If you have dubbed 2020 your year for outdoor exploration but you’re not sure where to begin, why not start in the good ol’ US of A. Many Americans feel that they need to leave the country for embarking on an epic adventure, but this isn’t the case. Not at all.
Sure, certain parts of America serve as small sleepy towns and boring suburbia, and it’s far from enticing for outdoor adrenaline junkies. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the great outdoors of Salt Lake City, Lake Tahoe, Boulder, and other US destinations like these.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Interesting in Utah backcountry skiing? Or how about hiking through some of the most stunning national parks in the country? Even if metropolitan exploration is your thing and you prefer the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Salt Lake.
Just outside Utah’s capital city, you’ll find some of the best skiing and snowboarding slopes in the country. On top of that, Utah is home to what many people call “The Mighty Five”. The Mighty Five is five national parks – each one unique in its own way – including Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef.
Many outdoor lovers gravitate to Denver, Colorado’s mile-high city, but Boulder is just as good – if not better – for all you outdoorsy folk. There are so many ways to stay busy in Boulder, and none of them involve having a roof over your head.
Hiking is by far the most popular activities for both locals and visitors to Boulder, but by no means do you need to strap on a pair of hiking boots if you’re not in the mood. You can also explore the area on a stand-up paddleboard, a hot air balloon, a mountain bike, or on a pair of skis or snowshoes.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is heaven on earth for any nature lover. It’s got swimming, skiing, hiking – heck, it even has nightlife. You can easily spend an entire Tahoe vacation hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, or hang out on King’s Beach when it’s warm enough.
If skiing is your thing, it’s highly recommended that you check out Homewood Mountain Resort. This ski resort is located just 7 miles from Tahoe City with 67 unique runs and 8 ski lifts. It’s a great spot for beginners who aren’t ready to take on Squaw Valley.
A trip to Seattle should include a stop at the flagship Starbucks location, and you should without a doubt browse around the Pike Place Market. But when you’re ready to escape the busy city streets, Seattle can cater to your every outdoor need.
One of the best spots for exploring Washington’s great outdoors is Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier is the second tallest volcano in the mainland USA, making it a great hiking spot for more advanced mountaineers. If you’re looking for something less strenuous, hiking in Olympic National Park might be a better option.
As it turns out, Nashville is so much more than vibrant nightlife and country music. You won’t find any mountainous volcanoes here, but you’ll still find plenty of outdoor entertainment. The Warner Parks are perfect for hiking and golfing or take it to the water with boating or fishing at Percy Priest.
One of the favorite activities of visitors to Nashville is horseback riding at Cedars of Lebanon. The stables at Cedars of Lebanon State Park are located about 40 minutes from downtown Nashville. As you trot slowly along the well-kept trails, don’t be surprised if you come across deer, wild turkeys, even a curious fox.
Driving from Portland to Seattle takes less than 4 hours, which is why so many adventurers choose to bundle the 2 cities into one epic trip. Visiting “The Gorge” in Portland is a must; more formerly known as the Columbia River Gorge, the Gorge is located just east of the city. It’s the perfect place for hiking through cascading waterfalls in Oregon’s backcountry.
Some outdoor lovers prefer blue waters, sandy beaches, and colorful marine life to hiking trails and ski runs. If this is the case for you, no place in the USA compares to Honolulu. A trip to Honolulu isn’t just for honeymooners, but also ocean lovers.
Snorkeling, paddleboarding, surfing, diving, swimming, kayaking… Honolulu’s got it all when it comes to ocean adventures. Since this is the capital of the Hawaiian island chain, just be prepared for crowds in the heart of the city. For a more remote laid-back Hawaiian destination, Lanai or Molokai are both great options.