Red Dead Redemption 2 has been out for around five years now, and yet it still feels like it came out yesterday. Thanks to its availability on Steam, the beginning of 2023 saw the most purchasing and playing the game since its initial launch, and until Red Dead Redemption 3 comes out, that player count is likely to keep hitting new records.

And we’ve got to say, we’re jealous. There’s nothing quite like playing Red Dead Redemption 2 – which we will call RDR2 for the rest of this article  – for the first time. This was, and still is, one of the most ambitious gaming titles ever to be released.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Camp

Wandering The World Of RDR2

Spanning a number of different locations, the player has the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in the Old West, whether that’s through tackling the main storyline, hunting and capturing outlaws, playing cards in traditional saloons, or standing for seven minutes watching a chef meticulously slice and cook lamb leg – seriously, you can do that.

Eight years went into developing this game, and you can’t say that a single second was wasted. If you wanted, you could spend hundreds of in-game hours exploring the world and not do a single mission – and you would be well rewarded for doing so. For any new players coming to the game, exploring the world is a must-do if only to appreciate all the hours that went into perfecting it, and we think we’ve got the perfect list to start you off.

Below, you’ll find three of the most amazing RDR2 locations to visit first, helping you to immediately become immersed in the cowboy-role you were destined for:

Saint Denis

When you start playing the game, the main storyline will naturally take you through a few locations, including the town of Valentine, which your camp will use for supplies in the initial chapters. Once you have visited Valentine, however, it’s up to you to explore the world at your leisure. We think the first place you should go is Saint Denis, which lies south-east of Valentine on the map.

This is a fabulous city location, full of people, stores, strange events, amazing architecture, and even casino games. There’s even been some talk of roulette being added to the online version in the future. For now, however, you have blackjack and poker to play at your heart's content – and this list of top online casinos for roulette players if you can’t wait for any add-ons!

Grizzlies West

Spoiler alert! While RDR2 kicks off in the snowy mountains, the main storyline doesn’t take you back there, which means you’ll have to go back and explore them on your own steam. We highly recommend doing this, because the Grizzlies are simply stunning for a game that came out in 2018. With several abandoned villages and cabins, there’s something almost unnerving about wandering around the mountains on your own, with nothing but a thick leather jacket to protect you.

It gets even more unnerving when you realise how many wild animals are just waiting for a tasty morsel, so make sure you have your weapons with you! Speaking of animals, Grizzlies West is also a great place to meet a new friend. On the gorgeous Lake Isabella, you can find a White Arabian Horse – one of the fastest mounts in the game. Go there, take in the scenery, and ride away on one of the best horses you can find!

The Big Valley

One of the second towns you will visit in the main storyline is Strawberry, which lies south-east of your first encampment. When you visit this area to save a certain friend/enemy, we recommend moving a little further north once the mission is done to take in the views. When it comes to showstopper moments, there’s nothing more impressive than The Big Valley, which is a forest region above the town of Strawberry.

Here, you can find vast fields full of bluebells, wildlife, and looming mountains in the distance. There are also plenty of RDR2’s hidden secrets discoverable right here in the valleys, including a crashed airship, hidden tunnels, native burials, faces in the trees, a strange hermit, and even Giant remains! The best thing about this place is the scenery, however. You can simply take your horse here, set up a camp, and watch the sunset fall over the horizon, glistening your surroundings in gorgeous, vivid colours. As far as immersion goes, this is it. Look no further. The Big Valley, and all of RDR2 for that matter, has you covered. At least, until RDR3 comes along!