10 alternative North American adventures to take before summer ends

TD Editor
As we move into the last month of summer, here are 10 alternative summer holidays to swap crowded beaches for beautiful mountains and spacious National Parks.
The Everglades National Park, Florida’s Paradise Coast

While the sandy beaches of Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco and the Everglades – are nearby, take a trip into the deep Floridian outdoors for an exciting change of summer scenery. The Everglades are part of the largest wetlands ecosystem in the US and visiting the National Park gives tourists a rare insight into the wildlife that lives there. See endangered species, mangrove tunnels and golden sunsets from kayaking, airboat or swamp walking tours, or stay firmly on the ground with cycling and hiking routes. Just north, Florida’s Paradise Coast’s Naples and Marco Island offer prime seafood and alfresco dining to top off a summer’s day of exploration.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

One of the USA’s most visited National Parks, Rocky Mountain National Park is world-renowned for its breathtaking landscape which has been the inspiration for many iconic pieces of work, from Stephen King’s The Shining to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The landscape boasts beautiful natural colours and even better views. For wilderness wayfarers, highlights include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide range of wildlife. Its diverse and varied environment offers opportunities for hiking, cycling, camping, rock climbing and water sports. Summer also sees wildflowers blooming and the weather is the perfect temperature for exploration.

North Cascades National Park, Seattle, Washington

A 2.5-hour drive from Seattle, North Cascades National Park is home to more than a third of the glaciers in the lower 48 US states. With towering summits and broad lakes, the park boasts accessible waterfall hikes, alpine meadows and a range of flora and fauna. On the west side sits Ross Lake and Diablo Lake, with waters of turquoise blue and beautiful views, whilst east is home to the green wilderness of Okanogan National Forest. Winding through the park are trails to trek which journey through ageing forests and magical meadows. Here, visitors can spot the chirping wildlife, including chipmunks, marmots and pikas.

Laurel Highlands, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Whilst Pittsburgh is known for being an urban city filled with arts and culture, many are unaware of its surrounding natural beauty. Just a 45 minute drive outside of the city, travellers can discover the Laurel Highlands, a magnificent mountainous region which is home to eight state parks and two forests. Nature lovers can walk through towering trees, trek through water-carved valleys or roam around the mountains. Hikers are spoiled for choice with numerous routes to choose from, all with peaceful, hidden spots and diverse wildlife. Spruce Flats Bog in Forbes State Forest alone has 60,000 acres of land, over 300 miles of multi-use trails, and is home to unique plants lost in the ice age.

Shasta Cascade, California

California’s northeast corner, often overlooked by some for more popular regions, is an outdoor lover’s paradise with safe to explore volcanoes, hushed forests and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking. All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester and rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by well-known Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

The Indian Canyons, Greater Palm Springs

Known for its otherworldly landscapes, mountain ranges and year-round sunshine, Greater Palm Springs also holds a hikers’ paradise; historic twisted canyons and secluded waterfalls. The Indian Canyons are culturally significant, as the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Visit the natural wonders along one of the many available hiking routes to the secluded falls, the perfect serenity for meditating, picnicking, or taking a dip.

Yosemite’s Tuolumne County, California 

Yosemite National Park, famous for its iconic granite monoliths and rushing waterfalls, has a quieter, less crowded side. A significant 95% of visitors only see 5% of the park, which has over 750,000 acres of outstanding scenery and bucket-list worthy hikes to be explored. Over half of Yosemite is in Tuolumne County, where there’s plenty of room to roam away from the crowd, making it a perfect destination for a relaxing summer holiday.

British Columbia, Canada

Swap crowded beaches for untouched mountains and meadows with CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-hiking company. Operating out of three luxury lodges in British Columbia, CMH’s heli-hiking holidays take travellers to incredible landscapes where they’ll explore dramatic mountains, glacial lakes and meadows teeming with wildflowers. At the end of each day, guests are flown back to the lodge where they can relax in the hot tub and enjoy a delicious gourmet meal. All trips are led by an experienced guide and are suitable for both beginners and advanced hikers.

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