America. The land of all things large; even their love of sports is super-sized. But then again with so many awesome outdoor activities to get involved in from state to state, who can blame them? Best just to join them, I think. Here we’ve picked the best sports to try in the US – and where to try them:
Boston for baseball
Over in Massachusetts the city streets of Boston are steeped in the history of their Puritan settler foundations, the restaurant kitchens overflow with fresh lobster and the views across the harbour are nothing if not stunning. But it doesn’t take the average visitor long to twig that, really, Bostonites are all about baseball. Here Red Sox memorabilia and sports jerseys are a more common sight than Harvard University sweatshirts. Baseball season typically begins on the first Sunday of April and stretches through to the first Sunday of October. The best way to be introduced to the sport is to grab tickets to a game at Fenway Park – corn dogs and larger-than-life sodas are, of course, compulsory. Once you’ve seen how the pros do it, hire a batting cage and give it your best shot. Or should I say, swing?
Climbing in the Rockies
Starting in British Columbia, Canada, and stretching through the western states to reach New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains cover some of the USA’s most iconic natural landscapes. Rows of snow-capped peaks tantalise keen mountaineers and climbers salivate over the rugged canyons and bare rockfaces of the canyonlands that lie between. Head to Colorado’s aptly-named Rocky Mountain National Park to hike among elk herds and bighorn sheep, and to find an isolated spot to camp under the stars or, for a proper clamber, visit the state’s southwestern Mesa Verde National Park. Mountaineers should set off to tackle the peaks of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, while Montana’s Glacier National Park also deserves a visit. It boasts staggering hiking routes skirting the region’s immense (you’ve guessed it) glaciers.
Riding in Wyoming
Yeehaw. It’s time to saddle up and head deep into the heart of the American Wild West to tackle rugged terrain and rustic surroundings astride a trusted steed. Life as a cowboy never died, it has just evolved from the world of whiskey and shoot-outs in the black and white movies to a back-to-the-earth farm life, free of pollution and hectic daily struggles. Many families still live off the land and make a living ranching great herds of cattle across acre upon acre of dry wilderness. Sounds pretty dreamy, but do you know the best part? Many ranches welcome visitors with open arms! Spend a week riding through the canyons of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, living life as a cowboy (or girl!) – leather chaps, Stetson hats and all. Evenings are all too easily spent sniffing out the nearest saloon.
Hawaii to catch some waves
Surfing isn’t a hobby in Hawaii. It’s a culture, a religion and a way of life. The volcanic islands not only benefit from enviably tropical year-round temperatures, but also some of the best surf in the world. Their unrivalled geographic isolation, flung far into the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles from any large landmass, means the Pacific currents whip up an immense (and reliable) groundswell when reaching the shallows around Hawaii. Spots like Jaws on Maui island are known for their immense 60ft waves, so you’ll never have to travel far to watch the pro surfers in action. If you’re a beginner, set your sights on Oahu’s Waikiki Beach where you’ll find gentle waves and top-notch tuition.
Stand-up paddle boarding in San Diego
For water babies who are looking for a more leisurely way to enjoy the ocean, there’s no better way to do it than by clambering aboard a stand-up paddle board (SUP) in San Diego and gently propelling yourself across the smooth surface of the nearby marina. Test your balance with a SUP yoga class (which is exactly what it sounds like – trying not to wobble as you salute to the sun on a larger-than-life surfboard), before grabbing some chilled beers on a beachside bar by Ocean Beach to watch the sunset over the pier. Ahh. It’s impossible not to return from this trip relaxed and rejuvenated.
Rodeo in Texas
In an area filled with the pungent aroma of testosterone and bull-crap (literally), the toughest cowboys in the USA test their skills and try to stay on the back of the strongest cattle in the region. At first, it all sounds rather foolish. But this is a sport that has been going for centuries and plays a huge part in Texan history and culture, and the atmosphere at a Rodeo is not to be missed. Riders are trained professionals who have spent their lives wrangling cattle. Those who dare can climb on the back of a mechanical bull in many-a Texas bar after a bucket of chicken wings, but no matter how much courage a few beers has given you, the real sport is best left to the experts.
Give a new, all-American sport a go on one of our tailor-made holidays to the USA.