The self proclaimed greatest country on earth is a vast land of diversity, not always unified but most certainly dramatic, inspiring and endearing. Whether you are reading this from within the country, across the pond or from the other side of the world, the chances are that you have been affected by American culture in some way or another. From Michael Jackson to Michael Jordon, Abe Lincoln to Barack Obama, Harrison Ford to Henry Ford, the people, technology and entertainment exports are undeniable. When you visit America for the first time its easy to go in with a fairly solid opinion of the country without ever having set foot on the continent. Part of the fun is in witnessing the stereotypes come alive, but also in the constant surprises that arise when you venture out and encounter the vibrant people and unimaginable landscapes in which they live.
The majority of foreign tourists will tend to focus on the major cities as travel destinations, and there are some impressive cities to pick from. Perhaps New York with its famous skyscrapers, statues and park. San Francisco with its quaint neighborhoods, near vertical streets, Alcatraz and old cable cars. Chicago with its mob history, Lake Michigan beaches, food and blues music. Perhaps New Orleans for some classic southern food, crazy nights out and the lovely French Quarter. Oh and have you ever heard of Las Vegas? These, just to name a few are vacation worthy in their own right, and each city so culturally and architecturally different from the other it may seem like you are in another country.
Outside of the major cities is where I personally fell in love with America. The natural wonders that can be witnessed closed up in this single, vast nation is endless. The Appalachian Mountains on the East, Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes, the spectacular Cascades and the Rocky Mountains as you head West. The vast deserts of the South East, the insanely beautiful wilderness areas and National Parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, and of course the practically endless wilderness of Alaska. Few countries boast the complexity, diversity and sheer vastness that America has to offer. It could take a lifetime to explore any one of these natural wonders, and yet to the modern traveler, they are all accessible to some degree for you to enjoy.
Pick your trip wisely, but don’t worry about seeing everything on your first go, it’s impossible, and besides, I’m pretty certain you’ll be back a few more times.