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America has been voted the top dream holiday destination for 2022* here in Britain and we can see why! A trip across the pond promises world-renowned historical landmarks, beautiful cities and fun-packed adventure holidays with something to offer every kind of traveller. Seeing as the US is 40 times bigger than the UK with 50 states to explore, it can be very difficult to decide on a destination! We’ve made it easier on you and compiled the very best of great American holiday destinations.
Orlando – Florida
Orlando is the most visited place in America, offering an abundance of activities for families, couples and solo travellers alike! Known as the Theme Park capital of the world, the city is home to 12 world-renowned theme-parks where thrill-seekers of all ages can run wild. You can unleash your inner wizard at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter World, get lost in the magic of the sea at Discovery Cove or meet your favourite heroes at Walt Disney World and take a trip to Hollywood’s Golden Age of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There is also SeaWorld, Aquatica, Legoland and many many more to choose from! If you are planning a theme-park orientated holiday, we recommend staying at the onsite resort hotels with most of them offering free transportation to and from Orlando Airport. The quickest flight time from the UK is just over 9 hours landing directly from Gatwick airport.
Do not be fooled. There is so much more to Orlando than its theme park holidays with so many sights to see and a range of holiday packages available. For a fun-packed day out, we recommend Orlando Science Centre where you will find exciting exhibits and presentations on space, dinosaurs and wildlife. We highly recommend booking onto the night-time bioluminescence kayaking trips in Titusville or Fortpiece where you can experience the marine wildlife transforming the water into a luminous paradise!
For all things activity and nature, book to stay in Rock Springs where you can participate in canoeing, hiking trails or bird watching! Or pick an adventure holiday in ‘Devils Den’ where you can scuba dive, snorkel and explore the prehistoric spring rivers to your hearts delight. Orlando offers a range of RV, camping and cabin holidays to cover all of your accommodation needs! If you opt for a campsite holiday, we highly recommend Moss Park which boasts its own water sports, hiking and lake-side activities.
Lake Ozark – Missouri
Although Netflix’s ‘Ozark’ wasn’t actually filmed IN the Ozarks, tourism has skyrocketed in the area following the success of the show and it’s easy to see why. The Ozark Mountains spread themselves across a staggering 5 states but the star of the show has to be Lake Ozark, the largest man-made lake in the United States winding its way through the mountains and attracting over 5 million visitors to the region every year. You can pick from a wide range of water sporting activities on the lake such as snorkelling, paddleboarding and boat rental. Getting out on the lake is the perfect way to explore the lakes unique serpentine shape, nicknamed the ‘Magic Dragon’ by locals.
There are plenty of accommodation styles to pick from on the lake including RV rentals, cabins or hotels. Stay at the ’Alohanna Resort’ which was the inspiration for the Bluecat resort in ‘Ozark’! You will never be short of activities with the resort sporting its own beach, restaurant and bars and you can pick from a choice of cabins, motels and cottages for a stunning view of the lake. Alternatively, stay at Big Cedar Lodge known as the ‘wilderness resort’ tucked up in the mountains with stunning views out over Tablerock lake. A holiday in the Ozarks is the perfect destination for a fun-packed family adventure, romantic getaway or backpacking adventure!
There is so much to see in the surrounding region. Why not take a trip to see the Ancient Ozarks National History Museum or check out the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. Make the journey out to see Bridal Cave where many couples decide to tie the knot because of the unique, picturesque scenery. We highly recommend making sure Bagnell Dam, Twin Falls and Ha Ha Tonka State Park are on your itinerary!
New York – New York
A trip to New York will really leave you feeling brand new as Alicia Keys once said… It is called the city that never sleeps for good reason, your options are limitless!
At the top of your list on your trip to the Big Apple should be a ferry trip out see the iconic Statue of Liberty, who stands as the embodiment of the founding principles of American culture: democracy, freedom and hope. If heights are your thing, take a trip up to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller centre for breath-taking views across the whole city, but be warned it is VERY high! Take a dip into New York’s fascinating immigration history by visiting the Museum Tenet or for the art lovers there is the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art. Immerse yourself in the New Yorker lifestyle by taking a walk through the hustle and bustle of Times Square or venture out to the National History Museum.
Don’t forget to add an essential stroll through Central Park to your itinerary! New York is the perfect holiday destination all year round. If you are visiting in summer, head to one of the free music shows they put on at Central Park during their Summerstage programme. However, if you are looking ahead to the autumn then we highly recommend ‘Halloween in Sleepy Hollow’. Nowhere else in the world captures Christmas quite like New York does with their famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, dazzling Christmas markets and various festive shows and displays making the holiday season here a once in a lifetime experience!
The unique cultural identity of New York means there is an abundance of cuisines and eating places to choose from. Head to Jackson Heights where you will find delicious cuisine from all over the world or wine and dine to your hearts delight in Little Italy. If you are a fashion lover, Fifth Avenue is the destination for you where you can quite literally shop until you drop! For easy access to New York’s top attractions, we recommend staying in Midtown or the Village. If you are after budget friendly accommodation, we recommend Long Island or Astoria (Queens). New York is a must visit destination from the UK with flights from Gatwick or Heathrow to New York in as little as 7 hours direct. Families, couples and solo travellers alike will all enjoy a trip to the Empire State City!
LA – California
Welcome to the Hotel California! LA is currently the largest city in California attracting around 50 million visitors every year. The City of Angels enjoys year-round hot temperatures with occasional rain in the winter, making it a perfect holiday destination no matter the season. On top of being the home of Hollywood, LA boasts numerous museums, beautiful beaches and top theme park attractions. For an easy way to see the city’s top attractions, we recommend getting the ‘Go City Explorer Pass’ which will make days out lighter on the wallet.
Planning a trip to Hollywood? Make sure to visit the Hollywood Museum where you will find the world’s largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia with costumes worn by the world’s most glamorous celebrities and props and artefacts from Hollywood’s biggest franchises. Take a trip to the notorious Hollywood Bowl and catch a live music gig. Or to feel like you are really rubbing shoulders with the stars, visit Madame Tussauds where you can get up close and personal with your favourite celebrities!
You will not be short of things to do if you are planning a holiday outside of Hollywood. Take a shopping trip in Beverly Hills or venture out to Venice beach for a fun-packed beach day. A trip to Griffith Park is a must for a picturesque picnic in the mountains that provides stunning views out over the city as well as numerous sporting activities for everyone to get involved in. For any music lovers amongst you, we highly recommend a trip to Olympic Boulevard to see the Grammy Museum. One of the most popular destinations in LA is Olvera Street where you can spend time exploring the vibrant Mexican markets. Still lost for things to do? Head to Universal Studios for some of the best rollercoasters and theme park attractions in America! No matter what kind of holiday you are after, LA has something for everyone. The quickest flight time to LA is eleven hours with flights departing from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.
Chicago – Illinois
The Windy City will truly sweep you away with its delicious food, beautiful buildings and stunning skylines. For the best experience of Chicago-esque architecture, head to down to Millennium Park where you’ll find ‘The Bean’ which produces a dazzling reflection of the magnificent Chicago skyline. Here you can take a boat tour of the most famous buildings on the Chicago architecture river cruise.
The city is world-renowned for its deep-dish pizza, we recommend Giordano’s and Gino’s East for an authentic tasting Chicago pizza! But Chicago’s cuisine is much much more than just pizza. The city is host to a variety of remarkable restaurants and dining places, why not try the tasty fried chicken at Harold’s Chicken Shack or get your taste buds tingling with a Jibarito sandwich at Papa’s Cache Sabroso. Chicago is well-known for its jazz and blues music history. Take a trip down to the Green Mill that has classical live jazz on every night or head to the infamous ‘Reckless Records’ to explore the stores endless supply of vinyl records. Jazz lovers will definitely enjoy a trip down to the National Jazz Museum.
For an informative and interesting day out, we recommend the Museum of Science and Industry which is also home to the 360 Observation deck sporting dazzling panoramic views across the whole city. If you are an art lover, look no further than the Art Institute of Chicago which has been voted Chicago’s best attraction on Tripadvisor! Or for a break away from the flurry of the city, head to the nearby Lake Michigan beaches for crystal-clear waters and a shoreline over 1600 miles long! Many travellers from the UK may not be aware of Chicago’s dark mobster past, so why not hop on one of Chicago’s crime tours such as the ‘Untouchable Gangster Tour’ where you will uncover dark secrets about Al Capone and the city’s Prohibition-era past. Chicago is perfect for any travellers looking for an enjoyable, diverse and fun-packed city break!
A holiday in America is not complete without a trip to the Capital! Washington is only an eight-hour flight from London and is the perfect destination for keen-adventurers and globe-trotters with an abundance of sights to see and things to do. Top of your list should be the United States Capitol and Capitol Hill which is home to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The impressive architecture is based on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and it is easy for visitors to absorb the majestic sight of the building from the surrounding grounds. However, if you want to explore inside you can undertake guided tours around the Capitol for free! We recommend regularly checking out the Covid status of these tours. For nature lovers, take a walk down to the US Botanic Garden where you will find exotic plants and carefully curated gardens that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into an island paradise!
Make sure the White House is on your itinerary, however bear in mind as foreign holidaymakers you do have to sign with the UK embassy for a tour around the interior of the building. Again, it is very easy to marvel at and appreciate the grandeur of the building from the gates. Take a trip down to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King made his legendary ‘I have a dream’ speech. For something a little different, we recommend adding the International Spy Museum to your list, which is home to the world’s largest collection of spy-related artefacts. Make sure the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress are on your itinerary. Whether you’re travelling as a family or are off on a solo adventure, Washington has something for everyone. The best restaurants we recommend for fine dining are ‘Masseria’ and the ‘Inn at Little Washington’ or alternatively if you are after good-quality street food then head to ‘The Good Stuff Eatery’.
Miami – Florida
Just under a ten-hour flight from London is Miami, which has been labelled the ‘Magic City’ because of its magical transformation into one of the world’s leading urban hubs. A trip to the Magical city can be enjoyed whatever the season with buzzing summer festivals as well as a range of winter activities on offer that attract solo travellers, families and couples all year round.
The best thing about summer in Miami is the ‘Miami Spice’ event which allows you to dine at more than 200 Miami famous restaurants (including Michelin Star venues) at fixed and affordable prices. If you are after a beach-orientated holiday, then we suggest considering South Beach where you can pick from a large range of resorts and hotels.
If you after those Instagram worthy shots, head to ‘Superblue Miami’ which is an interactive museum experience that aims to change the way people experience art using modern technology. Take a stroll through Wynwood Walls which is the city’s first outdoor art museum displaying murals and pieces from world-renowned street artists. Travellers of all ages will enjoy a visit to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science which is half aquarium and half museum! Make sure a visit to ‘Little Havana’ is at the top of your list where you can experience a taste of authentic Cuban-American culture. Here you will find spectacular Cuban restaurants and bars such as Café La Trova and Ball and Chai as well as the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and Domino Park. We also recommend finding the time to see Everglades National Park, the Holocaust Memorial, Freedom Tower and Coral Castle.
Austin – Texas
Austin is known as the live music capital of the world which comes as no surprise with the city sporting nearly 200 live music venues and a rich history of musical talent. Two of the best live music festivals in Austin are Austin City Limits in October and South by Southwest in March. On top of the music, visitors can enjoy world-class restaurants, attractions and landmarks. Austin is the ideal holiday destination for families and travel lovers as all of the top attractions are in close proximity to each other. To place yourself in the centre of the action, we recommend staying downtown at W Austin or the InterContinental Stephen F Austin. The quickest route to your Austin adventure is via Heathrow Airport with an average flight-time of just under ten hours.
Many tourists enjoy taking a trip down to the Congress Avenue Bridge at night-time to see hundreds of bats fly across the night sky. Why not take a walk-through American history at the Lyndon B Johnson Library and Museum which displays hundreds of files about President Johnson’s legacy and provides an informative experience on 1960s America. Take a trip to the Bullock Texas State History Museum to gain an immersive insight into the fascinating history of Texas, or spend a day exploring the beautiful Zilker Botanical Garden which offers a peaceful respite to the commotion of the city with themed gardens. Have a go at the numerous water sporting activities on Ladybird Lake such as kayaking, paddleboarding and canoeing whilst enjoying picturesque views out over the city. For any art lovers we highly recommend a trip to the Mexic-Arte Museum where you can see exciting exhibits and displays on influential Mexican-American art and culture. If you are after some outdoors activities to add to your itinerary, we recommend a trip to McKinney Falls State Park which sports mesmerising scenery and a beautiful waterfall or if you are after an enjoyable hike, we recommend taking the trail up to Mount Blonnel.
Santa Fe – New Mexico
Situated at the foothill of the Rocky Mountains is Santa Fe, otherwise known as the ‘city different’ that attracts millions of visitors to its streets every year. The region’s rich cultural history spans Native American, Latino and Anglo-American civilisations, making it one of the most unique and diverse holiday destinations in the world. There are a vast array of landmarks, sights and activities to choose from making it an exciting holiday location for group travellers or solo adventurers alike!
If you are looking to get immersed in the local history, take a trip to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture where you can gain an insight into the complexity and diversity of the region’s Native American cultures. A visit to the Museum of International Folk Art is a must to experience art and artefacts from African, Asian, Europe, Latino and Hispanic civilisations. The New Mexico History Museum should be at the top of your list for an interactive and informative historical experience. Santa Fe is home to some spectacular architecture; we recommend a trip to the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis; its construction was primarily aimed at bringing Catholicism to the Southwest of America!
A highly popular tourist activity is to explore Canyon Road which boasts a whopping 80 art galleries as well as quaint boutiques and quirky restaurants. If you are looking for a day exploring in the great outdoors – take a trip out to the Bandelier National Monument which has evidence of human life in the region going back over 11,000 years! We recommend El Rancho de las Golondrias if you are looking for fine dining in the region.
If you enjoyed this blog, why not read our blog on the 10 of the Most Romantic Holiday Destinations for Couples.
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