The United States Highlights
Your comprehensive travel guide to the United States - All in one place!
The United States is a vast land and, as a result, most people plan their trips within a given region, be it the East Coast, the Southwest, the beaches of Florida or California, or outlying regions like Hawaii and Alaska. There are plenty of options for travelers with incredible sights sprinkled across the country. The USA is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and some of the most recognizable icons on the globe.
History and Government
500 years ago North America was a vast wilderness inhabited by Indians who 20,000 years earlier came from Asia across the Bering Strait. Icelandic Viking Leif Ericson sailed to America in 1000 but only in 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America to the whole world. In 1776 on the 4th of July the Declaration of Independence was adopted. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the USA and granted the new state all the territory north of Florida, south of Canada and east of the Mississippi River. The colonies were now free but they had not yet a united nation.
In 1787 55 of the most highly regarded American leaders (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison among them) opened a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the meeting which lasted 4 long months and resulted in the Constitution of the USA. Today, 200 years after it was written, the Constitution remains vital, alive and at the centre of American political ideals and practices. Then followed other important events such as the Civil War (1861—1865) for abolition of slavery, the exploration of the West, creation of the developed industry and agriculture, outstanding inventions, the Depression, World War I and World War II, the Cold war, the struggle for human rights, and man’s first walk on the Moon (1969), and so on. And each period in the history of the USA is interesting and important and shows the hardships and victories of the American people on the way for the American Dream: an independent, democratic, powerful state with the developed economy and equal rights for everybody.
The United States is located in the Northern Hemisphere, bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the south by Mexico, and the north by Canada. All in, the United States is about 3.8 million square miles. Over 17% of that land is Alaska, the largest of the United States, and Rhode Island, with just 1,545 square miles, is the smallest state. The United States is divided into 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Sometimes called the lower 48 states or the contiguous states, all of the states except Hawaii and Alaska adjoin each other. Hawaii is an island state located in the Pacific Ocean and Alaska is located northwest of Canada.
The 3.8 million square miles that make up the United States makes it the third largest country in the world, behind Russia and Canada. While Canada is just slightly larger than the United States in landmass, Russia is almost twice as large.
The estimated 2018 United States population is 327.16 million. By population, the United States of America is the 3rd largest country in the world, falling far behind China (1.4 billion) and India (1.25 billion). Its most populous cities are California (39.5 million) and Texas (27 million), and its most populous city is New York City (8.5 million).
The United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Nearly every region of the world has influenced American culture, most notably the English who colonized the country beginning in the early 1600s. U.S. culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians.
The United States is sometimes described as a "melting pot" in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct "flavors" to American culture. Just as cultures from around the world have influenced American culture, today American culture influences the world. The term Western culture often refers broadly to the cultures of the United States and Europe.
Food and Drink
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of “American cuisine” are classics like burgers, fried chicken, hot dogs and pancakes. Like many things American, the cuisine also has influences from elsewhere – German, British, Italian, Dutch, French, and the Caribbean are only some of the cultures that have contributed to the food that is now considered typically American.
Some public holidays in the US have a political or historical background, while others are rooted in religious beliefs or in the traditions of the many different ethnic groups of the US. More often than not, food plays a central role in the celebrations. It is common for groups of family and friends to gather together and celebrate by eating dishes that follow traditional recipes, many of which have been handed down from generation to generation.
Best Time to Visit
The United States of America is a popular tourist attraction, thanks to its national parks, natural wonders, modern-day engineering marvels and unlimited opportunities to indulge in adventure activities. The best time to visit the United States of America can be said to be all through the year, depending upon which part of the country you are visiting. There are vast differences in the temperature and weather of southern states and northern states, so while one state might be completely snowed in, the other one can be sweltering hot or even pleasant. Remember that the Southern states are warmer than the Northern states, although there are higher chances of tornados and storms in the South.