FILLED WITH SOME OF THE MOST FAMOUS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
The USA’s land borders are shared with Canada to its north and Mexico to the south. Within the USA there are 10,000 cities, towns and villages, some of the largest cities within the US are: New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans. The cities are found in the 50 states within the continent, the largest being Alaska and the smallest Rhode Island, these are all located in the 13 regions across the country. These include: New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Florida, Midwest, Texas, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, South West, California, Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. Each of these has their own behaviour and cultures some with their own language history. The US is well known for being the federation of states however it also administers a couple of non-state territories for example, Puerto Rico and The US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Within the country there are three major mountain ranges. The Rockies are estimated the highest in North America extending from Alaska to New Mexico, the national parks surrounding the Mountains offer hiking, camping, skiing and sightseeing experiences and is a very popular tourist area. There is also the Appalachians which spreads from Canada to the state of Alabama, these mountains are the oldest range out of the three and also offers excellent sightseeing and spots to camp. The last of the three, the Sierra Nevada and Cascade are combined ranges and are the youngest out of all of them. The Sierras extend across the ‘backbone’ of California where you can view sights like the Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. At the northern end of Sierras you come to the even younger volcanic Cascade Range, producing some of the highest points in the country.
The USA is made up of a range of varied ethic groups and the culture within the country varies massively across its area, even within the cities. Highly populated cities like New York, for example, have hundreds of different ethnicities within it. Regardless of there being this difference, there still is a strong sense of National identity and certain culture traits. Most Americans believe in personal responsibility and that the individual can determine their own success or failure. However, you will find that States in the South are very different culturally from States in the North. The country has a history of mass immigration from the 17th century, and it’s known as the ‘melting pot’ of culture from all around the world. It is renowned for its popular tourist destinations, from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago to the natural wonders of Alaska and Yellowstone to the warm sunny beaches of California, Florida and Hawaii.
The weather can vary widely across the USA; this is due to the differences in latitude, and the range of geographical features which include Mountains and Deserts. The continental United States lies in the temperate zone just north of the Tropic of Cancer, although far southern Florida has a Tropical climate. Generally in USA summers are hot and humid in the plains and southern states, while the southwest is very hot and tends to be quite dry. California and Florida usually have endless summers, whilst in the Pacific Northwest and New England states their summers are warm with cool mornings and pleasant evening conditions. Winters in most southern states are mild, whilst in the north, northeast, plain states and in the western mountains their winter conditions are often very cold with heavy snow and sub-freezing temperatures.
In spring and slightly summer the USA tends to witness very severe weather in the form of thunderstorms, shocking tornadoes are also very common in the spring and summer months mostly in the central regions of the USA. You may see the occasional Hurricane on the eastern coastline and Gulf of Mexico states in June through to October.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
You can visit America any time of the year, with the country being so well spread means there is a variety of climate and seasons throughout the year. The best time to visit would depend on where you are going in the USA and what you want to see. The general peak season for tourists travelling runs from May through to September, however, spring and fall are the prettiest months on the east and west coast.
If you are travelling to the East Coast then May and June are perfect months to travel with temperatures ranging from 65-80°F. In Maine and New England the weather during these times are very cool and also very pleasant in New York and Washington DC. Slightly more south in Florida June is the time when the weather starts to get very warm with temperatures reaching 90°F, you may also expect irregular rainfall at this time of year as well. In the summer months of July and August can get very hot with temperatures reach highs of 100°F, it can get very hot and humid in these months particularly in Florida and New York. The winter months in the East Coast can get really cold in the northeast with snowfall and snowstorms being very common.
In the West coast, the likes of California, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe are perfect to visit April through to October with temperatures being pleasantly warm in the range of 50-70°F. The rain begins to start in November but is never too heavy or miss pleasing. Winters are fairly cool and temperatures rarely fall from the months before. Ski enthusiasts will have a great time in the Aspen Colorado in the winter as the ski slopes are powdery and best for skiing at this time. Yosemite Park is best visited in May and June but tends to produce large crowds. It is prettiest in October when it is Americas fall foliage.
Health & Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements when travelling to the US but we would recommend you check with your local doctor to make sure you are up to date with all free vaccination jabs that you may have a risk of getting. For example; Flu Jab, Hepatitis A + B.
Passport & Visa
When travelling to the USA your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. The US immigration officials have said they will accept British passports extended by 12 months as long as it was done by British Embassies and Consulates under exceptional measures put in place in mid-2014. However, you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate before travelling.
When travelling to the US any British Citizen will need to apply for a VWP to allow them to travel within the country for up to 90 days. The types of journeys you can do under the VWP include tourist visits, certain types of business trips and transit to another country. You won’t qualify to enter the Us under the VWP if you have a British passport that describes your nationality as something other than ‘British Citizen’ or if your passport has been extended by 12 months under exceptional measure put in place in mid-2014 and therefore you will need to apply for a Visa from your nearest US Embassy or Consulate. The people travelling under the VWP arriving to the country by air or sea should provide details online 72 hours before you travel. This is known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). If you do not have an ESTA you’ll be refused travel to the USA. If you are arriving by land, you do not need to complete an ESTA before you arrive at the border.
WHERE TO STAY