North America's larger than life holiday attractions

Amanda Angus ( 24 October 2016 )

Discover the larger than life attractions you can visit on a touring holiday to the USA and Canada.



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Sweeping plains, snow-topped mountains, enigmatic canyons. Wide, open spaces that stretch on for as far as the eye can see. 

Lakes as big as seas, trees as tall as 20-storey buildings, bears, moose and whales – everything about North America seems larger than life.

Discover the USA, from the Pacific Coast Highway to the neck-craning skyscrapers of New York. Find out more here.

Giant sculptures

Started in 1927 and completed 14 years later in 1941, Mount Rushmore is a sculpture of epic proportions, featuring the 18m-high faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. 

Originally it was an even more ambitious undertaking, as the initial design also depicted the presidents’ torsos, but this was abandoned when the project became too costly. 

Used frequently in films – often as a secret base – Mount Rushmore is perhaps most famously used in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, when Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint’s characters flee across the faces from their would-be killer.

Travel on a scenic tour of America and see Mount Rushmore

Massive monoliths

Synonymous with the Western film genre, these instantly recognisable, orange sandstone buttes send long shadows over the flat desert floor of Monument Valley in Utah. 

Each unique monolith has a name – from Merrick’s Butte, named for a local prospector, to the more descriptive East and West Mittens which when seen together look like a left and right hand, and were thought to be the hands of a deity reaching up to the sky. 

With nothing nearby to compare them with it’s hard to put them into perspective, but the Mittens, for example, rise to over 1,700m – that’s over twice as tall as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and almost as tall as the Grand Canyon is deep!

Explore the highlights of south western American and visit the Grand Canyon

The Big Five

If you’re a fan of wildlife, you’ll no doubt have the Big Five on your must-see list – Canada’s Big Five, that is – bison, moose, black bear, beluga whale and polar bear. 

Riding Mountain National Park boasts a 30-strong herd of plain bison; North America’s largest land mammal, these majestic creatures were once hunted to near extinction but have going from strength to strength since their reintroduction to the park. 

Moose and black bear also make their homes here so in one fell swoop you could potentially tick off all three! 

Beluga whale can be spotted on a whale-watching trip to Hudson Bay, where thousands of these magnificent creatures are known to live – friendly and curious, they enjoy human interaction, which makes these trips all the more rewarding. 

Finally, polar bear ­– try a tundra-buggy trip, which takes you out onto the ice to get as close as possible to these incredible great white bears.

Go in search of Canada's big five on a tour of Canada

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