TripAdvisor(R), the world's most popular and largest travel community, today announced America's top 10 tours, according to TripAdvisor's Popularity Index. Tours are picking up mileage on TripAdvisor this year, as searches for walking tours on the site between January and May of 2009 are up seven percent compared to the same period in 2008. But taking tours doesn't necessarily mean pounding the pavement, as top traveler picks include an airplane outing, a zip lining adventure, and even a journey on a fishing vessel.
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(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090618/NY34612 ) (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080902/TRIPADVISORLOGO ) Top 10 U.S. Tours According to TripAdvisor's Popularity Index: 1. Flying High in Kauai: Wings Over Kauai, Kauai, Hawaii
Unforgettable views await those who take a unique tour of Kauai - from 1,500 feet in the air. Travelers rave that this plane tour is the ultimate way to experience this lush, sought-after island, and invariably return with extraordinary photographs. One TripAdvisor traveler said, "Everyone who visits Kauai should fly over the island with 'Wings' early during your stay. You get to see the whole island and then you can plan to explore the areas that you liked."
2. Southern Charm: Explore Savannah, Savannah, Georgia
An intimate walking tour of Savannah's historical beauty, Explore Savannah not only takes travelers through the history and culture of the city, but beloved tour guide Bobby gives insider recommendations for exploring the city on your own. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "There are a lot of carriage and bus tours of the city, but you don't see anything on those tours compared to this walking tour! Bobby was very informative and funny, too."
3. New York Scoop: Real New York Tours, New York, New York
Setting itself apart from slow-paced tours that provide well known facts about the city, Real New York Tours is beloved for its "real" approach - educating travelers about big tourist spots as well as providing exciting and little-known city tidbits, with true New Yorkers as guides. One TripAdvisor traveler said, "We saw the city through the eyes of a good friend...at least it felt that way by the end of the day. Luke managed to show us all the major sites as well as several little snippets of history that we would have walked right passed."
4. Comforting Companions: Wild Earth Llama Adventures, Taos, New Mexico
Llamas may be unconventional modern-day travel companions, but these surprisingly friendly and industrious animals provide just what travelers need to explore the wilderness of New Mexico. The llamas will bear your load and escort you on your hike, as tour guides educate you on the surrounding area. The day's exploration even concludes with a delicious picnic. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "Along with learning about the llamas, we hiked some pretty wonderful scenery of the Carson National Forest, learned about the history of the area...and had a fabulous lunch by a river!"
5. Zip It: Soaring Tree Top Adventures, Durango, Colorado
Accessible only by the historic and beautiful Durango & Silverton Railroad, the day-long zipline course lets travelers fly safely through the air, surrounded by the exquisite natural landscape of the forest. On top of the thrilling excitement the ziplining adventure provides, Soaring Tree Top Adventures works to minimize its impact on the environment. One TripAdvisor traveler called it, "Life-affirming adventure that makes you feel young, carefree, safe and filled with life at every zip of the cable!"
6. Delicious Discovery: Savor Seattle Food Tours, Seattle, Washington
What better way to get to know a city than by its food, which is exactly how Savor Seattle helps travelers get acquainted with the history and culture of this vibrant city. A number of tours are offered, each with specific themes, but the principle is the same - discover all that Seattle has to offer via its epicurean side. One TripAdvisor traveler raves, "Fabulous and memorable way to experience this unique destination!"
7. Food for Thought: City Food Tours Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
More than simply a tour, City Food Tours gives visitors a true taste of Philadelphia, introducing them not only to the city's delicious and diverse food, but to little-known facts about the city of brotherly love. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "You'll come away stuffed - with tasty Philadelphia 'delicacies' like cheese steak and tomato pizza, as well as with interesting, off beat information about the city."
8. The Friendliest Catch: Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour, Ketchikan, Alaska
Aboard the Aleutian Ballad, the fishing boat seen on "The Deadliest Catch," visitors watch as fisherman pull massive king crabs, octopi, salmon and other creatures out of the cold waters and into viewing tanks where they can be observed and even touched. One TripAdvisor traveler recalls, "The tour was awesome! The crew was friendly, professional and fascinating to listen to. We saw eagles, Alaskan king crab, opelio crab, box crabs, prawns and much more."
9. Pizza Pizzaz: Scott's Pizza Tours, New York, New York
Scott's pizza tours take visitors inside the world of New York pizza, with history and mouth-watering pies at every turn. The three hour walking tour begins at New York's oldest pizzeria before tasting the rest of the city's best, while the four-and-a-half hour weekend bus tour brings pizza enthusiasts further afield, with equally appetizing results. One TripAdvisor traveler said, "This isn't just about eating pizza (although you WILL be full!) this is about food, cooking, culture, politics, architecture and New York!"
10. It's a Jungle Out There: The Urban Safari, San Francisco, California
Travelers aren't very camouflaged in The Urban Safari's zebra-striped tour vehicles, but they are privy to an exciting and eclectic look at San Francisco, from its well-known sights to the treasures that are off the beaten path, with city history and spectacular views sprinkled in. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "The tour was historical as well as contemporary - and a great way to start off a trip to San Francisco."
"Whether exotic and exhilarating or down to earth and delicious, these top tours offer amazing experiences for travelers who want to take a walk on the wild side, or just learn more about some of their favorite places," said Michele Perry, vice president of communications for TripAdvisor.
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*Source: comScore Media Metrix, March 2009
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