The Best Places to Visit in the USA
Whatever kind of adventure you’re seeking, there's somewhere in the USA that can truly deliver. Whether you’re after an idyllic coastline or bustling city, the country is so diverse you’ll be able to cherry-pick a destination to suit your needs. Below is a selection of the best places worth visiting in the United States.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho
Yellowstone and its 3,000 square miles of wilderness became the world's first national park in 1872. It boasts a natural rugged beauty, complete with diverse wildlife, volcanic springs and dramatic landscapes, all of which make it one of the best places to visit in America. Despite being visited by more than four million people a year you’d be hard pressed to feel crowded, unless you spent your whole time at the park’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful, which erupts every 90 minutes.
If you’re looking for a fun, modern and quirky city then look no further than Portland. The city is home to endless forest hikes and neighbourhoods, perfect for exploring on foot or by bicycle. And while the weather may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s part of what makes the city so interesting, particularly as it's this climate that produces the beautiful scenery it's so famous for, like the abundance of rose gardens. On top of its natural attractions, Portland also offers a thriving food and drinks scene – indulge in artisan beers, food carts and some of the best farmers' markets in the world.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Head to Las Vegas and you’ll find most of the renowned reasons for visiting all concentrated in to one area, commonly referred to as The Strip. Think casinos, hotels, musical productions, shows and eateries – basically everything that makes Vegas famous. However, those that are opposed to visiting the ‘City of Sin’ shouldn’t discount it entirely as Vegas also offers up plenty of activities outside its bustling city centre. There are numerous museums – including the quirky Mob Museum – that are as entertaining as they are educational. There's also adventures to be had in the great outdoors, particularly in nearby Red Rock Canyon, just 20 minutes away.
New Orleans, Louisiana
A trip to New Orleans means you’ll be visiting one of the most unique places in the country, best known for its distinctive French Creole culture, jazz scene, architecture and world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations. Even when visiting the city outside of festival season you’ll still be able to enjoy the year-round party on Bourbon Street, which houses revellers until the early hours of the morning.
Known as the 'Birthplace of America', Philadelphia is where the country’s founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution in 1776; it even served as the country's capital until it was eventually usurped by Washington DC. A trip should include a visit to Independence Hall (to see the Liberty Bell) and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. And if you do nothing else, be sure to try a truly authentic philly cheese steak.
Washington DC is so much more than just the capital of the USA. It's home to a superbly diverse culture, fantastic people and some of the most astounding building and monuments in the country. Those with a political or historical interest will certainly want to visit the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, some of which can be visited all at once with a trip to the National Mall.
San Francisco, California
Iconicised by the red steelwork of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco draws visitors from all over the world, each wanting to drive, walk or cycle across the famously foggy suspension bridge, with unrivalled views across the Bay. The city itself is a hodgepodge of beautiful scenery and colourful neighbourhoods, bursting with world-class cuisine and a vibrant nightlife. A trip to Fisherman’s Wharf will give enviable views or Alcatraz, or simply enjoy a view of the city from Twin Peaks, not to mention the quintessential San Fran experience of riding a cable car. If all that's not enough, the city is ideally located for a day trip to Yosemite National Park.
Boston boasts an abundance of American history, architecture and some of the best universities in the world – think Harvard and the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Not that we'd expect any less from one of the oldest cities in the USA. In fact, it is the home of the first municipal public library as well as the first subway system, public school and park. And if the history (and a great culinary scene) isn't enough, being in New England, Boston is also a particularly pretty place to be in spring and autumn.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
A visit to the Grand Canyon is a firm entry on many a bucket list. The Canyon is 277 miles long, a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide in places – 'Grand' doesn't quite do it justice. Located in the north of Arizona this natural wonder has been carved by the Colorado River over several million years. While not actually the deepest or the longest canyon on the planet, its overwhelming size and colourful landscape offers sights that are hard to match and well worthy of the reputation.
New York City, New York
New York is what most tourists think of when they think of a typical American city. Nicknamed The City That Never Sleeps and made up of five boroughs, New York City its known worldwide for its skyscrapers and tourists attractions, like the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square. If you wanted to squeeze in a trip to Niagara Falls too then New York City is in prime position for it – you can fly from Manhattan to Buffalo (near the American side of the Falls) in under an hour.
Big Sur, California
The coastline here isn’t really made for swimming but it certainly is swoonworthy and will make everyone jealous of your holiday pictures. You can explore the coast in a variety of ways, either on foot or by bicycle, or spring for a helicopter tour to take in all the natural wonders it has to offer, driving will allow you to experience once of the most scenic road trips of your life. The Highway is dotted with spas and retreats, intermingled with restaurants and art galleries. There's even a spot nearby where you can spot elephant seals. The area is also perfect for a camping trip (more glamorous options like yurts are available) overlooking the ocean as part of an active vacation.