Top American movies and TV shows have made cities like New York and Boston familiar around the world. From The Sopranos to Friends, Carrie and her pals from Sex and the City to the bar flies from Cheers, following in the footsteps of your favourite characters makes for a fun tour and a fascinating look at the local film industry.
After a full day at the theme parks, it’s great to relax in the comfort of your own rental home – particularly one that has its own private swimming pool. Self-catering will save you money, and give you a lot more space to spread out. It’s a perfect option for a family or group of friends.
Most British visitors only see the Great Lakes by flying over them, admiring the greatest expanse of freshwater in the world, but at ground level they’re even more awe-inspiring. Discover beautiful beaches and dunes, fresh and tasty food, the quiet communities and outdoor lifestyle that all make this region such a wonderful revelation.
On our travels around the USA over the years we’ve fallen in love at different times with amazing places like the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Bryce Canyon, San Francisco and Yosemite, so one tour that takes in all those places, and more, is something pretty special. You’ll be falling in love with the American West every single day.
Cape Cod with its beaches, offshore islands, wonderful seafood, whale-watching and fishing, attracts VIP visitors as well as regular American holidaymakers. We can think of no better way to enjoy it than to follow those VIPs and rent a private home to share with friends, and enjoy the fresh-air lifestyle and perfect blue-sky summer weather.
Redondo is one of the South Bay beaches where California’s beach culture was born, so there’s no better place to catch the waves and ocean breeze. Live the lifestyle in a beach house, giving you easy access to local markets, cafes and restaurants as well as popular attractions in Santa Monica, Hollywood, Los Angeles and beyond.
Taking the garden path is a delightful way to approach two of the East Coast’s greatest cities. Stroll Manhattan’s High Line and Central Park, then visit the renowned Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the lush estate gardens of the Hudson Valley and several outstanding gardens with native trees and plant species in historic Philadelphia.
If getting there is half the fun then there’s no doubt that cruising to New York beats flying any time – and needn’t be that much more expensive. Crossing the Atlantic on a luxury liner like the Queen Mary 2, and watching for the Statue of Liberty to welcome you in the distance, is the most thrilling way to arrive.
People don’t always appreciate how inexpensive the USA is. We love cheap diners and shopping bargains, the low price of bus travel and budget airfares. Accommodation too is affordable, but low cost doesn’t mean low quality. Far from it. And it’s much easier to meet people, too, staying in hostels and eating in diners.
Driving the coral islands that make up the Florida Keys is like leaving mainland America behind and skipping like a stone towards the Caribbean. The Overseas Highway is an exhilarating drive, taking you to famous names like Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West, as far south as you can go in the USA. Beachfront tiki bars, kayaking with dolphins and luxury resorts add to the charm.
Beyond New York’s Long Island is Rhode Island, where the seaside city of Newport is famous for two things – its Jazz Festival and stunning mansions. One of these, the aptly-named Vanderbilt Grace, is now an intimate hotel where guests are pampered beyond belief for the ultimate indulgent holiday.
Americans themselves choose Hawaii for romantic holidays, and of the main islands, Kaua’i is among our top picks. We love the Garden Isle for its lush exotic landscape, waterfalls, the dramatic sea cliffs of the Napali Coast and the incredible vistas over Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. No wonder Jurassic Park was filmed here.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Chicago and still haven’t done everything we want to do. Its skyscrapers are stunning from the outside, and going to their top decks is not for the nervous. We’ve had the best pizza ever, admired the art and science museums, found the friendliest people and had fun every day. We love Chicago. Everyone loves Chicago.
Seattle is one of the coolest cities in America, exciting in its own right, but also the gateway to a corner of the States we love. The Northwest includes the USA’s only rainforest on the dramatic Olympic Peninsula, the rugged and hauntingly beautiful Oregon coast, and the humbling Giant Redwood trees – just for starters!
Whether you fancy yourself as Jack Kerouac or Thelma and Louise, driving is our favourite way to see America. With air-con and cruise control, exploring its highways and by-ways couldn’t be easier. We recommend Rhino Car Hire for its low prices (and 10% off for 101 visitors!) and over 300 locations available in the US.
If you want to let the good times roll there’s nowhere better than New Orleans. Yet many of its residents have been badly hit by poverty and the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Getting involved in a volunteer project can turn a regular holiday into a life-changing experience – for you and the people you help.
The USA is so renowned for its popular culture that visitors can be surprised to find it has a highbrow side, but New York’s museums and performing venues like the Metropolitan Opera House are among the finest in the world. To stay in Manhattan and spend a night at the Met is to see the city in all its sophistication.
The beautiful scenery of upstate New York is a wonderful contrast to the buzz of New York City. We love the Finger Lakes region for its tranquil beauty and superb wineries, and the thrill of Niagara Falls. Rochester makes a pleasant stop before the lakes and mountains of the Adirondacks, where you can enjoy the great outdoors.
This short but very sweet tour highlights all the things that make Louisiana so captivating. From the French Quarter of New Orleans, you’ll travel through plantation country and stay in a gorgeous antebellum mansion, while exploring homes and gardens, swamps and bayous and the Cajun culture unique to the South.
Movies and music are most people’s first taste of the USA, and to hear country music in Nashville, stand in the Memphis studio where Elvis Presley recorded his first hits, and to hear jazz in New Orleans, the home of Louis Armstrong – well, believe us, it really doesn’t get any better for thrilling, spine-tingling music magic.
Seeing soul legend Wilson Pickett in Denver was one of our greatest music festival memories. And that was only a small local festival. Go to a major event and you’ll be blown away by the line up, the atmosphere and the energy, whether you like rock, country, jazz or folk. For music festivals, there’s no place like the States.
We like to think we’re experts on the best drive in America, the Pacific Coast Highway, and if we had to devise the perfect trip it would be… well, this one. Black Tomato have picked the coolest hotels, sensible drive times, the best places to stop, and hottest car. Next time we go – it’s gotta be a Mustang!
If your family can’t decide between city, ranch and beach, why not do all three. On this luxury private tour, spend a few days sightseeing in Manhattan then fly to Montana where you can camp out under a carpet of stars. Finish off the trip at a stylish family beach resort on the California coast.
The most evocative way to arrive at the Grand Canyon is on the Grand Canyon Railroad. This epic journey begins on the Southwest Chief sleeper train from Chicago to Los Angeles. It also takes in one of our favourite cities, Santa Fe in New Mexico, and a chance to get your Route 66 kicks in Flagstaff, Arizona.