RV Travel Bucket List: 20 Places to Visit Before You Die

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you create one

While we’re often daydreaming of beaches in the Maldives and vineyards in Tuscany, there are plenty of amazing destinations in our own backyard. To help you with your bucket list, I’ve rounded up 20 places you have to visit in the United States before you die—in no particular order.

Mission San Jose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Antonio Missions, Texas

Sure, you probably know about The Alamo in San Antonio, but it’s actually one of five Spanish missions found across the city that was established to spread Christianity and act as a refuge for Native Americans. The oldest is Mission Espada which was built in 1690, original frescoes are still visible inside Mission Concepcion, and the largest is Mission San José.

Canyon de Chelly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

A comparatively little-known canyon, Canyon de Chelly has sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present-day life of the Navajo who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor.

Great Smoky Mountains © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

Both a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in America. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and water tubing. Fall also offers striking foliage.

Santa Fe © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a charming town with a strong Native American influence. Pueblo-style architecture, a central plaza, and Loretto Chapel give the city a unique feel. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and restaurants serving New Mexican cuisine are additional highlights.

Related: Why NOW is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List

Boston Freedom Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boston Freedom Trail, Massachusetts

Boston played a major part in America’s independence and the city’s Freedom Trail passes through 16 historically significant locations. The two-and-a-half-mile trail takes visitors to Boston Common (America’s oldest public park), Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned ship).

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite, Arizona

Travel through this dusty outpost between April and November and you might wonder why this wide spot along Interstate 10 is such a popular snowbird destination for RVers. But visit in January and you’ll quickly see why: it morphs into a non-stop social event for RVing snowbirds.

Avery Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Avery Island, Louisiana

Avery Island is the home of Louisiana’s iconic hot sauce: Tabasco. See how it’s made during a factory tour, pick up a few souvenirs at the Tabasco Country Store, and tour the island’s Jungle Gardens.

Joshua Tree © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park is a dreamy destination known for its distinctive-looking and namesake trees, big boulders that are ideal for rock climbing, and stellar stargazing opportunities. Visitors can drive through, hike around and camp, or horseback ride through the varied desert landscape.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Savannah, Georgia

The distinctive Spanish Moss-draped trees, antebellum homes, and horse-drawn carriages help to give a relaxed and comfortable feel. Much of Savannah’s charm lies in meandering through the Historic District’s lovely shaded squares draped in feathery Spanish moss—all 22 of them.

Monument Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah

Monument Valley is one of the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. Eons of wind and rain carved the red-sandstone monoliths into fascinating formations, many of which jut hundreds of feet above the desert floor.

Related: Bucket List Trip for Your Lifetime: America’s Ultimate National Park Road Trip

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

If you doubt the Appalachians can hold their own with any other mountain range on the continent, travel this 469-mile stretch of road from Rockfish Gap, Virginia, to Swain County in North Carolina.

Mount Rushmore © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

This famous landmark depicts four American presidents carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The sculpture features the 60-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Bryce Canyon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon is best known for its concentration of hoodoos. The park was recently designated an International Dark Sky Park due to the great nighttime visibility and many astronomy-related programs on offer.

Charleston © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Charleston, South Carolina

The 1670-founded Charleston offers Southern charm with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and historic mansions in its well-preserved Historic District. Boutique shops and traditional Southern comfort food appeal to visitors.

Sedona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona, Arizona

If you delight in gazing at towering red rocks or driving through rugged canyons, then go to Sedona. If you admire exquisite art or are captivated by amazing architecture, then go to Sedona. Of all the places to visit in the Southwest, Sedona may be the most beautiful.

Related: The Ultimate RV Travel Bucket List: 51 Best Places to Visit in North America

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Arches National Park, Utah

Just outside Moab is Arches National Park, famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The most-photographed is the 52-foot-tall, freestanding Delicate Arch, plus the park has many other striking geological formations.

Okefenokke © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia

The Okefenokee offers so much, one could spend a lifetime and still not see and do everything. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife.

Tombstone © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone invites visitors to walk in the footsteps of the West’s most famous outlaws and good guys, the Clantons and the Earps. During its 1880s heyday, Tombstone, the “Town Too Tough to Die,” boasted 10,000 gunslingers, gamblers, prospectors, and prostitutes.

Newport © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newport, Rhode Island

Nowhere in New England compares to the Gilded-Age splendor of Newport, a coastal town set upon cliffs dotted with some of the most spectacular mansions of the 19th century.

Related: 20 Charming Towns for Your Bucket List

Lassen Volcanic National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Lassen National Park is one of few locations on Earth where you can see all four types of volcanoes—plug dome, shield, cinder, and cone. While Lassen Peak is the most famous, as well as the dominant feature in the park, there are numerous other—literally—hotspots to explore including mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and hot springs.

Worth Pondering…

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