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Graduation is a time for new beginnings. It's a time to celebrate your accomplishments and set your sights on the future. Before you move on to the next phase of your life, take some time to relax and enjoy yourself. The memories you make during this time will stay with you forever, so why not make them count? And if you're located in America there are plenty of fun opportunities within the country. No passports are required!
Here are 13 great ideas for graduation vacations within America:
1. New York
Of course, a list of graduation vacation ideas within America would not be complete without mentioning the Big Apple. From the bright lights of Times Square to the iconic Statue of Liberty, there is no shortage of things to see and do in New York City. And with a wealth of hotels and restaurants to choose from, you can easily find accommodations to fit your budget. You have many options for getting around the city, but we recommend taking a ride on the subway for an authentic New York experience.
Here are some things to explore on your trip:
Visit the top of the Empire State Building
Enjoy stunning views of the city from one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
Go to a Broadway Show
Seeing a Broadway show is a must-do in New York City. There are tons of great shows to choose from, so you're sure to find one you'll enjoy.
Take a tour of Central Park
Central Park is one of the most iconic places in New York City, and it's definitely worth taking a tour. You'll learn all about the history and culture of the park while getting some exercise at the same time.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is home to some of the world's most famous works of art. It's a great place to spend an afternoon if you're interested in art and culture.
Chinatown is one of the most vibrant and exciting neighborhoods in New York City. There are many great shops and restaurants to check out, where you'll get to try authentic Chinese food.
Of all the graduation vacation ideas in America, Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations. And it's no wonder why - with its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes, Hawaii is a natural paradise. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach or explore some of the island's thrilling outdoor activities, Hawaii has something for everyone.
You may want to consider the following activities:
Visit Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii. It's also a very moving place to visit, as it commemorates the site of the attack that led to America's involvement in World War II.
Explore Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world. You can tour the park and learn about the history and science of these fascinating natural wonders.
Hawaii is one of the best places to go surfing, so if you're looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, this is it. There are plenty of great surf spots around the island, so you're sure to find one that suits your skill level.
Take a Hula Dance Lesson
Hula dancing is a traditional Hawaiian dance that is fun to watch and even more fun to do. If you're interested in learning this unique form of dance, consider taking a hula lesson while in Hawaii.
Hike to the top of Diamond Head
Diamond Head is one of the most popular hiking trails in Hawaii. The trail takes you to the top of a volcanic crater, where you'll be rewarded with stunning views of Honolulu.
3. Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida, is home to some of the most popular theme parks in the country, making it a perfect destination for a graduation vacation. Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld are all located in Orlando, and there are also numerous golf courses and other attractions to keep visitors entertained. In addition, the city is known for its warm weather, so it's an excellent choice for those who want to avoid the cooler temperatures of the Northeast or Midwest. Best of all, plenty of affordable hotels and vacation rentals are available in Orlando.
Here are some of the best activities to enjoy in Orlando:
Visit the Theme Parks
Of course, no trip to Orlando would be complete without spending some time at the city's famous theme parks. Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld are must-sees, plus plenty of smaller parks to explore.
Play a Round of Golf
Orlando is home to some of the best golf courses in the country, so if you're a fan of the sport, be sure to hit the links while you're in town. There are courses to suit all skill levels, so you're sure to find one perfect for you.
Check out the Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is one of Florida's most popular tourist attractions. It's a great place to learn about the history of space exploration and see some of the spacecraft used by NASA over the years.
If you're looking for an Orlando attraction a little bit off the beaten path, check out Gatorland. This park is home to hundreds of alligators and other animals such as crocodiles, turtles, and snakes.
Alaska is a land of extremes, making it the perfect place to celebrate graduation. Alaska is a truly wild place, from its towering mountains to its pristine forests. And what better way to celebrate your graduation than by getting away from it all? Alaska offers you an adventure-filled trip or a relaxing getaway, or both.
These are some of the best activities to enjoy in Alaska:
Hiking in Denali National Park
Denali National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Alaska. The park is home to Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. There are also plenty of hiking trails to explore, so don't forget to pack your hiking boots.
Alaska is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, eagles, and whales. Many tour operators offer wildlife-watching excursions if you're interested in seeing some of these animals in their natural habitat.
Alaska is world-renowned for its salmon fishing, so if you're a fan of the sport, give it a try while in the state. But, of course, plenty of other fish, such as halibut, trout, and cod, can be caught too.
Alaska is home to some of the largest glaciers in North America. If you're interested in seeing these massive chunks of ice up close, plenty of tour operators offer glacier-viewing excursions.
5. Yosemite National Park, California
No American graduation is complete without a road trip. Yosemite National Park, with its soaring mountains, pristine forests, and rushing waterfalls, is the perfect place to celebrate this milestone. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in the country.
These are some of the highlights:
Yosemite is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, so you're sure to find one perfect for your fitness level. Whether you want to take a stroll or go for a challenging hike, there's a trail for you.
Yosemite is a mecca for rock climbers, with its towering cliffs and world-renowned routes. If you're interested in trying your hand at this exhilarating sport, plenty of guides and outfitters can help you get started.
Yosemite is also home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the country. So if you're looking for an adrenaline-filled activity, this is it. There are plenty of tour operators that offer rafters of all skill levels. Explore the Mariposa Grove. The Mariposa Grove is one of the most popular attractions in Yosemite National Park. This grove is home to over 500 giant sequoias, the largest trees on earth.
6. Niagara Falls
One of the most popular graduation vacation ideas in America is Niagara Falls. Located on the border of Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls is one of the world's most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural wonders. Each year, millions of people see the falls, which are made up of three separate waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. Visitors can view the falls from both the Canadian and American sides, and boat tours offer up-close views of the rushing waters.
You could easily spend a week exploring Niagara Falls and the surrounding area, but these are some of the highlights:
Visit the American Falls
The American Falls is the largest of the three waterfalls at Niagara Falls. Visitors can get up close to the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which takes passengers right into the heart of the action.
Explore Goat Island
Goat Island is located in the middle of Niagara Falls, between the American and Horseshoe Falls. The island offers up-close views of both waterfalls and plenty of hiking trails and photo ops.
Visit Cave of the Winds
The Cave of the Winds is a series of wooden walkways that allow visitors to get right next to Bridal Veil Falls. The walkways are located at the base of the falls, so you'll be sure to get soaked.
Take a Helicopter Tour
Take a helicopter tour for a bird's eye view of Niagara Falls. These tours offer breathtaking views of the falls and the surrounding area.
Do you love the outdoors? Then you'll definitely want to consider Colorado for your graduation vacation. This state is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country and a plethora of outdoor activities. The Rocky Mountains offer endless hiking, biking, and camping opportunities, and there are also plenty of towns and cities to explore.
You can easily spend a week or more in Colorado, but these are some of the highlights:
Hike in the Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains offer up endless opportunities for hiking and backpacking. There are trails of all difficulty levels, so you're sure to find one perfect for your fitness level.
Boulder is a vibrant college town located at the base of the Rocky Mountains. There are plenty of things to do in Boulder, from hiking and biking to shopping and dining.
Explore the Smaller Towns
Colorado is home to several charming small towns, each with its unique personality. Some of the most popular include Aspen, Breckenridge, and Telluride.
Go Whitewater Rafting
Colorado is also home to some of the best whitewater rafting. There are plenty of tour operators that offer rafters of all skill levels.
Go Skiing in the Mountains
People flock to Colorado every year for the incredible downhill ski slopes and snowboarding. It's great fun for the family and makes for a nice family tradition.
8. Las Vegas
Haven't you always wanted to see the bright lights of Las Vegas? Then consider making this city your destination if this is a college graduation celebration. Sin City is known for its casinos, hotels, and nightlife, but there's much more to see and do. While many people immediately think of Las Vegas as a place to gamble and party, the city has a lot to offer graduates looking for a fun and unique vacation. In addition to the myriad of casinos and nightclubs, Vegas is home to world-class restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. And if you're looking to get away from the city, there are plenty of nearby hiking and camping options in the stunning Mojave Desert.
Some top spots you can explore are the following:
Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as "the Strip," is the main drag in Vegas and home to most of the city's hotels and casinos. While you're here, check out some famous casinos, such as the Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, and the Venetian.
Fremont Street is the older, more historic part of Vegas. This area is home to vintage casinos, hotels, and the famous "Fremont Street Experience" light show.
The Hoover Dam
Just a short drive from Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The dam is located on the border of Arizona and Nevada and offers tours, a visitor's center, and stunning views.
9. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the perfect graduation vacation spot for those who enjoy the sun and surf. LA offers something for everyone with its miles of beaches, world-famous boardwalk, and various outdoor activities. Visitors can spend their days lounging on the beach, exploring the many shops and restaurants, or enjoying the nightlife. There are also many museums and cultural attractions to explore, making LA an excellent destination for those who want to learn more about the world around them.
Best of all, LA is easy to get to from most major US cities, making it a convenient choice after graduation. Consider the following attractions:
Venice Beach is one of the most popular spots in LA, and for a good reason. This beach is known for its eclectic atmosphere, street performers, and Muscle Beach outdoor gym.
Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a historic landmark home to many shops, restaurants, and attractions, including an amusement park and aquarium.
No trip to LA would be complete without a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This iconic street also has plenty of shops and restaurants for visitors to enjoy.
10. Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, located on the southeastern coast of Florida with its art deco architecture and vibrant nightlife, is known for its excellent white-sand beaches. The city also has a large Cuban population, giving it a lively and festive atmosphere. Graduates looking for a graduation vacation destination that is both exciting and relaxing will find that Miami Beach fits the bill perfectly.
When you're planning your trip, be sure to consider the following attractions:
The Everglades is a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Visitors can take airboat tours or go hiking and camping in this natural wonderland.
Bayside Marketplace is a waterfront shopping and dining complex located in downtown Miami. It's the perfect place to find souvenirs, grab a bite to eat, or enjoy live entertainment.
South Beach is the most popular spot in Miami Beach, known for its art deco architecture, white-sand beaches, and nightlife.
11. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a historic city on the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana. It is known for its French Quarter, music scene, and annual celebrations, such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. Graduates looking for a graduation vacation spot that is full of culture and history will find that New Orleans is the perfect destination.
You can't visit New Orleans without trying to see the following attractions:
The French Quarter
The French Quarter is the oldest and most historic district in New Orleans. It is home to several shops, restaurants, attractions, and the famous Bourbon Street.
Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World is a tourist attraction that offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the world-famous Mardi Gras celebration.
The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum is one of the most famous museums in New Orleans. It tells the story of the American experience during World War II through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
12. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. With its breathtaking views and a multitude of hiking trails, the Grand Canyon is a perfect place to unwind after a hectic year of classes and exams. For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River.
Here are a few options to explore:
The South Rim
The South Rim is the most popular spot at the Grand Canyon and offers some of the best views of the canyon. It is also home to several shops, restaurants, and attractions.
The North Rim
The North Rim is less crowded than the South Rim and offers unique canyon views. It's also excellent for hiking, camping, and wildlife watching.
The Bright Angel Trail
The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Grand Canyon. It is a strenuous hike, but the views from the top are well worth the effort.
Austin, the capital of Texas, is known for its eclectic live-music scene, which spans from country to punk rock. It's also home to a vibrant arts community and many parks and outdoor spaces. In addition, the city has a laid-back vibe and is welcoming to all, making it a great place to celebrate your graduation with friends.
Here are some ideas for things to do in Austin:
Visit the State Capitol
The grand building houses the offices of the governor of Texas and the state legislature. Take a tour to learn about the history and architecture of the building.
Browse the Austin City Limits Music Festival
This annual event features more than 150 bands performing on eight stages over three days. It's one of the largest music festivals in the country and a great way to experience live music from a variety of genres.
Go Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake
In downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is a popular kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding spot. Rent a boat and explore the water at your own pace.
Check out the Zilker Botanical Garden
This 35-acre garden features a wide variety of plant life, sculptures, fountains, and a koi pond. It's a great place to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
With so many unique places to visit in the United States, it can be tough to pick just one place for your graduation vacation. Hopefully, our list of top thirteen destinations will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect spot to celebrate this milestone. Happy travels!
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