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Top 20 Wanderlust-Worthy Travel Destinations

  • by
  • Drew Zieff

Arches National Park, UT

Pictures don’t do Arches justice. You need to stand underneath their colossal figures, to feel the roughness of the rock, to taste the red dust, to watch the stars go about their nightly revolutions above.

Kauai, HI

Kauai is paradise found. Although there’s only one main road on the island, there’s plenty to see. Deep ocean blues and spiky green peaks line the coast, concealing surf spots and pristine beaches.

Santa Cruz Mountains, CA

Drive around Santa Cruz and transport back to the days of “peace and love” and tie-dye; the roots of surf culture still cling to these California cliffs. However, turn away from the beach and windy roads will lead you through inspiring, dense forests.

Sego Canyon, Moab, UT

Stride through this bizarre ghost town; wander through the canyons to peruse the ancient art that decorates the cliff walls. The history here is truly timeless.

Del Norte Coast, CA

Del Norte. “Of the North.” Isolated amongst the redwoods, you’ll have miles of wild coastline to surf, camp and hike. Find your own roots as you wake up at the base of a mighty tree.

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Some Colorado locals know every millimeter of Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles. Here, concealed alpine lakes and forgotten mines make getting lost even more rewarding an experience (so long as you know where you’re going…).

Bend, OR

Nestled amongst the Cascades, Bend is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream town. Cruise charming streets or hop on a trail and pedal alongside the rapids of the Deschutes River. If you do get lost, one of Oregon’s fine microbreweries is as good a place as any to find yourself again.

The Maze District, Canyonlands, UT

Hop in a 4x4 and kick up red dust as you bump your way down the dirt road to Canyonlands National Park. Slot canyons for canyoneering, crags for climbing and rock to mountain bike? Sounds good to us!

New York City, NY

In the electric throngs, underneath the towering glass and steel, New York’s a different kind of place to get lost. Make your way to the park, especially in fall, to shut out the city and reconnect with nature.

Sonoma, CA

Sonoma’s less ritzy and more rugged than Napa Valley – and still earns top marks in the fine wine department. Meander down the unnamed roads and cruise through endless rows of California’s most prized grapes. Make sure you stop often to hydrate.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is often known as a “Forest of Stone.” Attribute the nickname to Bryce’s hoodoos (stone configurations twisted by water, frost and time), as they truly look like trees. Less traveled than some of Utah’s other parks but more out of the way, Bryce is definitely worth the trip.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco – home to everyone from beatniks to businessmen – is a grand urban ecosystem that feeds off diversity. With the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay as your backdrop, getting lost here is never a mistake. Turn left. Turn right. Why not?

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Okefenokee, beyond its hilarious-to-pronounce name, offers one of the most unspoiled freshwater systems in the U.S. Hop in a canoe and paddle across glassy ponds, dotted with lily pads and surrounded by longleaf pines.

John Muir Trail, CA

Hike all 211 miles. Find yourself engulfed in the same wild forest that inspired one of our nation’s greatest conservationists. From Yosemite to Mt. Whitney, this trail is a must-hike for serious backpackers.

Grand Staircase, Escalante National Monument, UT

At 1,880,461 acres, Southern Utah’s Grand Staircase is the nation’s biggest national monument. You could explore these stark canyons and space-like rocks for multiple lifetimes.

Olympic National Park, WA

From its lush pacific coast to its stark alpine peaks, Olympic National Park has plenty of options for the adventurous. Even though getting lost is recommended, make sure you grab a map – this park is huge.

Portland, OR

Wander aimlessly down Portland’s streets and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Coffee shops and breweries, bike paths and restaurants. This is a city encircled by nature, so you can cut out of the city whenever you please. Just remember your raincoat.

Zion National Park, UT

The unparalleled Zion is the oldest national park in Utah. Whether you’re looking to car camp or rock climb, mountain bike or backpack, Zion is always a great choice.

Pacific Coast Highway, CA

North or south? The Pacific Coast Highway curves its way from Northern California to SoCal. Stop as you please, pulling off for a view, a fresh fish taco or a quick surf session.

Lake Powell, UT

Rent a houseboat. Get lost in the zigzagging ramparts of Lake Powell. Fish, cliff dive, relax. You can even try some deep-water rock climbing as you putter along.

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