The Hidden Corners of North America
Canada and the USA are overflowing with well-beaten paths to big cities and theme parks, but if you step off that path in search of a little quirkiness here, an undiscovered gem there, you are actually spoiled for choice!
Here are a few of our favourite hidden corners of North America:
The towering mountains and huge glaciers aren’t the limit of all things big in this corner of south central Alaska. Long summer days during the Midnight Sun, with up to 20 hours of sunlight, give rise to some freakishly large vegetable crops which have to be seen to be believed. Discover quaint frontier communities, and time your visit for the Alaska State Fair in August/September to marvel at these giant specimens.
Beautiful as they are, there’s more to Victoria than Butchart Gardens! Getting there is half the fun – our pick is a 25-minute float-plane ride, but there’s also a new leisurely three-hour boat service from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria which allows whale-watching en route! Once there, there are beautiful beaches, incredible foodie tours of bohemian eateries, bike tours (its flat), a thriving craft beer scene and so much more to discover.
Hawaii’s fifth largest island, Molokai remains true to its island roots – with no traffic lights, no high-rises, and a slower pace – you could say it’s the “original” Hawaii. “Talk story” with the locals and you’ll hear legends and lore of days gone by. Swim or snorkel in the sparkling turquoise-blue waters at Papohaku Beach or enjoy unique shopping and museums in the charming town of Manaloa.
Although a major city such as Quebec could never be described as “hidden”, many travellers never make it to Eastern Canada, and that’s a crime! Quebec is the oldest walled city in North America and at the absolute heart of French Canadian culture. Steeped in history and over 400 years old, most of its original architecture has been lovingly preserved – the entire old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Best explored on foot, head for the Petit Champlain district’s cobblestone streets with their bistros and boutiques, or linger in a sidewalk café to enjoy the lively musicians and street theatre on summer days.
Banff is a mountain resort town with more souvenir shops than you can shake a stick at, but wander off the main street and you’ll find a wilder side. The surrounding 6500 km2 of Banff National Park are home to abundant wildlife, including elk and grizzly bears – its no wonder the local tourist board’s slogan is “This Place is Alive!”. Spend your days hiking, biking or soaking in the world-famous hot springs, then dine in one of the towns many eateries – you can’t go wrong with Alberta beef! Just don’t be surprised to find an elk wandering down the street on your way home.
Discover the hidden corners of North America in these handpicked itineraries: