QWe plan to go to Boston and New York on a shopping trip after my son’s GCSEs. However, ever since we had to cancel a trip to the Rockies, my husband has always wanted to see some big American nature. Is there a two-hander trip that would cover both bases? It would need to be a soft adventure trip for my son and I.
Sarah Barrell, associate editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK): If you want mountains, bears and some of America’s most iconic Big Outdoors vistas (Yellowstone National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the snowy peaks of Grand Teton National Park), there’s nowhere quite like the Rockies. But if time and money stops you from making the five-hour flight west from either New York or Boston, then save the Rockies for a standalone adventure and consider a more ‘local’ road trip. Start with shopping in New York, and hit the outlets in outlying Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (Central Valley) if you want well-known labels to contrast with Manhattan and Brooklyn’s indie chic. From there, you’re already en route north west to Niagara Falls (around a five-hour drive). This is well worth a night’s stopover for organised big nature fun on the border of America and Ontario, Canada. Head a couple of hours further into Ontario for Algonquin Provincial Park, a lake- and forest-rich landscape that’s home to moose, bear and plenty of organised activities for both soft and hard adventurers, with everything from guided nature walks lasting an hour or so to week-long point-to-point canoeing trips and wild camping. There are some great ‘safari’-style lodges in the park, too, for that carefully curated outdoors experience.
John Kelly, National Park Service: A spectacular landscape of mountains, lakes, forests and bold, rocky coastline, Acadia National Park is located on the coast of Maine, around a 4.5-hour drive (276 miles) from Boston. While its peaks don’t reach anywhere near the lofty heights of the Rockies, the centrepiece of Acadia is Cadillac Mountain (1,530ft), the highest point on the east coast of the US. Acadia offers a range of hiking and biking opportunities, ranging from challenging to leisurely, with over 120 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads. The latter offer car-free walking and biking on crushed-stone roads that wind through scenic mountains and along pristine lakes. For more information, visit nps.gov/acad and visittheusa.com
Published in the April 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)