America offers a vast range of tourist attractions that will surely captivate your fancy. From its sunny beaches, breathtaking landscapes, to the bustling cities and idyllic cities with old world charm—one thing is for sure: you will never have a dull time when visiting USA. In fact, since there is just so much to see and do, it can feel overwhelming, especially for Brits visiting for the first time.
Given how far the UK is from the US, it is easy to get into the “I’ll do everything! I’ll visit every place!” mentality. Of course, you would want to make the best out of your stay in the US. But between 51 states and limited holiday time, you would have to choose wisely and plan your trip accordingly so as not to waste any precious time. You can always opt for guided tours like Exoticca travel to save you the hassle of planning, or you can create your personalized itinerary, although it would be more tedious. Whichever you choose, here are the best places in America that you absolutely have to include in your itinerary.
Days 1 to 3: New York City
It is best to start any tour of the United States in New York City. With a wide assortment of places to visit and activities to choose from, the city that never sleeps will surely keep you preoccupied during your trip. That said, no matter what your interests are, you will surely be able to find a unique attraction that fits your fancy at NYC. If you are a theater enthusiast, be sure to catch a glimpse of their Broadway shows. If you have a thing for art and science exhibits, be sure to visit NYC’s famed museums. And if you want to get a taste of the city nightlife, be sure to try their different bars—from vintage bars, rooftop bars, beach bars and pubs, to night clubs, discotheques, and strip clubs, you will never run out of new places to try.
You can allot about three days of your travel time to experience New York City’s most favored tourist attractions such as The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, and Central Park, or you can go on a shopping spree in the Fifth Avenue. Museum visits would also be interesting. Check out the Rock Observatory, the American Museum of Natural History, the Met, as well as the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
Day 4: Philadelphia
After experiencing the bustling city life of NYC, it would be nice to head south towards the relatively calmer and more laid-back state of Philadelphia. This 95-mile drive will take you about two hours. Here, you will find several icons from American history as well as modern marvels like the Liberty Bell Center, the Hall of Independence, the Peddler’s Village, the Reading Terminal Market, the Valley Forge National Historical Park, and the Longwood Gardens. You will surely learn about their culture and long-standing history.
And if you are a foodie, be sure to try the famous Philly cheesesteak. You have several top-tier cheesesteak shops to choose from, including Dalessandro’s, Poe’s, Joe’s, Tony Luke’s, McNally’s, and many more. You can also have a walking food tour—sampling the different offerings of Philadelphia as you go around its historic streets. The Reading Terminal market, which is the oldest of its kind, is an absolute foodie haven, so be sure to go there on an empty stomach so you can taste as many Philly food as you can.
Days 5 to 6: Washington, D.C.
After eating your heart out in Philadelphia, it is time to move onto USA’s capital—Washington, D.C. This is 139 miles away from Philadelphia, and it will take you about two and a half hours of travel.
You can schedule a tour of the White House or the Capitol Building, or you can spend the day on a trolley tour from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. If you time your travel wisely, you may even get a glimpse of the National Cherry Blossom festival near the Washington Monument and momentarily feel as if you are in Japan. The cherry blossoms in Washington, DC bloom anywhere from late March to early April, depending on the weather and temperature. And if you are a history lover, do not miss out on visiting the Smithsonian and its many exhibits on the National Mall. The National Mall is also the best place to try the famed Washington D.C. hot dog.
Some of the best sights to see in Washington D.C. are the Capital Wheel, Museum of the Bible, National Mall, Potomac River, L’Enfant Plaza, and many more. You can also immerse yourself in a multi-sensory digital art experience when you visit Artechouse in Washington, DC. Here, you can marvel at large-scale art exhibitions by artists who amalgamate art, science, and technology in their masterpieces. Lastly, you can go on a luxurious buffet lunch or dinner cruise along the Potomac River. You can dine aboard the Spirit and enjoy a scrumptious buffet meal while cruising down the Potomac River. After the meal, you can then dance to the onboard DJ or play exciting games like giant Jenga and shuffleboard.
Day 7: Shenandoah National Park
For nature lovers out there, Shenandoah National Park is one of the best places in USA to recharge and get in touch with your inner self for some rest and peace of mind. I mean, even God rested on the seventh day, so why shouldn’t you?
Shenandoah National Park is 75 miles aways from D.C., and you will get there in about one and a half hours. Here, you will be able to tour the Skyline Drive free of the urban hustle and bustle. If you are trying to stay physically active, you can hike along the park’s many trails or go biking past some of the area’s most diverse patches of wilderness. This is a great park for hiking and experiencing the Appalachian Mountains. And while it does not really hold its ground to the impressive wonders of Yellowstone or Yosemite, it is charming in its own right.
If you would like to do a more laid-back activity, you can spend the night camping under the bright stars. Star gazing is especially a sought-after activity here.
Days 8 to 9: Pennsylvania
After a relaxing getaway to the Shenandoah National Park, you can now make your way to Pennsylvania. You can visit some of its attractions such as Gettysburg, Lancaster, and its idyllic and picturesque Amish Villages, including Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand. You also cannot miss getting a glimpse of Falling Water, which is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous architectural feat. You can schedule a tour of this renowned home and see for yourself how Wright made history with his architectural creativity.
And if you are up for some adventure, try visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a historic prison with a tragic history. It is still shrouded in mystery and superstitions that haunt the halls to this day, so if you are afraid of anything paranormal, it may be better to skip this.
Day 10: Niagara Falls
The famed Niagara Falls is about 288 miles away from Shenandoah National Park and it would take you about four hours to get there. But worry not, because the distance is truly worth travelling if it means you can get up close and personal with America’s largest waterfall. There is nothing more impressive than the sight of this natural wonder. Just be prepared to be wet!
The Niagara Falls consist of three waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls, which is the largest and most powerful of the trio. The falls offer a variety of attractions and activities for visitors, such as boat tours, zip lines, observation towers, hiking trails, botanical gardens, and museums, as well as stunning views of the cascading water and rainbow mist.