Heading off to America has long been seen as an adventure in itself. Perhaps because of the length of the journey, or maybe harking back to the days of discovery, few people will fly across the Atlantic without excitement of some adventure about to unfold.
Despite claims to the contrary by many pseudo-psychologists, it’s not all about the journey – but, of course, the destination as well. In fact, there are plenty of adventure activities to be had for those looking to add a splash more excitement to their already adventurous journey.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon
US President Theodore Roosevelt famously loved this Arizonan icon and campaigned for it to be preserved. Now, the Canyon has been awarded National Park status and is visited by around five million people from all over the world every year.
The Grand Canyon isn’t the deepest nor the widest of its kind in the world, but there are many other attractions which entice people to it, including adventure tours.
There is plenty to see and do at the Grand Canyon, from simple sightseeing to hiking and river rafting. Tourists will certainly want more than one day at the Canyon, however, not only because of the many activities that can be undertaken, but because park officials will advise against hiking all the way down to the river and back up in one day because of the potential heat exhaustion.
For many, nothing could be more American than staying on a ranch, riding steeds all day then tucking into some hearty, meaty barbecue food as the sun sets. This is about as far from the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas or California and instead a chance to get back to nature or spend quality time away from the rigours of modern life.
The work isn’t easy, however, as holidaymakers will be expected to get stuck in to experience the most realistic slice of ranch life possible, so travel insurance is a good idea! This can include cattle roundups, pack trips and trail rides. Even as dusk settles, there’s no rest as holidaymakers tighten up their bootlace ties for an authentic barn dance.
It may not be a week spent lounging by the pool, but after spending time under acres of glorious blue sky, it would be hard not to feel entirely revitalised.
Another of America’s iconic National Parks is Yosemite, which covers around three quarters of a million acres and welcomes 3.7 million visitors every year. Not only that, the visitors in question come all year round, as Yosemite’s attractions change with the seasons.
During summer, the National Park is a haven for walkers, offering some 800-miles of hike-able trails, ranging from flat, entry-level routes to something a little more intense.
Likewise, climbing is also well catered for in Yosemite, especially on the rocky cliffs of imposing 900 metre rock formation, El Capitan. In fact, climbing efforts in this area were instrumental in getting the hobby recognised as a bona fide sport.
Where winter travellers are concerned, skiing is most commonly the order of the day, as Yosemite has not only downhill offerings but also cross-country and snowshoeing.
All travellers to Yosemite should be warned, however, that wilderness permits are required for overnight stays and that any food should be kept in bear-proof containers.
Running along the US-Canada border between Toronto and New York is the Niagara River, which gives its name to the three waterfalls which attract millions of tourists to the area all year round.
There are, in fact, three separate Falls which make up Niagara: the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Of these, the Horseshoe Falls (which is on the Canadian side) is the largest, as 90 per cent of the entire river’s discharge passes through it. The other two both fall on the American side.
Despite being the smallest, Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most popular with tourists as it offers the ‘Cave of the Winds’ attraction, which allows tourists to walk out in front of the cascading water. The attraction is as popular as it is exhilarating – offering tropical storm conditions and winds that can reach up to 68mph. At one point, walkers can even step right up to the waterfall on a redwood walkway. Understandably, this wood has to be replaced every year because of the damage it sustains.
Adventure holidays in America typically bring to mind dust bowl deserts, cowboys or canyons. Thanks to America’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in the 19th Century, however, snowy odysseys can be added to the list as well. Adventurers heading to Alaska can try their hand at a number of snow-based activities – with one of the most popular being dog sledding.
This historically vital mode of transport is still in use today and “mushers” run regular trips both for people happy to take in the surroundings whilst being ferried around, to those wanting to try their own hand at the reins.
Elsewhere, avid nature-spotters can indulge their habits without having to be strapped to a pack of dogs – as there are a number of ways to see the moose, whales or bears that have made a habitat in the north. If that wasn’t enough, Alaska also offers rainforest hikes and white-water rafting experiences for those not wanting to compete with the sometimes unwelcoming heat of America’s southern states.
So whilst the simple act of travelling to America may seem like something of an adventure in itself, these activities show that this outlook needn’t end the moment you step off the plane.