North America

North America is more than just the United States, Canada and Mexico. It also encompasses Central America, the Caribbean and beyond – some 45 countries and territories altogether. With 50 U.S. states, 13 Canadian provinces and territories, Mexico, and the entire Caribbean region, you could spend a lifetime exploring it and still not see everything. But don’t miss out on your “must-sees” – let Stride help guide your way across this kaleidoscope of cultures and natural wonders.

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Top Trip Memories

  • Standing on the rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, gaping at the magnitude of it all, then mounting a mule to ride to the canyon floor.

  • Visiting North America’s first colonial city, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where a number of “firsts” can still be toured.

  • Cruising the Mississippi on a riverboat down to New Orleans, then feasting on crawfish and oysters.

  • Walking “no hands” around the roof of the 1,168-foot-high CN Tower in Toronto (though safely strapped on).

  • Paddling the waves during a whitewater rafting expedition on Idaho’s Snake River.

  • Going snorkeling or SCUBA diving in Belize, Central America.

  • Climbing the Mayan pyramids in Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Mexico.

  • Riding a boat on the Panama Canal after visiting an indigenous tribe in the rainforest.

  • Practicing French while sipping wine at a café in Old Quebec, Canada.

  • Waiting faithfully for Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, to erupt (it always does).

  • Touring Northern California’s coastal redwoods (the tallest trees on earth) and central California’s sequoias (the most massive living things).

  • Beachcombing on some of the world’s finest sands throughout the Caribbean.

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Tour Tips

  • To keep your tour manageable, think regionally: the Northwestern or Southwestern U.S., the Canadian Maritimes, the Eastern Caribbean, etc.

  • U.S. national parks are some of the finest in the world and a good place to keep tour prices down, especially if you like camping.

  • The Caribbean is much more than beautiful beaches. Each island has its own culture and languages include English, Spanish, French and Dutch.

  • Similarly, the U.S. is much more than Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Times Square and Disney World.

  • Outside of Costa Rica and perhaps Panama, Central America is often overlooked as a tourist destination, but Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

  • While most of its citizens live near the U.S. border, Canada is the world’s second largest country, with vast wilderness, mountain and coastal areas awaiting exploration.

  • Greenland, one of the least visited islands in the world, is part of North America, too – and has a fascinating Arctic culture and landscape.

  • Mexico is far more diverse than you might imagine: think Mayan culture vs. modern-day Mexico City, Oaxacan marketplaces vs. Cancun party scene.

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North America Trips & Tour Advice

Of the 50 most visited man-made and natural tourist attractions in the world, more than half are in the United States. A number of them are theme parks, but others range from urban parks (San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, New York’s Central Park) to natural wonders (Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Niagara Falls) and areas for urban exploration (Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Boston’s Faneuil Hall, New York’s Times Square and South Street Seaport, Chicago’s Navy Pier, Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums, and, of course, the Las Vegas Strip).

All are worthy of tour stops, but North America has much more to offer than the usual tourist attractions, and tours that help you get off the beaten path can be the most memorable of all. In the United States alone, you can visit the deserts of
California’s Death Valley – one of the hottest places on earth – or walk on glaciers in Alaska. You can ride airboats through the Florida Everglades or on historic windjammer sailing vessels off the Maine coast. The Rocky Mountains rise high
in Colorado and give way to the pancake-flat Great Plains to their east. The Great Lakes provide recreation for the Upper Midwest while the Gulf of Mexico offers waterborne fun to the Deep South. Utah’s Bryce and Zion national parks, South
Dakota’s Badlands, and California’s Yosemite all feature geologic formations that range from the strange to the magnificent -- and are always remarkable to view.

Canada’s Rockies equal those of the U.S. – you can try heli-hiking or heli-skiing in remote areas of British Columbia, where only helicopters can reach the mountain lodges – while the far eastern Canadian Maritime provinces combine brisk sea air with fresh seafood, and French-speaking Quebec serves up Montreal, Quebec City and other delights. And, for good measure, Toronto is considered the world’s most ethnically diverse city.

Mexico shelters unforgettable archeological sites such as the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula; fascinating indigenous cultures in Oaxaca and Chiapas; and fishing villages and beach towns along both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. South and east of Mexico, the countries of Central America are fast developing their tourism infrastructures, so now is the time to see Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Costa Rica already enjoys a thriving tourist industry, and Panama – divided physically yet united in spirit by its famous canal – is an often overlooked gem.

The Caribbean Sea harbors dozens of islands, some that are full nations and others that remain overseas territories, but each has something to offer culturally -- music, dance, cuisine, history -- in addition to sun, sand and sea. Cuba is currently one of the hottest destinations, as is the Dominican Republic. Nor should Americans overlook their own Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.

We can’t even begin to name all that’s out there, so to find the North American tour that’s right for you, turn to Stride’s handy comparison tools – and get on or off the beaten’s your choice.