101 Holidays

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Best holidays in America

USA holidaysBest holidays in America

Mike Gerrard By Donna Dailey and Mike Gerrard, Editors of 101 USA Holidays

America, the land of the free, is one of the most exciting holiday destinations in the world. It’s not just a country, but a whole continent from sea to shining sea, encompassing mountains, beaches, desert, forests, buzzing cities and unspoilt wilderness. Here is my pick of some of the best holidays in the USA.

Many visitors don’t look beyond the big gateway cities of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and you’d be forgiven for getting distracted by these beguiling, addictive cities. But of course there’s so much more to see and do. The obvious places to explore include New England and Florida (particularly Orlando), but you might want to look beyond the obvious.

America boasts many more fascinating cities – there’s Boston and Washington D.C. in the East, Seattle in the North West and San Francisco in California. It also boasts some of the world’s most eye-popping natural wonders from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon.

America is home to many of the great cultural icons of the 20th Century – its music, its movies, its architecture and food. Use a music festival such as Jazz Fest in New Orleans as an excuse to plan a visit.

Take a Music & Movies Trail to find the places celebrated in film and song, or you can get your kicks on Route 66.

In New York you’ll never be bored, whether you love soaring buildings, shopping bargains, buzzing bars or art and culture. You can arrive in the Big Apple on a Transatlantic cruise, combine it with Las Vegas or jump in a hire car and explore the beautiful countryside of Upstate New York.

America was built on the back of the automobile and renting a car (or a motorhome) and hitting the open road is still the most exciting and authentic way to experience the country. We’ve collected together some of the most exciting fly-drive itineraries whether you want to explore New England, the Florida Keys or the real Wild West.

You can tour California, explore the fascinating state of Virginia or drive the Civil War route – an emotional experience. Or how about hugging the coast on this route between San Francisco and San Diego.

If you want somebody else to do the driving, you can opt for an escorted coach tour. You’ll find the coaches are spacious and comfortable and the guides excellent. How about this 14-night Western Discovery tour which starts in Los Angeles and takes in Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

With so many exciting destinations on the west and east coasts, it’s easy to ignore the South. Don’t make this mistake. The South is a charming and deeply rich region of America. You can take a tour of Texas or the Southern States of Georgia and the Carolinas All are fascinating.

Florida is by far the most popular state in the South for tourists, whether you’re interested in stylish hotels, deserted beaches or Mickey Mouse and his pals. We recommend theme park fans rent a villa with a private pool in Orlando, and if you want some grown-up glamour head for Miami and the Keys where we love The Setai South Beach and Little Palm Island. There are wonderful beaches at Fort Lauderdale which combines well with Orlando. The B Ocean Resort is great for families.

California and the West Coast need no introduction. As well as boasting exciting cities, it’s a region of awesome natural beautiful and has some superb places to stay such as Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.

Some of the best trips include exploring the Napa Valley or discovering the states of Washington and Oregon on a river cruise. Further north, Alaska is simply stunning. You can see grizzly bears in the wild in Katmai National Park.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can raft down the Grand Canyon, join a camping tour of the Northern Rockies,  or stay on a working cowboy ranch in Colorado. America has some world-class ski resorts, particularly in Colorado for example.

America is a wonderful destination for families, and not just for its theme parks. This trip combines New York with a cowboy ranch and beach stay in California, while this drive along the Florida Keys has plenty of non-Disney attractions. Kids of all ages will love these family adventure holidays.

For the high-brow, you can combine art and opera in New York, or take an expert guided tour of the art galleries of Texas.

The Mid West is the beating heart of rural America, whether you’re exploring the great National Parks or staying on a ranch in the wide open spaces of Colorado. The region also some stunning hotels such as the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale in Arizona.

For more great ideas on where to go on holiday in America, see our sister site, 101 USA holidays. Find the best time to visit America.

Going south of the border? See our full guide to holiday destinations in Latin America.

Last updated: 17 June 2016

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