Whilst we know holidays to the USA feel a lot trickier right now, it still doesn’t stop us dreaming, and as someone who has over the years enjoyed a lot of ‘outdoorsy’ holidays to the USA I’ve shared some of my favourites and some new ideas from Original Travel too.
The Grand Canyon, often said to be one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. One of two I’ve been to; I’ve also been to the Great Barrier Reef. Although it’s perhaps one of three if you include me flying quite close to Everest when we went to Annapurna trekking.
The Grand Canyon is a simply spectacular site to behold and should most definitely be on your bucket list. It’s a sad but true fact that less people are currently travelling at the moment and those that travel when they can are rewarded with significantly quieter experiences at popular travel spots. That’s why I’d recommend booking an outdoorsy holiday to the USA in 2022 if you can and including a Grand Canyon trip.
You can even combine a view of the Grand Canyon with a trip to Las Vegas, which can be done with the kids despite not being an obvious choice. Check out Sarah’s posts about visiting Las Vegas with Teens.
The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March through May and September through November, when daytime temperatures are cool and crowds are thin.
I enjoyed a ranching holiday with a good friend quite some years ago now and would love to take the kids back enjoy the same. There is something quintessentially American about pretending to be a cowboy and sitting on your porch at the end of the day in a rocking chair like they do in the movies.
That said the Ranch stays these days aren’t just about the horses. Depending on which ranch you’re staying at, the activities on offer might include everything from riding to fly fishing, archery, target shooting, walking, canoeing, mountain biking, geocaching, stagecoach rides, wildlife safaris, zip wires, kayaking and of course cowboy skills such as lassoing and country dancing. The best ranches also run specific weekly children’s programmes where your trainee cowboys and cowgirls can learn outward bound and survival skills
Anytime is the best time to do a ranching holiday.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the flagship of the National Park Service and a favourite to millions of visitors each year. The park is a major destination for all members of the family. You can either drive the grand loop road view the park from the comfort of your vehicle and stop for picnics. Alternatively (and in my view a much more fun way to see the park) you can hike any one of the thousands of miles of trails on a day hike or by packing up, heading out for a few days and camping.
This former Native American refuge on the borders of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is now a park where majestic bison graze among fumaroles (sulphurous gas vent), geysers, hot springs, mud pools and spectacular waterfalls and canyons.
The best months to visit Yellowstone are April, September, and October. These “off season” months provide more chances to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife and enjoy thinner crowds. Bears emerge from hibernation between March and April, migrating birds arrive just before May, and the elk rut begins mid-September.
Yosemite National Park
Designated as protected land by Abraham Lincoln back in 1864, today the park is a haven for walkers, climbers and general outdoorsy types. There is so much to do. Hike alpine meadows, gaze up at giant sequoia trees, get sworn in. as a junior ranger, get sprayed by waterfalls and even paddle in a river. It’s a true American camping dream.
The best times to visit Yosemite are May and September, when the park is accessible, but not too crowded. It’s important to know that many roads and trails in Yosemite are closed for the majority of the year due to snow.
Check out Original Travel’s ideas for holidays that take in California’s Yosemite National Park
We also love this post about 10 Top Things to do with Kids in Yosemite National Park in which we found the great reasons to visit Yosemite National Park.