Explore the US with three great trips|
The 50 states of North America are dazzling in their diversity. Snow-capped mountains fall away to barren desert, while neon landscapes merge with crumbling old mansions. The most visitors can hope for is a snapshot of the country – taking in a little of all its many wonders.
With this in mind, here are three trips designed to capture something of the American spirit.
The spiritual home of the road trip is the States. The adventure of exploring America’s thousands of miles of two-lane highways have been immortalised in literature by the likes of Kerouac and Burroughs, and in song by Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan.
For visitors new to the country, one of the most rewarding routes is traversing the country from west to east, beginning in San Francisco and ending with the dizzying lights of New York City. To give plenty of time for exploring en route, arrange to make the trip in around 30 days.
From San Francisco head for Yosemite National Park and spend a day or two admiring the spectacular waterfalls, granite cliffs and groves of Giant Sequoia. Next, drive to the awe-inspiring Sierra Nevada mountain range – home to North America’s largest alpine lake.
Then it’s down to the dry and barren landscape of Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. More desert scenery awaits drivers passing through Monument Valley, the Mesa Verde National Park and the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Big skies and wide open spaces now come to something of an end with a string of exciting cities to visit – from San Antonio on to Houston and then to New Orleans.
Soak up some of the southern vibe by continuing the journey on to Memphis and Nashville, before spending one last night in the wilds of the Appalachian Mountains. Then it’s on to Washington DC, and, finally, New York.
Trains were pivotal in the formation of the US and continue to inspire a sense of nostalgia in most Americans. The country is zigzagged with opportunities for visitors to watch wonderful scenery go by while having to do nothing apart from listen to the gentle clacking of the train.
For lovers of narrow-gauge railways, the route between Durango and Silverton, Colorado is an absolute must. A 1920s steam locomotive pulls 19th century passenger rail cars on track designed to carry silver and gold ore. Visitors who want a longer journey can try the epic route from Chicago to Emeryville, California.
Taking just over 51 hours, this Amtrak route passes through seven states in an imitation of the routes settlers would have taken to reach the American West.
There are lots of great deals on airline tickets to be found, but those holidaymakers who’ve had to spend a lot on their travel may be loathe to spend more on transport once they’ve arrived in the States. A hiking trip is a great way to see some of the country while keeping costs relatively low.
Some of the most beautiful places to visit include the Zion National Park, Arches National Park and Mount Whitney. Established trails include the Pacific Coast Trail, Appalachian Trail and the John Muir Trail.