America is known for being a once in a lifetime, dream destination to truly tick off every type of bucket list. Across a vast country of glitz, glamour, sprawling cities, lip-smacking food, great plains and oceans, there are some destinations that Americans keep for themselves. We don’t blame them. We have rounded up the top three US domestic holiday destinations that our stateside friends are enjoying as part of the American dream, but that are not part of our travel consciousness just yet…
Established in 1733, and located on the southeast coast of the United States, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Hip and historic, robust and refined, Savannah is where travellers will find amazing architecture, spooky cemeteries and rich history along with global sophistication, funky nightlife and fabulous food.
Savannah is an up-and-coming city destination with all the best parts of America’s South. Seeped in charm and cloaked in beautiful Spanish moss, Savannah is nostalgic for a bygone age but expresses all the excitement for a dynamic future. The new and upcoming hotels, restaurants and bars springing up around the city are testament to this. The Savannah secret is out.
Brand new The Alida Hotel is the essence of Southern hospitality and joins modern life with timeless charm on Savannah’s revitalised riverfront. The Grey Market, pays homage to the complex history of counter-service restaurants. Savannah’s most-lauded restaurant partners Johno Morisano and chef Mashama Bailey are opening a more casual version of The Grey Restaurant, the once-segregated bus station they transformed into a chic and welcoming fine dining experience. The Grey Market will offer retail grab-and-go options a la New York City’s many bodegas and corner stores melded with traditionally Southern dine-in lunch counter experience.
For a sun-soaked summer trip, head for a beach day at Tybee Island. It’s just twenty minutes from the city centre where you can sample fresh seafood, catch some rays and then head back to the Historic Downtown and try to choose out of the 300 martini flavours at Jen’s and Friends. For activities during the winter, the city is known for being the most haunted city in America fit with ghost tours to try, antebellum mansions, riverside dining, and countless art galleries. A trip to Savannah is the perfect long weekend destination for Americans, and rightfully so. For the UK traveller, with the brand new direct flight to Charleston, just two hours away by car in the neighbouring state of South Carolina, the South is truly being opened up to the British traveller. Traditional Southern hospitality welcomes everyone with open arms.
WIND RIVER COUNTRY, WYOMING
Although we are spoilt with beautiful parks and green open spaces in the United Kingdom, nothing can compare to the huge expanse of land in the Great American West. For the ultimate digital detox and a sense of serenity that the average British traveller would find hard to compute, check out Wyoming’s Wind River Country. The destination lies beyond the well-known Yellowstone National Park and allows visitors to experience Wyoming and the West the way that it is meant to be. Guests to the region can beat the crowds and explore the Absaroka Mountains, a geological wonderland. Volcanic breccia created from years of lava flows sculpted spires and turrets forming the Absaroka Range. Accessible from the small town of Dubois, adventurers can stay in a guest ranch, fit with cow-hide galore. Just outside Dubois stands Whiskey Mountain, home to the largest wintering Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep herd in North America. Visitors can check out the National Bighorn Sheep Center in downtown Dubois or schedule a guided tour to meet locals passionate about the land.
During a visit, travellers can tick off Dubois, Hudson, Lander, Riverton, Shoshoni and the Wind River Indian Reservation where visitors are able to see and participate in important cultural experiences called powwows. There are three large celebrations throughout the year in the Wind River County, including the Eastern Shoshone Powwow in June, the Ethete Celebration in July, and the Northern Arapaho Powwow in September. Beginning on Friday nights, these ceremonies are an important aspect of Native American culture, that involve feasting, singing and dancing. An important aspect of the powwow is showcasing the regalia of the dancers. Each piece is uniquely handmade, utilising feathers, shells, bones, beadwork and sometimes family heirlooms.
The quaint and all-American town of Galena, just a three-hour drive from Chicago is a getaway favourite for Midwesterners along the Mississippi River. In this Midwestern town, trolley cars cruise down the six-block Main Street, along which 19th-century buildings house small galleries, antique stores and independent shops. Think Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow, but much better. Guests to the town can walk off lunch from local hotspot Fried Green Tomatoes along the Galena River Trail before moseying around historical sites such as the home of Civil War hero and former US president Ulysses S. Grant. The town is the perfect complement to any trip to the large and buzzing cities peppered along the Great Lakes of mid-America that are already popular with UK travellers. The town is the epitome of the American Dream with friendly locals, white picket fences and wholesome comfort food, ready to be explored.
Galena, Illinois is home to Jail Hill Inn which has been rated by TripAdvisor in 2019 as the #1 best Bed and Breakfast in the United States. Tucked away, yet close enough to walk to Galena’s historic Main Street, the 135-year-old, 4-storey brick building (which served as the county jail for nearly 100 years) has been lovingly transformed into Galena’s premier bed and breakfast inn by innkeeper, Matthew Carroll.
For a taste of local life, meet the plethora of independent producers and artisans. A top pick is the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. which was founded by two brothers looking to create a truly unique product and experience in historic Galena. By sourcing grains from local farmers and controlling the entire process in their purpose-built facility, they are able to meticulously distill the highest quality spirits from their custom, handmade copper still. In a world overrun by mass production and corporate shenanigans, visitors can join them in creating something real, their own drinkable American Dream.