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the third largest country in the world in population and the fourth largest in area, covering the entire midsection of North America, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. Thanks to cinema and TV we all have impressions of the United States of America. Yet nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Manhattan`s unforgettable skyline, your first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger joints, the vast expanses of prairie, the sweet strains of New Orleans jazz or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas. If the United States has one defining quality, it`s variety. This vast area of some 3.6 million square miles--it`s 2,500 miles from New York to Los Angeles, and that again to Hawaii--has something for everyone. Each region still speaks with its own accent, enjoys its own favourite foods, and has its own political and social attitudes. Indeed, foreign travelers often go away with the impression that we aren`t one nation but an amalgam of 50 little countries. Whatever you want to see, do, or eat, you`re likely to find it within the vast and diverse confines of the United States of America. Home to several of the world`s most exciting cities, some truly mind-blowing landscapes, a strong sense of regionalism, a trenchant mythology, more history than the country gives itself credit for and, arguably, some of the most approachable natives in the world.
The Rocky Mountain States - Colorado in particular, are home to the country`s most popular downhill skiing and snowboarding destinations. The US may be the most industrialised nation on earth, but it`s also the land of opportunity when it comes to hiking. Rock climbing and mountaineering are popular pursuits, especially in the Sierra Nevada and Rockies. Mountain biking is a huge pastime, particularly in California (where it was invented). Americans love parades and pageantry, so there`s no shortage of events and festivities. Half the country comes to a standstill during the Super Bowl, the roving American-football finale held in late January. There are many thousands of parks scattered, they range from tiny little neighbourhood playgrounds and individual buildings of historical significance to immense tracts of wilderness and natural beauty larger than some nations.
The United States of America is a big country that covers a very large area and has an unevenly distributed population, so there are still many wild parts. Even in the northeastern states where the population density is high, you can drive for hours through vast forests and thinly populated farmlands passing only small villages and isolated homes. Some western states like Wyoming cover an area the size of France or Germany and have a population of less than 500,000 people who for the most part live in a few cities and small towns. The back roads, the lesser-known roads are taking you through places where you could really experience the culture of the particular state you were in or the particular region of the country.
Outdoor possibilities are endless in thousands of recreation areas, while indoor entertainment is equally well delivered with high quality, high brow museums of all sorts, matched by high quality low brow theme parks of every kind. The USA is the birthplace of modern 20th C music with many related attractions and a vibrant live music culture; film buffs will enjoy recognising just about everywhere. Shopping is a national pastime - every conceivable type exists and service really is with a smile. The USA is a huge country to explore, with 50 states to choose from, flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain.
But it is the astonishing, vast landscapes that make the USA truly distinctive – spectacular National Parks like Yosemite and the Everglades, rugged ice fields, the Great Lakes and the desert plains – and such awe-inspiring sights as the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains should be on every visitor`s must-see list. For five centuries, since the `New World` discoveries of Christopher Columbus, people from every corner of the globe have come here in search of `the American Dream` - a fascinating melting pot of cultures and traditions.