10 Epic American Adventure Vacations - United Hub
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10 epic American adventure vacations

By Nick Harper, September 09, 2016

Sometimes, the prospect of idling a week or two of vacation away on a beach can leave you restless. Sometimes, the lure of adventure cannot be ignored. Luckily, America's great outdoors offer options for anyone looking to work up a sweat while expanding their mind. From a supporting cast of thousands, here are 10 we most heartily recommend:

Yosemite National Park, California

Explore Yosemite's extremes, California

If the gods of the great outdoors had drawn up an adventure blueprint, it would look very much like Yosemite National Park. Four hours east of San Francisco lies a whole other world, where waterfalls crash from vast granite cliffs, crystal-clear streams cut through giant forests of ancient sequoias and awe-inspiring views appear at every turn. You can hike, bike and raft in the summer months, or ski once the winter arrives. You can push yourself to the limit or just take it easy and smell the flowers along the way, because with 1,200 square miles, there's enough for everyone to uncover here.

Duration: Flexible.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to San Francisco.

Everglades in Florida

Go on an Everglades adventure, Florida

The tropical wetland at the tip of Florida is an area prime for easy but rewarding exploration. Dragonfly Expeditions offers a three-night, four-day foray that will lead you to the best the Everglades has to offer. You'll hike past orchids, bromeliads and ancient wonders, bike to the old and untouched Indian trading post, ride a canoe into Chokoloskee Bay and take a boat through the Ten Thousand Islands to explore where the Everglades meet the Gulf of Mexico. Expect sandy beaches, mangrove islands and smiles all around.

Duration: 4 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Miami.

John Muir Trail in California

Follow the trail of John Muir, California

The John Muir Trail is not to be taken lightly. Traversed on foot for over 225 miles and 23 days, it's considered by many to be America's premier hiking trail; it will put up stiff resistance, but it's worth the effort. Named after the Scottish-American naturalist and early-wilderness preservation advocate, Muir also went by the name “John of the Mountains" — and these are some of those mountains. You'll begin in Yosemite National Park, then venture through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, across three national parks and up to the dramatic conclusion at Mount Whitney — at 14,505 feet, the highest peak in the contiguous United States. It might make you wonder if you've bitten off more than you can chew until you stand still and admire the scenery.

Duration: 23 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to San Francisco and Sacramento.

Mackay Wilderness River Trips in Idaho

Rafting the wilderness, Idaho

For those intrepid enough to sign up, it's possible to raft the canyons of Idaho's mighty Main Salmon River on a five-or-six-day excursion. Also known as “the River of No Return," it is the longest free-flowing river system in the United States —and rest assured, you will return, having come closer to nature than ever before. Run by Mackay Wilderness River Trips, the staff sets up luxury camps along the route so that when the rafting ends each day, you can refuel on high-end cuisine and rest blissfully beneath the stars.

Duration: 5–6 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to San Francisco.

Grand Canyon

Dig deep at the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Should you require a reminder of just how small you are in the grand scheme of things, you may sign up for a four-day rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon that will provide a little perspective. Offered each year from June through August, the hike takes you from an elevation of 8,000 feet down to the very bottom of the Grand Canyon, a mile beneath its rim. The trails are well trodden and beginner-friendly, and you'll rest each night beneath the widest sky you've ever seen.

Duration: 3–4 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Las Vegas.

Kokopelli Trail in Colorado and Utah

Conquer the Kokopelli Trail, Colorado

Taking its name from the Native American fertility deity, the Kokopelli Trail is a five-day 142-mile mountain biking journey through the most picturesque stretches of Colorado and Utah. Perfect for bikers looking for a challenge, the trail begins near Colorado's Grand Junction, follows the banks of the Colorado River and climbs up secluded trails into Utah's Canyon Country. A number of long and dramatic ascents take you up to over 8,000 feet, pushing lungs and legs to the limit.

Duration: 5 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Grand Junction.

Apostle Islands on Lake Superior in Wisconsin

Kayak the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

Comprised of 22 islands in Lake Superior, just a few hours drive from Minneapolis, this national park makes wilderness adventure easily accessible to kayakers of all levels. Paddlers from across the U.S. and beyond are drawn to the natural beauty of Lake Superior where caves and otherworldly rock formations await. Itineraries for all levels of experience are available, from a two-day beginner's option, to the advanced six-night “Lighthouse Tour." And for the truly intrepid, tick the box marked cliff diving and return with full bragging rights. Back on solid ground, nearby Bayfield is a town worth exploring at leisure; Raspberry Island Lighthouse should not — and cannot — be missed, while Madeline Island offers great biking and hiking routes for those whose legs crave a little more action.

Duration: Flexible.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Big Island in Hawaii

Hike the Big Island, Hawaii

It'd be difficult to find a place better suited to adventure than Hawaii's Big Island, a land of volcanoes, hardened lava deserts, snowcapped mountains and lush tropical rainforests. Akaka Falls State Park, Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park and Waipio Valley offer miles of trails to explore — not to mention Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, home to the active, fire-spitting Kilauea volcano. And if the trails take their toll, the golden, black and (in some cases) green sand beaches are a great place to recharge. America's 50th state should probably be first on your list of adventure vacations.

Duration: Flexible.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Hilo.

Bison on the Northern Great Plains in Montana

Explore untouched America, Montana

For more than a decade now, American Prairie Reserve has been working to restore the Northern Great Plains to the untouched condition they were discovered in more than 200 years ago. The result is a 300,000-acre reserve in northeast Montana, the largest wildlife park in the lower 48 states. Home to free-roaming herds of bison, elk and mule deer, these vast lands can be explored on foot, by mountain bike or on horseback. Take a tour by four-wheel drive, enjoy wildlife sightings or paddle a good chunk of the twisting, turning Missouri River. At the end of each day, you can sleep literally under the stars, or lay your head at Kestrel Camp, a collection of luxurious yurts with all the mod cons of home.

Duration: Flexible

Fly: United Airlines flies to Billings, Bozeman and Great Falls.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Be fearless, Las Vegas

If your idea of a vacation involves stunt fighting, fire walking and driving at terrifying speeds, you may like our 10th pick. An increasingly popular alternative to the beach is to sign up for a Stunt Experience and learn the secrets of the Hollywood stunt world under the watchful gaze of trained experts and the Las Vegas sun. Over five days, small groups are put through exercises in an array of skills that may have your beach-bound friends questioning your sanity. Remind them, upon your return, that you only live once.

Duration: 5 days.

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Las Vegas

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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