Now that our world is beginning to open up again, many of us are looking forward to our first trip. Most travel experts believe that many Americans will be looking for a destination not far from home. The "new normal" may include vacation rentals rather than hotels, driving rather than flying, an increase in purchasing travel protection, and the use of travel advisors. Fortunately, our country is filled with diverse and beautiful landscapes. We have unique national parks, vibrant cities, and exciting attractions from coast to coast. How many of these well-known landmarks have you seen?
The Statue of Liberty
It's considered to be the most iconic symbol in our country. The statue was presented to the United States in 1886 as a gift from France. Lady Liberty is a symbol of freedom and democracy, standing 305 feet and 6 inches high on Liberty Island. When you visit, you can get a sense of the thrill millions of immigrants must have experienced as they docked in our country.
The Freedom Trail
This path through central Boston provides a chance to walk in the footsteps of America’s forefathers. It leads you past locations where much of the drama that would bring about the American Revolution unfolded, from Faneuil Hall to the Old North Church to the site of the Boston Massacre.
Golden Gate Bridge
You can walk, cycle, drive, or simply photograph this beautiful 1.7 mile suspension bridge. It was built in 1937 to connect San Francisco with Marin County. Not only is it beautiful, it was built to be durable. It has withstood winds of more than 100 mph and was undamaged by the devastating 1989 earthquake. The bridge’s walkway provides unparalleled views of the Bay Area.
Found in South Dakota’s Black Hills, 60 foot high likenesses of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt are carved into a massive granite cliff. Many say this is America's most famous memorial. It is especially beautiful at night when the faces are illuminated.
The National Mall
The National Mall in Washington, DC is surrounded by a collection of great American landmarks. The Capitol is found at one end, and the Washington Monument at the other. Scattered between are the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and many others. You'll also find almost a dozen museums bordering the Mall.
This massive feat of engineering creates hydroelectric power and helps provides water for seven states and a portion of Mexico. It was built to hold back the Colorado River and in 2010, the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge opened to allow for faster travel through the area. It’s definitely worth stopping to admire and tour the facilities.
The Declaration of Independence was signed in this building, George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army, and the Constitution was ratified. There’s no other structure in the United States that’s loaded with more historical significance. The Hall is part of Independence National Historical Park, where you’ll also find the Liberty Bell and several museums.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired on this fort in Charleston’s harbor. The battle that ensued would result in defeat for the Union and turn Fort Sumter into a symbol of Southern resistance. Today the National Park Service oversees it, with rangers giving interpretive talks and conducting guided tours.
Grand Ole Opry
Labeled the “Home of American Music,” the Grand Ole Opry has hosted some of the country’s most iconic artists, from Dolly Parton to Loretta Lynn. It began in 1925, when the stage was used to house a local radio broadcast, but has since grown into one of the most sought after stages for live entertainment. Catch a performance at this historic venue or book a backstage tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the stories, names, and lyrics that have made this Nashville gem such an American icon.
Part of the Gateway Arch National Park, this iconic structure symbolizes the importance of St. Louis as the Gateway to the West. Be sure to ride to the top for great views of the city and the Mississippi River.
This mission stands as a monument to the 200 Texan volunteers who fought and died here during the siege in 1836 by Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The Texans lost the battle, but they ultimately won their bid for independence with “Remember the Alamo” as their rallying cry.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
This American landmark wouldn’t exist without the brilliance of two brothers from Ohio. Wilburn and Orville Wright swapped their bicycle shop for the shores of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina to test their flying machine, changing history with 12 seconds of powered flight. The monument stands atop a hill overlooking the original Wright brother’s runway, where visitors can walk the distance of that first flight.
Of course, our country has many more important landmarks that could be mentioned. Have I left out one of your favorites? Let me know what it is!