Fall is here and with the changing of the seasons comes the chance to see some of North America’s most unique destinations. Start packing.
Sometimes when we think or write about travel ambitions, we focus too narrowly on a given area or destination. This is certainly fine, as it’s great to really get to know a given place, and experience more than the surface attractions. Sometimes, however, it’s also nice to take a broader approach, so that you can begin to narrow down destinations you’d like to focus on in the first place. In that spirit, we’re going to take a quick look all across the North American continent, and specifically the seven sights you have to see to properly explore it.
The Grand Canyon
It may seem like an obvious place to start. But then, most of the top sights in an entire continent are at least going to sound familiar! Truth be told, the Grand Canyon is just one of many incredible natural sights in the Southwest of the United States. But it’s the best of the bunch, and a truly awe-inspiring sight to behold. World Atlas lists Grand Canyon as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and there’s simply no arguing that status when you look upon it in person.
There are certainly no more spectacular waterfalls in North America, as much natural beauty as there is. Niagara Falls are also interesting in that they can be viewed from both the U.S. and Canada, given that they basically exist on the border. You can look at them from a distance, walk across island parks at the top of the falls, or even ride the famed Maid Of The Mist boat right up to the churning waters beneath them.
This is our first man-made attraction. While it may seem somewhat cheap to point to an entire city as a sight to see, there really isn’t a skyline in the world that can match that of New York City, and specifically the borough of Manhattan. While other places in the world have matched the general sprawl of New York (like Tokyo) or erected taller skyscrapers (like Dubai), the total vision of the Manhattan skyline remains unique. The sheer length of the city, as well as the presence of unique structures like the new World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and even the Statue Of Liberty a short distance out into the water, make for a perfect picture.
The Northern Lights are different in that they’re not reliably in a single location that you can visit whenever you please. But this bizarre and beautiful natural phenomenon can be viewed from multiple places in North America. Indeed, both Alaska and Canada have been mentioned among the best places to see the Northern Lights, and while you need to put in some effort (and brave the cold) to make it happen, it’s worth it.
We tend to think of Mayan and Aztec temples in a general sense, as if they all resemble angular pyramids with steps on them. This is the sort of image we see on postcards and even in animated films. The online casino arcade site Slotsource’s top games include a well-known slot reel called “Gonzo’s Quest” that even features such a temple in its background. The image is everywhere. But most temples don’t actually look so perfect and magnificen. Chichen Itza is the exception, arguably as impressive as the pyramids of Giza, and the inspiration from imagery in everything from postcards to online games.
Frankly it’s difficult to pick sights in the West of Canada and the United States, because there are so many parks and national wonders to enjoy. The whole region is overflowing with natural beauty. But to give you a specific destination, California’s Redwood Forest shouldn’t be missed. It features some of the tallest trees on the planet, and walking through it truly feels like exploring another planet.
D.C. National Mall
Here again we’re more or less pointing to a whole city as an attraction. With no disrespect to Ottawa or Mexico City, however, nor to dozens of other wonderful North American cities, Washington, D.C. stands alone as an achievement in beauty and grandeur. Unlike Manhattan, it doesn’t stand out because of towering skyscrapers. Rather, it’s the white monuments and government buildings that make it so unique. Washington, D.C., and particularly the area known as the National Mall, resembles a piece of ancient Rome plopped into a modern American city.