Discover holidays in The Great Outdoors
The USA is a country of diverse lands, from the tropical beach paradise of Hawaii to the frozen tundra of Alaska. Venture out of the bustling cities to discover the volcanos, spouting geysers, deserts and waterfalls that form the epic American landscape. If you have a taste for adventure, hike through the towering Cascade Mountains or the pine forests of Lake Tahoe. Miami’s golden sands and swaying palm trees are a haven for celebrities, while Orlando’s theme parks are a family favourite. The Wild West awaits you in the vast lands of Texas and Arizona. Grab your Stetson and ride your horse off into the sunset.
Average temperatures range from 2°C in Colorado, up to 29°C in Miami.
Best time to visit: For hiking and horseback riding, visit in the spring. You’ll need to come in the winter if you fancy skiing or snowboarding.
The main airport near Orlando is Orlando International Airport (MCO) which is 19km south-east of Orlando. The main airport near Las Vegas is McCarran International Airport (LAS) which is 8km south of downtown Las Vegas.
Whether you’re after laid-back summer days on golden sands or a full-on beach party atmosphere, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the USA. Miami’s South Beach is the playground of the rich and famous, while the island paradise of Oahu in Hawaii is where you’ll find some of the best surfing in the world.
Chic and sophisticated, there are not enough words to describe Miami – a place like nowhere else on earth; it’s a city that defines glitz and glamour. The jewel of the Gold Coast, cosmopolitan South Beach is as diverse as you could imagine. There are lots of things to do in South Beach - check out the sparkling beaches, celebrity-packed restaurants, vibrant nightlife and Art Deco architecture. It is a city of many tales and a great choice for holidaymakers who want to see more of Florida than just the theme parks.
Hawaii is a Pacific Ocean paradise, with white sandy beaches, jungles and soft tropical breezes. Rumbling volcanoes, towering surf, coral reefs and dolphins playing in the waves are just some of the highlights. Vibrant Oahu is the heart of Hawaii and home to the capital Honolulu. North Shore is a surfer’s paradise, especially at Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. For one of the best things to do in Oahu, try snorkelling amongst the tropical fish in Hanauma Bay. Hire a mountain bike and explore the 10-mile long Maunawili Trail, with unforgettable views of the vivid blue ocean.
You’ll find some of the best beaches in America on the East Coast. Duck Beach in North Carolina is quiet and charming. It’s the perfect place to try watersports or fishing, and it’s a favourite wedding spot. Stretching 60 miles down the coast, Myrtle Beach is a major tourist destination on the East Coast. The beautiful sub-tropical climate keeps families, couples, and young people coming back year after year to enjoy some fun in the sun. Another family favourite is Virginia Beach, which stretches 35 miles long. Its three-mile boardwalk is filled with restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
California’s central coast is dotted with golden beaches set against a backdrop of magnificent mountains and rolling valleys. Combining the very best picturesque scenes and the height of glamour, the cities boasting prime location along the coastline have a distinctive charm and elegance. Be sure to check out Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Carmel and Monterey. San Diego, Santa Monica, Anaheim and Long Beach offer surfing, shopping, great dining options and theme parks, so you’re sure to find something to suit you and your family. The coastal roads offer wonderful scenic views so hire a car and explore the area and find your very own little paradise.
From glistening Lake Tahoe to the snow-dusted Cascade Mountains, the USA offers some of the most spectacular lake and mountain scenery on the planet. Discover the other side of New York State with a trip to Niagara Falls or hike through the pine-scented forests of Lake Tahoe.
There’s so much more to Lake Tahoe than just the lake – it’s the place to go for year-round exploration and adventure. Lake Tahoe is home to seven ski resorts and a 3,300ft zip line, with panoramic views of the lake and Sierra Mountains. You’ll fall in love with the glorious Californian sunshine and refreshing mountain air. Not only that, there are loads of climbing, boating, biking and hiking options to choose from. There’s also shopping, spas, wine tours, golf and nightlife to enjoy – not to mention the gorgeous sunsets. Situated on the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is located in a great position to explore all that California and Nevada has to offer.
There is more to New York State than just the concrete jungle. Niagara Falls is a pristine oasis of three massive waterfalls and 400 acres of protected wildlife. The Finger Lakes draw countless visitors to the natural beauty of the region. Take your pick from a great selection of water sports, or for something more relaxing, head to a local winery. Visit Michigan in the autumn to see the majestic maple trees turn bright yellow and orange. Minnesota is nicknamed the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ and it’s a dream spot for adventurous types. Here you’ll find everything from white-water kayaking to dog-sledding.
Experience Glacier's pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and glistening lakes. With plenty of trails to choose from, Glacier is an ideal for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Whether you stick to the more well-known routes or you choose to venture off the beaten track, each location in the park is unique. Discover historic homesteading sites, changing landscapes, Native American history, and ice valleys. For one of the best things to do in Glacier National Park, saddle up and go on a horseback adventure trail through the lush green scenery.
The Cascade Mountain range stretches from British Colombia, down through Oregon, Washington and down into Northern California. Explore the towering mountains, smoking volcanoes and beautiful lakes and forests. The highest point is Mount Rainier which offers fabulous hiking opportunities, as well as wine festivals, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing. In the summer, camp out under the stars and enjoy the crisp mountain air. Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular activities in the Cascade Mountains during the colder months. For a great experience, combine it with a trip to nearby Portland or Seattle.
Discover the USA’s rugged beauty at one of 59 national parks. From the sparse white lands of the Denali Mountains in Alaska to the hot springs and shooting geysers of Yellowstone, you’ll marvel at the parks’ natural attractions. Don’t miss the rocky depths of the Grand Canyon at sunset, when the landscape comes alive in a blaze of colours.
A visit to Arizona isn’t complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. Whether it is your first visit or you are returning, it is impossible to ignore the beauty of one of the world’s greatest creations at nearly a mile deep and 277 miles long. You’ll want to stay for the incredible sunset, when the Grand Canyon lights up in a vivid blaze of burnt oranges and reds. Add in an overnight stay at a traditional working ranch for an authentic taste of the Old West. The Grand Canyon is easily reachable from Phoenix and Las Vegas so it makes an unforgettable extension to your trip.
California’s national parks are where you’ll find wild forests, towering mountains and vivid blue lakes. Yosemite’s stunning splendour is not to be missed, with breath-taking views of the park from Glacier Point. The soaring granite Half Dome and the sparkling Tenaya Lake are just two of the best things to see in Yosemite. One of the most iconic sights here is Yosemite Falls. Standing at 2,425 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall in North America. Just remember to bring a poncho! If you’re feeling energetic, why not check out the hiking trails or try a spot of hang-gliding?
Discover stunning rugged landscapes and great outdoor adventures as you explore nature at its finest. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is the world’s first National Park. Nature lovers can spend their time spotting exotic plants and an abundance of wildlife including bison, bears and wolves. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota National Memorial is visited by nearly three million people each year that come to marvel at the majestic beauty. From the history of the first inhabitants to the diversity of America today, Mount Rushmore brings visitors face to face with the country’s rich heritage.
Located in the Alaska Range is North America’s highest mountain - Mount McKinley (native name Denali). A dramatic white scene in the wilderness of Alaska, you’ll find a wealth of local wildlife here, such as caribou and bears. Take time to explore this frozen tundra with a drive through the park’s main road, which stretches for 91 miles. You’ll be rewarded with views of the spruce forests and dramatic ice rivers. You could visit Wonder Lake to catch sight of moose and golden eagles, or try your luck at panning for gold. You’ll also find scenic hiking trails and campgrounds in the Denali Mountains.
Whether you want to ride thrilling rollercoasters or explore the vast lands of Texas on horseback, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities in the USA. If you’ve got kids with you, take them white-water rafting in the Rocky Mountains or head out to Hawaii to spot giant manta rays in the ocean.
The snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains are surrounded by alpine lakes, trickling mountain streams and spruce forests. A great way to get out and experience the Colorado Rocky Mountains is to jump in a car and explore them at your own pace. Experience the life of a cowboy and learn about the heritage of the railroads with hikes and horseback rides in the rugged surroundings. It is a stunning place to visit at any time of the year, with majestic mountain views and a variety of wildlife, including bears, moose and coyotes.
Hawaii’s Big Island offers crater climbing, golf, and sea turtle spotting on Panaluu Beach Park, but for one of the best things to do in Hawaii, try a night time dive with manta rays. One of the largest fish species in the ocean, manta rays are huge flat creatures with wingspans of up to six metres. At night, spotlights are used to attract mantas that feed off plankton, illuminated by the light. Giant mantas glide and somersault in mesmerising patterns as scuba divers and snorkelers are treated to an amazing show.
Orlando is a place full of excitement, with some of the biggest and best theme parks on the planet. The best way to explore Orlando’s family attractions is to hire a car so you can see everything at your own pace. To experience life at a completely different pace, head to the coast where you’ll find some of the best beaches in the country. Clearwater and St Pete Beach are a world away from the theme parks. Come here for a laid-back vibe where it’s all about fishing and soaking up the Florida sunshine.
The Texas and Arizona landscapes are constantly changing, with everything from skyscrapers to prairies and canyons. Although large in size, both Texas and Arizona are easy to explore. Embrace the traditions of the Old West and experience life on a ranch. Ride across the Texas plains on horseback and watch cattle being herded by real life cowboys. You’ll find miles of rural trails to explore, as well as swimming, hiking, line dancing, hay rides, camp fires and, of course, sing-a-longs – perfect for families who love an active holiday.
Nature Lovers: Enjoy a helicopter ride across the rocky depths of the Grand Canyon and spot wild caribou in Colorado.
Adventurers: Ride across the Texas plains on horseback and hike through the alpine meadows of Glacier National Park.
Sun-Seekers: The golden sands and warm waters of Hawaii and South Beach.
Language: The language spoken in the USA is English.
Currency: The currency used in the USA is the American Dollar ($).
Local time: There are nine different time zones in the USA. New York is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time and California is 8 hours behind GMT/UK time
Fly to: The main airport near Orlando is Orlando International Airport (MCO) which is 19km south-east of Orlando. The main airport near Las Vegas is McCarran International Airport (LAS) which is 8km south of downtown Las Vegas.
Flight time from UK: Usually between 6-11 hours.
Tourist information: Further USA tourist information can be found at here.
Visa and health: Before you travel, visit here for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to the USA.
Temperature: Average temperatures range from 2°C in Colorado, up to 29°C in Miami.
Best time to visit Utah: From sun-drenched California to the snowy peaks of Montana, the weather in the USA can differ greatly from state to state. National Parks are usually at their busiest during holidays and at the weekends, so try visiting during the week if you can.
By hire car: This is the best way to explore the rugged terrain of the USA. See the snowy white Denali Mountains or the jade green forests surrounding the Rocky Mountains, all from the comfort of your own rental car.
By 4x4: Join an off-road vehicle tour to see some of the remote parts of The Grand Canyon and the archaeological remains in Big Bend, Texas.
By helicopter: A helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon is the ultimate way to experience its raw beauty.
On horseback: Pretend to be a cowboy and gallop across the vast Texas landscape on horseback.
For partygoers: Head to New Orleans to celebrate the start of Lent with a week of colourful parades, street entertainment and night-time parties at Mardi Gras, just before the grand finale on ‘Fat Tuesday’(Shrove Tuesday).
For music lovers: In April, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off. One of the largest music festivals in the USA, it’s two weekends of live music in the Californian sunshine. Superstars such as Prince, Kanye West and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have all performed here.
Up, up and away: Admire hot balloons of all shapes and sizes in the three-day New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. Hop in one for a spot of sightseeing across the state.