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English-speaking, culturally familiar, well-organised – isn’t travel in North America a bit, well, tame? Not so, we say

If you want epic, you’ve come to the right place. The vast territory that makes up the US and Canada is a place of mythic journeys, eye-boggling scenery, and – beyond those headline-grabbing, culture-dominating cities – raw wilderness.

The US National Parks Service oversees nearly 400 protected areas, including Yellowstone (the oldest) and Alaska’s Wrangell St-Elias (the biggest; larger than Switzerland). And north of the 49th parallel, Canada has endless emptiness, home to wolf, bear and moose, much of which can only be accessed by floatplane.

So, given the scale of the place, your first thought should be how to get around. Domestic flights are extensive and affordable (particularly if you buy an air pass), but for romance and views stick at ground level. Hire a car or a campervan, ride the Greyhound bus or take the Amtrak railway (in the US) or VIA Rail (in Canada) for a days-long trundle between cities.

Some of the best journeys are offshore, too: the ferry journey through Alaska’s Inside Passage is a gold-rush history lesson and whale-watching extravaganza rolled into one.

Once you’ve got your transport sorted, pick your highlights. You’d need months to scratch the surface of the whole continent, so instead focus on a big trip (coast to coast, Route 66, California’s Pacific Coast Highway) or a region (the Great Lakes; the ‘Four Corners’ region of the Southwest; Vancouver and the Canadian West). North America may be all about big journeys, but don’t forget to stop and linger too.

Finally, try to meet some of North America’s indigenous people. In the southern US, Native American traditions are alive and well (try New Mexico). In Canada, there’s an increasing variety of First Nations experiences from homestays to Inuit-led wildlife cruises. Their insights prove there’s far more to North American culture than Hollywood and Broadway.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to North America today...

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