First time visitors to the US can be overwhelmed by its size and the number of destinations from which to choose. If you’re going to be visiting America for the first time, we recommend 3 places on the Eastern Seaboard for an introductory look.
The US is such a vast place to explore with an overwhelming amount of choice in terms of destinations. Each region has unique qualities, with any number of attractions to recommend it. First things first, though: make sure you have made timely arrangements to obtain your visa and establish a working budget as you begin your planning.
Tip: Click here for an overview of the visa process.
Depending upon your perspective, the US can seem expensive, particularly in the larger cities. But savvy travelers will maximize the impact to their budgets with smart decision-making. If you’re struggling to decide where you should be going next, choose a relatively compact geographical area which will give you a contextual experience with historical, cultural and scenic elements. With that in mind, we recommend the following three destinations for a first trip to the US.
Outstate Pennsylvania is a somewhat unconventional destination simply because it gets overlooked by comparison with others. But Pennsylvania is rich in history and scenic beauty, with a varied landscape: mountains, river gorges, and old-growth forests. If you’re looking for accommodation, you can get cabins for rent in Pennsylvania within national forest boundaries. For families, Hersheypark is a premier amusement and water park founded in 1906 by the Hershey chocolate baron as a place for entertainment and leisure activities for company employees. For water lovers, Lake Erie, Bushkill Falls – Pennsylvania’s Niagara, and the Kittatinny River offer experiences ranging from sightseeing, fishing, and paddling to whitewater rafting.
As the country’s capital, Washington, D.C. is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the US. Aside from visiting the government-related attractions and many cultural monuments, Washington offers a variety of other activities, including a vibrant food and lively bar scene.
Tip: Best neighborhoods for foodies and bar hoppers: Dupont Circle, 14th St (Logan Circle), Georgetown, and Capitol Hill.
Of course, visitors interested in history will have a field day in Washington, where America’s story is told along the National Mall. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex which encompasses the National Museum of American History. As well, the National Archives contain important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as a 13th century copy of the Magna Carta.
Accommodations in Washington, D.C. range from high end luxury hotels, boutique B&Bs and self-catering options.
New York City
A perennial favorite, New York City is visited by millions each year. The Big Apple can be expensive, though, so perhaps plan for no longer than a week. The typical tourist will want to visit the Empire State Building, One World Observatory, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Times Square is exciting, as is the Theater District. Accommodations will run the gamut, and prices will be on the high side, particularly if you want to stay right in Manhattan.
A better alternative might be to stay in one of the boroughs. Brooklyn is trendy, and your stay could be carefree in a private apartment or vacation rental with a Brooklyn maid service to make things shine during your stay or upon checkout.