One of the most frequently asked questions I get after people find out I have been traveling around the country in my van for a year is “ Where is your favorite place you have ever been? “ …and somehow after hundreds of times, I still don’t have a definitive answer. Maybe it’s a little like asking a parent who their favorite child is, I’m not sure because I ‘m not in that position yet but for me each place is so unique and so different that I really find it impossible to compare. So instead of giving just one, I have gathered a few of my favorite locations in hopes that others will go out and get a chance to experience some of the beauty that we have here in our own backyard.
• The Wave, Arizona
Gaining access to The Wave in Arizona takes quite a bit of luck. The BLM district only allows 20 people per day to enter into this beautiful but fragile location, but if you’re one of those lucky 20 it will definitely be an experience of a lifetime! And with no real trail to the location, the almost 6 miles round trip feels more like a treasure hunt than a typical hike, but to me that just adds to the experience.
• Big 4 Ice Caves, Washington
The fact that there is such incredible ice caves in the US still blows me away. Less than 2 hrs from Seattle, Washington, this easy day hike has become quite popular in the summer months. Entering into the caves can be extremely dangerous but we took all the safety precautions possible and were able to enter through the mouth of one of the large blue caves. Water was dripping and pouring out from the ceiling everywhere so we didn’t stay long but we were able to snag a few good shots.
• Back Roads of Vermont
This was my first time to the east coast and on of my goal was to see the Autumn colors. Vermont not only blew me away with its colors but also the unexpected extremely dark night skies. I spent about 2 weeks roaming around through the back roads and was not disappointed with what I found.
• Stairway to Heaven, Hawaii
Although I didn’t drive to Hawaii, I wanted to check it off the bucket list this year so I made a trip over to explore some of the islands beauty. I had always seen photos of the Stairway to Heaven and even though it’s considered illegal we decided to hike it anyways and it was definitely an experience of a lifetime. 3,922 steps through fog and heavy winds revealed some of the most incredible views I have ever seen.
• Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington
I’ve spent months exploring The Columbia River Gorge and still continually find more places I haven’t been. With the densest population of beautiful waterfalls I ever seen, wild flowers in the spring, secret lava tubes, cliff jumping, endless amounts of hiking trails, kiteboarding and a million other activities its impossible to not add this place to your bucket list.
• Lake Louise, Banff
Visiting Canada for the first time I knew the experience wouldn’t be complete without checking out the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park in Alberta offers some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world and Lake Louise demonstrates that perfectly.
• Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah holds a special place in my heart and once enter into this desert playground it will definitely be a hard places to leave. With two incredible national parks (Arches and Canyonlands) being only a short drive away as well as some of the best; mountain biking, rock climbing, 4×4 roads, petroglyphs, rafting, BASE Jumping, hiking, slacklining and the darkest night skies in the country you will pretty much never run out of things to do.
• Havasupai, Arizona
Located just passed the extremely remote native village of Havasupai is a series of waterfalls that makes you feel like you’ve entered into another planet. With a year round water temperature of about 72o and campsites right next to the river this can be a magical place to visit any time of the year.
• Tofino- British Columbia
The land of tall trees and cold seas- Tofino sits along the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia and offers some of my favorite adventures in the PNW. From float planes and whale watching tours, to world class fishing, surfing and hiking there is never a day where you can’t find something adventurous to do here. Even on the down days the rustic cabins and delicious ice cream will leave you coming back for more.
• New York- Watkins Glen State Park
Most people (including myself) tend to think of New York as busy streets and tall skyscrapers… but after visiting I realized it also has a ton of beautiful rolling hills and some incredible waterfalls. Watkins Glen State Park was definitely my favorite stop in New York and I was surprised to find out that even a lot of people who live in NY had never been to this beautiful park.