Tips for Visiting U.S. Landmarks
The United States is home to many amazing landmarks, both man-made and natural. Have you always dreamed of taking the quintessential road trip out West? Perhaps you want to pay homage to important sites of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Or maybe the American Revolution in the Northeast has always captivated you. Whichever landmark-inspired trip you choose to take, there is a fair amount of preparation to consider before hitting the road. Here are a few tips to make your U.S. landmarks trip memorable.
Bring a Camera
Taking a camera on a trip might seem like a no-brainer, but because it is such an obvious item to pack, many people end up forgetting to bring one along. Snapping a photo of a breathtaking canyon or an interesting historical building is a great way to preserve the memory, and you can add those photos to an album or travel journal later. Don’t forget to take a few shots of you and your family in addition to all of the landmarks! It’s possible to become too snap-happy, and your time is entirely focused on taking the pictures instead of actually looking at the landmark in front of you and appreciating it in person. Taking too many pictures can also annoy other onlookers or even your own family, and you could end up with too many photos to sift through after the trip.
There are many cameras out on the market that will do a decent job, but according to photography writer and enthusiast Mason Resnick, “you can get great images with the latest generation of smaller cameras.” Smaller cameras are also easier to carry, and many can fit into small purses or pants pockets. With the evolution of the smartphone, many people prefer to snap quick shots conveniently with their phone, but for bigger trips it’s a good idea to have a device that’s designed to take the best quality photographs.
Take Your Kids
Children may not be overly-enthusiastic about visiting landmarks, but once you begin the trip they’ll most likely enjoy the experience. Landmarks are fascinating on a different level for kids, and can appear almost magical. Taking your children on trips allows them to see a bigger world from a young age, and can also serve as a fun educational experience. Many U.S. landmarks have information on site about their backgrounds or historical legacies, and many even offer guided tours. These tours are designed to be fun and educational for the whole family. Visiting landmarks with your kids is a great way to get out of the house while exposing them to some of the country’s history.
Be Prepared to Walk
Many landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon, will require a fair amount of walking. Come prepared wearing comfortable shoes and clothing that will work for long periods of walking. Don’t be afraid to spend some time exploring or wandering around the site. Many landmarks will have trails or paths that will allow you to see different views of the landmark. This could make the experience even more memorable, and may give you some great photo opportunities you might not otherwise know about.
Bring Water and Snacks
Visiting landmarks can take up to a few hours. Many places, like Yellowstone National Park, can get quite hot in the summer, and you’ll need water for hydration and snacks to keep up your energy. You’ll especially want to consider bringing refreshments along if your kids are traveling with you, as they can become cranky and difficult when they get hungry. Granola bars are great for energy and staving off hunger. Some places may have stores or stands where you can buy food or drink, but like most tourist attractions, it will be cheaper to buy them at a grocery or convenience store before you arrive.
Check Out the Surrounding Area
Many U.S. landmarks are located in interesting areas. To add to your trip and ensure you get the most out of it that you can, do some research and explore while you’re there to see what else there is to do around the landmark. For example, the Grand Canyon has many beautiful parks and campgrounds featuring all kinds of accommodations for guests located within a short drive. Take a few days to learn and really explore the whole area around the landmark.
Need more information? Check out this blog post: Guide to Sightseeing in the U.S.