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Unique Vacation Ideas & Things to Do When Visiting the USA

Planning your American holiday?  You’re probably looking for unique experiences and things to do when visiting the USA.  If you want to plan a vacation that is as unique as you, has something for everyone in your family or something fun for a 5 day stay; the infographic below will help you discover where to dig for diamonds in the south, track down an elusive Yeti while visiting popular monuments and attend unique festivals like the high heel races in Washington DC.

Don’t settle for standard when you can have some cool experiences that create memories that last a lifetime!

best vacation ideas visiting the USA

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Ready to find out more?  Scroll below and find even more amazing options to ensure you have an incredible experience on your trip.

Cool Festivals to Attend in the USA

From chihuahua and corgi races to flip cup tournaments, the USA has festivals and events for everyone.  Below you’ll find 12 must-attend events by month. If you won’t be around, no worries, each city has unique festival calendars listed on their websites. Check them before you visit.

  • Colorado’s Ouray Ice Climbing Festival – 1/24-1/27
    The 24th annual festival is an ice climbing mecca.  There are climbing competitions, demonstrations, and a gear expo.
  • Fur Rendezvous – 2/22 – 3/2
    This festival was originally set up to break up the long Alaskan winters.  Now, you’ll find everything from the running of the reindeer to snow sculptures and fireworks.
  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – 2/25 – 3/17
    This is the world’s biggest animal and cowboy event.  It also includes laser shows and music.
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival – 3/17 – 4/15
    At the National Mall, celebrate the pink and white cherry blossom trees blooming. Don’t miss the live music and fireworks!
  • New Orleans Jazz Festival 4/27- 5/6
    Since 1970, this festival has showcased the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans, Louisiana cuisine, and craft artisans.
  • Ohio’s Duct Tape Festival – Father’s Day Weekend –
    This 15-year-old festival includes a Fashion Show and Parade.  Everything from floats to clothing are made of Duct Tape.
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days – 7/20-7/29
    Celebrated since 1953, you can enjoy wild west festivities at the world’s largest rodeo.
  • Burning Man – 8/26 – 9/3
    Thousands of people head to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create a temporary city dedicated to art and self-expression.
  • Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival – Labor Day Weekend –
    What could be more fun than a festival full of people throwing dried poop?  This 44th annual festival also has a Tournament of Chips Parade.
  • California’s Tarantula Awareness Festival – 10/27
    Join this 21-year-old festival celebrating tarantulas with a derby, hat dance, and hairy legs competition!
  • Hawaii’s Kona Cultural Coffee Festival – 11/2-11/17
    Since 1970, this festival features 10 days of festivities honoring pioneers, farmers, artisans & coffee!
  • Christmas Ship Festival
    This ship-to-shore holiday celebration has boats decorated with hundreds of shimmery white lights and choirs singing carols.

Bank Holidays in the USA and What to Know

One thing many travelers forget is to look up bank holidays. There’s nothing worse than showing up to your destination only to find out it is closed.  You could end up in a city ready to experience food or a drink that you watched on a TV show only to see they’re closed for the day.  By planning ahead and knowing which bank holidays occur when, you can help to ensure you’ll have the experience you wanted without running into closed signs.

Here are US bank holidays and how to celebrate them if everything is closed:

  • Martin Luther King Day – Observed the third Monday in January.
    Local churches and community centers hold services and events to honor this civil rights leader on his birthday. You can also celebrate by going to black history museums or an MLK monument.
  • President’s Day – Observed the third Monday in February.
    Celebrated to honor the American presidents.  Special festivities are held in the Washington, D.C. area throughout the President’s Day weekend.
  • Memorial Day – Observed the last Monday in May.
    Commemorates Americans who fought for the country and died in wars.  Most cities and towns have a Memorial Day parade.
  • Independence Day – Observed July 4th.
    The USA declared its independence from Great Britain on this day in 1776.  Most cities and towns celebrate this with an evening firework show.
  • Labor Day – Observed the first Monday in September.
    Commemorates the working class.  This is considered the unofficial end of summer, and many students return to school after this holiday.
  • Columbus Day – Observed the second Monday in October.
    It celebrates Christopher Columbus discovering America in 1492.  You can find parades in New York and Boston to celebrate.
  • Veterans Day – November 11.
    This holiday celebrates veterans who fought in various wars.  There are Veterans Day events usually scheduled at cities, VFW halls, and schools.
  • Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November.
    It celebrates giving of thanks for the autumn harvest.  It is often celebrated with a large meal  with a turkey and other traditional recipes that often vary by region.

Unique Things to Do When Visiting the USA

The Washington monument and Redwood forest aren’t the only things you’ll want to check out.  Here are some awesome activities to turn a regular holiday into an unforgettable experience.

  • Photographing a BigFoot – trek over to the pacific Northwest where you may be able to capture the elusive bigfoot while having fun with your family or friends.
  • Digging for Diamonds – want to strike it rich?  Head to Arkansas to find rare yellow and other types of diamonds while enjoying a state park.
  • Hunting a Hodag – This legendary lizard-like creature lives in Wisconsin and features two horns, piercing green eyes and fangs.
  • Panning for gold – if you’re visiting Mount Rushmore, head to Big Thunder Gold Mine where you can try to strike a streak of gold.
  • Excavating an emerald – If you love gemstones, head to North Carolina where you can search for natural emeralds and visit a cool large cat conservatory.
  • Take a Burger Challenge – If you’re in the Midwest, type “burger challenge near me” and you’ll find numerous options from giant to spicy and incredibly unique.
  • Survive the End of the World – If you’re in Las Vegas, take a break from the casino and survive the zombie apocalypse at Adventure Combat Ops.
  • House On The Rock – In Wisconsin, there is house literally built into the rock face filled with collection upon collection of odd things.
  • Singing Highway – On a section of route 66 in New Mexico, the rumble strips have been engineered to sound like “America the Beautiful.”