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As you might imagine, as a travel writer for over 18 years, I have been to quite a few destinations in my time. However, the list of places I want to go is probably five times as long, as there are just so many wonderful places, people, things, food, cultures and so forth that I want to experience.
So I am always taking tips from friends, browsing through travel magazines and books and watching TV travel shows, looking for my next exciting sojourns. When I saw this article “20 U.S. Places to See Before You Die” by Fodor’s Travel, which publishes some of the best travel books and has an online travel site (www.Fodors.com), I just knew I had to take a closer look.
Arizona: Grand Canyon
Who can argue that a natural wonder one mile deep, 18 miles wide, 277 river miles long and averaging 8,000 feet above sea level should not be on everyone’s must-visit list? Ask any one of the estimated 5 million people who visit each year. www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
California: Big Sur
The landscape and scenery here are simply spectacular and this is not only one of the must-see places in the country, but in California in particular. www.bigsurcalifornia.org
California: The Hollywood Sign
Fodor’s says it best: “It’d be tough to find an American sign so deeply ingrained in our collective cultural subconscious—the 50-foot, fluorescent white, appropriately extravagant ‘Hollywood’ sign has perched on Hollywood Hills since 1923.” www.hollywoodsign.org
California: San Francisco
The “City by the Bay” is one of the most beautiful places on earth hands down, from the soaring Golden Gate and Bay bridges; to the iconic cable cars; distinctive Italian, Russian, Asian, African-American, gay and lesbian and other neighborhoods; outstanding culinary scene; and some of the best art galleries and museums in the country. www.sanfrancisco.travel
Florida: Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
Whether you are into amusement parks or not, you might agree with Fodor’s when they say, “The whole scope of the American imagination is represented, from the futuristic Tomorrowland to the classic Fantasyland. It’s a pixie-dusted retreat from reality that can’t be missed, no matter your age.” disneyworld.disney.go.com
Florida: South Beach, Miami
LeBron James and the Miami Heat are not the only things that are hot here! The city offers a distinctive Latin vibe, beautiful beaches, amazing architecture, out-of-this-world gastronomy, exciting nightlife, and a wealth of attractions for people from all ages and walks of life. visitsouthbeachonline.com
Illinois: Millennium Park
Millennium Park is just one of Chi Town’s popular tourist spots, and really like its own little city, it offers a wealth of things to see, do and experience year-round. www.millenniumpark.org
Massachusetts: Fenway Park
Arguably America’s most iconic ballpark since it opened in 1912, Fenway Park is as American as baseball, hot dogs and the pursuit of happiness itself. wap.mlb.com
Louisiana: The French Quarter
I have been to the Big Easy several times, and during each visit, I gain a higher appreciation for the eclectic amalgamation of diverse history, stunning architecture, amazing cuisine, vivacious people and rich musical heritage that underscores everything and every part of the city. Of the French Quarter, Fodor’s says, “A spirit of resilient jubilance pervades the French Quarter, making it an American icon you must experience.” www.frenchquarter.com