From towering redwood forests in foggy Northern California to perfectly sun-kissed surf beaches in Southern California, this Golden State alongside the Pacific is a prize. Fabulous Food & Drink Because California produces most of the fresh produce in the US, minor menu decisions here can have nationwide impact.
From towering coast redwoods in foggy Northern California to the perfect sun-kissed surf beaches of Southern California, this slice of Pacific Coast is a knockout beauty. Why I Love Coastal California By Sara Benson, Writer Like almost half of the people who live here, California wasn't where I was born, but it's where I've chosen to make my home.
A hundred worlds – from magic kingdoms and Latin American and Caribbean capitals to mangrove islands, wild wetlands and artist colonies – are all contained within this flat peninsula. Tropical Mosaic While many know Florida for beaches and theme parks, few understand this is one of the most populous states in the country, a bellwether for the American experiment.
New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania
Where else could you visit an Amish family's farm, camp on a mountaintop, read the Declaration of Independence and view New York, New York from the 86th floor of an art-deco landmark – all in a few days? Even though this corner of the country is the most densely populated part of the US, it's full of places where jaded city dwellers escape to seek simple lives, where artists .
It's easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise. Just look at these sugary beaches, Technicolor coral reefs and volcanoes beckoning adventurous spirits. Modern Multiculturalism Hawaii is as proud of its multicultural heritage as it is of island-born US President Barack Obama.
Come to New England to mount spectacular summits and to feel the ocean breeze. Come to tantalize your taste buds with succulent seafood and sweet maple syrup. Come for history and high culture. History The history of New England is the history of America. It's the Pilgrims who came ashore at Plymouth Rock and the minutemen who fought for American independence.
Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California
Southern California, or SoCal as everyone calls it, is best defined by simple, life-affirming moments – sunset over a Pacific beach, scenic coastal drives with the roof down, and Mexican tacos with cold beers and friends. Why I Love Southern California By Sara Benson, Writer With 315 days of sunshine every year, SoCal is where I've chosen to make my home.
New York State
Upstate New York – anywhere outside the city, essentially – and downstate share virtually nothing but a governor and dysfunctional legislature in the capital, Albany. This incongruity produces political gridlock, but it's a blessing for those who cherish a hike up a mountaintop as much as a bar crawl around the Lower East Side.
New York City
Epicenter of the arts. Dining and shopping capital. Trendsetter. New York City wears many crowns, and spreads an irresistible feast for all. The Night Is Young When the sun sinks slowly beyond the Hudson and luminous skyscrapers light up the night, New York transforms into one grand stage.
The Rocky Mountains
The high backbone of the lower 48, the Rockies are nature on steroids, with rows of snow-capped peaks, rugged canyons and wild rivers running buckshot over the Western states. With its beauty and vitality, it's no wonder that 100 years ago, it beckoned ailing patients with last-ditch hopes for cures. The healing power of the Rocky Mountains persists.
Beneath its hospitable exterior, the South has a feisty streak. It's a unique combination of 'Hey y'all' and 'Don't tell me what to do.' This dissonance makes the region a bit of a conundrum to outsiders, as well as a compelling place to visit. Well, that and the lyrical dialect, complicated political history and exuberant food.
The Great Lakes
Don't be fooled by all the corn. Behind it lurks surfing beaches and Tibetan temples, car-free islands and the green-draped night-lights of the aurora borealis. The Midwest takes its knocks for being middle-of-nowhere boring; so consider the moose-filled national parks, urban five-ways and Hemingway, Dylan and Vonnegut sites to be its little secret.