The United States of America, spread out over 3.6 million square miles, is an eclectic melting pot of 50 states, each with their own history and culture. With the biggest economy in the world, everybody knows something about the US, even if they have never been there. The Empire State Building, the Las Vegas strip, the Hollywood sign, the White House and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of America’s key icons, drawing in millions of tourists each year.
Each US city offers its own sense of adventure and are fascinating destinations in their own right, from the busy and colorful streets of New York to the dignified and historic atmosphere in Washington and Boston. Musical and vibrant, jazzy French-influenced New Orleans is an intoxicating mix of old elegance and the South, whilst Chicago wows with its impressive lakefront architecture. Dallas and Houston have an urban Texan way of life, whilst the sprawling city of Los Angeles gave birth to Hollywood.
Although the cities may attract the most tourists, the US also has amazingly diverse landscapes, from the mysterious deserts of the Southwest to the tropical beaches of Florida. The great American outdoors has always held a firm place in the hearts of many, and it is not hard to see why. Paddling in the Mississippi, surfing the waves of Oahu, exploring the Alaskan wilderness, fishing off Maine’s wild Atlantic coast, hiking down the Grand Canyon and climbing the Rockies of Colorado, are just some of the many life-changing experiences that America has to offer. The national parks in the US, including Yellowstone and Yosemite, highlight some of the best parts of true American wilderness, and are always worth a visit.
American culture is as varied as its land, but one aspect of American culture that took the world by storm was the music. Jazz began in New Orleans, as did the Blues. Memphis saw the birth of American Rock ‘n’ Roll in the form of Elvis Presley, and Tennessee was the first to popularize country music. The US is also home to some of the finest museums in the world, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and The Getty Center in LA.
The cuisine that you will find in the US reflects its past and history, and was heavily influenced by European colonization, as well as the immigrants that arrived from all over the world. Texas is known for its barbecue, the South for fried chicken, Miami for its Havana cuisine and Chicago for deep dish pizza. The popularity of food trucks is also exploding in cities across the US, with many of them serving up dishes that could rival some of the finest restaurants. Diners are another American icon, and serve up comfort food in a casual setting.
With so much to see and do, and such a large area to cover, it is impossible to see the US in just one visit. One of the best ways to explore the country and travel from state to state is by car, and the American road trip is one of the greatest traditions that you will find. Cross country tours are also available, and it is possible to explore the vast coastline by bus. With each state comes a new sense of culture and tradition, and the best way to get a true taste of the US is to spend some time in each one.