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United States & Canada Travel Planning

American Cities and Parks – The Pick a Pair Approach to United States Travel

Whether traveling from outside the country or journeying from within, United States travel opportunities are as abundant and exciting as each of the country’s fifty states. Recreational offerings such as shopping, tours, hiking, festivals, biking, dining, camping and visiting museums and historic sites await vacationers to cities and national and state parks throughout the United States. Travel to a major American city coupled with an excursion to a nearby park creates an exciting vacation that is sure to please people of all ages whether they are traveling as a group of friends, with a special someone or enjoying some quality family time.

Pick a Destination City and Pair it with a Park for a Full Range of Tourist Opportunities

If you are in search of a way to see America that has all of the comforts of home yet still provides plenty of outdoor recreation, consider the pick a pair approach to planning your vacation in the United States. When some members of your group prefer shopping and dining over hiking and camping, make a compromise by spending part of the vacation in a national or state park and the remainder in a nearby city. United States travel itineraries that comprise both a city visit and a park tour can be selected from destinations ranging from the nation’s heartland to its coasts and several stops in between.

Shop in the Hollywood of the Midwest and Canoe through Voyageurs National Park

The Mall of America, also known as the Hollywood of the Midwest, has become a favorite destination of those seeking United States travel. Located in the nation’s heartland in Bloomington, Minnesota, the mall’s 520 stores are situated just minutes outside the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition to shopping, dining and amusement rides, the Mall of America offers visitors more than 350 special events each year ranging from holiday celebrations to fashion shows and celebrity book signings.

For a nearby outdoor adventure on the lakes, consider all of the wonderful vacation opportunities in Voyageurs National Park located approximately five hours north of the Mall of America in International Falls, Minnesota. With four main lakes, visitors must trade their cars for boats in order to fully experience all that the park has to offer along its shoreline and on its many islands. Wildlife enthusiasts may even catch a rare glimpse of a wolf since the Voyageurs is located in the only area of the United States where the eastern timber wolves still thrive.

Visit the Walking City en route to the Rugged Coast of Maine

Also known as Massachusett’s walking city, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and a popular destination for tourists interested in strolling through history while enjoying many fabulous opportunities for shopping, dining and theater. The Freedom Trail is a popular tour with individual or guided options that cover a total of 16 historic places in a span of approximately 2-3 hours. Among the many stops along the way are the Boston Common, Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church and Faneuil Hall.

The perfect park pairing for a trip to Boston is Acadia National Park which is an approximately six-hour drive from Boston or travel by plane from Boston Logan Airport to either nearby Hancock County Airport or Bangor International Airport located just one hour from the park. The park is situated along the rugged coast of Maine, and its 48,000 acres are known for their magnificent hikes across granite peaks, bike rides along carriage roads and a variety of plant and animal species. Visitors are encouraged to spend 3-4 days exploring all that Acadia has to offer vacationers.

The City that Never Sleeps and a Big Splash of Water

New York, the City that Never Sleeps, offers round the clock opportunities for shopping, theater, museums and restaurants. Visitors to the famed Times Square area will find a plethora of shops, restaurants and other attractions to accommodate a wide range of travel budgets. The heart of New York offers dining options ranging from five star restaurants to convenient, budget friendly street vendors. While in Times Square, you can also visit Rockefeller Center, take the NBC Studio Tour, visit the Museum of Modern Art or tour Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

The car trip from New York City to Niagara Falls State Park is over 7 hours; so many visitors who wish to travel to both locations often opt for the one hour flight between the two cities. While visiting the majestic waterfalls, vacationers can also take a tour to the base of the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat ride; explore the park’s many miles of trails and dine at the famous Top of the Falls Restaurant.

What Happens in Las Vegas is not that far away from the Grand Canyon

Las Vegas, Nevada, offers numerous opportunities for both traditional and contemporary tastes to enjoy gambling, shows, restaurants, shopping and golf. Before or after spending time and money on the Las Vegas strip, consider a visit to one of the nearby national Utah parks such as Zion, Bryce or the Grand Canyon National Park, located in nearby Arizona.

For the perfect city and park duo, rent a car and travel across the desert to visit Grand Canyon National Park. Located approximately 250 miles south of Sin City, a trip from the Las Vegas strip to the breathtaking scenery of the Grand Canyon takes 4 ½ hours. A perfect getaway for the week long trip is to spend three days on the strip, a day of travel that can include a stop at the Hoover Dam, followed by three days of camping, hiking, rafting and mule riding in this picturesque park that offers breathtaking views from all directions.

For a shorter trip, consider making the 3-hour drive to Zion and Bryce National Parks. Utah’s first national parks boast towering sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons and tall red hoodoos that offer spectacular viewing from your car, or from the vantage point of a hiker’s delight.

The Sunshine State Pairs Roller coasters and Alligators for a Vacation Adventure

While many visitors to Miami are in search of the nightlife of South Beach, this Florida city offers an array of tourist options for the family such as spectacular beaches, shopping, dining and cultural events.

Orlando is the theme park capital of the United States. Vacations to Orlando often include stops at Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. However, the city also offers a variety of fine dining, shopping, golf and other recreational opportunities.

Known as the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale’s position on the Intracoastal Waterway offers more than 300 miles of navigable canals. Tourists will enjoy exploring the waterways by guided tours in kayaks, gondolas or water taxis.

The perfect park pairing for any visit to one or more of these Florida cities is Everglades National Park. Known for its variety of biking trails and opportunities to glimpse an alligator, the Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

Travel the California Coast on Your Way to the Wilderness of Yosemite National Park

When traveling the coast of California, it will be difficult to leave the warm, sunny climate of San Diego and its many must do attractions such as Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the nightlife of the Gaslamp Quarter or the historic sites and restaurants in Old Town.

As you continue your journey up the coast, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Disneyland are just a few of the top tourist attractions for travelers to Los Angeles - California’s largest, most populated city.

While visiting San Francisco, there are three must see attractions. The Golden Gate Bridge – an engineering marvel that spans over 4,200 feet, Alcatraz Island – formerly a prison for America’s most dangerous criminals, and Fisherman’s Wharf – an ocean side offering of restaurants, vendors and shopping are some of the top tourist stops in this city by the bay.

Consider pairing your visit to San Francisco with a trip to the vast wilderness of Yosemite National Park located only four hours away by car. Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls, including two of the world’s tallest waterfalls - Upper Yosemite and Ribbon. The park also boasts the largest, single granite rock on earth – El Capitan.

The Pacific Northwest via Seattle and Olympic National Park

Travelers interested in journeying a bit further up the Pacific Coast may consider a stop in Seattle, Washington. The Jewel of the Pacific Northwest offers countless opportunities for visitors to take in the sights. Vacationers will not want to miss the opportunity to a get a bird’s eye view of the city from atop the Space Needle. For more down to earth tours, don’t miss the culinary offerings of the Pike Place Market or the opportunity to visit Seattle’s art museum and aquarium.

Located 2 ½ hours from Seattle is Olympic National Park. The park’s designation as 95% wilderness makes it an attractive destination for hikers and backpackers who are thrilled by its challenging terrain. Visitors will want to spend several days exploring all that Olympic National Park has to offer from its mountains to its coasts and rainforests.

From the Windy City to the Winding River of the Cuyahoga Valley

A visit to Chicago Illinois would be incomplete without a stop at the historic Navy Pier which attracts more than 8.6 million visitors each year to its 50 acres of shopping, rides, museums, restaurants and entertainment along the shores of Lake Michigan.

From Chicago, the nearest national park is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park located outside Cleveland - an approximately six hour drive. Another option is to travel by plane from Chicago and include a stop in Cleveland as a second city on your itinerary. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a wide array of tourist activities including hiking trails, bicycle paths, guided walking tours as well as a scenic train ride featuring the Voices of the Valley audio tour.

From the Mile High City to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Denver is an exciting destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy its mild climate and opportunities to visit the city’s many attractions by foot or by bicycle. Or, take some time to visit the numerous museums and galleries that have earned Denver the distinction of being called the Arts Capital of the West.

Before or after your visit to Denver, spend a few days touring the Rocky Mountain National Park which is located only 70 miles northwest of the Mile High City. Rocky Mountain National Park features 400 square miles of scenery that offers hiking, wildlife, waterfalls and horseback riding. The park is also home to the Trail Ridge Road - the world’s highest continuous highway that crosses the Continental Divide at two miles above sea level.

Washington, DC and Yellowstone National Park are Stand Alone Destinations for United States Travel

The nation’s capital, Washington, DC, is a history lover’s destination that offers foreign visitors the most in depth opportunity to learn about the United States. Travel to the National Mall and Memorial Parks and you will be joining with more than 25 million visitors from around the world who choose Washington, DC as their travel destination. Known as “America’s Front Yard”, the National Mall which extends from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial and from the White House to the Jefferson Memorial is a testament to United States history and a tribute to its heroes.

Like the nation’s capital, Yellowstone National Park is so expansive and offers so many recreational and educational opportunities that it warrants its own separate trip. Known as the grandmother of all the national parks, Yellowstone is also America’s first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is home to a variety of wildlife and the world’s most fascinating geysers including its most famous one - Old Faithful.

When planning your United States travel destinations to one or more of America’s wonderful cities or treasured parks, be sure to visit to create a personalized itinerary for your vacation.

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