There’s much to love about a trip to the United States. There are the people, who always seem to be doing something wacky. There are the big cities, like New York and San Francisco, where everything seems to be possible. And then, of course, there’s the nature. Though many people tend to focus their trips to the states on the cultural and big city side of the country, it’s the landscape that might be the best feature of America. There’s every type of landscape available! Below, we take a look at some of the best destinations for those people who love nothing more than getting out into the great outdoors.
Where do you begin when it comes to Colorado? This state seems to have it all, from an awesome atmosphere to splendid outdoor spaces. If you’re going to make a base during your stay, you could do much worse than selecting Boulder. Nearby to Denver, this laid-back city has a great vibe, and, most importantly, more outdoor fun than you can shake a stick at! Take a drive into the Rocky Mountains, and you’ll be treated to many a picturesque view and awesome hiking trail. Then there’s also the matter of Red Rocks, National Monument, and the rest.
The Great Lakes Region
The Great Lakes are often bypassed by holidaymakers, especially those from overseas, but this is a mistake. Less dramatic than the rising mountains of the west, the region more than makes up for it when it comes to tranquil beauty. Up in Michigan, for example, you can spend your days camping at spaces that are endlessly beautiful, and barely see another soul. And of course, you’ll have all those freshwater lakes right there, making it a perfect spot for some summer swimming.
Arizona, much like Colorado, is jam-packed with diverse scenic landscapes. Set up a base at Marriott’s Canyon Villas, and then spend the week exploring in your car. The crown jewel of the state is the incomparable Grand Canyon; you’ll want to spend as much time as possible there. From there, you also have the Antelope Canyon and the Monument Valley. You’ll recognise the latter from countless movies from days gone by. It is a joy to drive through. If you’ve ever dreamed of taking an epic road trip in the United States, then this is one spot you’ll definitely want to include on your list.
The Sunshine State
Nature doesn’t have to be taxing; it can also be relaxing! When it comes to beautiful spaces in which to unwind, then you can’t go wrong with Florida, the sunshine state. You’ll have a range of beaches – some busy, some quiet – and plenty of fascinating state parks to explore, too, should you wish to get more active.
Why not go into the deep end? Alaska is virtually an untouched wilderness. You’ll have to plan this trip a little more, but few who make an effort to do so ever regret their decision. It’s an epic, expansive state that delights at every turn.
Whether you live in a major city or a more rural area, chances are that your day to day interactions with animals are generally limited to domestic species, common birds, and the odd encounter with some native wildlife now and again. So it’s not all too surprising that many of us attempt to incorporate interactions with more obscure creatures into our travel diaries. Perhaps the most common animal-based travel concept on nature lovers’ bucket lists tends to be a safari in Africa. While this is brilliant and something that you should plan if possible, it’s also a good idea to bear in mind that there are other places to visit too! For now, let’s focus on America. The USA isn’t generally renowned for animal centred travel, so hopefully, if we can show you some of the brilliant opportunities that even this region can offer, you’ll open your eyes more to alternative possibilities! So, here are just a few ideas to get you started!
Manatee Encounters in Crystal River, Florida
Manatees, otherwise known as “sea cows” are gentle giants who inhabit Florida’s waters. But the best place to guarantee an encounter with them is the Crystal River. It’s important to bear in mind that manatees are a protected species, so close interaction with them is prohibited in many parts of the state. However, “passive observation” is permitted in Kings Bay, Crystal River. Book with a specialist tour group in order to gain pre-tour briefing and education that will teach you how to best respect these wild animals while gaining the most out of your experience with them at the same time. You will also be provided with high-quality wetsuits and snorkelling or diving gear to ensure a comfortable swim!
Whale Watching and Seal Experiences in San Diego, California
Now, San Diego may not initially strike you as home to any wildlife. After all, it’s the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. Sure, it may famously be home to a zoo, but we’re all well aware that these merely exploit animals that should really be living freely in the wild. However, you may be surprised to realise that you can indeed encounter contented wildlife near such a bustling hub of human activity. Book a specialist tour to go whale and seal watching out in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This way, you can encounter stunning marine mammals in all of their glory while learning new facts and insights from the experienced and qualified crew members guiding you.
Wolf Tracking in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming
When it comes down to it, we’re all a little afraid of the big bad wolf. But don’t let this stand in the way of a distanced encounter with these majestic creatures! Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995, their population has flourished. It’s not surprising that professionals and casuals alike have begun engaging in the activity of wolf tracking. This is essentially just watching the behaviour and habits of the wolves and their packs from a safe distance. Team up with tour guides who know the ropes. You will meet early in the mornings for meetings in unofficial viewing locations. Swap tips, tricks and anecdotes with others who have an equal love for this often misconceived canine!
Eagle Spotting in Sauk City, Wisconsin
Many of us will have picked up our binoculars at some point or another for a little casual bird watching. But how about filling your sights with America’s national emblem in the flesh and feather? Eagles are stunning birds, but can often be elusive. So your best bets at catching a glimpse of one lie with the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, based in Sauk City, Wisconsin. This grassroots organisation actively works to protect, enhance, and maintain Bald Eagle habitats in the Sauk Prairie area and individuals working here will be able to spot Eagles where many others will overlook them. Take a look at their official website for upcoming dates!
Bear Viewing Tours, Alaska
Over 50,000 black bears and 35,000 brown bears roam Alaska’s untamed wilderness. But if you want to see them, you’re really going to have to go looking for them! Many tours have the specialist knowledge at hand to know where to find the bears and you will often be flown in on a small plane or take a smaller boat. Of course, this comes at a price and bear viewing tours really are one of the more expensive activities on offer in Alaska. However, when it comes down to it and you’re looking at one of these majestic creatures in real life, you’ll soon realise that it’s worth every last cent.
Moose in Baxter State Park, Maine
Now, moose are most commonly associated with Canada. But that’s not to say that the USA is void of them. There are actually plenty of places that you can spot this humble giant, but for an almost guaranteed encounter, visit Baxter State Park in Maine. In fact, there are so many around that they are actually Maine’s official state mammal! Baxter State Park has over 200,000 acres of protected Acadian forest and Appalachian highlands. So pair up with a reliable guide if you do decide to wander into the wilderness. You don’t want to get lost in your pursuits! When you spot one, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking at. They’re huge, have notable muzzles, and extremely long legs. Head out early in the morning for your best chances of encountering as many as possible.
As you can see, the USA really isn’t all too short of wildlife. These are just a few different encounters that you could happily and easily plan, and there are plenty more out there should you have a particular American creature that you’re intent on seeing. Just remember to do your research, work alongside professionals where possible, and stay safe! After all, these animals are wild.
Toronto is quickly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in Canada. The city is safe, on the shores of Lake Ontario and has some of the best restaurants in the world. People of all ages and level of budget visit the vibrant Toronto each year with many returning. The vast majority of people visit in the summer when the weather is more tolerable. This article describes everything you need to know about traveling to this wonderful city in Ontario.
Why Visit Toronto:
Toronto is home to lots of different neighbourhood that each have their own distinctive culture and vibes. Multiculturalism makes it unique and provides a wide range of cuisines and activities to keep you busy. There are regular festivals here throughout the year ranging from film to music events and it’s also a hub for shopping. Combine all of this with the relaxing way of life and beautiful scenery and you have yourself a perfect travel destination.
How to Get to Toronto:
Most people will get a flight to Toronto from either the United States or Europe. You can find direct flights from several places around the globe making it fairly accessible. There are also affordable domestic connections within Canada. If you’re already in Ontario, you can take the high-speed train or Greyhound bus from Ottawa. For any other part of the country, it’s best to fly since the distances are large and travelling time is long.
Places to See and Things to Do in Toronto:
One of the most popular activities in Toronto is to see the lake. You can find lots of places in the city where you can get an excellent view and for the perfect photograph. It’s also possible to have a boat tour in the warmer months. High Park, a short drive to the west of Toronto, is a perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying the views.
Distillery District is one of the hottest places in Toronto with its arty vibe and cobblestone streets. This was once an industrial area full of Victorian factories that have been converted into art galleries. One of the favorite things for tourists is to wander around here and soak up the atmosphere in one of the more unique parts of the city.
We can’t mention the best things to do without giving the CN Tower a mention. This 553-meter structure is the largest freestanding building in the world and is visible from most parts of the city. You can go up to the viewing platform on the top to get amazing views of Toronto below.
The Royal Ontario Museum is also a great place to visit to get a cultural insight. This is one of the biggest museums in all of North America that has a collection of more than six million specimens. You can spend hours inside enjoying the historical and cultural displays.
Toronto is a great place to visit with its world famous multiculturalism and special atmosphere. You have lots of things to do to keep you busy for the duration of your visit. Just remember to go when the weather is reasonably warm to fully experience what this city has to offer!
So you have decided to go to America, but which city is for you? Some people have to travel on a budget, while others save up and travel a huge wedge of America in one trip. But for those on a budget it can be quite hard deciding on which city you are going to visit. This guide looks at some of the best cities in America and aims to help you make a decision by showing you what’s best about each place. There are some truly stunning places in the world to visit, and America has so many of them. Take your time when you pick and if you feel your budget it too low for what you want to do consider waiting and saving up some more money so you can fully appreciate your trip to whichever city you eventually choose. There are pro’s and con’s to each city, but remember, different people like different things. So everyone will want someone different, the trick is finding a city that not just you will enjoy, but your family or travel companions will too.
This is a stunning city full of lights and noises. A great place for people who love to party or just appreciate the hustle and bustle of Vegas life. There are many things for you to do here. If you enjoy shows then there are a huge amount ranging from top celebrity music acts, magic, acrobatics, the list goes on. Vegas is of course also well known for its casino culture. If you are a bit of a gambler then this city is certainly for you. It has a huge amount of casinos of all different themes for you to enjoy. The great thing is, you don’t have to be a high roller to enjoy them, instead you can opt for playing the slots or using the low buy in tables. There really is something for everyone here.
It isn’t just a place to visit for shows, clubs and casinos though. You can also visit wider Nevada like the valley of fire national park or the hoover dam. If you wanted to stay in Vegas itself, don’t worry. There are countless museums for you to check out and the city has a rich criminal history based around the mob. The city caters to all tastes, you can even bring your family along. Just be sure you plan what you are doing before you get there otherwise you may end up disappointed as it isn’t really the kind of place you can just choose to do something, everything has tickets and runs like clockwork.
New York City
You’ve probably heard heaps about the NYC already. A stunning place to visit for people wanted a true slice of American culture. It is full of a multitude of nationalities and really shows the immigrant routes of America. Manhattan is a natural attraction point which has countless places to explore and building to climb. A trip up the Empire State building is always worth doing, the photos you can capture here are second to none. If you wanted a more encapsulating view of NYC then try a helicopter tour.
The statue of liberty is another point of attraction, which you can climb and check out the internal mechanisms yourself. Of course, the shopping in New York is second to none, with thousands of shops and boutiques all vying for your cash. You can watch some awesome baseball and basketball games whilst also watching some shows on the all hallowed broadway. You can also get your food fill here too. The countless of people types here mean you can get all kinds of great food, from five star dining experiences to simple hot dog street food. It’s all good.
The metropolitan museum of art, or met, caters for those with a love of art and is one of the best museums of its kind in the world. For those with a history buff then this city is for you as it’s rich history is portrayed in many museums throughout the city. New York city offers all kinds of awesome things to do. If you are stuck in which city to visit then this is a must as you can please people of all tastes. History, sport, architecture, the list goes on. It is especially nice as a place for a romantic getaway. Christmas is a lovely time to visit as the city does well in capturing the true essence of Christmas. Wrap up warm though, the win really does whip up through the high rise buildings and snow falls in droves during winter.
DC is the home of the political heart of the united states and is the country’s capital city. It is a wonderful place to visit, especially those with a leaning towards all things political. You can go and see the white house or maybe go to the capital building, the iconic domed building where the senate house resides. Again, one of the best museums in the world resides here in that of the smithsonian, a great museum of culture which was established in 1846. There are also more interesting museums such as the national spy museum, or the museum of natural history. The lincoln memorial is another stunning American monument for the history buffs out there.
Washington is a lovely city full of angular architecture and monuments that really reflect what the USA is today. But, it isn’t really a place to take thrill seekers and people who don’t appreciate the finer things in life. This is a place for refinement and lovers of history and politics. It’s fine if you are stopping off here as part of a bigger journey, but if you are only coming here, be sure you have done your research before hand.
Los Angeles is another city of a different kind. It ranges from slums and the poorest of people to those who live in the iconic beverly hills. This is a stunning city to visit dominated by the ever present hollywood sign hanging above the move centric neighbourhood of the same name. LA is vital for those who love all things films. There are all kinds of movie tours you can do with a plethora of move related museums and shops to discover. The benefit of LA is the heat. If you enjoy the sun you can catch the rays in the day and relax in the night at one of the many restaurants.
Kids will love it too due to the Universal Studios being nearby where you can send all day going on movie based rides and tours. The wizarding world of Harry Potter, attached to the park, is also a magical place that can take you to another world, somewhere your kids will never forget and full of amazing photo opportunities for all. There are museums, and countless attractions like madame tussauds hollywood. The city is good for all ages, just try not to venture to less reputable areas because they have quite a bad crime rate in the city.
New Orleans, or the big easy, is an awesome place to go if you are interested in America’s southern history. It is a stunning place to travel for food, as the mixture or cultures all make for a stunning mixture and culinary differences which you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Jazz aficionados will love this city, as the many jazz bars and shows all do well in opening your eyes to the musical routes of the city. The French quarter is great for this, and houses some stunning feats of architecture as well as its share of supposedly haunted buildings. Other places like the aquarium of the americas houses some interesting marine life to give you a break from the excessive consumption of bourbon. For those who love to party, the big easy is the place to be. Huge street carnivals and mardis gras are a major attraction for those looking to let loose in the city. The late winter carnival is famed for the amazing costumes and street parties which you can either watch from a hotel window or get down and involved with yourself.
One of the ultimate places to go if you love american history. An old city, founded in 1630 which was involved in the bloody war of independance from the British rule. If you are interested in this kind of history then the freedom trail is for you, a trail of markers that take you through some of Boston’s most important and most interesting sites. The floating history museum can be a good pull for kids as they always have something going on like reenactments or special exhibits. Sports fans can rejoice too, the boston red sox rarely disappoint and a night out at Fenway park is always one to remember. Boston is teeming with colonial history and is a centre point for the USA’s first steps towards independence. A beautiful city to visit at any time of the year.
It’s the morning of 24th of December 2016, Saturday. One of my neighbours was playing loud Beijing Opera. It was cute in a way but somehow it bothered me. There are more and more Chinese residents in Sydney now. Sometimes I wonder, why did I move to Sydney from China 20 years ago? Sydney is very much like a Chinese town anyway nowadays. Ha, how dare I have such negative thought? I know very well this is the Christmas Eve, one should be in the spirit of love and sharing.
In light of cheerful thought and relaxation, I’d listen to The Romantics and take a good trip down memory lane.
Ever since I watched Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, I was in love with the motorcycle scene in the movie. Before our trip to the US in 2013, we googled the location and planed a day trip to Seven Lakes Drive.
So here are a few photos from Seven Lakes Drive – the scenery is just as amazing as it showed in the movie, if not better. Actually, it was a much better experience to BE in the forest, by the lake and breathe in the fresh air.
Merry Christmas everyone. Keep having fun and make good memories!
After seeing Prinseton and Harvard University, a visit to Yale University obviously was a must. Yale’s central campus in downtown New Heaven, Connecticut is grand. So grand that a few pictures could no longer do its justice.
To someone who (lives in Sydney) only gets to see either green or brown coloured leaves all year round, Autumn foliage is a big deal. A tree full of yellow leaves will make me really happy, so you can just imagine how excited I was driving around the United States eastern coast, seeing all these beautiful colours in nature.
Like many other states in the US, Connecticut is amazingly picturesque. There are so many cute huts and little wharves along the riverside that made me want to claim: “That’s my spot!” #Sheldonmoment, but unlike Sheldon in Big Bang Theory, I’m happy to share my spot. Want to come and join me?
That time we went to Rhode Island was quite special with Providence downtown main roads blocked for a pink run, which meant we could take pictures of the Rhode Island State House in the middle of road without worrying about any cars passing by.
The Providence River was still picturesque and tranquil.
Among these beautiful autumn colours, quietly stood the first Baptist church in America. Remember those pretty, white pointing church towers in Vermont? Here’s another one, and an old one too.
The town of Narragansett, Phode Island at the same time, was celebrating 125 years of township (1888-2013). Those life sized scarecrows along the pier were all dressed up like real people, each had their own names.
It only took me 3 years to revisit those photos from Rhode Island, but what does the cliche say? “It’s better late than never.”
Yeah, I couldn’t agree any more.
So there’s recent report saying that Chinese president’s daughter who’s currently studying at Harvard University, Massachusetts, refused to go back to continue her studies in China. Her reason being, Harvard students are down to earth. There are no students from rich background comparing with each other who’s richer like what is really common in China right now. She felt that she could concentrate on her studies without being distracted too much by social pressure.
Me and J, as tourists to the US, went to Harvard to check out this world’s most prestigious university in 2013. Looking back at the photos we took at the time, the Harvard’s campus is indeed plainer than Princeton University, yet very classic.
Obviously Harvard is well prepared for tourists – there are daily tours on every hour guided by costumed guides. There was also a line of people queuing to take a picture while touching the left foot of The John Harvard statue. Notice how shinny is his left foot due to non-stop rubbing from tourists?
Salem is picturesque and rich in history. There’ll be plenty to do and explore but if you only have 1 day to spare, here’s how to enjoy Salem in one day!
Wandering around Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Explore the legacy of the East Indies and Old China Trade. The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a National historic site consisting of 12 historic structures, one replica tall-ship, and about 9 acres of land along the waterfront of Salem Harbour. Salem Maritime is the first National Historic site established in the United States ( 17 March, 1938).
Salem Custom House
Salem’s Custom House is an impressive looking building with historically furnished rooms and exhibit located on 178 Derby Street.
Friendship of Salem
Enjoy the sight of this handsome tall-ship. Friendship of Salem is a full-size, fully operational replica of Friendship, a cargo ship build in Salem in 1797 for international trade. Today, it sails to nearby ports, helping to bring the region’s maritime heritage to life.
This grassy strip of land extending into the harbour once was a busy commercial land owned by Simon Forrester, one of American’s first Millionaires. In 1776, Simon Forrester married the aunt of author Nathaniel Hawthorne (The House of The Seven Gables) and raised 12 children.
Visiting the House of the Seven Gables
115 Derby Street.
“What’s so special about this house?” I talked to myself loudly, not knowing why there were so many people queuing to get in the first time I walked pass the House of the Seven Gables 3 years ago.
“What’s so special about this house?” An order gentlemen standing in front of me turned around, repeated my ignorant question, then went on to give me a full explanation of the importance of this little red house.
Obviously this is one of the top 10 American’s favourite historic homes. Build in 1668, the House of the Seven Gables historic site showcases the oldest surviving mansion in New England. So come to discover the many surprises in the House of the Seven Gables including the famed secret staircase. Relax in the period seaside gardens and explore the birth house of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Visit Peabody Essex Museum
Peadody Essex Museum is listed among the 20 largest art museums in America. Hence it is a must see for museum enthusiasts. It hosts an amazing collection of American, Maritime, Asian art any where. Nevertheless, I’m still impressed a 200-year-old, 16-bedroom house from China is there too! I’ve never seen such a house in China (except the Forbidden City, which is comprised of lots of dark, almost empty rooms.)
Learn about the the history of Salem Witch Trial
The events that unfolded in Salem town and Salem Village (modern-day Danvers) more than 300 years ago have left an incredible mark on the history of American. Personally I think the “Witch” bit was a little overplayed in Salem tourism. However, it’s understandable as the Salem Witch Trial is such an important part of Salem history.
The most important one is The Witch House
This is the only building with direct ties to the witch trials, the 17th century home of Judge Jonathan Corwin.
As a result of the popular Witch history, there are a couple of other sites in town.
Old burying Point Cemetery Charter Street: Salem’s oldest graveyard, founded 1637.
Witch Trials Memorial: The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a place of reflection and remembrance for visitors and descendants of those who were condemned in 1692. It’s symbolically located behind the Old Burying Point
Explore Downtown shops and restaurants
In Downtown Salem, Countless shops and restaurants are offering sweets & treats, delis, pizza and fine dinning experience.
It seems every cute house in Salem has a queue or some sort in front of it, and Salem has a lot of “American’s first” or ” American’s oldest”… something something.
There are also a lot of shops for Gifts & souvenirs in Downtown Salem. While I wasn’t keen to pick up any witch hats or costume, we came across a machine at a shopfront that allows you make your own souvenir coins to take home! Isn’t that the cutest idea?
If you think Kancamagus Highway is pretty hard to pronounce, try this one: Lake Winnipesaukee. Ok, maybe that’s just me who can’t pronounce names properly.
I’m very jealous of you guys in America who get to see 4 seasons and splendid autumn colours. Oh, never forget to mention, your Lobsters are so plentiful and ridiculously cheap compared to Australian ones. Rest assured, I’ll be back again.
Newick’s Lobster House
On the Road
Call it “Kanc” for short cause I can’t pronounce its full name properly. Kancamagus highway is one of the most scenic fall drives in New Hampshire. I didn’t see any moose at the time… but its natural beauty is undeniable, moose or no moose.
Going through the travel snaps during my US/Canada trip back in 2013, we took the most photos in Vermont. This says something about Vermont, considering it is one of the smallest states in America. Everything there is so beautiful, the mountainous terrain, the lake setting, the cutest little towns and the splendid Autumn colours! Oh yes, if you ever travel to Vermont, go in Autumn if you can.
Here are just a little collection of things that’ll make you fall in love with Vermont.
The covered bridges
I’ve never seen so many coverer bridges before, let alone so many covered bridges in one state. What about seeing so many covered bridges in one day? It feels like visiting 5 churches in one day all over again😆.
Cute little huts
Pointing church towers