7 Iconic Places You Must Visit Out West

7 Iconic Places You Must Visit Out West

The Grand Canyon is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but there is so much more out west.

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Before coming to college, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a two-week expedition out west with family friends. This was the best trip of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, and I am not being dramatic. The trip began when we left Orlando, Florida for Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way, I encountered some of the most beautiful sights the United States has to offer.

1. Monument Valley, Arizona-Utah Border

Darby Webb

Monument Valley was breathtaking, to say the least. Being a Florida native, Monument Valley was the complete opposite of what I was used to. Being there felt like I had traveled to another planet. There was no one to be seen for miles upon miles beside our tour guide and fellow travelers. It was dusty, sweltering hot, and dry. Despite the harsh environmental factors, we were able to see some of the most breathtaking rock formations.

2. Emerald Pools Trail, Zion National Park, Utah

Darby Webb

Zion National Park was my favorite national park we saw, sorry Yellowstone! Zion was dense, full of life, mysterious, and green. We were able to hike the Emerald Pools Trail, a three-mile round-trip trail, that offered a handful of different landscapes. We also got up close and personal with different types of wildlife: rattlesnakes, deer, and a number of different birds.

3. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Darby Webb

Bryce Canyon is the home of the hoodoos, spire-shaped rock formations. Bryce Canyon makes for some beautiful photographs and wonderful hiking experiences. Bryce Canyon was also less busy compared to other sites such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

4. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Darby Webb

You didn't think I'd forget Yellowstone, would you? Most people have heard of this national park, but you have to be there to get the full experience. You, too, have to smell the deadly, sulfurous springs. I got to learn about some terrifying experiences some unlucky travelers have had, if that is something you are in to. Yellowstone is incredibly vast, spend some time there!

5. Hill City / Keystone, South Dakota

Darby Webb

If you go to South Dakota, you have to ride the Black Hills Central Railroad. This was the first time I had ever been on a train and I absolutely loved it. No air conditioning, open windows, and the slow, consistent chug of a diesel train engine, dominated my headspace. We took an hour trip from Keystone to Hill City where we shopped at local stores and enjoyed the scenery.

6. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Darby Webb

Grand Teton National Park is another underrated spot. The wildlife is abundant, the range is quiet, and a great vastness awaits your exploration. The Teton Range is home to the Snake River, the second largest North American river. If you are looking for peace and quiet contemplation, Grand Teton is for you.

7. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Darby Webb

While our trip was during the summer, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a phenomenal place for skiing. Jackson Hole is home to three different resorts and an elk refuge. Jackson Hole is a quirky town with plenty of shops to keep you busy as well.

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11 Must-Go To Day Trips In North Carolina

For the wanderers and curious...
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It's finally summer, classes are out! There are so many things to do in this beautiful state. There are many small towns to visit. These towns are perfect day trips. From the mountains to the beach and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Pack your car up and get ready for a summer of adventure.

1. NoDa

This is a small hipster district right outside of Uptown Charlotte. Music and art paint this town and it has a very creative energy flow. Amelie's Bakery, a 24/7 french bakery, is located in this district. There is always something fun and new to try in this cute, artistic town!

2. Asheville


This town is known for the beautiful scenery and historic importance. The Biltmore Estate is located here, and it is open for tours every day of the year. It is the biggest estate in America. The downtown area is very artistic, and the mountains make for a gorgeous hike. This is definitely an adventure you don't want to miss.

3. Boone

This small town has a lot of outdoor activities. It is perfect for hiking and whitewater rafting. If you love nature, this is a must see. It is a college town where Appalachian State University is located. The downtown area is very old school and for modern hipsters.

4. Crowders Mountain

This is located in Gaston County. Once you reach the Pinnacle, the peak of the trail, with clear skies you can see for miles. It is a quick four-mile hike for the short one, the view is amazing.

5. Wilmington

This city is known for the beachfront. It makes a perfect day to hit the waves. There are many beach fronts to visit, such as Carolina Beach. Cape Fear Ocean runs through this city. White sand, waves and the boardwalk. If you are a fan of One Tree Hill, it was filmed here.The small restaurants and characteristics give this town a vibrant energy.

6. Serendipity House

This house is from the movie Nights In Rodanthe located on a beach in Avon, North Carolina. It has been remodeled, but the amazing characteristics of this make it a sight to see.

7. Linville Falls

This is located in Linville, North Carolina. Attractions close by are also the Blue Ridge Mountain. To get to the main fall, it is about a mile hike.

8. Outer Banks

Small beaches on the outer banks of North Carolina have wild horses. Corolla Wild Ponies run free, and you can even take a ride on them in the water.

9. Sliding Rock

Located in Brevard, this rock is actually naturally made from a small waterfall. You can actually go sliding down it. It is in Pisgah National Forest also near Asheville.

10. Devil's Tramping Ground

This is located near Bennett. It is a 40-foot circle that cannot grow life. If you leave something or sleep in the circle, the rumor is it will be outside of the circle the next day.

11. Land of Oz Theme park

Located in Beech Mountain, this theme park that was once full of life is now closed and for the most part abandoned. It comes alive for one night a year for an event. This is definitely a place to take a night adventure to...

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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A Weekend Of Firsts: A Plane Ride And Trip To Washington, D.C.

What a weekend!

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to go to Washington, D.C. with an organization I'm involved with on campus. Not only was it my first time to D.C., but it was also my first time on a plane. While most students get to go to D.C. with their eighth-grade class, my school had ended that a few years before my class (now it's reinstated and my sister is going in November, but it's fine, I'm not salty). This trip was planned so that the group of students, all members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), had the opportunity to meet with some alumni from Bowling Green State University and have some time to explore the city. And man, oh man, did we do both.

The first day of our trip required us to be on the road to Detroit airport by 3:30 a.m., which means we got up at 2:45 a.m.. Once we got to the airport and made it through security, we sat by our terminal for nearly two hours. Since it was my first time on a plane, I was getting more and more anxious and nervous the longer we waited to board. Eventually, we boarded the plane sometime after 7 a.m., and I had a middle seat between two girls from PRSSA. The take-off was definitely unexpected. I immediately got dizzy, and the feeling of the tires lifting off the ground made me feel like I was going to fall through the floor of the plane. I tried to focus on one thing and to talk to the girls in my aisle to distract myself.

Every time there was a pocket of air or rumbling, I just pictured that I was in a car on a road trip going over potholes. It actually helped quite a lot. So, after we landed and got to our hotel, we had time to change and explore the city before our first meeting. The group of girls I went with stopped for breakfast, and then we went to see the White House. Of course, stopping along the way to take pictures of us with the beautiful trees.

At our first meeting, we learned about what a public relations major can do in a government job. The man we spoke with worked as a lobbyist and handles PACs. It was a really interesting discussion, but I was exhausted and kept falling asleep, oops. The second opportunity was at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, where we were given a tour of the building, saw a concert, and ate dinner. This was really amazing, as we got to see inside a theater and the main concert hall. It was really interesting hearing this alum's journey from college to D.C.

The second day was another busy one. We left the hotel by 9:15 a.m. to go to the Newseum, which was a large museum about journalism and journalistic accomplishments, in addition to history about the United States. It was fascinating and we all enjoyed seeing so many different things at once. There was a section that had newspaper headlines that are changed every day, which really surprised most of us. We then went to our final networking opportunity of the trip at an agency. There was a presentation about the various parts of this company, which was more my style and what I wanted to do. After that, we were all free to do whatever we wanted until the flight left the following evening.

That Friday evening, my group went to a happy hour where we talked, ate appetizers, and drank. It was a lot of fun getting to know these people, there were like 10 of us because I had only known a couple. That was my favorite part of the trip: getting to know these girls and becoming such quick friends. After that, we met up with three other members and went to dinner at a nicer restaurant, where the festivities continued. We drank some more, talked a lot more, and ate actual food. It was a pretty chill day, but it was so much fun.

Our last day started at 10 a.m., and we decided to see the monuments. We started with the Jefferson Memorial, which incited a new photo shoot. We talked through the beautiful, in-bloom, cherry blossom trees and got some amazing photos. We then stopped at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on our way to the Lincoln Memorial. Then we walked to the Capitol Building, pausing to take pictures of the Washington Monument.

During our 50-minute walk, we made sure to take hundreds of photos and get those Instagram-worthy, picture-perfect, photos. We managed to hit everything we wanted and make it to the airport with plenty of time before our flight. It was an exhausting three days, but they were so wonderful, I don't have the words.

This trip really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was super nervous about flying for the first time since I was approved to go on the trip, last October. But I overcame that fear and made it through the flight. I also became friends with wonderful people that I only wish I had befriended sooner. This trip was a really great thing for me to do and be a part of and I am so glad I not only had this opportunity but pushed myself to go on this trip and make memories with some pretty great people!

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