Luxury Holidays in USA
The United States is the third most visited country by tourists, behind France and Spain. In 2019 almost 80 million international tourists chose to take their vacation with Uncle Sam – that is more than for the whole of Africa.
Tailor-Made & Luxury Holidays to USA
The States prove particularly popular with Brits. Maybe it is the shared language – whatever Shaw may say – or the wonderful attractions, but each year around five million Brits make the trip across the Pond to vacate in the United States.
So what is it that draws so many people each year? Carry on reading to discover the lure of the US.
Our favourite American Stays
Here is a selection of our most popular places to stay in America.
These hotels and villas are to get your creative juices flowing, but if you already have a place in mind, we would love to help tailor-make your dream holiday.
Places to visit in America
With its all-round year sun, unsurprisingly Florida is top of many people’s list of places to visit in the United States. But the Sunshine State is much more than a place for those who like it hot, even though the beaches are spectacular.
Florida has plenty to entertain children if you are looking for a family winter holiday. With Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld all on your doorstep, as well as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando makes for a great base if your prime preoccupation is keeping the kids content.
But if wizardry is not your thing there is plenty to experience in the wonderful nature on offer in Florida.
Take a trip from Miami down to Key West and discover the real sea world that nature has to offer by snorkelling above some of the most spectacular coral in the world. Venture over to the Everglades and take a ride on an Airboat imagining you are 007 in Live and Let Die. Or perhaps a more leisurely kayak through the mangroves is more your pace of life.
Whether you choose to base your Florida holiday in the fantasy world of Orlando, cosmopolitan Miami, or yachting capital of the world Fort Lauderdale, you are sure to have a memorable time whether you opt to take the kids along with you or not.
Sin City is not necessarily the place you might wish to take the kids. Gaudy and OTT, or just bundles of fun – the gambling capital of the world is a place where anything goes. You choose which side of the divide you sit. But if you do decide to make Las Vegas your next trip to the States be prepared to have a great time.
There simply is no getting over the fact that Las Vegas is a gambling city. So, where else to start your Las Vegas holidays than at the Bellagio Fountains on The Strip, immortalised by Oceans Eleven. The fountains erupt in life throughout the day and night, ensuring you are bound to catch the amazing aquatic display at least once during your stay.
Caesars Palace is one of the few remaining old school casinos that date back to the era when Las Vegas really did deserve the moniker Sin City. Whether you see a show in the Colosseum or play the tables try not to wake up the following morning with your very own Hangover.
Not all of Las Vegas’ attractions glitter with gold and silver. The city is surrounded not by endless dessert but by breath-taking mountains and canyons. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area contains miles of track trails leading to deserted gullies. Ideal for rock climbing, Red Rock can also be driven around on a 13-mile loop if you want to avoid the sweat.
If Las Vegas is all a bit too much for you, then why not pop over to Reno, Nevada – the self-proclaimed Biggest Little City in the World. Reno is a bit like a mini-Vegas, with all the glitz but more manageable. It is also a great stopping off point for Lake Tahoe, which is ideal for kayaking, and has great trails around it.
Finally, why not combine your visit to Las Vegas with a day trip to the incomparable Grand Canyon? Day trips often stop off at the Hoover Dam, but why not hire your own wheels and take your time. After all there is no point in rushing to the Grand Canyon like Thelma and Louise.
New York and New England in the Fall
There is no place on Earth quite like New York. Vast buildings rise up from the earth almost literally scraping the skies. The prototype for so many modern cities across the world, no other place has quite managed to capture the spirit of the original Metropolis.
Architecture buffs can spend days on end admiring the amazing bold statements, just try not to rick your neck. Towering above them all – at least metaphorically – is the Empire State Building, although the spectacular Chrysler Building runs it a pretty close second. Take the lift to the top and see the amazing city spread out before you.
But The Big Apple is not just about tall buildings, spectacular though they may be. Slicing its way through Manhattan, Broadway is the place to catch a show or shop to you drop. Dining in New York is a gastronomic delight, although be prepared for the gargantuan portions and don’t be ashamed to ask for a doggy bag, even of you end up feeding the leftovers to the dogs.
At the centre of Manhattan lies Central Park, an enormous expanse of green in an otherwise overwhelmingly grey city. Jog around it, go barefoot or perhaps take a horse-drawn cart, come here to top up on your oxygen.
Take the Staten Island Ferry and take in the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan harbour, or stop off at Ellis Island, the historic entry point for so many immigrants who made the US their home and in so doing created the superpower we now know.
New York is just one of several great cities on the East Coast of the Unites States, starting with Boston in the North and ending with Washington DC further south.
The best time to visit the East Coast is in autumn, or Fall as Americans call it, although the cherry blossoms in Spring are amazing in and around Washington DC, especially during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Hire a car, or take the train, and experience the most amazing colours of Vermont, Connecticut and New England in the Fall. And while you are there why not extend your journey up to the Niagara Falls on the Canadian border, and see one of the most spectacular natural sites in the United States.
On the opposite side of the country to New York, some three thousand miles away, lies San Francisco in California.
Standing in the affluent Presidio area looking across to the glorious Golden Gate Bridge, it is hard to imagine that this is where gold prospectors rushed to in search for their fortune. San Francisco is famed for its hills and trolley buses, and any visit to the city should include a trip up and down the streets of San Francisco.
A short boat trip takes you from the sea lions lazing on the piers to the most infamous prison in the US – Alcatraz. Converted into a museum, the former penal establishment was the most feared in America – after all this is where they put Capone.
Although not as famous as Route 66 (see below), in many respects Highway 1 makes as memorable a road trip. Hugging the spectacular coastline make your way from San Francisco to Las Angeles and the wonderful beaches in the south of the state.
Although California might be best known for its to major cities, there is so much more to explore. Towns such as Santa Monica and Sacramento still possess a charm that has somehow been lost in much of the state. While if you are looking to explore the great outdoors few places can compare with Yosemite Park with its magnificent Giant Sequoias.
On the way stop off at one of the old mining towns, such as Sonora and Groveland that still feel as if any moment now they might strike gold.
The USA is a vast country with so many different experiences for you to enjoy so it is hard to select a handful, but below are our selections of highlights for USA experiences.
Something for the Kids
You might not associate young wizards with Florida but think again as the top rated attraction in the State according to TripAdvisor is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Florida is no longer just the place that American millionaires go to retire – although they still do – it has a plethora of activities to keep the kids busy as mum and dad dream of cocktails by the pool and a slice of Key Lime pie.
From Disney World to Universal and SeaWorld, the choice of child entertainment is unrivalled in the States, or perhaps globally. You can even take them to see the wonderful wildlife at Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy.
Not that the Sunshine State has a monopoly on children’s entertainment. The daddy of them all is Disney California Adventure Park, a must if you are visiting the West Coast. Or you could visit Disneyland in Anaheim.
If your children are interested in science, then the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must, while history buffs can visit the Lincoln Memorial. Indeed the USA has a plethora of excellent museums, including the Metropolitan Art Museum, and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York, as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC to entertain the kids – although you should urge on the side of caution when visiting places such as the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York and the Vietnam Memorial in DC.
And there again there is also the Great Outdoors (see below).
Route 66 Fly Drive
The ultimate road trip is along Route 66. It regularly comes top of the list of road trips people want to do. Stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, California over some two thousand miles, driving along Route 66 allows you to experience the real America.
For decades before and after the Second World War, Route 66 was the main artery across the country, even before it was paved in 1926. This was the route that people fled the Great Depression to find their fortune in California along the Main Street of America.
The highway has been immortalised in song – Get Your Kicks on Route 66 – but more importantly it lies at the heart of Americana playing a vital part in American literature from Steinbeck to Salinger. Steinbeck called Route 66 “the Mother Road” in The Grapes of Wrath.
In 1986 the Route was officially decommissioned and is now deemed an Historic Route. Driving along it you will pass neon signs, rusty middle-of-nowhere truck stops, and the quintessential kitschy Americana, as you pass by the Will Rogers Memorial, Land of Lincoln, Tinkertown, and even the folly of London Bridge.
Fly-drive the whole route in a Cadillac, or just drop in and out as you wish. Combine your drive with a side-option to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, or perhaps even Elvis’ Graceland home (see below). Whatever you choose make sure you go with the flow, feel the wind rustling through your hair and experience America as it once was.
Elvis Graceland Tour
It’s more than forty years since The King passed away, but his regal dominance shows no sign of waning if the popularity of tours to his Graceland home in Memphis Tennessee are anything to go by.
The Elvis Graceland Tour is much more than a homage to a man who’s voice and theatrics changed the face of popular music forever.
The Graceland Mansion tour includes the famous Jungle Room living room, the newly-enhanced Trophy Building, the Racquetball Building, now restored its 1977 appearance, and Meditation Garden.
Much of the décor dates back to the late 60s and early 70s. A standout of the tour is the Jungle Room with its Polynesian feel. Added in the 1960s, the room reminded Elvis of his beloved Hawaii. The tour concludes at the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and family are buried. Millions of the King’s fans come here each year from all corners of the Globe to pay their respects.
The Great Outdoors
Despite the glitz of Hollywood and the amazing cities such as New York, New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco, much of the appeal of a trip to the USA is in getting away from it all. Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon are world renowned for their stunning beauty, but the whole country is littered with parks and genuine wilderness where you can just get away from it all.
Whether it is Yellowstone National Park or the Florida Everglades that piques your interest, or perhaps the remoteness of Alaska, or even the Pacific islands of Hawaii, there is just so much space in the USA in which to escape.
Hire a camper van and just go with the flow, or take a fly-drive holiday to get off the beaten track, perhaps taking some of Route 66 or Highway 1 en route, and discover the real America far away from the metropolitan hubs.
There is a reason why so many Americans never travel abroad – they have so much natural beauty on their doorstep – all waiting for you to experience as you escape into the wilderness and turn into Grizzly Adams.