This trip highlights the amazing, diverse beauty of our country. Five locations doesn't do it justice, but this is a good start to really immersing yourself and indulging all of your senses while exploring our magnificent country.
I'll always remember an encounter I had on a ski lift in Utah with a tourist from New Zealand. After I remarked on how beautiful her country was her reply was "there are so many beautiful places to go in your country, why would you ever go anywhere else?"
Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States
The Grand Canyon is a great place to start. The sheer magnitude of the canyon is breathtaking. Pictures cannot do it justice and that is why you must visit. I've been there in the summer and winter and both are absolutely beautiful. Spend the day walking or driving around or hike down into the canyon and watch the colors change as the sun moves through the sky. See wildlife and the beautiful evergreens.
On to San Francisco with its impressive bridge and beautiful bay. See and hear the sea lions. Take the boat over to Alcatraz, take a streetcar, have some marvelous seafood or other great food. Take in the sights and sounds of Chinatown. This city has something for everyone.
This mountain is one of the prettiest and most peaceful places I've ever been. Just drive the roads and take in all the beauty or get out and hike up through wildflowers to the snowcaps. There are elk, chipmunks, marmots, birds and mountain goats. Sitting and taking in the sights of the mountain is a fabulous stress reliever.
Columbia River, Oregon, United States
This lush river gorge teeming with waterfalls is awe inspiring. You can just drive through the gorge and go see the most impressive of the waterfalls, Multnomah. Or you can get out and hike and see tens of them. It's also located close to Portland and can be accessed for a day trip from the city.
All of the coastline of Oregon is beautiful, but I had to choose one. Walking the beach and taking in Haystack Rock is the touristy thing to do and it IS really pretty. But there is so much more to the Oregon coast. Just a short drive from here you can find lighthouses, wonderful hiking trails, tidal pools and some marvelous seafood restaurants and quaint towns. Walking on the beach in the morning we found dungeness crabs and sand dollars. Photo opportunities abound and the colors and variety will keep your senses stimulated.
There are truly so many interesting spots in our country that it's hard to pick just 5, but these are some of the most memorable I've seen and they provide a variety of experiences that would make a fabulous road trip.