Things to do in America

Our top activities in the USA

A walk in the park

Itís like Christmas every day for hikers in the USA particularly with the uber-impressive network of 59 national and over 6,000 state parks. State parks are generally smaller than national parks, with some exceptions such as the Adirondacks State Park in New York State, bigger than Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Great Smokies and Yosemite national parks combined. And less of a drive from Manhattan than the Lake District is from London.

The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous long distance hikes but, at over 3,000km long, seek out the best stretches. Such as the White Mountains of Maine and New Hampshire, just 200km from Boston. Do as locals do and stay in traditional hiking cabins which have hosted hikers along the Trail for as long as it has existed. Other great ones beyond the classics include the Amphitheatre Lake Trail in Grand Teton National Park, or Seven Mile Hole Trail in Yellowstone. Many of the parks offer bus shuttles to trailheads too. Travel with a responsible tour operator and theyíll know all the best routes anyway, what times to hit them, and how long they will take. And check our guide to USAís National Parks.

Eat, drink and be merry

The US food movement is transforming from fast to slow with Farm to Fork, as it is better known, more prevalent in New York, for example, than London, Paris or Tokyo. California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and the Deep South are wonderful places to imbibe local brews and feast on local fare. They wonít look at you strangely if you ask whatís local on the menu. They get it.

Wildlife watching

There are bison in Yellowstone, caribou and grizzly bears in Alaska and bighorn sheep, bears and elks in Colorado. Some are scary, others are just stunning, but they are all wild. So read up in advance, bring your binoculars, stay aware of whatís out there, take precautions but most of all, enjoy.

Paddle and saddle

Americans really know how to do the great outdoors. The canoe is indigenous here, after all, and horseback riding is also part of the culture in most regions when you start heading out west. So there is no shortage of paddling possibilities in the USA such as rafting and wild camping along the Grand Canyonís Colorado River or sea kayaking in Acadia National Park in Maine, which gives you access to caverns and coves only accessible by water. In the saddle, you can stay on a ranch and learn the ropes, literally, or go on stupendous treks into the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, into the heart of Zion National Park or alongside New York Stateís Finger Lakes, to name but a few.
Photo credits: [wildlife watching: Yellowstone National Park] [paddle and saddle : Yellowstone National Park] [A walk in the park: Grand Canyon National Park] [farm to folk: Orin Zebest]
Written by Catherine Mack
Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon

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See the Grand Canyon & Monument Valley

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Denali National Park holiday in Alaska

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Experience untouched wilderness off the beaten path

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Alaska vacation, classic camping tour

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Camp and discover the delights of Alaska

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National Parks vacations in America

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Explore the historic lodges of America's National Parks

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California, Nevada and Arizona vacation

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Alaska adventure holiday, salmon run

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New England and Canadian east coast tours

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