Family Bucket List-USA

Our family bucket list for USA travel includes national parks, giant trees, waterfalls, beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, massive sculptures, and a couple of iconic cities!

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Does anybody else have the itch to travel even more than usual since our options have become so limited with the Covid-19 pandemic? Being an immuno-compromised travel-lover, I really get discouraged sometimes when I start to think about when I’ll be able to go see some new places. I have to remember that it won’t be this way forever, though, so I decided to make a family bucket list of places we plan to visit someday. I thought a good ole USA road trip would be a great place to start, since that is probably the most feasible travel choice for us in the foreseeable future!

However, when we started talking about our family bucket list for a USA road trip, it quickly became too long for a single blog post! There are so many amazing places to see, and, of course, we want to see them all! I think this will probably turn into a series, but for now, I’ll just share the top 10 places in the USA that my family can’t wait to visit! I can’t call it a road trip, because you can’t get to Hawaii in an RV.

Keep in mind that we’ve already been to a few places, like Washington D.C. and Disney World, that would certainly be on this list if we hadn’t visited already.

So, in no particular order, here is our Family Bucket List-USA:

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon

I went to the Grand Canyon a couple of times as a kid, but no one else in my family has been. I really believe it’s a natural wonder that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. What a magnificent sight!

Of course, the ultimate Grand Canyon trip would include camping, hiking, and a river trip. I honestly don’t know if I’d be physically capable of any of that in such rugged terrain at this point in my life, but what an adventure that would be!

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Giant Sequoia Trees

national redwood forest
Calaveras Big Trees State Park

I just really can’t imagine what it must be like to see these ancient giants in real life. Oh, the stories they could tell! I’d certainly like to sit and have a chat with General Sherman. “Excuse me, General. How does it feel to be the largest living organism on the planet?”

I think I could handle one of the shorter hikes under the soaring canopy of the Giant Sequoias, so I’m all in for that!

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

And while we’re in California, we can’t miss Yosemite National Park! One of the tallest waterfalls in the world, granite that looks like it’s on fire at sunset, and rainbows at night…not missing that!

Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Islands
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Oh, Hawaii…wouldn’t that be a dream right now? Close your eyes and go there for just a minute. Can you feel the sand under your feet and the waves lapping up against your toes? Do you hear the sound of a ukulele welcoming you to the evening’s luau under the stars? Go ahead…get up and try a little hula dancing!

Of course, we couldn’t miss out on a little adventure while we’re in Hawaii, so we’ll have to trek through a rainforest, hike up a volcano, and take a surfing lesson, too. Well, maybe just sitting on a surfboard for me. Since the whole brain tumor/surgery incident, I’m quite sure I don’t have enough balance for actual surfing.

The Road to Hana is another must-do on our list. I’m thinking a bus tour might be the best choice for us. That way Henry can go ahead and enjoy all of the sights without me freaking out about him not watching the road! And the Pearl Harbor Memorial…there’s no way we would go to Hawaii and not spend a little time there. We are homeschoolers after all!


Cruise Ship in Glacier Bay

So, ultimate Alaska dream…a Disney Alaska cruise! How could you beat combining the magic of Alaska with the magic of Disney? I mean…c’mon. I know Alaska has plenty to offer on its own, and we definitely wouldn’t complain about any means by which we could experience it. We just think a Disney Alaska cruise would be really, really cool! Hey Disney…hint, hint 😉

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the USA, and arguably, one of the most fascinating places on earth! As if Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, and Mud Volcano weren’t reason enough to visit, the sheer beauty of the park is something I want to experience in person.

Besides, where else can you hang out with buffalo, wolves, and bears? Er…well, when I say hang out, I really mean it would be cool to spot them from a distance with bear spray in my hand. Unless, it was Yogi Bear, of course. I think bumping into a cartoon bear in real life would be much less disturbing than coming face to face with a real one. I’m really getting off track here. But, Yellowstone National Park…it’s a must-do.

Mt. Rushmore

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

I’ve always been intrigued by Mt. Rushmore. The creativity, the talent, the time, the work-everything it took to create such a masterpiece on this scale-really amazes me! I admire Mt. Rushmore as a work of art, and it makes me feel super patriotic as well!


Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

I think the picture I chose is actually showing the view from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. But, honestly, folks, if I’m going to Niagara Falls, I want to see it from both sides. We have passports, so we might as well use them. After all, this will most likely be a once in a lifetime visit, so we should experience it fully! I mean, I’m not up for going over the falls in a barrel or anything, but I definitely want to take the boat tour and get soaked!

New York City

New York City

New York City is another place I’ve been without my family. I went a couple of times for work when I was pregnant with Symphony. So, I guess, technically, she’s been there, too. But, morning (all day) sickness was in full swing, so I only briefly saw any of the iconic parts of the city walking to and from the Rockefeller Building for work and riding to and from the airport in a taxi. I can’t say that I’ve really experienced New York City.

Seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person would fulfill a childhood dream, for sure, but I really want to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center all lit up! Maybe we could just go stay in New York City from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve one year, and then we can say we’ve done it all!



Music City

Last, but not least, as music lovers, Music City definitely had to make our Family Bucket List-USA! I honestly can’t believe we haven’t been there yet. I even lived in Tennessee for about nine months when I was in the first grade, but I’ve never been to Nashville.

It would be pretty awesome to stand on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. I’m not sure how you get to do that, but I know my parents did it when they went, because they have a picture of it. So, we’re doing that.

Of course, we’ll have to get lots of photos with the Nashville murals for Instagram. And, although we aren’t the bar-hopping kind, we’ll have to take a stroll down Honky Tonk Highway and see if we can spot any country music legends.

Number one on the Nashville list, though, would be for my sweet little music-loving crew to get to record a song there. I know it’s not technically any different than recording anywhere else, but it would be pretty cool for my kids to be able to say they recorded in Nashville!

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So that’s our Family Bucket List-USA!

Well, we’ve made a big circle and landed back in OKC for now. Like I said in the beginning, this family bucket list is just what we narrowed down from the many places in the USA we’d still love to visit that we haven’t made it to quite yet. I’ve always wished we could just take a year off and see the whole country from an RV. The kids are almost grown now, but I haven’t given up on that dream!

What USA destinations are on your family bucket list?

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I love to share my passion for family, faith, learning, and adventure! I am a worship pastor's wife, a homeschool mom, a former public school teacher and counselor, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. My heart is to encourage and support families who are homeschooling kids with ADHD, homeschooling high school, and raising teenagers. I'm so excited for you to follow along on this joyous journey!


  1. Angela Reply

    Lovely list, I have done a few but for sure need to check off a few more like Yellowstone and Nashville.

    • Melissa F Reply

      I can’t wait to do both of those!

  2. Jan Reply

    I’ve been to all of these places many years ago but wouldn’t mind returning one day! Good summary of the highlights to see in the US!

  3. Barbara Reply

    Our family LOVES exploring! It is so much fun to do as a family, especially on spring breaks!

    • Melissa F Reply

      We love exploring together, too!

  4. melissa Reply

    Your bucket list is so similar to ours!! All of your first 7 places are also on our bucket list. I hope that you get to visit them all!

    • Melissa F Reply

      That’s awesome! Hope you get to them, too!

  5. Danielle Ardizzone Reply

    Love these destinations! I was planning a Niagara Falls trip last year before COVID hit. Hope to get to it soon!

  6. Kendra Reply

    We definitely want to get out to see Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore soon too! Hopefully next summer!

    • Melissa F Reply

      I hope you get to do that!

  7. Karie Reply

    Love a bucket list like this. I also have Mt Rushmore on mine. I have gone to most the others and they are amazing. Everyone worth it. I miss traveling too. Thank goodness I can dream and do extra planning for when its more feasible.

    • Melissa F Reply

      Yes, it won’t be this way forever!

  8. April Reply

    I’m with you! It’s also my dream to travel around the country. We did see total 13 States already and hoping to see more. Fifty States is so much to see and learn the culture and I hope we have the time to finish it all. Most of your lists is part of my lists. I am thinking of doing putting the National State Parks for next year as my son will be in 4th grade.

    I suggests in visiting Niagara in both sides. I love the US side more because it’s more laid back and you can enjoy nature more. Coming in the summer time and or fall season might be the best as you can enjoy walking along the falls while seeing the nice colorful trees.

    • Melissa F Reply

      That 4th grade National Park Pass is really neat! I hope you get to take advantage of it!

  9. Sandi Barrett Reply

    We are working on getting to every state, this year I added Utah and Arizona; numbers 27 and 28. Anyone say road trip?

    • Melissa F Reply

      Woo-hoo! You’re over halfway there!

  10. Sabrina DeWalt Reply

    This bucket list looks very similar to ours. We made it to Mount Rushmore three weeks ago and are heading to Grand Canyon tomorrow.

    • Melissa F Reply

      Oh, how fun! Good for you!

  11. Leeandra Reply

    These are some really great places to travel to!

    • Melissa F Reply

      Can’t wait until we get to see them!

  12. Cindy Reply

    I hope you get to the Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park and Yosemite soon. Fall is a great time of year for both places.

    • Melissa F Reply

      Maybe we can get there next fall!

  13. Emily Reply

    Yosemite 😍

    • Melissa F Reply

      Can’t wait to see it!

  14. Alexis Farmer Reply

    Love it! All of these are on my travel bucket list too!

    • Melissa F Reply

      So many cool places to see in our country!

  15. Beth Shields Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous pictures. Pretty breathtaking for sure.

    • Melissa F Reply

      So much beauty…I want to see it in person!

  16. Megan Reply

    Sequoia was on my list for so long, and we finally went. Worth every second! Next, Hawaii!

    • Melissa F Reply

      So glad you got to go! And I’d love to be in Hawaii right about now…we have ice covering everything outside and are on our second day of no electricity. 🥶

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