State to state: unconventional American explorations
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State to state: unconventional American explorations

Whenever people talk about going to the US, they usually mean New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. While they are worth seeing for their culture, tourist-friendly character and iconic landmarks they are only a fraction of what America has to offer. As a half-American who’s been around most of the country, I wish to recommend a few other states worth seeing at least before the US has a wall surrounding it on all sides.

Wyoming is a state worth visiting when you have the time to explore

To begin, Wyoming is basically a national park disguised as a state. Featuring beautiful mountains, diverse wildlife and camps where you can play being a cowboy for a week, Wyoming is a state worth visiting when you have the time to explore. Chief among its highlights is Yellowstone park, a cauldron volcano you can actually sleep on. The state is perfect for hiking, photography and riding with geysers, herds and never-ending horizons.

New Mexico is one of the more liberal desert states but still has a great deal to offer. For fans of the hit show Breaking Bad, the capital city Albuquerque is a must-see destination. Slightly more expensive and higher up, at 7000 feet above sea level, is Santa Fe which hosts a vibrant artistic community. Exhibitions from all over the US flock here and it pays special dues to its American and Native American roots.

It has the power to teleport you to another world

Both cities are an hour away from each other and worth seeing for all the wonderful oddities. George R. R. Martin has his own arthouse cinema and bookshop in Santa Fe and its international community is thriving. The state also has its odd spots, Los Alamos is where the atomic bomb was created and it makes for a somewhat eerie and paranoid landmark with conversational traffic lights (yes, they talk to you) and heavily-patrolled town borders.

Moving on to Maine, this state is the furthest North East point in the US and worth seeing for bookworms alone if they wish to understand what drove Stephen King to kill its troubled residents on masse in his books. While it has many of American’s inherent hazards, mosquitos and grizzly bears especially, the nature in Maine has a lot to offer with lakes, forests and abandoned monuments of history scattered around in its verdant wilderness. You can find ancient engines in the woods, listen to loons by the lakes. Do check your lodge during winter however in case a bear has made itself at home.

California as a state has a lot to offer beyond its main cities

Now onto the west coast, California as a state has a lot to offer beyond its main cities. You can go from freezing cold to burning alive in a day’s travel even in late Spring. Near the top is Yosemite where animals will scavenge for toothpaste if not appropriately bagged in your car and the mountains prove irresistible for climbers. In the South there’s Death Valley, the lowest place in the US and one of the most appropriately named places in America.

The coastal drives are beautiful, especially when armies of elephant seals launch themselves onto land. If you’ve managed to go through Los Angeles and San Francisco and think that’s it, there’s always more, from cityscapes to its national parks teaming with mountain lions. Don’t worry though, it’s been proven they can be driven away by the sound of Metallica.

Lastly, West Virginia holds a special place in my heart for one specific place, White Grass, a ski-resort that caters to the less adventurous cross-country types like me. In Winter it’s a place of quiet solitude, local community warmth and many stories of falling down. The woodlands stretch on for what seems like forever and while it’s not the most famous part of the US, it has the power to entrance you in another world and hopefully give you enough good memories for the journey home.

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