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North America as a tourist destination you say…what a novel idea. Well in fact it is a great idea and it is often the most pleasant surprises are located right under your nose the whole time. All you have to do is look at the massive geographical space that North America occupies to see that this great land has just as much variety as you’ll find anywhere in the world. But the thing that most people fail to realize is the massive cultural diversity that can be found right here in your own backyard…and the best part is, you don’t have to learn other language (well that’s not completely true as you’ll see) and you won’t have to change money every time you turn around.
The United States of America
Ah the good old USA, a homogenized land full of soccer moms and NASCAR dad’s right? Wrong, America is a diverse and varied place whose character is much more than the sum of its parts. Let’s start with the Midwest.
This is probably the first portion of America to be dismissed by a would-be traveler. People think that states like Kansas and Nebraska and Iowa are simply flat boring places, full of round boring people. In many ways it is hard to disagree, the Midwest is indeed flat, but the people there are anything but boring. In fact, it is hard to navigate this great land without coming across cities that are famous for something, whether it is a celebrity, a ball of twine (often the biggest in the world) or even a corn palace. You might not want to spend several weeks in a place like this, but it is truly interesting if you are just passing through.
However, the really great things about the Midwest are the people. These folks see themselves as true Americans. While this is a true statement (but not an exclusive one) it speaks volumes about their love for this country. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to a dinner of BBQ while you are there, and even if you make some new friends.
The Northeast is my next topic because many people feel like it is the Northeast and the Midwest that are the most different. This could not be farther from the truth. Folks in the Northeast also see themselves are true Americans because they were ‘there first’ so to speak. That is, they were the original English colonies. They fought the revolution, they drafted the constitution and they have a culture that is simply more mature. Again there beliefs are not exclusive to the Northeast, but they are good points.
This region of America should be recognized for its history as well as its present. This is the part of the country with New York, Washington DC and Boston. Therefore it is home to some of the most sophisticated urban centers in world. This is the land of multiculturalism and clam chowder. With rocky beaches, small fishing villages and that classic New England accent, it is a truly a wonderful place for a vacation. And of course there is New York, which is probably the most exciting city in the world.
The American south is the most intoxicating place for a vacation in the United States. Once you arrive there, you’ll feel the charm and atmosphere drip off your skin like so much sweat, which will also be dripping off your skin. From the excellent fishing in Arkansas and Tennessee, to the historical charm of Virginia, you’ll find endless opportunities here for having a great time.
There is also the south that is Georgia and South Carolina, from peaches to pulled pork it’s hard to go wrong with these two states. There is also the ocean from charm of old colonial cities like Savannah and Charleston where you can feel the past come alive in front of your eyes (thanks in part to some strategic moves by the local chamber of commerce).
But the south has another face, there are the gulf states like Florida and Alabama where you can take a beachfront vacation as good as anything you’ll find on a Caribbean island, and as I mentioned before, you won’t have to pay for a flight, you won’t have to learn another language and you can always pay in cold hard US cash.
From Texas to Arizona to Las Vegas, the Southwest is part America, part Mexico and all fun. Easily the fastest growing part of the country, the Southwest is young and dynamic. Businesses are flocking here to take advantage of the great climate and the low prices, and soon tourists will be flocking here as well. Once this land was considered all but uninhabitable, but hey, man has conquered nature and the Southwest is open for business.
Come and enjoy all that this area has to offer, but the real best part about this region has to be the food. American food is good, especially BBQ, but Mexican food is better, and when you put the two together you have chow that that can go up against any in the world.
Ah the laid back west. There is no other way to describe it. And hey, if you lived in a climate that was so beautiful and perfect chances are you’d be laid back as well. Whether you are frolicking on the beaches of California, hiking in the mountains of Oregon or kayaking in Washington there is just about every possible activity in these three states.
Also, most people don’t realize that the snowiest place on earth is not Canada, it is not Russia, it is northern California. That’s right northern California gets more snow then any other place on earth. This makes California a microcosm of the entire globe, with every possible form of entertainment available. Oh, and lets not forget LA. What else is there to say, but where else are you able to hang with movie stars and live with soon to be movie stars. The west has it all.
This region, which includes everything from Idaho to the Dakotas, is probably the last part of the continent to be ravaged by the hand of man. This is America the way it looked centuries ago. Wide-open plains, mountains, lakes and everything, you’ll be amazed at the diversity you’ll find here, and you’ll be even more amazed that people haven’t plundered this great land. But, hey, it’ll just be our little secret. Sure you won’t find much ‘sophistication’ outside Denver and Salt Lake City, but who needs so0histicatoin when you can spend the entire day fly fishing without seeing another human being for miles.
Ah, our frosty arrogant neighbors to the north. Oh, you didn’t know they were arrogant…that’s because they are too polite to show it. But they are. Of course they have every reason to be arrogant, they live in one of the best countries in the world. So, if the United States has diversity, you should see this place. Canadian multiculturalism makes America look like a Klan meeting, and the range of outdoor activities will blow you away. Even the Canadian dollar wants you to come here and vacation, you’ll save at least 15% on everything you buy, which all but makes up for the 15% tax you’ll pay on just about everything to fund their socialist paradise.
There is an odd situation in Canada. Only two regions of Canada make any money…and the Maritimes are not one of them. This collection of islands and peninsulas, is as quaint as things come on the continent. The folks here used to make their living fishing, but they fished themselves out of their jobs, now they mostly collect unemployment. But like your friends from home who collect unemployment, they are so much fun. They are generous and hearty people. And for some strange reason their proximity to the UK has allowed them to keep a good portion of their old world accent. Imagine a Boston accent x20. Sure they’ll greet you but you’ll have no idea what they are saying.
Why more Americans don’t go to Quebec is a complete mystery to me. THEY SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE THERE! Is like a completely different country and it is only a days drive from much of the US population. Not only that but you can drink on the streets, you can smoke pot freely, you can drink at the age of 18 and the women are gorgeous. Quebec (or at least the places more tourists would go to) is amazing. Montreal is just about the coolest city in the hemisphere. Brooklyn hipsters should take notice here. Except you’re not welcome, so don’t bother, you sour bastards. Also, in Quebec they have a dish called Poutine, this consists of Fries, sprinkled with cheese curds, and laden with gravy. Deal with it!
If Ontario were a country it would be like Switzerland…except way uglier. Basically, Ontario pays for the rest of the country to do nothing all the time. But that’s okay, their contempt is thanks enough. Really, the rest of the country hates Ontario, and for good reason, we are boring arrogant people with more money than common sense, but without Ontario’s hard work the rest of the country would be screwed so I hope they cut us some slack. Ontarians are grumpy because when they work that extra two hours of overtime, they know the government is going to take it and give it to some guy in Manitoba who will promptly buy a case of OV and sit around getting drunk with his buddies talking about how much he hates those stuck up bastards in Ontario. Sigh…but all that aside, Toronto is the best American city Canada has to offer, half the people in Toronto don’t speak English because we let them come here from other countries. The catch is they have to slave away in ethnic restaurants and cook delicious food for us for the rest of their lives.
The Prairies are really nice and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure they are flat, but so is your sister and you still love her. The Prairies have some of the nicest Canadians in the country. Of course, the Prairies also include Alberta, which is the Texas of Canada, and just like the real Texas, Albertans are full of hate. They are the only other provinces that make any money. They have tones of oil and never forget to tell the rest of the country about that. Although I have no idea why they are so proud of that. They are only rich because their ancestors weren’t smart enough to move to BC.
Just imagine Washington State if everybody was high all the time…scratch that, just imagine Washington State.