I just returned from an exciting three week road trip where I visited St. Louis, Seattle, Chicago, etc… But even though I was seeing all these huge cities for the very first time, Yellowstone remains one of my favorite attractions because it is THE MOST UNIQUE PLACE I HAVE EVER VISITED!
There are very few other places in the world where you can find steam coming out of brightly colored geysers, beautiful scenery, buffalo standing the road, and so much more!
Tip: When driving on the roads (and most importantly, the interstate) out in this part of the country, be sure to be on the look out for seer of even huge buffalo and large wild animals that will run right out in front of you when you are driving 80 MPH! We almost wrecked twice because of this, so put your brights on at night and be on the lookout for any moving creature.
Check out this video I took there, if you’ve never been. It gives a great idea of what to expect:
Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park? If so, were you as impressed by it as I was?
Vacations offer lots of healthy benefits: They help us recharge, reinvigorate and refresh. They strengthen ties to friends and family; they build connections to other cultures and people. Vacations broaden our experience and teach us new things about both ourselves and others. Check out this incredible info graphic created by CityPASS:
How is travel beneficial to you? As always, feel free to share your opinion in the comments.
As I turned 18 I realized that I (“The US City Traveler!”) had only visited two cities west of the Mississippi – Las Vegas and Anaheim. So when I got the opportunity to travel for three straight weeks with a good friend, I decided to go for it. It really seems like a once in a life time opportunity, especially as I start taking summer courses next summer and heading into the workforce – when I may be lucky to get one week off. These are the highlights of the trip – here’s how our schedule went:
St. Louis-2 nights- The Gateway Arch is a true American landmark. It’s height is equivalent to a building of over 50 stories, making it the tallest structure in town. We got to ride a pod (which seats five) up to the top for just $10. At the top you can look out over the city and river with a panoramic view. The City Museum is a must for parents bringing young kids.
Chicago-2 nights- The windy city is a must see for any traveler. I nearly felt like I was in New York City with and tall buildings, high end shopping and millions of busy people. Chicago’s Magnificent Mile features shopping dining, hotels, and attractions such as the John Hancock Center where you can head to the 94th floor to look out over the city. But the tallest building in town is actually the 110 story Willis Tower (formerly called the Sears Tower). Be sure to see the Field Museum and the adjacent Shedd Aquarium.
Minneapolis/St Paul-1 night- While the twin cities are decently sized, they really don’t have many true must see attractions. Although the Mall of America was very cool (it’s located about 20 minutes outside of either city), being one of the largest malls in the world and being home to the world’s only all Nickelodeon themed theme park, it’s one of the nations only indoor theme parks. The three story mall is structured in a square layout that wraps around the indoor theme park. Department stores include Bloomingdales, Sears, Nordstrom, and Macys. They have a number of fabulous dining option, my favorite is the CRAVE Restaurant, which I first discovered in Orlando and finally got the chance to eat there again five years later at a different location.
Mount Rushmore -1 night- Located in Keystone, South Dakota, this national park is truly one of a kind and unlike any thing I’ve ever seen before. Every American should visit it at least once, as it is one of our most famous landmarks. While here be sure to visit the nearby Crazy Horse Monument, which is still under construction but open to the public.
Yellowstone National Park -1 night- Located out in “timbuktu” Wyoming, this national park was definitely a highlight of the trip and is well worth going out of your way to see. The multicolored guessers were definitely the highlight of the trip. Not to mention seeing a few wild buffalos hold up traffic in the roads of Yellowstone and having two very close encounters with them, on the freeway. Drive carefully and slowly when you are in this part of the country to avoid these or other large, wild creatures that are not afraid to run right out in front of you when you are driving 80 MPH!
Seattle -2 nights- While the “rainy city” was our only stop that was consistently flooded with rain, we still loved it! Anyone visiting this city must ride the elevator up to the top of the Space Needle to get a panoramic view of the city skyline. Seattle is also the place where Starbucks Coffee was founded (try Seattle’s Best Coffee and tell me whose coffee is really the best!) so be sure to get some coffee while here. You can’t come to Seattle without visiting the world renowned Public Market Center, which is surprisingly just like your local market – with produce, and handmade and homemade items that the whole family will enjoy.
Denver -1 night- We stopped here to see a relative and take in the scenery. While here, you should consider visiting the Denver Zoo, Children’s Museum of Denver, Elitch Gardens amusement park (one of the only amusement parks in the nation that is located inside a large city), Denver Art Museum, the Downtown Aquarium, Denver Botanic Gardens, or one of the Colorado State Parks.
Memphis -1 night- We had just enough time to visit the marching ducks at the Peabody Hotel and stop by Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Graceland allows you to actually tour the home where Elvis once lived, see the planes Elvis once owned, cars he once drove, and you can even pay your respects to the king himself at his graveside.
This was the best trip I have ever been on and I look forward to sharing more about it here on the Urban Blog. If you haven’t already, be sure to watch my video of the highlights of the entire 3 week trip:
Thanks for reading and let me know what your ideal road trip was, or what you would like it to be. Happy travels!
Five years in the making, today (June 15, 2012) finally marks the opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park. This 12-acre land is jam packed with highly detailed theming, three attractions (one of which is a thrill ride), high quality animatronic characters and fun for the entire family, bringing the five year California Adventure $1 billion dollar+ expansion to a close. As you may imagine, you can expect massive crowds throughout the next few weeks, even months.
But the real highlight of this land is its big new ride – Radiator Springs Racers. It recently received a glowing review in the Los Angeles Timesas they claim that it “redefines the Disney E-ticket.” They say that “The E-ticket ride is so amazing that Disney may need to come up with a new attraction designation: F-ticket.” This $200 million attraction combines a classic dark ride through scenes from the Disney/Pixar “Cars” movie with a “thrilling head-to-head drag race around hairpin turns and along high-speed straightaways.” This technology is based on Epcot’s Test Track. Mercury News calls it the best new ride at either Disney park since Space Mountain.
Radiator Springs Racers is pictured above. Is it the best ride in Disney California Adventure? It sure sounds like it.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is pictured above, this kiddie ride features multiple Maters moving in figure eights, towing you behind as you slide back and forth like someone greased the driveway, while the tow truck’s voice happily calls out the amusement park equivalent of a square dance. It’s fun, but not thrilling.
Lugi’s Flying Tires (as pictured above) is a very creative concept that allows riders to sit in large tire shaped cars. Its your classic bumper car ride with big bright beach balls.
We would love to hear from our readers - What do you think of Cars Land? Does the “new” Disney California Adventure Park level up to the same quality as the other Disney parks?
PS – Check out this video of the Disney California Adventure Grand Reopening celebration: