The United States of Awesome: 5 Great Destinations Right in Your Backyard

Most of us dream of traveling the world far & wide.... Cultural immersion in Mumbai, decadence in Monaco, the thrill of a Zimbabwean Safari..  Usually time and/or money stand in your way. However, an adventure perhaps awaits you right in your own backyard. There are many U.S. destinations that can rival the glee of an international frolic. Here are our top 5 spots for your next trip: image-3   The state of Maine represents New England life at its finest. There is tons to do in this lovely northeastern haven. Take a scenic drive or hike a quiet trail, breathe the clean mountain air and discover beautiful farms nestled into the countryside. You can also skydive your way to an adrenaline rush from 10,000 feet above the mountains, or scuba dive into the underwater world of the state's famous lobsters. You can go rock climbing on the pink granite cliffs at Acadia National Park, glide alongside bald eagles in a hot air balloon, take a boat cruise at Casco Bay or surf the waves at Old Orchard beach. Not sure where you would start? Try Portland, one of the state's loveliest cities.   Arizona is one of those states that will make you feel like you've left the country. It's unbelievably image diverse geography will undoubtedly blow you away. From exploring the massive southern Sonoran desert with it's majestic cacti & fauna, to it's plethora of canyons - like the Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon - to the incredible beauty of romantic Sedona in the north. You can indulge in numerous activities including hikes, hot air balloon rides, range shooting and horse-back riding. If you're more interested in rest & relaxation, you're covered too. Arizona is well known for it's amazing spa retreats. Exploring locales like Tempe, Flagstaff & Scottsdale are also sure to be worth it. Whether you visit the north or south, there will be lots to do.   image-2You've seen it before: the picturesque serene lake with a nearby cabin & snow capped mountain peaks in the background. Chances are, that was Montana. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña, meaning "mountain". Both winter & summer retreats will render you rested & speechless svn though it is reported that fall is the perfect season to visit. The eastern part of the state is more of a prairie landscape with wide open spaces and rolling hills. The Custer Battlefield is here, as well as some dinosaur digs and a few lakes. Most of Montana's tourism is focused on the western portion of the state. The mountains start about in the center of the state. The attractions are anchored by Yellowstone National Park in the southwest corner (most of Yellowstone is actually in Wyoming), and Glacier National Park in the northwest corner. It is about an eight hour drive between the two. Banff is about another 7 hours, so it's conceivable to hit all three parks, but it's better to save Banff for another trip unless you have a lot of time. Between the parks lie mountains that don't have names yet and scattered in these valleys, you will find small towns full of friendly locals. photo-1   What do you know about chuck wagon cooking, cowboy poetry events and western music? Very little, you say? Well then, Texas is the place for you. Texas is the second most populous and the 2nd largest of the 50 U.S. states. It boasts a myriad of awesome cities: San Antonio, Forth Worth, Houston, Austin and just as diverse a terrain with desert, canyons (like Caprock Canyon) and beaches alike. There are more than 13,000 State historical markers commemorating everything from the Alamo to grand old mansions, to sacred burial grounds, to landmarks of the Wild West and frontier forts. For an authentic cowboy experience, you can head out to one of the many ranches or take in a rodeo and watch the real deal do their best to stay in their saddles. There’s even horseback riding along some beaches. Or perhaps you would prefer a wine tour in one of the states many glorious vineyards. Or head down to one of the largest music fests in the country - South by Southwest in Austin or Willie Nelson's annual Fourth of July Picnic. And you can't forget to try the state's signature BBQ and Tex-Mex - the best of Mexican cuisine with some Texas flair. photoMt. Rainer National Park, the Museum of Flight, Snowqualmie Falls, Pike Place Market, and the very first Starbucks Coffee house... What do they all have in common? They all are in the great Northwestern state of Washington. Washington is an outdoor recreation paradise packed with places to visit for any interest from beach combing and whale watching to wine tasting or extreme adventure. With 28 officially designated National and State Scenic Byways, you'll lose breaths along any road trip. Chuckanut Drive, the beautiful San Juan Islands, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula and the rolling hills of the Palouse are all great year-round destinations so make plans now to hit the road! Hanging in Seattle - it's capital is a perfect starting point. This is where you will find the Space Needle and the famous Pike Place Market to sample some of THE best seafood in the country! So you see, a local trip might just be what the doctor - or maybe just your budget orders. Good Old USA has a ton of adventure to offer. Happy Planning!