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Newsweek Showcase U.S.A. Travel Overview

The United States and its territories offer endless opportunities to experience magnificent cultures, landscapes and activities. From trekking in Alaska to sailing in the Florida Keys, from shopping in bustling New York City to barbecue cook-offs in the South, it’s an understatement to say there is something for everyone—the challenge lies in narrowing all of your choices.

The nine U.S. regions defined below are characterized by distinct personalities, and each offers unique and memorable options for travelers.

One exceptional trip-planning tool is This first-ever official travel and tourism website of the United States features rich content on the 50 U.S. states, popular cities and the country’s five territories, plus vibrant traveler galleries picturing American locales and attractions, official entry policy information, an interactive map, an activity finder and more. User-generated reviews and images also provide a blend of official and authentic traveler information.

Pacific Region

The nation’s tallest mountains and deepest gorge, sub-zero ice fields, steamy tropical rainforests, remote islands and must-see cities await you in the Pacific states.

Rock climbing, mountain biking, boating, scuba diving, surfing, backpacking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, wildlife- watching – the Pacific Region beckons.

The vast Pacific Region begins in Alaska’s snowy north, leapfrogs over Canada, runs down the Pacific coast along Washington, Oregon and California, and then sets sail for Hawaii. It also includes the remote islands of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas.

But within the great diversity is one constant: endless recreation. California blends frenetic cities with tranquil national parks. Oregon boasts photogenic coastlines and an interior where playing outside remains the single-minded focus. Washington charms with lush rain-fed forests to the west and valleys and vineyards to the east. Alaska features perpetually changing wilderness and astounding wildlife, while Hawaii hula dances into hearts with its volcanic topography highlighted by serene beaches.

Mountain Region

Basking in the beauty of the glorious Rocky Mountains, from ranch lands to ski slopes, dense forests to rushing rivers, the Mountain Region is an awesome home to wildlife and a rewarding destination for travelers.

Although it's known for its soaring snow-capped peaks, the Mountain Region encompasses much more. The grasslands of the Front Range on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains have their own quiet beauty. These wide-open spaces are stunning in their vastness, home to real cowboy and Indian culture. National parks and wilderness areas preserve ancient landscapes that harbor bison, bears and other species rarely seen elsewhere. Spectacular scenic drives are matched by an array of activities: skiing, horseback riding, fly-fishing, white-water rafting, mountain biking and much more. Discover ghost towns, watch a rodeo, hike gentle paths or backcountry trails, all against the magnificent Rocky Mountain backdrop.

Capital Region

The nation’s seat of government. A wealth of museums. Verdant mountains and roaring rivers. Fishing and rafting. This is the Capital Region.

In the midsection of the East Coast sits the U.S. capital, stately Washington, D.C. It’s especially beautiful in the spring, during cherry blossom season. The city’s cherry trees were a gift from the Japanese people in 1912.

Surrounding this power-driven city is an abundance of natural glories: the mountains, forests and rivers of Virginia and West Virginia, and the beaches of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. There are quaint fishing villages on the coast, bucolic mountain towns born when the railroads where first built and, here and there, large cities with rich histories. There are surprises around every curve in the road – and the roads are very, very curvy.

Mid West and Great Plains Region

Small-town festivals and big-city theater. Rodeo, ragtime, riverboats and the country’s breadbasket.

Farther west, the Great Plains take a dramatic geographic turn to broad expanses of prairie where homesteaders and ranchers tamed a remote and breathtaking landscape. Two centuries of commerce and cultural cross currents now render a rich traveling experience in this region, whether you’re on back-country roads or in smart urban centers.

Great Lakes Region

Majestic pines and powerhouse art. Coastal lighthouses and riverside jazz.

Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. They’re more like inland seas with forested islands, rock caves and sand-dune beaches. The Great Lakes were first charted by French explorers in the late 1600s. Towns on their coasts quickly prospered and attracted a steady stream of immigrants to this resource-rich section of the country.

Today, the lake-bordering states offer modern-day explorers – and vacationers – a first-hand look at the wilderness that inspired industrial innovation and powered great cities while furnishing scenic vistas of rural life.

New England Region

Lighthouses perched on rocky coastlines. Rustic cottages embraced by fiery-colored forests. Lobsters and maple syrup. Let New England captivate you.

If you want a glimpse of the U.S. in its infancy, when the bells of freedom first began to ring, visit New England. In what is still a relatively new nation, this is a region rich in the country’s earliest history. As you tour the halls where America’s founders conferred, well-versed guides will recall what first stirred the political leaders’ passions. Then drive out to the forested countryside and visit the villages, each with its own charm. On the coast, try your hand at catching fish or crabs, or take a tour boat in search of seals and whales. You’ll find New England enchanting.

Mid Atlantic Region

Cities that never sleep and sleepy Colonial-era towns. Immense Wilderness and pocket parks. Cultural hubs and secluded hideaways.

From the welcoming arms of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to the aromas of restaurants in countless ethnic neighborhoods, from the dazzling casinos in Atlantic City to reliving America’s history in Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic Region is a one-stop-shop for culture, history, outdoor and urban adventures.

South Region

Blessed by nature, steeped in history and enriched with culture, this is a destination for all seasons. Welcome to the South.

From the charms of a small-town street fair to the churning excitement of urban nightlife, the South offers nearly every kind of holiday experience imaginable.

Variety is the essence of the Southern travel experience. From the Carolinas to Louisiana, you will discover a region of great contrasts: sun-drenched beaches and rugged mountain trails; meandering rivers and cascading waterfalls; Old South plantations and New South urban centers; spectacular theme parks and amazing natural vistas; extraordinary cultural attractions and exciting sporting venues; down-home cooking and sophisticated dining.

You will find gritty outdoor adventures as well as luxurious resort experiences in each Southern state. And you’ll discover that each state has a distinct flair for “Southern Hospitality” – a storied tradition carried on by congenial people who coax you to slow down and enjoy the journey.

Southwest Region

From food to festivals to architecture, the blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures encompasses many different landscapes and lifestyles in the Southwest.

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Grand Canyon, in high deserts and on sprawling prairies, the Southwest is simply enormous. Drive across this region on a classic American road trip – you can even follow old Route 66 for some of the way. Discover down-home hospitality in small farming and ranching towns, or superb restaurants, fine arts and nightlife in glittering cities. Try your luck in the casinos of Nevada and on many Native American reservations. The borderlands of the Southwest have a vibrant mix of Mexican, cowboy and Native American culture – ancient pueblos, fiery cuisine, rodeos, pow wows, historic adobe buildings – all set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes and magnificent sunsets.

So, what is there to see in the U.S.? More specifically, what is there not to see? The possibilities for new experiences are infinite. Begin your trip planning in and to the United States at

(SOURCE: Travel Industry Association; DATE: August 27, 2008)


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