When it comes to our destinations, the biggest fans out there are the Grand American Adventures staff team. Seasoned travellers with a huge variety of interests, we've got our national park devotees and city slickers; East Coast explorers and West Coast wanderers; camping experts and hotel know-it-alls. So who better to let you in on some of THE best destinations to visit with us?
Angels Landing, Zion National Park
"My favourite place is Angels Landing in Zion National Park. I almost let myself get talked out of the hike when I heard others talking about the narrow ridges near the top, but I’m glad I took the plunge. We woke early to catch the first transfer to the trailhead, and as we climbed in the dark, I knew that I was going to come down to something very special. The outline of the steep mountains against the starry sky was incredible.
The first part of the hike took me up steep switchbacks, called ‘Walter’s Wiggles’, and then through a deserted canyon. By this time I found myself completely alone, walking amongst huge sandstone cliffs where I could hear every footstep bouncing back off the canyon walls. The trail then steepened, narrowed and gave way to sheer drops on either side of the mountain, with only a few feet of pathway and a series of chains to lead my way.
I found my confidence, scrambled up the last few sections and found myself quite literally on top of the world. Panoramic views of the valley below in all directions, and a sense of achievement I’d never felt before. All before sunrise."
- Hayley Griffiths, Head of Marketing
Waterton Lakes National Park
"A safe distance away from the hordes of tourists gathered at Lake Louise’s infamous chateau, where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains and vast golden grasslands stretch far and wide. Here, you can find challenging isolated trails blessed with berry filled woods, glacier fed lakes, and colourful mountains.
In the evening enjoy an Alberta beer at the Thirsty Bear and watch resident deer wander throughout the town, before retiring to the campground. Waterton has dark night skies due to minimal light and air pollution, we spent our first night star gazing, with a faded view of the northern lights on the horizon, and the sound of cayotes howling nearby - I’ve never felt so enveloped in wilderness than at the campground here."
- Sarah Boyd, Product Manager
"I'm a city girl at heart, and while national parks and beautiful views will always bowl me over, the sights and sounds of bustling cities call to me like home. One of my favourite US cities? Memphis.
As a music-lover, there's plenty to do here - including the fascinating Graceland. Interestingly, I'm not actually an Elvis super-fan, but I've visited twice already, and would go back in a heartbeat - I loved learning more about such a pop culture icon.
Tracing the musical journey of rock'n'roll and blues, Sun Studio is a really fun, engaging tour, where you can follow in the footsteps of southern America's musical heroes. Last time I was in town, the Beale Street music festival was on, so I caught Kings of Leon and Alter Bridge too!
And for the foodie types - hit up Rendezvous for some of the best ribs you'll have in your life!"
- Milly Youngman, Marketing & Social Media Executive
Delicate Arch, Arches NP
"Get up early and go and see the sunrise over this astounding natural wonder. To see the rocks in the vicinity change colour as the sunlight starts to shine really is magical. And what’s more, you’ll feel totally justified digging into an indulgent Moab breakfast bagel and coffee after the early morning experience."
- Matt Newman, former Sales and Reservations Manager
The Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
"A fisherman's paradise, the Kenai Peninsula is one of my favorite places to relax in nature. Whether standing in a stream, on the shoreline of the ocean or deep out at sea, this corner of the world offers some of the best fishing, particularly for salmon.
And where some of the world's best salmon runs are, some of the world's largest bears are...it's another exciting and challenging part to visiting this region. Its diversity in landscape - rain forest, glaciers, mountains, fresh and saltwater - offer amazing activities outside fishing.
You have amazing quirky towns, even better people and no matter where you are, you're no more than an hour away from being completely isolated in nature. This will be home for me some day..."
Brian Egger - Sales Representative & Tour Leader
Yellowstone National Park
"The geothermal pools, boardwalks, wildlife including bears and bison, vastness of ecosystems and Grand Prismatic Spring highlighted what this park is about. But what intrigued me most, was the fact that this geothermal park is constantly evolving.
I expected Yellowstone to be a hiking park, but in truth it requires short drives followed by short walks. Summer is busier so I wanted to revisit when roads into the park were closed to the public. Winter delivers a very different park and experience altogether. Everything is covered by a blanket of white, with pockets of multi-coloured geothermic pools creating an amazing contrast.
When cross-country skiing or show shoeing, I was literally making my own tracks in the snow, or following those of small animals before me. Even though bears were hibernating, wolves and coyote roamed freely, birds soared overhead with huge talons and bison travelled in herds. Winter in Yellowstone reminded me of the rawness of nature and how we are only visitors in its domain.
I think people forget that Yellowstone is actually a wilderness area and home to a vast number of animals. It is their natural habitat as opposed to being the Disney simulation of a wilderness area. One of my favourite memories of Yellowstone is being in the Lamar Valley and hearing the howls from a family of wolves, reverberating off the surrounding memories. There was no one else around and felt like an experience created specifically for our group."
- Iain Shiels, Head of Product