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In 1999 the National Geographic Society presented the National Geographic's 50 Places of a Lifetime; a list if 50 must-see places in the world. It was a mix of cities, deserts and historic places in the world that are really, really worty the trip. Now, the writers of the National Geographic Traveler magazine have compiled an all-american list, with places in the United States that one shoulnd't miss. Is has the same categories as the world list, which gives a nice mix between modern and historic, crowded and desolate. The 50 places are indeed chosen in such a way that it'll take at least a lifetime to experience them all. The list does not include places that were on the world list, which were quite a few.

It is refreshing to see that there are only a handful cities and classical tourist traps. Many of the entries are desolate, isolated and quiet places that rarely get a lot of publicity. Instead they are places where you can experience nature without crowds.

Urban Spaces
"Destinations that have a defining character, a uniqueness, and an influence beyond their immediate borders."

Los Angeles
New Orleans
Washington, D.C.

Wild Places
"Destinations that are great wilderness areas—the deserts, forests, swamplands, and mountains—that stir us and surprise us."

Arctic Alaska
Baxter State Park, Maine
Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana
Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina
Death Valley National Park, California
Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho
Guadalupe Mountains Naional Park, Texas
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia

Paradise Found
"Destinations that are often remote, but that shimmer in the mind as retreats of the first order."

Adirondacks, New York
Chautauqua Institution, New York
Channel Islands, California
Inside Passage, Alaska
National Tropical Botantical Gardens, Hawaii
Midway Islands
Nantucket Island
Newport’s Cliff Walk, Rhode Island
St. John/U.S. Virgin Islands
San Juan Islands, Washington

Country Unbound
"Destinations that are rural landscapes only gently touched by the hand of man."

Cajun Country
California Wine Country
Chesapeake Bay
Colorado Rockies
Kentucky Bluegrass Country
Maine Coast
Mississippi River
Coastal Oregon
Red Rock Desert, Arizona
The Palouse, Washington

National Wonders
"Destinations that are small, contained spots—manmade or natural—that America cherishes."

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
Fallingwater, Pennsylvania
Gateway Arch, St. Louis
Highway 1, California
Las Vegas
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse, South Dakota
Natchez, Mississippi
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island

See more at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/tw/50places.html . Let me know if any of the hardlinks should point elsewhere.

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