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I have traveled Europe, Hawaii, and Central and South America and I have to say… my favorite place… is Utah.

No really.

Epic monumental sandstone features… arches, mushrooms, amphitheaters, canyons, gorges, pinnacles… It’s like being on another planet.

I like big open spaces, starry skies, rivers that wind through alien landscapes. Bonfires and whiskey. No tent, just a pad and a pillow. Epic sunrises and sunsets. The occasional UFO…

And people are just generally awesome in the west.

I did my first trip around Utah/AZ with a small kickass company called Wicked Desert (Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches…) If you’re on a budget or not set on driving I’d recommend them…. they introduced me to some people and places that changed my life.

Jenna Mt 22/06/13    Where to goUSA Link Report

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I’d second Jenna’s assertion – Utah is a great state to be in!

From the epic Zion and otherworldy Bryce Canyon (it’s not far to Arizona’s Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and the Grand Canyon while you’re about it…) there are jaw-dropping landscapes and vistas seemingly around at every turn (there aren’t too many hairpins to negotiate in Monument Valley, I hasten to add…).

Early risers are certainly rewarded, as the sight of the sun peeking above the horizon and slowly painting the land in ever-changing hues is a truly magical experience.

In the north, the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City are definitely worth visiting – SLC for the spectacularly unique Temple Square and all its trappings, a performance of the famous Tabernacle Choir being just one.

And don’t think it’s a ‘dry’ town – SLC has great drinking (and eating) options. It’s just that some bars operate as members’ clubs, for which you might need to buy a nominally-priced temporary membership, no different to a cover charge. There’s great live music, brewpubs and restaurants right across town.

The ancient Lake attracts millions of migratory birds and hence is a big draw for ornithologists, but pack the bug spray first – the birds’ main source of food here are brine flies.

A US National Park that I’d add to the gallery linked in Alison’s post is Glacier National Park in Montana. The Going-to-the-Sun Road drive takes in a bounty of picture-postcard scenery, while the surrounding lakes – Saint Mary, Swiftcurrent, Sherburne, Waterton – are the epitome of tranquillity. The settings for pretty much all the park lodges are breathtaking.

The one thread running through all these destinations is that the people, local and visitors alike, are so, so friendly. Locals, especially, are thrilled that you’ve chosen to visit, given the competition from the rest of the US and beyond!

So, which other corners of the USA deserve greater attention from travellers?

Ed Wright 26/06/13    Link Report

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Thanks for your message, Jenna – it sounds like you’ve been on some incredible trips round the West. Did you go here on your travels: http://bit.ly/18bcMBK ?

We’re just working on the brand new edition of the Rough Guide to Southwest USA at the moment and the images are stunning. It”ll be on sale in October this year so keep your eyes peeled – I think it would be right up your street!

Alison Roberts 24/06/13    Link Report

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