Many USATourist.com readers ask us, "What is there to see in the United States?" Here is our list of the twelve most popular attractions in the USA. Other people might choose a few different attractions, but nearly everyone would agree with most of our choices.
Las Vegas, Nevada, is the largest center for adult entertainment in the entire world. It offers gambling, glitzy entertainment and unbelievably extravagant architecture. Giant pyramids of glass, multicolored fantasy castles, replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the New York skyline rise out of the Nevada desert. Even if you don't gamble or party, it is worth seeing this flamboyant display of opulence. In addition, Las Vegas is conveniently located near some of the greatest natural scenery in the southwest including the Grand Canyon Zion and Death Valley. It is only a half-day drive from Los Angeles.
Orlando, Florida, is the largest center for family entertainment in the entire world. It offers Disney World, the largest family amusement complex on this planet, plus Universal Studios, Sea World, Wet and Wild and several other major attractions. Hundreds of smaller amusement and entertainments are located nearby. You can spend weeks in Orlando without seeing it all. In addition, Florida offers wonderful tropical beaches and year-round golf and tennis.
New York City is the largest metropolitan center in the USA. It is famous for the Statue of Liberty, Empire State building, United Nations, museums, Broadway theaters, restaurants, Times Square, nightlife and shopping. It is a huge vibrant city that never seems to sleep. There are many opportunities for entertainment in its myriad of nightclubs, bars, theaters, and sports arenas. There are lots of cultural attractions in its museums, art galleries and concert halls.
Hawaii is a string of volcanic islands set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is a tropical paradise with near perfect year-round weather, fantastic beaches with amazing surf and spectacular scenery. This is a favorite honeymoon retreat for many couples. It is an ideal destination for swimming, tanning, surfing, boating, fishing, golf and tropical exploration.
Los Angeles, California, is the second largest city in the USA and the largest metropolitan center on the west coast. It includes many different communities including Hollywood, home of the moviemakers, and Beverly Hills, home of the movie stars. L.A. has a pleasant subtropical climate with many miles of white-sand beaches and the famous "California Surf". It is conveniently located near many scenic attractions like the spectacular coastline of Big Sur, the alpine wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the austere beauty of the Mojave desert. It is only a half-day drive to Las Vegas, Nevada.
San Francisco, California, is the other great city in California. It is smaller than Los Angeles and does not have the warm tropical beaches, but it is much more scenic. Hillside streets lined with Victorian houses overlook a large blue bay surrounded by pastoral mountains. Historic cable cars still ascend the steep streets, and the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge frames its Pacific inlet. The nearby Marin headlands and Muir woods provide scenic diversions. It is less than an hour drive to the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley wine country, and a half-day to beautiful Yosemite National Park.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. It is a mile deep (1,500 meters) and over 15 miles (20 km) wide by 100 miles (150 km) long. The interior of the Canyon is adorned with a vast maze of multicolored mesas, cliffs and promontories punctuated by a labyrinth of smaller canyons and gorges. The ever-changing play of sun and shadow on the multihued rock layers produces a breathtaking display best seen from the visitor's center on the south rim. The only access to the interior of the canyon is by hiking or by riding mules down the precipitous trails.
Yosemite National Park in California contains one of the most beautiful alpine valleys ever seen. 2,000-feet high vertical granite cliffs with nearly a dozen cascading waterfalls surround the glacially eroded Yosemite Valley. Outside of the immensely popular valley, this immense park contains groves of giant Sequoia trees, alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks. It is a paradise for rock climbers, backpackers, campers, photographers and tourists.
Alaska is the great northern wilderness frontier of the USA. It covers a vast area extending from the rainforests of the Pacific coast to the tundra well beyond the artic circle and along a broad archipelago of volcanic isles. The forests and streams abound with fish and wildlife including the fascinating but dangerous Kodiak bears. Glaciers and snow-capped peaks provide lots of spectacular scenery. Most of Alaska is inaccessible except via small "bush pilot" air taxis or by canoe and hiking. This is a popular destination for hunters, fishermen, photographers and wilderness explorers.
Washington D.C., the capital of the USA, is a beautiful and interesting city. It is filled with numerous monuments, museums and public parks including the White House, the US Capitol and many other government buildings, There are plenty of interesting things to see in Washington, and most of them are completely free. Washington has a diverse population and a great variety of ethnic restaurants. It is only an hour drive to the port city of Baltimore and a half-day drive to New York City.
New Orleans, Louisiana, is the most European flavored city in the USA. Spanish and French cultures blend with Afro-American and Caribbean influences to form this exotic city at the mouth of the Mississippi River. New Orleans is famous for Jazz music, wild nightlife and its fine Cajun cuisine. Every February, the entire city goes mad for a weeklong carnival celebration known as Mardi Gras. Tourists flock to New Orleans all year round to sample the great food and to enjoy the nightlife.
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming has the largest collection of geysers, hot springs and thermal phenomena in the world. This huge National Park is populated with bison, elk, bears and wildlife in great abundance. It has vast expanses of wilderness, but many of the major attractions are easily accessible from the roads, and close encounters with the wildlife are almost guaranteed. Yellowstone is near Grand Teton National Park, the Rocky Mountains and the wide-open spaces of Montana.