America’s a big place, home to many diverse cities and towns and huge areas of country that ranges from mountain ranges to deserts, but with so much to explore and limited time to explore it in, just how do you identify the best places to visit?
Unlike some countries, some of the best places to visit in America are the ones that are known the world over and which do indeed live up to the hype. Take the Grand Canyon in Arizona as a perfect example of this.
The Grand Canyon is one of the few places on the globe that can make you realize the sheer majesty of the natural world. The chasm is approximately 277 miles in length by 18 miles wide and goes down for a mile, so if you like stunning scenery and want to get back to nature, you have to visit the Grand Canyon.
The South Rim is home to the Village and the ever-popular Bright Angel Trail, but if you want to escape the crowds, then head for the North Rim where you can camp in the backwoods and enjoy some intensive hiking.
As American icons go, you cannot get more iconic than New York and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which attractions to visit. You can revel in the nostalgic architectural harm of a bygone age at the Empire State Building, visit the Statue of Liberty or simply make the trip to Grand Central Terminal.
One of the most filmed train stations in the world, at Grand Central you can simply whet your whistle at the Oyster Bar or marvel at the embellished ceiling with its golden constellations. You could be selective in choosing when to visit, too and time your vacation to coincide with local festivals and celebrations, such as those held in Times Square. And if the urban sprawl of the city gets too much for you, it only takes an hour or two to arrive in the country.
If history is your thing, then maybe a trip to Williamsburg is due. Here you can visit the Colonial Williamsburg historic district and explore the very beginnings of American history, or if a little fun and relaxation is on your radar then take a trip out to Busch Gardens and the water park, Water Country USA.
And, unlike some of the bigger cities, you will be able to stay in accommodation that is more historic than national chain hotels and it should be easy to find hotels in Williamsburg that suit your taste and needs, from premium hotels with sumptuous rooms to more budget-friendly options.
New Orleans is another city with lots of history but is also thriving and vibrantly modern, its streets thumping to the sound of Creole music and making taste buds dance with delight over the delicious food on offer at every corner from street food vendors. Plan your holiday around the city’s many festivals, including the world-famous Mardi Gras, usually held in February – just remember to pack your costume.
If you still want to head for the bright lights of a big city, but find New York a little too obvious, then how about Chicago in Illinois? The Windy City offers any visitor a whole host of live music to listen and watch, fantastic art galleries to indulge a taste for culture, and plenty of live comedy acts and sporting events.
Enjoy gourmet-style food? You will find it in abundance in Chicago, for it is home to a wide range of fine dining eateries. And attractions? You will be able to walk to practically every attraction you want to see, including the Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain, to even more famous places such as the Sears Tower and Wrigley Field.
Lastly, if it is glitz and glamour you want to experience, then there is truly no more appropriate place than Las Vegas. Often thought of as the Entertainment Capital of the World, there is actually more to Vegas than gambling. Head out of the city and you will find historic attractions such as the Atomic Testing Museum, or you can take a hike in Red Rock Canyon and walk around the Hoover Dam.
America has so much to offer that you really do have to identify what you want from your vacation, whether that be history, entertainment or modern culture, and then just pick the cities that tick all your boxes.