15 Places to Visit in North America After Graduation

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The final months of college are filled with spending time with the friends you’ve made over the years, planning the logistics of your graduation, and hopefully scheduling a trip to give yourself an opportunity to rest before heading off to a full-time job. Finding where to travel after graduation takes a little time and research, especially if you have a tight budget.

When searching for a destination, don’t forget about U.S. destinations that are affordable and fun. We’ve put together a list of our top road trips from universities across the country. Some of these trips are just a short bus ride away, while others will take you across state lines to unexpected destinations. Whether you’re graduating from Seattle, Chicago, or Miami – you’ll find the best destinations to visit that are just a simple bus or train ride away.

And if you don’t feel like touring North America, we can help you branch out and visit some of the most exciting places to visit in Europe after graduating from college too!

Where to Visit After Graduating from College in the Northeast

1. Montreal

Montreal

Once school is out in the northeast, everyone wants to celebrate the end of a long semester and summer. Montreal is beautiful to visit during May and June and a convenient destination if you’re looking for a post-college trip that is nearby and affordable.

Once you’re in Montreal, keep the cost of your trip low by eating from all the tasty food trucks or celebrating art and music at one of their summer festivals, like Montreal Beer Week or the Montreal Folk Festival.

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2. Niagara Falls

Aside from a short trip to Montreal, you can also take a bus or train farther for more of an adventure. Niagara Falls is one of those destinations that you’ll want to check off your travel list before moving on to less traveled destinations. After gazing at the falls, you’ll want to make the most of your trip and avoid the tourist traps.

If you want to stay in Niagara Falls then head to the less-traveled Ball’s Falls or Niagara Whirlpool. You can also take a short bus ride from Niagara Falls to Buffalo where you can see comedy at the 9th Ward or grab some of the best wings in the home of Buffalo chicken wings at Nine-Eleven Tavern.

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3. Chicago

The most adventurous road trips are the ones that take us to unexpected destinations and stretch our imagination. You might not have known that you can take a bus from New York or Boston all the way to Chicago, but if you’re up for an adventure then this is definitely a great trip to make.

Once you’ve arrived in Chicago, you’ll find plenty of activities from checking out the local punk scene at Delilah’s to taking a swim at Foster Avenue Beach.

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Where to Visit After Graduating from College in the Southeast

1. Charleston

Graduating from the southern states, like South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, or Florida, means you can affordably travel to the beach without having to go too far. If you’re looking to start a job during the summer, but still want to celebrate completing college, then take a trip to Charleston. By visiting this southern town, you’ll be able to find affordable lodging and plenty of authentic and fun things to do.

Once you arrive in Charleston, you can take the water taxi to visit Sullivan’s Island for the day or stay in the city and enjoy some classic soul food at Martha Lou’s Kitchen.

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2. New Orleans

You’ll find plenty of destinations for fun road trips if you’re graduating from college in Mississippi, Arkansas, or Tennessee. One destination that you should consider for your post-graduation trip is New Orleans.

The city is home to some of the best food in the region, where you can grab a fresh bite to eat at Satsuma Café or experience the flavors of creole food at Patois. Once you’ve had your fill of Louisiana cooking, then you can dance the night away at Bar Tonique.

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3. Monterrey

A photo of the sun setting behind Cerro de la Silla mountain in Monterrey, Mexico.

You’ll find plenty of destinations for fun road trips if you’re graduating from college in Mississippi, Arkansas, or Tennessee. One destination that you should consider for your post-graduation trip is New Orleans.

The city is home to some of the best food in the region, where you can grab a fresh bite to eat at Satsuma Café or experience the flavors of creole food at Patois. Once you’ve had your fill of Louisiana cooking, then you can dance the night away at Bar Tonique.

Book your trip:

Where to Visit After Graduating from College in the Midwest

1. Escanaba, MI

People often overlook the beautiful destinations that you can find in the Midwest. If you’re looking for somewhere to travel after graduation from a college in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, or Michigan, then you have the unique opportunity to travel locally to enjoy some of the most unique places in the country. For a short trip following college graduation, travel to Escanaba.

This small town is located in the upper peninsula and you can take a ferry across Little Bay de Noc to explore the surrounding islands. Once you’re in Escanaba, enjoy the surrounding nature from the Palms Book State Park and Maywood History Trail.

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2. Toronto, ON

Aside from regional travel within the Midwest, you can also take a bus to Toronto. After graduating from college, you might as well get out of the country and visit Canada. Toronto has plenty of things to do in the summer, from stopping by the local Bellwood Brewery to dining at La Carnita.

Once you’ve seen all the sites in Toronto, you can stretch out your stay by taking a ferry to the Toronto Islands. This is the perfect trip if you’re looking to cover more ground or head out with a group of friends on a Canadian adventure.

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3. Seattle, WA

There are plenty of longer trips that you can take from the Midwest that will bring you to either coast. If you really want to put some distance between you and your college career, then take a bus all the way out to Seattle. Explore the sights of the Pacific Northwest by checking out both the popular and less popular spots.

Once you’ve crossed off Pike Place Market from your list, make sure you eat your fill of Fran’s Chocolates and head on over to watch a match of Roller Derby.

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Where to Visit After Graduating from College in the Southwest

1. Las Vegas, NV

You’ll find plenty of breathtaking destinations to visit in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. After four years of working hard, you might as well celebrate in style by taking a trip to Las Vegas.

Aside from walking along The Strip, there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas, from playing hours of pinball at the historic Pinball Hallto chowing down on arepas from Viva Las Arepas.

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2. Los Angeles, CA

Aside from taking a trip to Las Vegas, you might want to spend a couple extra hours on the bus so you can soak up the sun on a California beach. Traveling from Arizona, Nevada, or Utah to California is easy when you can find the most efficient bus time and price across carriers.

If you’re wondering where to travel after graduating and you live in this region, then make Los Angeles your final destination. We’ve compiled a very comprehensive list of all the LA essentials that you need to experience while you’re in town. But if you’re eager to post that Instagram story right underneath the Hollywood sign, we also know the best way to get there

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3. San Francisco, CA

Sometimes, longer trips can feel like you’re going on a greater adventure. If you’re someone who enjoys long bus rides so you can see different parts of the country, then you can always travel farther up the California coast to San Francisco.

Once you’ve arrived in San Francisco, you’ll find plenty of activities if you just graduated. Aside from lots of free activities, like walking through the Presidio, you can also grab some local food at Herbivore or take a walk down Haight Ashbury until you reach Golden Gate Park.

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Where to Visit After Graduating from College on the West Coast

1. Lake Tahoe, CA

Graduating from college in California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada still leaves you with many destinations to visit. A central location that you can stop by is South Lake Tahoe. Depending on where you’re traveling from, this can be a quick trip on a bus or train.

Once you’re in South Lake Tahoe, you should visit Sprouts before heading out on a walk along Emerald Bay or taking a gondola up to Heavenly Resort.

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2. Portland, OR

Graduating from college in California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada still leaves you with many destinations to visit. A central location that you can stop by is South Lake Tahoe. Depending on where you’re traveling from, this can be a quick trip on a bus or train.

Once you’re in South Lake Tahoe, you should visit Sprouts before heading out on a walk along Emerald Bay or taking a gondola up to Heavenly Resort.

Book your trip:

3. Calgary, AB

For the most adventurous spirits looking for somewhere to travel after graduation, you might think about taking a road trip to Canada. Once you arrive in Calgary, you can really get a feel for the local culture by visiting Crossroads Market and Lunchbox Theater.

If you’re looking for a place to dance the night away, then Habitat is an intimate venue with plenty of music to get lost to.

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Where to Visit If You’re Craving a European Adventure

North America certainly has a lot of must-see destinations to offer anyone looking to indulge into some post-graduation travel. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and go on that European adventure you’ve been dreaming of since freshman year. In fact, backpacking through Europe after graduation has become sort of a staple of the post-college experience in American culture and we’re here to help you make that reality. With Wanderu now helping you find travel deals in Europe, you can tour the Old Continent for really cheap!

Recently, we published an article outlining how you can visit 15 European capitals for less than $400. Yes, you read that correctly! Other than being cheaper than most cross-country U.S. flights, the proposed itinerary is perfect for anyone looking to get up-close and personal with European culture and make the most of their trans-Atlantic trip. It’s also a loop, so whether you fly into LondonParisBerlin or any of the other 12 featured cities, you can easily travel to all destinations before returning to your starting point and flying back to America.

If you’re not looking to tour across the continent and would prefer to check out only certain key destinations, we can help you with that too. On Wanderu, you can find the best available bus and train deals for popular routes like London to ParisRome to FlorencePrague to ViennaAmsterdam to Berlin, and Berlin to Copenhagen, among thousands of other ones. Find your dream trip on wanderu.com.

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About the author
Austin Bay

Austin Bay

As a Northern California native, Austin's favorite trips begin and end in the mountains. He's always on an adventure to find new running trails and stay somewhere long enough to get to know people.
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