The U.S. is blessed with stunning mountain ranges on every coast and in between. Whether you are looking for amazing hiking trails, scenic camping spots or adrenaline-filled outdoor adventures, you will find it in America's mountain ranges. Here are three of the best ranges to consider for your next outdoor vacation.
As the oldest mountain range in the U.S., this vast terrain stretches through various states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. There are several cities in Tennessee and North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains region. This makes it incredibly easy to find a home base to suit all of your travel needs. The Appalachian Mountains feature gorgeous waterfalls, vast networks of caves just waiting to be explored, lush forests and open fields of wildflowers. You will also find a host of wildlife viewing opportunities in the Smoky Mountains and Appalachian areas, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and beavers.
There is simply nothing that compares to the grandeur of the majestic Rocky Mountains. While you can visit this range in a variety of locations, you cannot beat experiencing the Rockies in Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park is located less than two hours from Denver in Estes Park and has over 350 miles of trails. This charming mountain town provides the perfect jumping-off point for your Rocky Mountain adventure. There are a variety of hiking options in Rocky Mountain National Park, from short and flat family-friendly hikes around scenic lakes to more strenuous climbs up the tallest peaks. Be sure to carve out some time to spend in the Estes Park downtown area for a myriad of shopping and dining opportunities.
The Sierra Nevada range features imposing granite mountains, high-altitude lakes and a bevy of unique topographical landscapes. While many outdoor explorers choose to discover the Sierra Nevadas while visiting Yosemite National Park, there is also a host of additional locations to tour this stunning mountain range. Sequoia National Park is known for its towering trees and lovely lakes. The Sierra Nevadas are also home to Mt. Whitney, best known for its distinction as the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.
Savvy outdoor enthusiasts understand the joy of spending time in these spectacular displays of Mother Nature. Whatever mountain adventure you choose, you will be rewarded with sweeping views and intimate chances to get up close and personal with the great outdoors.
If you are planning on hiking while on your mountain vacation, be sure to bring some of our hiking clothing with you!
Looking for a scenic hiking opportunity? Try building your next vacation around one of these unique U.S. destinations.
With its rugged coastline, miles of remote wilderness trails, and jewel-bright lakes, the state of Maine is a hiker's paradise. One of its most awe-inspiring hikes can be found in Acadia, the only national park in the Northeast. The Beehive is a ladder trail that traverses several open cliff faces, so it's definitely not for the agoraphobic. Those who are up to the challenge, however, will be rewarded with stunningly beautiful views of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding Gulf of Maine.
Located in Utah's Arches National Park, this gem is one of the most photogenic trails in the country. The centerpiece of the hike is the natural unsupported arch that gives the relatively easy 3-mile trail its name, but there are thousands of similar national treasures just waiting to be explored along the way. There are many amenities that can help make it easier to get out there. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen—there's virtually no shade or cover on this hike.
Taking a trip to Mendenhall Glacier is like journeying back in time. This 13-mile-long relic of the last Ice Age plays host to a host of Alaskan wildlife, from salmon to black bears to bald eagles. The only downside is that the glacier is located just outside of Juneau, making it an extremely popular hiking destination for tourists, so you won't have the trail to yourself. However, the trail is sure to provide plenty of natural distractions, enough that you may not even notice the lack of solitude.
Kalalau TrailIf you're lucky enough to visit the Hawaiian island of Kauai, don't miss out on this spectacular 22-mile adventure. The entire round-trip hike takes upward of five hours—longer if you linger at any of the verdant, sun-splashed highlights of the journey, of which there are many. The trail stretches from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi`ai Beach, affording hikers unforgettable views of the Pacific. Don't be tempted to skip the detour to Hanakapiai Falls—it will provide you with a slight respite from the crowded trail, in addition to being one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see in Hawaii or anywhere else.
No matter where you live, you don't have to travel far to find a picturesque hiking opportunity. Just be careful to watch out for poisonous plants and other things that can make your trip unpleasant. The U.S. is teeming with natural wonders, all begging to be explored. Happy trails!
Ask any Sacramento resident, and they will tell you that they feel fortunate to call Sacramento home. This is for a myriad of reasons, but one of the main draws for both residents and tourists alike would be some of the remarkable outdoor activities this town offers. Although it’s hard to narrow it down, there are at least five outdoor activities that you can do near California’s capital:
There is a whole host of camping opportunities near Sacramento. Lyon Local explains that these would include such options as at least a dozen different RV and tent camping areas and up to three dozen different campgrounds within a two-hour radius of Sacramento. Moreover, there are excellent opportunities for free camping throughout the region. Examples of this would include such places as Camp Pollock, Mama Marks Park, SacWest Park, Compound and Bear River Park, and Campground and Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area.
You might be surprised at how many opportunities there are for trail ranch rides throughout the state of California and not just near Sacramento. Vaquera Ranch points out that if you are looking for something closer to the Sierras, there is a handful of trail riding opportunities about an hour away from the Sacramento International Airport. These would include horse riding businesses that provide simple riding opportunities and also ranches that provide space for horse boarding as well.
Rafting and Tubing
Considering that Sacramento is the source for two different rivers, there are many opportunities for people who want to go rafting and tubing. You can either take part in this unique activity on the American River or the Sacramento River, and there are several different rafting and tubing companies with qualified guides to help you have the most amazing experience possible.
Considering that Sacramento is at the top of the Central Valley, you wouldn’t think that there would be hiking opportunities near this city, but it’s true. This area has many different hills, wetlands, parks, rivers, and hills. There's the South Fork American River Trail, which includes 25 miles available for hiking and opportunities for spectacular scenery along the way. The Quarry Trail is also an ideal trail for family members of all ages. Moreover, it has an interesting historical aspect as it was once used for limestone mining. Also, there's the Sacramento River Trail, which is not only great for hiking but is also a good trail for bird watching. There are even opportunities to spot a bald eagle from time to time. Any hiking enthusiasts know the importance of good shoes, so make sure you have the right ones for you.
GolfingAnother great thing about Sacramento would be the many golf courses that are available within quick driving distance of the California capital. These golf courses all echo the terrain of the Sacramento, which is very diverse. This leads to some unique golf courses in turn. For example, the Sierra View Golf Course is known for being extremely pristine and well taken care of. Moreover, this golf course is part of the Sierra View Country Club, which many visitors and members describe as being “warm”, “welcoming”, and “exceptional.” This country club believes that they are so much more than just a list of amenities, but they are also a place to create fond memories and build friendships. In a sense, these and other area country clubs are a microcosm of the greater community of Sacramento.
As you can see, Sacramento has a lot of outdoor activities to offer both visitors and residents alike. We realize this is going to be a great place for you to find yourself and to invest in your own personal growth. Sacramento truly is an underrated diamond in the rough!
When it comes to renting cars, all drivers have their preferences. Some want luxury or sports cars only, while others want the safest, most fuel-efficient vehicles. If you don't take the time to know what you want, you will have a long, burdensome trip to make. Here are five tips to avoid choosing the wrong car for your trip.
1. Road Conditions
Some cars are built to be driven on certain types of roads, and others are not. If you plan to take your rental car on a rough-and-tumble off-roading drive in the bush, you’ll want a truck or SUV that is made for rugged, off-road conditions. Review details about the vehicle's engine, tires, and horsepower. For off-road drives, find a car with high ground clearance and large, buoyant tires. To drive for days on the highway, choose one with a robust and durable engine. Overall, select the right vehicle based on the road conditions that you plan to encounter.
Image Credit: Mass Live Media
2. Weather Conditions
Some cars are better suited for certain weather conditions. In dry, humid places, Jeeps are ideal because there are no windows to lock in the heat. In areas that are always wet, Jeeps and convertibles are the worst choices. SUVs and other four-wheel drive vehicles are the most effective ones on roads that are covered with snow and ice.
3. Gas Mileage
Some cars are better at being driven for long distances. Check the gas mileage to see how many rest stops you'll need to make. Hybrid cars that run on a battery will require small amounts of fuel. The vehicles with the worst fuel efficiency have 10-20 mpg.
Image Credit: Thrillest
If you’re like most people, you will travel with passengers. Your vehicle must have enough space for all of them and their gear, hopefully with leg room to spare. For a road trip, you'll be driving for hours on end, and you don't want them to develop leg or back cramps. When you rent a car, it'll cost a little more for one with a few more seats.
The cost of your rental is a significant factor. Price still affects whether or not you enjoy it, so create a budget for your trip before you pick the car. On vacation, it's a good idea to set a budget so that you manage your money wisely. If it's not a road trip, there's no need to spend a big chunk of your savings on the rental car alone.
Image Credit: Avis Luxury Car Rentals
Buying the wrong car is a nightmare for most people. Renting the wrong vehicle for a short-term trip is another hassle to avoid. Plan well for your ideal vacation and start by selecting the right kind of car. And don't forget: enjoy the ride!
The Canyonlands National Park is the preferred destination for not just hikers and backpackers but also for mountain bikers and four wheelers. One of the several reasons why everyone loves this national park is the diverse and stunning topography of the land.
Understanding the Lay of the Land
The Canyonlands National Park extends over more than 527 square miles. It is essentially divided into four separate zones. This includes the dramatic Island in the Sky, the wild and rugged Maze, the Needles and the rivers Colorado and Green. Each district is unique and holds a special appeal. Whether you are looking for the adrenaline rush of white water rafting or prefer to discover the ancient and revered lands of the ancestral Pueblo people, you will find plenty to do here.
The Island in the Sky and the Needles districts offers hikers and backpackers many different trails. The terrain is both a challenge as well as pleasure to explore. It is important that you come well prepared and carry backpacking packs that are appropriate for the hike you have in mind. Do choose hiking clothing that is appropriate for the season and is comfortable and well fitting. Do not forget your survival paracord bracelet at home. The versatile bracelet is the most convenient and stylish emergency gear that you can invest in and offers multiple use. It is useful to mountain bikers, hikers, backpackers and kayakers alike.
A Thousand Stars for You
Sleeping under the stars with no artificial lights to disturb your view is one of the top reasons why people like to go to the Canyonlands. Being surrounded by the wide expanse of land around you and the sky above is a thrilling experience. Head to the Maze or the Needles district for unforgettable views. You will go home with memories for a lifetime. Do go well prepared as the closest convenience or hiking store will be far away. Make sure you have adequate hiking gear and your survival bracelet is on your wrist.
To explore the Park off the beaten track you could opt for a raft, canoe or a kayak. The solitude and startling natural beauty that you will witness is indescribable. You could choose a day long rafting trip with one of the many companies that offer resources and river guides.
Or you may prefer a self-guided river journey. Do ensure that you do adequate research before you plan your trip and also use a backpack that is right for you and the activity you have in mind. You could do a half day or a day long trip, though most rafters and kayakers would recommend that you spend several days on the Green and Colorado rivers.
Not Just One of the Crowd
Every year more than 500,000 visitors to the national park enjoy resplendent views that mesmerize. That said, do keep in mind the enormous area that the park covers. You will not have to worry about jostling crowds or tourists with selfie sticks. It is important that you choose a trail or a section of the park that you wish to visit based on your interests. Do remember that the districts are not connected from within the Canyonlands National Park, and you would have to leave it in order to enter a different zone.