United States

  • Written by Caroline Davidson

Try these off-the-beaten-track activities or new experiences for a unique taste of the Real America States this northern winter; or plan now for summer 2016. 

More in Montana www.visitmt.com

Skiing isn't the only reason to visit Big Sky

Big Sky has been hailed an “undiscovered gem” for Australian skiers with more terrain and less lift lines. This winter promises more spectacular skiing and boarding for Aussies powder fans. But winter isn't the only time to enjoy this spectacular resort.

Summer at Big Sky offers an award winning 18 hole, 72 par golf course At 6500 feet above sea level, this famous golf course runs along the wildlife rich banks of the West Fork of the scenic Gallatin River, so both the views and the wildlife, such as beaver or deer, could be a unique (or welcome!) distraction. Golf not your thing? Take a zipline tour, try skeet shooting, archery, hiking, a high ropes course and the many other adventure or leisure activities available this summer. http://bigskyresort.com/things-to-do

More wow (and pow) at Whitefish

Whitefish Mountain Resort offers a more boutique snow experience, with the quality of the snow and the scenery ensuring an unforgettable ski vacation for skiers and boarders of all levels.  For keen boarders (and spectators) The Nate Chute, Montana's biggest snowboarding competition, will be held on March 20th to raise funds and awareness for The NC Foundation which aims to eliminate suicide, particularly in young people. http://skiwhitefish.com/event/nate-chute-sbx/

Montana: Even Better By Boat

Rent a boat, motorized or man-powered and take it for a spin around some of the most spectacular lakes and unique sight-seeing Montana has to offer. There are plenty of rivers and lakes to explore, from Lake Como in Montana's Bitterroot Valley to the spectacular waters of Flathead Lake.  After exploring Glacier National Park's iconic Going- to- the- Sun Road by car or their famous red bus, why not try a boat's eye view from one of the spectacular lakes within the park. Motorized vessels are allowed on McDonald, Sherburne, St. Mary, Upper Waterton, and Lower Two Medicine Lakes and are also allowed on Bowman and Two Medicine Lakes (ten horsepower or less). To rent a motorized boat, you must have a valid boat license and follow safety requirements. Fish, water-ski, sail or just laze your way through some of the most spectacular waterways and picturesque lakes in the US.  http://glaciermt.com/boating.php

North Dakota www.ndtourism.com

Fall for “Fall”

Leading up to the American tradition of Halloween (October 31st), check out the pumpkin patches and corn mazes which are opening up in North Dakota for the fall season: find them here:


Spectacular fall (autumn) colours are now appearing and worth seeing; find updated reports here: www.ndtourism.com/best-places/13-best-places-view-fall-foliage-north-dakota?

Shiver your way into February with ShiverFest

If you're in the US to ski this coming northern winter, why not experience some other Real America winter events, North Dakota style! Shiverfest is a highly anticipated annual mix of fun winter events that happens every third weekend in February. This ever growing festival commences on February 19th until February 21st. The event includes a whole range of things to both get involved with, including a mite hockey tournament, youth ice fishing tournament, kite flying, a golf course on ice, ice rally cross event, motorcycle show, sleigh rides and a pond hockey tournament. This event is guaranteed to make your stay in North Dakota a unique one. http://www.ndtourism.com/events/shiverfest

Do it Like Duhamel

As many of you likely noticed through social media and Fargo-based news, North Dakota Tourism is expanding its work with actor Josh Duhamel (Transformers and many more). The face of their new ad campaign, Duhamel was in North Dakota this August for film and photo shoots in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Little Missouri National Grasslands, Fort Mandan and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, downtown Fargo and Devils Lake. These locations were selected based on the most recent visitor study and key motivating assets for visitors. So be an 'early adopter' and do North Dakota like Duhamel- before the crowds!  The 2016 campaign will be unveiled in January.


Four seasons in South Dakota www.travelsouthdakota.com

Hit the trail this winter

Not a skier but love the snow or some thrilling speed with amazing scenery thrown in? With the season running from December 15th to March 31st and over 1,500 miles of trails within South Dakota, it's without a doubt the best place to try your hand at snowmobiling. The trails reach from the open prairie east of the Missouri River to picturesque acres of ponderosa pine in the Black Hills. The snowmobile trail enables you to view South Dakota in a way you never have before. Whether you decide to snowmobile in the midst of winter or just catch the tail end of it in March, you're guaranteed to have an experience of a lifetime. https://www.travelsouthdakota.com/event-detail/south-dakota-snowmobile-trails-season

South Dakota's 27th Annual Crazy Horse Stampede Rodeo

Come celebrate over 20 years of the Crazy Horse Stampede Rodeo (17- 19 June 2016) at the Crazy Horse Memorial outdoor arena, in the heart or the scenic Black Hills. This renowned Rodeo event, one of the very few sponsored by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), Women's Professional Rodeo Association and the Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association (GPIRA), gives you the chance to see South Dakota's biggest stampede rodeo entertainers in a majestic and unique setting of the world's largest mountain carving commemorating the famous Oglala Lakota chief, Crazy Horse. The atmosphere is thrilling and energized; an experience like no other. Tickets are only $17 for adults and include the stampede rodeo, the Gift from Mother Earth Art Show and Crazy Horse Memorial. With so much to see and do, this event is one not to miss this summer in South Dakota. https://crazyhorsememorial.org/stampede-rodeo.html

Top French Bakery in Sioux Falls

 If you have a sweet tooth, South Dakota is one of the top US states you can visit. CH Patisserie founded by Top Chef: Just Desserts Season 2 winner, Chris Hanmer, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2013, has been awarded as the number 2 position of the Top Ten French Bakeries in the United States.  In this case, second place is still a major win.  CH Patisserie took out the award in a story published by MSN.com and was sandwiched in between two New York City bakeries in its second place slot. The winner was Maison Kayser, which was founded in Paris in 1996 and now has more than 100 bakeries in 13 countries. CH Patisserie was praised in the MSN story for having “delicious options that will satisfy any sweet tooth.” http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/business-journal/2015/07/21/ch-patisserie-named-second-best-country/30455501/

What's New in Wyoming www.wyomingtourism.org

Make a Jackson Hole 'Rendezvous' This Winter

Jackson Hole's Rendezvous, a four day lifestyle and music festival, comes to town March 19-22. With a whole range of different genres from Americana to reggae, this festival suits all ages, genders and tastes and as a bonus, offers free admission! No better way to spend one of the last weekends of winter skiing Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in its 50th year, with an array of nationally touring acts performing at the base of the famous Tram and on the historic Town Square in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. http://www.jacksonhole.com/rendezvous.html

Join the wild, wild, West with Wyoming's 36th annual Chariot Races

Want to sample some really wild West activities? Then the 36th Annual Donald E Erickson Memorial Chariot Races held in Saratoga, Wyoming on March 7, 2016 is one for your diary. Each race is a quarter mile long with two teams running at a time; each team containing two horses harnessed into a small chariot with one driver at the reins.  These fast paced, heart-stopping one of the best ways to celebrate what really keeps Wyoming the best part of the authentic Wild West. And to top off this great weekend, on Saturday evening there will be a prime rib dinner banquet held at the Platte Valley Community Centre, with a happy hour beginning at 6pm where you can sample some of Wyoming's best prime beef and meet the racers. https://www.wyomingtourism.org/events/detail/Chariot-Races/9069

Yellowstone's Grandest Hotel Celebrates 125 years

Yellowstone's grandest and oldest hotel is ready to celebrate its 125th birthday in style in 2016, after completing a $28 million renovation last year. The makeover of the 153 room property resulted in a record breaking summer with nonstop visitors and 2016 promises to be a sensational celebratory year for Yellowstone's grandest (and oldest) hotel. Situated on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, the hotel opened in 1891 and features multiple room types, giving you a choice of a lakeside suite or a presidential suite, which was once used by President Calvin Coolidge. This hotel radiates elegance and history, making it a worldwide attraction for all who visit Yellowstone. http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/summer-lodges/lake-yellowstone-hotel-cabins/


Qantas offer flights from Australia to LA & Dallas /Fort Worth, while Virgin Australia flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to LA and San Francisco. United and Delta Air Lines has direct services from Sydney to Los Angeles with onward connections to the Real America States:

  • delta.com
  • qantas.com
  • unitedairlines.com.au
  • virginaustralia.com.au


Summer in the “Real America” runs from the beginning of June to the end of September; snow sports are best December to April.