Welcome to the USA

I often get asked, what makes up the ‘Great American Experience’? And the truth is, I could spend a lifetime telling you, but we don’t have that long, so I’ll give you the Coles Notes. America is a wildly imperfect mosaic of nature’s finest accomplishments, examples of humanity’s greatest achievements and insight into the world’s most eclectic ethnoscapes. Now what does that all mean? It means that if you are a devout nature worshipper, you’ll be among friends; If exploring and and understanding what it means to literally reach for the stars, geek out to your hearts content; If culture, language, food, music and the arts are what drive you, there are more than 350 languages spoken here, more ethnic foods than you can possibly dream up, a music scene the whole world listens to and a passion for self expression so raw, something in you will awaken. The Great American Experience is all of that and more. From the desolation of Death Valley, haunting Oaks and seductive jazz of the deep south, the endlessness of Route 66, bustling cosmopolises of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, the grassy plains of Wyoming to the eerie mists of the Appalachians, America is a living, breathing story in motion.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the United States

  1. There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover both North and South America in 1 foot of water
  2. America’s truly one big family – It’s estimated that 1 in 10 Americans is related to one of the original 102 pilgrims that arrive on the Mayflower back in 1620 (Can you imagine the family reunion!)
  3. Three of the world’s five oldest rivers reside in America – The Susquehanna, the French Broad and the New are each several hundred million years old.
  4. Despite the fact we give them such a hard time, Americans are actually quite a giving nation – Over 69% of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
  5. Los Angele’s iconic “Hollyood” sign was supposed to be a temporary real estate sign, and now it’s one of the most recognizable signs in the world (That’s some impressive advertising)
  6. Americans are quite superstitious – A poll found that some 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, 26% believe in witches and 24% in reincarnation
  7. The longest cave system in the world exists in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. Scientists and naturalists have mapped more than 3454 miles with the largest room so far measuring a whopping two acres in size.
  8. It’s no secret that Americans are car obsessed, but how obsessed are they? According to the most recent World Bank data, America has 809 vehicles per 1,000 people, just behind Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino with 826, 842 and 1263 cars per 1,000 people (1263, how many cars does one person need?!)
  9. Americans are plugged in – An estimated 70% of the population owns a smartphone
  10. The Florida Everglades are the only true tropical forest north of the equator – It is home to flora and fauna you won’t find anywhere else on Earth including twenty species of orchid and the Florida Panther.

Best Time to Go

Like it’s friendly neighbour to the north, the United States is an all-season destination, depending on what you want to do, what you want to see and where you want to go.

Low Season (Nov -Apr) 

This is completely dependent on where you are planning on landing. The northern United States experience a harsh winter, but make for excellent ski and snowboarding weather if you’re visiting Colorado, Northern California, Nevada, Wyoming, Vermont and Utah. Cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and major cities in Florida see significant spike in tourism for the Christmas season and pricing can be quite high.

If your heart set on a tropical vacation, this time of year is great for island hopping in Hawaii. The crowds pick up for the month of December into mid-january so be sure to book early.

Shoulder Season (September, October, May)

September is the time of year when North Americans go back to school and work so tourist crowds begin to thin. October is a great time to experience spectacular Autumn displays throughout the mid-west into the Eastern United States. The southern states are still balmy, however, the eastern board can experience significant hurricanes so be careful when planning any trips to Florida, the Carolinas and anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico. September, October and May are great months to experience America’s National Parks without having to deal with large crowds.

High Season (June, July, Aug)

The summer months are when North Americans travel the most. Americans travel more in their own country than most other nations, so not only will you experience foreign crowds, you will experience heavy local crowds as well. Pricing can be quite high in the major city centres, National Parks are brimming with nature-loving tourists, and America’s beaches are filled as far as the eye can see.

Looking to top up that bucketlist? Check out these ultimate American experiences:

  1. Take an Alaskan cruise and explore Denali National Park – Alaska truly is America’s last frontier, and due to climate change, the glacial landscape has changed significantly – It’s time to see it before it’s too late.
  2.  Explore cemeteries, plantations and listen to jazz in New Orleans – I know that’s three things, but I could list off a hundred more; New Orleans is an all-out sensory experience.
  3. Explore your inner Potterhead at Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World in Orlando, and of course, check out Disney World while you’re at it!
  4. Throw on some sturdy sneakers, grab a latte and stroll through San Francisco’s iconic neighbourhoods.
  5. Head to the top of the Empire State building in New York and find out why this is one of the most famous cities in the Western world.
  6. Yell your name into the Grand Canyon‘s vastness and wait for the seemingly infinite echo, or just sit quietly and listen to the cry of soaring eagles
  7. Head south Seattle, down Oregon’s wild and scenic coast, through California’s towering Red Woods, all the way down to sunny San Diego – The Pacific Coast has long been rated as one of the best roadtrips in the world.
  8. Pay tribute to one of America’s greatest heroes, Martin Luther King in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.
  9. Survive a weekend in the City of Sin, Las Vegas Nevada. Even if gambling isn’t your thing, Las Vegas is A foodie and entertainment paradise, with some of the most spectacular theatrical productions in the world.
  10. Sport is the other major religion of America – If you have the opportunity to lose your voice at an NFL, NBA or MLB game in any of the great American cities, that truly would be one of the Great American Experiences.