Top 5 Favorite Places We’ve Traveled to in the US

top five places traveled to in the US

From when we left for van life in the winter of 2020 until the end of 2022, Shayne and I traveled to 26 different states, spanning four time zones. We’ve seen countless rock formations, ocean views, mountains, and rivers. But there were a few states that really stood out to us as we traveled across the US: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

Our top five favorite places we’ve traveled to in the US are all in these states, with #6, Surfside Beach in Texas, being a close runner-up. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the top five places we’ve traveled to in the US and some of the specific destinations and trails you should check out!

Top Destinations (in Order)

1. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

From mountain-top views and wandering bison to stunning waterfalls and geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park is our top pick for favorite places we’ve traveled to in the US. We’re avid hikers and love exploring the outdoors, so the variety of natural features and trails Yellowstone had to offer were right up our alley.

Why you should check it out:

  • Over 10,000 thermal features in the park (
  • The park is huge (28,000 square miles). If you were to drive through the entire figure-8 loop, it would take 6-7 hours. Plenty of nature to check out!
  • Wildlife is abundant. While we were there, we saw three bears, an elk, bison, and countless other small creatures.
  • Yellowstone National Park features more than 900 miles of hiking trails, all very unique!
  • It’s truly some of the most beautiful, untouched nature we’ve ever seen.

Our favorite places (we’ve been to) within the park:

  • Bunsen Peak Trail. This is a 2-3 hour hike with 1,300 feet in elevation and features panoramic views from a mountaintop.
  • Fairy Falls Trail. The trail goes by Grand Prismatic (another beautiful feature) and the falls themselves are gorgeous and 200 feet tall.
  • Hellroaring Trail. We only did part of this hike (just up to the suspension bridge). But it features stunning valley views and a unique suspension bridge. Warning: this hike is steep!
  • Lookout Point of the Lower Falls. One of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Plus, it doesn’t require a big hike to get to the view!

Tips: To avoid large crowds, we recommend getting into the park as early as you can (we went in around 6-7 AM each day) and checking out some trails or features that aren’t the “mainstream” ones you’ve already heard about. There are so many unique trails and features to explore!


2. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

Nestled just south of Yellowstone National Park sits stunning Grand Teton National Park. With a unique-looking mountain range, a series of serene, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, and over 200 miles of trails, Grand Teton National Park is a don’t-miss destination for us. It’s also very kayak-friendly!

Our favorite places (we’ve been to) within the park:


3. Southeast Utah

Southeast Utah was so unique, Shayne and I couldn’t narrow it down to one individual place you should visit! The vast desert, unique rock formations, and alien-like terrain put this area in our top five places to travel in the US.

Our favorite places we’ve been to:

  • Goblin Valley State Park. Talk about an alien-like landscape. Hiking through Goblin Valley felt like a true adventure as we climbed over and around hoodoos and into a variety of caves. Bonus: it’s also kid-friendly.
  • Devils Garden Trail at Arches National Park. We followed the main trail up to the Primitive Trail and took that back so that it was a loop. Be warned, the primitive trail is not for the faint of heart! It required crawling up rock faces and extra attention to staying on the trail. But, my goodness, talk about beautiful views and crazy rock formations.
  • Valley of the Gods. Free camping spots, towering rock formations, and bike-friendly trails made this area one of our favorites.
  • Route 261 to 95. We drove from Mexican Hat up to Hanksville, Utah and didn’t know what we were in for. This road went through so many unique rock formations and over the Colorado River. One specific area along the route, I would say, even looked like a mini Grand Canyon. If it’s not too far out of your way, I would definitely recommend taking this route.


4. Denver, Colorado (And Surrounding Area)

Denver and its surrounding area has our hearts, which is why we moved there in 2023! From a strong arts and music scene to mountain views and trails, Denver is truly unique and very dog-friendly for all those pup parents out there.

Our favorite places we’ve been to:

  • Meow Wolf Denver (Convergence Station). A must-see. Seriously. Shayne, our friend Dylan, and I spent four hours walking around this interactive art exhibit. I felt like a little kid exploring all of the different rooms, many of which are hidden. 10/10 recommend.
  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre (& Red Rocks Trail). Did you know that in 2021 Red Rocks Amphitheatre was named the top-grossing, most-attended concert venue of any size, anywhere in the world? The stunning venue speaks for itself and is a must-see if you’re in Denver. Plus, the area also features a 6-mile trail loop with beautiful views.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains before, it’s worth visiting just for that. The sheer size of the mountains is jaw-dropping, and the National Park also features lots of beautiful hikes and crystal-clear lakes.
  • Westminster Hills Off-Leash Dog Park (aka Open Space). As dog parents, this is our favorite dog park we’ve ever been to. It features 420 acres of off-leash area and trails, with a mountain view!


5. Sedona, Arizona

Last but certainly not least on our list of the top five places we’ve traveled to in the US is Sedona, Arizona. Nestled north of Phoenix and south of Flagstaff, this unique area features deep red rock formations, beautiful forests, and a strong arts scene. Plus, free Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camping nearby where we met lots of fellow van lifers!

Our favorite places we’ve been to:

  • Doe Mountain Trail. This 1.7-mile dog-friendly hike goes to the top of a mountain and has stunning views of Sedona’s red rocks.
  • Chicken Point Overlook. This hike features views of some of the most popular rock formations in Sedona.

Tips: Both trails have very limited parking. If possible, we recommend biking or walking to each trailhead.



Overall, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona are some of our favorite states in the US. All have stunning natural features and hikes that are perfect for outdoor adventurers. If you’re interested in finding more destinations to visit on your travels, check out our life on the road page where you can submit your email address to get access to our exclusive digital map. It marks all of the locations we’ve researched over our years of van life.

Thanks for being here!

– Vanessa



Digital nomad. Website developer. Photographer. Designer. Lover of hiking, camping, dubstep, yoga, and reading.