When planning any trip, budget and time restrictions play a big role. If a European tour isn’t in the cards for your student group this year, consider a destination somewhere closer.
There are so many amazing places in our own backyards and no lack of educational opportunities on this side of the Atlantic.
Here are some of our favorite North American travel destinations to inspire you and your students.
With a distinctly European feel, French-speaking Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico and the perfect place to discover the push and pull of North America’s British and French heritage. In the winter, it’s home to the world’s largest winter carnival and a great place to experience Canadian traditions, such as maple taffy pulls and dog sledding. In the summer, a walk through the cobblestoned old city is pure paradise.
Another place to practice your French, New Orleans is also rich in southern culture, charm and tumultuous history. Visit Creole and American plantations, make your way through Louisiana swamplands on a tour of the Bayou, and learn about the area’s long practice of the dark arts. New Orleans’ musical history is unmistakably tied to jazz, its traditions forever linked to Mardi Gras. But student groups can also get involved in the city’s present and future by participating in community work to help get residents back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina.
Immerse yourself in the natural majesty of the Pacific Northwest. Just about every branch of the sciences can be studied in Vancouver—from Grouse Mountain to Butchart’s Gardens and on to Science World—making it an excellent alternative to Costa Rica for scientific explorations.
Another magnet for science-minded groups, Niagara Falls are the most powerful waterfalls in North America and the largest producer of electric power in the world. After marveling at the Falls, you’re well situated for farther travels—think Toronto and Ottawa!
New York City
No matter your objectives, there’s something for everyone in New York City. And more than just one “something”. It would be impossible to numerate all of the educational opportunities here, but some examples to get your creative juices flowing are: a costume design workshop at a theatre on Broadway; a political history lesson at the home of the United Nations; art inspiration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a history lesson at Ellis Island.
Tack on Salem and Plymouth, and you’re in the heart of everyone’s favorite American history lessons. Much of New England has retained its charm. Take your students to where the history of the United States began and watch your classroom lessons come alive. This area is also a favorite of teachers and students of American literature.
History teachers and science teachers flock to San Francisco every year to visit a number of unique attractions, such as Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, the California Academy of Sciences and NASA’s Ames Exploration Center. Technology buffs heed the call of the attractions of Silicon Valley: famous start-ups and technology giants, the Computer History Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation.