Did you know that the United States is a seemingly endless source of trivia and tid-bits?
Well, it is and it's no wonder! The country is the fourth largest in the world by land size and the third largest by population, with a rich history filled with revolution and innovation. From the glamour of its big cities to the arresting display of natural beauty, it's a country with no shortage of travel experiences.
With that in mind, here are five fun facts about the good ol' U S of A that may just inspire you to board a plane and check it out.
Eight Capitol Cities
This one is for those that take a little history with their travel. Prior to 1800, Congress held their annual meetings in eight different US cities, meaning that these metropolises have the privilege of naming themselves the onetime national capitol.
Follow the trail of the US government through Baltimore, Lancaster, York, Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, New York City and Philadelphia. The latter was the most popular choice for official antics as it played host on six separate occasions. This includes the first congressional meeting in 1774, which was held at Carpenters' Hall. Philadelphia also acted as the capitol while Washington DC was being constructed.
Something For Everyone
The vast lands of the US ensure a melting pot of experiences for those that travel through the country. It also means a variety of climates. In fact, every global climate is represented in the US. Those seeking a tropical getaway should head for Hawaii or Southern Florida. If the Mediterranean is more your style, the California Coast has you covered.
Semi-arid climates, both hot and cold, can be found through the middle states known as the Great Plains, while the Great Basin (think Nevada and Utah) is as arid as the day is long. Of course, those that prefer the icy chill of polar climates will find their comfort zone in majestic Alaska.
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From The Largest To The Smallest
Scattered across 50 states, there are 10,016 cities, 4,431 towns and 3,370 villages to choose from when deciding your next trip. New York City is the largest city by population with 8,405,837 residents according to a 2013 estimate. This means that one in every 38 US residents lives in New York City. That's quite a change from a state like Montana, where cows outnumber people three to one.
The smallest place in the US by population is Buford, Wyoming. This unincorporated community has a population of just one. Buford is home to a convenience store, gas station and a single private residence. In 2012, the town was auctioned off to the highest bidder with Pham Dinh Nguyen (Buford's current Mayor) putting up the winning bid of $900,000.
Get Your Motor Runnin'
If you're thinking of getting behind the wheel on your next trip to the US, chances are you'll be traversing the country on the Interstate Highway System. Surprisingly, this relatively new addition to the US didn't start until 1956 under President Eisenhower. While serving in World War II, Eisenhower admired Germany's network of high-speed roadways and returned to the US determined to create something similar. The first stage of construction wasn't completed until 1991.
Specifications of the new highways included overpasses and underpasses as opposed to intersections and at least four lanes designed for high-speed driving. Plans also required that one mile in every five be a straight line that could be used as airstrips through wartime or emergencies.
Official State Food
From rich regional dishes to national icons like cheeseburgers and apple pie, the US is a smorgasbord of culinary delights. With so much to offer, it's no wonder that each state has its own official food. Ranging from grains to cookies, these official eats are generally made up of local produce. Though it's not out of the question for a state to adopt a dish, snack or drink done particularly well. Some examples include:
Alabama State Nut: pecan
Colorado State Pastry: cinnamon roll
Connecticut State Cookie: snickerdoodle
Georgia State Prepared Food: grits
Hawaii State Muffin: coconut muffin
Idaho State Fruit: huckleberry
Maine State Soft Drink: Moxie
Massachusetts State Bean: baked navy bean
Minnesota State Grain: wild rice
New Mexico State Vegetable: chillies and frijoles
Ohio State Candy: Buckeyes
Oregon State Mushroom: Pacific Golden Chanterelle
South Carolina State Snack: boiled peanuts
Vermont State Pie: apple pie