North America is vast - the USA and Canada are both more than 40 times the size of the UK, which goes some way to explain the rich and diverse nature of this continent. Every state and province has something unique to offer, each being proud of their culture, landscape and attractions. Whether your interest lies in big cities or sandy beaches, or perhaps thrilling theme parks or wildlife watching, your choices will be many - in fact, you can probably enjoy all of the above in the same state! Many of you will also have friends and relatives living in North America so visiting them is easy to include in your own, personalised holiday itinerary.
New York is probably the most iconic city in the US, and easily combined with Boston, Philadelphia and Washington via Amtrak's extensive rail network. With over 20,000 cities it's difficult to recommend just a handful, but highlights would include Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Austin & San Diego. Smaller cities offer a more relaxed visit, such as Key West, Santa Fe and Charleston.
Canada boasts the longest coastline in the world, at over 125,000 miles long, although much sitting in the Artic Circle! The biggest coastlines in the USA are in California and Florida, where you will find some of the best beaches for pure relaxation and recreation. The beautiful shores of the Hawaiian Islands and white powder beaches in the Caribbean and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula are highlights of the west and east coasts respectively.
There is nowhere that compares to the USA when it comes to theme parks. From the mega-parks of Disney, Universal and Sea World, to the lesser known historic parks of Dollywood in the Great Smoky Mountains and Silver Dollar City if the Ozarks. There is truly something for every taste and even if your itinerary doesn't take you to these places, you'll find parks dotted across the USA in all sorts of unexpected locations.
Ecosystems flourish in North America due to careful preservation measures, making the experience especially magical. Well known icons of this continent can be spotted, such as grizzly/black bears, elk, whales, alligator, bald eagles, bison, moose and manatee, but also many other that don't necessarily spring to mind. Others to check out include wild wolves at Yellowstone, crane migration in Nebraska and elephant seals in California.
For outdoor adventure, you probably can't beat what Canada has to offer. Along with elite ski resorts, and myriad hiking trails, other soft adventure options include rafting, dog-sledding, kayaking, surfing, camping and cycling. Not to be outdone, the National Parks of the US also offer great destinations for the adventurous, amid stunning scenery, in locations such as Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, Yellowstone, Acadia, Yosemite & Kauai.
Both Canada and the US boast some of the best ski resorts in the world, for skiers and snowboarders alike. Most are located in the Rocky Mountains that stretch 3000 miles from the top of New Mexico in the US to the top of British Columbia in Canada. Popular resorts, across North America, include Vail, Aspen, Killington, Telluride, Whistler, Squaw Valley, Breckenridge, Sun Peaks, Big White, Beaver Creek, Tremblant and Killington.
Although Columbus is often credited with discovering the Americas in 1492, it had been inhabited for 1000s of years before then by what we now refer to as Native Americans. Important reminders of these indigenous people, many still living there today, can be seen in New Mexico, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado and the Dakotas. While modern day culture of art galleries, opera and museums fill every US/Canadian city.
Many notable events have helped shape this continent and are remembered in many parts of the USA today. Such events include the Pilgrim's Landing, signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, American Civil War, the abolition of slavery, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Apollo moon landing and the September 11th attacks.
Music has been vital to the evolution of the Americas, from cultural beginnings, influenced by those who moved here from Europe & Africa, to pure entertainment of a live concert. For authentic Blues, head to Chicago; for Jazz it would be New Orleans or Alabama; for Country Music head to Nashville, or a short hop to Memphis for Rock 'n' Roll; for Grunge head to Seattle; and for Hip Hop it's go to be New York.
With so much coastline, seafood is a big deal in North America, with some of the finest being served in Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Maryland and Maine (famous for lobster and crab respectively!). Much maligned a generation ago, American wine is now competing with the best in the World, especially from vineyards in California, Oregon, British Columbia, Ontario and Washington State.
Or should we say glamping? Escape from it all and stay in a luxury tent in some of the most stunning locations, such as Zion, Bryce, Acadia, Grand Canyon, Gt Smoky Mountains, Lake Powell, Yellowstone and Glacier. Or for those with an interest in horsemanship, a ranch may suit better. We can recommend your ideal match, from 100s of ranches, from dude and resort-style, to authentic working ranches.
Probably the most popular sport to enjoy whilst in the USA and Canada is Golf, with over 17,000 courses to chose from, suiting all levels and budgets. However, watching sport is also something you could include in your trip, and certainly something that would make you feel immersed in the passion felt by many American's about their beloved teams. Highlights include basketball, baseball, ice hockey & football.