• New England -- a彩平台 to gabled churches, rustic antiques, and steeped in American history, New England offers rocky beaches, spectacular seafood, rugged mountains, frequent winter snows, and historic cities. These states are small, so you could visit all of them reasonably within a week.
• The Mid-Atlantic -- Ranging from New York in the north to Washington DC, the Mid-Atlantic is densely populated and a彩平台 to a number of the nation's largest cities, but also rolling mountains and traditional seaside resorts like Long Island and the Maryland and Jersey Shores.
• The South -- With its own culture and traditions, the slow-going, friendly South is celebrated for its down-a彩平台 cookin' and its blues, jazz, rock n'roll, and country music traditions. This lush, largely subtropical region ranges from the verdant (and refreshingly cool) mountains to stately agricultural plantations to vast cypress swamps. Including Texas and Florida, the South contains more than one-third of the national population.
• Florida -- Northern Florida is similar to the rest of the South, but head further south into the megaresorts of Orlando--America's quintessential vacationland--retirement communities, and tropical, Latin Miami. Don't forget to visit the Everglades, although you certainly wouldn't want to live there.
• Texas -- The second biggest state in the nation, it's like a whole other country. Terrain ranges from Southern swamplands to the cattle-ranching South Plains to the Mountains and desert of west Texas. The population easily ranks among the most diverse in the nation. And, it's even got its own distinctive cuisine.
• The Midwest -- More diverse than its reputation would suggest, the Midwest is a彩平台 to rolling farmland, large forests, and picturesque towns as well as many bustling industrial cities. Many of these states border on the Great Lakes -- five of the largest freshwater bodies of water in the world, forming the "North Coast" of the U.S.
• The Great Plains -- Travel westward through these seemingly flat states, from the edge of the eastern forests through the prairies and onto the High Plains, an enormous expanse of steppes (shortgrass prairies) as desolate as it was in the frontier heyday.
• The Rocky Mountains -- The spectacular snow-covered Rockies offer outdoor pursuits such as hiking, rafting, and skiing on the greatest snow on Earth. There are also some other significant mountain ranges, deserts and a couple of large cities.
• The Southwest -- Heavily influenced by Hispanic culture, the arid Southwest is a彩平台 to some of the nation's most spectacular natural attractions, and a flourishing artistic culture. Although mostly empty, the region's deserts have some of the nation's largest cities.
• California -- California offers world-class cities, incredible vistas, national parks, mountains, deserts, rain forests, snow (and great skiing), and, of course, a famous beach lifestyle.
• The Pacific Northwest -- The pleasantly cool Pacific Northwest offers outdoor pursuits as well as cosmopolitan cities. The terrain ranges from spectacular rain forests to scenic mountains and volcanoes to sage-covered steppes and interior deserts.
These two states are not part of the "Lower 48" contiguous United States:
• Alaska -- One fifth as large as the entire continental United States, Alaska reaches well into the Arctic.
• Hawaii -- A volcanic archipelago in the tropical Pacific, 2,300 miles from California (the nearest state), laid-back Hawaii has long been a vacation paradise.
Politically, the USA is divided into independent entities called states (thus the name); see list of American States for a full listing.
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