The United States of America is a vast county and one of the most populous in the world. Its cultural impact over the last century has been immeasurable and the range of things to see and do is inexhaustible. It boasts a stunning and varied topography - with rain-forests, prairies, rugged mountains and scorched deserts. Many of the country's most stunning natural wonders have entered the global consciousness through film and art - including the Yosemite National Park, the Appalachian Mountains, the Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. The USA is home to some of the biggest, most famous and most culturally diverse cities on the planet - including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York and New Orleans. There is something for absolutely everyone in The USA and there is more than can be seen and done her in an entire lifetime.
The USA stretches between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is bordered to the North by icy Canada and to the south by tropical Mexico. Its east coast is a real cultural melting pot and boasts a cultured and cosmopolitain vibe whilst its west coast - the promised land of the American frontiersmen - is a paradise of sun kissed beaches and gorgeous national parks. The Deep South is the land of Mark Twain and Blue Grass - a culturally conservative place with a deeply ingrained tradition of hospitality. Meanwhile, the Midwest is characterised by prairies and vast open spaces.
When: Head out to The USA in the spring or autumn months when the climate is very pleasant and the scenery at its most beautiful.
Where: New York must be the top choice of any cultural enthusiast. The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, the Guggenheim and the Moma are amongst the world's finest art galleries whilst Greenwich village offers trendy bars and cafes and SoHo boasts boutique shopping.
Why: New York is perhaps the most iconic city in the world and one that everyone in the world should see. Amongst its most famous sights are the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Times Square and the Chrysler Building.
When: The USA is great at any time of the year. To catch the party in full-swing you'd be best advised to choose one of the national holidays - like New Years Day or Labour Day.
Where: Las Vegas is perhaps the most hedonistic city anywhere in the world and a fantastic destination for groups of friends. It boasts adrenaline sports, theme parks, museums, bars, restaurants and - of course - Casinos. Whether you're a high roller or not, this is definitely a place to be experienced.
Why: From the Bellagio Fountains to the Eiffel Tower to the Vegas Vic Cowboy Sign, every inch of Las Vegas has been immortalised on the silver screen. Take to the card tables, roulette wheels and one armed bandits of Caesar's Palace, the Casino Royale and the MGM Grand.
When: Head out to The USA in the midsummer when the weather is warm and dry. Alternatively, if you're keen on missing the peak-season crowds, you might prefer to visit in the spring or autumn.
Where: Hawaii is a tropical beach paradise and a fantastic holiday destination for couples. It is home to Mauna Loa - the largest volcano in the world - and it boasts mile upon mile of beautiful coffee and macadamia plantations.
Why: Hawaii boasts vast stretches of gorgeous white sand beaches, fringed by coconut palms and slopping gently down to warm Pacific waters which are teeming with multi-coloured tropical marine life. The capital city Honolulu is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city and home to the beautiful Wakiki Beach.
When: Take the whole family to The USA on the children's summer holidays when the countryside is in bloom.
Where: California is a stunning destination for a family holiday. It is blessed with a gorgeous climate, pristine beaches and fantastic attractions. Disneyland California is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and a place the kids will absolutely love.
Why: As well as the beaches and theme parks, California boasts some of The USA's most stunning scenery. Be sure to see the 300 ft high trees at the Redwood National Park and the iconic granite cliffs of Yosemite and enjoy water sports on the beautiful Lake Tahoe.
The weather varies enormously across The USA and when you decide to go will depend hugely on where you decide to go. The south is humid and subtropical whilst Hawaii and Florida are both tropical. Much of the great plains is semi arid whilst the centre of the country experiences all the extremes you'd expect of an area landlocked in a vast continent. The northernmost sate - Alaska - is subarctic.
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What to expect
The USA is a country that everyone has expectations of. From its vast literary heritage to its huge musical output to the thousands of Hollywood films, it is a country that has represented itself to the world for well over a century now. Nonetheless, It is a place that must be seen in the flesh to be truly experienced. From its vast open spaces to its congested cosmopolitan cities, it is a place of stunning contrasts and a place where there is something for absolutely everyone.
Flight InformationFlights available from:
Belfast International, Birmingham, Dublin, Glasgow, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, SouthendAirlines:
Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Finnair, Iberia, Icelandair, JetBlue, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Air, Thomas Cook, Thomson,