In a country as young as the United States, it’s no wonder we take our nation’s birthday so seriously – and travelers can attest to that. The sheer number of people that visit the U.S. annually shows just how great our attractions are. According to the U.S. Travel Association, international travel is one of America’s leading exports and travelers spend hundreds of billions of dollars here each year. So for those travelers looking to see what all the commotion is about, there’s no better time to do it than on the most important day of the year: our birthday.
Despite being the new kid on the block, the United States is full of historical attractions in every corner of our country. Who can forget Lady Liberty, who welcomed so many hopeful immigrants to her shores? Or the Alamo, where a turning point was made in the Texas Revolution? And of course there are the Deadlands, where so much of American culture was rooted in the beginning of westward expansion. These landmarks and locations remind us of our roots and offer foreigners insight into who we are and where we come from.
Visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the weekend of July 4-7 and you will even find yourself in the midst of a Civil War reenactment. This year will be the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Reenactment where thousands of reenactors from across the nation will be staging the battle reenactments in remembrance of one of the single largest and one of the most pivotal military engagements ever fought on American soil.
America’s land is vast and its awe-inspiring geography keeps you guessing at every turn. You could start in the swamps of the Southeast, head north to the mountains and rivers, then make your way west to the beautiful lakes, head back south to the desert, and west again to the ocean.
Our country is especially known for its national parks. Even the lesser-known parks have some of the most amazing views in the country, such as the Great Sand Dunes National Park, where you can admire the snow-capped mountains while standing on the hot Colorado dunes.
America is a melting pot, and with that comes a kaleidoscope of options in the culinary department. Chinese food in San Francisco, Mexican in Arizona, Indian in New York City, and of course Southern home cooking in the South. Whatever your flavor, we have it.
Likewise, the United States is also home to some of the most renowned chefs in the world. These culinary masters are featured at some of the tastiest gourmet festivals the U.S. has to offer, ranging from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado to restaurant weeks around the country.
We’re even known for our food trucks, which are an up-and-coming part of America’s food scene. Look at Austin, Texas, where food trucks serve up everything from from Korean barbecue to chicken and waffles.
When visiting the States, many people focus only on the big cities, forgetting about the small towns and main streets that make up the heart of America. For the fourth of July, these small towns are exactly where you want to be. At the Independence Seafood Festival in Bar Harbor, Maine, you can treat yourself to a seafood feast with fireworks, celebrations, and not-so-traditional crustacean races. You could also visit Cooperstown, New York for the second longest running Fourth of July parade in the country – that’s just to name a few of America’s hidden gems.
By Laura Lee Jergens and Katharine Rooney for PeterGreenberg.com