Being a retired Coastie brat, I always get asked the question, “what was your favorite station”. When I explain my traveling childhood, I always struggle to put into words what each port meant to me; with that being said, I feel as though there are hidden gems within the U.S. that are overlooked when considering going on an adventure! So, if you are having a road trip itch, or are looking for a spring break destination, fear not! For I have traveled across the “Land of the Free” multiple times, and I can tell you that America can be very cultured, when visiting the right Town.
Some of my favorite memories traveling across country in the Coast Guard regard not the station itself, but the journey to get there! My family would always make the travel exciting and vacation “esque” by visiting amazing towns and events along the way; this makes the list very nostalgic towards my childhood experiences, so I hope you enjoy these spots as much as my family did!
Btw- This list goes from ten to one, one being my favorite spot!
10. Garden-Valley, ID
This quaint town is nestled in some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Gardenvalley features a National Forest that is absolutely breathtaking. My family has enjoyed camping, hiking, and experiencing Idaho and it’s stunning scenery.
9. Muskogee, OK
This tornado alley town and its community represented a lot of state heritage and pride. It’s own unique culture and identity changed my particular perspective on school curriculums, patriotic pride, and learning to always say my , “yes ma’ams, and no sir”s.
8. Yellowstone, WY
Even though this place is quite touristy, it is worth the trip. It is a cliche for a reason, so many beautiful species of animals reside in this National Park. Gorgeous scenery all year round, and a great place to remind you how small we as a race are in this complex world.
7. Redwood National Park, CA
Another typical tourist destination, the redwoods are known for the beautiful species of tree that is featured in this green and massive landscape. A must see, in order to absorb what nature is truly capable of, the forest is so bright and bold with deep reds and luscious greens, it makes my hippie soul warm and fuzzy.
6. Depoe Bay, OR
Known for being the worlds smallest harbor, this quaint town revolves around the Coast Guard base and the ocean itself. The docks feature saltwater taffy vendors, hand blown glass shops, and some of the best kettle corn i’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. I specifically remember watching the pods of whales that would pass through and the absolutely gorgeous beaches that feature some extraordinary caves.
5. Keystone, SD
Nestled a few miles away from the infamous Mount Rushmore site, this mile long of a town appears to be stuck in the gold rush era. There are saloons, mining stores, and restaurants dedicated to the California gold rush story and residents take pride in sharing the history of their state. My parents especially enjoyed all of the antique stores it features and its rich history on black hill gold.
4. The OBX, NC
Surrounding the OBX beaches is the town Kitty Hawk ,where I have countless memories of playing in the sand, eating a ton of saltwater taffy, spotting wild horses along the beaches, and thoroughly enjoying the summer heat. There are a few unique stores that always were a favorite of my family’s, one being The Cotton Gin; it is the epitome of southern belle decorating and has everything from quilts to antiques and back to charming southern pieces for the home. Another favorite would be Morris Farms, an outdoor market that harvested anything from glorious pumpkins, to homemade jams.
3. Williamsburg, VA
A dream for hardcore history buffs, this town tells the story of colonial Virginia in all it’s glory. So many museums and artifacts that pull you back in time. Another amazing feature is the amusement park, Busch Gardens; an absolute hit for families that enjoy crazy rollercoasters and theme parks.
2. Seattle, WA
For all you “Grey’s Anatomy” fans out there, this city ranks a near 10/10 in my book. The open minded atmosphere, matched with the infamous pike place market, (be still my beating heart), fills my soul with joy. The absolutely breathtaking view of Mount Rainier, especially atop The Space Needle, is one of a kind. Not to mention the amount of cafe’s and coffee stands that are present! You can grab a damn good cup of joe on nearly every block! A green and flourishing city that celebrates the distinct Native American culture is something to be cherished and respected. You will never grow bored visiting this eye opening, rainy city.
- Ketchikan, AK
Ah, Finally! My favorite place on planet Earth has to be this 43 mile stretch of an island. An ever growing tropical rainforest, Ketchikan features some of the most rich wildlife in the nation. Ranging from tons of golden eagles, to king salmon, to hungry black bears to humongous pods of Orca! The culture stemming from the Tlingit, (local native American tribe), is indescribable. It is a completely different way of life and makes an individual really appreciate the natural world around them. The memories I made there will be with me forever. I miss witnessing the salmon run, bear sighting, whale watching, waterfall climbing, and local high school basketball games that took place at Kayhi, the one high school on the island. I recommend to everyone, take a trip once in your lifetime to experience this amazing masterpiece of culture.
Now, go on an adventure dammit!
Your favorite millennial asshole