Can we just say how hard it was to narrow this down to our top 5! We travel with a mindset that every single place we visit, big or small, popular or not, has amazing beauty in this country. Our personal preference is the smaller state parks, and taking the roads less traveled to find the hidden gems. But we love traveling the well-known National Parks and popular attractions too. However, this was really hard to narrow down to just 5. Justin is the love of my life, and I have a standing statement I say to him – “when we’re gone, and on to our next life, I’ll meet you right here”. Only the “right here” keeps changing. I do hope with all the direction changes we can find each other again in our next lives.
So after many weeks of re-prioritizing our top list, re-arranging, and adding, here it is.
5. Coopers Rock State Forest – West Virginia
Our youngest daughter attended WVU (recently graduated), so we’ve been back a few times and we are never disappointed. We even hiked in the pouring rain one time because it was just too beautiful to leave without hiking parts of Coopers Rock.
The Coopers Rock overlook is a 1,200-foot drop to the mile-wide gorge below. No hiking involved to see this at all. If you do nothing else, you should just walk out on this platform and take a look at this amazing view. The Fall is just breathtaking. We’ve been back to Coopers Rock twice now. We’ve hiked several hiking trails, and our favorite two were the Rock City Trail and the Clay Furnace Trail. I’m trying to keep this brief, but I think I could do a whole 3-page blog on Coopers Rock. It’s beautiful! If you only have an extra hour or an extra 3 days, there is something to see.
4. Windsor Ruins – Near Port Gibson, Mississippi
We both really like architecture and mystery surrounding unique places. This definitely has both! Windsor mansion was located on a plantation that covered 2,600 acres. The mansion was constructed between 1859 and 1861 for Smith Coffee Daniell II, who was born in Mississippi and had acquired great wealth as a cotton planter by age 30. In 1849, Smith Daniell married his cousin (YUCK LOL) Catherine Freeland. The couple had six children, with three surviving to adulthood. Much of the basic construction of Windsor mansion was accomplished by Smith Daniell’s slaves. On April 28, 1861, Smith Daniell died at age 34, just weeks after construction of the mansion was completed. The mansion stood from 1861 to 1890, when it was destroyed by fire. The mansion was never photographed in it’s completion. And to this day there has never been any known photographs found of the completed mansion. There is only someone’s drawing of it found many years later. Hummmm … makes you wonder!
3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – UP of Michigan
This was breathtaking. The cliffs of spectacular sandstone, the colors, the caves, and the arches were truly epic! We really wanted to kayak to the caves on Lake Superior but the weather didn’t cooperate with us while we were there.
A few times a year after the rain, if the wind is just right, it will push the garnet that washes from the rocks up to the shore, turning the sand a beautiful color of pink. Bright pink! We were lucky enough to be there during one of these times. There are some beautiful hikes, however, we didn’t do much hiking while we were there. We did do a few of the shorter ones but plan to go back and do some more in-depth hiking during the warmer months. Check this video we captured!
2. Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio
Magical and Mystical. This is a small, beautiful State Park with tons of hiking. Waterfalls, bridges, rock stairs, and valleys. It’s just unbelievable. We have only traveled for a year but this is by far our favorite State Park thus far. There is just a feeling here of awe. I half expected a character from The Hobbit to walk from under the bridges or from behind the waterfalls. It’s over 2,000 acres of cliffs, waterfalls and deep Hemlock shaded gorges. We hiked several trails this day, and one wasn’t better than the other. Check out the history of Old Mans Cave if you ever get a chance to knock this off your bucket list.
1. Hidden Falls on Grayson Lake – Kentucky
This was a super easy #1 pick for us. Kayaking and secret hidden falls had me from the beginning. (Watch our video below of our trip into the hidden falls area) This is so far the most amazing kayaking we have done. The cliffs, and the canals, and the waterfalls coming off the sides was our most epic 2017 trip. Again, we will be going back with more time. We also ended up, by chance, meeting the most genuine, amazing people who offered to spend the whole next day with us showing us around and even taking a tour on their boat, and then inviting us to a community art function that night. A beautiful little town, spectacular kayaking, and scenery, and kind, genuine people make this our #1 pick.
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54 thoughts on “Our Top 5 Places to Travel in the USA”
Ok, now my “places I need to travel to” list just got longer. This was very well written, thank you for sharing your favorite spots.
Thank you very much! Enjoy! We’ll probably all do this together! Ha Ha
Every single one of these places looks amazing! I love the falls! <3
Thank you so much! They all really were pretty amazing! 🙂 Thanks for commenting.
There are actually a lot of fantastic sites to see right here in the U.S. I would love to visit all of these, but it’s really a toss up between Pictured Rocks and Hidden Falls!
Thank you very much!! Great read especially since I’m planning trips to some of these places. Thank you!
Sweet! Enjoy your travels!
It seems like I need to take a trip to Kentucky soon to go to Hidden Falls!
It’s really amazing!
I totally want to go to Hidden Falls in Kentucky. I loved kayaking as a kid and found it so peaceful to be in nature in that way. But now I live in California, where kayaking means the ocean which isn’t peaceful at all. It’s more of an adventure. All these places are so beautiful.
I was born and raised in central CA. Didn’t leave until I was 27. Not sure where you live, but check out some places around you. I’d bet there is a lake you can go to. There are some beautiful lakes in CA. Lake Taho, Lake Cachuma, Chystal Springs, Salton Sea, and Clear Lake are just a few I can think of. It’s been so many years since I lived there, and CA has had it’s share of drought and fires, so not sure what’s still available. Good luck and I hope you get to do some kayaking!
I would really love to visit USA, thanks for sharing this post, it has given me an idea where to start if I`m lucky enough to visit .
Hope you get to someday. It’s spectacular here.
How beautiful! I love how every place is natural beauty!
Thank you very much!
Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you had quite the adventure!
You’ve got such beautiful pictures here! I feel like going to every one of them on your list!
Thank you so very much for your kind words!
I will definitely be adding these places to my list. I want to head around the east half of the US sometime this summer. I love the west coast but can’t wait to venture around.
Awesome! Just do it! Tomorrow is never promised!
Such “epic” places! The story of the Windsor ruins is so intriguing.
I didn’t know there were pink beaches any where else besides the Pink beach in Australia.
You are so lucky to have such beauty and the health to travel to see these places. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Thank you so very much! Glad you enjoyed it.
These pictures were truly beautiful. I’ve never been to the USA and I’d love to visit these places one day! 🙂 Hope to see more stunning places on your blog. 🙂
Oh my gosh, the Windsor Ruins look so amazing! And Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore looks like such a gorgeous place to go for a few days away from the city!
Thank you! They are super amazing places and I hope you get a chance to see them someday!
Wow! These places look so beautiful. I love the way that you write about them.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
Love these places….great suggestions…I want to visit them all!!
So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for checking us out.
Omg, this post is actually so amazing. On my bucketlist I want to visit every state. I’m so glad you put locations that I honestly would have no idea on what do to there, so thank you for that. I’m going to reference your post in the future! Great post xxx
Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com
You’re very welcome! Thanks for visiting!
Oooh I love a waterfall and the idea of going to hidden ones is really appealing. Thank you for sharing these amazing ideas!
wow!! these places are stunning! I love the UP in Michigan, it’s so beautiful!
Thanks so much!
Wow! We are near Port Gibson–those ruins are breathtaking!
Hope you’ve been able to go see them. They were so interesting.
Hocking Hills State Park looks amazing! Traveling is such an enriching experience! I’m currently traveling overseas, but live in New Hampshire. I’ve been to most of the states on the East coast, but dying to go West! Love your photography as well!
Thank you so much for checking out our blog. Hocking Hills SP is in Ohio. Really beautiful place!
WOWZA so many incredible places and incredible images! I don’t think I could pic a favorite.
These pictures are incredibly gorgeous! I haven’t been to the UP for years but I remember it being incredibly beautiful just like the photos you posted.
Thank you very much for your kind words, and yes, it was very beautiful! We’ll be going back for sure.
All of these look amazing but Hocking Hills and Hidden Falls are going on my must do list!
Awesome location ideas! That the Coopers rock state forest looks incredible
Wow all of these places are beautiful! I live in WV and might need to go there one day!
What an incredible experience! The Autumn colours of Cooper’s Rock State Park are incredible! The USA has some incredible State Parks! Nikki
Thank you so much for checking our blog out. Yes, Coopers Rock is breathtaking! Thanks again!
Oh my gosh, how beautiful! My family always wants to travel outside of the United States but there is SO much beauty within our country. Def putting these places on my list of places to visit.
I haven’t been to any of these but I look forward to checking them out if i’m ever in those states! Thank you for sharing!
These are some pretty amazing places to visit. I may have to check out a few.
I would love to do more travelling next year, Ohio is on the list! Thanks for sharing this, some beautiful places!
I only live like 2 hours from coopers rock and pass it when I go to MD to see my family all the time and have never stopped!! Definitely putting it on my list to stop by next time, when the weather breaks anyhow. Great post!
That’s wonderful. You will not be disappointed. You can make the trip as long or as short as you want. If you just walk out to the ledge that overlooks your magnificent valley, it’ll take you less than 5 minutes! Or .. you can hike some of the amazing trails. 🙂 Good luck!
Those are some great photos and now I have more places to add to our bucket list! How do you like your inflatable kayaks? What brand are they?
Thank you! We LOVE our inflatable kayaks! They are Sea Eagle 385FT. We did upgrade the seats, and like those much better than the inflatable seats it comes with. They fit behind our theater seats in our RV, and they are light enough to carry on our back in the backpack they come with. We highly recommend them! We can’t say enough about the quality, and the stability! Top notch for sure!