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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

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

887 Reviews

  • Excellent 702
  • Great 208
  • Average 3
  • Disappointing 2
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

National Parks walk

National Parks Walk

4.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
The content of this trip was excellent and we had a very good holiday. There were a few minor deficiencies however, mostly concerning information/communication..... We travelled with others who had booked through Grand American Adventures and they appear to have been better served: they arrived earlier in Las Vegas and had time to explore the city whereas we had time only for a quick dash in, despite the trip notes listing day 1 as a city day. We arrived at the hotel at 6.00pm, just in time for the briefing. We were advised that our guide would expect tips of $5-7 per person per day but we were surprised to hear that there were two guides and they expected $10 per day each. As a couple, therefore, we paid $400 which was way above budget. There were other minor 'annoyances' ... we were told that no meals were included but our GAA were told some breakfasts were included. We were left unsure but caught on eventually and gained a couple of meals! The Alexis Park was disappointing: they took 1 hour to collect us on arrival, the room was shoddy (and the door lock fell off) and it is a good 15 mins brisk walk to town. We thought we might also have been dropped at the airport for our return flight, as we passed the door, rather than return to the Alexis Park and immediately return to the airport. Sedona, the last minute addition to the itinerary, was very nice and we felt we could have made more of the walking opportunities there. A short town tour and lie by the pool was all that was needed!
The helicopter ride over Grand Canyon is (ridiculously) expensive but not to be missed.

Both leaders were unreservedly excellent in all aspects.

Check the details and check the real costs.

Our 'criticisms' should not be overestimated. We had a very good time and would recommend this trip to anyone but we felt a little short changed - late arrival, missed breakfasts and extra tip costs. A bit of 'tidying up' and clearer information would make this trip an absolutely tip-top package.

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Terrific Introduction to Lake Michigan

Magical Lake Michigan: Chicago to Chicago

5.0
January 2017
Blount Small Ship Adventures
Recommend: Yes
Of my seven cruises in various parts of the world this past year, this was near the top of my list. From the moment we drew away from the dock at Chicago's Navy Pier, dazzled by the lights of the city, to our return to Chicago a week later, the cruise was filled with surprisingly fascinating places and relaxing times on the water as well. The itinerary featured three states: Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Highlights included Beaver Island, an isolated, sparsely populated isle in northern Lake Michigan that has an intriguing history; Mackinac Island, the total opposite in that it's swarming with tourists, but understandably so for its ornate Victoria architecture and picturesque fort; and Milwaukee, a city on the rise that reminded me of a mini-Chicago. My wife and I met a number of interesting passengers aboard, there was plenty of deck sitting, the food was perfectly good and the captain and crew were very professional. The Grande Mariner ship has been around a while, but the cabins and public rooms were adequate to their task, which was to get us from scenic or historic spot to the next. Most people don't even know that Lake Michigan cruises exist, but they should.
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What a holiday!

Memphis to St. Louis

5.0
January 2017
American Queen Steamboat Company
Recommend: Yes
I was lucky enough to have 7 wonderful nights on the American Queen ... Along with 17 of my friends and family... From Memphis to New Orleans..Wow !! ... Cannot speak highly enough of the staff and anyone involved with this Majestic Queen of the River... Many thanks to Captain Brent for taking such great care of us rowdy lot !!..
It is my hope we get to take another trip on this fine Lady again .... We are from Australia ...... Such a great time...
So many positives to speak of....
What a holiday !...
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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

Cuba Today: People and Society: Cienfuegos to Havana

5.0
January 2017
Road Scholar
Recommend: Yes
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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5.0
January 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
If you love seeing spectacular natural wonders and also see some amazing cities, this trip is for you.
Driving on Xmas Day in the heavy snow and blue skies from Zion to Bryce Canyon. The amazing views got even better in the snow! It was my first white Xmas as well.

He was kind, friendly, courteous and professional.

The tour does not leave much time to explore San Francisco and Las Vegas. I recommend arriving a few days before and/or staying a few days after the tour ends for city sightseeing.

In winter Mono Lake is not included on the itinerary as the road is closed.

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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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