In many ways, this Fourth of July weekend will be the nation’s post-pandemic coming-out party. While COVID-19 isn’t yet defeated, close to half the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with another significant percentage partially vaccinated. We’re thrilled that so many destinations closed off to us for more than a year are reopening, but the last year has also been a reminder of what great places there are to explore at home. We thought we’d celebrate by highlighting a few quintessentially American trips.
Walk in the founders’ footsteps
Walk the Freedom Trail through past Revolutionary War-era sights (or do it at night by lamplight for a spooky twist) or do a private after-hours tour of the Old North Church in Boston. Spend a day in Valley Forge or see where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and the first Continental Congress met in and around Philadelphia. Watch fireworks light up the New York skyline from the One World Observatory, or tour D.C. monuments and the National Archives. You can do all this and more with Virtuoso-preferred tour operators.
Cruise America’s waterways
Take a paddle boat down the Mississippi like travelers of days gone by and feel like you’re transported to a Mark Twain novel. Itineraries run between Memphis and New Orleans or follow the river all the way from its start in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, stopping at towns that grew up along what was once the frontier’s great north-south highway. Retrace the footsteps of Lewis and Clark cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest past some of the prettiest scenery you could ever hope to see. River cruising ain’t just for Europe, after all.
Spot bald eagles in Alaska
It might be one of the most recent states, but it’s more than twice the size of the next biggest state and it’s home to the largest population of bald eagles in the U.S., an estimated 30,000. There are plenty of other majestic creatures to spot in the great outdoors of Alaska, and plenty of purple mountains’ majesty, including Denali, our highest peak. You can explore Alaska by land with stays in some excellent Virtuoso-preferred lodges, and this summer there will be an abbreviated cruise season along the Inside Passage.
Gawk at the Great Lakes
Often thought of as inland seas, the Great lakes contain more than 20% of the world’s surface freshwater. Along their shores are the great cities of the Upper Midwest. Taste bratwurst in Milwaukee, eat a Chicago dog and catch a glimpse of Lake Michigan while you take in a game at Wrigley Field and see where the American auto industry was born in Detroit. Travel back in time on Michigan’s carless Mackinac Island. See Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist. Kayak close to Canada in Isle Royale National Park. it’s all there for the exploring.
Explore the national parks
From Acadia to Channel Islands, from Gates of the Arctic to Dry Tortugas, there are five dozen national parks to check out. They live up to their billing as “America’s best idea,” and the less visited are just as awe-inspiring as the most. So even if some are jam-packed and out of visitor passes, there’s another full of wildlife and landscapes waiting for you.