I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to many different cities across the country while growing up. While there is no place like home, I love exploring new terrains, cultures, and cuisines. Let’s take a road trip across the United States – and maybe even make a pit stop across the Atlantic – to some of my favorite destinations!
San Francisco, California
Starting on the west coast, San Francisco might just be the coolest US city I’ve ever visited! Though there are a lot of hills to climb, every view at the top is worth it! Let’s check out some of my favorite attractions!
1. Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz is one of the most famous prisons in the world and it was creepy! Even just the boat ride to the island was daunting, but I loved getting to see the grounds and the small and (very) dark prison cells. I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim around this island, but maybe you can figure out how some prisoners escaped from the safety of land! Be sure to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on your way over as well!
2. Muir Woods (Redwood Forest): I love spending time outdoors when traveling and Muir Woods was an incredible experience! I never thought I would feel humbled by a tree but standing at around 250 feet tall and 15 feet wide, you can’t help but feel amazed. Plus, some of the trees are 800 years old!
Newport, Rhode Island
I visited Newport last summer in the Northeast. This was actually a last-minute vacation for my family, but I’m so glad that we went! Here are some of my favorite spots!
1. The Cliff Walk: One of my favorite parts of my trip was navigating the Cliff Walk along the coastline where you’ll have elegant, historic mansions on one side of you and the ocean on the other. It was a little nerve-racking at some spots climbing over rocks or uneven portions of the path, but it was very satisfying to reach the end of the 3.5-mile walk!
2. The Breakers: The Breakers is just one of many mansions in Newport. I stepped inside and was instantly transported to the Gilded Age with dramatic entryways and elaborate drawing rooms... there was even a secret staircase for the servants!
3. The International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF): As a tennis family, I loved visiting the ITHF that highlighted some of the biggest names in tennis like Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova. I even got to play with my family on a real grass court located on the grounds, followed by lunch courtside!
Charleston, South Carolina
Traveling down south, Charleston is colorful, warm... and feels like it’s stuck the 1800s! Time has not caused Charleston to lose its southern charm, culture, or historic flair and I loved experiencing the city’s quaint atmosphere at these locations!
1. City Market: Shopping, shopping, and more shopping! I love bringing home souvenirs to remember my vacations and the Charleston City Market was a great way to enjoy the South Carolina sun and grab a bite to eat while supporting the local vendors where many often sell handmade pieces.
2. Fort Sumter: Calling all history enthusiasts! I learned that the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter sparked the beginning of the Civil War, and it was so interesting to walk the grounds of the fort and experience a piece of American history. The top of the fort also offers some breathtaking views of Charleston Harbor and the city!
3. Pirate and Ghost Tours: Boo! Charleston was once a spot for pirates like Blackbeard to sell their stolen goods... and their ghosts may still be haunting the streets! I had so much fun ghost-hunting through old churches and cemeteries on this tour and I’m glad nothing followed me home!
Prague, Czech Republic
And finally, let’s cross the Atlantic to visit Prague! This city had a “fairy-tale” atmosphere with dramatic castles and cathedrals sitting above clay-tile roofs and cobblestone streets. There are almost too many spots to visit in Prague, but here are a few of my favorites!
1. Saint Vitus Cathedral: I felt like I had stepped back in time to medieval Europe while exploring this beautiful cathedral! Make sure you walk over Charles Bridge on the Vltava River on your way there for more views!
2. Old Town Square: I would have spent all afternoon in Old Town Square if I could! There were so many delicious food options and European-style street performers for entertainment. However, my favorite part by far was watching the Apostles figurines pop out of The Orloj, an astronomical clock, at the top of every hour.
3. Nuclear Bunker Tour: The best part of visiting Prague was touring the nuclear bunkers. It was remarkably interesting to hear about stories of secret police agencies, spies, and propaganda from the time... so it was not surprising that I could hear the traffic from the street above me while walking through the bunker!
What destinations are on your bucket list? Make a plan soon to pack up and head off to your next travel adventure!
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