USA

INTRODUCTION

The USA is a huge country to explore, with 50 states to choose from, flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain. For five centuries, since the ‘New World’ discoveries of Christopher Columbus, people from every corner of the globe have come here in search of ‘the American Dream’. With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a “melting pot” of cultures from around the world.

Vast plains, snow-covered mountain ranges, forested rolling hills, deserts, strange rock formations, soaring skyscrapers, stunning coastlines, impressive national parks and a thriving cultural scene; the USA has it all, plus some. Tourism is focused mainly in the great cities such as New York and Washington, as well as sunshine states such as California, Florida and Hawaii where millions of tourists congregate each year to enjoy the fine beaches, natural wonders and man-made attractions such as Disneyland, Universal Studios and Hollywood. Too many miss out on the mind-blowing landscapes of the interior which can found in the wealth of magnificent National Parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Adirondacks, as well as spectacular sights like the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains

GETTING AROUND

The United States is a vast country and due to its long distances the best way to get around is to fly especially when you are short on time. Ofcourse if time is not factor, then rail travel or on the road can be an interesting experience.


By Air – The most convenient inter-city travel is by air. The USA can be crossed within five hours from east to west and within two hours from north to south. Most cities have one or two airports and most towns have some kind of passenger service.


By Train – Nearly all the long-distance trains are operated by Amtrak, over a 34,000km route system. Rail is not considered the best way to travel within the USA, as trains can be slow, infrequent and expensive. Passenger trains in the United States are surprisingly scarce and relatively expensive. The national rail system, Amtrak, provides service to many cities, concentrating more on sightseeing tours than efficient intercity travel. They have promotional discounts of 15% for students and seniors, and a 30-day U.S. Rail Pass for international travelers only. Separate from Amtrak, commuter trains carry passengers to and from the suburbs of major cities. A major Amtrak line in regular daily use by Americans themselves is the Acela Express line, running between Boston and Washington, D.C with stops in New York and Philadelphia. One major scenic long-distance train route, the California Zephyr, runs from Emeryville, California to Chicago, via Reno, Salt Lake City and Denver. Amtrak’s single most popular train is the Chicago-Seattle/Portland “Empire Builder” train.


By Road – America’s love affair with the automobile is legendary, and most Americans prefer the convenience of car travel for getting to nearby cities in their state or region. In addition, many of the country’s major natural attractions, such as the Grand Canyon, are almost impossible to get to without a vehicle.

The United States is covered with a convenient system of U.S. and Interstate highways. Interstates are always freeways (limited access), while U.S. Highways may be freeways on some sections. These roads make it easy to cover long distances.


By Bus -Intercity bus travel in the United States is widespread. Most use bus travel when other modes aren’t readily available, but they are generally dependable, safe, and affordable.
Greyhound Bus Lines is the largest coach tour company. Their North American Discovery Pass allows unlimited travel for ranges of 4 to 60 days. Other bus services include the Megabus and Jefferson Bus lines.


By Recreational Vehicle (RV) – Recreational Vehicles – large, sometimes bus sized vehicles that include sleeping and living quarters – are a distinctly American way to cruise the country. Some RV’ers love the convenience of being able to drive their home anywhere they like and enjoy the camaraderie that RV campgrounds offer.


By Motorcycle -The thrill and exhilaration of cross country travel are magnified when you go by motorcycle. Harley Davidson is the preeminent American motorcycle brand and Harley operates a motorcycle rental program.


By Water – There are extensive water communications along the coastline and along the grand rivers and lakes. The Ohio River carries more water traffic than any other inland waterway in the world. Tour ships and passenger and freight lines crisscross all the Great Lakes from ports in Duluth, Sault Sainte Marie, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland and Toronto.


The country is made up of 48 neighboring states of the continental USA, plus the huge state of Alaska, northwest of Canada, and the volcanic islands of Hawaii, 2,000 miles (3,219km) out into the Pacific. There are also the US territories, which include Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Midway Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

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