The "dude" or guest ranch vacation continues to flourish in several western states despite the visible threat of urbanization and the invisible threat of skyrocketing liability insurance costs.
A trip to Fairbanks takes you to the interior of Alaska, a landscape far more severe than the temperate coastal areas of Anchorage or Juneau-Skagway-Sitka. In Fairbanks, be sure to see dog mushing and the Musher's Museum, the Riverboat Discovery, the Athabaskan Indian Village, Log Cabin Information Center, the oil pipeline from Prudoe Bay to Valdez, and the Alaska Museum at the University of Alaska.
Hawaii became available dependably and year round on the cruise scene, due to the commitment of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to position an American-flagged vessel, now Pride of America, in Hawaiian waters.
Beauty of nature in a high-desert setting and diverse outdoor sports attract visitors to the Bend region of Central Oregon.
Boise Idaho appeals to travelers because of its historic architecture, such as the Old Idaho Penitentiary, and its downtown greenbelt, the Julia Davis Park. Nearby you can raft the Salmon River, overnight at the Shepp guest ranch, and visit the World Center for Birds of Prey, where the peregrine falcon was saved.
A week of small-ship cruising from Juneau, Alaska, through the wilderness waterways of the Alaska Southeast can get you close to humpback whales, orcas, glaciers, bears, and hundreds of islands covered with rain forests. You may see Endicott Arm, Tracy Arms, Sawyer Glacier, Keku Channel, the Tlingit Indian village of Kake, Bay of Pillars, Sitka, and Glacier Bay. In Juneau, see the Mendenhall Glacier, Mount Roberts Tram, the Lynne Canal, Alaska State Museum, and Gastineau Fish Hatchery.
As a traveler seeks to evaluate the merits of various ski destinations in the West, Telluride, Colorado, has some special appeals--namely outstanding skiing and a top-notch spa facility.
The Phoenix/Scottsdale and Flagstaff regions, so rich in mountains and natural beauty, might be seen as "islands in the sky."
The mighty Colorado River, eroding its way through Utah before entering Arizona, cuts into the deep gorges of the Grand Canyon as it passes west. Most visitors see the Grand Canyon from the South Rim Village after either driving in from Williams or taking the Grand Canyon Railway excursion train from Williams.
Cruising Alaska in summer can include the pleasures of the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park, the capital at Juneau, and the Russian settlement at Sitka.
Salt Lake City attracts visitors because of its Mormon culture, started by Brigham Young, and its resulting cultural achievements, especially in Temple Square. There a visitor can hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choice and learn about the long Mormon trek west. Mormons were a major force in settlement of the Western U.S.
Seattle appeals to travelers for many reasons, starting with its Boeing Museum of Flight and its downtown Pike Place Market, featuring local wine and seafood.
When visiting Hilo, Hawaii, make the Lyman Museum your first stop to comprehend the joy of nature and pageant of human migration that is Hawaii.
From my tent on Growler Island in Prince William Sound I gazed at vast expanses of the Alaska wilderness. Prince William Sound offers a visitor the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Captain Stan Stephen's Cruises, Bligh Reef, Cordova, Eyak Indians, clear cuts, salmon, halibut, Valdez, Glacier Island, and zodiac boats.
Via AAA has just published my 7 Best Photo Ops in the West. Via presents travel content to the 5.7 million members in its NorCal club.
Nothing captures the magic of Alaska better than the adventure of flying across the vast wilderness in a small bush airplane. Consider flying Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass in Gate of the Arctic, plus Denali National Park around Mt. McKinley, and then with Ketchum Air to remote fishing lakes near Anchorage.
Majestic canyon vistas of the Colorado and Green Rivers are the visual reward of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The rivers amount to ribbons of fluid sandpaper cutting through the sandstone landscape.
Few travel destinations boast as ambitious a traditional slogan as Maui, Hawaii. The phrase, in Hawaiian, is "Maui No Ka Oi," meaning "Maui is the best."
AAA and Mobil rank more destination resorts in higher categories in the Phoenix-Scottsdale region than from any other region.
The Hokulea voyaging canoe in Hawaii symbolizes a longing that many travelers worldwide now feel during the COVID-19 crisis--the wish to get out and explore. "Who were the original Hawaiians?" and "How did they get to Hawaii?" Answers can be gleaned in Honolulu by visiting the Hawaiian Maritime Center and seeing the recreated deep-sea Polynesian voyaging canoe, the Hokulea,
Kauai, Hawaii, is an unusual travel destination because many of the premier travel experiences are free or low cost, available to all.
Alaska's Denali National Park lures visitors with views of the highest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley, and with superb wildlife viewing of grizzly bears, moose, dall sheep, caribou, and wolves. Take the Wildlife Tour into Wonder Lake. Dogsled mushing demonstrations, flight seeing around the mountain and glaciers, and rafting the Nenana River are other special park experiences.
To the Navajos, the terrain of Utah's Capitol Reef National Park was "the land of the sleeping rainbow." To pioneers and prospectors, thinking nautically, the ridges were like a reef, and the domes were like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Hawaii's aloha spirit begins on the island of Oahu. Most travelers land in Honolulu, and hopefully will experience Waikiki Beach, the Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, the King Kamehameha statue, the Hawaii Maritime Museum, Hokulea ship, Falls of Clyde ship, catamaran boats, Kapiolani Park, Waikiki Aquarium, Diamond Head, Queen Emma's Summer Palace, Senator Fong's Plantation and Garden, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and other great cultural resources.
New Mexico's Indians hold a special fascination for travelers, even to this day. And well they might, for the Indians themselves strive to be sovereign people.