We’ve been asking travel bloggers to share their most memorable travel experiences and they have not disappointed! This post is all about North America so get ready to take notes.
1. Helicopter Tour, New York City
My most memorable travel experience in North America happened quite recently. I have been on a plane more times than I can count, yet I have never experienced the thrill like I did when I flew over New York City in a helicopter. This past April, I took my first trip to the big apple. Seeing as I love travel photography, my mission was to get the best view of the city I could find. Obviously the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock would be most people’s first choice, but that seemed like a photo everyone can get. That brought me to the idea of taking a helicopter tour! I turned to Trip advisor and came across HeliNY Helicopter Tours. They offer a few different packages ranging from the low 200’s to Mid 300’s USD. Feeling the urge to splurge on this first time experience, I booked their 30-minute Deluxe Tour. I could say it wasn’t worth it, but it ABSOLUTELY was!
I was actually a little nervous when we were taking off because the entire helicopter had floor to ceiling windows. I could see right below my feet! The pilot was also the best. He gave a great history lesson on all the boroughs that make up NYC in a comical manner. Not only did I learn about NYC, I also got that great city shot I was hoping for. I highly recommend a helicopter ride to anyone visiting NYC. One thing I will add is if you get a little motion sick like I do, take a Dramamine beforehand. It’s a lifesaver.
2. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
I moved to USA in 2002 to attend graduate school in the Midwest. While thawing my feet in the cold frigid tundra like winter, I would often listen to “California Dreaming” on my lab stereo, hoping that one day I would get to see this magical west coast state of eternal spring and sunshine. I only knew about Los Angeles (thanks to Hollywood) and this one majestic, orange-red bridge named “Golden Gate Bridge” which had appeared in many of my favorite movies.
Little did I know that this bridge was located in San Francisco, that would be my home in the coming years! Imagine my surprise when I got a job in California after getting my PhD and that too in this very city, which I knew little of. I remember my very first weekend of moving here when I made a beeline for the view point area where thousands congregate to see the magnificent Golden Gate bridge connecting the city to Marin headlands.
The red of the bridge mixed with the blue of the ocean and the white of the fog rolling in is a sight that I will never forget. I stayed there for a good half an hour trying to fathom the beauty of this creation, albeit man made, which held me in a trance. To date, this first sighting of the Golden gate bridge has been the most memorable of all my moments in fifteen years of being on this continent. San Francisco is home and I have seen the bridge countless times from many places and angles and the magic is recreated every time I see it.
3. Lake Tahoe, California
My most memorable moment in my North America travels is definitely at Lake Tahoe. This trip was high on our bucket list from a few years and we were finally able to visit this amazing spot in early April this year. This is the first trip we took with our infant along with our toddler and it was truly wonderful!
The first snow I caught in my hands, the lovely walk we did when it was snowing, the snowman we built in a wooded area near the Lake Tahoe visitor center, the cable car ride on Heavenly Gondola and so many beautiful times we had are all clearly etched into my mind. I can see the locations even now in my mind and it is an instant mood-booster!
Lake Tahoe in winter is simply breath-taking. As this was my first visit to a snowy place, it quickly caught a very remarkable place in my heart. If there is another chance to visit this gorgeous destination again, I would take it anytime!
4. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Over the years we have had many wonderful and exciting traveling experiences together as husband and wife. We cherish our time together and feel so blessed to be able to travel to corners of the world with one another. One of our most memorable experiences so far has been visiting the very grand, very beautiful Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. It’s no wonder so many people travel thousands of miles each year just to stand among the canyons and soak up its glory. Pictures simply cannot do this wonder justice. It’s hard to even explain how grandiose and immense the views are from here.
The Grand Canyon’s history is incredibly fascinating. Around 5-6 million years ago (and possibly longer) the Colorado River began carving through layers of volcanic rock and sediment. The Canyon has formed slowly and steadily over the years. One glance at the colorful rocks here unveil a timeline of American history.
Our time visiting the Grand Canyon was limited so we mostly took in the views from the South Rim. However, there are many activities there that range from day long to weeks long like hiking and white water rafting. We can’t wait to go back!
5. Driving Up the California Coast
Big Sur had been on my bucket list for a long time. Finally, last winter, my boyfriend and I decided to take a road trip up from San Diego up to Monterey. While the first few hours of our drive were nothing too special, the rest of our trip was everything we could have hoped for.
Our first stop was Paso Robles, wine country in the central coast region of California. We spent the afternoon traveling around to a few beautiful wineries, tasting and buying wines, before heading back to the small town center for some dinner. We love wine, and Paso Robles definitely holds some favorites of mine.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early and started our drive out to the coast. We spent the day driving up the coast, through Big Sur, stopping whenever we absolutely had to get a photo – to be honest, we probably could have stopped every 50 feet – it was just that beautiful!
Some memorable stops included Elephant Seals Vista Point, McWay Falls & Julia Pfeiffer State Park, Nepenthe Restaurant, and Bixby Bridge. We finished our amazing day in Monterey where we enjoyed dinner and more delicious wines.
The next day we set off for a different view – Redwoods! We wandered around Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, in awe of these massive trees (that aren’t even the biggest Redwoods around!), before heading back and meandering around the adorable little town, Carmel-by-the-Sea and of course, trying more wines.
While there have been mudslides and damage since our road trip, I highly recommend heading to Big Sur if you have the chance – it is a beautiful, magical place and I only wish we had more time there!