Endless travel vacations can be found in our own backyard! With so many exciting tourist locations right here in the good ol’ USA, it is amazing that more Americans than ever are choosing to travel abroad. One report published by Get Going travel insurance pulled data from the U.N. World Tourism Organization, that showed the U.S. ranks second only to China when it comes to overseas travel. In 2017, Americans spent more than $135 billion traveling abroad, representing an increase of 9% from 2016. One factor playing into this number is the increase in passports. In 1990, only 4% of the public had a passport compared to 42% holding one as of 2018. The increase in globetrotting has also been affected by the U.S. economy. The strength of the U.S. dollar compared to countries like Canada and Mexico, increase in wages, and low unemployment all play a role. Americans, especially MillenniaIs (a large traveling population) like to explore and be thought of as savvy. Traveling abroad has gained recognition in accomplishing these goals.
As an owner of tourist lodging in a popular tourist community, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to attract the American tourist to attractions, landmarks, and get-away stays right here at home. What can be offered to someone who is desperately looking for that next big exciting vacation? Stay in the U.S.A. – have that vacation of a life time!
What information do you grab when you look for that next vacation? How about tips on a new fascinating destination. How much consideration do you give to travel and vacation here at home – in the United States, especially little-known vacation spots and unique lodging?
Recently, we purchased tourist lodging property in the bustling historic village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Where has this place been all of my life? I have discovered there is more to see and do than could fit into a few days. Purchasing property in Eureka Springs, we felt like we fell right into the “Great Discoverable America.” Our property, Tall Pines Inn, was the property of our dreams, and we were living a fantasy. We get to fulfill travelers dream vacations – and we take it seriously.
Is it just me or does everyone have relatives and friends who are taking more and more vacations abroad? We have also vacationed several times outside the U.S. Why are we spending our travel vacation dollars outside the US, when there is so much beauty and unseen history right here in our own backyard? I have friends who have seen Rome before Washington D.C.!
You have heard the saying “The only pictures you regret, are the ones you don’t take!” OR the ones that turn out terrible. One video is worth a thousand pictures. However, there is nothing worse than watching a video with poor graphics or sound quality. We have resorted to professional quality videos for our memorable occasions, and this makes watching the videos enjoyable.
There are many grand cities in our country.
I want to shine a spotlight on “grand vacation areas” of the U.S. that are worthy of attention.
Eureka Springs, AR
I have to start with our visit to Eureka Springs, AR. We now call this historic village home. This community and it’s “too many to list” attractions needs to be on your “must see” list. Nestled in the peaks of the Ozark Mountains is the charming village of Eureka Springs. The streets alone are a wonder of engineering, and you never know when deer will wander on to Main Street. Check out architectural feats like the Thorncrowne Chapel or Christ of the Ozarks where you experience a performance of the “Great Passion Play” in the 4,100 seat outdoor amphitheater. To be sure, you will not want to leave without seeing Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. This wildlife refuge sits on 459 acres and houses 100 neglected, abused, and abandoned big cats and other large wild animals. Of course, you can hop on the Eureka Springs trolley to get the most out of your trip. Just like Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road, in Eureka Springs you can follow the red curb that lines the downtown area, as the entire downtown is part of the Historic District – you can’t miss it!
For my next travel stop, I’m making my way to more mountains, the Black Hills of South Dakota. That’s right! We are planning a vacation in Rapid City, Deadwood, and Keystone just to name a few cities along the beautiful hills of South Dakota. To check out activities in Deadwood, SD click here. Here we find towns that offer a plethora of events, activities, scenery, and entertainment. Take in Dinner and a Show or the famous Black Hills Maze. For information on activities in and around Rapid City, SD click here. There are more caves to explore than can be seen. Check out the vastly popular Reptile Gardens or Cosmos. When kids have had enough fun in Keystone, Mom and Dad can get in on the gaming that took hold in Deadwood several years ago or watch the reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill, or take in the many gaming machines that are now established in the Deadwood area.
There is so much more to see in the Midwest but lets head West for now. I’m talking about the city known for Microsoft, Boeing, downtown Pike Place Market, Space Needle, and Starbucks. Need I say anymore – rush out and visit if you have not experienced Seattle, WA for yourself. Nothing beats walking on the docks and heading into Pike Place open-air Market. Have a few laughs watching the fish throwers – remember to duck! Travel tip: Yes, it does rain a lot, so if you like a little drizzle you can visit anytime! If you don’t have an appreciation for rain, I recommend you visit in July or August! While you’re visiting it is also worth the effort to hop a ride on a ferry and see the Olympic Peninsula. A day trip to Victoria, BC is also worth a little extra effort.
Of course, don’t forget to take in all the West Coast has to offer. Again this is all about experiencing the US of A. and spending our dollars here at home! Check out the exciting tourist information around the Seattle, WA area, click here. We still have the East Coast and the Southern States to enjoy. Ok, with that said, and before we book a flight and head east, what more can we do up and down the Sunny West Coast.
Let’s just take a quick stop at beautiful crisp Cannon Beach of Oregon and then head to scenic Portland, click here for info. No trip to Oregon is complete without seeing that fair city. If you are lucky enough, perhaps you can catch the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade held the beginning of June. Next, we will make a stop in San Francisco. Dare we even say “what do we do here?” There is so much rich culture and events to take in that you can make an entire trip just here. Let’s start with the Golden Gate Bridge and end with a Major League Baseball game. California is famous for their wines of the great Napa Valley.
Golden Gate Bridge
Southern California is exploding with sun, family vacations, and famous Hollywood tourist attractions. Heading south, we bask in the features that make California famous – Sun and Fame. “I Wish They All Could Be California Girls!” Enjoy the luxurious beaches, parks, hotel, entertainment, and events that are uniquely California. Vacationers in other Countries can only dream of this “stuff” and Americans are trying to leave it to visit other Countries. Just think, we have barely scratched the surface of the Great American Trail. Click here to visit what California has to offer.
Fun, Sun, and Beach
Are you are a history buff? The East Coast is a treasure trove of historical delights. While traveling, we studied different property looking for our perfect Bed & Breakfast. I was amazed to see the property that has been preserved for our enjoyment. Generations have taken care of beautiful homes and businesses and put them on display. I am talking… experiencing buildings that have stood the test of time from the Civil War. Imagine sleeping under the roof of a B&B that once had cannon balls hurled at it. Or another that held Gala Balls with guests “dressed to the nines”! Yes, some of these walls could tell painful stories of the birth of our Country, but so does every wall that manages to bring itself through 100 years or more of transformation. Washington D.C. family vacation information can be found by clicking here.
We traveled to the fascinating, historical, and booming city of Ashville, NC. If you want to experience the melding of art, culture, music, and prosperity, I think it has all come together in this community. Being someone who loves Inns and history, I instantly fell in love with Asheville and the nearby town of Waynesville. Both centers have beautiful picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You never really run out of things to do, and if you feel you do, just pick a new restaurant or brewery to visit. There is something new on almost every corner. I would be remiss if I did not mention the breathtaking Biltmore Mansion, the largest privately owned home in the US. To say the Biltmore Mansion is a work of wonder is an understatement. Please do yourself a favor and put this on your “Bucket-List”. Click here for more information.
Blue Ridge Mountains
Head south “y’all” and take in the beautiful city of Greenville, SC. Why might you ask? Well because Cities like Orlando, Tampa Bay, Savannah, and Atlanta are a foregone conclusion. Greenville, SC, (to a Yankee it is apparently pronounced Green-vul), is such a cool city. We enjoyed the yummy local cuisine, the street art, and sculptures. Additionally, who can get over that bridge where you can watch pedestrians enjoying themselves in the river and on the rocks (FUN!)
Check out one of my favorite B&B in Greenville, SC – Pettigru Place
Lone Star State
Finally, the big Lone Star State – this is one state I have not visited, but it is on “my” Bucket-List. According to a Forbes article, the top cities in Texas are San Antonio, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston. Dallas stands out alone with its amazing Metroplex.
Then we are back to the center of the country where we started – take a good long look at the Grand Ol’ Opry and the home of the “King of Rock and Roll”. Memphis and Knoxville both deserve attention.
Now I am looking at my Facebook friend’s pictures of travels to Italy, Norway, Germany, and France. The photos show some amazing Countries. I am happy that my friends get to see and experience these cities and foreign cultures. But, come home and experience our own. Spend travel dollars at home. I have found some very enjoyable lodging (support small hospitality, there is nothing like it), really fabulous culinary delights, shopping till I drop, and every sort of cultural entertainment, art, and event.