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Top Trip Memories

  • Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and peering into the depths of one of nature’s great wonders.
  • Strolling through always-lively Times Square in New York City and feeling like you must be at the center of the universe.
  • Driving the Avenue of the Giants in northern California, in awe of the ancient redwoods, the tallest trees on earth.
  • Attending a jazz or blues club in New Orleans or Memphis and discovering the roots of authentic American music.
  • Taking a river cruise on a paddlewheeler along the Columbia River in the great Northwest.
  • Dining on lobster or fried clams at a seafood shack in Maine or Massachusetts
  • Taking an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades and coming upon crocodiles -- or alligators -- sunning themselves on shore.
  • Walking the boardwalks in Yellowstone National Park to view the geysers and boiling, hissing mudpots.
  • Eating authentic barbecue in Kansas City.
  • Viewing Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota where the faces of four American presidents are carved out of sheer rock.
  • Touring the Smithsonian and other museums along the outdoor mall in Washington, D.C., leading to the Capitol.
  • Hiking to a waterfall in California’s Yosemite National Park.
  • Skiing out of a lodge in the mountains of Colorado or Vermont.
  • Learning to surf the waves in southern California or Hawaii.
  • Taking a cruise along Alaska’s Inside Passage for indelible memories of icy glaciers, breaching whales, and isolated villages.
  • Rafting the Salmon River in Idaho for whitewater thrills.
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Tour Tips

  • The United States is a very big country. Don’t try to see it all at once; choose tours that concentrate on specific regions or you’ll spend a lot of time just getting from one place to another.
  • If you’re looking for an action-oriented tour, consider:
  • Whitewater rafting trips in the Northwest;
  • Horseback riding through the Southwest;
  • Hiking trips through the Appalachians;
  • Skiing packages in the Rocky Mountains; and Scuba diving in Hawaii or Florida.
  • River cruising is growing in popularity in the U.S. -- you can cruise the Mississippi River, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Columbia River; and many others to get a new perspective on the landscape.
  • If you’re a history or literary buff, look for river cruises that have the Civil War, Mark Twain or other themes of interest.
  • Don’t overlook the “flyover states” that lie between the East and West coasts; there’s much to discover in the Midwest, the South, Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states, including:
  • Chicago -- America’s “second city”;
  • The five Great Lakes;
  • Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands in South Dakota;
  • New Orleans, with French-influenced architecture and outstanding music and food;
  • The burgeoning cities of San Antonio, Houston and Austin in Texas;
  • The incredible rock spires in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park;
  • Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado;
  • The white-sand Gulf Shore beaches of Florida and Alabama; and Yellowstone and Glacier national parks in Wyoming and Montana.
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United States Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

99%

recommend

315 Reviews

  • Excellent 238
  • Great 71
  • Average 3
  • Disappointing 2
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

Super cool experience, great way to make friends and see awesome places

San Francisco to Los Angeles Express

4.0
December 2016
G Adventures
Recommend: No
Excellent CEO, (Will Ferens) made great friends, went to some awesome places and had a wicked time

National Parks Walks

National Parks Walk

5.0
November 2016
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
Awesome, amazing, stunning, jaw-dropping. I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and some of the iconic red rock images so familiar the world over. It turns out that the Grand Canyon is every bit as captivating as expected, but on this trip there are many equally impressive treats in store and I found it impossible to choose a favourite. This trip over delivers in spades. The only possible flaw is that it is so, so much to take in. No sooner have you been blown away by the beauty of one park you are on to the next to get blown away all over again. There were 12 in our group and all seemed equally pleased with itinerary.
So many I cannot choose only one: climbing to Angels Landing, scrambling the wrong way up the slick rock to Delicate Arch, hiking out to Dark Angel and both the rim walk and hiking down into Grand Canyon are all experiences I will hold dear!

Our group leaders Adrian's and Darin were brilliant. Their energy, knowledge and enthusiasm made the trip. Also once the group agreed to the picnic lunch kitty proposal, they provided an extremely well stocked lunch taking care of all the shopping during their down time. It certainly seemed like an 'above and beyond' level of care.

In the autumn be prepared for extreme temperature swings throughout the day especially in Bryce where it was near to freezing overnight and first thing but in the twenties under the cloudless blue skies by late morning. I think the effort could be described as anything from leisurely to strenuous, this is very much your choice with the hiking options on offer. It is very intense though. One of the guides suggested these trips are a bit like Tapas, a taster of lots of different parks. You won't do much more than scratch the surface at each location unlike centre based holidays.

I loved it. I might even repeat this trip one day, possibly.....

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Appalachian & New England Lodges

Walking the Appalachian Trail - Lodges

5.0
November 2016
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
Hiking in New England in spectacular autumnal scenery using Grand American Adventures (Exodus Sister Company).
The 2 full day hikes of Franconia Ridge and Mount Katahdin and every time I saw a sugar maple ablaze.

We had 2 tour leaders who were really excellent and focused on maximising our enjoyment in remote locations.

The long hikes are challenging and feature a lot of rocks, tree roots and elevation. Trust the judgement of the tour leaders as to the appropriateness of these hikes for your abilities and consider the alternatives they provide. Eating out is expensive if you are on a budget but all the motels/lodges had fridges and generally a microwave in the rooms so you have the option of not eating out every night if necessary. Pack layers as temperatures vary greatly on the trails. We stayed a few days in Boston before starting the tour and this really enhanced our experience of New England.

I wish I was still on this trip.

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Western Explorer USA

Western Explorer

5.0
October 2016
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
A remarkable experience giving tasters of 5 quite unique National Parks. The group is small enough to give freedom to explore each area according to ability and fitness levels by oneself or in small subgroups. A lot of travelling but the views are worth it. Accommodation excellent although the facilities were not always used due to a packed timetable. People need to be aware of early morning starts to make the most of the day if walking as we experienced unusually high temperatures at the end of the season with no rain. There was sufficient freedom to choose whether to eat in the evenings with other members or in subgroups. The included activities added to the experience and were well worth it. Optional activities were available and wide ranging.
Each area was so unique and an unexpected contrast with each other. Yosemite was spectacular and Death Valley at -282ft below sea level with a temperature of 110F was impressive compared to 3 days later in Bryce Canyon at 8300ft with the onset of ice on the upper trail. Bryce itself was so mystical and fantastic to walk through the Hoodoos. Zion was so superb especially in the evening sun and the views from Angels Landing are something to behold if one has no fear of heights. Monument Valley- conjures up all the old westerns and other films that have used the setting for backdrops and just to immerse yourself in the Grand Canyon is all that needs to be said as words can not do it justification. Fortunately, the stays in cities were short for me as I am not a city person, but one feels compelled to just wander down the Las Vegas boulevard for a complete contrast- the loudness and brashness could not be so far removed from ones previous experiences the days preceding.

Ron Prince was consummately friendly, courteous, professional and full of good advice, information on what to see and where to go. He was well informed on historical and cultural issues. He was available when needed to offer any assistance but was also able to protect himself and have free time so as he could pace himself for a very packed two weeks.

Be prepared for early starts. Be sensible about your walking/hiking abilities in areas that are far greater and higher than what most people are used to and especially be aware of the dry heat that builds up throughout the day. We were fortunate with the weather but it can change very quickly and flash floods have been known to occur in some of the areas visited.

Better arrangements need to be made for the breakfast in the hotel in San Francisco as they were not prepared for a group of this size with such an early start (7.30)- they open for breakfast at 7am.
Exodus need to send all the necessary information re insurance, emergency numbers, that we have provided on our booking forms, to Grand American Adventures so as the individuals do not have to duplicate this information once there.
It would be helpful to know exactly what 'cooking ' facilities and utensils are in each accommodation used if one wishes to make their own breakfast or evening meal. The American 'tip/service charge' needs to be recognised as to the extent this adds to one budgeting.

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National Parks Walk

National Parks Walk

5.0
August 2016
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
The entire trip was full of surprises (always good ones) - too many to recount all here. The following is a piece I wrote on my return (for a group for whom I write regularly; my pieces form part of a local weekly 'talking news' for visually impaired listeners). This one recounts just one of the several revealing walks we took on this trip. For us participants it was an experience of real discovery, but at all times we were most carefully monitored by our leaders, and we always had every confidence in them.
The river flowed milky and strong, rippling smoothly over here a blanket of sand, there a sheet of pebbles, then further on the bed littered with great boulders, creating riffles and rapids in the stream. On either side vast sandstone cliffs reared above our heads, first red then layers of orange, white, pink, grey and green, solid rock stretching up on either side a thousand feet and more, with barely a break in the solid surface before revealing the narrow slit of deep, dark blue sky far distant above. Occasional bands of sunlight bounced off the ledges of rock above, reflecting light down into the canyon depths, where brightness lingers only fleetingly as the sun runs its course across the heavens. The only vegetation in sight was the small stunted trees and bushes that clung precariously to tiny ledges, mere bumps and scars in the face of the rock, where sufficient water seeps down to succour these tough desert survivors; and high, high above, on the topmost surface of rock, the plateau was covered with a high-level forest, the habitat of truly wild creatures, including bears and possibly even puma.
Down in the depths of the canyon, the sound of the stream reverberated against the rock, splashing gently as it slipped swiftly on. Our senses were filled with its sound and its earthy odour, and as we moved into the water, we felt its force pushing against our legs, knees, thighs. The water’s bed, little more than 20 metres wide, followed the straight fault lines in the rock, bending sharply at right-angles every few hundred yards or so, before taking another line. As the water was funnelled through the narrow passage, it created its own gentle breeze, cool against warm skin, but tempered by the heat filtering down from the sun-warmed rocks above.
At the start, our passage was busy with people, whole families with children, the smallest carried on a parent’s back, others held tightly as they waded against the force of the stream, fumbling against the pebbles underfoot. But in a short while, as we followed our leader confidently zigzagging from side to side across the stream, seeking out the easier route, we left the crowds behind and the way grew quieter, only the rush of the stream continuing to echo in our ears. We were well armed with stout sticks, and wore special socks and boots that both protected our feet and kept them warm even in these cool waters – vital equipment for comfort in this alien environment. The sticks helped us to feel our way and gave extra support when we stumbled among the boulders. Gradually we learned to recognise where the water was shallow, where deep; where there was sand and where boulders; where there were rough rapids and where it was calm. In places we could reach out to touch the rock on either side for extra support: cool, smooth, water-worn, ancient.
As we progressed upstream, the canyon walls pressed in on either side, narrowing and reducing sight of the sky still more. The sound of other people faded, and the rock all around brought us face to face with the most basic elements of our world: for many millions of years ago, these great masses of rock – sand, then, and tiny marine creatures – were laid down under an ancient sea, and later moulded by wind and water to create the greatest sand dunes on earth. Every minute that we walked we could mark the changes in the rock, view the curling striations where those ancient winds blew across the land in different directions, and new layers pressed down from above.
Today, though, there is always potential danger. This stream begins far away, high up on the rocky plateau. If a far-distant storm should drop rain into its remote headwaters, that stormwater will speed rapidly down the stream’s rocky course, filling the canyon to a great depth; anyone in its way is likely to be swept away, pummelled by debris carried before the fast-flowing flood. The rocky cliffs on either side offer no safe shelter and few secure handholds. That day, though, we were confident that the chance of such a flood was slim: our leader had checked and double-checked forecasts for the region, and all was set fair.
At one sharp bend in the river’s course, a huge overhanging arch was created when, at some long time past, a great slab of deep red sandstone had peeled away from its parent rock. We watched as a park ranger moved steadily down a rope that hung from hundreds of feet above, rappelling gently down over the arch onto the stream bed. He shouted encouragement to another man, unseen, perched on a ledge high up somewhere on the rock face above. We stood and gazed for a while as the second man followed the first, legs braced against the solid rock, then spreadeagled in air as he moved across the overhang. Finally he reached the relative safety of the canyon floor, and began to gather up the loops of fragile-seeming rope.
Our wading path was measured in time, not distance. We had just one and a half hours to travel as far as we could. We wandered and waded on, and saw the canyon beyond, narrowing still more. This stream, we were told, continues for many miles, the way often barred by cliffs of rock, rapids and waterfalls. For us, we’d reached our limit, and soon must turn back, this time working with the flow and with our new-found awareness of the river’s signs, so the going was easier. Before we turned to retrace our steps, one of our party launched himself, fully clothed, into a deep pool, revelling in the full immersion in this most basic of all the elements. Can there be any human experience closer to the earth than this: just the distant view of sky above, walls of ancient rock on either side, the gentle support of water below?
In the UK, of course we can follow a stream, trace its course across the landscape, but nothing, nothing like this. We have no true canyons, no depth of rock that can match the age of those found here. Oh… how many more discoveries could be made here, in America, had we more time?

We had two: Evan and Abby. They were clever, considerate, kind and informative - even at 3a.m. (and there were several v early starts to the day)! Cannot be recommended more highly.

Go for it!

Only ... thank you to all for exceeding all expectations.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


United States Trips & Tour Advice

The United States isn’t the largest country in the world -- it’s dwarfed by Russia -- but it packs in a lot of attractions per square mile. At the same time, especially in the western U.S. and Great Plains states, there are plenty of wide open spaces where the roads ahead seem almost endless, often framed by mountain ranges, deserts, fields of wheat and corn and, in the northern winter, fields of snow.

Visitors from abroad (and many Americans, too) seek out the glitz of Las Vegas or the ever-popular family theme parks like Disney World in and around Orlando, Florida. Many want to see Los Angeles, California, with its Hollywood glamor and laid-back Southern California style. And they also head for the big city of New York, a world capital of finance, fashion, cuisine, and much more.

Beyond the Marquee Attractions

But even if Vegas, Disney World, Disneyland, Hollywood, and Times Square top your list of must-sees, there’s a perhaps romanticized but still genuine “real America” also waiting to be discovered.

You may find it in a picturesque New England village, a boisterous college football game in Alabama, a small-town diner in Oklahoma, an artsy enclave like Santa Fe, New Mexico, or at 10,000 feet in the rarefied air of Leadville, Colorado. Even if your tour doesn’t take you to Leadville or Oklahoma, there’s much to be discovered within the union’s 50 states.

California and the Southwest

California alone could fill years of adventures. San Francisco and its nearby counties of Marin, Napa, and Sonoma form an unbeatable combo of urban delights, pastoral vineyards, and rugged coastlines. North of San Francisco are the redwoods, the world’s tallest trees, and in the central part of the state are the groves of Sequoias, the world’s largest living things, all protected in national parks. Highway 1, which runs along the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then to San Diego, offers scenery equal to that of Europe’s most famous coastal drives. And the blazing hot desert park of Death Valley draws adventurers from around the world.

The Southwest and Northwest

Heading east from California, the deserts continue into the great Southwest, where you can hike in mountains and canyons (including the Grand Canyon in Arizona), relive the days of the Old West in cities like Tombstone, Arizona, and take week-long horseback treks through New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness. In southern Utah, you can go backpacking in Zion National Park and encounter otherworldly “hoodoos” (rock formations) in Bryce Canyon.

North of California, the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho beckon with magnificent coastlines, wild and scenic rivers, intriguing islands (the San Juans) and the inviting city of Seattle on Puget Sound. Just to the east, the state of Montana is the embodiment of wid3 open spaces, with expansive scenery to match.

The Midwest and New England

More than a thousand miles farther east, the Upper Midwest is one of the loveliest but perhaps least appreciated regions of the country. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, northern Illinois -- anchored by Chicago -- and Ohio all border the Great Lakes, as does upstate New York, another unheralded gem.

New England is not to be missed. From the craggy shores of Maine to the green hills of Vermont, the winding roads of New Hampshire to the city of Boston, Massachusetts -- which played a pivotal role in American independence -- New England combines scenic beauty with history, atmospheric inns, tempting seafood, and plenty of opportunities for biking, hiking and skiing.

Heading South

South of New England and New York come Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Constitution was written, and Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital -- both must-sees for history, architecture, and modern-day vibrancy as well. Along with New York City, Washington offers the country’s top museums.

Heading into the Deep South, the cities of Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, are among the nation’s most alluring. Florida’s beaches are unsurpassed, with Miami and Key West providing a Caribbean vibe.

Alaska and Hawaii

The last two states admitted to the union couldn’t be more different geologically, but are among the nation’s biggest tourist draws despite being farthest away from the lower 48. Hawaii, a string of eight islands far out in the Pacific, is known for its beaches, warm breezes, Hula dancing and surfing. Far colder Alaska attracts visitors for its Inside Passage cruises, whale-watching, glaciers, snow-capped peaks and Denali National Park, home to the country’s highest mountain.

Wherever you choose to go in the U.S., start your search at Stride -- you’ll find that with our easy-to-use tools, you’ll be seeing the near and far corners of the USA sooner that you might have imagined.

Related Guides

Continent:             

North America

Local Attractions:  

Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Central Park, Florida Keys, Las Vegas, Golden Gate Bridge and Many More 

Top Activities:      

Nature Sightseeing, Hiking & Exploring National Parks

Similar Destination:                    

Canada

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