Where To Go And What To Do On Your Summer Travels05:42
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Summer is a great time to explore the country.

If you’re looking to get off the beach and discover some cities, parks and places you’ve never been, Evan Godt (@Evan_Godt), Lonely Planet's managing destination editor for the Americas, shares some suggestions.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

"It's actually the largest national park in Utah," Godt says. "It gets about a quarter of the visitors that Zion National Park gets, about half of what Bryce Canyon gets. So if you ever had that experience where you've gone out to a national park trying to seek solitude and peace, and then you get stuck in a traffic jam on the way out there, this might be a better alternative for you."

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

"Harpers Ferry, if you're not aware, it's this quaint, preserved, 19th-century small town that's probably most famous for an 1859 raid by abolitionist John Brown, who wanted to spark a slave revolt," Godt says. "While he was captured and hung, the tensions kinda bubbled into the Civil War, so it's a very important place in American history."

The Greenbrier, West Virginia

The entrance to a former government relocation facility, also know as "the bunker," at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The entrance to a former government relocation facility, also know as "the bunker," at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

"The Greenbrier is one of these big, huge resorts for presidents and masters of industry since the 1830s," Godt says. "But what caught our eye about it is, actually in the 1950s, Congress made a bomb shelter there, in case there's a nuclear holocaust. So it was President Eisenhower's idea, and it was top secret for 30 years. But now you can go visit yourself if you want."

Chattanooga, Tennessee

The grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, in the city's former terminal station. (Pilot MKN/Flickr)
The grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, in the city's former terminal station. (Pilot MKN/Flickr)

"It is a beautiful place to be," Godt says. "We kinda consider it the next Asheville, North Carolina, in that, during the day, you can go out hiking and explore the outdoors, but then come back, and then have great food, great breweries.

"It bills itself as one of the greenest cities in the country: electric buses, bikes, pedestrian ways. And if you've ever heard the 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' song, that's there, you can actually go to the old terminal station — it's a hotel now — and sleep in a sleeper car that's been converted into a hotel room."

St. Louis, Missouri

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

"Full disclosure: I'm from the area, so it's pretty close to my heart. But it is kinda having a moment now," Godt says. "They renovated the arch grounds. If you've never been, it's a beautiful monument, the Gateway Arch, and they've renovated the grounds and they're redoing the museum that's underneath.

"That's not open yet, but you can go visit the National Blues Museum, which is there on Washington Avenue. It's a great facility. Have yourself some barbecue at Bogart's, and definitely check out the City Museum."

Mississippi Blues Trail

The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Miss. (Beth J. Harpaz/AP)
The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Miss. (Beth J. Harpaz/AP)

"It's a trail that they established over the last decade in Mississippi — throughout the whole state, really, but mainly concentrated in the Delta — where they honor the history of blues, so influential in American music," Godt says. "It's kind of scattershot across the state, but they've marked out, if you go to their website, different places to visit, things that you could see: the B.B. King Museum, the Gateway to the Blues Museum, Delta Blues Museum — which is actually where you can find the cabin where Muddy Waters grew up. And then if you head over just a little bit to Tupelo, you can see the home where Elvis Presley was born."

This segment aired on June 6, 2017.

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