How to experience an epic Great American West adventure virtually

At a time when international travel remains a distant reality, we encourage you to keep your wanderlust spirits alive by indulging in a little bit of armchair travel. Keep dreaming and keep planning because once this is all over, there are some pretty spectacular destinations across the globe that are waiting for your return.

One of these spectacular destinations is the Great American West, made up of the states Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. With breath-taking national parks and an abundance of winter activities, adventure sports and truly unspoiled landscapes, a trip to this American region is undoubtedly one to put on the bucket list.

If you’re still not sold, (or you’re eager to go right now) you will be after these online tours and videos that allow you to travel to the Great American West virtually.

Montana

The message from Montana to travellers is simple: These moments are worth the wait. So when it’s time, what will your #MontanaMoment be?

Montana activities:

Imagine you are climbing the rugged terrain of Makoshika State Park’s incredible Badlands formations with this 360º virtual video.

This calming 360° video showcases aerial views of Montana’s glistening Flathead Lake, which looks ideal for summer.

If winter is more your style, let this short video featuring Montana’s winter beauty and array of activities bring you a sense of excitement. Learn more about why tourists love Montana in winter here.

Explore the hiking routes through Bitterroot Mountains with this 360° footage that showcases the area’s towering mountains and conifer trees.

Pretend you’re already there and impress all your colleagues with this impressive collection of zoom backgrounds.

Learn more about the state’s national parks including the famous Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Or educate yourself on the local Indian Country here.

Idaho

As part of the ‘See you soon in Idaho‘ campaign, Visit Idaho launched a video capturing the state’s serene surroundings, inspiring travellers to return once it’s safe to do so.

“With its wide-open spaces and scenic landscapes, Idaho is no stranger to serenity, but right now, your health and safety are what’s most important, so this is not the time to visit. Of course, you will be missed, but our scenic byways, winding rivers, rugged mountains and friendly faces will be here to welcome you when this clears so please, stay home, stay healthy and when the time is right we hope you will visit us. See you soon in Idaho,” the voiceover says.

Idaho activities:

Raft the Payette River in this completely immersive 360º video experience. Paddle through Southwestern Idaho whitewater rapids and see what makes this stretch of river famous. Then, watch how the professionals mastered it during the North Fork Championship in 2016, here.

Test your fear levels and get a feel for what it is like to go on the Twin Falls Canyon Experience that involves BASE jumping, zip-lining through the Snake River Canyon and kayaking to Shoshone Falls. Watch the 360º video below:

Bring out your inner Picasso and create your own version of Idaho’s scenery with these printable colouring pages which aren’t just for kids. Or feed your mind with these Idaho themed word puzzles.

Up your zoom game with these beautiful Idaho images that celebrate the state’s natural beauty or simply just admire the views yourself.

Update your playlist by listening to Idaho’s very own Spotify playlist featuring local artists including Built to Spill and Josh Ritter.

Great American West: Idaho travel
Downtown Wallace. Image: Idaho Tourism

You can find more activities here, including a selection of virtual tours and live cameras ranging from Shoshone Falls to Warhawk Air Museum.

Learn about the state’s impressive number of national parks, or see what else you can do in Idaho to help you plan your next adventure.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s inspirational video for travellers shares the message that, “no matter what comes, [the land] will always be here, uncrowded and welcoming you to travel North Dakota’s wide open spaces.”

North Dakota activities:

Stay entertained by virtually visiting Red River Zoo’s adorable and quirky animals including camels, sheep, red pandas, dwarf goats and more!

Go on a virtual tour with audio narration and learn more about North Dakoda’s seven wonders here.

This 360° image taken from the Painted Canyon Overlook at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is almost as good as being there in person and will give you an incredible view of the Badlands.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Image: North Dakota Tourism

Educate yourself with these North Dakota fun facts. They’re perfect for creating travel trivia questions.

See the world’s largest buffalo at Jamestown, North Dakota and take the virtual tour which includes the National Buffalo Museum and The Hansen Arts Park.

Have a little fun (and test your mind) with these online puzzles that come together to create beautiful images of North Dakota’s scenery. Some are harder than you think.

Explore the Enchanted Highway which showcases one of the world’s largest collection of scrap metal sculptures including geese, deer, pheasants, grasshoppers, Theodore Roosevelt, and a Tin Family. This quirky roadside art tour begins at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and finishes in the quaint town of Regent.

South Dakota

When it’s safe to travel, great places are waiting including South Dakota.

“Today we stay home and we look forward. We look forward to less distance and more experiencing because we will get through this, we will get back to travelling, to exploring, to great places and great adventures,” a voiceover says in the state’s latest tourism video.

South Dakota activities:

Go on an interactive tour of South Dakota’s State Capitol building here. Or take a virtual tour of Mount Rushmore National Memorial (CYARK), which allows you to walk along trails, stop at scenic outlooks, and see a close-up view of the huge mountain carvings featuring four US presidents.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Image: South Dakota Department of Tourism.

Explore Badlands National Park’s spectacular geological formations including vivid sedimentary layers of rock (which are coloured red, orange, purple and yellow). Check out the interactive tour on Google Earth here.

Great American West: South Dakota travel
Badlands National Park. Image: South Dakota Department of Tourism.

Visit Rapid City and watch the locals make pottery or create vibrant murals in the Art Alley.

Learn more about South Dakota travel including the Native American culture and national and state parks at their website. Or request one of their free vacation guides here.

Wyoming

Travel Wyoming has shared a new video to encourage travellers to ‘stay calm, stay Inspired,’ while capturing the quiet among Wyoming’s stunning landscapes.

Wyoming activities:

Explore the famous Yellowstone National Park by virtually touring some of the main attractions around the park. Included with each map-based tour is additional information about visiting in person.

Watch Yellowstone National Park’s incredible Old Faithful geyser erupt water to heights of 40 metres with this live-stream webcam.

Great American West: Wyoming travel
Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Geyser. Image: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Enjoy some interactive inspiration with these online puzzles of Wyoming’s stunning scenery.

Access Grand Teton National Park through a series of virtual tours that allow you to hike around String Lake, travel the Moose-Wilson corridor or scramble to the summit of the Grand Teton all from your computer.

Great American West: Wyoming travel
Grand Teton National Park. Image: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Get a feel for the slopes at Snowy Range Mountain with this 360 video through fresh powder.

If you’re keen to keep exploring, you can find more virtual tours of Wyoming here.

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