As a foreign student in the US this summer, you might be asking how you can spend the season best. America is huge and varied, so my advice to you is to experience as much of it as you can. Get out there, it’s very travel friendly. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of the country this season.
The Great Outdoors
Summer is a great time to get outdoors and experience some of the more spectacular natural wonders that the United States has to offer. In the 1800′s the US started carving out the wilderness and declaring them National Parks, and they’re all pretty great.
The first one of these, Yellowstone, is probably one of the more famous. This one is worth visiting if you’re in a camping mood. There are tonnes of things to do and see that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world.
Given how big it is, the landscape in America changes wildly as you travel from coast to coast. So if Yellowstone isn’t your cup of tea, there are over 56 other National Parks to choose from (not to mention a lot of smaller state parks and preserves).
National parks will all be camping friendly and will vary depending on what level of activities you want to do there. Whether you’re rolling up in a fully loaded RV, or planning on hiking some insane trail with nothing but a backpack and your wits, there’s something that’s just waiting to take your breath away.
Summer in the City
If the whole camping and outdoors thing isn’t to your liking, you can always stay in. Chances are, there’s some nook in your own city of residence that you haven’t explored. With all your free time and the good weather on the way, you should go out and explore something new around the corner that you may have overlooked.
Here are a couple of tips to get outside of your comfort zone in your own city:
- Pick up local papers or zines to see what might be happening in the community.
- Find local or internet groups that organize big and small events in your city.
- Take public transit to a place you’ve never been before and make a day out of getting to know the area.
Don’t sell your city short, there is a lot going on and there are a lot of vibrant people doing some very fun stuff just waiting for you to join in.
If you are dead set on getting out of town and you’re on either coast, chances are you’re close enough to a major city to go on an awesome road trip for a few days. Even if you’re not close, the US highway system is very road trip friendly with plenty of amenities along the way. Grab some friends, rent a car, and hit the road.
Some good road trip starter ideas:
- Check if there are any music festivals in nearby or what bands are playing within driving distance.
- Find a tradeshow or convention for one of your interests.
- Go see your favorite sports team play on their home field.
A Drop in the Bucket
With all the stuff going on, it can be a little overwhelming, and you can lose track of your goals for the summer. One thing I always do when I get to an area I’ve never been before is I make a “bucket list”.
Write down all the things you’d like to do or see and you make an honest effort to cross as many things off as possible.
Now obviously you’re not going to be able to do all of them, but it’s a great way to motivate yourself to get out there and start having a blast.
You can make it big and broad with things like “go to Disney land” or “play blackjack in Vegas”, or you can make it small things like “go see a Broadway play” or even “find the best bagel in NY”.
Whatever you chose to put on there, make it fun, make it whimsical, and make sure to start crossing items off. Don’t leave it in a drawer, put it in your front pocket and make sure to look at it every day.
One last thing
School might be out, but you still have to do your homework. Research your trips, events and goals. Chances are someone’s thought of the same thing and has some tips for you. A quick googling might save you a lot of money or give you a new perspective on something you’ve been considering.
Get out there and experience what the United States has to offer; and whatever you chose to do: have fun!