Imposing mountain ranges, vast national parks, vibrant cities and pristine wilderness combine to make North America a haven for adventure and activity seekers. Linda Harris, Explore Product Manager for USA and Canada, shares her top ten reasons to join an Explore tour to North America.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
Yellowstone National Park is best known for the Old Faithful Geyser, which with remarkable regularity and reliability emits a powerful jet of steaming hot water. Its rugged landscapes include prolific forests and sprawling grasslands, desolate mountain peaks, a refreshing bounty of lakes, streams, and rivers, no less than 290 waterfalls, three canyons, and one of the largest petrified forests in the world.
All the elements that have allowed Vancouver to top the list of the world’s most liveable cities also make Western Canada’s gateway a great place to visit. The Ocean Strait of Georgia frames its western edges with the great harbour basin of English Bay and Burrard Inlet to the north. Across the inlet, high mountain peaks rise directly out of its northern suburbs. Across Georgia Strait lies Vancouver Island with the beautiful city of Victoria and to its westernmost side, Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park, featuring endless beaches and dominated by 1000 year old Douglas Firs among the Canadian rainforest.
New England, USA
New England - the birthplace of America - is filled with rich history, fascinating cities, scenic villages, and great walking opportunities. Discover white sand beaches, brilliant fall foliage, expansive lakes, panoramic mountain views and dockside restaurants with delicious food including chowder, lobster and blueberry pie.
The Canadian Rockies, Canada
The Canadian Rockies are home to a big concentration of national parks. Banff is the oldest and most famous of the parks and includes the magnificent Lake Louise. Jasper is the biggest national park in the Rockies and is known for its superb walking opportunities. Sister parks nestled between the Alberta and British Columbia borders are Yoho and Kootenay with their snow-capped mountain peaks, thundering waterfalls and glacial lakes.
Las Vegas, USA
Blazing with neon colours at the heart of the Nevada desert, Vegas presents us with America in all its flamboyant excess, a desert city that is surely one of the most surreal and extravagant destinations anywhere on earth, let alone the United States. You can watch exploding volcanoes, pirate battles, cruise the canals of Venice and take a rollercoaster ride across the New York skyline.
The Calgary Stampede, Canada
For the past 100 years, Calgary has hosted one of the biggest western festivals, the Calgary Stampede. During ten days, Calgarians wear their cowboy outfits and take part in the festival. In the Indian Village the five nations - Blackfoot, Blood, Piegan, Sarcee and Stoney are represented with their own colourful teepees and dance competitions. There are also rodeo competitions where cowboys compete in bronco riding, bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling, and cowgirls compete in barrel racing.
Alaska, with its immense expanse of pristine wilderness, is quite possibly the most beautiful state in the USA. Wrangell St Elias National Park is home to nine of North America’s sixteen highest peaks. The Kenai Peninsula contains dramatic ice fields and the biggest density of grizzly bears. Denali National Park boasts spectacular hiking trails and stunning panoramas.
San Francisco, USA
Hugging the shores of San Francisco Bay, America's second most populous city is a fascinating mix of culture, commerce and character that cannot fail to charm. Its most famous landmark is the Golden Gate Bridge but there is plenty more to discover including the delightful Victorian architecture of Alamo Square and the colourful eccentricity of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco’s once thriving ‘hippie district’ of the 1960s. The city also boasts the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.
Wildlife, USA and Canada
The USA and Canada offers lots of chances to spot wildlife. Yellowstone National Park has the largest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 US states, including wolves, elk and bison. In Alaska, look out for grizzly bears and spot moose and caribou as they amble slowly by. There are also good whale watching opportunities off both the east and west coast of Canada.
The American Southwest, USA
This area is home to more highlights than we can list here. The best ones are the Grand Canyon; a natural wonder that is both unfathomably vast and incredibly beautiful. Monument Valley has featured in many a Hollywood film, the best way to explore it is by jeep with a Navajo guide. Zion National Park is a great place to do some walking, especially the Narrows where you can enjoy a river hike.
Find out more about our adventures in North America.