By Joe O’Donnell
How do you describe “The Great American Vacation”? It is more than something beautiful, more than something fun, it does not require a passport and is accessible to all. There are a few destinations that represent a truly American experience and are among the most requested for travel inside of the US. Locations that when viewed or visited inspire, encourage and lift the American Spirit. Our Privileges an American Express Travel Representatives have put together a list of the best places to inspire you to get out and see this great land we call home.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Standing at the edge of the canyon is like standing before a massive, beautiful painting composed of rock, color, river and sky. The Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size; 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep. Adventurous souls can hike or ride a mule down to its base, or can camp, raft and explore the surreal waterfalls of Havasupai.
The Statue of Liberty, New York
A little-known fact of this American monument to freedom is her full name: The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. She was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and has become a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. She was designated as a national Monument in 1924 and on July 4, 1986 she was restored for her centennial. Ask anyone to describe the first moment they laid eyes on her and you will know why she stands at the top of the list.
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
This epic sculpture features the faces of four exalted American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota provide the backdrop for Mount Rushmore, the world’s greatest mountain carving. The sculptures are 60-foot high, 500 feet off the ground and look out over a landscape filled with pine, spruce, birch and aspen. There is something about the moment when the cool mountain air hits your lungs and your eyes fix upon the faces of our forefathers that is absolutely breathtaking.
Famous for the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle and of one of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches, Gettysburg national Military Park is a lasting memorial to the devastation caused by and the reasons for, the war that remade the union. There is a beauty in Gettysburg that is solidly American and must be seen to be appreciated and understood.
Check back next week for Part II as we explore more must visit domestic vacation destinations!
Joe O’Donnell has a passion for travel and is the Executive Director for Privileges an American Express Travel Representative.