remember asking a friend from New York if she had been to the Statue of Liberty, she said no. So, I asked a friend from South Dakota if he had ever been to Mount Rushmore -- he also said no.
These seem like some exciting "must-see" destinations in those particular states, so it made me wonder what is right here in Utah that people from all over the world come to see, but those of us who live here haven't seen.
Visitors from other states and countries are fascinated with the Great Salt Lake but most of us have never floated in its briny waters. Do you watch movie stars on TV yet never attempt to see them in person at the Sundance Film Festival? Busloads of tourists have hiked in Zion National Park -- have you?
We surveyed 25 local teenagers, who've been residents of the state for five to 18 years, to see if they had been to any of Utah's "hot spots" and to find out what locations in the Beehive State they particularly like.
Kennecott Copper Mine, near South Jordan, is three-quarters of a mile deep and has produced more copper than any other mine in history; it's so big it can be seen from space. Visited by 9 of 25 teens.
"I have wanted to visit the mine because my grandpa used to work there," said Nick Trowbridge, a sophomore at Layton High School.
West of Brigham City is the Golden Spike National Historic Site where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met in 1869. The park has a visitor's center with memorabilia and movies, walking trail, driving trail and an amazing re-enactment with exact replicas of the trains. Visited by 8 of 25 teens.
Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake are the remainders of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville. This is one of the most asked about tourist sites in Utah. The island is west of Syracuse and has a marina, campgrounds and trails for hikers, bikers or horses. Visited by 20 of 25 teens.
Antelope Island was the favorite place for three teens including, Victoria Beitz-Swenson, a Northridge High junior, who said, "It has beautiful sunsets."
The Bonneville Salt Flats stretches more than 30,000 acres along Interstate 80 near the Utah-Nevada border. It is a completely flat and barren vision of white. The scenery has been used in hundreds of films and the flat land is used for high-speed races. Visited by 7 of 25 teens.
Zion National Park, in Southern Utah, was Utah's first national park and has unique sandstone cliffs and canyons. Zion has campgrounds, trails and a tour bus. Visited by 15 of 25 teens.
"Our out-of-town visitors usally ask to go to Zion," said Morgan Hill, a sophomore at Bonneville High.
Utah Olympic Park is part of the 2002 Winter Olympics facilities. In Park City, it offers a wide range of activities and is also a training park for future Olympians. Visited by 8 of 25 teens.
Sheena Reiche, a senior at Electronic High School, said, "When we have out of towners, they generally wanna go skiing."
Moab is a scenic wonder that accommodates every outdoor enthusiast. It's located in Eastern Central Utah and includes Canyonlands and Arches National Park. The area has plenty of motels, campgrounds and outdoor outfitters. Visited by 15 of 25 teens.
Jolynn Jones, a ninth grader at Sunset Junior High School, said Arches should be the state's top destination: "There is no other place like it."
Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the United States. On the Utah-Arizona border, the lake has warm weather and easy access. Visited by 12 of 25 teens.
Quite a few teens agreed with Hannah Wagner, a sophomore at Bonneville High, who said she wanted to go to Lake Powell because, "Everyone goes and it sounds fun."
On the opposite end of the state is Bear Lake, a popular weekend trip. Visited by 17 of 25 teens, including one who also went to nearby Minnetonka Cave.
"I love wakeboarding and the water there is perfect," said Trowbridge.
Dinosaur National Monument was built around a cliff with approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones imbedded in it. It is a few miles east of Vernal. About 36 species of dinosaurs have been found in Utah. Visited by 12 of 25 teens.
Tuacahn is an outdoor theater in St. George. The theater performs four stage shows a year in addition to many other concerts. Visited by 7 of 25 teens.
Janaya Jones, a junior at Northridge High, said she wanted to go to Tuacahn because, "Everyone I know that has been there loved it!"
The Sundance Film Festival was started by Robert Redford and has become a world-famous event with movies shown in Park City, Salt Lake City and Ogden. Only 4 of 25 teens have seen a Sundance world premiere.
Erin Villareal, a ninth grader at West High in Salt Lake City, has wanted to attend the festival because, "They would be films I would not normally see."
ReAl Salt Lake, winners of the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup, are at home in the amazing Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. With tickets as low as $8 (compare that to other ReAl teams whose tickets start at $120) it is a great night out. Only 5 of 25 teens have been to a ReAl game.
Other places mentioned by teens surveyed were visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City (especially when it is decorated for the holidays), Cedar City's Shakespearean Festival, Lagoon and Utah's petroglyphs.
Many students expressed disappointment when they realized there are so many cool places to go right here in Utah and they haven't been. So, what is stopping you? Get out there and see Utah, where you will find "Life Elevated."
Rachel Badali is a sophomore studying in Electronic High School. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.