Supersize Your USA Stay

19 November 2015
Read Time: 3.4 mins

Big cities. Big spaces. Big hair. Big eats. Big monuments and big events. There’s no denying the United States of America is big on travel experiences. Most Australians will touch down in major hubs such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu – all a convenient direct flight from the east coast of Australia – as well as popular destinations further afield like New York City and Las Vegas. From coast to coast and from Alaska to the Deep South, not to mention to the islands, America has myriad things to see and do at all times of the year. If you’re keen to supersize your USA stay and explore more America, here’s the scoop.

 Manhattan is just over the Brooklyn Bridge...

Big Cities

The US has some of the most exciting cities on Earth. From the 24-hour buzz of yet to the neon lights of Las Vegas, America’s mega cities pack more fun, activities and sights then you could ever hope to experience on one trip.

 Rolling with your homies in Santa Monica.

While many travellers may concentrate their NYC visit on the compact island of Manhattan, New York has four other boroughs to explore. Just over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn is well established as a hipster haven and a great place to discover up-and-coming designers and great eateries. Queens is also making its name as a great place to stumble upon, claiming the top spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in the US list.

 Try to stand still in the neon-lit city of Vegas.

Los Angeles is another city that’s so much more than its most famous attributes. As well as popular stops such as Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Hollywood, Downtown LA is a renowned shopping mecca and a cultural hotspot.

 Orient yourself in San Francisco.

San Francisco is yet another Californian city populated with well-known neighbourhoods and quirky attractions. It’s an ideal place to get outdoors and explore, taking in the Golden Gate Bridge, riding a cable car up impossibly hilly streets and seeing the sea lions at Pier 39. More fun for the whole family can be found in Las Vegas where neon lights beckon and you can also see the retro signs in the Neon Boneyard within the Neon Museum plus learn about organised crime at the Mob Museum.


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 Get a sense of scope in Zion National Park, Utah.

Big Spaces

While America’s cities have a plethora of entertainment options, there’s plenty of sightseeing in the wide, open spaces too. The US has 50 different preserved areas across 23 states, spanning craggy snow-capped peaks to swampy wetlands and a veritable colour palette of amazing rock formations, and most parks are free to enter.

 Mush, mush - your transport awaits in Alaska.

The Grand Canyon is a must-do, whether you take a helicopter tour, tackle the Grand Canyon Skywalk or take a wilderness walk along the scenic North, South or West Rim. The sheer scale of this natural wonder is truly awe-inspiring. Another amazing sight is the gargantuan sequoias in California’s Redwood National Park, which can reach taller than 109 metres and span six metres across.

 Sky for miles - the road to Death Valley, California.

Perhaps fire and ice is on your itinerary? Whether it’s the searing temperature of Death Valley National Park or flowing lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or the pristine glacial lakes of Montana’s Glacial National Park and snow-topped granite peaks of Denali National Park in Alaska, the extremes will amaze you, as will the abundance of local wildlife.

 It's a small world after all at Disneyland.

Big Eats

Traversing big cities and criss-crossing states is bound to work up an appetite. Luckily you are never far from a mouth-watering feed wherever you are in the USA. There’s plenty of regional dishes to try from barbecuing hotspots like Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas, each with their own subtle take on grill styles, choice of meats and accompaniments, to the fresh superfoods of So-Cal cuisine.

 See Waikiki from a different vantage point.

Tex-Mex is having a moment, and you can sample spicy Mexican-inspired flavours in the Southwest regions such as Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma or Cuban fare in Miami, while in the Southeastern states, comfort food is key with filling Louisiana gumbo and po’ boys the catch of the day. Food trucks continue to draw crowds roadside with tempting international and fusion fare from Giovanni’s garlic prawns in Oahu to Nong’s Khao Man Gai famous Thai chicken and rice in Portland.

 When your hotel towel matches the Art Deco buildings in Miami...

Of course, you’ll want to try all the iconic meals in their natural habitat – In-N-Out burgers on a road trip, shaved ice on the beach in Hawaii, and hotdogs at a baseball game.

 Mammoth in name - Mammoth the mountain in California.

Big Events

Heard of a little event known as Superbowl? Or New Orleans Mardi Gras? Yep, the US of A sure knows how to put on a shindig. The yearly calendar is dotted with music festivals, summer soirees, sporting and holiday events.  Whether you yearn for a white Christmas in New York (cue Central Park carriage rides, outdoor ice-skating and decorated department store windows) or want to sample cowboy culture at the National Finals Rodeo, there’s a party somewhere in the States for you.

 In the shadow of the iconic Grand Canyon.

Some of our favourite yearly events include St Patrick’s Day in Chicago, Miami’s Calle Ocho, Hawaii’s Aloha Festival and Cheyenne Frontier Days, showcasing the uniquely American heritage and traditions that this great nation has incorporated and made its own. Why not time your US escape to include a national holiday or event?

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to the USA.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.