Skip: Haiti, Try: Miami, Florida

Little Haiti in Miami is the real deal. The vibes of the community run deep, giving you the chance to sample Hispaniola with the simplicity and convenience of staying in the United States. Start your visit at the Haitian Heritage Museum or directly participate in participatory events at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Then, stay to experience the on-site art gallery for yourself. There’s even a Caribbean market where you can buy the perfect vacation souvenir.

For more Haitian flair, you will need some time to explore on your own. Little Haiti is full of local businesses that focus on colorful art, Caribbean cuisine, and upbeat music meant for dance. To truly experience the immersion, choose an apartment or other vacation rental in the heart of the neighborhood instead of falling back on a hotel chain.

Skip: New Zealand, Try: Oregon

Hiking trails with magnificent mountain views? To verify. Endless greenery? To verify. Fabulous coffee and cool climate wines? Check check. Of course, it looks like Oregon has a lot in common with New Zealand, minus the staggeringly long flight to get there. Less time in the air means more time on the ground for all your adventures.

And there are adventures. As in New Zealand, there is no shortage of thrill-seeking activities, from bungee jumping and whitewater rafting to caving in lava tubes. You can even find the mudpots and other geothermal features of the North Island if you’re willing to cross the border from Oregon to northern California at Lassen Volcanic National Park. After all, if you can include two islands on your New Zealand vacation, you can include two states in the United States.

Skip: the Australian outback, try: southern Utah

The Australian Outback is one of the most iconic parts of the continent and is on the wish lists of many travelers. However, a road trip to southern Utah offers its own version of breathtaking scenery, including views of mountains, ancient rock formations, and endless wilderness. In fact, this might even be the best bet since the parks are clustered together rather than being spread over two million square miles.

While places like Zion National Park and Monument Valley are firmly on the radar, they are just the beginning. There are dozens of slot canyons ready to go on an adventure outside the park. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and stops like Goblin Valley State Park also provide opportunities for scenic walks, hikes, and mountain biking trails. So if you’re looking for desert landscapes, a vast and peaceful outdoor setting, or breathtaking views of the night sky, head to Utah instead of Australia.

Skip: Granada, Spain, Try: St. Augustine, Florida

Saint-Augustin is not only “the oldest city in America”. It exudes Old World charm with centuries of history and striking architecture. In fact, if you visit the right areas of the city, you might even imagine yourself in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula.

Just like in Spain, embark on a self-guided walking tour of San Marcos Castle and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Narrow streets pass by shops and cafes, each inviting you to enter. Visit the Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth to learn about the 500-year-old history of Spanish explorers (with an American twist). You can also visit Villa Zorayda, a historic attraction with Moorish architecture and incredible beauty inspired by Granada’s famous Alhambra Palace.

Skip: Okinawa, Japan, Try: Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii has had a large Japanese population for over 100 years, so their influence makes perfect sense. You will find Japanese dishes and flavors all over the state as well as summer obon festivals, which celebrate the lives of Japanese ancestors through dancing and other activities. However, the island of Oahu is your best bet if you want to blend Japanese culture with a tropical vacation that resembles Okinawa, Japan.

Even on a short trip, travelers should visit Byodo-In Temple, a pleasant Buddhist site for walking or meditating. Right in the Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu, the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk is a collection of shops and restaurants similar to what you’ll find in Japan. For a more hands-on activity, visit the Japanese Cultural Center in Hawai’i which hosts workshops in addition to its excellent exhibits and galleries.

Skip: Niagara Falls, Canada, Try: Niagara Falls, United States

One of the most famous waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls straddles the Canada-U.S. Border. In a perfect world, visitors would see the falls from both sides, but limiting themselves to the American side is hardly an ordeal. Niagara Falls State Park was New York’s first state park and still retains its lush green setting, unlike the Clifton Hill marketed in Canada, which focuses more on mini-golf and junk food than a marvel. of the world.

The downside to the American side is, unfortunately, that you can’t see Horseshoe Falls, one of the river’s three waterfalls, well. This is easily remedied by booking a boat trip on the Maid of the Mist: you’ll get that Canadian view from the water since you can’t get it on land. Complete your tour with a descent into the Cave of the Winds for a glimpse of the American Falls.

Skip: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Try: Las Vegas, Nevada

If you travel to Dubai for the glitz, glamor, and outrageous architecture, you can save yourself the long flight: Las Vegas offers plenty too. While the Strip is always known for its landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or the Bellagio Fountains, it is constantly creating new experiences to keep you on your toes.

Crowing your neck to see skyscrapers and crazy attractions isn’t all Las Vegas has to offer. As in Dubai, the possibilities to indulge yourself are endless. Shop for designer looks or splurge at the spa. Enjoy one gourmet meal after another. If you ever get bored with over-the-top man-made creations, there’s even a desert outside of the two cities.

Final result

International travel will always have a special appeal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. These nine destinations in the United States are obviously not exactly the same as going abroad, but have enough similarities that they can transport your state of mind away from home and to a special place in their own way. . For your next trip, do not hesitate to leave your passport at home.

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