Best Places To Visit In The USA (Without Getting Exhausted)
The USA has some incredible travel experiences, but you will not be able to see them all at once and your vacation will need some careful planning to make sure that you are not too tired to enjoy your journey.
So, we have broken the country up into some bite sized chunks which are easy to handle.
Drive, Fly or Fly Drive
Unless you are travelling vast distances between cities, we recommend hiring a car with separate pick up and drop off points. This is because the experience at most American airports is pretty soul destroying and, even when, you arrive at your destination you will most likely need a car to get around.
How Long to Stay in Each Destination?
Of course, there are much more things to do in some destinations than others but we advocate ‘less hotel hopping’ and more ‘spotlight’ stays where you can get to know the place without rushing around all the time.
Free Walking Tours
Wherever possible, we advocate using the Free Walking Tours. As these tours involve mostly walking, with maybe the odd bus or tram ride, you will see the local area in a lot of detail.
On these tours, you decide at the end of the tour how much to tip the guide. The guide will be working really hard for his tip, so the tour is normally excellent, as well as a lot cheaper than the ‘paid tours’.
Another big advantage of these tours is that you will meet very interesting people from all walks of life to share experiences and suggestions about your journeys.
North Eastern United States (Plus Chicago)
The three obvious cities for a trip to the north east of the States are Boston, New York City and Washington DC.
Earlier in the page, we suggested car hire as the best mode or transport but, as most of the time will be spend walking around these cities, here we recommend taking the train.
The train journey from Boston to NYC takes about 4 hours and from NYC to DC is about 3 hours and you will arrive nice and fresh in the city centre.
Boston is was founded in 1630, it’s one of the oldest cities in the U.S. The important role that it played in the American Revolution is highlighted on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking route of historic sites that tells the story of the nation’s founding. There are also some fantastic museums in Boston. As Boston is relatively small, for 4 nights will be enough.
New York City
NYC is the second-best city in the world (after our own London) and there is so much to see and do here. NYC is also the best walking city in the world. We suggest starting walking at Lower Manhattan and ending up at Central Park (not all in one day though). A minimum of 5 nights in New York is needed to experience the principle highlights.
The thing about Washington DC is the museums. If you choose 4 museums and visit 2 museums a day then 4 nights should be sufficient to include government buildings as well.
If you have a 2-week holiday in mind then Boston, New York City and Washington DC will have used up all your days but if you have a little longer then you should consider tagging on Chicago.
Whether you add Chicago to the start or the end of your journey, the best way to travel to or from there will be a two-hour flight.
Three nights will probably allow you to see most of the main attractions in this fast-growing city.
Now Florida is the type of place where a car is needed.
Our three main recommended places to visit are Orlando, Miami and the Florida Key. The is an easy journey down the east coast of Florida. If you would like to extend your holiday and drive back up the Gulf Coast then you can stop off at Naples and Tampa.
Orlando to Miami – 4 hours
Miami to Key West – 4 hours
Key West to Naples – 5 hours
Naples to Tampa – 3 hours
Tampa to Orlando – 2 hours
We are suggesting returning to Orlando as this will probably reduce the cost of the flights.
How long to stay here may well depend on whether you have the kids in tow, but there is a lot more to do than just theme parks, so we suggest 7 nights.
We recommend staying in Miami Beach for 3 nights.
We love crazy places so would stay here forever, but 4 nights to experience a completely different lifestyle should give you a good taste.
We recommend staying in Naples for 3 nights.
Tampa /St Petersburg
We recommend staying in Tampa / St Petersburg for 4 nights. You could split this up into two 2-night stays or just pick one convenient base to tour from.
Texas and New Orleans
This is driving tour is something different – combining the best of Texas with one of the best entertainment destinations in the world.
Dallas to Austin – 3 hours
Austin to San Antonio – 90 minutes
San Antonio to Houston – 3 hours
Houston to New Orleans – 6 hours
Dallas / Fort Worth
Two massive cities joined together. We recommend that you stay in Fort Worth, which has a more of a wild west feel. Highlights will be Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, Sundance Square and the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza (where JFK was shot). 3 nights here will be enough to help you shake off the jet lag.
Austin is known for its eclectic live-music scene centered around country, blues and rock. It is home to more than 250 music venues and a vibrant arts scene It also has inspiring cuisine and stunning outdoor settings. Three days should be enough to discover the Live Music Capital of the World. 3 nights of top music in Austin.
A visit to San Antonio is optional, but as you must pass by it on the route from Austin to Houston, we are suggesting a trip to The Alamo, an 18th-century Spanish mission preserved as a museum, which marks the infamous 1836 battle for Texan independence from Mexico.
Houston is most famous for it Space Centre but it is also worth visiting the Museum of Natural Science which has an amazing selection of dinosaurs, a planetarium and model of the Space Station. relatively compact Downtown includes the Theater District, home to the famous Houston Grand Opera. Another 3 nights in Houston will be enough.
We thought that New Orleans was going to be about Creole Cooking and Jazz but it is really one of the greatest party towns in the world. Known as the “Big Easy,” the best time to visit is Mardi Gras, the carnival famed for costumed parades and street parties but any time is good to visit this fantastic city. Stay as long as you can! Minimum 4 nights.