As the world closed down in 2020, many of us put our international bucket-list travel plans on hold. And that meant canceling jet-setting adventures like safaris in Namibia and South Africa, south pole excursions in Antarctica, and aurora borealis chasing in Scandinavia. Fortunately, some of the best tour operators in the world run exceptional wilderness vacations right here in the U.S. For Legend Awards 2021, we found the best five-star adventure experiences in the country—focusing specifically on private, curated trips.
Original Travel, Pacific Northwest Road Trip
Original Travel’s 18-day Pacific Northwest Road Trip winds its way from San Francisco to Seattle, exposing travelers to the best of the West Coast wilderness. You’ll get a dose of city life, then take in stunning vistas in Yosemite, Crater Lake, and Lake Tahoe. The wilderness days are spent hiking (at Yosemite and Crater Lake) and kayaking through Lake Tahoe’s pristine water. In between your outdoor adventures, explore the local craft beer and wine scenes in Portland and Seattle.
Abercrombie & Kent, Wyoming Wildlife Safari
Abercrombie & Kent offers a thrilling exploration of Wyoming’s picturesque winter landscape and wildlife. The Tailor Made Wyoming: Winter Wildlife Safari trip is customizable and offers travelers the chance to visit both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. In Yellowstone, guests will explore the rugged wilderness while looking for the wolves that call the majestic park home. From there, visitors are whisked away on a low-altitude sight-seeing flight to Jackson Hole, where they’ll experience the best of the Grand Tetons.
Pelorus, Extreme Alaska
Is there a better way to see Alaska than on an adventure-filled private yacht expedition? We think not. Pelorus runs this exhilarating Extreme Alaska journey from April through September and it’s an adrenaline-packed ride filled with adventurous climbing, heli-biking, salt-water fishing, and more. The trip also offers unprecedented access to Alaska’s wildlife, including a visit to the premiere orca watching spot in the state.
Extraordinary Journeys, American Southwest
Explore the best of the American Southwest with Extraordinary Journeys. Travelers weave through natural wonders and the diverse landscapes of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Work with a certified travel expert to plan a private, custom adventure. Highlights of their Southwestern journey include experiencing unparalleled wonder at the Grand Canyon, wandering through all five of Utah’s incredible national parks, and experiencing the rich history of New Mexico.
TCS World Travel, 10-Day National Park Journey
Enjoy all the grandeur that the American West has to offer on TCS World Travel’s 10-Day National Park Journey via private plane. Expect remarkable vistas, world-class hiking, guided tours led by experts, and luxury accommodations. You’ll also have exclusive access to seven renowned national parks on this 10-day private itinerary, including a wildlife safari in Wyoming and a river float through Canyonlands in Utah.