Sun-kissed beaches and art-deco beauties make an alluring backdrop to Miami’s other charms – a burgeoning arts scene, creative cuisine and blazing nightlife. Architectural Jewel Box Even if there was no beach, Miami would still have undeniable allure. The gorgeous 1930s hotels lining Ocean Dr are part of the world’s greatest collection of art-deco buildings.
Maui lures travelers with an invigorating mix of natural beauty and outdoor fun, all shared with warm alohas. Natural Beauty The golden sands of Keawakapu Beach. The rumpled green flanks of Haleakalā. The graceful beauty of Wailua Falls. These gorgeous sights have drawn admirers for generations.
A horse and buggy trundles through the Lancaster fog before it is overtaken by a Philadelphia-bound sports car driven by a young tech entrepreneur. In Pittsburgh, children of immigrants who work as nurses in the city's burgeoning hospitals start breaking into experimental contemporary art. In Gettysburg, descendants of Union soldiers proudly fly Confederate flags.
Southwest Gulf Coast
People who prefer Florida's Gulf side over its Atlantic one generally fall in love with this stretch of sun-kissed coastline from Sarasota to Naples. These two affluent, cultured towns set the tone for the whole region, where visits sway between soporific beach days and art-museum meanders, fine dining and designer cocktails.
Central Florida is like a matryoshka, the Russian doll that encases similar dolls of diminishing size. The region features pretty state parks, gardens and rivers, all ideal for leisurely exploration. One layer down, Central Florida then embraces Kissimmee, Celebration and the vast, sprawling area of Greater Orlando.
Most states have one official state song. Tennessee has seven. And there's a reason for that – Tennessee has music deep within its soul. Here, the folk music of the Scots-Irish in the eastern mountains combined with the bluesy rhythms of the African Americans in the western Delta to give birth to the modern country music that makes Nashville famous.
If Orlando were a Disney character, it's fair to say that she's like Dory (of Nemo fame) and lacks a bit of confidence. It's so easy to get caught up in Greater Orlando – in the isolated, constructed worlds of Disney or Universal Orlando (for which, let's face it, you're probably here) – that you forget all about the downtown city of Orlando itself.
The nickname 'America in Miniature' perfectly captures Maryland: this small state possesses all of the best bits of the country, from the Appalachian Mountains in the west to sandy white beaches in the east. A blend of Northern street smarts and Southern down-home appeal gives this border state an appealing identity crisis.
The Great Plains
To best comprehend this vast and underappreciated region in the heart of the US, you need to split up the name. The first word, 'great,' is easy. Great scenery, great tornadoes, great people: all apply. The problem is with 'plains.' 'Humdrum' and 'flat' come to mind. Neither word applies.
To maximize your fun and for a good taste of the state, head to Central Texas. Austin and San Antonio are only 80 miles apart, and the Hill Country rolls west from both cities. You'll find a busy international airport in each city as well as diverse lodging options. Lakes, rivers and hills distinguish Central Texas from most of the rest of the state.
If you ask us where you can find the most trillion-dollar sights, where you can run the gnarliest rivers and charge the sickest runs, and where you can make one hike that is sure to save your citified soul within a single afternoon, we would take out the map of Colorado, trim the edges and point right to the center.
Dallas & the Panhandle Plains
Dallas and Fort Worth may be next-door neighbors, but they're hardly twins – or even kissing cousins. Long regarded as being as divergent as an Escalade-driving sophisticate and a rancher in a dusty pickup truck, these two cities have starkly different facades. Beyond appearances, however, they share a love of high (and low) culture and good old-fashioned Texan fun.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is steeped in history and tradition. It's the birthplace of America, where English settlers established the first permanent colony in the New World in 1607. Since that time, the state has played a lead role in nearly every major American drama, from the Revolutionary and Civil wars to the Civil Rights movement and the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada
An outdoor-adventurer’s wonderland, the Sierra Nevada is a year-round pageant of snow sports, white-water rafting, hiking, cycling and rock climbing. Skiers and snowboarders blaze through hushed pine-tree slopes, and wilderness seekers come to escape the stresses of modern civilization.