Living abroad, it's easy to forget about holidays in the homeland.

It's July 4th here - just another day in Thailand, everyone's going about their day normally. No BBQs in the park, no fireworks, no red-white-and-blue decorated supermarkets, no patriotic music, no sparklers - nothing to remind me that it's American Independence Day!

So in honor of July 4th, I thought I'd remind myself by highlighting some of my favorite places in 'murika.

Many people I meet abroad very understandably learn about America through TV shows, news, or movies, which makes them think that the US is full of crazy politicians and consists one big New York, L.A., or D.C.esque city.

Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise

While big cities are definitely something to experience on a trip to the US, that shouldn't be all you experience.

In another life, I was a camping/adventure tour guide and took groups of tourist through mostly the American southwest. So when I hear about friends in Asia planning a trip to the US, I can't help it - my inner tour guide emerges.

Where do I tell them to go?

I encourage people to get out of towns.

Where exactly?

Easy. One of America's best decisions and one of the ideas I'm most proud of is the creation National Parks. Start with National Parks. 

Arches National Park, Utah

I'm quite sure how it happened (either is he), but my cousin ended up becoming park ranger for the National Park Service.

Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

Talk about a dream job, right?

Joshua Tree National Park, California

So when I happened to be back in the US and wanted to visit him, I'd have to get myself to wherever he was. And where he was dropped my jaw. He's been posted to some amazing parks, including the first four images in this post: D.C., Arches National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park.

If you can't get to a National Park, don't panic. There are amazing State Parks and beautiful National Forests.

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Exploring San Bernardino National Forest

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Lake Fulmor, San Bernardino National Forest

Heck (pardon my French, especially in a post about America) just the drives in America can be awe-inspiring.

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On the road, somewhere in Arizona

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Big Sur, California

So if you're considering travel to the US, don't forget to look outside of the metropolises - that's where America's beauty really shines.

Happy birthday, America! You drive me crazy sometimes, but I love ya - I really do.


Have you explored America's National Parks? If so, which ones did you enjoy the most?

All images in this post are mine and the lovely and talented @suitcasemama's.

This post is kindly supported by @sjennon's Sjennon Support Series.

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