For those of you who live on the East coast, the land west of the Mississippi can seem almost like a foreign country.

Getting more particular, the western United States features some of everything: desert, mountains, snow, sunshine, rivers and natural beauty galore. Within just a few miles you can experience strikingly diverse geography, and that’s part of what makes America so beautiful.

There are so many fabulous destinations for your travels in the West, and fortunately many of them are accessible by ship (while some also incorporate train travel). We wanted to narrow down some of our favorites, the best places west of the Mississippi to explore the United States and beyond.

1. Baja California

La Paz in Baja California

Our Baja California cruise offers many experiences that are “once in a lifetime”. One of the highlights is an up close encounter with California gray whales. We stop by Bahia Magdalena, a prime breeding area for the whales and their calves. If you time your trip well, you can catch them in migration (which is the longest migration of any mammal). When they swim past, they come up for air quite frequently, and the blow holes make it look like a locomotive is passing. Quite magical!

The cruise also explores other parts of western Mexico, and offers premier snorkeling and bird watching experiences.

View full itinerary for Baja California

2. In the Path of Lewis & Clark: Rail & Sail

The journey of Lewis & Clark had such a monumental impact on the United States’ development, and our cruises honor this history by tracing their expedition as closely as we can. This cruise is packed with history, along with plenty of opportunities for relishing in the sights of the Pacific Northwest, some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. You can even begin your trip with a romantic train ride north to Portland.

View full itinerary for Lewis & Clark/Pacific Northwest cruise

3. Panama Canal With the Queen

Another “Rail & Sail” trip, our Panama Canal itinerary gives you the best opportunity to see the the United States and Panama Canal in all their glory.

This trip takes you through California and its beautiful cities on the Bay (San Francisco and Sausalito), then taking you inland to its capital, Sacramento. The trip is packed from start to finish.

You can opt to take the train home, and we can arrange that! Your trip will take you on a scenic ride through the Colorado Rockies and Raton Pass, depending on which way you want to get home.

View full itinerary for Panama Canal With the Queen

4. Alaska

A picture of glaciers in Alaska

Should you visit Alaska, you’ll see that it takes the term “natural beauty” and turns it up ten notches. This is a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers, as our itinerary takes you kayaking through fjords and glaciers, exploring national parks and presents many opportunities to hit bucket-list items, such as the Northern Lights and seeing a humpback whale.

View Alaska itineraries

Our cruises in the western United States are extremely popular, mostly due to the spectacular sights you can’t get anywhere else.

Should you be interested in destinations not listed, or have any questions about the above cruises, get in touch with one of our agents. We’ll get you all the information you need.