United States of America Travel Guide
Diverse, engaging and beautiful, the United States of America is a collection of amazing sights, bustling cities and a menagerie of cultural elements to be explored. Within the borders of the United States, you can glimpse the rugged way of life on the old Wild West, see the towering heights of skyscrapers in New York and join the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
Natural beauty abounds across the United States of America with two major mountain ranges, two ocean coastlines, stunning waterfalls and wide open places broken up only by the waving of grains and the deep recesses of the world’s deepest canyons. While natural landscapes beckon for escape, the urban landscapes call to travelers as a way to experience culture, fine foods and local establishments. See the birthplace of Jazz. Walk through Central Park. Relax on the porch of an old plantation – the United States is fairly bursting with opportunities for exploration.
Introducing, United States of America
Cities to Visit in the United States
New York – The largest city in the United States, most visitors find areas of this enormous city that feel just like home thanks to the myriad of cultures that flourish here. Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and the newly erected monument for 9/11 are among the many locations in the Big Apple.
Los Angeles – Movie magic makes this sprawling city a must-see for visitors to the United States. In no other city can you experience what Hollywood has defined as true American pop culture. See where movies are made, rub shoulders with celebrities in restaurants and night clubs and perhaps shop a bit in Beverly Hills.
San Antonio – One of the major cities in Texas, travel to San Antonio to experience the many ways that everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. Enjoy generous portions of delicious food, walk along the River Walk and perhaps spend time in the local theme parks – Sea World and Fiesta Texas.
New Orleans – Tragedy struck New Orleans six years ago with Hurricane Katrina, but the Crescent City is back up and thriving. The rich nightlight of New Orleans is especially distinctive, but plan on adding a few inches to your waistline with Creole cooking, fresh beignets and delicious down-home sorts of meals prepared by some of the United State’s most famous chefs. New Orleans is also the birthplace of Jazz, so it’s an essential stop for that reason alone.
Chicago – A major city located within steps of Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to distinctive architecture, contemporary art and – of course – some serious baseball thanks to the Cubs at famous Wrigley Field.
Seattle – An excellent jumping off place for exploring the full Pacific Northwest, Seattle boasts cool weather, giant rain forests and pebble beaches. Wind your way along the Pacific coast down to San Francisco, or simply enjoy the chilly waters of the Pacific at the aquarium or Pike Place Market.
Boston – Sample a bit of American history in one of the oldest established countries in the United States. While young in global terms, Boston is home to many early American artifacts and museums including Paul Revere’s House. Nearby Cambridge is home to America’s oldest university – Harvard.
Denver – Stay in a bustling small city and enjoy the tallest mountains in the United States just outside your window. Denver is close to many popular nature attractions including snow sports in the winter months and hiking and exploring national parks in the spring and summer.
Washington D.C. – The Nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. is home to the Smithsonian Institute – a museum complex housing many of the nation’s finest artifacts and treasures. Washington D.C. is also home to many statues, monuments and buildings that house America’s political history, present and future.
Las Vegas – A tribute to excess, Las Vegas is the number-one party destination in the United States. Situated in the desert, Las Vegas stays away all night long with flashing lights from casinos, major entertainers and exciting specials.
Places to Visit in the United States
Golden Gate Bridge – Spanning the distance across the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is entirely distinctive with its Universal Orange color and super length. Cars are able to drive across the bridge by paying a toll, and pedestrian traffic is encouraged as well.
Graceland – Elvis changed the course of music worldwide, and today his home is one of the most sought after tourist destinations of the south. Graceland, the giant estate of Elvis Presley is open to the public and enjoys more than half a million visitors every year.
Smokey Mountains – Enjoy the cool shadows of the Appalachian mountains in Tennessee. Smaller than the Rockies, the Smokey Mountains are home to excellent rivers for rafting and fly fishing as well as many hiking and nature preserve trails as well.
Old Faithful – Located in the heart of Yellowstone Park, Old Faithful is the giant geyser that blasts hot water high into the air every 91 minutes. Popular since the nineteenth century, Old Faithful is close to nature preserves where visitors can see American Bison on the range and explore this preserved area of Wyoming as well.
Grand Canyon – One of the most famous sights in the United States, the Grand Canyon hosts more than five million visitors per year. While most choose to simply gaze at the enormous canyon as it stretches miles away into the distance, others hike down into the canyon to enjoy its natural beauty.
Mardi Gras – The annual party that precedes Lent, New Orleans’s biggest event is famous for its wild parties and cultural elements. Parades, parties and general frivolity reign during this week-long party. There are some family fun activities as well.
Disney Land – Walt Disney’s masterpiece recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary and is still going just as strong now as it was then. The Magic Kingdom of Disney Land is the most famous part of the park and is home to all of the various Disney creations including Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The White House – Why not see how the President lives? Tour behind the scenes at the White House – the home of the President and First Family. Tours are free with a valid passport and include a guide with considerable knowledge of the home and history as well.
Gateway Arch – The tallest monument in the United Sates, the Gateway Arch is a sign of the pioneer spirit of the United States. The Arch symbolizes the westward movement of pioneers across the United States starting with the Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the country. The Gateway Arch is located in St. Louis – the city situated between the Eastern and Western United States.
Niagara Falls – Spanning the border between Canada and the United States, the falls are located at the northernmost border of New York. Tour the falls by boat or helicopter with the aid of a guide, or simply enjoy the bird’s-eye-view provided by the many nearby platforms and decks.
Beaches and Beach Towns in the United States
While most of the best beaches in the United States are located off the continent, there are many in the Continental United States that are prime destinations for beach goers ready to relax and enjoy the summer months in comfort.
Hawaii – On the big island of Hawaii you’ll find white and green sand beaches at Hapuna, Kaunaoa and Kua Bay. The island of Maui, part of Hawaii, also offers beautiful, unusal beaches at Kaihalulu and surfing is excellent at Ho’okipa Beach.
Hilton Head – East coast residents drive to Hilton Head to enjoy the golden sands with more than a hint of luxury. Hilton Head is popular with the well-to-do travelers at the shore at Myrtle Beach and Coligny Beach.
Cape Cod – Far in the northeast, Cape Cod offers more than just sand and surf. A laid-back atmosphere makes this beach area comfortable for visitors and locals alike. Try Nauset, Marconi or Herring Cove Beach while in the area.
Miami Beach – Parties never stop at Miami Beach. Wild swimsuits, plenty of exercised bodies and more than a bit of glitz and glamour can be found in the wild culture of Miami. Miami Beach is located in the heart of the southern Florida city of Miami.
Things to do in the United States
Hike – With multiple mountain ranges, deep canyons and plenty of vast, open spaces, hiking in the United States is a major sport for recreation and endurance.
Ski – In the winter months, dozens of ski resorts open in the mountains of California, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. The warmer months bring ample opportunities for water skiing on virtually all of the lakes throughout the United States.
Drive – Wide open spaces call to drivers. Rent an RV and drive your way across the United States or simply rent a car and travel across the nation stopping at interesting sites and cities along the way.
Camp – Camping is a popular outdoor activity in the United States. Bring a tent and backpack and you can easily explore the back country of any National Park. Rent a camper and you’ll have a bit more comfort surrounded by nature in every state across the nation.
Swim – From sea to shining sea, the United States is full of excellent swimming opportunities. Swim in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, any of the Great Lakes or enjoy time in one of the nation’s hundreds of rivers and streams.
Raft – White water rafting is an excellent way to explore the natural areas along major water ways. Raft through prominent landmarks like the Grand Canyon or spend the day exploring Alaska’s wilds by raft if you’d like.
Party – There are some serious party destinations in the United States where you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans are all heralded as major party hot spots.
Eat and Drink – Find virtually all types of food and drink in the “Melting Pot” that the United States has become. Prominent chefs and down-home cooks all offer up amazing foods sure to help expand your waistline.
Dance – Enjoy the arts of others in any of the theaters boasted about in major and minor cities, or enjoy dancing yourself in the many dance clubs located throughout the nation. All cities have clubs and outings, but you can enjoy a range of dance styles as you move through the United States – find everything from salsa to rave and country and western dancing on your journey.
Play – Americans enjoy sports and you can, too. Buy tickets to a major sporting event and enjoy the mood and mindset of the competition. If you’re truly lucky you can take advantage of the tailgating events prior to a major sport.
Rodeo – Unique to the United States, enjoy the huge activity that surrounds prominent rodeo events in cities like Las Vegas and Houston. See true cowboys riding bucking broncos and bulls or just sample truly outstanding barbeque at the accompanying fairs and livestock shows.
Adventure Sports in the United States
White-water Rafting – There are many rivers throughout the United States that are ideal for white-water rafting. Take a trip through the mountain streams in Tennessee, Colorado or Wyoming. Or if you’d rather head through a canyon, take a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.
Surfing – Surfing tends to be best along the West coast of the United States in California primarily. Excellent surfing can also be found on several beaches in the Hawaiian Islands.
Rock Climbing – With two major mountain ranges and several smaller mountainous regions, cliffs and treks abound for rock climbing in almost every possible environment including the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico to the lushness of Washington and Oregon.
Mountain Biking – A popular American sport, mountain biking is especially popular along trails in California and southern Colorado.
Scuba Diving – The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic offer excellent scuba diving opportunities. Cruises departing from cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida bring underwater adventures to travelers easily.
Top Nature Areas for Camping and Hiking
Mother Campground in Grand Canyon National Park – Explore the largest canyon in North America by staying right on its edge.
Wawona Campground in Yosemite National Park – Located in California, enjoy hiking through the Sierra Nevada mountains and cool hiking and rock climbing adventures.
Bowman Lake Campground in Glacier National Park – Travel to Montana at the top of the United States to see stunning vistas from this remote national park.
Moraine Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park – Enjoy the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with a drive-up campground near elk breeding grounds.
Blackwood Campground in Acadia National Park – New England’s finest camping site is located on 47,000 acres along the coast of Maine.
Point Reyes Campgrounds in Marin County, California – Just minutes from San Francisco, these campgrounds are within walking distance of Point Reyes National Seashore – a stunning Pacific vista.
Resorts in the United States
Club Med Sandpiper – Located in Eastern Florida on the St. Lucie River, this resort caters to full families with all inclusive packages including water sports, drinks and comforts as well as golf and even a flying trapeze school.
Four Seasons Resort Westlake Village – Luxury hotel boasts top of the line medical spa to create a very special resort experience. Plush designer fabrics and experiences make this a premium experience.
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort – Why not experience a bit of cowboy tradition in a New York resort? This guest ranch gives visitors a chance to experience the cowboy ways up close with a bit of water park thrown in for good measure.
Tanque Verde Ranch – Explore 60,000 acres of amazing desert in the heart of Arizona. Enjoy horseback rides, hiking and stunning desert scenery.
Ocean House – Watch Hill in Rhode Island may not seem to be an ideal location for a resort, but the beach destination is amazing in both the summer and winter months. A grand Victorian property is home to old-world charm.
Earthshine Mountain Lodge – Deep in the woods of North Carolina, this lodge offers an all-inclusive approach to nature with an emphasis on ditching electronics for the duration and enjoying zip line tours and long hikes.
Travel Tips for the United States
Prices – The prices for goods and service in the United States can vary dramatically between cities and resorts. Expect to pay more in big cities, but overall prices remain reasonably close in comparable locations and amenities.
Traveling Alone – If you’re planning to travel solo through the United States, you’ll find yourself comfortable in most environments. It is always safer to travel in rural and rugged areas with a new friend or as part of a group for safety reasons, however.
Traveling with Families – The United States is an excellent location for family travel with an entire industry developed for American families. There are many family friendly resorts and most cities offer a balance of family and adult fun as well. Since you’ll likely be using public transportation or renting car in the United States, it’s a simple matter to arrange a larger rental for a family.
Safe Travel – There are rougher areas in most major cities with higher crime rates, but the vast majority of cities in the United States are clean and safe for travelers. Always be cautious when traveling in unfamiliar areas alone and stay alert to possible dangers in wildlife and camping areas as well.
Driving – Drivers in the United State tend to be moderately aggressive as driving is an essential means of transportation in the nation. Speed limits are enforced, however, and drivers in the United States sit on the left side of the vehicle and drive on the right side of the road.
Cuisine – The United States has an extremely varied collection of food choices in the major cities. Different cities and states will have different sorts of food to choose from. Since food is a way of life for many Americans, hotels often have recommendations for excellent dining or affordable dining nearby.
Nature – Americans have a healthy respect for nature, often including large parks within city limits. National parks and nature preserves have strict rules for travelers inside the various locations. Always check with the rangers in these areas to see what to expect.
Parties and Festivals in the United States
Sundance Film Festival – The largest independent cinema experience is held in Utah every year as a premier opportunity for new American and International films.
Mardi Gras – While Mardi Gras is celebrated in many cities with parades and floats in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday, New Orleans hosts the well-known party experience with more than 60 parades and countless parties.
Boston Marathon – The world’s oldest marathon is run once per year and those eligible to run must have won with a qualifying time in another certified marathon earlier that year.
Jazz Festival – New Orleans is known for her parties and the annual Jazz Festival is a 10-day cultural feast of music, fun and food.
Independence Day Celebration – the biggest Fourth of July celebration in the country happens in the nation’s capitol city with enormous parades and impressive firework displays over the Washington Monument grounds.
National Finals Rodeo – See the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls compete to win millions of dollars in Las Vegas’ annual rodeo event.
The Super Bowl – The most prominent event in American football, see the top two teams square off for the grand prize in the sport.
Shopping in the United States
Fifth Avenue, New York – Look for amazing couture collections along 5th Avenue in the Big Apple.
Soho, New York – The off-beat and unique designs of independent fashion designers pepper the streets in small boutiques in Soho.
Rodeo Drive in Las Angeles – Famous the world over, Rodeo Drive has top end designers in an endless parade.
The Magnificent Mile in Chicago – A long stretch of Michigan Avenue holds a wide range of stores suited to virtually all levels of taste.
San Francisco – There is no single location in the city to shop as it is full of off-beat stores, second hand finds and truly unique creations.