America might be best known for its thriving cities, but its environmental side offers some of the most dazzling sights of natural diversity in the Western world. The country contains every type of landscape you can think of. From mountains and canyons to swamps, beaches and deserts, each of are which beautiful and staggering in their own way.
Getting a US Visa
Anyone who wants to explore the United States needs to apply for a US tourist visa. For many nations this is a fairly simple process and can be done via the official ESTA application form. The US visa application is relatively quick and straightforward.
Once that’s out of the way, the United States is sprawling with thousands of national, state, and local parks, and an overall natural beauty to be found everywhere you turn. The question is, with such a massive country, where to begin? One way of covering many of the best spots is by going to any number of UNESCO sites, especially if you’re on a tight schedule.
The Southern region of the United States is best known for its sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife. However, thirty miles south of Miami lies the Everglades, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country. With thousands of different species of birds, amphibians and reptiles (most notably alligators, which are not your friends), the biology lover will find a vast array of animal life to watch out for.
If you come during the winter months, the morning fog is so thick, and the trees are so lush that it truly creates an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the States. The landline is so flat that without buildings and billboards in the way, a horizon can appear many miles away, like an ocean on land. This gives off a surreal impression when combined with the mist of the fog and the sounds of hundreds of birds chirping.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
The Smoky Mountains are located near the south end of the Appalachian Trial. This storied, 2,000-mile mountain range stretches from Georgia to Maine contains breathtaking peaks throughout the trial. While it would be difficult to find a part of the Appalachian Trail which is not stunning, walking the entire trail takes hikers several months to go from one side to the other. Thus, the Smokey Mountain Park receives special recognition for its location, its beauty, and its relative ease to reach.
It’s found bordering North Carolina and Tennessee, which is not quite in the actual Appalachia region, so there are a larger number of airports, highways, and city hubs that will allow you to have an easier time traveling there. Once you get there, it’s important in the summer months to carry at least a liter of water with you at all times. In fact, you can be ticketed for being on the trail without water. Due to its high altitude, the winter months are also challenging.
If you plan to camp there, make sure you or someone you are with is experienced and prepared. Otherwise, dozens of activities are available in and around the UNESCO site; dozens of outdoor activities, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and of course, the luscious mountain peaks that await those determined enough to make it to the top.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park can be found not far away from either the Smokey mountains or the Everglades. All of these locations, despite their respective massive sizes, all exist within a 10 hour drive of each other, yet provide the outdoorsy type an incredible variance of sights and outdoor experiences. Located in Brownsville, Kentucky, the cave spans so many thousands of miles that its true length is still being uncovered by geologists today. Estimated to be around 390 miles long, the cave can be explored with trained guides to avoid any incidents in which adventurers get in too far over their head.
This is a destination to avoid during the summer months because the heat mixed with the humidity equates to an uncomfortable outdoor experience regardless of the ruggedness of the tourists. However, during the fall and spring months in particular, caves offer a unique sense of natural beauty that is easy to avoid but difficult to find unless you are seeking it out. Picture the senses overwhelmed by the sound of hundreds of thousands of bats soaring around a naturally echoing inner chamber alongside the enigmatic-looking stalagmites and stalactites. Maybe this vision isn’t for everybody, but to many, it’s alluring and enticing.
As the next section highlights as well, there is an entire ecosystem found exclusively within networks of caves. Only specific environments enable such long spans of caves to even formulate, and the USA’s Rocky Mountain region provides one of the select few instances of these circumstances. Curious adventurers usually begin their journey in Kentucky, the largest and primary entrance to the network of caves. It is advised to never explore these caves without astute advice and accompaniment of a tour guide who is familiar with the biome and blueprint of the caves. The task of exploring even a large portion of this cave network is daunting, if not impossible; this is the largest known cave network in the world, found right on the Southeastern coast of the United States.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
This one compares to Mammoth Cave, paralleled by the natural beauty to be found in caves. The primary difference between this entry and the other three is that Carlsbad Caverns is located across middle America and closer to the West Coast. These caves are resplendent with similar features as the Mammoth Cave, but with a Southwestern aesthetic. In nature, this can be considered something distinctly picturesque; less arborous, less mountainous, with smoother and flatter landscape features. This scenery is considerably different from all of the natural landmarks stretching the East and Southeast. Relative to the East Coast attractions, this site may be a more immaculate spectacle. The flat landscape places a much larger span of the scenery into view, which makes it appear more vast, more daunting.
If each of these profiles of UNESCO sites demonstrate anything, it’s that there is no lack of natural beauty to be found while traveling in the United States. Regardless of which region you decide to explore, there’s always something incredible to witness.