The most American vacation

Moms with endless supplies of high-waisted khaki shorts and dads who look like Dr. Pendanski. You’ll find them at Myrtle Beach or Disney World, Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore. You’ll see them at a roadside Denny’s impatiently waiting for their kids to finish their third bathroom break in the last two hours or collapsed beside the pool at the Holiday Inn Express. But where… where between the waves of amber grain and the majestic purple mountains is the most American vacation destination for these sultans of Skechers and their sunscreen-scented wives?

--- Places it’s not ---

MYRTLE BEACH: One of two places in the country where AARP cards outnumber the actual population.

DISNEY WORLD (or Disneyland): Too commercial to be a truly “American” destination. If the most historical things there happened because of a fictional mouse and animatronic presidents, it’s an easy no for me. Not even the hour drive to the Kennedy Space Center will change my mind on it.

YELLOWSTONE: Ehhhhh… maybe after the caldera erupts.

MOUNT RUSHMORE: Very American, but all that’s there are a bunch of rocks that may or may not be part of a cover-up that only Nicolas Cagecan solve. In my opinion, there’s got to be more substance to a place than that.

NEW YORK CITY: The Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Broadway, and Times Square are all undeniably classic tourist spots. Add in the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower and WTC Memorial, and 30 Rock and Radio City at Christmastime, and it’s one heck of a trip (speaking from experience). But at no point did it feel particularly “American.” Hacky and gimmicky? At times, yes.

BOSTON: Loaded with places of historical significance. So much so that two of their major sports teams (Patriots and Revolution) are so named because of it. At this point on the list, it’s entirely possible that Boston could contend for the title, but ultimately it won’t win it.

PHILADELPHIA: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Penn Relays, Philadelphia Museum of Art (the Rocky Steps), City Hall, Reading Terminal Market, and Will Smith’s birthplace. Another city oozing with patriotism and history. Home of the cheesesteak the curse of Billy Penn. Philadelphia would be the most American city, except…

--- Places it might be ---

WASHINGTON D.C.: The hub of American politics and capital of all things American. Monuments to at least 30 former presidents are scattered across the city, not to mention other politicians and civil servants. You’ve got the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, Smithsonian, National Archives, the zoo, the cathedral, the fistful of prominent and historic colleges and universities, Bryce Harper’s ever-glorious hair, the Library of Congress, yada yada yada. Just seven miles to the south is Alexandria, Virginia – the town immortalized by “Remember the Titans.” There’s no question that the District of Columbia is the most American city in the United States. But as far as the most American vacation destination, the only competitor is…

THE GRAND CANYON: The fourth-largest National Park in the contiguous 48 is about as stereotypical as American family vacations get, but for good reason. More than two BILLION years of natural history can be examined in the park as a result of the system of waterways that have cut into and exposed the earth. Overlooking the various rims, cliffs, and valleys throughout the park can be done between bouts of hiking, kayaking, and skydiving. One of CNN’s “Seven Wonders of the Natural World,” and rightfully so, the breathtaking scenery of the Grand Canyon appeals to thousands of families willing to risk sunburn and bear attacks for a little quality time together.

--- Which is the most American vacation destination ---

What say you?

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