The United States (USA) is a large country filled with wonders. From massive cities to small mountain towns, there is something different to discover all across the country. It may feel a bit overwhelming planning a vacation to the USA because of its size. Luckily, this list covers the top 11 ideas for a bucket list trip in the USA. No matter what kind of trip you want to experience, there is something on this list for you!

Here Are The Top Bucket List Ideas for a Vacation in the USA

New York City, New York

No trip to the USA would be complete without a visit to the famous New York City. With well-known attractions like Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many more, there are endless things to do here. The city also has one of the most diverse populations in the USA, so expect to find some delicious food while here.

The hustle and bustle of New York City can get a bit overwhelming at times, but there are many escapes to enjoy. Visit Central Park or one of the museums to have a moment of silence from the large crowds.

the statue of liberty - 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
Statue Of Liberty and New York City skyline at sunset | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful landforms in the USA, and should definitely be on your bucket list vacation in the USA. The Grand Canyon in Arizona was formed by the Colorado River. Its deep red colors and unique rimmed lines makes it a natural marvel to behold, and there are a multitude of spectacular view points around the canyon.

For those that want a unique experience, try white water rafting or mule riding to get to some of the best views of the Grand Canyon. It is definitely an experience you won’t forget.

The Grand Canyon, a crown jewel of American landscapes, demands a spot on your must-visit list. Carved out by the relentless flow of the Colorado River, this Arizona marvel flaunts deep crimson hues and distinctive striated edges, making it a sight to behold. It’s not just about peering over the edge, though.

Dive into the heart of the Grand Canyon with white water rafting or saddle up for a mule ride to snatch the most breathtaking views.

Trust me, it’s an adventure that’ll etch itself into your memory.

Rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
Rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Disney World, Florida

No matter if you’re toting kids around or flying solo, Disney World unfolds as a realm of enchantment for all. It’s a dream destination that seems to grace every travel wish list for those visiting the U.S. Nestled in Florida, Disney World offers four distinct theme parks, each promising its own flavor of fun. Magic Kingdom and Epcot stand out as the crowd favorites.

Magic Kingdom houses the iconic Cinderella Castle, the same one that twinkles at us from the start of every Disney film. Here, fairy tales come to life. You can rub elbows with beloved Disney royals and end your day with a spectacular fireworks show that’ll transport you straight back to your childhood wonder.

Eager for a taste of the world with an adult twist? Epcot’s your ticket. This park is a mosaic of international pavilions, letting you globe-trot from Italy to Japan without ever leaving Florida. Each “country” boasts its own authentic eatery, blurring the lines between theme park and global expedition. Epcot offers a sophisticated spin on the Disney magic, proving the park’s allure isn’t just for the young, but the young at heart.

11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

New Orleans, Louisiana

Sure, Mardi Gras might be the first thing that pops into your head when someone mentions New Orleans. And yes, it’s an epic party not to be missed. But, let’s not pigeonhole this vibrant city to just beads and parades. New Orleans pulses with a rich historical beat and is a treasure trove for jazz aficionados. It’s an absolute must to catch a live jazz performance here – it’s the heart and soul of the American music scene.

And after you’ve soaked in the melodies, dive into the local culinary scene. Creole and Cajun cuisine await to tantalize your taste buds with their spicy, flavor-packed dishes. Seafood might be a star, but the menu offers so much more. Gumbo stands out as a must-try – a hearty stew that perfectly encapsulates New Orleans’ culinary magic. For food lovers, this city is a distinct and delicious slice of America worth exploring.

Jackson Square in New Orleans | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
Jackson Square in New Orleans | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Built in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge stands as a majestic link between San Francisco and Marin County. Its striking reddish hue, towering height, and considerable length make it not just a feat of engineering, but a photographer’s and pedestrian’s delight. Walking across it, you’re treated to unparalleled vistas of San Francisco Bay.

Tucked around the Golden Gate, a little-known gem lies in the form of secluded beaches. These hidden spots offer stunning, unobstructed views of the bridge, far from the usual tourist trail. These quieter, lesser-known sands are perfect for a serene picnic, allowing you to admire the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge in a peaceful setting.

11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
The Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset, San Francisco | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Washington, D.C.

There isn’t much explanation needed for why the country’s capital should be on your USA bucket list vacation itineray. Almost every aspect of America’s government is in Washington, D.C. Not only are these buildings important to the country, but their architecture is gorgeous and reminiscent of the past.

Washington, D.C. also has many free activities to explore. You can spend the whole day visiting the various Smithsonian museums that are in the city. The Natural History museum is likely the most famous, but there is even an Air and Space museum to check out. Whatever you want to learn, you can likely find a museum that will fit that in Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Old Faithful & Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park isn’t just a haven for those who love the great outdoors; it’s a showcase of some of the most breathtaking geological wonders in the U.S. Among its treasure trove of natural attractions, Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring stand out as must-sees for any bucket-list journey through America.

Old Faithful, a towering cone geyser, is famous for its predictable eruptions, shooting water up to 140 feet into the air every 60 to 110 minutes. Witnessing this natural spectacle is an unforgettable experience, but caution is key — the water is scalding, so admire from a safe distance.

As you explore Yellowstone, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the Grand Prismatic Spring, the country’s largest hot spring. Its mesmerizing rainbow hues encircle the vibrant blue waters, and capturing a bird’s eye view will let you appreciate its full, stunning spectrum.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Las Vegas, Nevada

Though Las Vegas is known as “Sin City,” there is plenty to enjoy for all ages and travelers. That being said, Las Vegas has some of the best nightlife experiences in the country, and is known for its epic pool parties. If you like a good party, Las Vegas is the place to go on your bucket list vacation in the USA.

If you’re less of a party-animal then try one of the numerous renowned restaurants in the area, or enjoy a plethora of concerts. Both Celine Dion and Lady Gaga have residencies in the city, so you can watch some of the best artists during your trip. There is also “Old Vegas,” that is filled with fun activities like ziplines, for more family-friendly fun.

Las Vegas strip, Nevada | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas usually doesn’t make many people’s USA vacation bucket list, but it should! The small town of Hot Springs, Arkansas offers just that, incredible hot springs. It is a nice, simple break from the hustle and bustle of usual tourist hot spots. Soak in some hot spring water and release some stress. The area has a variety of bathhouses for you to choose from that fit your comfort level.

If you want a bit of a souvenir for the drive to your next destination, look out for dispensers around the city. These dispensers gives visitors access to cold spring water that comes directly from the mountain. Enjoy its refreshing cold taste to close out your relaxing trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Hot Springs National Park | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Los Angeles, California

Any movie lover has to visit Los Angeles, California. There is nothing more emblematic of the American movie scene than the city of Los Angeles. Check out Hollywood Boulevard, and learn about all the cinematic industry in the country.

Los Angeles is not only about glamor and movies though, there are amazing stops for the science enthusiasts as well. Visit the La Brea Tar Pits and see spectacular fossils that date back from 40,000 years ago. It is a great place for families to visit, and for the curious mind.

Similar to New York City, Los Angeles has a diverse population. The city has one of the best food scenes on the West coast. It is especially famous for its Mexican food, so if you visit Los Angeles, you have to give it a try!

11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA
Los Angeles palm trees | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA

Nashville, Tennessee

While Los Angeles is the city of movies, Nashville is most definitely the city of country music. There are numerous country music museums to learn all about local country legends, and see memorabilia of your favorite artists. As time has gone on, Nashville has become a hotspot for Gospel and Bluegrass music as well. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch a live music show, make sure to take it.

Nashville’s location makes it perfect for the traveler who needs a bit of time in nature. Though it is a big city, there is a giant 55-acre botanical garden to escape from the crowds. It is truly the best of both worlds.

Illuminated street in Nashville, Tennessee | 11 Ideas For A Bucket List Vacation In The USA