USA

Nothing prepares you for your first glimpse of Manhattan’s iconic skyline, the yawning expanses of the Grand Canyon or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas, just some of the country’s many highlights.

A holiday in the US is as exotic and different as anywhere else in the world. The question is where to go; the country is vast and varied and can be visited anytime of the year depending on location. If you want miles of emptiness, vast landscapes and big skies consider Wyoming, Montana and Nevada. After glamour, bustle and old world charm consider the East Coast and the buzz of New York. For laidback fashion and style, take in the West Coast.

Seattle is an excellent place to begin your journey of the West Coast. The “Emerald City” has been immortalised in films such as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail and with its scenic beauty and easy going pace it is not hard to be entranced by this special spot.

Continue South to California, big on most things: cities, views, experiences and iconic images. The Golden State is best viewed by driving down Pacific Highway One where you encounter such picturesque spots as Big Sur, Carmel (where Clint Eastwood was Mayor) and the beautiful Redwood National Park.

The fascinating city of San Francisco is synonymous with The Golden Gate Bridge, trams and Alcatraz it is still known for its free thinking spirit and fun attitude to life.

Los Angeles sprawls along the Pacific Coast meandering from Malibu to Long Beach. Although Disneyland may be the city’s most prominent attraction, there are also cultural institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Getty Museum and the LA Philharmonic.

For ultimate decadence, excess and glamour head to Las Vegas. Set in the arid Mojave Desert this town really never does sleep. The hotels are amongst the most lavish and opulent in the world and in stark contrast to the Death Valley which is home to one of the most unique landscapes in the country.

Wyoming, otherwise known as the ‘Cowboy State’, is home to the Wild West legend Buffalo Bill. It is also home to two great national parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone which is the oldest park on earth. This is a state for fabulous outdoor adventures with epic hiking, camping and climbing. Stay in a dude ranch and experience life as a cowboy while exploring Yellowstone with its geysers, mud pots, lakes and canyons. The park is renowned for wildlife including grizzlies, black bears, otters and owls.

An enormous country stretching roughly 3,000 miles (4,800km) from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, the US prides itself on being a melting pot of cultures from all over the world.

New Mexico has a style that is truly unique being at the centre of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures. Nowhere else in the US do you get 300 year old haciendas sitting side by side state of the art modern buildings.

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The East Coast is best known for the huge, thriving and bustling cities of New York and Boston. Away from the crowds of these urban metropolises are some beautiful areas which are too often neglected. Vermont has a picture postcard beauty and is famous for its country inns, covered bridges and recreational activities. Full of history and diversity Massachusetts offers everything from cobbled streets and village greens to space-age technology centres. Cape Cod, a favourite of the Kennedy family, is great for exploring wild marshes and taking a solitary walk on its pristine beaches.

The Sunshine State of Florida will appeal to the visitor in search of fun, thrills and spills. Disneyland offers the visitor a fun filled family time but it is not the only attraction that Florida has to offer. With its winding waterways, freshwater lakes, forests and islands it really is a slice of paradise. Miami offers glitz and glamour for those that favour an eccentric nightlife while Palm Beach allows you to wallow in its colonial and stucco architecture.

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Alaska is the largest state in the USA. With over three million lakes and three thousand rivers, glaciers, national parks, reserves and monuments this state is a nature lover’s paradise. From December until March it is possible to see the Northern Lights and to this day Alaska remains one the last frontiers housing some of the most pristine wilderness areas left anywhere in the world. One of the most rewarding things to do in Alaska is to cruise the world famous Inside Passage, formed millions of years ago by enormous glaciers and today boasts fjords filled with wildlife including bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises and whales.

An enormous country stretching roughly 3,000 miles (4,800km) from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, the US prides itself on being a melting pot of cultures from all over the world.

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