As one of the top five largest countries in the world, it’s probably no surprise that the United States of America is also one of the most visited countries in the world.
Of course, the USA’s influence on western culture is probably immeasurable. Whether it’s Hollywood for movies, Las Vegas for gambling or McDonalds for eating, there is little doubt that America is the big brother everybody looks up to. But surely this doesn’t entirely explain why over fifty million people visit the USA every year?
Perhaps the biggest reason why so many people flock to the USA is the sheer diversity of what’s on offer. From the sun-kissed islands of Hawaii, to the snow-covered slopes of Colorado; every way of life imaginable exists in the USA.
This diversity is perhaps best exemplified by the sub-tropical, part-peninsula state of Florida. Of course, everybody knows about Disney World and the wonderful beaches on offer in ‘The Sunshine State’, but Florida is a massive state and it would be unfair to limit the praise to recreational resorts and sun-bathing.
Geographically, Florida is actually a lot closer to Cuba than it is to, say, New York, and this Latin American influence is very evident here. In Miami, for example, more than 65% of the population speak Spanish as their first language; and there is even a ‘Little Havana’ district, which is home to many Cuban immigrants. The cuisine, entertainment and general way of life all have a distinct Hispanic flavour, making for a truly fascinating experience.
And away from the big cities, perhaps the most distinguishing and intriguing aspect of the Sunshine State, is the Florida Keys; an archipelago of around 1700 islands beginning about 15 miles south of Miami, and the southernmost tip being a mere 94 miles from Cuba. The ‘Keys’ are essentially the exposed sections of an ancient coral reef, meaning the sea-life in the area is both diverse and abundant in equal measures. Needless to say, the scuba diving in the region is outstanding, but like any coral reef in the world, great care must be taken so not to damage an already fragile eco-system.
One of the chief reasons why Florida continues to be such a major holiday-hotspot is its accessibility. Flights to Florida take around 9 hours, and there are direct flights from London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports. There are also connecting flights available from many other UK cities including Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast, ensuring nobody has to miss out on the fun.
So, for an accessible, culturally diverse, sub-tropical haven, Florida is the place to be. From snorkelling in the ‘Keys’, to ‘Living la Vida Loca’ in Little Havana, there is sure to be something for everyone.
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