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How do I love the USA? Let me count the ways! The people, the food, the landscape, the ability to drive from the mountains to the sea in less than an hour. Here’s a roundup of why I think America is great. Do you agree too?
22 Reasons the USA is Great
1. 50 Varied States
Less than 50% of US citizens don’t own a passport, yet and in their defence, I’d argue – look at that landscape on their doorstep.
You only have to drive for under an hour to move from the desert to lush forests, from loud cities and quaint towns.
Since 2009, I’ve had the privilege, and travel is a privilege I am always thankful for, of visiting seventeen states plus Washington DC.
I’ve done the popular touristy things such as hiking at Yosemite, line dancing in Nashville, karaoke in Vegas and seeing a show in New York.
I’ve also done some lesser-known tourist activities like road tripping in Texas, beer cocktails in Wicker Park and living with locals in Portland, Oregon.
I can’t wait to return to explore more.
Passport ownership figures are on the rise in the states though and that is great to see.
I encourage North Americans to come and visit Europe.
Don’t just do the popular London, Paris, Venice route though! There’s so much more to the continent.
I have had a few conversations with people from the US where I’ve thought, you need to get out and see the world before settling on those views…
I’m sure that could be said about people in every country who don’t leave though.
Multnomah Falls near Portland, Oregon
2. National Parks
Big Bend, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and Zion National Park to name a few.
Days upon days worth of vast landscapes, hiking opportunities and lake swimming on hot days.
Grandy Canyon at sunset
3. Lake Life
Swimming, sunbathing, kayaks and canoes.
We love the free access to America’s lakes so much we eloped next to one in Austin, Texas.
4. Camping in the USA
My first trip to the USA was a three-week (mostly) camping trip starting in San Francisco, driving down south then up to New York through Pennsylvania.
Campsites are well organised, staff are super friendly and the states that need to be are ‘bear aware’. Their facilities reflect this.
Craig and I also hired a camper van and enjoyed a week-long road trip from Austin to Big Bend and back again stopping off for BBQ, art and hikes.
You can’t beat the black skies with magical stars at Big Bend National Park.
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5. Filming Locations
Countless movies have been made in the states so you can reenact your fave scenes such as:
- Run like Forest Gump through Monument Valley in Utah.
- Needle rooftop end scene in Sleepless in Seattle.
- Sit on the set of Central Perk at Warner Bros in New York.
- Visit the real Central Park where 200 movies and shows have been filmed.
- Steal a kiss under Cloud Gate in Chicago like The Vow.
6. Central Park
New York is crazy busy and this sanctuary is one of the main reasons I like the city.
Hiring a bike and pedalling past the pond, Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow is a cool activity to do when you need to escape the crowds at the likes of Times Square.
Another escape location from New York I recommend is Coney Island.
7. Coney Island, Brooklyn
Luna Park is a throwback fairground with vintage rides which first opened in 1903.
Keeping with the Hollywood feels, many films feature Coney Island such as Uptown Girls (Brittany Murphy), Men in Black 3 (Will Smith) and Brooklyn (Saoirse Ronan).
8. Universal Studios
I love fairgrounds and Universal Studios in Orlando is a park for big kids.
Butterbeer, rollercoasters and The Blues Brothers. Fun! Go in January and have the park to yourself.
9. Free Music Shows
NYC live shows during the summer and Austin during South By Southwest (SXSW) in March have been some of the best musical experiences I’ve had.
If you love music too, add New Orleans (jazz), Nashville (country) and Sun Studios (rock) to your music road trip itinerary.
10. The Party
From the speakeasies in San Francisco to the blues on Beale Street. Hangovers don’t tickle in the USA.
Remember to tip your server. It gets pricey with every drink but that’s the cultural expectation unless you open a tab.
11. Hipster USA
Whisky flights in Wicker Park, Chicago, bacon-topped doughnuts in Portland, Oregon and axe throwing in an ex-high school in Huntsville, Alabama. Hip hip hooray.
12. Modern Art
Marfa Prada (Texas), I Love You So Much Wall (Austin) and Chicago’s Cloud Gate/The Bean to name a few installations, murals and sculptures I like.
Which modern art pieces stand out for you? Tell me in the comments below.
Marfa made it to our most romantic destinations in the US which you can read here.
13. Space Camp
Huntsville, Alabama is rocket city!
Budding astronauts need to visit NASA Space Camp to ride the Vomit Comet, test themselves during an EVA and do the Moon Walk, as we did!
Read about our time at NASA here.
14. The Food
BBQ, Po’ boys, chowder, Tex Mex fusion, lobster roll, poke bowls, Californian rolls, Philly steak, deep-dish pizza.
God bless the cultural melting pot for the food it has put on the States’ table.
The sizes are mostly incredible too. Ideal for a doggy bag takeaway and the zero waste mantra.
15. Crackers and Chips
So many types and seasoning. I love going to Walmart just to look at the shelves. You can keep your squeezing cheese though.
Tortilla chips and salsa on the table while you wait on your meal? Thank you, Texas.
OMG. Sweet crackers, hard chocolate and gooey marshmallow. Campsite goodness. Calorific but terrific.
Hand Grenades, Hurricanes and Voodoos! And that’s only in New Orleans, Louisiana.
18. Craft Breweries
Tours and taprooms, from Pacific Northwest to Boston, the USA is on the map for craft beer.
You can even take up the challenge of collecting a beer from each state. Click here to see the wooden map.
Maybe it’s our accent but we’ve met the friendliest of people during our travels in the USA.
From helpful directions being shouted from the back of the bus in New Orleans to strangers carrying my bag in New York City, people are so welcoming in States.
20. I’m One-Third Scotch…
I also find it interesting how North Americans are so clued up on their heritage.
It annoys some Scots when people from the USA say they are one-third Scottish then list their DNA stats but I find it endearing and it puts us to shame for not knowing our past.
You hold on to your clan routes North American friends! Maybe we’re related…
The country’s age is one of the things that makes America unique.
I really dig the positive mental attitude towards entrepreneurship and starting your own business.
North Americans see the positives, fellow Scots and Brits stress about the pension and tax situations.
Meeting and working with/alongside so many forward-thinking and go-getting North Americans has helped me carve out this career as a professional travel blogger.
I’m doing a job that didn’t exist when I was at school so thank you for giving me the courage and support to quit high school teaching and sit behind a computer all day. I jest, we travel sometimes.
22. The Americas
I love how the states can be used as a springboard to visit the wider Americas.
Drive up to Canada or down to Mexico. Hop aboard a budget flight to Nicaragua or take a boat to the Bahamas.
Great options for winter sun escapes or cheap vacation trips.
Pin to your USA inspiration board
Bonus: Why America Sucks
So now you know the reasons why I love America, here are a few aspects of USA culture I can’t get my head around and some we suffer from too.
- Pickles – nope
- Lack of sidewalks – we call them pavements and walk on them all the time
- J walking – if there’s no traffic, why wait
- Turn on red – terrifying!
- Health care – touchy one I know, our NHS is a postcode lottery but at least it is free at the point of use
- Guns – Scotland had one school gun massacre in the 90s. We banned guns. We’ve never had one again…
- First Past the Post – unrepresentative voting system we also use at Westminster and it sucks for Scotland
- Plastic – if it’s a sit-down meal there is no need for disposable cutlery
- Holidays – you hardly get any. I feel for you
Not to leave on a negative note, I really do enjoy visiting the USA.
So much so we got married there and plan to return for a big road trip very soon so I can see more of the states I’ve yet to discover and to revisit old faves.
What American things do you love? Tell me in the comments below.
Do you love the U.S too?
24 thoughts on “Why I Love the USA: 22 Reasons You Will Too”
Love it and love USA. Reading it gave me goosebumps.
How many times have you been to The States now (in search of the best cheese in a can, boke!)?
I Love tooo much the United States of America. You know why?
Because i was there in October 1995 for a Tennis Program’s Formation at Van Deer Meer Tennis Academy in South Carolina in exactly Hilton Head Island, which helped too much to improove my tennis coaching’s skills.
Have you visited since? We’re trying to encourage our brother to apply for soccer in the states!
Politically and economically there are tons of problems. But geographically, we totally lucked out! There’s a little bit of everything and it’s so big. That’s what I think is great about the States.
I couldn’t disagree with that! It’s a bittersweet love. The crackers win though…
Yaaay! As an American it’s refreshing to read a list of positive things about my country 😀 Especially one that contains “food” on it. I LOVE the food in America — like you said, healthy take out, yes please! I just feel like there’s so much variety and so many options that I miss living in Germany. I’m shocked (and saddened!) when people come back from America complaining that the food was horrible. I’m always like, where did you eat?!!!!
British take aways are all leave you with grease sodden lips! My American tour guide came for a visit to the UK and was like ‘what do you guys eat here!’ Heading back your way in 58 days…
Thank you for speaking to some of the positives of this country! We’re not perfect, by far, (but who is right?) but it is a hugely varied country that seems like tons of little countries in place of states. I’ve lived everywhere from NYC to California to the most rural little place and small towns in Virginia, (and traveled the states greatly) and none of these places is like the other. Thank you for the understanding in why tons of Americans do not have passports. I could not get over my wanderlust to visit other countries, but I have been privileged in my life, whereas I know some friends from my hometown who are eager for the chance to even visit Florida (hundreds of miles away and expensive in a sense, but cheaper than a flight overseas.) I love seeing these places from others’ perspectives!
Emily, such bizarre timing! We’ve just flown from Orlando to Nicaragua and I thought to myself, I wonder how many kids in Florida get to the theme parks! Adding another reason I love America – Portland! Spent four nights there last week and had a ball.
“It’s unusual as I’m against some things Americans support-the death penalty, anti-abortion laws, extremist religious views and of course guns.”
Well, there are certainly people in Scotland or Europe that are against pregnancy termination and have extremist religious views though Europe’s extremist religious views are from Muslims and there is a lot more religious extremism in Europe than in America. No religion in America requires women to cover head to toe like in Europe. In America, pregnancy termination is a legal and constitutional right. When it comes to guns, most of the violence occurs from criminals who get guns illegally and are involved in gang or drug activity and is concentrated among certain ethnic groups. Americans who are law abiding want guns for either hunting, which I don’t like or to protect should a burglar or someone break in. While we may have the death penalty, which I support in certain circumstance, a lot of Americans are against Europe’s leniency on violent crime.
Thanks for reading Karen. In Scotland the majority of our police don’t actually carry guns and most violent crime will never be experienced by the masses, our Scottish government hasn’t used force as far back as I can remember. We really just do not understand gun culture and hate to see yet another neighbourhood (as we talk just now in Florida), school (we had one experience of this in the 90s, horrific), cinema, workplace, church or club come under fire. Find it a bit bizarre that you’ve picked up the areas that I don’t agree with when the full article discusses what I adore about the States. The majority of my North American friends have the same thoughts on these issues as me, both good and bad, hence why we have aligned. I hope you have enjoyed the rest of our USA content.
Gemma; i’m due to visit America in September (as part of a longer trip through central america and south) and i’ve looked at a Trek America tour. However, it’s expensive. Could you advise on the pros and cons of one versus working my way across the country solo?
Sure! I did travel solo from NYC to Boston (bus) then Chicago (flight). Craig and I then did a trip from Vancouver to Seattle then Portland (bus) to Orlando (flight). On another trip we went from JFK to New Orleans to Austin by flying.
Pros of group tours
1. Ready made friends
2. You don’t have to think about anything after you get there
3. Campsites are out of the way so you will need a car, group tours provide a driver
2. Lack of flexibility itinerary wise
Hostels are really expensive in the U.S by the way and trains aren’t an effective mode of transport like they are in Europe.
Hope this helps. Have fun whatever you choose!
Thanks, that’s useful. It’s part of a 6 month trip I plan to take through the americas so the big outlay on a tour just for 3 weeks is not very desirable, although having it made so easy is a big appeal. Perhaps i’ll keep my eyes on the tour costs and also price up the alternative as if there is a big saving to be made then the inconvenience might just win out. Thanks!
I get that. They are very expensive. We were shocked at the price of hostel dorm beds in Seattle too. It’s just not a cheap country to travel around but a lot of fun and so varied landscape wise!
Love USA and love this article and all your travel and packing guides. Thank you!
Thank you Beth! Are you managing to do any home travelling at the moment?
I love the United States of America because it is a just and beautiful country, and the country of freedom is a wonderful country that deserves all the love and respect, because it is a great country
Thank you for taking the time to write a comment.
I’m American and one of the biggest issues people have with us is the economics and politics. That’s fine. That is a part of the population. One type of people deal with that. The people are nice and positive and diverse. Like I don’t care about politics I leave it to “them”. Many people just ignore because of the drama.
We certainly have our own issues with politics in the UK too! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Thank you on your views of America not everyone likes America! We are heading to Scotland & Ireland in 2021 & I can not wait to see your Beautiful Country! I love history & there is a lot in your country! Any points of interest we should look at?
Hey Lori! Lovely to hear from you. We have heaps of content on Scotland so a good starting point is our Scotland travel guide.