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USA from coast to shining coast
You know the hasty U.S. tour packages offered everywhere, covering mostly west coast highlights like Grand Canyon, Death Valley, San Francisco, LA/Hollywood and maybe Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert. All fine places, granted, but there is so much more that should get attention from the open-minded tourist.
A good example is the most densely populated part of the U.S.A., New England. Not only is it full of artefacts of Colonial and American History, it happens to be a really beautiful part of the world with endless coasts of sandy beaches, rolling green pastures and high mountains with ski resorts. You can take a five days sailing cruise up or down the coast of Maine in historic Windjammer sailing ships, eating lobster every day and explore the coast from new point of view.
Visiting Boston is an education all by itself and walking the Freedom Trail gives a good idea about the importance of the city for the American Revolution. Hiking in the green hills of Vermont, visiting Mark Twain’s mansion in Hartfort, Connecticut, seeing the WaterFire art happening in Providence, Rhode Island, all this is somewhat under-advertised in Europe. And then there is New York City, biggest city of the U.S. and its commercial centre.
Going to upstate New York to see the Niagara Falls? You just entered another under-appreciated part of the States, the Great Lakes region. Covering an area of around 250,000,000 square kilometres and containing one fifth of earth’s fresh water, the lakes are quite a thing to behold. Going along the lakes takes you far into the Midwest, with Minnesota being the most western state at the lakes. The Huron National Forest north of Detroit lets you forget that Michigan is one of most highly industrialized states of the U.S.A., while Chicago on the southern tip of Lake Michigan in Illinois reminds you that this is the industrial heartland of the U.S.
You can tour the lakes by historical steamboat or ride the Great Lakes Circle Tour, a road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Road Trips are generally a great way to sea big portions of the U.S. in a relatively short time. There is much more than the iconic Route 66 from Chicago to L.A., which was a major internal immigration trail during the Great Depression. There is the Appalachian Trail, where you can either go hiking for about a year from Maine in New England to Georgia in the Deep South or take the car and do it in a week. It includes the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, along which billboards and commercial traffic are banned.
From Georgia’s capital Atlanta you can go further south to Florida and its famous beaches or southwest to New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz and the finest cuisine in the U.S. by far. There is still so much left: the southwest with Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, the Rocky Mountains, Yosemite and Yellowstone Park, Joshua Tree and Arches National Park, the list goes on and on.
Whatever you miss on you current trip to the U.S.A., there will be another flight to bring you there again and again.