North America is all about the great outdoors and the abundant wildlife it holds. Sad to say,with the rapid advent of habitat loss caused mostly by human encroachment, wild animals are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in their natural environs day by day. Right from Alaska down to British Columbia, while the wildlife still remains iconic and spectacular, their numbers are fast dwindling.
So if you still want to catch up with the polar bears, grizzlies and humpback whales, head to these carefully selected destinations, all with a wow factor, for a holiday experience you are bound to remember for the rest of your life. From Canada to Alaska to Yellow Stone National Park, here’s our pick of the most exciting wildlife holidays in North America.
- Best Wildlife Holidays in North America
- Denali National Park, Alaska
- Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park tour
- Bird migration and bears in British Columbia, Canada
- Go whale watching in Alaska
- Check out the biodiversity of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- Look out for mountain caribou at Cariboo Mountain National Park
- Whale and bird watching at Bay of Fundy
- Katmai National Park for Brown bears
Best Wildlife Holidays in North America
Denali National Park, Alaska
Alaska is not only the largest state in America, but also the least inhabited. It is a region of glaciers, snow capped mountains, fjords and rivers teeming with salmon. The wide open spaces and the spectacular glaciers found in Denali National Park are the stuff a nature lovers dream are made off. A holiday within the boundaries of Denali comprises of trekking and camping far far away from the usual tourist trail.
Wildlife encountered here can include moose, bears, wolves, caribou well as 470 species of birds. Sharing of such animal sightings and amazing bird watching opportunities, adds to the allure of the trip. Each evening, visitors exchange tales around a bonfire under the crisp and clear Alaskan sky.
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park tour
Even though times have changed, the wild west of America has still managed to retain its original charm. Two of the country’s best known National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton provide an idyllic setting for nature enthusiasts seeking to have a holiday in these parts. While hiking the Grand Teton, it is common to come across deer, moose, otters and both the Black and Grizzly bear.
The first created Yellowstone also has its fair share of admirers. Wolf, elk, bison and bear have made this park their home in large numbers, especially in the Lamar Valley where they have made their home. Steaming pools of mud and hundreds of hot water geysers are strewn over Yellowstone, and are the hallmark of the place.
Bird migration and bears in British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia is known the world over as a magical bird watching destination of Canada. Millions of birds migrate over this route every year, including swans, herons and many more. Having said that, the real attraction in BC today are the numerous bear watching opportunities it has on offer.
The Bella Cools region is home to the Oxford river, where grizzlies can be seen for the whole day, with as much as 35 numbers having been spotted within a short length of seven kilometres.
From August to September, when the salmon come to spawn in large number numbers, the concentration of bears is the highest. Other wildlife which one can come across here are seals, killer whales, deer and porpoise.
Go whale watching in Alaska
As many as eight different species of whales frequent the shores of Alaska, thereby making it one of the most sought after holiday on any trip to Alaska.
The ideal time to see them is by cruise during the summer months when orcas and humpbacks are commonly sighted. In the region of Resurrection Bay, along the Kenai peninsula these playful creatures can be often seen in full view, frolicking around by the side of the boat.
Check out the biodiversity of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Surprisingly, the most celebrated wilderness in Alaska is found in one of its least visited Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area known for its remoteness as well as dramatic beauty.
Comprising of six different ecological zones, the ANWR environment ranges from Arctic tundra, boreal forest to stunning glaciers, which harbor vast herds of caribou, polar bears and tens of thousands of waterbirds.
Other residents of this region include Alaskan moose, Canadian lynx, wolves and grizzly bears. This park happen to be the only place on earth where regular confrontations occur between polar bears and grizzlies as they both have a common feeding ground on whale caracasses found strewn across the coast. Don’t forget to carry a good camera zoom lens to capture these creatures in all their natural glory.
Look out for mountain caribou at Cariboo Mountain National Park
This park provides the critical habitat for the rare mountain caribou, whose conservation status is highly endangered. Cariboo Mountain National Park is nestled between Brownes Lakes Park and Wells Grey International Park, resulting in formation of a 760,000 hectare area of pristine cedar and rainforest.
Most importantly, they support one of the largest populations of wildlife to be found in British Columbia. Various species like grizzly bear, black bear, moose, lynx and mountain goat have found refuge here.
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Whale and bird watching at Bay of Fundy
As far as wildlife holidays are concerned, the Bay of Fundy location in Canada is ideal for viewing humpback whales,fin whales, North Atlantic right whales and harbour porpoises. This 270 km stretch along the east coast of Canada boasts of eight species of whales which can be seen in these high tidal waters.
Some of the largest tides occur here, with a result the extensive ecosystem so created supports a rich variety of wildlife which includes sea birds and whales.
Birdwatchers too will not get disappointed as the Bay of Fundy has an abundant population of avian species including Shearwaters, puffins,bald eagles, osprey and sandpipers. Apart from the 260 bird varieties, there are 40 mammal species and plenty of reptiles.
Katmai National Park for Brown bears
Established way back in 1918, the Katmai National Park today is an important habitat for thousands of brown bears and shoals of salmon which are their main source of food. After the devastating eruption of the Novarupta volcano in 1912, the area around Mt. Katamai became a protected region.
In July and then again in late August, Sockeye salmon run along the Brooks river in large numbers, which in turn attract the brown bears to feed on them. The Valley of 10,000 smokes lies within this park, and is considered to be the top place in the world to experience the power of nature through the active volcanic activity. Katmai National Park is also ideal for viewing moose, caribou, pine martin and orca.
As you set out to explore the vast continent of North America, you will be surprised as to how many different species of wildlife you are able to tick off each day. From the bison of Yellowstone to the soaring bald eagles overhead, there is no better experience than getting inside the region’s national parks to get up close to their wildlife. From creatures big and small, the array of different animals and birds found from state to state is truly phenomenal.