One of the best ways to experience Alaska – and it is an experience, much more than just a holiday – is on a small ship. These vessels can take you into some of the world’s deepest fjords where you can hike or kayak, and watch bears on the shoreline, yet also go out to sea to look for whales. Magnificent.
Our outstanding memory from our first Alaska trip is the sound of glaciers cracking and crashing into the sea beside our cruise boat. Nothing prepares you for how magnificent Alaska is, from its snow-covered mountain ranges, its vast National Parks, deserted roads and abundance of wildlife, to the ruggedly independent people who live there.
Covered bridges and rolling hills, whitewashed church steeples and Cape Cod beaches…this beautiful driving tour takes in all the quintessential delights of New England. From historic Boston to the coast of Maine, you’ll discover quaint villages and artsy towns, famous colonial sights, scenic lakes and mountains.
Top American movies and TV shows have made cities like New York and Boston familiar around the world. From The Sopranos to Friends, Carrie and her pals from Sex and the City to the bar flies from Cheers, following in the footsteps of your favourite characters makes for a fun tour and a fascinating look at the local film industry.
Like an American version of the Alps, the Grand Tetons rise to 4,200m and provide some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the USA – and some of its most thrilling skiing, especially in Jackson Hole. Wyoming is another world, like the Wild West but with spectacular snowfalls in winter.
Florida’s Gulf Coast is idyllic – leave behind the bustle of the mainland and chill out in style at this lovely island resort. Beachcombing on the shell-covered shore is fascinating, plus there’s golf, tennis and watersports. Don’t miss the nature tours, and the chance to see loveable manatees and dolphins.
With its glamorous nightlife and Cuban connections, Miami has the sizzle of the Caribbean and the glamour of New York. Enjoy the city’s unique buzz as you lounge on gorgeous palm-backed beaches and stroll round shops and art galleries. From sleek, modern boutique hotels to retro digs in the famous Art Deco district, style’s the word.
From California’s farmers’ markets and wine country, through the Creole cuisine and BBQ of the South to sensational pizzas and cheesecakes in New York City, Trafalgar’s foodie trips enhance regular sightseeing with some of the USA’s finest food. We especially love New England with its cheeses, cranberry bogs and treats like Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. Yum!
Driving the coral islands that make up the Florida Keys is like leaving mainland America behind and skipping like a stone towards the Caribbean. The Overseas Highway is an exhilarating drive, taking you to famous names like Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West, as far south as you can go in the USA. Beachfront tiki bars, kayaking with dolphins and luxury resorts add to the charm.
One of the ironies of the Civil War its that many of its major battles took place in breathtaking locations, such as Shenandoah National Park. You don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate the battlefields, monuments and museums, and even hardened travellers are moved to tears reading Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in Gettysburg itself.
We’ve driven the California coast many times and never tire of its variety. Sonoma is the antithesis of big and brash – a charming county packed with superb places to stay and vineyards tended by real enthusiasts. Wine-tasting, gourmet meals, the odd spa treatment and a final two days on the coast – heaven.
The rolling hills of Napa Valley are perfect for cycling, not too steep and with glorious scenery all round. This enticing tour winds its way through California’s most famous vineyards to charming small towns, Calistoga’s hot springs, redwood forests and the beautiful coastal scenery of Bodega Bay, with outstanding food and wine to fuel the journey.
Philadelphia is often overshadowed by other east coast cities, but we love its outstanding art museums, colonial heritage sites, Amish and Italian markets, historic and ethnic neighbourhoods and superb restaurants. Pack light and carry a big suitcase, because the tax-free clothes shopping is great, from trendy boutiques to famous department stores.
We’ve driven through the wild desert and mountain landscapes of Utah and Colorado and would do it again in a heartbeat. The Southern Utah National Parks boast some of the most striking scenery on the planet, and hidden away in the Colorado Rockies are astonishingly stylish spas and hot springs. Hot tubs at midnight? You bet.
We absolutely love Alabama, from its miles of silver-sand beaches – and fabulous seafood – along the Gulf Coast to its moving Civil Rights connections, its soulful Muscle Shoals music, the birthplace of country giant Hank Williams (“the hillbilly Shakespeare”) and the charming town of Monroeville, where Harper Lee set To Kill a Mockingbird.
The phenomenal landscapes of southern Utah and northern Arizona make for truly exciting family adventures. Whether you’re hiking in the Grand Canyon or walking amidst the red rock formations of Arches National Park, white water rafting or camping out under the stars, these self-drive tours work for all ages. It’s a great way to see and experience the West.
The Rocky Mountains’ soft white powder is a skiing experience like no other. Colorado’s famous ski resorts are a joy at every level, from gentle beginner slopes to exhilarating black diamond runs and powder bowls to challenge the most expert skier. Rustic mountain towns, chic modern hotels and fine restaurants make your time here unforgettable.
Head east from Seattle through Idaho and Montana and you reach the Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park. The scenery is on a spectacular scale, and looms even larger if you hike and camp out. Turn south to take in Yosemite and Yellowstone too and you’ll have seen some of the most beautiful places on planet Earth.
Fort Lauderdale has everything we love about Florida – it’s got the things you expect but is full of surprises too. It has some of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast, a host of museums, and the Florida Everglades are right on the doorstep. It’s also easy to visit the theme parks of Orlando or see Miami, but with more of a relaxing small town feel.
Apart from its famous monuments, we love Washington DC for its outstanding museums, from art and space exploration to international spying. New York’s Finger Lakes region is scenically gorgeous and its wines are superb, especially the ice wines. Throw in the thrilling cruise beneath Niagara Falls and this is a unique cultural camping trip.
There’s a lot more to Florida than Mickey Mouse. It’s a wonderfully romantic destination for couples, from the hedonistic cool of Miami’s South Beach to the discreet low-key charm of the Keys. Stay in luxurious, intimate hotels, stroll on the beaches, take a sunset cruise and dine by candlelight.
California has an over-abundance of great places to stay, from the wacky to the wonderful. Ultra-chic hotels can be found in fun cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, while boutique wine-country retreats and even remote ranches provide style and that welcoming American hospitality.
Taking the garden path is a delightful way to approach two of the East Coast’s greatest cities. Stroll Manhattan’s High Line and Central Park, then visit the renowned Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the lush estate gardens of the Hudson Valley and several outstanding gardens with native trees and plant species in historic Philadelphia.