Bucket List Exploration: Stateside Journeys through Maine, Idaho, Texas, and Alabama
There are so many places to see in America. Sometimes it is easy to fall into a trap of just visiting a few big cities or the same beaches and national parks. Stretching from the Rio Grande to the Great Lakes and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, however, there is a lot to see in the U.S.A. and we sincerely hope you are up to exploring many of the beautiful, interesting and lesser-known destinations. Let your bucket list take you on adventures throughout the Lower 48 and Alaska and Hawaii.
Maine, the most northeastern state, is an excellent choice to kick off your stateside bucket list expedition, and the Portland Observatory is perhaps the best place in Maine to start. Situated over Munjoy Hill and built in 1807, the 86-foot tower is now a museum open for public exploration affording spectacular views over the harbor and the chance to learn about Maine’s maritime history and the changes in the seafaring port of Portland.
Portland is also of course known for its rich foodie scene, and Commercial Street is a great place for an evening stroll along the water before grabbing a delicious bite to eat. Maine is well-known for its abundance of seafood, but don’t sleep on their spectacular craft beers, dairy products and locally-sourced fruit and vegetables.
If you need a place to burn off your lobster, take a hike in Maine’s Acadia National Park, a 47,000-acre Atlantic coast recreation are set mostly on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. There are rustic beaches, chances to observe moose, bear, whales and seabirds, and the pristine sight of the Cadillac Mountain. If delicious seafood and bucolic beaches get you going, then get to Maine post haste.
You may have heard some unfair jokes about Alabama or just think of it from Forest Gump of Alabama football games. Don’t listen. Explore Alabama. Alabama is a southeastern state bordering Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. Let’s start in Birmingham, a city that pays homage to Vulcan, the city’s mighty patron god. View the statue overlooking the downtown area, and try to plan your visit during a fireworks show for incredible views worthy of any bucket list.
While you are near downtown Birmingham, take a look at picturesque Railroad Park. You can attend a free exercise class, or be inspired by the “You are Beautiful” graffiti wall. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is another must-see venue, and will fill you in on Alabama’s complex and diverse history. If you can make it down to Mobile, you would be remiss not to take a tour of the USS Alabama.
Idaho is a northwestern state offering a lot more than its famous potatoes and mountains. If your bucket list is filled with plenty of outdoor adventure then Idaho is chockablock. The middle fork of the Salmon River is awesome for its beauty and flexibility. It’s possible to take a large group of all ages and for everybody to have a wonderful time. Extreme seekers can navigate grade 3-4 rapids in inflatable kayaks of 6-person paddle boats while tamer folk can enjoy a leisurely sail whilst ferries in an oar boat. It’s also possible to test your casting skills and catch and release some of the Salmon River’s gorgeous stock.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. That may be true, but the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, Palo Duro Canyon is only a mere 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep. Palo Duro Canyon run from the town of Canyon to the town of Silverton, and is one of the natural wonders of the Lone Star State. Be sure to also explore the Longhorn Caverns and Guadalupe River State Park, and every other amazing park, museum, river and beach in the U.S.A. as you add new adventures to your bucket list.