10 places every American should see
What makes a place essentially American? Besides being within our borders, of course? When the Budget Travel editors set out to compile a list of can't-miss destinations in the United States, we knew there was no one answer.
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So why not map out a detour to one of these spots the next time you hit the road? Who knows—you might never think of this country in quite the same way again.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
Yellowstone National Park (Photo: Hugoht / Dreamstime.com)
Wide-open space is a unique inheritance for every American, and Yellowstone is the most dramatic example of what "wide-open space" really means. In 1872, two-million-acre Yellowstone debuted as America's first national park, and visitors began flocking to soak in its hot springs, see elk and bison roam its grasslands, gawk at its geyser known as Old Faithful, and hear gray wolves sound chill-inducing howls at dawn. Amazingly, visitors can get the same thrills today for nearly no cost. For the fullest experience, stay the night. The lack of light pollution in northwest Wyoming's Big Sky country reveals an astonishing canopy of stars that is virtually unchanged from the time of native tribes, fur trappers, and pioneer explorers.
French Quarter (Photo: Lawrence Weslowski Jr / Dreamstime.com)
No other American neighborhood provides as much eye candy as the cobblestone streets of New Orleans' French Quarter—known as "the Quarters" to locals—and we're not referring to the annual Mardi Gras parades, with their thousands of taffeta-draped harlequins strutting to funk, R&B, and Dixie. No, it's the architecture that's intriguing.