Sometimes, once isn't enough. These cities, states, and national parks are so fantastic that you should see them again and again. Boundlessly full of opportunities, amazing attractions, hidden treasures, and bursting with personality, these top spots will continue to wow your student group forever!
Of course the Big Apple was going to be on the top of this list. The single largest city in the United States, New York City takes the average city-going experience and ratchets it up a thousand times better. Manhattan is the place to be for sites like Time Square, the Empire State Building and Central Park but don't forget about the other boroughs, some of which are up and coming like Queens. Some of the best restaurants, landmarks (Statue of Liberty, anyone?), historical sites like Ellis Island, fun stops, and big city touring, New York City is the ultimate city-bound vacation destination. It's also too big to see in one go so visit at least twice to get the full experience!
It stands to reason that Hawaii is simply too beautiful and too spread out to truly take in during a single trip. Focus on outdoor recreation or city touring for your first round and then swap for your second to really take in every facet of Hawaii's magnificence. We recommend starting with touring the historical and cultural attractions of Oahu and The Big Island to see Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, Dole Pineapple Plantation, and others. Then, you're not going to want to miss out on seeing Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you can see two world record breaking volcanoes constantly churning out lava, or the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the NaPali Coast, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and any of the spectacular diving and jungle exploring sites on the eight major islands in the archipelago.
Easily one of the most popular national parks in the country, Yellowstone is sublime to say the least. Covering 3,500 square miles and containing over 10,000 geothermal features within its borders, Yellowstone is a wonderland of natural attractions. Sulfur pools, boiling mud pits, exploding geysers which shoot off on a timed schedule, and a cornucopia of wildlife running (mostly) free means you have a lot on your itinerary at Yellowstone. Camp first and tour the park by land or explore via the waterways. Trust us, it'll take you quite a while to see everything! You can even kayak or canoe Yellowstone Lake and see bears roaming the shores for something extra cool.
4. Las Vegas
Bright lights, affordable traveling, and as much fun as you can take pretty much sums up Sin City. Las Vegas isn't just for adults now, either. Students can take advantage of Vegas' extremely cheap first-class hotel rooms, free shows, and awesome attractions like the retro Fremont Street Experience where you can find ziplining in the city, free light shows, and cheap food. The Neon Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame make kitschy cool and fun while the Bellagio Conservatory amps up the design and creativity of the city a notch. It doesn't take long to get used to Vegas which is why short trips are recommended, and several of them. Come for a second or third time and find something new behind the neon signs!
Weird, creative, and utterly appealing, Portland is at once stunningly refreshing and yet familiar. Truly, Portland transports you into another realm of delights and makes you laugh out loud. With all of their "Keep Portland Weird" festivals and attractions, as well as their relatively normal yet amazing sites, Portland's diversity means you'll have to sample it a couple of times. They also have an incredibly wonderful food scene with surprisingly affordable options, including the foodcarts which dot the city. You can get gourmet comfort food like foie gras fries for $8 or anything else you could possibly imagine. Walking tours are recommended but you can also bike around and visit the Oregon Zoo, the stunning and highly popular Japanese Garden or Washington Park, the Grotto, Providence Park, or Pioneer Square.
Birthplace of a nation, Boston is definitely on the list of cities every American should see. It's also a city you should see twice, based on the depth and diversity of the sites to be explored. The Freedom Trail should definitely be first stop and as it includes 16 important stops, you should take your time. Visit everything from Granary Burying Ground to Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church because on a trip to Boston, you're not going to want to miss out on the integral histories of early America. You should also make time for the modern attractions such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, one of the best in the world, the Museum of Science with its stunning displays and interactive exhibits, and also Fenway Park for fans of America's favorite pastime. You can take the city in chunks, doing history one trip and contemporary another, but remember that these are two halves of what makes Boston so unique and wonderful to visit!
San Francisco is at once historic and constantly evolving with bigger, better, and more colorful things. Originally a merchant town, trading post, and gold mining city on the Pacific Coast, San Francisco attracted a lot of attention from all over the world. Gaining a huge population from immigrants, the cultural districts of the Bay City, such as Chinatown and the Mission District, make the city a more delectably diverse place to visit. Other sites like Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Park, Coit Tower, and Fisherman's Wharf offer plenty of touring options which you should absolutely take advantage of. San Francisco also has another side which people don't often see. Take a tour of the "off the beaten path" side of San Fran for a glimpse at the city's real face, and enjoy it as the locals do!