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We’re not about to get involved with the East Coast-West Coast gang wars, but when it comes to an epic USA coastal trip, West is our winner.

Best for jaw-dropping views: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon overwhelms the senses with its immense size and intense colour palette. Nothing can prepare you for the natural beauty of the canyon, and it is essential that you get to see both the breath-taking sunrise and sunset while in this world-renowned National Park. There are several trails to cover if you fancy taking on a hike - including the Bright Angel Trail that winds down towards the canyon base. This can be done in one day, but only for the fitness elite, so be sure to turn back up when you start to feel tired.

Going down is the easy part; it’s the calf-crucifying trek back up under the baking heat of the Arizona sun that will really work off the American diet. Then, after you’ve seen all you can from the ground, it’s time to take to the air with a helicopter flight, getting a bird’s-eye view of all 277-river-miles long and 18-miles wide of the canyon. Soaring over the lush green forest that surrounds it, get ready for the stomach churning drop as the canyon dips to its base, allowing you to see the winding river and all the beautiful formations.

What else? While in Arizona you can visit part of the iconic Route 66 and the town of Seligman, which was the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the Pixar-animated film, Cars. If you’re looking for a night under the stars, there’s no better place than Lake Havasu with its stunning mountain views and clear waters for sunset dips.

Best for architecture: San Francisco, California

A week in this city would be perfect, but if you only have a couple of days then get an itinerary together as there is so much to see and do. San Francisco is home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and it is packed full of quirky little shops such as the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where you can see the magic happening. A short walk from Chinatown is the Beat Museum, celebrating the Beat generation of 1950s San Francisco – there’s even a street named after Jack Kerouac.

A visit to the famous Lombard Street should also be on your list of things to see - with its steep one-block section that consists of eight tight turns. Featured in several films and TV shows, it is amusing to watch the cars struggle to negotiate each bend. We would advise travelling by tram instead, so hop aboard and watch the colourful houses - each unique in design and decoration - and give your legs a rest from the steep, unforgiving streets.

Book well in advance if you want to see the eerie Alcatraz; but if you can’t there’s always a lovely sunset cruise on a catamaran to get a decent view of the island as well as the towering Golden Gate Bridge. You can also walk or ride a bike along the bridge for some amazing views and blustering winds.

What else? Further down the West Coast you can experience Big Sur State Park and its 90 miles of stunning coastline. Make sure your camera is fully charged as there is little that you won’t want to capture, including the stunning panorama of McWay Falls from the viewing platform. While here, be sure to grab a burrito from the River Inn restaurant where you can sit on chairs in the river to cool your feet.

TNT Tour Search offers bespoke trips to the USA - find out more and book your adventure here.


Destination Guide: West Coast USA
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