“America the Beautiful”, sang Ray Charles in 1976 – and if the great singer-songwriter, blind from childhood, could yet sense the beauty of his home country, what vistas of wilderness and metropolis can the United States not open up for visitors still blessed with their eyesight! The youthful nation built on the “talents, energy and perseverance” of thousands of immigrants, who sailed west from the seventeenth century onwards in search of the American Dream, is now the world's first economic power. And it's also one of the most visited countries in the world, attracting almost 80 million travelers a year, who come to enjoy the rich mosaic of natural and man-made treasures which the States have to offer.
In such a large, diverse country, there really are enough personalized American Dreams to make every visitor to the USA smile in their sleep. Are you an inveterate urbanite, thrilling to the buzz of the metropolis? Sleepless New York, America's “Big Apple”, will bedazzle you with its thronging pavements, spectacular Broadway productions, and skyscraping Manhattan skyline. Prefer a laid-back holiday by the sea? You can choose from a spectrum, from Florida's swanky model-magnet Miami Beach to the Hawaiian island paradise of Maui. Lusting after the solitary freedom of the wilderness? The US is set about with stretches of wild, lonely forests, mountains and desert, be it the geysers of Yellowstone National Park or the gorges of the Grand Canyon, where you'll look towards an empty horizon and feel the spirit of the old pioneers coursing through your blood. And if all you want from your vacation is a gigantic party, then America has a standing invitation for you to the glorious neon kitsch of Las Vegas, the pure escapist fun of an Orlando theme park, or a wild Creole-inspired Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.