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posted on June 29th, 2017

Wide open spaces in the wild west

The wild west is home to some of the country’s most naturally beautiful history. From national parks to the Gold Rush to really great wine, U.S. history here tells a story of adventure and innovation.

Yellowstone, WY

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving natural wonders. Watch Old Faithful’s impressive show, then pitch a tent at one of the park’s many campgrounds to make the most of your visit.

Taos Pueblo, NM

Head way back in American history — over a thousand years, in fact. Built mostly between 1000 and 1450 A.D., the Taos Pueblo structures are considered the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in the states. Besides the opportunity to honor the centuries of tradition, the pueblo is located at the base of the striking Sangre de Cristo Mountain range.

Grand Canyon, AZ

Beyond being one of the most popular US attractions and home to history dating back 12,000 years, the Grand Canyon is just stinkin’ beautiful. One of those wonderful places that’s really all it’s cracked up to be, this is an ideal spot to pay homage to the wide open spaces that constitute some of the best of the country.

Hoover Dam, NV

This monolithic structure is impressive in its own right, and it tells a story of one of the nation’s most challenging periods. Built in just five years during the Depression by thousands of men who journeyed to the Black Canyon, the Hoover Dam is still regarded as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. All things told: a worthwhile detour from Vegas when you get tired of feeding the slot machines.

San Diego, CA

A naval city, San Diego is home to the USS Midway, a floating museum that lets you experience life aboard one of the country’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. Then, check out the first California mission: Mission San Diego de Alcalá. The birthplace of west coast Christianity, the mission is both central to the state’s history and a lovely piece of Spanish-style architecture. When you’re done soaking up the history, honor America’s diversity and debt to immigrants in a small but delicious way: with some top-notch Mexican food, courtesy of our neighbors to the south.

Sonoma, CA

The pretty plaza in the center of town was once home to the Bear Flag Revolt, which led to the Mexican-American war. Besides this battle history, it’s also a perfect place to while away the afternoon, and the state’s largest plaza. Plus, though sometimes overshadowed by its preening neighbor, Napa, Sonoma is home to some of the state’s, and so, arguably, the world’s, best wines.

Coloma, CA

Once home to some 80,000 immigrants who inundated the state when gold was found here, Coloma marks the spot that set off the historic Gold Rush. Head to the Marshall Gold Discovery Park to learn to pan for gold yourself and watch costumed volunteers reenact crafts of the time. Lucky for you, you’re still in wine country, so you can polish off the trip with a tasty (and affordable) glass of wine.

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.