Published November 29, 2016
Some regions have become famous for what they have in abundance, whether it’s geographical allure or cultural appeal.
Explore the seaside scenery that makes Cape Cod a long-standing resort destination for New England’s elite, including the Kennedy family. Experience Texas cowboy culture in the Lone Star State’s original Cowtown or any number of Old West communities. In southern Utah, visitors can explore extraordinary geological formations — arches, canyons, spires, towers and hoodoos — at no fewer than three national parks.
Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) tours take groups to every part of the United States and showcase some of its most beloved destinations. Here is a look at some of TAP’s best sellers in every region of the country.
South: Cajun to Cowboys
More than a century ago, Fort Worth, Texas, was the last stop on the line: For the latter half of the 1800s, the outpost was the final refuge for cattle drivers on the Chisholm Trail, which earned Fort Worth the nickname Cowtown, a moniker it still wears proudly today.
Groups can tour Fort Worth, nearby Texas towns and parts of Louisiana on TAP’s Cajun to Cowboys tour, which includes visits to New Orleans; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and more.
Visitors can soak up Fort Worth’s Cowtown culture by boot scooting down to the Stockyards National Historic District where they can take historic walking tours, visit the Stockyards Museum and watch twice-daily cattle drives through the streets. At Billy Bob’s Texas, the “world’s largest honky-tonk,” groups can learn to two-step, eat some Texas barbecue or cheer on live bull riding. Guests can make their way through the 5,400-square-foot Cowtown Cattlepen Maze at Stockyards Station, ride the Grapevine Vintage Railroad or watch a high-noon shootout show.
Bandera, Texas, bills itself as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” where residents still ride their horses into town. And with a population of fewer than 900, cattle may outnumber humans. Visitors can stay at several area dude ranches where they can also go horseback riding, take a hayride and chow down on a chuck wagon dinner. About an hour’s drive northeast, Luckenbach, Texas, is a tiny, historic town that’s little more than a dance hall and an old post office. The weathered-wood dance hall is perfect for barbecue-and-band events for up to 250 people, and groups can use the outdoor stage, horseshoe pits and picnic tables under 200-year-old oak trees.
Although Dallas is the Lone Star State’s third-largest city, visitors can have another type of cowboy experience there: touring AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Several options are available, including self-guided and VIP guided tours, as well as education and art tours.
Mountain West: Red Cliffs Adventure by Rail
Land heaves up in impossible ways. Soil erodes into otherworldly shapes. Rocks jut and arch and perch precariously. And there are dozens of ways to discover the red earth and ethereal formations of western Colorado and eastern Utah: by rail, by river and by road.
TAP’s most popular trip in this region is the Red Cliffs Adventure by Rail, which includes scenic train rides, float trips and other exploration of some of the most beautiful parks in Colorado and Utah.
One of the most scenic legs of Amtrak’s iconic California Zephyr train from Chicago to California runs through Colorado and Utah. The train travels through McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado and north of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. About 25 miles outside of Moab, groups can take in views of the famous Fisher Towers, a series of sandstone and red-mud tower formations, during a raft trip on the Colorado River.
Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches and countless other red-stained cliffs and formations. Delicate Arch is arguably the most famous, but other formations — Three Gossips, Tower of Babel and the Organ — are equally impressive. When visiting, groups can stick to the roads for a scenic drive, take a tour with one of the park’s concessioners, get in the saddle for a horseback ride or hit the hiking trails.
About 30 miles south of Moab, Canyonlands National Park is a sunset-colored desert wilderness where rivers and tributaries have carved out countless canyons. During a jet boat tour on the Colorado River, passengers will learn about the park’s geology and history while marveling at the canyon walls towering 2,000 feet above them.
In Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah, red rock spires called hoodoos jut up like stalagmites from Earth’s surface. Visitors can explore the park on 65 miles of hiking trails or a 38-mile round-trip scenic drive, take guided snowshoe excursions in the winter and participate in stargazing astronomy programs in the summer.
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