Some of the Most Enchanting Places to Travel to in the United States
While most might think that Europe is the home to all things enchanting and fairy tale, we’re here to tell you that that’s very much not the case! While Europe is home to some of the most fascinating locations that look like they’ve been taken straight out of a storybook, the fantasy doesn’t end there. Here in the United States, we have our fair share of all things fantastical and alluring and we’ve decided to take a look at some of the best that the country has to offer. We’ll even take you through how to register for your ESTA visa so you can travel here without a hitch! So, sit back, relax, and here we go!
Enchanting Places to Explore in the United States
Midway Ice Castles, Utah
If you’re a fan of all things icy and Frozen (see what we did there?) the Ice Castles in Midway, Utah are the ideal location for your trip. Built from scratch by hand, this stunning location is made from over 20,000,000 pounds of ice and stirs up an unmistakable atmosphere of magic and enchantment. There are even two ‘ice princesses’ that are available to meet and take photos with as you enter their home. They greet guests during certain times of the day (Monday & Wednesday 5pm-7pm, Friday 5-8pm, and Saturday 2-8pm) though this can differ depending on the weather at the time, so plan your trip well, especially if you have young children! Just make sure you wrap up warm and wear the right footwear – you’ll be walking on crushed ice.
The Biltmore Estate, North Carolina
Set against a backdrop of majestic mountains, this stunning estate and gardens have all the charm of a fairytale castle. This mansion was built 1889-1895 by the Vanderbilt family, and it continues to be one of the most enchanting and visually breath-taking castles in the whole of the U.S. You can take guided tours, or simply take yourself around the large estate. Why not stop for a picnic on the green? There’s even an inn on the grounds, so if you fancy staying at this beauty of an estate, it’s very much possible. There’s the village hotel not too far away as well, so there really are plenty of places to stay!
Boldt Castle, New York
Boldt Castle in New York is a building with a tragic history of love and loss. George Boldt was a wealthy hotelier and as an act of love and devotion to his wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt, he had this castle built in 1900 on the appropriately named ‘heart island’. However, tragedy struck when Louise, unfortunately, died in 1904 before the construction of her gift could be complete. This small but equally as stunning castle was never returned to by Boldt but is available to visit and explore by the public. Be prepared to pay a fee, but the cost is worth the opportunity to wander through this incredible and enchanting piece of architecture.
The Lantern Fest, Colorado
Another gem for fans of all things Disney and enchanting, the Colorado Lantern Fest is a scene seemingly picked straight out of Tangled. While there is no lost princess to mourn, each year Colorado Springs is lit up by thousands of paper lanterns floating into the sky. This scene is truly enchanting, with the warm light casting a delicate glow over the night sky as they float away. Tickets sell fast, so if you’re traveling here for this event specifically, it’s worth booking well in advance to be sure you get a ticket and are’ left disappointed!
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Photo: Lyn Gateley
Visiting the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is like stepping out of our world and straight into Wonderland. This amazing location does more than just show off their plants – they twist them and sculpt them into whimsical shapes and fantastical scenes. The decorations at this conservatory change with every season, but the beauty never fades. In 2017 alone they’ve had a Japanese Spring display, a Tour of Italy display, and their ‘holiday glamour’ set up! It doesn’t matter when you visit this amazing location, you’ll be met with an enchanting, exciting view every time. More geeky fun in Las Vegas here.
How Do I Get My ESTA?
So now you’ve decided where you want to go, how do you get there? Well, if you aren’t a US resident, you’ll need an ESTA. However, there’s more you need to know when you come to apply, and this is where we come in.
If you live in a country listed in the Visa Waiver Program and would like to travel to the USA, then you’ll need to apply for an ESTA. The application can be complicated, and it is often mistakes which lead to the denial of entry. Luckily, there is plenty of help out there if you’re truly struggling with your application and want to be sure that it’s all correct and ready to go. There are currently 38 countries included in the Visa Waiver Program, and these include; Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the UK.
The ESTA program can only be used for travel that lasts no longer than 90 days, and only under the circumstances that you are traveling for business or tourism purposes. If you’re planning on working, studying or living there for an extended period of time, unfortunately, ESTA won’t be applicable and you’ll need to apply for another type of visa.
Anything Else I Need To Know?
Children will need their own ESTA! While joint visas are available for moving, an ESTA just for traveling is required for each member of the family. Luckily, the application is the same as your own and you can fill it in on their behalf. Whether your children are being accompanied on the travel or not, they will need their own ESTA, and you’ll need to ensure that you answer honestly and truthfully on their application, just as you would your own!
It’s also worth noting that the US Government Customs and Border Protection suggest you apply for your visa at least 72 hours before your travel, as the application can take up to 3 days to be returned, though you could receive a response in seconds. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry! If you’re expecting any trouble with your application, ensure you give yourself plenty of time to apply, and then fix any issues if they arise.
An ESTA will last for two years, or until your passport expires, so even applying earlier than 72 hours will be safe. If you have to change any legal details about yourself – whether that’s name, gender, age or something else – then you’ll need to update your ESTA too for it to remain valid. If you’re in the US when your passport expires, you will be fine, but it’s better to renew your passport before you travel if it is due to expire soon.
The USA really is filled with all kinds of enchanting locations. From ice castles to unusual gardens, there’s no limit to what the country can have to offer and hopefully, we’ve given you a little more peace of mind when it comes to applying for your ESTA to travel to the US to see them!