I'm a big fan of travelling to the USA, I visited back in April to head to Coachella festival and explore the West Coast by car (or, more accurately something akin to the size of a tank). I noticed recently that it was Christopher Columbus Day and so asked my work colleagues what they considered to be the most iconic tourist spots in America. Here's our top 5! How many have you seen?
1. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada
World renowned for its opulence and dazzling architecture, the Las Vegas Strip has become famous for its hedonism and around-the-clock party lifestyle. This intoxicating destination, nestled in the Nevada desert, is home to some of the world's most iconic casinos, as well as impressive shows, water displays and fantastic nightlife. Well loved by holiday groups looking for a good time, any trip to Las Vegas is bound to thrill and excite, hence its playful nickname of Sin City.
2. Statue of Liberty, New York
Manhattan Island is one of North America's most iconic destinations and the Statue of Liberty is perhaps its most famous attraction. Located in New York harbour, this 93 metres-tall statue was a gift from France in the late 1800s and for years has welcomed immigrants and visitors to the city, representing freedom and liberty. Now a short ferry trip over to Staten Island rewards visitors with a trip to the top of the base by her feet to soak up the panoramic views across to the city.
3. Grand Canyon, Arizona
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, located in the Arizona desert, is an impressive 1 mile deep and around 277 miles long, attracting nearly five million visitors a year to enjoy breathtaking views of this deep fissure. A beacon for adventurers, there are many opportunities for hiking, kayaking or even helicopter rides around the canyon's colourful rock formations. Between April and October visitors can even hire bikes for guided cycling tours around the rim.
4. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Soaring Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has long been an impressive reminder of America's tumultuous history, thanks to the depiction of four presidents carved into the granite face of the mountain. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln all have their likenesses sculpted 60 foot high into the rock to signify the founding, growth and preservation of the United States. 14 years in the making, this towering memorial is as iconic as it is remarkable and to this day draws visitors from around the world.
5. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Stretching across the bay of San Francisco, the lofty red cables and towers of the Golden Gate Bridge have come to make this suspension bridge one of the most famous in the world. Joining the laid-back city of San Francisco to neighbouring Oakland, construction of the bridge took four years, finally finishing in April 1937. Visitors today can walk, cycle or drive over this world famous structure, which towers above the morning mist that greets each day in the city.
If you're considering a visit, take some inspiration from these truly iconic USA attractions, by checking out Contiki Holidays, which offers a range of USA tours for 18-35 year-olds.