Join our journey through our top 10 natural wonders of the US From the Oregon Coast to the Florida Springs, discover breathtaking landscapes.
Two and a half years ago, my family and I embarked on an adventure that completely changed our lives. We swapped our daily routine for the freedom of the open road, the confinement of classrooms for the vastness of the great outdoors, and the hustle of cityscapes for the beauty of nature.
As a father, witnessing my sons grow and learn through these experiences has been nothing short of magical. From the rugged shores of Oregon to the crystal-clear waters of Florida Springs, each destination has been a chapter in our family’s storybook of adventure.
In this article, I would like to take you on a vivid journey through the most breathtaking natural wonders in the US we’ve encountered. It’s not just about the places themselves but also about the incredible beauty that left us in awe, the laughter that echoed against the majestic backdrops, and the priceless moments that unfolded in these stunning settings.
These landscapes are not just beautiful sights; they are the canvases that hold our family’s most cherished memories, each a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world we have been fortunate enough to explore as we’ve mastered RV life.
10. Saguaro National Park
First up is Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, AZ. We don’t have cacti like this on the East Coast, so this was crazy to see. If you don’t know, Saguaro NP is famous for its large saguaro cacti, the largest cacti in the United States. These giants can live for up to 200 years.
The park is also home to desert tortoises and a variety of bird species, which was pretty fun for the kids to spot. It’s also home to roadrunners, but we didn’t see any getting chased by a coyote, unfortunately.
Like many of the national parks we visited, Saguaro had a nice Junior Ranger Program for the boys to learn about the desert environment and its inhabitants, which is why Oregon is one of the best states in the US that we visited.
9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Let’s go from the desert to a massive underground cavern at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The park has over 119 caves, formed from sulfuric acid dissolving limestone, creating a fascinating underground world.
You really have to see it to believe it.
We were also fortunate enough to watch the Brazilian free-tailed bats fly out of the cave entrance at sunset. The boys thought we were at Batman’s bat cave!
8. White Sands National Park
Just down the road in New Mexico is White Sands National Park. If I had to describe this place, walking over the white dunes felt like stepping out of Luke Skywalker’s Starfighter.
It really felt like we were in another world. The dunes are made of white gypsum, which is apparently pretty rare, and creates a stunning white desert.
We bought some sleds from the visitor center and had a blast sledding down the soft sand dunes.
7. Redwood National Forest
If you want to feel insignificant, just visit the Redwood National Forest. This forest in Northern California is known worldwide for its redwoods, which were just as mind-blowing for me and my wife as it was for the boys.
There are plenty of family-friendly trails through the forest, and I recommend hiking as many as possible to develop an appreciation for the massive, ancient trees.
And if you keep your eyes open, you might even spot an elk or two.
6. The Drive Through Utah (Canyonland, Arches, Moab)
This one on the list is a little different. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and really enjoy this area, but the drive through was beautiful enough to mention.
Just driving through, we enjoyed various landscapes, from deep canyons to towering rock formations and arches like the ones you’ll see at Arches NP sculpted by erosion. My biggest regret so far is not being able to spend more time in this area.
5. Florida Springs (Three Sisters, Weeki Wachee)
Florida is known for Disney and its beaches, but our absolute favorite part of the sunshine state is the Springs. The springs are crystal clear, perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and they stay a brisk 72 degrees year-round.
That’s perfect to cool off in the hot Florida sun. We got to swim with some Manatees at Three Sisters Springs, and the boys loved the hugely popular mermaid show at Weeki Wachee.
4. Bonneville Salt Flats / Silver Mountains
The Salt Flats are another place that feels out of this world. We liked it so much here that we visited twice. Besides being a beautifully unique, otherworldly landscape that’s fascinating to explore, the flats are also famous for being a site where numerous land speed records have been set.
The boys absolutely loved it when I floored it in our truck and pushed it to the max on the speedway. The vast, flat area is perfect for fun perspective photography, and we had a lot of fun taking pictures.
Our campsite in the shadows of the Silver Island Mountains was a stark contrast to the Salt Flats, but extremely beautiful in its own right.
3. Yosemite National Park
Words cannot describe how beautiful Yosemite National Park is. Until you’ve seen places like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, you just won’t understand. I could just sit and stare at these landmarks for hours.
The park is also home to diverse wildlife like black bears that the boys loved learning about (from a safe distance).
2. Pinnacles National Park
Before getting to California, we had never heard of Pinnacles National Park, but I am happy we found it. Pinnacle NP is known for its impressive rock formations and spires, remnants of an ancient volcanic field.
Our favorite part was grabbing the flashlights and exploring the talus caves. They were dark, cold, and damp, but we had a blast. It’s also a great place to see California condors, one of the world’s largest birds, but we weren’t lucky enough to see one.
1. The Oregon Coast
My absolute favorite part of the entire country is the Oregon Coast. We spent some time on the dunes in Florence and plan on visiting the natural bridges in Brookings, but my favorite spot is the coast in Seaside and Cannon Beach.
Haystack Rock is an iconic 235-foot sea stack, the third tallest in the world. At low tide, we loved exploring the tide pools, and in the summer, we loved watching the Puffins.
Seaside has a massive beach next to Tillamook Head, and the area has countless hikes, each with fantastic forest and ocean views. The area is breathtaking.
The beaches are perfect for building sandcastles, flying kites, beachcombing, and clamming, a new activity we learned with the kids. The two towns offer family-friendly dining and shopping, making it a complete family destination.
I think this is where we will eventually ditch the wheels and challenges of RV life and put down roots.
Wrapping Up The Natural Wonders of the US
As I write this closing, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and nostalgia.
The past two and a half years of exploring America’s natural wonders with my family have been more than just a series of trips; they have been a journey of discovery and bonding.
Each park, trail, and sunset has taught us something new about the world and ourselves. We have shared stories under starlit skies, marveled at nature’s grandeur, and learned to value our planet’s precious gifts.
Watching my boys’ eyes light up with wonder and curiosity has been my most treasured experience as a father. Our journey does not end here; we continue to look forward to more adventures.
To families dreaming of their own adventures, get out there and explore. Life is short, but the world is vast, beautiful, and waiting to be discovered.
Your list of favorites will be different from ours, but the joy of exploring with family is a universal treasure everyone should experience.