1. Drive along the west coast from LA to San Francisco
Nothing quite says USA like a road trip and for the mother of all road trips, drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco. The winding roads along the highway have unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, take in the stunning views of Big Sur as you wind along the seaside cliffs and cruise in the glow of the sun setting over the Pacific. Stop over in the quaint, coastal town of Monterey.
2. Visit a Pueblo in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico is home to about 19 towns or ‘pueblos’ that were once destroyed by the Spanish settlers when they arrived on the West coast. However, they were rebuilt and are still populated to this day by the descendants of refugees who escaped the Spanish. The unique adobe architecture of the Pueblo Native American Indians consists entirely of natural building materials like clay, sand, water and other organic material like straw, forming durable housing structures that have still remained standing. Visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Taos Pueblo about 1.6km north of Taos, New Mexico.
3. Watch the Salmon migrate in Alaska
From late July to early October, you can view Sockeye and Coho salmon swimming upstream to spawn. There are plenty of places for salmon viewing, for example at McKinley Lake, Long Lake, Grouse Creek or Quartz creek, all of which are popular and include a drive or a hike to get to the best viewing spots. At Russian River Falls, you might even spot a brown bear fishing for salmon as they swim upstream in schools by the thousands.
4. Head to Key West for mesmerising sunsets
Look no further than Key West, (just a short drive away from Miami), if you want a relaxing time in idyllic island surroundings, sipping a rum cocktail and gazing at the setting sun. Let the tropical palms and white sands serenade you as you laze in a hammock, reading your favourite book. If you’re looking for action, take a glass-bottom boat ride or a snorkelling trip to get a good look at the coral reef harbouring exciting marine life, or visit the home of one of America’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway.
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5. Shop in Long Island, the Hamptons, for boutique shopping
The Hamptons in Long Island, New York is known as the playground for the rich. Celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Paris Hilton have homes here, where they can have access to a busy city life and still enjoy the privilege of pristine beaches. Take in the unique atmosphere of Sag Harbour town and its piers before indulging in the Hamptons best kept secret – the Tanger outlet mall in Riverhead with over 165 shops of discounted designer brand name products from Calvin Klein to Ralph Lauren.
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6. Relish fresh seafood at San Francisco‘s bayfront
Grilled fresh oysters, clam chowder and crabs galore! If you love seafood head to the restaurants along the piers in the Marina or along the North beach area, and enjoy the sunset over San Francisco Bay while you order fresh fruits-de-mer from a menu. Try the Hog Island Oyster Company just off the financial district by the bayfront or the family-run, non-touristy Pacific cafe not far from Golden Gate park. Visit historic Alcatraz prison only a ferry ride away from the city.
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7. Learn to Square Dance in Tennessee
Tennessee designated Square Dance the official state folk dance in 1980. What more could you expect from the state that’s home to Elvis Presley’s residential mansion home ‘Graceland’ and the Country Music Hall of Fame? There are dance clubs where you can take a class and learn to understand the different square dancing ‘calls’ and steps. Or if you just want to watch, then attend one of the public ones and enjoy the lively fiddle music while trying to follow the dancer’s steps.
8. Explore the vineyards in Napa valley
This scenic, fertile part of California is famed for its large-scale as well as boutique wineries, breweries and distilleries. You’ll enjoy tastings and tours of the winery grounds as the making of different wines is explained. There’s plenty to sample and buy, especially if you’re a wine aficionado. Drive from one winery to another, stay at one of the many charming guesthouses or boutique hotels on the way and share the romance of the countryside with a loved one.
Read more: Take a wine tour in India
9. Groove to Jazz in Chicago
Chicago is famous for its own home-brewed stylings of jazz, blues and soul music. Jazz-lovers will go crazy in the city’s many jazz clubs grooving to the live music that keeps the city tapping its toes. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole are just a few of the many famous music greats that sang and recorded here. Try the Jazz Showcase which has been around since 1947 and is known for its traditional sounds. For Blues, visit the no-frills blues bar Kingston Mines which has great modern artists playing live or alternatively, try Blue Chicago. Expect to pay an entry charge.
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10. Try to win a fortune in Las Vegas
Welcome to the city that parties hard and never sleeps! The capital of casinos, shot-gun weddings and Elvis impersonators also has amazing guest shows and headliners at hotels. To really make a trip of it, stay at The Bellagio Hotel or Caesar’s Palace Hotel, both long-established, glitzy hotel casinos in their own right. At the very least, you can enjoy the music and light show of The Bellagio Hotel fountains like you were an insider!
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11. Discover colonial history in Boston
Boston is full of key monuments and buildings that commemorate dramatic moments in American history. Take the hiking trail from Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park built in 1634 to the Bunker hill monument which commemorates the site of the 1775 Battle of Bunker hill during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War against the British. Walk around the narrow streets of Beacon Hill full of Federal-style rowhouses, gaslit streets and brick homes. Don’t miss the statue of Paul Revere in North End, Boston’s famous patriot who alerted the colonial militia that the British forces were near.
12. Enjoy white-water rafting in Colorado
Adrenaline-junkies who love adventure sports will get a thrill out of white-water rafting in Colorado. The season runs from May to September with the swiftest and highest flows turning to mild only after June. Choose state-certified companies, as their guides are required to go through rigorous training before they can guide and advise others. If you’re on a budget, plan for a half-day rafting trip but others can expect a full day with the potential for a camping option. You’ll find rafting hubs and adventure companies located in and around all the major towns like Boulder, Buena Vista, Fort Collins, Vail and Salida.
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13. Queue at food trucks in New York
Street food in New York used to be about the cheap hot dog stand on the corner or the greasy pizza slice at the run down diner across the street but not anymore! Once considered a passing trend, food trucks are here to stay on the street eats scene and what better place to wait in line for a mouth-watering steak burrito or delectable lobster roll than at a food truck? Just look out for queues of office-workers trying to get lunch or late night bar-hoppers desperate to wash down their beer and wine with something substantial.
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