Grand American Adventures That Tread Lightly

Experience Sedona, Arizona: a unique blend of scenic red rocks, hiking, art galleries, fine dining, and opportunities for personal enrichment unlike anywhere else on earth

​​The United States is unquestionably a treasure trove of bucket-list destinations, with Yellowstone National Park—America’s first—drawing a staggering three to four million visitors annually. Of course, these are impressive sights, and while current concerns surrounding overtourism shouldn’t deter you from witnessing the country’s iconic landmarks, our various conversations surrounding Earth Day inspired us to curate a list of “Grand American Adventures That Tread Lightly.”

Here we unveil alternatives to six popular U.S. hotspots, every option offering the same rich history, culture, and natural wonders, minus the crowds.  

1. Montana’s Glacier National Park: An Alternative To Yellowstone

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a spectacularly scenic 52-mile highway through Glacier National Park, which crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass in Montana ©Tony Reid

The million-acre Glacier National Park boasts pristine glacial-carved landscapes, abundant wildlife, and fewer visitors than its famous Wyoming counterpart.

With over 700 miles of hiking trails, there is an adventure on offer for everyone, from novice hikers to experienced trekkers. Marvel at glacial peaks, alpine meadows, verdant forests, and stunning lakes as you immerse yourself in the Crown of the Continent. Don’t miss the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, an absolutely glorious scenic drive through the heart of the park.  

2. Savannah, Georgia: An Alternative To New Orleans

A breathtaking avenue sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss leads to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702–1775), the historic site about 10 miles from downtown Savannah

Rich in Southern charm and history, Savannah’s antebellum architecture, oak-lined streets, and sophisticated food scene make it an ideal substitute for the bustle of the Big Easy. Delve into this enchanting city. Wander through its picturesque streets lined with majestic oak trees and marvel at its stately mansions, squares (known as the “crown jewels” of the city), parks, and fountains.

Journey with Frontier founder, Sandra Potter on an immersive road trip and uncover the hidden gems of Georgia and South Carolina!

3. Olympic National Park, Washington: An Alternative To Yosemite

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park; in clear weather, you can expect to enjoy fantastic views ©Anurag Jain

From lush rainforests to rugged coastlines, Olympic National Park offers diverse natural wonders comparable to Yosemite but with far fewer crowds. Perfect for travellers seeking tranquility, embrace its untamed beauty on exhilarating hikes.

Starting in Seattle, book our 9-night Olympic National Park fly-drive holiday and immerse yourself in its urban splendour for three nights. From interactive music museums to the iconic Pike Place Market, the “Emerald City” offers a diverse array of attractions. Then break away into the wilderness, ferrying to Bainbridge Island and the Olympic Peninsula. Explore the rugged coastline of Kalaloch, where driftwood-lined beaches meet soaring evergreens and the Quinault Rainforest, one of the Western Hemisphere’s few temperate rainforests, teeming with ancient trees and wildlife. A grand Pacific Northwest odyssey combining urban sophistication with nature’s untamed grandeur, this is a truly idyllic escape.  

4. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: An Alternative To The Great Smokies

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Shenandoah National Park, a captivating land adorned with breathtaking waterfalls, awe-inspiring vistas, vibrant fields of wildflowers, and serene wooded hollows ©Alex Korolkoff

With its rolling blue ridge landscapes, scenic drives, and upscale lodges, Shenandoah National Park provides a more secluded Appalachian experience than the more well-known Great Smokies.

Go there on our 14-night Highlights of the Capital Region, Washington to Virginia fly drive, and immerse yourself in Washington, D.C.’s iconic attractions for three nights before embarking on a road trip through America’s historic heart. Explore Baltimore’s Inner Harbour, Frederick’s Civil War heritage, and Shenandoah National Park, taking the breathtaking Skyline Drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Imbibe Charlottesville’s wine trails and tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, a prelude to soaking up Colonial America’s charms in Jamestown, Williamsburg, and finally Yorktown—the site of the British surrender. End your journey through the annals of time with a visit to Chesapeake Bay’s tranquil islands and Annapolis, one of America’s prettiest cities.  

5. The Florida Keys: An Alternative To Miami Beach

Find serenity in the Florida Keys and head for Islamorada where swaying palms frame white beaches kissed by inviting blue-green waters ©Visit Florida

While some islands in the Florida Keys tend to be more popular and therefore busier, for true tranquility, ​Islamorada and Big Pine Key are go-to destinations. A peaceful alternative for those seeking a more intimate, sand-swept affair, they are the ideal contrast to the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach.

Located between Key Largo and Marathon, Islamorada is often referred to as the “Village of Islands.” It consists of several smaller keys and has a laid-back atmosphere with stunning beaches, excellent fishing opportunities, and a range of water activities. Big Pine Key is situated about 30 miles east of Key West. Known for its natural beauty and home to the National Key Deer Refuge—where visitors can spot the endangered Key deer—the island offers a more serene and secluded setting with fewer crowds and a slower pace of life.

A veritable rite of passage, a drive through the Florida Keys is still one of America’s most iconic road trips. The legendary Overseas Highway, a 113-mile marvel connecting hundreds of island gems nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, unfurls a tapestry of magnificent scenery, historic treasures, and boundless opportunities for recreation. Designated an All-American Road under the National Scenic Byways programme, a mesmerising drive awaits.  

6. Sedona, Arizona: An Alternative To The Grand Canyon

Sedona, Arizona is both an adventurer’s paradise and “a place of enlightenment,” the town renowned for its captivating red rock formations and its mystical energy vortexes

No one could doubt the awe-inspiring grandeur of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. A majestic wonder sculpted by the mighty Colorado River, it stretches across an impressive 277 miles and plunges to depths exceeding a mile. The colossal chasm unveils a mesmerising tapestry of geological history, and its intricate layers of rock are an exquisite testament to millions of years of nature’s artistry.

Appearing on fewer travel lists but just as spellbinding in its own way, is Sedona. With its striking red rock formations, upscale spas, and spiritual vibe, the desert town offers an accessible and rejuvenating Southwestern experience. All the more reason to explore this enchanting oasis and discover its unique charms for yourself. An delightful perk, its mild climate means you can travel to Sedona year-round.

The itineraries included in this post are purely inspirational, as every holiday we create at Frontier America is tailor-made, with each chosen destination and experience unique to your preferences. Acting as your personal concierge, we are also able to pre-book activities in advance of your trip so you don’t miss out on making those all-important memories.

For more travel inspiration and to book, call our specialists on 020 8776 8709 or email us at ATOL PROTECTED No. 5405 ABTA W3207.