16 Life-Changing Travel Experiences You Can Have Only in America
We’ve all heard some variation of the phrase, “collect memories, not stuff.” When traveling, this means buy less tchotchke and have more experiences. Here’s where you can do exactly that.
Snowmobile to Old Faithful
Courtesy Jeff Bogle
Under normal circumstances, numbers like -8 and -40 would be reason to stay indoors beneath blankets by the fireplace but when you’ve got the opportunity to sit atop a snowmobile (with heated seats and handlebars!) on a full-day, Two Top Tour of Old Faithful, you disregard the temperature and the wind chills, pull on a few extra layers, and shake to activate many hand warmers. The chance to have America’s first National Park, along with Yellowstone’s picturesque snow-covered bison, steamy geysers, and other-worldly hoarfrost, practically to yourself is worth being chillier than you’ve ever been before.
Snorkel in a bioluminescent bay
Only a handful of places like this exist in the entire world, and three of them are in Puerto Rico! In these magical bodies of water are harmless, single-celled microorganisms called dinoflagellates that glow blue-green when agitated. As you snorkel or kayak through the bioluminescent bay, the water will light up around you, blowing your mind in the process. Here are 11 amazing beaches you must visit this year.
Vacations By Rail to the Grand Canyon
Departing from L.A. and Chicago, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief reaches Arizona after an overnight train journey. Upon arrival in Flagstaff, you will board the historic Grand Canyon Railway to reach the famed Southern rim of the canyon. From there, a narrated motor coach tour carries you to some of the most scenic postcard-perfect overlooks in America. Embarking on a Vacations By Rail train journey to the Grand Canyon this year will allow you to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park in person!
Cruise to Alaska
Courtesy Jeff Bogle
Alaska is the final frontier of American travel experiences but the 49th state is easily reachable from Seattle on cruise ships like the Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit. Once in Alaska, stand on the top deck to see whales breaching in iceberg-dotted waters, ooh and aah at the seals sleeping on those little icebergs, explore charming ports, eat a fresh Dungeness crabcake, maybe even rent a car and drive into Canada’s remote Yukon Territory, and hop on a seaplane to get a bird’s eye view of the wild, icy expanse of many magnificent glaciers. An Alaskan cruise will change your life.
Rock out at SXSW
Where else can you see a new singer-songwriter crooning in a laundromat after breakfast, catch a screening of an experimental movie during lunch, and hear an up and coming punk band from the other side of the planet rock out in a park in the mid-afternoon sun before squeezing into a theater eager for a famous pop band to take the stage? At this annual event, you’ll also hear comedians, innovators, filmmakers, and thought-leaders speak. Something you will see, hear, do or experience as a result of attending a sprawling, madcap SXSW Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas is bound to change your life.
Helicopter over molten lava
On Hawaii’s Big Island, the active volcano is constantly spewing molten lava. That’s amazing enough but when the fiery orange meets the crashing waves on the rocks, the result is a spectacular natural show unlike anything you have ever seen. Witnessing this display from the sky on a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour is certifiably life-changing! Now, check out the best bucket list adventures in every state.
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