Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to learn about a place. You can get up close and personal with the locals, it’s much more affordable, and you have the time to truly appreciate the environment. It’s good exercise, too, and you get to explore at your own pace. So if you’re planning to go on a walking tour, here are a few places in the U.S., both rural and urban, which you can consider.
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada
Red Rock Canyon is a great place for hiking near Las Vegas
See my photos from Red Rock Canyon
Don’t think you’re limited to museum and casino tours in Nevada. The outskirts of Vegas is home to some of the most beautiful geological wonders you will ever see—and they are best explored on foot. Hiking along the Red Rock Canyon will allow you to see the picturesque Mojave Desert’s colorful rock formations, as well as mesmerizing canyons and cliffs. Today.com calls it the best of both worlds because you are still be able to see the glittering lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip while you enjoy the state’s rural scenery.
The area is also a popular rock-climbing destination and you can join bicycle tours. Towards the southern end of the area, you will find other must-see destinations like the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Bonnie Springs, and the village of Blue Diamond.
The Loop Retail Historic District in Chicago
It’s the central business district in the city’s downtown area. If you want to feel the buzz of the city, start your walk at nine in the morning and end at five. You will be able to observe the city’s workforce as they go about their business. But if you want some peace and quiet to take in the beauty of the Willis Tower, the Daley Plaza, and the Carbide & Carbon building, go during the weekend. The Loop has a reputation for becoming a ghost town on Saturdays and Sundays.
Redwood National and State Parks in California
The Stout Grove inside Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park is an amazing place to walk
See my photos from Redwood National Park
Saying there’s absolutely nothing like walking through the Redwood National and State Parks of California is an understatement. Park ranger Greg Litten told Travel + Leisure that it’s best to visit during the summertime. “People are often surprised that we are a cool, foggy place in the summertime. So bring warm layers and always be prepared for a bit of a fog,” he said. Don’t worry about the foggy weather ruining your vacation as fog can make for beautiful photos. There are also campgrounds available onsite, but you have to make sure that you book in advance. Litten recommends you reserve campgrounds three to four months ahead. You can also go to the beach or hike at the Trillium Falls.
Read my guide to the best places to see California’s mighty Redwood Trees.
The Streets of New York
The Big Apple is not only known for Broadway and Time Square’s twinkling lights—it’s also famous for its beautiful architecture. This makes a walking tour through New York ideal for taking great photos. Yoreevo reveal that there are over 13,500 buildings in New York that are over six stories high, and these include some of the most famous buildings in the world. A good walking tour will take you past the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, and the Met Museum.
Though there are many photos already of these famous buildings, a good photographer always tries to find something new. Checkout my 6 simple steps for great travel photos, which will help to remove all distractions when photographing sites. You can make your photos more powerful and compelling by focusing on what you love about what you see. New York is where the best photographers test their skills.
Read more: Most walkable Manhattan neighborhoods.
Oahu in Hawaii
Hanauma Bay on Oahu is renown for snorkeling
See my photos from Hanauma Bay, Oahu
When you’re in Hawaii, you can choose from walking along white sand beaches, hiking along breathtaking ridges, or learning more about the local culture. But whichever you choose, Hawaii has something in store for you. One of the first things you need to check out is the Diamond Head Crater as it’s one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. You can look out from the top of the volcanic cone and take photos of the 360-degree views of Oahu.
The Manoa Falls Trail is a must-see, too. It’s a very easy, family-friendly hike that will only take less than an hour. Once you’re done with the walking tours, you can hop on a sightseeing boat to explore Waikiki Beach. You can also go surfing at North Shore if you’re feeling a little daring.
Read more: 6 gorgeous beaches in Oahu, Hawaii.
Walking gives you the best experience when traveling
Dead Horse Point is easy to walk and provides amazing views of the Colorado River
See my photos from Dead Horse Point, Utah
Other U.S. destinations you can check out include Dead Horse Point and the Arches National Park in Utah, and Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and Sequim in Washington. No matter which place you choose to visit, the U.S. is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to see on foot. Just make sure you don’t forget to bring your camera.
About the author: William Brown is a digital nomad who spends his time writing about places to see, things to try, and mountains to climb when he’s not doing it himself. He loves trying out local cuisines and he has a knack for making friends with the locals.