Happy Hump Day! Today I have fellow traveller David Fowler on the blog with his top five favorite spots from his American road trip. David visited these places (and many more) on a  whirlwind two month trip through the country with his family.

I couldn’t resist sharing this after I saw that Pauls Valley, Oklahoma made his list! I have been through this little town sooo many times, and never once considered it as a possible ‘destination’. I mean, the truck stop has some pretty amazing characters, but I thought that was the highlight. Love to see places through the eyes of someone else- and there are definitely some gems in this list. Note to Self: Revisit Pauls Valley the next time I am in Oklahoma…

 

Last summer our family embarked on a pretty monumental journey. We spent two months travelling the United States by car. On our trip, we visited National Parks, State Parks, museums, big cities, and small towns. We were surprised and amazed by many places. Here are a few of the less-recognized spots that are on the top of our must-see list for American travelers.

 

1. Cathedral Gorge State Park 

This park is located in the south-east corner of Nevada, just shy of the Utah border. The gorge is a labyrinth of caverns and spires made entirely out of bentonite clay. Exploring these caves is and adventure for both young and old. On our visit, the park was quiet and the weather was gorgeous. We saw a family of desert foxes playing among the spires, as well as numerous jack rabbits, and a few leaping lizards. When the sun went down for the night, we were mesmerized by the magnificence of the night sky. There is no light pollution here. It is truly an amazing place.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cathedral Gorge State Park: Image via Vux of Wikipedia Commons

 

2. Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

Pauls Valley is no ordinary town. It is located right in the middle of Oklahoma, near interstate 35. After driving for miles through fields, prairies, and one-horse towns, Pauls Valley felt like an oasis in the desert. The kids loved the Toy and Action Figure Museum and Thompson’s Dairy Twist. We strolled around the village checking out the boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. We finally stopped for lunch at Punkin’s Bar B Que and Catfish, where we were treated to the best catfish we’d ever tasted. This town totally captivated us.

 

 

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Located in a remote area on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this treasure was, admittedly, quite out of the way. That can be a blessing during the summer’s busiest season. Pictured Rocks is America’s first National Lakeshore. It encompasses 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline where we discovered massive cliffs, grassy dunes, waterfalls, and the loveliest pebble-strewn beaches. Our favorite shore-side attraction was the giant log slide, a sandy cliff that offered incredible views of the surrounding beaches.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan: Image via David Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidwilson1949/

 

4. Port Townsend, WA

This hip and funky town is just a short ferry ride from Seattle. Sandy Beaches, unique shops, and a great dining scene, make this a town that anyone would love. We had the very best Thai food ever at Khu Larb Thai Restaurant http://www.khularbthai.com. We also spent hours touring the Marine Science Center at Fort Worden State Park http://www.ptmsc.org/.

Port Townsend, WA

Port Townsend, Washington. Image via A.Davey

 

5. The Kiva Coffeehouse, Escalante, UT

This amazing traditional Kiva building hugs the side of a cliff in the middle of nowhere. Touring Utah’s National Parks on route 12, the most beautiful road in America, we came upon this coffee house, nearly hidden among the cliffs. Picture windows offer fantastic views of the dramatic surroundings and the coffee is the best we’ve tasted. Amazing that we just happened to be passing by and stopped in, but I would definitely go out of my way to travel on route 12 and to visit this place again.

Escalante, Utah

Escalante, Utah: Image via Wikipedia Commons

 

Our trip was full of amazing sites, breathtaking views, and incredible experiences. These little known spots were pleasant surprises that were a joy to discover.

David Fowler is a father of three who enjoys sharing his family stories with others. David recommends http://www.mikesroadtrip.com/ for inspiration and ideas for planning a great road trip vacation!

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