Backpacking in the USA on a Gap Year

Countries  »  United States of America

With buzzing cities, wide-open spaces, endless opportunity for adventure, friendly people and no language barrier to contend with, a gap year in the United States is a great idea for either seasoned or first-time backpackers. You could easily spend months travelling around this enormous country and still not see everything.

As well as offering incredible travelling opportunities, the USA is also a fantastic place for UK gappers to find paid employment, which is usally in the form of working with kids at summer camps.

San Francisco Bay, USA

The cities

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the USA is that all those cities you saw in the movies are real! There's New York's world class nightlife, culture, and near-endless iconic buildings, the urban sprawl of sizzling Los Angeles, cool San Francisco (home to the Golden Gate Bridge), Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle... the list of cities worth seeing would be very long indeed.

It's really a case of working out what you want from a city - be it nightlife, sights, shopping, or something else entirely - and planning your trip to make sure you'll be satisfied. It's incredibly unlikely you'll see it all in one go, so make sure you don't miss out on your most desired destinations!

Monument Valley, USA

The scenery

The same goes for natural sights. The USA is so vast, and home to so many different kinds of landscape and climate, that it's simply impossible for one gap year trip to include it all. Head towards Arizona and Utah to find the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Yosemite National Park in California offer up huge slabs of American wilderness and wildlife, and Niagara Falls in New York state is a sight (and sound) you won't be forgetting in a hurry.

From the giant redwoods in California to the parched expanse of Death Valley, the steamy Florida Everglades to the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, the range of natural wonders in the USA is far too vast to see in a lifetime, let alone a single gap year.

Camping in the USA

We're here to help you plan your perfect trip around the great United States of America.