The USA – a destination for all seasons

It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that a continent-sized country has something to see all year round, but British visitors to the USA do still tend to trend towards the obvious places in the obvious months. Nothing wrong with that, per se, because there are very good reasons for going to, say, New York at Christmas (shopping, shopping and shopping being three), but while you’re there, pop in to the Frick Collection to see the incredible Hans Holbein portrait of Thomas More, the original ‘man for all seasons’, and remember that you’re in a country for all seasons…

Spring

We’ll start at the beginning, in spring, and in the nation’s capital, Washington, because at this time of year DC does a more than passable impression of Japan, thanks to the spectacular cherry blossom. Time your run to perfection by tuning into the National Park Service prediction of ‘peak bloom’ dates (usually announced in early March) which are normally in early April. When not gawping at blossom, take in the incredible monuments, statues, libraries and vistas of the most powerful city in the world’s only superpower nation, ticking off a few shots from the House of Cards opening credits while you’re at it.

Washington

This is also a very pleasant time to be in a city that can broil come Summer. On the subject of temperatures the Florida Keys are a steady mid-twenties in spring, so head there and Miami for some pre-summer sun. meanwhile, way out West, the dude ranches in the southern states are open for business before it gets too hot in summer, and moving from cowboys to bandits, the one armed variety in Sin City beckon, because Las Vegas (and consequently trips to the Grand Canyon) is not too hot, nor too cold come evening.

Summer

Summer might be an obvious time to travel, but the sheer breadth of destinations across the country that work from June to August is remarkable. Moving from west to east, coastal California positively demands roof down, shades on road trip action between LA and San Francisco, while the beautiful vineyards of Napa and Sonoma valleys go into harvest mode from around the second week of August. Further inland but still in California the mighty Yosemite National Park is at its finest, with all the roads now open and the weather ideal for hiking.

California Road Trip

The summer holidays are the perfect time for families to hit the resort ranches of the American West where parents and children alike can make like cowboys and enjoy activities from fishing to rafting. Up in Alaska, meanwhile, there’s wildlife and walking in July and August as the main trails can be blazed, and bears patrol the rivers to make the most of the salmon runs. On the east coast, the beautiful beaches, sensational seafood and quaint clapboard fishing villages of New England, and particularly Maine and Massachusetts, await.

Autumn/Fall

On the subject of New England, Autumn before the leaf fall in the forests of Vermont and New Hampshire is one of the most spectacular colour displays in nature and, rather thoughtfully, coincides nicely with the apple harvest cider-making season. In the Deep South the summer humidity has receded and back on the west coast, Southern California’s weather remains beach-worthy while Britain gets chilly. As for the state’s cities, San Francisco can actually be better in Autumn because the summer fogs stop rolling in. 2,400 miles west of ‘Frisco, Hawaii is dry and hot and half the price of the Christmas to Easter and summer holiday high seasons.

San Francisco

Winter

Strap on the planks, because winter means fall of a different kind – snowfall. Ski resorts such as Jackson Hole in Wyoming are among the best in the world, but there’s skiing across the Rockies and even on the coasts in resorts such as Mammoth in California (the state with everything, basically) and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, just two hours from Boston.

Jackson Hole

Elsewhere, the Florida Keys and Miami resolutely refuse to get cold and Hawaii, the southern point of the entire US of A, is ideal for surfers, while whales are also migrating past the islands. In New Orleans the festivities are in full swing for Mardi Gras in February (and occasionally early March), and few places are as festive as where we started this whistlestop tour, in New York, come Christmas and New Year. Come New Year, make 2016 the year you explore more of America.

Tom Barber is Co-Founder of Original Travel.

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Comments (4)

  1. Kev says:

    Great article and images and a great reminder that the USA is a fabulous year round destination!
    Thanks for mentioning Florida too. It’s a fabulous place to escape the winter blues and surf all year round.

  2. Samantha says:

    I now live in CO now but originally from CA. I definitely miss the ocean, which is one of the things I missed the most (besides family of course). However, I am now near the Rockies and there is nothing like them. At least I get to see them everyday. Pretty cool. :) Thanks for a great post.

  3. Susan Young says:

    Love DC. Get a warm fuzzy feeling when watching House of Cards opening credits. Then that feeling goes away!

  4. Thank you for this article. I feel the U.S. gets glossed over sometimes. There is so much here and not just New York and L.A.

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