By: Christine Del Castillo
Sevilla or Sedona? Newcastle or New Orleans? Some of the most amazing vacations you have yet to experience are right here in your (metaphorical) backyard. The United States is so vast, it can actually be overwhelming. But that's great news. There's so much to discover, without having to exchange currency or get a visa. We're here to help you make that happen, and will give you the scoop on amazing Stateside travel in an interactive live video session with Travel Detective Peter Greenberg, coming up on July 1st.
Meanwhile, consider one of these creative ideas for the long warm days ahead.
1) Hit up one of America's last drive-in theaters.
Yes, these still exist! We're enamored with the idea of watching a movie under the stars at the Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre in Montclair, California. This drive-in plays new releases and boasts high quality projectors and sound. Break out your Hawaiian print shirts and cat-eye sunglasses — the tiki head statues here are straight out of a 1960s pool party. (More here)
2) Befriend some sea creatures.
At Crystal River Manatee Tours in Florida, you can snorkel with manatees, enjoy a dockside lunch, and go for a sweet airboat tour in the afternoon. Elsewhere in the Sunshine State, stay overnight at Jules' Undersea Lodge, a modified underwater research lab. Enter by scuba, enjoy unlimited dives in the surrounding lagoon, and rest up in this unique hotel while peering out at marine life through the porthole windows. (More here.)
3) Play the day away at a theme park.
Quite a few new theme park attractions have sprung up across the nation. On the fanciful end, you've got the Harry Potter-themed expansion of Universal Studios in Florida, where fans of the series can shop at Diagon Alley, ride the Knight Bus, and eat Scotch eggs at the Leaky Cauldron. If you're more of a thrill-seeker, head over to Six Flags Great America in Chicago and be one of the first to ride the fastest, tallest and steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. (More here.)
4) Take a rails to trails hike.
For a truly off the beaten path experience, explore the web of abandoned or decommissioned train tracks across the country that have been converted to hiking and biking trails. Walk, run, or skate along the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia and Alabama. Or, bike along the Route of Hiawatha, the same route that large passenger trains took through the mountains of Idaho and Montana several years ago. (More here.)
5) Find your own deserted island.
Your own deserted island is totally within reach. For one such scenario, hop on a ferry to North and South Manitou Islands in Michigan. Stroll along abandoned farmhouses, nibble wild blackberries, and read your favorite book on the dunes. If you're outdoorsy, you'll love to set up camp here and spend the next day diving and exploring the nearby shipwrecks. There are at least 50, and some are definitely more advanced than others. (More here.)
Have questions about any of these, or want to suggest a local hidden gem of your own? Submit your questions and suggestions to Peter’s live video chat and look forward to a live response. This event is co-presented with FlipKey by Wizeo, a live video chat platform that connects influencers with fans to support worthy causes.