Thursday, August 11, 2022

Destinations in United States

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The United States consists of 50 states plus the city of Washington, D.C., a federal district and the nation’s capital. The country also has a few territories, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Below is a rough grouping of these states into regions, from the Atlantic to the Pacific:

  • New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
    Home to gabled churches, rustic antiques and steeped in American history, New England offers beaches, spectacular seafood, rugged mountains, frequent winter snows and some of the oldest towns in the country – all in an area small enough to visit (hastily) in a week.
  • Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C.)
    Stretching from New York City north to Washington, D.C., the Mid-Atlantic is home to some of the most densely populated cities in the country, as well as historic sites, rolling mountains, New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, the Lehigh Valley and seaside resorts such as Long Island Beaches and the Jersey Shore.
  • South (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia).
    The South is famous for its hospitality, traditional cuisine and musical traditions of blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass and country. This lush, largely subtropical region includes cool, green mountains, agricultural plantations and vast cypress swamps.
  • Florida
    North Florida looks like the rest of the South, but the resorts of Orlando, the retirement communities, tropical Caribbean Miami, the Everglades and 1,200 miles of sandy beaches are not.
  • Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin)
    The Midwest is home to farmland, forests, quaint towns, industrial cities and the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater lake system in the world, which forms the northern coast of the United States. Known for their simplicity and hospitality, the people of the Midwest are a welcoming people.
  • Texas
    The second largest state is like a country unto itself (as it once was), with strong cultural influences from its Spanish and Mexican past. The terrain ranges from the swamps of the southeast to the plains and cotton farms of the southern plains to the sandy beaches of south Texas and the mountains and deserts of far west Texas.
  • Great Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma).
    Travel west through these so-called flat states, from the edge of the eastern forests to the prairies and High Plains, a vast expanse of steppe (shortgrass prairies) almost as desolate as in the days of the Frontier, but still filled with pockets of strange and varied history.
  • Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming)
    The spectacular snow-capped Rockies offer hiking, rafting and excellent skiing, but also deserts and a few large cities.
  • Southwest (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah)
    This region, heavily influenced by Spanish and Mexican culture as well as Native American remnants, is home to some of the country’s most spectacular natural attractions and thriving artistic communities. Although the region’s deserts are mostly empty, there are some large cities.
  • California
    Like the Southwest, California has a history of Spanish and Mexican rule and is heavily influenced by these civilisations, with a large import of Asian culture, especially cuisine. California offers world-class cities, deserts, rainforests, snow-capped mountains and beautiful beaches. Northern California (anchored by the San Francisco Bay Area) and Southern California (anchored by Los Angeles and also including Orange County, San Diego and others) are culturally distinct.
  • Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon)
    The pleasantly mild Pacific Northwest offers outdoor activities and cosmopolitan cities. Terrain ranges from spectacular rainforests to scenic mountains and volcanoes to beautiful coastlines, sage-covered steppes and deserts.
  • Alaska
    Only one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States, Alaska extends into the Arctic and offers mountainous wilderness, including North America’s highest mountain, Denali, and an Alaska Native culture unique to the United States.
  • Hawaii
    A volcanic archipelago in the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2,000 miles southwest of California (the nearest state), Hawaii is a holiday paradise.

Politically, the United States is a federation of states, each with its own rights and powers (hence the name), with laws varying slightly from state to state.

The United States also administers a patchwork of non-state territories around the world, of which Puerto Rico is by far the largest. Other territories include the U.S. Virgin Islands, also in the Caribbean, as well as Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island and islands without permanent residents such as the Midway Islands in Oceania. As these islands are very different from the 50 states from the traveller’s point of view, they are covered in separate articles. Although there are legal categories for their relationship to the US mainland, these are generally sui generis for each of them and do not affect travellers to any great extent. Where relevant, these issues are dealt with in the individual articles for each territory.


There are more than 10,000 cities, towns and villages in the United States. Below is a list of nine of the largest. The other cities can be found in their respective regions.

  • Washington, D.C. – the nation’s capital, filled with great museums and monuments, as well as multicultural communities.
  • Boston – known for its colonial history, passion for sports and college students.
  • Chicago – the heart of the Midwest and transport hub of the nation, with huge skyscrapers and other architectural gems.
  • Los Angeles – home to the film industry, music artists and surfers, with a mild and pleasant climate, great natural beauty, from mountains to beaches, and endless freeways.
  • Miami – attracts sun-seeking northerners and is home to a rich and vibrant Caribbean culture influenced by Latin American culture.
  • New Orleans – “The Big Easy” is the birthplace of jazz and is known for its picturesque French Quarter and the annual Mardi Gras celebration.
  • New York – the nation’s largest city, home to financial services and media, with world-class cuisine, art, architecture and shopping.
  • San Francisco – the city by the bay, with the Golden Gate Bridge, bustling neighborhoods and spectacular fogs.
  • Seattle – rich in museums, monuments and recreational opportunities and five different climates within 200 miles; also visit the Space Needle.

Other destinations

These are some of the most important and well-known destinations outside the big cities.

  • Denali National Park – a remote national park with the highest peak in North America.
  • Grand Canyon – the longest and most visited canyon in the world
  • Mesa Verde National Park – well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblos.
  • Mount Rushmore – the iconic monument to four former presidents carved into a cliff.
  • Niagara Falls – the huge waterfalls on the border with Canada
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – a national park located in the southern Appalachians.
  • Walt Disney World – the most popular holiday destination in the world.
  • Yellowstone National Park – the first national park in the United States, home to Old Faithful Geyser.
  • Yosemite National Park, home of El Capitan and the famous giant sequoias.

How To Travel To United States

By air The United States is home to some of the world's most popular airlines. After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the resulting decline in air travel, there was a large-scale consolidation across the industry and the United States is now home to some of the largest...

How To Travel Around United States

Due to the size of the United States and the distance between major cities, air travel is the dominant mode of travel for short-term travellers. If you have time, travelling by car, bus or train can be interesting. In some provinces, you can get information about traffic and public transport...

Visa & Passport Requirements for United States

The United States has exceptionally burdensome and complicated visa requirements. Read carefully before visiting, especially if you need to apply for a visa, and contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Travellers have been denied entry for many, often trivial, reasons. Planning and documentation before arrival Entry without visa Citizens of the 38...

Weather & Climate in United States

The general climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has an arctic tundra, while Hawaii, South Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, merging into arid desert in the far west and the Mediterranean on the California coast. In...

Accommodation & Hotels in United States

The motel is by far the most common form of accommodation in rural areas of the United States and along many highways. Most motels offering cheap rooms to motorists are clean and inexpensive and have limited amenities: telephone, television, bed, bathroom. Motel 6 (1-800-466-8356) is a national chain with...

Things To See in United States

The United States is extraordinarily diverse when it comes to attractions. There is always something to see; even when you think you have seen everything a place has to offer, the next destination is only a drive away. The Great American Road Trip is the most traditional way to see...

Things To Do in United States

Art and music Medium to large cities often attract concerts with large ticket prices, especially in large outdoor amphitheatres. Smaller cities sometimes host concerts in parks with local or older bands. Other options include music festivals like Street Scene in San Diego or South by Southwest in Austin. Classical music...

Food & Drinks in United States

Food in United States The diversity of restaurants in the United States is remarkable. In a big city like New York, it is possible to find a restaurant from almost any country in the world. In addition to the usual selection of independent restaurants, the United States has a uniquely...

Money & Shopping in United States

Official currency The official currency of the United States is the US dollar ($), divided into 100 cents (¢, but often written in decimal dollars). Foreign currencies are almost never accepted, although some large hotel chains may accept travellers' cheques in other currencies. Most establishments near the Canadian border accept...

Festivals & Holidays in United States

There are no compulsory national holidays. Federal holidays are the most central holidays, but they are officially recognised only by the federal government; federal offices, banks and post offices are closed on these days. Nearly all states and municipalities also observe these holidays, as well as a handful of...

Internet & Communications in United States

By phone National calls The country code for the United States is +1. The area code for long-distance calls (local area code) is also "1", so US telephone numbers are often written as an eleven-digit number: "1-nnn-nnn-nnn". The rest of the phone number consists of ten digits: a three-digit area code...

Traditions & Customs in United States

Given its size, the US is a very diverse country, which means that cultural norms can vary greatly from region to region and it is difficult to generalise about what might and might not be offensive. For example, while homophobic remarks would be highly offensive in a liberal region...

Language & Phrasebook in United States

Almost all Americans speak English. Most Americans speak with accents that are recognisable among themselves and with the accent traditionally associated with the Midwest, popularised in the 20th century by American radio, television and cinema. Although many Americans can recognise differences between various accents, the accents most likely to...

Culture Of United States

The United States is home to many cultures and a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions and values. With the exception of Native Americans, Hawaiians and the people of Alaska, almost all Americans or their ancestors have settled or immigrated within the last five centuries. The predominant American culture...

History Of United States

Indigenous and European contact The first inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia across the Bering land bridge, arriving at least 15,000 years ago, although growing evidence suggests an even earlier arrival. Some, like the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture and state societies. After first contact by...

Stay Safe & Healthy in United States

Stay Safe in United States Crime Big headline-grabbing crimes and slightly unfavourable statistics give the United States a reputation for crime. However, there are few visitors who have problems; common sense precautions and vigilance are enough to avoid problems. Crime in the inner cities is mostly related to gangs and drugs,...



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