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Staycation: 25 Things To Do In America (And Why We Never Have To Leave)

Although traveling to distant and completely unfamiliar places all around the world is very appealing to many people, sometimes it is just not possible because of financial and/or time constraints. In these times, perhaps a short trip is all that is feasible; but that does not mean that we have to compromise on having fun or being awestruck by the environment around us just because we chose to stay in the United States.

The U.S. is home to a number of world renown landmarks and attractions, both natural and human made, that are well worth exploring for anyone looking to have a fun and memorable staycation.

Whether you are looking to take a trip full of thrills and adventure to some of the highest mountain peaks in the globe or you want to have a more relaxed trip relaxing by a beautiful beach, the United States has a lot of options to offer in different parts of the country that are ideal whether you are looking to take a solo trip or find something that is fun for the whole family.

In the list below, we take a look at 25 options in the United States for those who are looking to enjoy a staycation that can rival the fun of any trip abroad.

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25 New Orleans, Louisiana

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Visiting New Orleans can offer a wide range of activities that are all within easy walking distance of each other in the city. There are numerous shops around the area and particularly in the historic French Quarter that offer unique and handmade items that reflect the rich culture of the area. The city is located on the Mississippi River and enjoys a pretty mild average temperature all year round. The entire area is a colorful display of French and Spanish Creole architecture and the cuisine reflects this delicious combination while also incorporating a lot of tasty seafood in their dishes. (neworleans)

24 Riverbend Hot Springs, New Mexico

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For a truly relaxing and rejuvenating getaway within reach, the state of New Mexico offers an abundance of mineral rich water pools in different temperatures that boast an impressive number of benefits. The Riverbend Hot Springs resort sits in the middle of two gorgeous views- the Rio Grande and the impressive Turtleback Mountain which offers guests a scenic view while they soak their stresses away. Because of the location, there are also many different animals that roam the area and the resort is so dedicated to offering a peaceful environment that they limit the amount of groups that can be hosted every day. (riverbendhotsprings)

23 Netherworld Haunted House, Georgia

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Netherworld Haunted House in Georgia offers frights and thrills all year round with live actors, special effects, and lifelike monsters. Visitors walk along a path that takes people around scenes that are bone chilling and gory. Depending on the time of year, there are different themes offered that reflect any holiday seasons, and they also have different installments that last a few months a year and rotate to offer people a continuously different experience. Themes can vary from featuring mummified corpses that require guests to wind down ancient crumbling ruins to alien themed scenes that offer a scary out of this world experience. (fearworld)

22 High Steel Bridge, Washington

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Located in the state of Washington not far from Seattle and Portland, the High Steel Bridge is a high truss arch bridge that hovers over the south fork of the Skokomish River and offers an incredible spot to bungee jump because of its location on the coast and into a large river canyon. The high arched bridge rises 375 feet over the Skokomish River which makes it one of the twenty highest bridges in the United States and because of its location above the water and among such lush green trees, it makes an incredible view as you race down through the air. (bungee-expeditions)

21 Grand Canyon, Arizona

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The Grand Canyon measures at over 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and over 1.5 miles deep. The massive size of the Canyon is awe inspiring and it is one of the most well known landmarks in the world. The Grand Canyon has two different options for those looking for a hike that ends in a gorgeous view; the South Rim which is the most popular and open all year round, and the North Rim which is closed for the winter. Since the North Rim is a bit more difficult to climb, it is ideal for those who want to take a less crowded road since it only receives about 10% of the visitors to the Grand Canyon. (nps)

20 Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida

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Regularly ranked as one of the top amusement parks in the world, Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida offers both numerous thrilling adventure rides and more easy going attractions such as shows and kids play areas. There are also accommodations offered for those who want to take their time exploring the entire park. While you are walking around, the characters from some of the most popular movies in the world are also making their rounds and available for photographs to bring superheroes to life. All of the rides are based on a well known movie and include roller coasters, trolley train rides, and water rides. (universalorlando)

19 Kaumana Caves, Big Island, Hawai’i

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Kaumana Caves are located on the Big Island of Hawai’i and offer a unique experience because they are not so much caves as they are a series of interconnected underground tunnels carved by lava which created a tube that people can walk into through the collapsed portions. The Big Island of Hawaii is certainly no stranger to volcanic activity and the lava tube that runs inside the caves was created by the 1881 flow from Mauna Loa, which is the the world’s largest volcano. Visitors can carefully descend down a metal ladder into a skylight and explore in both directions. (bigislandhikes)

18 Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

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Cumberland Falls in southeastern Kentucky is also considered “Little Niagara”, or the “Great Falls” and is part of the larger Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The waterfall itself is a stunning vision and measures in at 68 feet high and 125 feet wide and is the largest waterfall in terms of water volume in the eastern United States. One of the most amazing characteristics that make these particular falls such a popular attraction is that it is the only known location in the Western Hemisphere where moonbows appear regularly. Moonbows are similar to rainbows in that they are caused by a refraction of light in many water droplets, but rather than sunlight, it is gentle moonlight that causes the colorful and unique spectacle. (parks.ky)

17 Skydive Coastal Carolinas, North Carolina

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Skydive Coastal Carolinas is close to Myrtle Beach which makes it a prime skydiving spot that offers beautiful land and water views. Skydiving is a one of a kind experience and being so high up can be a cathartic experience, especially for those who fear heights! Situated between Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Myrtle Beach, this particular location offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean, Oak Island Lighthouse, and the Bald Head Islands. Skydive Coastal Carolinas offers various levels of skydiving depending on the jumpers experience level, including the tandem jump which is perfect for those who have never skydived before. (skydivecoastalcarolinas)

16 Yosemite National Park, California

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Yosemite National Park is in California and is best known for its stunning waterfalls of which there are many, both small and large, and are visible from many different areas of the park. Although the plentiful waterfalls are enough of a reason to draw anyone in, the park also offers other breathtaking views of natural phenomena such as deep valleys, expansive meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area. Yosemite offers a variety of hiking and biking trails, spots for birdwatching and fishing, and there are camping areas available around the area in case you really want to immerse yourself in nature. (nps)

15 Cadillac Mountain, Maine

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If you happen to visit the Acadia National Park in Maine and make it to Cadillac Mountain, formerly known as “Green Mountain” during the months of October through March, you will be one of the first people in the entire United States to view the sunrise. Cadillac Mountain is located in a park with over 20 other mountains but it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard at a height of 1,530 feet and the nearby Porcupine Islands are clearly visible which are just one of the many breathtaking views to be enjoyed after a hard day of hiking. (acadiamagic)

14 Mall of America, Minnesota

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Not many malls can boast that they have an amusement park with roller coasters and all, but the Mall of America in Minnesota is the location of Nickelodeon Universe which is the largest indoor theme park in the country. The park itself is huge and covers over seven acres of one of a kind attractions, entertainment, shops, and dining options. In addition to the countless stores that are located all around the mall, there are also more kid friendly attractions such as the American Girl section, the Lego World section, and the Escape Room which gives guests one hour to search for clues and overcome challenges with your team to escape and complete your mission. (mallofamerica)

13 Navy Pier, Illinois

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Navy Pier enjoys the beautiful view of the skyline of Chicago and forms a beautiful skyline of its own because of its distinctive Ferris wheel. The area lies on the shoreline of Lake Michigan in the Near North Side of the city and has a variety of different attractions both indoor and outdoor that are open year round. There are many restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisine as well as shopping and amusement park rides. There are many boat tours that depart from the boardwalk that take visitors around the city of Chicago while they learn about the history and layout of the city. (navypier)

12 Breckenridge, Colorado

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With a population of just under 5,000 permanent residents, the small town of Breckenridge is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and is widely known across the country as a great ski-resort and having year round activities. The town is home to a wide variety of different mountains that will suit any level of experience. For more experienced snowboarders and skiers, there are often ramps built that offer a more thrilling ride on the slopes. If you are seeking a more relaxing vacation, there are also ski lifts that allow you to relax and take in the beautiful view of snow covered mountains. (breckenridge)

11 Denali Mountain, Alaska

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For those who want a truly unique and incredibly challenging staycation that will push them towards their limits, Denali Mountain in south-central Alaska lies waiting. Denali Mountain is the tallest mountain in North America and one of the tallest in the entire world, so a name like Denali, which means “the Great One”, makes a lot of sense. The Mountain’s tallest peak measures in at 20,310 feet above sea level. Denali Mountain is the most popular attraction in the larger Denali National Park which is huge and covers over six million acres of land that offer more pristine views of the landscape. (livescience)

10 Miami Beach, Florida

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The city of Miami Beach in Florida enjoys pleasant weather all year round and is often a popular destination for visitors who are trying to escape from colder climates. Miami Beach is not just the name of the popular beach in the area, it is also the name of the town. In addition to the gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean, the city hosts an endless amount of one of a kind stores, restaurants, live shows, and nightlife that is very well known. The city is also well known as having the largest Art Deco architecture in the world with hundreds of hotels, apartments and other buildings built in that particular style. (miamibeachfl)

9 Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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Also known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World”, Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin offers water based fun for the whole family. The town has spent many years developing their tourism industry and offer a wide range of accommodations that range from simple and near other big waterparks, to much more luxurious hotels with their own huge waterpark built in. The town offers a wide variety of waterparks ranging from indoor to outdoor and from thrilling to more kid friendly. There are also amusement parks available on the days you don’t want to get wet, and more relaxing activities like golfing and spas are available too. (wisdells)

8 Gauley River, West Virginia

via wvtourism.com

One of the most adventurous white water boating rivers in the east, the Gauley River in West Virginia offers 25 miles of free-flowing river and passes through scenic views of the gorges and valleys which contain a wide array of plant and animal species. The Gauley River is open to both rafters and boaters and visitors can choose to have a guided ride or go solo. There is a confluence of two rivers there, the Gauley River and the Meadow River, which means that the area has been inhabited by people for a long time so there are several historical attractions within the Gauley River National Recreation Area. (nps)

7 National Mall Museums, Washington D.C.

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The National Mall is a long expanse of buildings and national landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. In addition to these monuments though, there are a wide range of museums that are sure to suit the taste of everyone in the group. Famous museums include the well known Smithsonian Museums which number 17 in total and include galleries and a zoo. There are also museums with a more narrow focus such as the National Museum of African Art and National Air & Space Museum. One of the best things about these museums is that they are completely free so you can go to multiple locations a day and not worry about the costs. (washington)

6 Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri

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The Missouri Botanical Garden in Missouri is home to over 4,800 trees and 79 acres of gardens that are especially themed including the Chinese Garden, the English Woodland Garden, and the Victorian District. In addition to the year round plants available for viewing, the Missouri Botanical Garden also features flower shows, live music, and seasonal special events throughout the year such as the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show which is under production for at least twelve months before the actual event! There are also three different restaurants around the grounds that offer spectacular views while serving locally sourced products and promoting sustainable business practices. (missouribotanicalgarden)

5 Cedar Point, Ohio

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Well known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World” Cedar Point amusement park, Cedar Point is located in Ohio and is home to 17 roller coasters, the second most in the world. In terms of other rides, the park offers 71 rides in total which is the most in all of the world for an amusement park. This means that no matter what kind of day you want to have, Cedar Point probably has something for you. In addition to their incredible roller coasters, the park has different areas for water rides, kids rides, family rides, and thrill rides. (cedarpoint)

4 Ocean City, New Jersey

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Ocean City lies on the coast of Jersey Shore in New Jersey and offers a lot of different activities and attractions for the entire family. In addition to a wide variety of shops and restaurants, the beach and ocean lie waiting for relaxation or surfing. There are also a few thrill rides as well as roller coasters that are intense and one that is more gentle and family oriented. in addition to a water park that is open in the summer, Ocean City also offers some of the best surfing available in the United States and surfers can choose from guarded and unguarded beaches that are exclusively for more experienced surfers. (oceancityvacation)

3 Richardson Adventure Farm, Illinois

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For a one of a kind vacation that can only be had in the heartland of middle America, Richardson Adventure Farm in Illinois is sure to provide a memorable experience. Home to the world’s largest and most intricate corn maze, Richardson Adventure Farm corn maze spans through 28 acres of real corn and has trails that wind over 9 miles. The maze itself is actually constructed of 4 smaller mazes with their own in and out path, and there are no dead ends. In addition to their famous corn maze, the Farm also offers many other activities including train and wagon rides, a paintball shooting gallery, zip lining, and a petting zoo. (richardsonadventurefarm)

2 Pacific Coast Highway, California

via gapyear.com

To really take the time to enjoy the west coast of the United States, a road trip down the California Pacific Coast Highway will provide just the right view. Known as one of the most scenic drives in the world because it runs all along the Pacific Ocean, the highway starts near the Oregon-California border and stretches south all the way down to San Diego for a total of approximately 620 miles. Throughout the drive, there are various stops along the way that include restaurants, beautiful areas to view the sunset over the ocean, and various well known cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. (gapyear)

1 San Antonio Riverwalk, Texas

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The San Antonio Riverwalk is well known as an amazing urban waterpark that offers a number of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, all within a short distance and easy reach of each other. Visitors can walk around to really get the chance to look at the unique shops and even take guided bus tours, or they can relax and hop aboard a water taxi. In addition to the shopping and dining, there are also museums, parks, spas, live shows, and water attractions which makes it the perfect place to stay for a few days and enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages. (thesanantonioriverwalk)

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