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7 of the coolest US pitstops (according to a seasoned road tripper)

South Dakota / Luke Wass

Nothing beats driving across the country with great company and nothing else to look out for but great food, beautiful scenery and unusual activities. It’s no wonder more of us than ever are hitting the road – especially while international travel is limited.

The nature of my work means that I move around a lot and throughout my journeys I’ve discovered so many cool places and mini adventures across the country. So, if you’re looking forward to your next journey, here’s a list of the most iconic and coolest pitstops you shouldn’t miss on your US road trip

1. The Appalachian Mountains

Apparently formed over 480 million years, the Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest mountains on earth and one of the most marvelous landmarks in the United States. They stretch all the way from from Newfoundland to Alabama. They’re a great destination to add to your road trip – to learn some history, as well as savor the beautiful scenic views. The gorgeous mountains also offer the BEST place to pitch a tent, if you’re looking to take a break from all the driving. 

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2. Devil’s Hole State Park, New York

Sure, everyone knows about Niagara Falls in New York. This town is a haven of activities and home to the world’s most powerful waterfall (the scenes are spectacular, trust). But the lesser known Devil’s Hole State Park is THE place to visit to bring out your adventurous side.

Here, you can experience the beautiful whirlpools, try some wild swimming and take in the views of the lower Niagara River Gorge. The Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool Trail is a 3km out and back trail if you feel like stretching your legs further.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Pike Place Market in Seattle dates back to the 20th century, which makes it one of the most iconic pitstops in the United States. There’s so much you can do during your stop in this place. To start with, the market offers fresh produce including fish and veg. If you’re staying at a place where you can cook for yourself, this is the spot to get supplies. There are also the best restaurants – from pizza to Greek delicacies and cooking classes – and plenty of gift shops.

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4. Concord Town, Massachusetts

Concord Town is one of the best stop-off towns in the United States. There’s so much history and culture to learn from this town – it hosted significant battles in the history of the country including the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Get a taste of this at the Minute Man National Park. You can also take a hike and enjoy a swim in the clear waters of the Walden Pond. 

5. Black Hills, South Dakota

Black Hills in South Dakota is a place you’ll want to stop and probably spend a few days because it has so much to offer. A visit to the Custer State Park offers breathtaking scenes of glistering lakes, wildlife and rock formations. The history of this place is rich, with a visit to Deadwood and the Adams House giving you just a taste. A ride in the historic steam train in Hilly City is cute, too.

An old rusty truck parked in a grassy field.

Image source:Photo: Sara Hamza / Unsplash

6. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

If you love hydrothermal activities, geysers included, the Yellowstone National Park is ONE place you definitely don’t want to miss. There’s a lot you can see here including the world’s famous geyser, the Old Faithful. Wait for your heart to skip a beat as you watch its eruption that happens every 45 – 125 minutes, faithfully.

But, if you’re looking to venture from the well-trodden path, check out the Grand Prismatic Spring. This is a hot spring featuring mesmeric bright colors. There’s also a ton of wildlife here, so watch out for wolves, elk, bison and bears.

 

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7. Memphis, Tennessee

Okay, so this pitstop isn’t exactly unusual but what would a road trip be without some music? The best place for music vibes is Memphis in Tennessee. This town is the home to Elvis Presley, so make sure to visit his mansion in Graceland. Or, head to Beale Street for a taste of some real blues and soul music that will leave you feel rejuvenated and ready to go again.

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From the wild to the weird and wonderful, the US has SO much to offer. Wildlife, great scenery and history is never far away – especially on a road trip. Don’t forget to pack some swimwear and hiking shoes and of course a camera to document the unforgettable experience.

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