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Win a FREE copy of National Geographic’s “USA 101: A Guide to America’s Iconic Places, Events and Festivals”

USA 101: A Guide to Americas Iconic Places, Events and Festivals.

It is now July which means vacations and road trips. In honor of July I’m giving away five copies of USA 101: A Guide to America’s Iconic Places, Events, and Festivals by Gary McKechnie.

Here is the review of the book from

Countless travel books display some aspect or region of America, but USA 101 stitches together a whole crazy quilt of iconic places, events, fairs, and festivals that celebrates our country in all its quirky diversity.

Whoever you are, wherever you’re going, whatever you like to do, it’s here somewhere. And if you just stay home and travel armchair-style you’ll still find this guide a vivid, often humorous, always fascinating blend of world-famous and distinctly local places and events that add up to a national portrait.

Here are fivescore and one indelibly American destinations, from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge, from Graceland to Disneyland; perennial sporting rituals like the Army-Navy football game, the Indy 500, the Soap Box Derby, and the Little League World Series; plus dozens more favorite institutions old and new, from Native American powwows to the Miss America Pageant and monster truck rallies.

USA 101 features entertaining descriptive narratives—concise, lively sketches that capture each selection’s history and special appeal—as well as detailed practical advice and essential information for visiting. Well seasoned by eclectic, irresistible sidebars, this guide is a panorama of treasured traditions, favorite pastimes, and beloved national possessions that will surprise, amuse, and inform even the most sophisticated traveler.

All you have to do to win is leave a comment naming anywhere in the United States that you’ve never visited and would love to see. For the purposes of this contest, this will also include territories such as Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marinas Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

  • 208 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Soren says:

    Alaska. I’ve traveled to just about all of the lower 48, but have never made it farther north than Toronto (at least in North America). I have a couple of friends who are from Alaska, and everyone I know who has been there has loved it. Plus, I really like cold weather. And bears. As long as they’re more than 30 meters away.

  2. Robby says:

    Ohio, a lot of writers live there. I would love to know what they put in the watter over there :)

  3. Linda says:

    Yellowstone National Park. I have always wanted to see Old Faithful.

  4. Marvin says:

    Montana is the first place that comes to mind

  5. Andy says:

    Denali National Park in Alaska

  6. Bo Mackison says:

    Maine, including a trip to Acadia NP.

  7. Nathan Thorp says:

    Denali National Park, Seward Highway, and Kodiak Island in Alaska.

  8. Dirtybootz says:

    New Orleans, LA is on my list of places to go!

  9. Seattle, WA…actually the entire Pacific NW

  10. Vicky says:

    Crater Lake in Oregon. I am hoping to get there next week with my wounded warrior son and his sister.

  11. Kevin says:

    I’m hoping to go to Boston at the end of the month.

  12. Joseph says:

    New Orleans, for the food!

  13. Ben says:

    Gotta be Yellowstone – I hope to get there later this year.

  14. Baraka says:

    I’d love to see the glaciers of Alaska – before they melt!

  15. Ranjit says:

    Badlands, SD

  16. Abbie says:

    peaceful Montana! or the Grand Canyon!

  17. I would love to see Maine!

  18. Courtney says:

    The coast of Oregon. I’ve been to every state that borders Oregon, but somehow I’ve completely missed out on a state that seems to have such stunning scenery.

  19. Kristie says:

    Idaho for all the varied geography

  20. Martin says:

    Definitely Yellowstone National Park

  21. Jessica says:

    I made it to the Grand Canyon last summer, so I guess Yellowstone is probably #1 on my list of biggies that I’ve not yet experienced.

  22. Zeke says:

    Bangor Maine

    I remember hearing about it on “Dark Shadows” and I understand that the American Folk Festival they have there is lots of fun.

  23. I have never been to Yellowstone, and it is on my most-wanted places to go see next roadtrip.

  24. Jeff Thomson says:

    Mount Rushmore.

    I just find it difficult to believe that such a place exists. I’d love to see it not just because of the sheer scale of the faux natural wonder, but also because of what it says about American culture, having such a monument to your leaders. I don’t think such a thing would ever happen here in Australia.

  25. I would love to see Jackson Hole Wyoming, it seems like it would be so preserved from pictures Ive seen and so majestic!

  26. Adam Hammond says:

    I have been to many places in the US but I’ve never been to New England. I would love to see it in the fall with all the trees in various stages of changing color.

  27. Tammy says:

    I would love to go to Alaska!

  28. I would to go to New York. I have never been and think it would be interesting!

  29. I would love to go horseback riding in Montana or Texas. There’s nothing like exploring the landscape and seeing wildlife from the saddle.

  30. jackie says:

    I lived in Puerto Rico for a year and never made it to El Yunque! What’s up with that??

  31. Shira says:

    New Orleans. Haven’t been yet. need to go.

  32. I have always wanted to travel to New Mexico and see everything from the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell.

    Take Care,

  33. Sandeep says:

    The Grand Canyon. It would be great to photograph. Was in Nevada though. :(

  34. Ross Nethery says:

    I thought I was finally going to make it to Utah this year. Have always wanted to visit some of the beautiful slot canyons that I’ve seen so many photos of, and, while I was there, take a look at Monument Valley, a familiar site from so many of the great Western movies. Alas, not this year. But, by gum, that’s going to be my next big trip!

  35. Lara says:

    I absolutely love exploring our country and have managed to see a majority of it while living out of a car. But I have yet to do get up to the New England area and spend anytime, even after living in NYC for over 3 years. I envision a fall spent meandering through all of the picturesque foliage and staying long enough to welcome in winter.

    Oh and Ben, I spent summers living and working in Stanley, Idaho – the heart of the Middle Fork/Frank Church River of No Return – and I can testify to it’s beauty, remoteness and utter majesty. You would not be disappointed! If you do make it there, be sure to stop by the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch.


  36. Craig says:

    I’d love to visit Chicago. My brother goes to school there and has been begging for me to come and visit

  37. SanDiegoTim says:

    I still need to make my way to Bryce and Zion in Utah. Pictures make them seem awe-inspiring and tranquil at the same time.

  38. Jesse says:

    I would love to visit Washington DC. After spending most of my life in the western part of the US, I’d like to finally make it east of the Mississippi River.

  39. Lisa W. says:

    I would love to travel to Yellowstone National Park and witness the incredible beauty and diversity that it has to offer.

  40. Wall Drug, South Dakota. It’s stupid, I know and just a tourist trap where they put a bumper sticker on your car while inside, proving that you were there, but I feel like that is proof that you are an American road tripper. It’s a mark saying that you are experienced on the road and kind of like the final stamp that if you have you been there, you have been everywhere and seen it all.

  41. So many choices…top 2: Yosemite National Park and Denali National Park.

  42. Michael says:

    There are so many places in the USA I still need to go to! To choose one is impossible. However, right about now I could use a vcation and have been thinking about The US Virgin Islands! ..Ahhh, sand, sun, surf!

  43. samo9789 says:

    I need to see Chicago, Yellowstone and Nashville. I need to return to the Outer Banks and I would love to ride a motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway

  44. Bryan says:

    There are just too many to count, but I’d really like to visit Utah to bike on the slickrock.

  45. Ryan says:

    Never seen NYC or DC (closest I’ve come is driving near both of them on a major interstate on my way to somewhere else).

    I love cities… architecture, history, all the craziness that comes with stuffing a couple million people from all around the world into a little space.

  46. cailin oneil says:

    I have always wanted to go West and go to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle!! and be Sleepless and fall in love! I think it could happen there.

  47. Niagara Falls. It sounds cheesy, but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to see them/stand next to them. As a Florida native, I understand gulfs and oceans, but I’ve never seen a waterfall up close.

  48. San Francisco, a mecca for the revolutionary culture that began in the sixties and is still thriving today. It would be wonderful to be in the place where all of that was and still is concentrated.

  49. Gene Bowker says:

    I’d love to travel to Alaska to see Glacier Bay NP. I’ve never been and I think it looks great.

About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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