Last summer, I went travelling for just under 2 months around North America and had the best time ever. I managed to visit most (if not all) the places I'd ever wanted to see, and since have added more to my bucket list!

I planned it so that I travelled up and down the west coast, then cross-country to the east coast, and up into New England and Canada, but if you've got a limited time-frame or budget, these are the places I'd recommend to add to your list - getting it down to 10 was hard...

1. New York City

Starting with the obvious, which is on most, if not all, USA bucket lists: NYC. This city was the one place I'd wanted to go most in the world for a very long time, thanks to the influence of films like You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and TV shows like Friends and Gossip Girl. I was there for about 5 days in total, which was just about enough to do all the main tourist hotspots, but to see more of the locals' favourites, you definitely need longer as there's so much to do. Personal highlights were The High Line in the Meatpacking District and Central Park - beautiful green areas to relax in the bustling city.



2. Seattle

I was lucky enough to stay with some lovely family friends in one of the neighbourhoods just outside of Seattle, and I was there for just 3 days. However, I instantly fell in love with the city; it's got the high-rise feel of New York or London, but without the busy, stressful feel to it. Everybody thrives on coffee and you can see why, given it's home to the original Starbucks cafe. Pike Place Market is definitely worth seeing, and a great place to get some souvenirs. I'd also recommend taking a boat trip to one of the nearby islands, if not for just the wonderful view of the skyline behind you! Everyone is lovely, and if you're lucky, on a clear day, you might just see some incredible views of Mt Rainier in the distance.



3. Monument Valley

I visited Monument Valley when I was on a G Adventures tour (this one, to be specific) and it honestly was one of the best experiences of my life. Completely cut off in the middle of the desert, Navajo Nation is an area of Native American land that covers parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, and we stayed there overnight. We were welcomed with amazing food and a really interesting tour around the area, before watching ritual dances and hilariously being driven in the dark through bumpy land back to our camp site. We all camped out under the stars and saw many shooting ones, before getting up early to watch the sunrise. An absolutely unforgettable night, which should be high on your list for the States!



4. Chicago

I didn't really know much about Chicago beforehand, except that it had great pizza. This was indeed proven to be true (in fact the best pizza I've EVER had - make sure you go to Giordano's, off the Magnificent Mile), but I found I loved it even more than I'd anticipated. Even now, looking back, I'm still loving it more and more! The weather in summer is boiling, but Chicago has beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan, so plenty of space to sunbathe! The architecture here rivals New York, and there are plenty of boat tours to take you round the city to make sure you see them all. If you're there in summer, I recommend taking a boat trip out onto the lake for the fireworks show - they have them every Saturday throughout the summer period - or you can go to Navy Pier for a free (and still great) viewing.



5. Yosemite National Park

This was also a stop on my tour with G Adventures, and I actually found that by having a tour guide, it made it easier to know the best trails to hike on, where the best views are, and how easy it is to get from place to place. Yosemite is something I've never known anything close to here in the UK, but it was absolutely beautiful. I'm more of a city girl really, but even I couldn't deny how incredible the entire park was. Make sure you bring actual hiking boots here though to avoid many a blister - I learned that the hard way...!



6. New Orleans

Again, I'd been told New Orleans was something to look forward to by lots of people who I knew had already been, and they weren't wrong! The whole feel of the city is completely different to other US cities I visited - it's very chilled out, with a strong musical influence running through the streets. You can barely turn the corner without seeing some other reference to jazz music or clubs, and visiting them in the French Quarter has to be done - I particularly enjoyed The Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street. Of course Bourbon Street is a given here too, and if you're fancying a night out, it's very cheap! By recommendation, I tried a 'Hand Grenade' (famous to New Orleans) which you can get in most places! If the nightlife isn't really for you, there is plenty of beautiful art everywhere, plus amazing food (you need to try a Beignet at Cafe du Monde!) and lots of chances to have tarot cards or your palms read. Tours out to the swamps to see the alligators are worth a trip too!



7. White Mountains National Park

The White Mountains in New Hampshire were actually just a stop-off visit whilst my boyfriend and I were on a road trip from Boston to Toronto, but it ended up being one of the loveliest places we visited that's a bit off the beaten track! New England is famous for its foliage, and although we were there in early September, we were slightly too early to see the famous Fall leaves, so go later if this is what you're after! However, it's still very picturesque just driving through the mountains and we made the choice to do a slightly longer route along the Kancamagus Highway, which is definitely the best option if you've got time on your hands! We were unfortunately only there for the night and stayed in a gorgeous B&B in North Conway, NH, but there are plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, biking, and even skiing in the right places! Definitely a place to come back to in the future.



8. San Diego

San Diego was my second stop on my travels, and I stayed in a wonderful hostel called the Adventure Hostel just off the main highway into the city. In typical Californian fashion, the weather was beautiful, and the water was clear, meaning I wasn't really missing cold grey England at this point! I unfortunately didn't get to see the world famous zoo, but I hiked up to Balboa Park for the morning which I'm so glad I did, as you get a great view of the skyline from the hills! The park itself is full of museums and gardens, so plenty to do, especially if you're travelling as a family! The nightlife is pretty good too, as I went on a night out organised by the hostel, where all drinks were only a $1 each - very good for the solo traveller budget! Old Town State Park is really good too if you want to know more about the city's history and relationship with Mexico. One thing that really attracted me to San Diego, and in particular to the hostel I was in, was that it's really close to the Mexican border. We were able to go to Tijuana for the night which was really fun, and again really cheap! The border process was very easy - you basically just walk through to Mexico, but have to go through checks back to the US - and it's a only a short tram ride away from the main city to the border. I wish I'd had more time here!



9. Grand Canyon National Park

Another staple on the USA bucket list has to be the Grand Canyon. This was another stop on my G Adventures tour, and we camped near to the South Rim. As with Yosemite, it was really useful to know where and when to hike to on the trails, and our tour guides organised a really fun experience to introduce us to the canyon - if you've been here with G, you'll know what I mean! Through the tour I was also able to book a helicopter ride over the canyon; normally I'm not the best with heights but it was one of my best decisions ever and something I'll never forget - you have to do this! I loved the Grand Canyon so much that it's my display picture...



10. Boston

Last but not least, Boston is on the list. I instantly felt at home here, which is one of the reasons why I loved it so much. Again, everyone was so friendly, and there's so much to do: Harvard, Faneuil Hall market, Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail, the list goes on. We also managed to squeeze in a short trip down to Cape Cod, which is about an hour's drive south out of the city, but definitely worth going to - it's exactly how you'd imagine, and so relaxing! We weren't here for too long, but I definitely want to go back!



If you liked this post, don't forget to pin it :)