The Ultimate 50 Things to Do In the USA
Forget the tourist traps and clichés. At Flight Centre we've worked with our Experts both here and in the USA to come up with the ultimate list of things to do in the Land of the Free. These experiences are all tried and tested by our people and can be incorporated into a tailor-made USA holiday to suit you and your budget. Time to start planning...
1. Fly from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter
The ultimate way to see the Grand Canyon, you’ll be driven from your Las Vegas hotel to the local airport in a limousine, where you’ll then board a Maverick Helicopter. From there you’ll fly over the Las Vegas Strip and the Hoover Dam before reaching the natural icon itself. Here, you’ll land in the canyon for lunch and Champagne before flying back. Read more about the Grand Canyon helicopter experience here.
2. Cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
The breeze is bracing, but the views and sense of liberation are unrivalled – you’ll soak up the best of San Francisco when cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge. Pick up your bike in Fisherman’s Wharf, put your pedal power to the test across the iconic crimson overpass, and then stop for lunch in Sausalito before catching the ferry back to the city. Read more about the best things to do San Francisco.
3. Drive through the Deep South
Our favourite road trip in the USA, on this itinerary you’ll enjoy some of the best food and music scenes in the country. Begin in Atlanta, Georgia, before driving onto the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee and the home of Elvis’s Graceland in Memphis. This road trip also includes a few nights in New Orleans, where you’ll enjoy Creole cuisine and live jazz. Experience it for yourself on our Deep South Highlights holiday.
4. Walk through Central Park in New York
You could wander aimlessly through Central Park and it'd be the highlight of any New York holiday. But, to really make the most of it, bring a picnic to enjoy by the Alice in Wonderland fountain, go for a romantic boat ride at The Loeb Boathouse, walk through the Strawberry Fields garden dedicated to John Lennon or, for a special occasion, make a reservation at the historic Tavern on the Green restaurant. Find out more tips for visiting New York.
Blogger Ana Silva O'Reilly of Mrs O Around the World also recommends the High Line:"In New York City, a walk on the High Line is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. The concept of a walkway that covers a few neighbourhoods and provides green space for residents and artists is a great example of urban redevelopment."
5. Try deep dish pizza in Chicago
Cheesy, tomato-y and encased by a crispy short dough crust, deep dish in Chicago is the stuff of pizza dreams. It’s claimed that Pizzeria Uno in River North is where the style was first conceived back in the forties, so head here for a slice. Our advice? Order a small – anything bigger will have you bursting at the seams and begging for a doggy bag.
6. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA
The beautiful bridges of the Big Sur, elephant seals in San Simeon and crystal-clear waters in Monterey: the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway between California’s most famous cities is easily one of the best get-behind-the-wheel experiences in the USA. Take on the tarmac over two days, overnighting in San Simeon where you can visit the marble-encrusted Hearst Castle, a National Historic Landmark. Find out more about driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Blogger Cathy of Mummytravels.com recommends this as a great road trip to do if you have children. "America is the home of the road trip, and there's no reason you can't try one with kids as well. California's classic Highway One along the Pacific Coast is famous for a reason but with so many great towns and gorgeous beaches to stop at along the way (and amazing scenery for grown-ups), we didn't once get asked 'Are we nearly there yet?' From trams and sealions to Alcatraz and some fantastic ice cream, San Francisco was the perfect start - then checking out redwoods, the bright colours of Santa Cruz's boardwalk, Monterey Aquarium and the purple sand of Pfeiffer Beach along Big Sur as we headed south."
7. Visit a plantation home in Louisiana
Rich in history and painting the perfect picture of the Deep South, Louisiana’s antebellum plantation homes are a must-see. Head for one of our favourites, like the Oak Alley Plantation, where a natural archway of gnarled trees accentuates the beauty of the mansion. Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt flick ‘Interview with a Vampire’ and Beyonce’s Déjà vu music video were both filmed here.
8. Watch an American sports game
Even if you have little to no interest in sport, an American sports game is something not to be missed. In fact, what’s going on the field is just one part of the experience. It can include everything from fireworks to cheerleaders, live music, celebrity spotting and plenty of food and drinks. For NFL, get tickets to a game in Dallas/Fort Worth or Boston, while basketball and baseball are great games to see when in New York or Chicago.
9. Stay at a ranch in Texas
There are plenty of unique and unforgettable places to stay in the USA, but few can match the experience of staying at a genuine cowboy ranch in Texas. One of our favourites is the Wildcatter Ranch, where guests enjoy western-styled guest rooms, authentic Texas cuisine, horseback riding, sport clay shooting and archery, as well as an infinity pool, hot tub and therapeutic massage. A stay at the ranch is included in our Cajun Cowboys holiday.
10. Take a sunrise hike at Arches National Park, Utah
The russet-hued rocks of Arches National Park are best experienced during the ‘golden hours’ of sunrise and sunset, to witness the changing colours and shadows. Hit the trails at sunrise though, and you’ll beat most of the crowds to have this untouched landscape all to yourself. Hike to Devil’s Garden, Courthouse Towers or the Windows sections of the park for photo-worthy views first thing.