United States of America

United States of America

When it comes to tourist destinations, they don’t come much larger or deeper than the USA. Possessing a treasure trove of sights and attractions from coast to coast, come prepared for a big experience and some epic roadtrips.

There are obviously some natural starting points, either on the west coast in San Francisco or Los Angeles, or New York City on the eastern seaboard. It doesn’t really matter which way you go, but key to your planning is working out what sorts of sights and experiences are important to you.

If you’re after cities, the US offers the largest options of urban experiences in the world. Topping this list, NYC serves up everything in the one package – amazing sights, awesome architecture, art, culture, food and a nightlife that never stops. And, with so many neighbourhoods to choose from you can have a different NYC experience from one day to the next. After that it’s a long shopping list. Washington offers history and the quintessential US cultural experience, while Boston builds on the history and with its university feel, probably feels the most like a European urban experience in the country. While still on this side of the country, check out Chicago for architecture & food or Philadelphia for more US history. Down in the Deep South, Art Deco Miami (and the nearby Disney extravaganza) provides a warmer urban experience, and in New Orleans it’s the US most diverse destination, heavily influenced by its proximity to the Caribbean and with an incredible jazz music scene.

Switching coastlines, San Francisco and its stunning location, bohemian culture and lifestyle will vie with the bright lights of LA for your attention, while San Diego further to the south shouldn’t be discounted either. Heading inland, Las Vegas is a one-of-a-kind experience, but if bright lights and entertainment is your thing, it’s not to be missed.

As the home of the first National Park in the world, it’s no surprise that the collection of parks in the US is impressive. And, topping the list (just) is probably the vast Grand Canyon, as much for its size as the amazing views it gives. Just pipped into second, Yellowstone is a geothermal playground with hiking, camping and wildlife opportunities that keeps the families of the US entertained year after year. After that, there’s a swathe of parks across the south-west, with Utah & Colorado and the Rocky Mountains providing a nearly endless stream of pristine wilderness areas.

All this is forgetting the favourite playground for Americans – Hawaii. Whether it’s the main island of Oahu or the less developed smaller islands, Americans flock here each year for the climate, stunning beaches and the very relaxed pace of life. Definitely worth a stopver at the end of your roadtrip across the continent.

Any travel experience in the US is infused with the culture and food styles particular to the areas you’re passing through. From the Mexican influenced cultures of the south-west and Caribbean fare in the Deep South, up to the seafood dominated New England region, the regional variations are always complemented by those staples of the American table – steaks, hamburgers & French fries!

Image by Victor Maschek, Shutterstock