While Travelling, I enjoy checking out superlatives- for example, the biggest, hottest, ext. Exploring some of the most extreme places in the United States has taken me to some exciting areas worth exploring for their own value.
Are you looking to add some spice to your US bucket list? Consider adding these extreme US spots and experience intriguing locales.
Table of Contents
Northernmost Spot in the United States
In the summer of 2019, my family headed to Barrow (Utqiagvik), Alaska. We didn’t go to see the northernmost spot in the US but found that we were right nearby. Being in the Arctic Circle is what we wanted to experience.
In Barrow lies Point Barrow (Nuvuk), a sandbar that goes far into the Arctic Ocean. It was pretty cool to be the most northern people in the US at that moment. But you can’t just walk out onto this point. You need an armed guide to take this walk because there are polar bears! They can run through the sand much quicker than a human can. The tip of the point is only about 1,200 miles away from the North Pole.
Not only will you experience this geographic spot, but there is also a lot to learn about Alaska’s native culture and their substantive existence in this harsh environment where temperatures only stay around 40 in the middle of summer with 24 hours of daylight. I can’t imagine what life is like here in the winter.
How to Visit Point Barrow
You must fly to Barrow. No road will take you there. Find a tour or local to take you out onto the sandy point.
Southernmost Spot in the United States
Ka Lae (South Point) is a rocky point on the island of Hawaii. It is off the typical tourist path, so perhaps not easy to access.
Unfortunately, due to COVID, my family has yet to visit this point on the southern coast of the big island of Hawaii. When planning our only Hawaiian vacation, we were going to split our time between Hawaii and Maui, but travel between the islands was difficult.
How to get to South Point, Hawaii
Book a flight to Hawaii. Then rent a car and head to South Point Rd., Naalehu, Big Island, HI. If you don’t want to try to get there yourself, you can consider taking a tour that includes South Point.
Southernmost Spot in the Continental United States
Key West, Florida, is a fun travel stop. This touristy town at the southernmost tip of Key West is full of colorful houses, restaurants, beaches, and chickens. I have visited twice. Once on a southern Caribbean cruise and once as part of a Key West road trip.
The Southernmost Point Buoy, a large, colorful buoy anchored with concrete, marks the most southern spot in the continental US. It is only 330 miles from Cuba.
How to Get to the Southernmost Point Buoy
There are many ways to get to this spot. Any of the hop-on-hop-off buses will have stops here. Also, you can walk, bike, or drive to the buoy located at the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street in Key West.
Northernmost Spot in the Continental US
This one may be almost as hard to get to as Barrow. The Northwest Angle is part of Minnesota that lies inside of Canada! You will have to cross two borders to get there, so you will need to have a valid passport and a day of free time.
How to get to the Northernmost Spot in the Continental US
The Lowest, Driest, and Hottest Spot in The United States is also the Largest National Park in the Lower 48
Death Valley wins for all three of these US superlatives. This US National Park sits in California in the Mojave Desert straddling Nevada.
The desert landscape is quite beautiful. Depending on when and where you visit, you can see salt flats, a crater, snow, a waterfall, or fields of wildflowers.
Badwater Basin sits 282 feet below sea level. It appears like a snowy landscape, but what you actually see is salt.
Not only is Furnace Creek the hottest spot in the United States, but also the hottest spot in the world. Furnace Creek reached a temperature of 130.0 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, July 9, 2021.
I have never visited Death Valley in the summer. I stay away from all deserts then, as I’m not too fond of the heat. My visits to Death Valley were generally part of a road trip between California, where I lived, and Nevada, where my grandparents live.
How to Get to Death Valley
You will need a car to explore Death Valley. Two of the three entrances are about 2 hours from Las Vegas, and the other is about 2 1/2 hours from Los Angeles.
If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can take a tour from Las Vegas.
Highest Spot in the United States
Mount Denali in Alaska is the highest elevation in the US. If you love views and wildlife Denali National Park is something you need to see.
My family’s two-week exploration of Alaska was our collective favorite trip by far. While Death Valley is the largest National Park in the lower 48, Denali is the largest National park in the entire US.
The peak of Denali looms over the whole park at a whopping 20,210 ft! Strangely enough, in our four days in the park, the mountain was always completely covered in clouds. It was so covered I couldn’t tell a huge mountain was there.
But, I did get to see the whole mountain from the window of our plane ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
How to See the Highest Peak in the US
You can get to the entrance of Denali National Park by train or car. To get far into the park, you will have to take the park’s buses.
If you want to get to the top of Denali, you will have to plan and train because the hike takes around two weeks.
Coldest City in the United States
Alaska wins again! Fairbanks is the coldest city in the US, where it reached -66* F. We haven’t experienced that kind of cold but did get into a -40* F room on a summer visit at the station for our Riverboat Discovery Tour.
How to Get to Fairbanks
A trip to Fairbanks is uncomplicated- Fairbanks has a large airport. If you come to brave the winter temperatures, Fairbanks is also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights!
First Sunrise You can See in the US
The first start of a new day in the continental US is the peak of the sun coming over the ocean, as seen from Acadia National Park in Maine. This forest and trails of this stunning national park lie hugging Maine’s rocky coastline.
How to Watch the Sunset atop Mount Cadillac
You can hike or drive up Mount Cadillac to view the sunrise. Be sure to arrive early if you are driving because they cap the number of cars allowed on the mountain.
Largest US National Forest
The Tongass National Forest is again a US jewel located in Alaska. It is stunning and about the size of the state of West Virginia! Here you can see glaciers and giant bears catching migrating salmon straight from the water.
How to Visit the Tongass National Forest
Juneau, Alaska, sits inside of this National Forest. You will need to take a boat or plane to reach Juneau as it is the only US capital that is not accessible by car. I highly recommend visiting Anan while you are in the area. My seaplane ride into it and experiences there are at the top of my life’s experiences.
How many of these spots have you visited? What is at the top of your list?