Love traveling? Love learning? How about combining the two? From big, historically rich cities to beautiful national parks, check out our bucket list of 10 must-visit places in the US. These are amazing trips for students and families to not only have fun but learn something too!
10 Bucket List Places to Visit in the US
Boston, Massachusetts has a rich vibrant history, especially for those who love learning about American history. From the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum to the USS Constitution and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to the Freedom Trail Tour, students can learn so so much about not only Boston history but global history. The city is also famous for its arts and sports, which leaves plenty to do when you need some time to relax.
In addition, Salem and Plymouth are only a short drive away from this state capital and both offer iconic landmarks to visitors.
If you love the outdoors, Yellowstone National Park is the place for you. The first national park, visitors can get unique views of wildlife and geysers while taking in the spectacular views the area provides. Most of the park is in Wyoming, but parts are also in Montana and Idaho.
Students visiting can visit the Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, and more. Visitors can also go camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and exploring!
Another must-visit for history buffs is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This is the location of the famous turning point in the Civil War and offers visitors a chance to see the battlefields for themselves. Visitors can see re-enactments, tour cemeteries, and visit the on-site museum.
Gettysburg is two hours away from Philadelphia, which can be worth the visit, too. It’s home to the historic square mile, Independence Hall, and the Museum of the American Revolution.
New York is chock full of learning experiences – especially when it comes to its museums! The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers wonderful lessons in ancient history, covering everything from the ancient Greeks to art from the 1800s. The Museum of Modern Art, or MOMA, has unique pieces and paintings that are a must-see, too. And the American Museum of Natural History is for you if you love learning about dinosaurs, animals, and the earth.
New York City is also home to Broadway (you should definitely pay it a visit even if you’re not a theater buff), amazing food, skyscrapers, Ellis Island, and so much more!
Williamsburg in Virginia is home to Colonial Williamsburg which is known as the world’s largest living history museum. It’s an outdoor museum that has been restored to what it would have been like in colonial times. Visitors can take a trip back in history by visiting over 40 historical sites, museums, buildings, and more. Re-enactments, carriage rides, archeological sites, and other activities are a way of life here, too!
After your visit to Yellowstone, you may also want to take a trip to Cody, Wyoming – and it’s just over a 2-hour drive. Here you can visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West that offers amazing insight into the Wild West through five themed museums. Visitors can also see local wildlife, re-enactments, and an authentic teepee.
Hawaii is worth a trip on its own and should be on any bucket list, but Volcanoes National Park is definitely worth the visit, too! In between swimming and hiking, this park is home to two giant volcanoes, giant craters, a walkthrough of an underground tunnel that used to house lava (the Thurston Lava Tube), steam vents, and more.
California is another state with a rich history, and just south of San Francisco and San Jose is Monterey. Here students can find the Monterey Bay Aquarium which has over 80,000 animals and plants, interactive exhibits, hands-on experiences, and so much more. It’s not far from the beach either!
Students visiting California should also consider taking time out to visit the San Diego Zoo, the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, and Redwood National Park. The state really has too much to list for students!
Of course, an educational bucket list wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Washington, DC! From the White House to the Washington Monument, there are so many historical and cultural sites to see in our nation’s capital. You can even view the original copies of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence!
The capital is also full of museums, including the Smithsonians. Students and their families visiting here can learn about air, space, natural history, art, animals, and so much more.
If you love ancient history, make sure to add the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado to your list – you can find well-preserved Pueblo dwellings from 550 AD! Over 5,000 buildings are here including the Cliff Palace (it has 150 rooms). And the history of the area goes back even further – nomadic Paleo-Indians inhabited the area starting in 7,500 BC. Visitors can opt for a self-guided tour or an official tour and also go hiking in the area.
Visiting one of these locations can make an excellent scholarship essay, especially if the bucket list destination had a profound impact on you, your heritage, or even your education. To find relevant scholarships where you can put this experience into writing, be sure to use our free Scholarship Search tool!