Start in Rocky Mountain National Park to see alpine lakes and towering peaks, then continue to Colorado National Monument to see red rock canyons and the ancestral land of the Ute people. Stop in Gunnison National Park to see the 2,000 ft deep sheer walls of the Black Canyon, then head to Great Sand Dunes National Park to climb 700+ ft tall sand dunes.
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The US experiences all four Northern Hemisphere seasons, but the country's geographical range means you can find sunshine at any time of year. In the dead of winter, you can find beachgoers sunning themselves in San Diego, snowboarders zig-zagging down the slopes of world-class resorts, and hikers enjoying local trails all the way down to the Mexican border.
Summer months (June-August) are ideal in nearly every corner of the country, especially in areas where snow tends to last well into spring, like the Rocky Mountains, the Northeast, and states along the Canadian border. An exception can be made for the low-lying deserts of the West and Southwest—areas like California's Death Valley and Joshua Tree are brutally hot outside of winter and spring. Spring and fall can be stunningly beautiful in mountain regions throughout the country, with wildflowers and fall foliage in abundance, though weather can be less predictable and regionally specific.
Where should you go?
It's said that the US national parks system is "America's best idea," and you wouldn't be wrong to base your itinerary on that assumption. Yellowstone National Park is globally known for its natural wonders: waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs abound, and wildlife like bison, grizzly bears, and elk roam throughout. See the otherworldly rock formations of Arches National Park in Utah, visit the world's tallest trees in Redwoods National Park in California—the list goes on and on.
How many days do you need?
You'll want to spend at least a week in the US to do it justice—and with 7 days, you'll still want to focus on one region. Stick to California, for instance, and take a coastal drive up world-famous Highway 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with stops in charming Santa Barbara and dramatic Big Sur. Or, spend your whole week exploring Yosemite's trails, waterfalls, and vistas. Add another week and combine two regions: add a train trip through Colorado to a Yellowstone excursion, or cycle through Utah before making stops in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
Visiting the granite paradise of Yosemite National Park is a must for any traveler. The park has some of the highest cliffs in the world, including El Capitan, featured in the 2018 documentary Free Solo. A visit to Yosemite can be as relaxed or active as you choose. You can largely stay in the comfort of your car while taking short walks at vista points, take rewarding day hikes from a home base hotel or campsite, or go on a multi-day backpacking adventure in the wilderness. No matter what style you chose, a trip to Yosemite will make lasting impressions.
Sojourn to the California and Nevada desert landscapes, best enjoyed in spring, winter and fall. Travel back in time to the Old West with a visit to Pioneertown, and hike through the aptly named Joshua Tree National Park to see its incredible desert fauna and rock formations. Climb the desert dunes of the Mojave Natural Preserve and peer out the window of your car to enjoy vast desert landscapes. Immerse yourself in the extreme and unique beauty of Death Valley before discovering the colorful Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas.
The southwestern corner of the United States is home to some of the most frequently visited national parks. From hiking through Zion National Park to soaking in views of the Grand Canyon, experiencing these natural landscapes is truly something special. Explore the picturesque Antelope Canyon and traverse the trails of Bryce Canyon while getting to know the American Southwest up close on this adventurous getaway.
This multi-day adventure takes you through the mist-shrouded Northern California coast, featuring the world's tallest redwood trees and verdant fern-covered gullies. Three national parks, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, and Crater Lake, showcase this area's diverse landscape and geological history. Numerous state parks, awe-inspiring mountain peaks, and wondrous waterfalls all wait to greet you along the way. Whether it's a volcano, lake, or towering tree, the sheer and immense beauty of what you encounter along this journey will inspire reverence for the region.
This 9-day driving adventure focuses on the Canadian Rockies, including the Kootenay Rockies and the southern end of the vine-striped Okanagan. You'll explore British Columbia's impressive landscape from emerald-green lakes to glacial rivers and rugged mountain tops. Challenge yourself with a half-day hike in Banff National Park, canoe the Columbia River Wetlands amid wildlife near Golden, and discover wines of the snaking Similkameen Valley en route to Vancouver.
This multi-day adventure takes you from San Francisco through stunning lakes, snow-capped mountains, and amazing waterfalls that showcase Northern California and Oregon's diverse landscape and geological history. From the boating paradise of Lake Shasta to the awe-inspiring Crater Lake, to Waldo Lake, the world's clearest alpine lake, the sheer beauty of what you will encounter will inspire reverence for this region. Finish your trip in the foodie paradise of Portland, explore the many unique restaurants there, and enjoy a day exploring Willamette Valley for some wine tasting.
This multi-day adventure takes you through three national parks, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, and Crater Lake, showcase Northern California and Oregon's diverse landscape and geological history. Numerous state parks, awe-inspiring mountain peaks, and wondrous waterfalls all wait to greet you along the way. Whether it's a volcano, lake, or towering tree, the sheer and immense beauty of what you encounter along this journey will inspire reverence for the region.
This 9-day road trip takes you around the state of Florida, visiting the best of both coasts. From America's oldest city to the Great Florida Reef, you'll enjoy a variety of activities on this trip around the Sunshine State, most focusing on its great outdoors. The itinerary starts and ends in Orlando, but the route can be easily adjusted for a starting point from any city in Florida.
Why travelers love kimkim
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We had a great time on our trip! Our vacation... · the United States - May 20 - Jun 4, 2022
We had a great time on our trip! Our vacation guide was very well put together and was full of information. We really appreciated not having to worry about bookings.
Fantastic family trip to Grand Canyon and Sedona · the United States - Aug 5 - Aug 15, 2021
Cami put together a great vacation for us to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. The format of the offering was different than what I had previously gotten from KimKim, namely she put together an itinerary but did not book the trips (I don’t know if this is the new format KimKim is adopting.) While I would have preferred a more full service offering, Cami put together an excellent itinerary and give us detailed information on how to book activities and other reservations easily on our own. She hit... read more
Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons · the United States - Jun 9 - Jun 14, 2019
We took our dad on a birthday trip to Yellowstone and grand Tetons and Ben (and Kim Kim) did a great job identifying awesome accommodation options and taking into account that we did not want to spend the whole trip driving. As a bonus, our trip coincided with the start of guided ranger tours so the trip timing could not have been better.
Lodging at grand Tetons, suggestions in Jackson, and off the beaten path adventures such as trout lake made a big difference in our trip. Kim Kim (and Ben)... read more