USA

Best things  to see and do

 

The West has a dramatic landscape with beautiful and well-managed national parks which offer scope for great outdoor adventures. Furthermore, you can explore world-famous cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.  Hawaii, on the other hand,  is a tropical paradise with great sea- and wildlife, rainforests, volcanos and beautiful beaches. Florida on the east coast is a more easy-going and sleepy place with  America's largest subtropical wilderness in the Everglades and coral islands named 'The Keys.' Alaska is a paradise for wilderness lovers and campers. Spotting Grizzly bears  in salmon packed rivers or simply driving on endless highways through pristine mountains, forests and glaciers  are experiences of a lifetime.


• San Francisco (California): There is a lot to see and do in this charming city with its numerous famous sights. You can drive across the stunning Golden Gate Bridge, experience the vibe of China Town, explore the hilly center by using the famous Cable Car, visit Alcatraz Island, enjoy great bars, thriving nightlife and much more.


• Yosemite National Park (California): This magnificent and diverse national park is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 250km east of San Francisco. The most popular part of this park covering 3.000 km² is picturesque Yosemite Valley. Although it can get very crowded in the valley, especially around Yosemite Village, it gets quieter as soon as you start hiking one of the numerous trails (Panorama Trail is awesome!). I (Chris) spent three days inside the park and stayed at two beautiful campgrounds (Crane Flat & Tuolumne Meadows).


• Bryce Canyon (Utah): Bryce Canyon National Park in the southwest of Utah consists of dramatic sedimentary rock formations and pinnacles formed by erosion. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views. A great spot for taking pictures is Sunrise Point but there are many more along the rim. Of course you can also climb down into the amphitheater-shaped landscape and take pictures of the stunning rock formations from below.


• Grand Canyon (Arizona): The Grand Canyon has been carved into the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado River in Arizona. It’s about 450 km long, up to 30 km wide and reaches a depth of more than 1.800 m. Because of its impressive size and the millions of years old sediment layers which it exposes, the Grand Canyon belongs without doubt to the most stunning river valleys in the world. Activities such as hiking, kayaking and camping are highly recommended - but keep in mind that it can get cold on the rim because of the high altitude. If you decide to trek down into the canyon, be aware of the huge distances and make sure to be back on time. If you wish to camp anywhere in the park, other than in developed campgrounds on the North Rim or the South Rim, you must obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center. For more information check out their website here.

 


• The Everglades (Florida): The Everglades depicts America's largest subtropical wilderness  and its national park protects a unique landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species, e.g. the Florida panther, the manatee,  and the American crocodile. It is a obvisouly huge area of land in south Florida which consists of 1.5 million acres of wetland. It is important to know that the Everglades has two distinct seasons: wet (April to November) and dry season (November to March). You should check out which season is best for you. Furthermore, the national park has three entrances which are not connected, thus you should plan where to go and what to see first. You don't have to worry about activities, a wide range is offered across the whole park.

Tip: Anhinga Trail is recommended for abundant wildlife - turtles, herons and alligators. Find more information here: https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm.


• Key West (Florida): 'The Keys' are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida. The climate and environment of the Florida Keys are closer to that of the Caribbean than the rest of Florida.  Thus, you'll find distinctive plant and animals species, found nowhere else in the US. Key West is located at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys (about 140 km from Cuba). It is famous for its breathtaking sunsets, its charming atmosphere and awesome nightlife. Furthermore, its picturesque beaches invite you to relax, sunbath and snorkel.


• Hawaii:  Hawaii is such an amazing and diverse place which makes it hard to pick the best spots. You should totally see the following things on the different islands:

  • Oahu: Makapu'u Tom Tom Trail, Stairway to Heaven, north shore
  • Maui: Road to Hana, catch a sunrise at the summit of Haleakala
  • Big Island: fluid Lava in Volcano national park (pick a local guide to show you the lava and don't pay for any touristic tours),  Mauna Kea sunset & stars
  • Kauai: Kalalau Trail  (Napali Coast), Waimea Canyon

29.04.2016 - Lena & Chris

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