Skip To Content

    16 Truly Interesting Places In The US That Belong On Your Post-Pandemic Travel List

    From waves made of red rock to nude hot springs, the US has it all.

    The coronavirus pandemic is still impacting travel, and destinations around the world have different COVID-19 restrictions in place. Always check and adhere to local government policies, and use our content to dream about a future trip.

    1. Badlands National Park — South Dakota

    Lined rock formations leading to green plains
    Stevenschremp / Getty Images

    The Dakotas often get overlooked as a tourist destination, and that’s exactly why they’re so wonderful. The dramatic rock formations of Badlands National Park might draw you in, but it’s what’s down below that’s truly captivating. The park has one of the world’s richest fossil beds — think ancient horses and rhinos — and is the modern-day home of bison and bighorn sheep. You can get a feel for the park by driving the Badlands Loop Road, before circling back to take on one of the park’s many hikes.

    2. Crestone — Colorado

    Rainbow over jagged grey mountains
    Campphoto / Getty Images

    This high-altitude town sits at 7,923 feet and is home to several world religion centers and spiritual communities — there’s a Hindu temple, a zen center, Christian churches, and several Tibetan centers. People come to undergo a spiritual journey or transformation — or to soak in the nearby Valley View Hot Springs, a clothing-optional nature sanctuary with six natural pools.

    3. Marfa — Texas

    4. Bonneville Salt Flats — Utah

    Flat, white earth leading to mountains with a blue sky overhead
    Daniloforcellini / Getty Images

    A visit to Bonneville Salt Flats will trick your mind and spark your imagination. Once an ancient lake bottom, today the area is vast and flat (and salty). Depending on the light and weather, the flats might look like they’re underwater or appear to be a snow-covered lake bed in the middle of the desert. Stay hydrated, or you might imagine you've spotted a lush oasis in there too.

    Check out: 22 Places In Utah That Are So Beautiful, I Can't Believe They're Even Real

    5. Washington DC

    6. Asheville — North Carolina

    Highway leading to a tunnel in the middle of fall
    Kruck20 / Getty Images

    If you like beer and bikes, make your way to Asheville, a super-hip Southern mountain town that proudly houses the second highest number of breweries per capita (beat only by Portland, Maine). The city is found off the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic stretch popular with bikers. Do some biking; drink some beers (in that order).

    7. Finger Lakes Region — New York

    8. The Wave — Arizona

    a hiker walking on a red rock that looks like a wave
    Garret Suhrie / Getty Images

    You'll find this unique sandstone formation, that looks like a red-rock wave, in Coyote Buttes North within northern Arizona's Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. It’s the sort of place you have to see at least once in your lifetime, and you’ll need to plan ahead to make it happen — half the daily permits are issued online four months in advance, while the other half are available through an in-person lottery.

    Check out: 17 Ridonkulously Beautiful Places In Arizona You've Gotta See To Believe

    9. Crater Lake National Park — Oregon

    Beautiful blue lake with an island in the middle
    Jeffgoulden / Getty Images

    Crater Lake, which was formed when a peak collapsed following a volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago, is the deepest lake in the US. The enormous body of water remains in a dormant volcano and reaches depths of 1,943 feet. Fed solely by rain and snow, it's so pristine some scientists have even called it “the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world."

    10. Travertine Hot Springs — California

    11. Everglades National Park — Florida

    a river surrounded by lush trees
    Pola Damonte Via Getty Images / Getty Images

    Entering the Everglades is like entering another world — a world where bobcats forage in mangroves, endangered leatherback turtles nest on sandy beaches, and manatees and alligators glide through the waters. Animals aside, you can leave your car (and hiking boots) behind for a multi-day canoe or kayak adventure that takes you deep into cypress groves and mangrove forests on an established canoe and kayak trail.

    12. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness — Minnesota

    Person canoeing at dusk in flat waters
    Georgepeters / Getty Images

    Places like Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness make you realize just how big the US is — and how much there is to explore. The 1 million-acre wilderness area includes plenty of multi-day canoe routes, as well as tons of terrain not found on the trail map.

    13. Area 51 — Nevada

    Area 51 sign on a chain-link fence
    Mrdoomits / Getty Images

    If otherworldly and desolate is your cup of tea, take Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway and get as close as you can to Area 51, a highly classified Air Force facility that was speculated to be a base for top-secret spacecraft activity and government cover ups for many years (the US government finally confirmed its existence in 2013). You won’t be able to actually visit the heavily guarded Area 51, but you can visit the region’s Native American petroglyphs (which some say are ~otherworldly~) and drop by the Alien Research Center for their take on events and a great alien-themed gift shop.

    14. Taos Pueblo — New Mexico

    Multi-tier adobe home in the mountains
    Jacobh / Getty Images

    Taos Pueblo may now be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the village is also home to a Native American community that's inhabited the area for more than 1,000 years. It’s a true glimpse into the merging of traditional with present-day life — homes built using sun-dried mud and a sovereign tribal government. Once you’ve explored the architecture and history, drop by the nearby Tiwa Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery for homestyle Pueblo and New Mexican food cooked in an outdoor adobe oven.

    Check out: 19 Super-Cool Things You Had No Idea You Could Do In New Mexico

    15. New Orleans — Louisiana

    16. Mount Rainier National Park — Washington

    Water and tree-covered hills leading to snow-covered mountain
    Drew Payne / Getty Images

    There are only a handful of active volcanoes on mainland US, and one of the most stunning is Mount Rainier. The glaciated 14,410-foot peak is surrounded by thick forests, meadows of wildflowers, and high-alpine lakes — but it's also expected to erupt. It’s the sort of place you might want to see sooner rather than later.

    Any amazing spots we missed? Share your US bucket list destinations in the comments below.

    Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more!

    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed