The United States of America is a land of many climates, lively cities and natural wonders. Situated in the middle of North America, the country comprises 48 mainland states, as well as Hawaii and Alaska. American Samoa, Guam, Marianas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands round out the list of U.S. territories.
Travellers can find a variety of experiences in U.S. cities. Whether you want to take in the energy and creativity of New York City or soak up some sun and entertainment in Los Angeles, there’s truly something for everyone. New England features plenty of history and picturesque scenery, especially in autumn during foliage season when leaves turn bright shades of yellow, orange and red. Music-lovers can take a road trip along the Blues Highway from New Orleans, through Mississippi and Memphis to Chicago.
In the South, Florida’s beaches and theme parks will wow you. Head to Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld for some family fun.
California lines a large part of the West Coast, featuring everything from wine country, a rugged coastline and the Sierra Nevada mountains to the north to the southern cities of Los Angeles (home to Hollywood and most of the U.S. entertainment industry) and laid-back San Diego.
Given its size, the climate varies throughout the US but some regions experience the changing seasons more intensely than others. The West Coast enjoys fine weather year-round, while the Pacific Northwest Coast (Washington, Oregon) has cool summers and mild winters. The Midwest is known for its intense summers and winters and frequent tornadoes and thunderstorms, while Florida enjoys the warmest winters on the eastern coast.
There’s never really a bad time to catch flights to the US, but New York is most pleasant in spring and autumn. May and June are comfortably warm, while LA gets hottest in August and September.
San Francisco is pleasant year-round, while Las Vegas is best enjoyed in spring and autumn. Orlando is teeming with families during US summer holidays (July and August), when temperatures can reach 37 degrees Celsius.
Cheap flights to the US are always found during the off season.
Americans love their cars and their road trips, but there are many low-cost airlines, including no-frills leader Southwest, JetBlue, AirTran and Spirit Airlines to fly you around quicker.
If you’re intent on hitting the highways a la Route 66, you’ll find all the major car rental agencies at most US airports, including Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.
By bus: GotoBus.com has a handy online service for more than 100 bus companies and tours throughout the US, from budget to luxury options.
By rail: AmTrak (www.amtrak.com) covers the States and the major cities in Canada. Check online for routes and weekly specials.
(prices quotes are from London)