Hop on a horse, strap on a pair of skis or climb aboard a chopper to experience an unreal adventure in the USA or Canada. These are the once-in-a-lifetime experiences to inspire and reinvigorate.
For the ultimate adventure, join a rafting expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. More than a dozen operators offer commercial trips, ranging in length from two to 16-days. Float along the waterway marvelling at the sheer size of the ancient geological wonder, which is up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, before hitting one of the 120 rapids for an adrenaline rush like no other. Sleep under the stars at night and stop to hike beside turquoise coloured tributaries to swim under magical waterfalls during the day.
Hawaii boasts some of the most dramatic scenery on the planet, and the best way to see it is by splashing out on a scenic helicopter flight over the islands. On Kaua‘i, soar over the waterfall from Jurassic Park, the gobsmacking Waimea Canyon (known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and the towering, rippled cliffs of the Nāpali Coast. On Island of Hawaii – also known as ‘The Big Island’ – get a bird’s eye view of active volcanoes, as well as towering waterfalls, lush valleys, canyons and coastal cliffs.
The colour of the glacier-fed lakes in Banff National Park is something you have to see to believe. Experience it up close and personal by hiring a canoe and going for a paddle, with the rugged snow-capped mountains that surround you reflected in the calm waters. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has a boathouse offering canoe rentals and tours of the famous lake, that sits at the foot of the Victoria Glacier during summer, including sunrise and evening tours. In the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake Lodge also offers canoe hire from its dock from mid-June to mid-September.
Unleash your inner cowboy with a stay at a working ranch in Texas, where you can jump on the back of your trusty steed and take part in a cattle round-up. The Lone Star State provides the ultimate Wild West adventure, just like in the movies, with the chance to ride through meadows and canyons, over streams and past wildflowers and cactus plants. Don’t worry about your riding experience – all levels are catered for. At night, enjoy a barbecue dinner and sit around the campfire toasting smores and telling stories. Make sure you check out a rodeo to see the pro’s in action while you’re there.
An encounter with a whale breaching or spy hopping in the wild is sure to get the heart thumping, and Alaska provides ample opportunity for it to happen. The waters around the frontier state provide rich feeding grounds for the mammals, who migrate north each summer. Orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, gray and beluga whales are among the species you are most likely to see during the season, which runs from around May to September. Watch from the shore, book a day cruise or for a real adventure you can even go sea kayaking with an expert guide to keep you safe.
As if the spectacular geysers, hot springs and waterfalls Yellowstone is famous for aren’t enough of a drawcard, North America’s oldest national park also offers bountiful wildlife spotting opportunities. Bears, bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyote and wolves are among the animals you can see during a safari in this wilderness paradise, which straddles Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. And don’t let the time of year hold you back – Yellowstone is just as special in winter as it is in summer, with less crowds and some wildlife easier to spot in the white snow.
With 28 resorts across the state, Colorado is a great place to carve up the slopes. From the celebrity mecca of Aspen to the massive resort of Vail, which has nearly 200 trails across seven miles, skiers and snowboarders have some excellent options to choose from. As well as having some awesome terrain, Breckenridge has a fairytale-like town, while Beaver Creek offers a luxury experience. Or head to Telluride for jaw-dropping scenery, an old western town and European-style on-mountain restaurants.
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