We’ve all been there, sitting around with our friends, attempting to plan a spontaneous cross country road trip and then slowly the dream fades as the details become more and more difficult to work through. Well, don’t lose hope! Here is list of places to explore, from East to West (or Vice Versa) that I have personally been to. These highlights will hopefully give you some ideas, ease those painful and annoying details, and encourage you to go on the trip of a lifetime!
1. Huntington Island, SC
One of my favorite places to camp. Ever! I went in with expectations that the beach would be cool, but not life altaringly amazing. All expectations were shattered. Imagine Jurassic Park, but in the best way, sans life threatening dinosaurs.
2. Pisgah, NC
Classic Appalachian camping. With one of the prettiest Autumn seasons and fly fishing streams galore, what’s not to love?
3. Red River Gorge, KY
This place is not only an awesome camping spot, but has numerous climbing routes and bouldering options within the gorge, providing some awesome activities and entertainment.
4. Meramec St Park, MO
Two words, Fisher Cave. The park is cool as is, then you stumble upon the cave and then the cool factor just sky rockets.
5. Wilson State Park, KS
A very unique spot that sits right on Wilson Lake. With kayaking and mountain biking options that both hug the lake’s edges, there are infinite possibilities for fun.
6. Chatfield St Park, CO
Being right outside of Denver, Chatfield is a gem that lays on the edge of a lake with fishing opportunities and an even more beautiful valley landscape that meets the mountains perfectly. You could just lay there and look at for hours on end.
7. Grape Creek, CO
Grape Creek is one of those places that I will remember for the rest of my life. At the feet of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Grape creek is neighbored by wide open ranches and a little creek (big shocker) that just beg to be photographed. You see a sunset here once; you will never forget it.
8. Santa Fe Nat. Forest, NM
Being very close to Santa Fe, this place is great for providing you with a place to stay and then also allowing you to take some trips in to the actual city and go explore all Santa Fe has to offer!
9. Grand Canyon, AZ
I mean, It’s the Grand Canyon… ‘Nuff said
10. Zion Nat. Park, UT
Zion is in my top 3 places I have ever been and holds 100% true to its divinely rooted name. You think it can’t get any better when you realize you are walking around in the middle of a canyon, then you hear that you can hike through a river that runs through the entire canyon (formally called The Narrows). It keeps getting better.
11. Red Rock Canyon (Las Vegas), NV
Red Rock is a stunning place with the most awesome scenery you could wander around for hours. And also a 15-mile drive from the Las Vegas strip so there is no shortage of potential for fun here.
12. San Diego, CA
Where there is potential for camping and surfing in the same location, there should be much rejoicing. San Diego has so much to offer and is personally one of my favorite cities in the U.S., and with all that being said, a great place to cap off the trip across the country.
I hope these recommendations can be somewhat useful in either giving you an itinerary or just purely inspiring you to pack it all up and head out on the road. An experience I think everyone should have, and one that I have never regretted.
By: Ben Wolverton, ENO College Brand Ambassador