Statue of Liberty ferry New York

USA: where to go?

Whatever your views about America and Americans, one thing’s for sure; you can’t ignore them. They’ve played a huge role in the recent history of our planet, and there’s nothing like a visit to the USA to gain a true perspective on the country and its citizens. A trip to America is unlike a trip to any other country, as it’s akin to fifty countries joined together, all sharing a common purpose, yet each one espousing its own different cultural identity and aims.

Statue of Liberty ferry New York
Statue of Liberty ferry, New York

Unless you’re leisure-rich and have time to wander all over, accept the fact that you’ll never see it all and concentrate your efforts on one particular city or state. Car rental in the US is easy to arrange and plentiful, making it easy to get about with total freedom and flexibility. The whole of this magnificent country is at your disposal. However, exactly where to go is a problem, as there’s something to explore and fascinate at every turn. Find out if Chicago is your kind of town, or experience first-hand what made Milwaukee famous, although be sure to leave the car behind on that particular evening.

Starting on the west side, New York just has to be at the top of the to-do list. Standing and marvelling at the sheer size and vibrancy of the city is worth the air fare alone, and on top of that, there are all the regular attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station and a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, to say nothing of shopping at the top stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, along with the thousands of cutting-edge boutique-style outlets selling everything you could possibly imagine. And amidst all that hustle and bustle, there’s Central Park, where you can pack a picnic and go for a long, leisurely walk, swim in Lasker Pool, go boating or even watch a concert.

Moving on, Washington, DC is obviously worth a visit, being the capital city and seat of government, while if you head towards the coast and motor on down south, you come to Florida, famed for its beautiful beaches and legendary Everglades National Park. Covering more than 1.5 million acres, it hosts many rare and endangered species.

Over the other side of the country from the Sunshine State lies the Golden State, perhaps better known as California. Los Angeles and San Francisco are obvious magnets for the traveller, with Hollywood and the Golden Gate Bridge respectively being two of the major attractions. However, there are many places to see outside the cities, such as Big Bear Lake, a real escape from the urban jungle, where you can really connect with nature on one of the many hiking trails.

For those who like country music, a stopover in Nashville will seem like you’ve died and gone to heaven, although anyone less enamoured by the city’s musical heritage will still find it an absorbing and worthwhile place to go, with its civil war history, museums, art galleries and parks.

Wherever you go in the States, you can find evidence of the country’s rich and interesting heritage, as well as a vast range of climates, ecosystems and extreme geographic features. By all means visit the tried and trusted tourist attractions, but do spend time meandering off the beaten track. America is essentially its people and the experience of being there and soaking up the atmosphere. Discover your own restaurants and bars, and meet some real characters with tales to tell, many of whom will be only too pleased to show you parts of their city that the guidebooks never mention.