by D.J. Wilson –
Shoreline states tend to gain recognition due to proximity to the ocean. The meeting of land and sea results in dramatic coastal landscapes, complemented by the rising and setting of the sun. The ocean provides a playground for those who love water sports and attracts leisure-loving folks seeking relaxation on the shore. All this attention tends to leave interior states overlooked as travel destinations. Sharing their own elements of beauty, from plush green mountains with freshwater lakes and ponds to desert land with dry creek beds, inland states offer intense beauty in varying topography. Here are a few fantastic destinations within inside states worthy of your visit.
Ketchum & Sun Valley, Idaho – This Inland Northwest location is a fantastic destination for a winter vacation. The snow-packed Northern Rockies create a winter wonderland for snow lovers, offering fun family resorts with activities such as downhill skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating and winter sporting events. Dramatic peaks such as Bald Mountain soar over 9,200 feet. The Sawtooth Mountains are equally eye-catching and are referred to as the “American Alps.” The term “Sun Valley” is used generally to speak of the region surrounding the city, including Ketchum and the valley area winding south to Hailey. The picturesque Sun Valley area was listed in the book 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, offering museums and art galleries featuring artists from all over the world. Visit the Ski Museum and the Heritage Museum which feature talks and exhibits relating to the history and development of the area. Great skiing, resort lodging, shopping and dining attract attention from tourists from all over, including the rich and famous. If you wish to experience the closest thing to a European ski vacation in America, this wintry destination is your ideal get-away.
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia – Nestled in the picturesque West Virginia Mountains, only 90 minutes from the Washington/Baltimore metro area, is the quaint and historic town of Berkeley Springs. Offering a variety of lodging from bed and breakfasts, historic inns, rustic cabins, or fine resorts, the perfect retreat awaits you. Known for its warm mineral springs, fine festivals, music, theatre, dining and shopping experiences, there is plenty to do for all seasons. Visit the delightful Museum of the Berkeley Springs, located on the second floor of the 1815 Roman Bath House in Berkeley Springs State Park. Filled with historical and regional artifacts, the Museum showcases the story of the famous warm mineral springs and is the interpretive center for the western segment of the Washington Heritage Trail National Scenic Byway. The Berkeley Springs region features wooded mountains and ridges with spectacular scenic overlooks. The area is rich in beauty, featuring pristine lakes with abundant wildlife. Golfing, hiking, biking and swimming are some of the great outdoor recreational activities to be enjoyed. If you’re looking for a vacation in the heart of a mountain spa community and featuring a welcoming hometown atmosphere, Berkeley Springs is idyllic.
Los Alamos, New Mexico – Located approximately 35 miles to the northwest of Santa Fe, Los Alamos is built upon four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau and the adjoining White Rock Canyon. The plateau, carved by glacial erosion during the last ice age and topped with volcanic rocks, form spectacular vistas. The stunning views are often compared to the Grand Canyon, rich in hues of burnt orange and deep sienna. A drive along the Jemez Mountain National Scenic Byway is a memorable experience. This high-altitude destination is diverse in vegetation and wildlife, with wildflowers abound. Rich ecosystems exist in areas along streams, while south facing exposures may possess desert-like characteristics. The town is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which continues to operate as a research government facility under the Department of Energy. Possessing a small-town friendly atmosphere, Los Alamos welcomes visitors to experience world-class cultural activities and to enjoy ancient village sites. Visit Bandelier National Monument to explore hundreds of ruins of Anasazi cliff houses and Pueblo-style dwellings scattered across 32,000 acres with 70 miles of trails. Open year round, Bandelier National Monument features a visitor’s center with exhibits on prehistoric and historic Pueblo culture. It houses a bookstore which sells educational maps and tapes, in addition to books. Its divine location makes Los Alamos less than an hour drive to Santa Fe, a nearby city rich in southwest culture, arts and cuisine. If you seek a historically rich vacation against a backdrop of scenic beauty, Los Alamos is picture-perfect.
Magnificent towns, nestled in the mountains and deserts of America, prove that beauty is not exclusive to coastline locations. Snow-capped mountains, wildflowers in the meadow, evergreen forests and colorful canyons are evidence of splendor throughout America, demonstrating the immense inner beauty of her interior states.