Thursday, 26 July 2012 6:01 AM
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping on your gap year, make sure you consider adventure travel in the USA. While you might have gone shopping in New York or to the theme parks or Florida before, don't forget the States is perfect for action.
Its breathtaking national parks make it well placed for sports, while it boasts some of the biggest attractions in the world that will set your nerves on edge - even if it is just trying your luck at one of the casino tables in Las Vegas! There are USA destinations that are perfect for gap year adventures, but the below three are some of the best.
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
You might have heard of the Grand Canyon, but have you ever been there? The national park of the same name is located in Arizona and is huge. The canyon itself is 446 km long, 29 km wide and 1.6 km deep. Of course, seeing the attraction up close is one of the best things you can do here and will certainly get your adrenaline going. The majority of the people who come here take in the canyon from the South Rim, but if you want to view it from a quieter spot, travel the 10 miles to the North Rim. Be warned though - this is 1,000 ft higher than the South Rim, so you'll have more of a hike to get up it.
Another way to soak up the view is on the Colorado River. Climb onboard a white water raft for a different way to get around the national park.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
It is certainly an adventure to come to Las Vegas, even if you do not participate in any sports other than a little flutter. The city in Nevada boasts some of the most famous hotels and casinos in the world along its neon-lit strip, such as Caesars Palace, the Bellagio and Hard Rock. Even if you do not want to hand yourself over to Lady Luck, simply watching others at the tables is a thrill in itself. As night falls, Las Vegas comes even more alive, with everything from comedy performances and masquerade balls to headline concerts and magic shows put on to keep guests entertained.
Should you want to get sporty during your time in Vegas, there are plenty of activities you can take part in. You can go climbing on Mount Potosi to the south-west of the city, go biking along some of the 100-mile Blue Diamond Loop and indulge in water sports.
3. Jackson and Lander, Wyoming
Wyoming is known as the Cowboy State, so as you can imagine, one of the best things to do here is work on a ranch. Jackson and Lander are ideal places to head to if you want as much action as possible, with other activities on offer including camping, hiking, climbing and skiing. Back on the ranch you can gather cattle, brand them and horse wrangle, so if you have ever dreamed of being a cowboy or girl, Wyoming is the state for you!
Of course, you will also be expected to help out with other tasks, including feeding and watering the horses and cleaning the stables. This is all part of the fun, though, and you will be rewarded with plenty of hands-on experience and trail rides.
While in this part of the USA, use your downtime wisely by visiting the Yellowstone National Park. This is America's first national park, having been established in 1872, and is home to elk, bison, wolves and the grizzly bear.