One of the most famous symbols of the American west, Route 66's significance has been commemorated in songs, movies, and various other aspects of popular culture. Built in 1926, the 2,448 mile (3,940 km) strip of road was one of the first highways built in the United States. It spanned 8 states, running from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California, passing through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona along the way.
Route 66 holds special meaning to the many migrants who traveled along its path toward the west, particularly during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. In 1985, the route was removed from the United States Highway System as it was considered to be no longer be relevant. Now known as Historic Route 66, the highway still evokes the same sense of wonder and excitement that comes from journeying west to a land of possibilities.
Sitting on Rainbow Harbor you’ll find one of Long Beach’s top attractions: Aquarium of the Pacific. Home to more than 11,000 aquatic animals and approximately 500 species, there is much to see throughout their 32 exhibits. In fact, many people arrive at opening time and don’t leave until closing. Get up close to playful seals and sea lions, visit a lagoon with more than 150 sharks, see ultraviolet sea animals against a black light, take in otherworldly jellyfish of all shapes and sizes and roam the numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Many of the exhibits are also interactive, allowing you to pet fish, manta rays and even small sharks; feed birds in the Lorikeet Forest; and partake in tropical reef feedings. Check the schedule when you arrive to see what shows and lectures are going on for the day. If you’re traveling as a family, stop at the desk to pick up special worksheets and scavenger hunt-like tasks for kids to fill out while exploring the museum.
Encompassing 1,047 square miles (2,711 square kilometers), the Kenai Fjords National Park is named after the many glacial-carved fjords, or glacial valleys that sit below sea level. These fjords run down the mountains and into the iconic Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States with 40 glaciers flowing into it.
There are many ways to experience the park’s beauty, like taking an aerial tour, kayaking on the fjords, hiking to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail or exploring the trails around Exit Glacier. You can also fish for salmon and Dolly Varden within the park’s backcountry. For those interested in wildlife spotting, the parks icy waters and dense woodland are home to a number of creatures like mountain goats, black bears, bald eagles, Steller sea lions, puffins, Dall's porpoises, and humpback and orca whales.
You’ll find it hard not to be impressed at the opulence of The Breakers, the crown jewel of the Newport cottages. The 70-room four-story mansion was the summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the grandson of railroad tycoon Commodore Vanderbilt. The grand structure, built in 1895, was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, who modeled it after 16th-century Italian Renaissance palaces.
Vanderbilt spared no expense in designing this lavish Guilded Age temple, installing a high entrance gate that weighs over 7 tons, using gold leaf and rare marble, and bringing in painters from Europe to create mural-size baroque paintings. Inside, all the furnishings on view are original. Outside, open-air terraces give way to breathtaking ocean views.
The Preservation Society of Newport County purchased the house in 1972, and today it is a National Historic Landmark.
At more than 6 million acres (2.5 million hectares), Denali National Park is a breathtaking wilderness area, which includes North America’s highest mountain. A single road curves 92 miles (148 kilometers) through the heart of the park, leading to off-trail hiking opportunities, abundant wildlife, and stunning tundra panoramas.
Wildlife in Denali National Park, including mammals such as marmot and moose, is easy to spot. Caribou, wolves, and brown bears are crowd favorites. The park is also well known for its bird population, especially during late spring and summer. Birdwatchers may find waxwings, Arctic Warblers, and the majestic tundra swan. Predatory birds include a variety of hawks, owls, and the striking golden eagle. Ten species of fish, including trout, salmon, and arctic grayling share the waters of the park.
Camelback Mountain is an iconic mountain visible throughout most of the phoenix metropolitan area. Towering over the city at 2,704 feet (824 meters) above sea level, the mountain was named after its very obvious resemblance to a resting camel. The mountain features unique sheer red sandstone cliffs as well as a variety of desert wildlife. Some of its more popular desert animals include Rock Squirrels, Gila Monsters, Javelinas, Coyotes, and Grey Foxes. These natural wonders make the mountain a very popular hiking and rock climbing location.
Although it is possible to hike to the top of Camelback, both trails are a strenuous undertaking and are only recommended for advanced hikers. Echo Canyon Recreation Area does, however, offer two easier hiking options for those less advanced hikers. All trails offer the ability to experience desert wildlife up close, as well as admire Camelback’s unique geological formations.
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The city of Scottsdale sits adjacent to Phoenix, attracting visitors by the bus-load to Scottsdale Old Town. This older section of town is also its main cultural hub, thronged with dining, drinking, shopping and nightlife options.
Native American crafts, jewelry and artworks are sold in this downtown arts district, and galleries and outdoor sculptures add to the cultural feel. It’s also where you’ll find museums like Scottsdale’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the city’s historical museum.
Walking tours highlight the old town’s Old West character, with hitching posts from the days when horses were ridden through town and quaint stores selling Western gear.
Marilyn Monroe? 6774 Hollywood Blvd. James Dean? 1719 Vine St. Elvis Presley? 6777 Hollywood Blvd. No, not last known addresses, just the exact spot for the brass star honoring these celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
These stars and many others are sought out, worshiped, photographed, and stepped on day after day long this stretch of sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard. Since 1960 more than 2,000 performers - from legends to long-forgotten bit-part players - have been honored with a pink-marble, five-pointed sidewalk star.
Follow this celestial sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street, and along Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard.
The highest measured waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls is the superstar attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the snow melts and water flow is at its peak. With a cumulative drop of 2,425 feet (739 meters), Yosemite Falls actually consists of three falls and is also the sixth highest waterfall in the world (seventh according to some sources). Though there is some discussion about its place in the world's highest list, it's an incontrovertible fact that Yellowstone Falls is the centerpiece of the valley and the park.
The best views of the cascading torrent can be seen from various vantage points, including Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge. For active viewers, a one-mile loop trail leads to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall and also possible to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls as a strenuous, all-day hike. For a unique experience, on a clear night with plenty of moonlight and enough water to create mist.
Kauai’s Na Pali Coast is famous for its seaside beauty, marine life and water sports.
The 15-mile (24 km) length of coast is lined by cliffs, white-sand beaches and turquoise sea.
Come here to whale watch or spot dolphins and monk seals on an eco-cruise or sailing adventure. Follow the Kalalau Trail to go hiking across the cliff tops to Hanakapiai beach and waterfalls.
Say hello to the local marine life on a snorkeling excursion, with the opportunity to see tropical fish and green sea turtles.
Located in southern Brooklyn, people head to Coney Island for its famous hot dogs, amusement park and popular beach and boardwalk. Coney Island has been attracting visitors since the 1830s -- especially Manhattan residents who thought it to be easily accessible but still far enough to be a getaway. The destination’s most notable feature is its many rides, circus sideshows and carnival games at Luna Park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Scream Zone, McCullough's Kiddie Park, Eldorado Bumper Cars & Arcade and Coney Island Arcade & Games.
The most iconic Coney Island ride is undoubtedly Luna Park’s Cyclone Rollercoaster, a wild wooden coaster so exciting Charles Lindbergh was quoted in Time Magazine as saying it was more thrilling than his first solo flight across the Atlantic. Along with adventurous rides, Coney Island also offers a boardwalk of shops and eateries along almost three miles of sand beach.
Simple but profoundly moving, the open-air John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza focuses on the granite slab bearing the assassinated president’s name etched in gold.The granite memorial is surrounded by soaring concrete walls, creating a roofless space for private contemplation and reflection, free from outside distractions.
The Memorial was dedicated in June 1970, and was envisioned by architect Philip Johnson as an open tomb or cenotaph. The plain white walls appear to be free-floating, capturing the feeling of loss felt around the world following Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
By day, the floating white walls are reflected on the monument’s gilt lettering. At night, the monument is a beautifully floodlit city landmark.
Whether you’re a budding astrophysicist or just a fan of Big Bang Theory, take the opportunity while you’re on the Big Island to visit the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory.
At a lofty height of 13,796 ft (4,138 m) Mauna Kea is Hawaii's tallest mountain, and the summit is topped with astronomical observatories from around the world.
The Visitor Information Station is at a lowly 9,300 ft (2,790 m) elevation, and from here a rugged hiking trail winds to the summit. It takes around five hours and you need to be fit and prepared for all kinds of weather conditions.
The visitor center has interactive displays and videos, with interactive telescopes, talks and tours. It also runs escorted tours to the summit.
The Texas State Capitol building and its stunning presence on the Austin landscape earns its place on the National Register of Historic Places with ease. An extraordinary example of stonework and 19th-century architecture, the Texas State Capitol is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most “stately” state capitols with its elaborate limestone work and impressive dome, which reaches 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.
Offering a panoramic view over all of Austin from the capitol dome, the 1888 Texas State Capitol has the largest square footage of any state capitol in the Unites States, and is only seconded by the National Capitol in Washington D.C. A tour through these beautiful grounds will do more than expose you to the history of Texas legislation, but will tell “a true Texas story.
Taking a ride on the narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Railroad is a fun way to see spectacular historic scenery from a train inching up steep tracks that were carved out of the side of the mountains. A number of routes take you through White Pass, which travels from Alaska to Canada on historic trains.
You begin your journey on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad in Skagway. The summit excursion takes you 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, 2,865 feet (873 meters) high. Another trip takes you up to the summit, then down to British Columbia. The historic cars are more than 100 years old, and you’ll definitely get a sense of how travelers in the late 19th century got around. While you’re traveling you’ll see breathtaking mountain and forest vistas – you may even see a bear or caribou frolicking about.
Encompassing 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the United States. Originally the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve, a project of Theodore Roosevelt started in 1902, the park was developed and renamed in 1908 to pay homage to the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit Indians. Visitors to Tongass National Forest have an enormous array of activities and experiences to choose from: bird-watching, trekking, fishing (there are five species of salmon here, among other fish), camping, visiting glaciers, lake canoeing, off-roading and just relishing pure fresh air and pristine natural beauty. In fact, there are 17,000 miles (27,359 kilometers) of lakes, creeks and rivers to enjoy within the forest. Wildlife is also prevalent, with chances to view otters, brown and black bears, wolves, eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer.
In 1958, Monterey’s most famous waterfront street changed its official name from Ocean View Avenue to its long-time nickname Cannery Row in honor of the 1945 John Steinbeck novel of the same name.
Today’s Cannery Row is a far cry from that of the “tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron …” described in Steinbeck’s novel. There has not been a cannery here since 1973 and the street is now filled with shops, from boutiques to chain stores, hotels and restaurants -- and usually populated by more tourists than locals.
It is a wonderful place for strolling, admiring ocean views, snacking on salt-water taffy, gaining easy beach access and watching the many characters that gravitate here. The world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the northern end of Cannery Row, housed in what was once a sardine cannery.
För nästan 150 år sedan var Alcatraz ett ställe som gav de oskyldiga kalla kårar och fick de skyldiga att kallsvettas. Genom åren har det varit nationens första militärfängelse och sedan en straffanstalt med högsta säkerhet. Numera är det en nationalpark. Inte konstigt att de första stegen du tar när du kliver av färjan låter som olycksbådande musik: dunh-dunh-dunnnnh!
Resan till Alcatraz är populär och utrymmet är ytterst begränsat. Köp Alcatraz-biljetter som långt som möjligt i förväg, upp till 90 dagar. Listan över internerna på Alcatraz låter som en lista över Amerikas mest efterlysta personer. Några kriminella som satt fängslade på Alcatraz var Chicagos maffiaboss Al "Scarface" Capone, kidnapparen Machine Gun Kelly och den hetsige Harlem-maffiamedlemmen Bumpy Johnson. Trots att Alcatraz ansågs vara helt flyktsäkert flydde bröderna Anglin och Frank Morris 1962 på en flotte och syntes aldrig till igen. Ett besök på Alcatraz är mer än att bara uppleva insidan av ett gammalt fängelse.
Chicago's most-visited tourist attraction, Navy Pier will certainly blow the minds of children younger than twelve. The pier's Chicago Children's Museum, plus a collection of high-tech rides, hands-on fountains, kid-focused educational exhibits, fast-food restaurants, and trinket vendors will transport your child into the kind of overstimulated, joyful state you haven't witnessed since you finally gave in and got them a puppy for their birthday last year.
For the adults, Navy Pier's charms revolve around the lakefront views, cool breezes, and a ride on the gigantic Ferris wheel. The carousel is another classic, with bobbing carved horses and organ music. You can also hop on afternoon or evening boat cruises from here.
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