Our author recommendations don’t end here. We’ve flagged up our favourite places – a perfectly sited hotel, an atmospheric café, a special restaurant – throughout the guide, highlighted with the symbol.
Our hard-travelling authors have visited every corner of this vast, magnificent country. Here are their personal highlights.
Most scenic highways
US-1 blazes a mesmerizing path across the Florida Keys while California’s Hwy-1 takes in the best of the Californian coast and Going-to-the-Sun Road is an astonishing route through Glacier National Park. Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the heart of rural Appalachia.
Since the 1990s America has been experiencing a craft beer revolution, led by the likes of Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, CA; Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO; and iconic Brooklyn Brewery in NYC. The environmentally conscious Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, OH, makes a selection of great beers, while Full Sail Brewing Co, Hood River, OR offers spectacular views. Oregon’s oldest craft brewery is Bridgeport Brewing in Portland, an especially rich area for microbreweries.
Few American icons are so beloved as the roadside diner, where burgers, apple pie and strong coffee are often served 24/7. The South Street Diner in Philadelphia is a buzzing 24hr spot with a huge menu and great daily specials. In Chicago, there’s Lou Mitchell’s, while LA boasts Rae’s Diner, seen in many films, and Pann’s, one of the all-time great Googie diners. Waylan’s Ku-Ku Burger in Miami, OK, right on Rte-66, is a real classic in the heart of the Midwest, while 66 Diner in Albuquerque, NM is a classic Fifties throwback.
Top wildlife spots
The USA is incredibly rich in wildlife, with national parks such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton especially good at preserving herds of elk and deer, moose and giant grizzlies, while reserves such as Boundary Waters in Minnesota hold wolves and white-tailed deer. Visit the Florida Everglades for alligators and birdlife, or the Black Hills in South Dakota for buffalo. Whales can be spotted off the coast of Washington or California (see the section on The Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley), while gentle manatees bask along the coast of Florida.