Everyone dreams of a beautiful, romantic European getaway, but sometimes there are just too many factors at hand to make a big trip like that happen -- whether it be time, money, or patience of planning a trip to a country where your language is not the first spoken. Luckily, the United States is filled with cities that are a close second (or pay homage) to some of the most iconic European destinations. We've come up with the top 5 U.S. alternatives to trendy European vacations.
Instead of Stonehenge, England: Take a stop at the U.S.'s very own Stonehenge! Located in Salem, New Hampshire, this rock formation is maze of man-made chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places, and is likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States (over 4000 years old). No one knows if it was made by Native Americans, or migrant European settlers, but the mystery adds to the fun! The site was likely used as an astrological calendar, just like the version in England.
Instead of Venice, Italy: Take a gondola ride through Fort Lauderdale, Florida! Similar to the city of Venice, which is completely surrounded by water and residents have to use boats to get from store to home, Fort Lauderdale also has it's own path of water canals sprawled throughout the city. You can take any number of gondola or water taxi rides throughout this Florida town, seeing lovely architecture and landscapes kept spruced up year round for the enjoyment of passerby.
Instead of the castles of Ireland, England or Scotland: Head to America's little paradise of Hawaii to explore royalty abound, in incredible feats of architecture scattered throughout the islands. The Iolani Palace in Honolulu is home to America's only official royal residence, which was built in 1874 by King Kalakaua. If Hawaii is too far off the coast for your budget, make a trip to California to see Hearst Castle in San Simeon, built with direct elements of European architecture.
Instead of the Netherlands: Visit Holland, Michigan! This town didn't just borrow the Dutch name -- they held true to its reputation. Each spring, the residents celebrate their roots with an 8-day festival called Tulip Time, where the millions of tulips they imported overseas bloom in full color. The festival also features it features parades, concerts, traditional klompen dancing, craft fairs and fireworks, all lined along the gardens.
Instead of the French countryside: Ever head of the Vermont Cheese Trail? It's a real thing, and it's a total paradise for fine cheese lovers. While Vermont may be better know by its maple syrup and sharp cheddar, its countryside is home to dozens of artisanal cheese farms, crafting everything from Gorgonzola and Gouda to feta and Chevra. Visitors can grab a map featuring nearly 300 miles of roads throughout the region, marking every factory tour, winery, small shop and market along the way.