Thanks to movies and television, the United States may be the one country anyone in the world is familiar with. And yet, all the films and shows ever made cannot even begin to fully capture what this country is all about. After all, with 50 states flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain, the country is too large a place to explore. In fact, with all the different peoples who have come to this “New World” in search of the American Dream, the US is simply a larger-than-life melting pot. From endless desert to soaring mountains, centuries-old towns to bustling cities, the US always has something cookin’.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Nestled on the east side of Mt. Desert Island and surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor features some of the most spectacular scenery on the Eastern Seaboard. The rock-bound coast, soaring granite cliffs, majestic mountains and blue waters have attracted the Rockefellers, Astors, and Vanderbilts for over 200 years, and continue to enchant visitors today.
- Beautiful Acadia National Park, which you can explore on foot or a mountain bike. See Cadillac Mountain and the natural rock formations of Thunder Hole. Journey over hand-cut stone bridges to arrive at Jordan Pond House, where you can take in the beautiful scenery of Penobscot Mountain and Bubbles Hill while enjoying popovers and tea.
- The Asticou Inn overlooking Northeast Harbor, where you can enjoy an elegant lunch. Stroll through the Asticou Gardens or visit the quaint shops and boutiques of Main Street. You'll also see Somes Sound, the only fjord on the East Coast.
- The charming boutiques of Bar Harbor for local crafts and other gifts.
- Miles of protected coastline and the many offshore islands, which you can explore on a sea-kayaking adventure.
- A lobster bake with all the trimmings, a local favourite. Corn, potatoes and even blueberry pie often accompany this delicious, casual meal.
The cradle of the American Revolution and one of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston remains the metropolitan center of New England. With an unrivaled history, old New England charm and cosmopolitan sophistication, Boston offers a fascinating travel experience to any visitor.
- The cobblestone and brick Freedom Trail leads you to many monuments of Boston's rich history. At Boston Common, pass the site of the Boston Massacre, then go on to Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere's House and Charlestown, among many other places central to American history. You'll find out why they call Boston "The Walking City."
- The original Filene's Basement, a local landmark in the actual basement of Filene's, for bargains.
- Boston Common, to retrace the footsteps of the ducks in the book, “Make Way for Ducklings,” or take a ride on the legendary swan boats.
- Fenway Park, one of the oldest baseball venues in America.
- Harvard Square's streets, dating from 1631, which has famous bookstores, eclectic shopping, art galleries, cultural theatres, and some of the best dining in all of Boston.
- A tour of the best of Boston on the DUCK, a WWII water-landing vehicle. Soak up a view of the skyline while your "ConDUCKtor" enlightens you with fun facts and insights.
- New England clam chowder, not just a soup around here, but an institution. A popular choice with locals is Legal Seafood's Inaugural Clam Chowder.
Catalina Island, California
Santa Catalina Island has been inhabited for more than 7,000 years, ever since the Pimungan tribe settled there, attracted by the island's rich marine life. Yet Catalina's true popularity dates from 1919, when chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley purchased the island development. Overnight Catalina secured its reputation as a playground for wealthy magnates and movie stars.
Only twenty miles off the coast of Los Angeles, this throwback to a more genteel era is a favorite playground of the boat set. Home to America's oldest fishing club, Catalina is the West Coast's answer to Martha's Vineyard - with its quaint boutiques and eateries, and its unique penchant for pleasing visitors.
- The area’s natural beauty, which draws yachtsmen, deep-sea fishermen and divers, as well as weekend tourists. Buffalo, imported for a 1924 movie, roam the island's arid uplands. Offshore, kelp beds shelter brightly coloured Garibaldi fish, barking sea lions and playful seals. Gray whales pass on their annual migration, and dolphins are a frequent sight.
- Wrigley Mansion and Holy Hill House, lavish mansions in what once was the exclusive domain of the rich and famous.
The Big Island. The Orchid Isle. The Volcano Island. You'd expect a place that has inspired so many descriptive nicknames to be a land of rare beauty and wonder. Such is the island of Hawaii. Its 4,050 square miles are home to the snow-capped, 14,000-foot peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the fiery landscape of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, vast macadamia nut plantations, black-sand beaches, orchid-filled forests and posh resorts. Explore the wonders of Kilauea Volcano up close on a walk through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You'll be amazed by the incredible beauty and power of this active volcano
Hawaii's capital is indeed the jewel city of the Pacific. From Diamond Head and the world-famous beaches of Waikiki, to the inspiring memorials of Pearl Harbor and the Punchbowl National Cemetery, to the only royal palace ever constructed on U.S. soil. By far the most popular destinations in Oahu, Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial are moving tributes to important historic events. Experience the serenity of the Punchbowl National Cemetery, featuring the "Courts of the Missing."
This largest community on Maui hosts both the Island’s airport and several malls and major stores. Serving as Maui’s retail center, it does have several attractions visitors and kama’aina find of interest, such as museums, arts centers and beach parks.
Just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Kahului and Wailuku is 'Iao Valley. When you get out of your car at the top of the long winding road you'll be struck by the crisp mountain air, so different from the warm humidity you left just moments ago. It often rains in this valley, but forge ahead: the beauty of the park is apparent even in cloudy weather. Stand at the foot of the famed 'Iao Needle. This geological phenomenon is a 2,250-foot basaltic core that remained after water washed away the weaker stones surrounding it. In fact, what you see of the West Maui Mountains are the remnants of erosion over millions of years. Both sides of Maui began as domed shield volcanoes. The ruggedness of the West Maui's shows their 1-million-year age, older than Haleakala.
Located along Hawaii's western shore, where the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai meet the sea, the Kona Coast is a region of endless lava fields and golden Pacific sunsets. The clear waters are perfect for diving, snorkeling, and deep-sea fishing. At the heart of the Kona Coast lies the charming resort village of Kailua. Because two other "Kailuas" exist within the state, the Big Island's Kailua is often called Kailua-Kona for clarity.
Los Angeles (San Pedro), Calif
An exciting semitropical city of palm trees, swimming pools, television studios and aerospace factories, Los Angeles is one of the world's most exciting cities and the movie-making capital of the world. Wherever you visit, from ritzy Beverly Hills to the wondrous Hollywood Bowl, you'll have an unforgettable stay.
- Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. Stop by Disney's California Adventure park, an idealized version of California from its gold-mining history to its colorful present.
- The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, former site of the Academy Awards.
- Olvera Street, the original site of the small Mexican village that eventually became L.A.
- Mann's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, for the footprints and handprints of your favorite movie stars and celebrities.
South Florida's exciting, international city is much more than the gateway to Latin America. From the chic elite of South Beach to the sparkling beaches, unrivalled nightlife, unique culinary experiences and Latin flavour - it’s one of the world's most popular vacation destinations, a city rich in heritage and diversity, where you can have lots of options to choose from.
- Miami Beach, one of Miami's most popular attractions, where you can see supermodels and celebrities beside octogenarians in pastel plaid. This diversity PLUS the wide, sandy beaches and clean, warm water draw tourists to the beach.
- The Everglades, the only subtropical preserve in North America. A guide will tell you about the many birds and foliage found in the River of Grass. Then explore the Glades on a 40-minute airboat ride, and see an Indian village, alligator wrestling and even a wildlife show.
- The world-famous Art Deco District of South Beach, then Brickell Avenue, the financial heart of Miami, then the bohemian village of Coconut Grove and its lush vegetation. Finally, a drive through Coral Gables will take you past the Biltmore Hotel, the Venetian Pool and Miracle Mile.
- Cruise along the calm waters of Biscayne Bay on the Island Queen, where you can marvel at the homes of the rich and famous.
- Snorkeling or scuba diving off Key Biscayne in John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park, a protected section of the Florida Reef.
The Garden Isle of Kauai is the tropical paradise that dreams are made of: a land of towering ocean cliffs and impossibly green valleys, pristine rain forests and cascading waterfalls as well as some of the world's most photographed beaches. Take a helicopter ride over Waimea Canyon, the valleys and cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, the Valley of the Lost Tribe, and the wettest spot on earth, the Waialeale Crater. Along the way, keep your eyes open for familiar scenery from popular movies, including Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
New York City, New York
From the bright lights of Broadway and Times Square to the city's world-renowned museums, shopping, and vast culinary choices - you'll never run out of things to do in the city that never sleeps. It's an incredibly diverse and active place, consisting of an intricate patchwork of neighborhoods, each with its own character and history, yet seamlessly coexisting.
- Times Square, the Crossroads of the World. From the bright lights of Broadway to the myriad stores and shopping, there's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.
- The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, and one of the most enduring symbols of political freedom. From its observation deck, enjoy spectacular views of New York City and the Harbour.
- Central Park, every New Yorker’s retreat from the concrete jungle. This 843-acre park in the middle of the city is a tribute to good urban design. With its winding paths, ponds, lakes and massive green spaces, it's a frequent venue for outdoor concerts, art performances, sunbathers, joggers, walkers and picnics.
The financial, commercial, and transportation nucleus of the Garden State, Newark also is a thriving cultural hub, filled with events and attractions for visitors from near and far. From festivals and parades to museums and musical venues, there something for everyone in Newark.
To say nothing of the diverse culinary adventures awaiting inquisitive palates. Portuguese, Spanish, Brazilian, Greek, and soul food are but a few of the many cuisines to be found in Newark's restaurants. Home to the Weequahic Golf Course, the Newark Bears baseball team, and numerous parks and recreation centers, Newark also is a destination for sports enthusiasts. And with the new Train-to-Plane direct link from Newark International Airport and more than a few hotels, Newark is both easy to get to and a great place to stay.
Newport, Rhode Island
A thriving seaport in colonial days, then a summer playground for wealthy 19th-century families, Newport, Rhode Island lies just south of Boston and north of New York City. From the city’s cobblestone streets, charming wharves and millionaire mansions - architecture, design and history buffs will find much to interest them here.
- Harbour Newport, which boasts splendid historic mansions, a lovely harbour and rustic natural beaches close to town that make it the perfect base for those who enjoy sailing, swimming and long walks.
- The fabulous millionaire mansions on Newport’s clifftops. From Renaissance, rococo, French and Victorian, they’re a showcase of extravagance in all its forms!
- The Breakers, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s 70-room “cottage” that was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, who was also responsible for Marble House, the summer home of William K. Vanderbilt.
- Rosecliff, a mansion inspired by the Versailles’ Grand Trianon, and featured in the film The Great Gatsby.
- The Elms, coal magnate E.J. Berwind’s mansion that was inspired by the Château d’Asnieres outside Paris.
- Blithewold Mansion, the 45-room, turn-of-the-century estate located outside Newport on the shores of Narragansett Bay.
- Rough Point, the legendary estate of heiress Doris Duke, which houses one of the most remarkable private collections of art.
- Ocean Drive, the world-famous scenic drive which features spectacular views of Newport's rugged coastline and the magnificent homes perched along the way.
Portland offers a unique combination of Maine's rich history and its own vibrant culture. Local artisans offer their handiwork along the streets of the Arts District and the Old Port Exchange. Colourful boats line the shores of Casco Bay, and wonderful freshly cooked seafood abounds in this charming seaside town.
- The Old Port Exchange, the heart of downtown Portland, which features a collection of 19th-century brick buildings originally constructed to support the vast export and fishing industries. Today, this quaint, restored area houses specialty shops, restaurants and pubs.
- Victoria Mansion, one of America's most significant Victorian homes, dating back to 1858. The interior is all original, with antique furniture, carpets, ceramics and wall decorations.
- Wadsworth-Longfellow House in downtown Portland, childhood home of 19th-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which features an interesting collection of Maine's historical artifacts.
- Kennebunkport, a truly classic Maine village with Victorian-style mansions built by sea captains and 19th-century merchants. Stroll the same quaint streets as famous resident, former President George Bush. Visit the center of town, Dock Square, and immerse yourself in the fashionable boutiques, shops, galleries and small restaurants.
- Freeport, home of the world-famous L.L. Bean and over 100 other stores, from designer boutiques to unique Maine artisan shops.
- The Portland Head Lighthouse, the most photographed lighthouse in North America. It has illuminated 200 years of American history, from the time George Washington ordered its construction in 1787.
The small town of Rockland is in a part of the Maine coast world famous for its mountainous and rocky shore with hundreds of harbors and inlets, and for some of the best cruising waters anywhere for sailing and boating. Rockland can give you an entrancing look at the simple life - local residents are proud of being coastal Mainers, and have a strong sense of place and of history. Strike up a conversation on the dockside, or along the historic Main Street, and get a sense of what makes Maine so special.
- The Maine Lighthouse Museum, for an in-depth look at Rockland’s maritime history from the most important collection of lighthouse artifacts and Coast Guard memorabilia in the United States.
- Farnsworth, an excellent art museum featuring many great names in 18th- and 19th-century American art history, as well as the Wyeth Center, which exclusively features works of Andrew, N.C. and Jamie Wyeth - America's first family of art.
- The Rockland Harbor Trail, the best way to discover Rockland, a public footpath of more than four miles along the historic waterfront of Rockland Harbor. Take a close-up look at the working waterfront with its busy fishing and lobster boats, sailboats, and the nation's largest schooner fleet, enjoy vistas across rocky headlands and sparkling ocean, and stroll out to the majestic lighthouse.
- Penobscot Bay, which offers many diversions : fishing; windjammer rides; sea kayaking or canoeing; day cruises to view the islands, flocks of puffins, seals and lighthouses. Granite shorelines and hidden beaches with spectacular rock formations and shimmering tidal pools await you.
- Island hopping to nearby Vinalhaven, North Haven or Monhegan, accessibly by ferry, each with its own unique flavor and worth exploring. Smaller islands, including Matinicus, can be reached by charter boats or by air.
- The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, a sentinel at the end of the mile-long granite breakwater - a lovely walk on a summer day. More lighthouses abound in the area.
- Clear lakes inland to swim in, venerable coastal mountains to climb and parks for picnics.
- Georges Highland Path, a hiking trail that takes you through the hills and mountains of the Georges River watershed. Georges River Scenic Byway, a scenic drive from the inland town of Liberty to the beautiful coastal village of Port Clyde. Stop at a local lobster pound and enjoy fresh boiled lobster and steamed clams right on the working wharf - an experience you won’t forget.
- Lobster Capital of the World, where the world-famous Maine Lobster Festival takes place every August. You’ll enjoy the sight of lobstermen in colourful wooden lobster boats pulling their traps as they’ve done for over a century. This is the Real Maine.
Today, San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination, renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Chinatown. The city is also a principal banking and finance center, and the home of over 30 international financial institutions.
Seattle is often characterized by its laid-back attitude and rainy climate, but this thriving metropolis also offers one-of-a-kind architecture, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, and a unique urban sophistication. A trip to Seattle isn't complete without visiting Pike Place Market. Here, you can browse the stalls of local merchants and artists, take in a street performance, or watch fishmongers play catch with the catch of the day. Thanks to the fish-abundant waters, Seattle offers fabulous seafood restaurants, ranging from fine dining to casual eating. There's also a great selection of brew pubs, and of course, coffee shops. With lattes and cappuccinos on just about every street corner, Seattle's easygoing attitude seems to be fueled by caffeine.
Tampa, Florida is not only a port - it's a destination full of exciting and fun things to do. Experience beautiful beaches, historical sights, arts, entertainment, fabulous restaurants and, if you have time, the nearby city of St. Petersburg.
- Ybor City, the Cuban district of Tampa, which used to be the centre of production of hand-rolled cigars. Today, this restored area is teeming with restaurants, shops and bars. It's also a National Historic Landmark District with amazing wrought-iron balconies, globe street lights, brick-lined walkways and the majestic architecture of the old cigar factories. This is also the place to sample delicious roast pork, black beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches and other authentic delicacies.
- Busch Gardens, a 330-acre zoo and theme park, with zebras, giraffes, elephants and more, all roaming free in natural surroundings
- The Channelside Shops and the Florida Aquarium, home to an incredible 4,500 animal and plant species. The Aquarium has a wetlands area, activities for the whole family and the only diving shark tank of its kind.
- The impressive Salvador Dali Museum, in nearby St. Petersburg's, which houses the largest collection of Dali's work outside of Spain.
- The beautiful, powdery white beaches of nearby St. Petersburg and Sarasota.