One of the biggest perks of being a travel nurse or travel therapist is getting to visit new places with each assignment. Health care professionals who work in the travel field can make requests to go to specific locations, providing them with housing and work as they check their most desired destinations off their bucket lists.
The summer months are an ideal time to plan for vacations. Whether you’re looking for a must-see spot near a new assignment, or you want to take some hard-earned vacation days to go explore a new setting entirely, consider any of these top tourist attractions in the U.S. for your next summer getaway:
1. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is a road trip classic for a reason – this gorgeous chasm is more than 70 million years in the making, the result of the Colorado River cutting deep into red rock to form the mile-deep gorge. Millions of people travel to the Grand Canyon each year, mostly visiting the South Rim, according to the National Parks Service.
Because of the Grand Canyon National Park’s remote area, many people opt to drive to the canyon, making it a popular destination for road trips. Visitors can also camp in the park, so it’s a great adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. Not a fan of backpacking? There are other options! You can fly into a nearby airport in Flagstaff, Arizona, Phoenix or Las Vegas and rent a car or take a bus the rest of the way. Touring shuttle buses also provide access to the park and canyon.
The canyon is a stunning 277 river miles long and up to 18 miles wide. Visitors can hike along the canyon or even down into it. Others may opt to go rafting in the rapids of the Colorado River that continue to churn throughout the canyon. It’s an impressive sight that cannot be missed.
2. New York City
The Big Apple topped the 2017 Best Summer Vacations list by U.S. News & World Report, and it’s easy to see why – this diverse metropolis has something to offer any visitor’s tastes. The theater scene is one of the most iconic in the world, with award-winning performances constantly on display on Broadway and up-and-coming, independent productions available in the city as well.
It’s also a hotspot for foodies. The city boasts 10 five-star restaurants, according to TimeOut, if you’re in the mood for fine dining. It’s also known for its affordable eats like classic New York pizza, food carts and cafes. Because of the city’s diverse population, you can find nearly any kind of cuisine you’re looking for here.
Sports fans surely have some of New York’s venues on their bucket lists. From baseball’s Yankees and Mets to hockey’s Rangers and Islanders to basketball’s Knicks and Nets, legendary teams call NYC their home. Just across the river in New Jersey you can also take in a football game with the New York Giants or the New York Jets.
History buffs have plenty to love about New York City, too! The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Times Square are iconic tourist attractions, along with famous museums, zoos and gardens.
It’s easy to drive, fly or take a bus or train to access the city. Whether you stay a week or a weekend, you’ll need more than one trip to see everything you want to see in this city.
3. Nashville, Tennessee
Music City may have a lot of country roots, but fans of any genre need to experience Nashville. Catch a live show at the historic Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium, where Travel + Leisure reports you can take a backstage tour. Legendary recording studios and the Country Music Hall of Fame also call Nashville their home.
The city is also renowned for its food, featuring some of the best in Southern cuisine. Try soul-food classics, barbecue and the iconic Nashville hot chicken for classic culinary experiences. You can visit a number of celebrated bars, vineyards, breweries and distilleries.
Looking for a touch of nature in this urban setting? Be sure to stop by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, or any of the city’s beautiful parks for a chance to explore the lakes and greenery of this Tennessee capital city. Historic sights, like Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the Belle Meade Plantation and Fort Negley are must-see attractions as well.
4. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
If you’re looking for a beach vacation, the islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a classic destination. Plan a visit to Cape Hatteras – one of the most-visited beaches in the U.S. Whether you opt to stay in a traditional hotel, quaint bed and breakfast or to camp out in the national park, you’ll love your stay in this seaside community. The NPS states that visitors are welcome to indulge in a number of water activities, like surfing, kiteboarding, swimming, fishing and crabbing. You can also step away from the water for awhile and go for a hike through some wooded trails.
The lighthouses in Cape Hatteras are famous landmarks. Go for a leisurely drive and see them as you pass by, or stop for a tour to climb up them and get breathtaking views of the waters below.
If you love seafood, you’ll love dining on the fresh catches at the island’s eateries. Locally caught bay scallops, shrimp, crabs and tuna top many menus in the area.
Whether you’re craving a relaxing vacation where you can lounge on sandy beaches or you’re up for adventure on the water, Cape Hatteras is a wonderful ocean-side destination.
Being a travel nurse or travel therapist is an exciting and demanding career. Be sure to take some time for yourself once and awhile to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. Any of these top summer destinations would be great places to check out this season!