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Sunday, February 8, 2009

BOA Steakhouse -Las Vegas


BOA Steakhouse in the Forum Shops at Caesars offers lunch and dinner in an atmosphere unlike most steakhouses. The California-inspired decor includes 800-year old driftwood "trees." Select pieces of driftwood were chosen by design firm Tag Front for their perfect form.
After undergoing a a series of treatments, including a form of petrification, the driftwood became the elegant trees throughout the dining room. The result is stunning.
And so is the food. After a recent outstanding dinner, I asked BOA's top Las Vegas executive Clinton Clausen what set BOA apart from other steakhouses; his response was instant.
"It has a social sexiness about it that excites our diners. When people want to really embrace their hedonistic instincts and have an excellent steak and original cocktails, they come to BOA."
This seasoned hedonist agrees. Where else can you find a bone-in New York Strip dry-aged for 40 days? This top seller was my choice and it was terrific. After trimming the bone from my succulent steak I wanted to sink my teeth into the tasty beef-filled arch. Instead, I used the French steak knife to delicately carve out choice small bites. Not nearly as much fun as gnawing on the bone, but delicious

BOA's side dishes are the ideal accompaniment: creamed or sauteed spinach, a mix of seasonal wild mushrooms, grilled jumbo asparagus and a bamboo basket filled with Santa Monica Farmer's Market baby vegetables. Resist if you can the truffled mac and cheese, truffled whipped potatoes or truffled cheese fries. The mac and cheese is much too good. This crusty, aromatic delight is a terrific spin on the usual homespun version.
And it's easy to wax poetic about BOA's creative appetizers. A plump Dungeness crab cake was sauteed with panko crumbs providing a delicate crispness. Inside was moist, Dungeness crab meat, no fillers, just a heap of sweet crab meat. Exceptional. BOA's take on oysters Rockefeller is glorious. Four sizeable oyster shells filled with baby spinach, apple wood smoked bacon bits and oysters are gently blended with a light sauce Bernaise, then baked. These magnificent oysters repose atop a bed of rock salt on a crystal plate. It is a dish to be savored, slowly. Chef de Cuisine Jose Alemon is a master with seasonings.

Nightclubs-Las Vegas


Nightlife in Las Vegas is never hard to find, with a club or lounge in nearly every hotel and casino. Most clubs remain open until 4am, with various after-hour clubs available for the truly hard-core partiers. Drink prices can range anywhere from $4 - $8 for a domestic bottle of beer, $8 - $10 for well drinks, and $200 or more for a bottle of alcohol. Clubs are always busy on weekends, and may also be packed during weekdays at places that have Service Industry Night (SIN), usually Tuesday through Thursday when locals working in the service industry have their night off.
A good way to find out what places are currently hot in Vegas is to ask service staff who look like party-people. People working inside hotels are bound to recommend the hotel's institutions, so rather go for waiters or shop-assistants in restaurants or malls outside the hotels

Vegas guides -Las Vegas


The city was conceived, designed and built for good times, and has become the quintessential destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Planning is, of course, important, as the bride- or groom-to-be should be treated to a well-organized weekend (keeping in mind that well organized does NOT have to mean sedate).
So, what's a well-intentioned best man or maid of honor to do? Start with research. Some weekends are better than others for things like room availability. Your hotel should be able to tell you if one weekend is better than another.
Next, find out what daytime activities will appeal to your group. If you have golf fans, the area is flush with courses for virtually every skill level and budget. There are also some great outdoor adventures such as climbing or hiking in and around Red Rock National Park, Valley of Fire or the Mount Charleston area.
Or, skip the physical activity altogether and spend the day being pampered at a hotel spa.
Your dining choices are endless. Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world, and there's something for every taste and budget.

Vegas Guides-Las Vegas


The ultimate Vegas weekend should start off with a reservation at the best restaurant in the hotel, as most great times are highlighted by a great meal. Make a point to linger over dinner. When done, head to the casino lounge. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and timing is everything.
You can get the best feel for Vegas this way. The casino floor bustles. It's a cacophony of sights and sounds, an energized hum you find yourself swept up in.
You can sleep in the next morning if you want; there's no rush. When you get up, take a walk along the Strip; in doing so, you'll be taking a walk around the globe and through several centuries. Take a thrill ride. You might see a few lions and a shark or two.
Don't forget to nap, as day blends seamlessly into night. Have an amazing dinner followed by a show, maybe some dancing afterwards. Or head back down to the lounge. Or to another show. Or to a nightclub or ultra-lounge with exclusive bottle service and ultra-groomed urbanites. It's ultra everything. You get the idea.

Marriott Convention Center Suites Hotel-Las Vegas


Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, the Las Vegas Marriott Suites has what it takes to make your trip a success. This hotel is located next to the Las Vegas Convention Center, half a mile from the Las Vegas Strip. All guest rooms feature phones with voicemail, high-speed Internet access, complimentary newspapers, coffeemakers and tea service, hairdryers, and iron and ironing boards. All rooms also feature refrigerators and mini-bars, wet bars and pull-out sofas.You'll find convenient workstations, already wired for business, inside the chain's signature "The Room That Works" (business travelers can purchase unlimited in-room high-speed Internet access and long distance phone calls). The full-service business center includes a copier, computer and printer; fax service is available at the front desk. There is also an outdoor pool, whirlpool and Windows Grill. Located on Convention Center Drive, it's just a short walk from the hotel's front door to a Las Vegas monorail station, linking nine major resorts on the Strip.

Terrible's Hotel and Casino-Las Vegas


The Best Bad Guy" in Las Vegas just may be Terrible Herbst. This chain of gas stations, convenience stores, car washes, and yes, casinos opened its first Terrible's Hotel and Casino - a comfortable place to stay and play - near the Las Vegas Strip.Here, food, hotel and gaming specials abound. Terribles Buffet include a seafood night (Thursdays); the Bougainvillea Café and Rotisserie offers T-bone steak and prime rib dinners, with a draft beer, 24 hours a day.On the former site of the Continental Hotel, at the corner of Paradise and Flamingo roads, Terrible's offers over 300 guest rooms with ultra-reasonable rates.The casino boasts loose slots and big progressives, table games such as blackjack, craps and roulette, a 195-seat bingo room and one of the few race and sports books to accept wagers on international soccer leagues.

Las Vegas Tours


Begin your evening of luxury with complimentary Las Vegas Strip or downtown hotel pickup. We'll take you to our heliport for a champagne toast before climbing aboard our luxury 6-passenger, air-conditioned A-Star jet helicopter. Take a deep breath as you ascend over the stunning Las Vegas Strip. A millions lights will mesmerize you as you soar past the golden towers of Mandalay Bay! Cruise past the dancing waters of the Bellagio & the towering New York New York Hotel. Take flight over the legendary Caesar's Palace, the Eiffel Tower at Paris or catch the pirate fight at Treasure Island. Soar above the Fremont Street Experience, an exciting pedestrian promenade located in the neon center of Las Vegas. Fly around the Stratosphere Tower, rising over 1,149 feet in the air, then breeze past the lights of downtown. After about 5 to 7 minutes in the air, pass the powerful light beam – that can be seen from outer space – at the Luxor Pyramid before returning to our heliport. Then, we'll return you to your Strip or downtown hotel to continue your exhilarating evening in Las Vegas! We are proud to possess an impeccable FAA safety record, all FAA safety certified aircraft and pilots and a promise to ensure the safest possible flight for all passengers!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wisconsin-United States Of America

Located in the Great Lakes Region of the Midwest, Wisconsin is bordered to the east by Lake Michigan, to the west by the St Croix River, and to the north it is separated from Canada by Lake Superior. This is a beautiful state, with over 15,000 lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams.Its varied countryside also includes sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, northern forests and rich, southern farmland. Wisconsin is famed for its hospitality and friendly atmosphere and is known as the beer capital of the nation. Milwaukee, on the southeast shores of Lake Michigan, is the state's largest city.

West Virginia-United States Of America

Surrounded by the Appalachians, the mountain state of West Virginia has a history of coal mining, poverty and physical isolation. Today, however, tourists flock to this beautiful region to enjoy historic sightseeing, Appalachian music and crafts, and an abundance of recreational sports, including skiing and other winter sports, mountain-biking, white-water rafting, hiking and fishing

Washington, DC-United States Of America

'DC' stands for ‘District of Columbia', not a state, but an administrative district and the seat of government for the United States, created specifically to avoid having the capital city in any one state. Washington, DC is a city of green parks, wide tree-lined streets, white marble buildings and, unlike most other US cities, no skyscrapers, giving it a more European air.The city has an abundance of museums and national monuments, most of which charge no admission. The most famous building is the White House, home of the US President. In the spring, the cherry blossoms lining the tidal basin of the Potomac River add a festive feel to this beautiful city.DC is the centre for visiting diplomats and has one of the largest concentrations of hotel and motel rooms in the country. Tourism is the leading private industry and business interests are increasingly attracted by the many light-industrial, high-tech and research companies now moving into the region. The ‘Metro area' refers to the District of Columbia and surrounding counties and cities in Maryland and Virginia.

Washington State-United States Of America

Washington State, bordering Canada and the Pacific Ocean, offers some of the nation's finest scenery for outdoor recreation. It has the second-highest population of any western state, yet visitors can travel from any city centre to peaceful countryside within minutes. The Snake and Columbia rivers flow through eastern Washington before joining to cut a passage through the Cascades, the north-south mountain range that dominates the centre of the state, rising to 4,392m (14,411ft) at Mount Rainier. There are many fine beaches and small resorts on the Pacific coast. Much of the state is covered by coniferous forest. Activities include yachting on Puget Sound, hiking along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, and mountain climbing in the Cascades and the Olympic Mountains.

Virginia-United States Of America

Virginia stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. It is one of the country's most historic and scenic states. Driving trails link more than 250 Civil War sites across Virginia. Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy in the Civil War, has many fine old buildings and cultural options. Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown (the birthplace of the USA) make up the three points of Colonial Virginia's historic triangle in the state's southeastern corner.Shenandoah Valley, with its caverns, waterfalls and popular resorts, is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains to the west. Norfolk is an important Atlantic seaport and home to the world's largest naval base. The Chesapeake Bay is a complex ecosystem with a long history of pirates and shipwrecks. Today it has thriving oyster farms and is popular for fishing, swimming, boating and sailing. The first wine was made in Virginia in 1608, and now the state's growing wine industry boasts over 100 wineries

Texas-United States Of America

Texas, the ‘Lone Star State', is the second-largest state in the USA. Claimed by Spain, then France and Mexico, the state finally gained its independence in 1836. Texas borders Mexico along the Rio Grande and embraces vast mountain ranges and canyons to the west, lakes and pine forests to the east, and broad plains to the north. To the south are Gulf of Mexico beaches and low-lying alluvial plains. Rolling hill country and clear natural springs are at its heart.Its great wealth stems from its vast oil reserves. Houston is both the centre of the US oil industry, the space headquarters of the USA, and a thriving international port, being connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the 80km (50-mile) Houston Shipping Channel.Originally a trading post, Dallas is now an important centre for commerce and fashion. A sophisticated city with its glittering high-rise skyline, elegant stores, fine restaurants and a rich cultural life, it still possesses the much-renowned Texan hospitality and southwestern charm.Much more ‘western' in spirit, Fort Worth started as a military outpost and then became a cow town where cattlemen brought their herds to be shipped. Much of the Old West is preserved in Fort Worth today and it continues to be a centre for the cattle industry.

South Carolina-United States Of America

South Carolina's beautiful scenery extends from the rolling hills of the Upcountry to the glistening lakes of the midlands and the wide, white sandy beaches of the 320km (200-mile) Atlantic coastline. The state has a rich history documented by attractive plantations and the northwestern foothills, where fierce battles were fought during the Civil War. Charleston, situated on the coast, is a popular tourist destination and site of the first permanent English settlement. Myrtle Beach, a popular resort city famous for its golf, is centred on the sun-drenched 95km (60-mile) stretch of coastline on the northern border. Hilton Head, a narrow, barrier island, has 20km (12 miles) of beautiful beaches, unspoilt forest, world-class golf courses, tennis resorts, and a relaxed, laid back lifestyle.

Pennsylvania-United States Of America

Pennsylvania is a region steeped in colourful history. It started out as the ‘Holy Experiment' of Quaker activist William Penn, Jr. Granted a charter by King Charles II to develop a colony in the New World, Penn selected a lush wooded portion of the countryside, where he vowed to welcome anyone who believed in God. Less than a century later, the country's Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia - now one of the largest cities in the USA - and the American nation was born. Pennsylvania boasts 20 state forests and one national forest, 116 state parks, one Great Lake (Lake Erie), 50 other natural lakes, 2,500 man-made lakes, along with thousands of miles of rivers and streams. In the fall the forests covering the state blaze with autumn colours, and winding roads pass through quaint historic towns and numerous covered bridges. The state is also something of a cultural Mecca, with many world-class museums, and a rich mix of cultural and ethnic communities

Oklahoma-United States Of America

Oklahoma is home to more Native American tribes than any other state except California, with 39 tribal headquarters and members of at least 67 tribes. While Native Americans have lived in Oklahoma for thousands of years, many tribes were forcibly relocated to this land (many dying from starvation and disease along the way on the infamous ‘trails of tears') when it was established as Indian Territory in the early 19th century.Today, visitors will find Native American art galleries, museums, historic sites, pow wows, dances and festivals. Oklahoma is also home to the longest driveable stretch of Route 66, with nearly 643km (400 miles) of ‘America's Main Street'. The state boasts 11 different ecological regions, from the Rocky Mountain foothills to cypress swamps, tallgrass prairies, hardwood and pine forests, and over 200 lakes.

Ohio-United States Of America

Ohio, birthplace of eight US presidents, is located in the heart of the Midwest. The sandy shores of Lake Erie mark the state's northern border and the long and winding Ohio River marks its southern border. The state's expanse of fertile farmland is dotted with industrial centres, but also embraces the rolling hills overlooking the Scioto River Valley in the north. The landscape becomes wilder and steeper as it reaches the foothills of the Appalachian mountain chain, and the thick forest lands full of waterfalls and sandstone cliffs in the south. The Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area in the northeast near Cleveland has rugged terrain with river valleys and steep, forested hills. The state also has 40,869km (25,543 miles) of waterways, including the Mohican and Tuscarawas rivers. Columbus is Ohio's capital and is the largest city in both area and population - it is the 15th-largest city in the USA.

North Dakota-United States Of America

North Dakota, one of the most rural states in the USA, is famous for its scenery and Old West heritage. Visitors can enjoy the western experience and pick up the trail of some of America's greatest legends, like Lewis and Clark, Sakakawea, Theodore Roosevelt, Custer and Sitting Bull. These Northern Plains saw the passing of the big game hunting native cultures when fur traders and explorers opened up routes westward to the Pacific Ocean.North Dakota is now famous among outdoor adventurers for its world-class walleye and perch fishing, plus unbeatable upland game, waterfowl and big game

North Carolina-United States Of America

Natural attractions in North Carolina range from sandy beaches of the low-lying Outer Banks in the east to high mountain ranges in the west. Fringed by 480km (300 miles) of beaches, islands and inlets, the North Carolina coast is renowned for its fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities.The Heartland, often referred to as ‘the Piedmont', is composed of gently rolling plains that host picturesque golf courses, lakes and farmland, as well as the state's largest urban areas. Charlotte, the largest city, is a thriving convention and entertainment centre. The Outer Banks Barrier Islands along the coast include resorts, fishing villages and stretches of national seashore. Cape Hatteras National Seashore also boasts areas of undeveloped beach.Western North Carolina is bounded by two ranges of the southern Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains, with peaks exceeding 1,800m (6,000ft). Other attractions include Raleigh, with its fine architecture and cultural centres, and the Qualla Boundary Cherokee Indian Reservation.

New York-United States Of America

There is only one New York City. No other US metropolis even comes close to it in terms of population, diversity of culture, entertainment, business and commerce. Yet within a day's drive, visitors can find fine beaches and seascapes; quiet, forested mountains; quaint, small towns; and plenty of historical sightseeing.Long Island, a short train ride east of Manhattan, is the largest island adjoining the continental USA. A popular destination for native city dwellers, it also features the celebrated seaside resort of The Hamptons.To the north of New York City are the two major resort areas of the Catskills and the Adirondack Mountains, popular for outdoor sports, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and skiing. Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the USA at 2.4 million hectares (6 million acres).The Finger Lakes region, with 11 slender lakes extending from north to south, is dotted with resorts, campsites, water recreation areas, fine lakes and woodland scenery. It is the state's prime wine-producing region.New York State's capital, Albany, lies in the Capital-Saratoga region, north of the Hudson Valley. Saratoga Springs has been a leading spa and horse racing centre since the late-19th century

New Mexico-United States Of America

New Mexico, the true Southwest, is graced with deserts, forests, cities, lakes and mountains. Its Pueblo Native American and Spanish cultures are still very much alive.Albuquerque, the largest city, is the ballooning capital of the world. Its Old Town, museums and cultural centres make it an important tourist destination and a good base for travelling through the state.Santa Fe, with its adobe architecture, is the USA's oldest state capital, known for its artistic community and festivals

New Jersey-United States Of America

New Jersey, one of the Mid-Atlantic states, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Delaware River to the west. Small in size, the state nonetheless features hundreds of miles of rolling countryside and natural parkland set amidst mountains, lakes and forests. In increasing numbers, tourists from around the world are discovering that New Jersey is more than just a gateway to the USA - it is America in miniature, with an abundance of tourist attractions to suit every taste. These include beautiful beaches, exciting nightlife and many award-winning cultural attractions. While sections of the state such as Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore are world-renowned, there is also a wealth of lesser-known historic landmarks, national parks and cultural events on offer.

New Hampshire-United States Of America

New Hampshire was named after Hampshire, England, by Captain John Mason. New Hampshire is noted for its scenic beauty, from Mount Washington in the northern White Mountains, to the ocean beaches near Hampton. The state is sometimes referred to as the ‘Mother of Rivers' and is also known as the ‘Granite State', as five of the great streams of New England originate in its granite hills. The state is hilly and rocky, with many areas of dense forests

Nevada-United States Of America

Explorer John C Fremont’s 1844/5 expedition with legendary scout Kit Carson opened up the region called Nevada, previously part of Mexico. The name ‘Nevada’, meaning ‘snow-capped’ in Spanish, was adopted in 1861 when the territory was established. The state has since been sectioned off into ‘territories'. The Cowboy Country, found along the I-80 corridor across northern Nevada, was once the main trail across the state, used by thousands of pioneers on horseback and in covered wagons. The Reno-Tahoe Territory, situated on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, contains many of Nevada’s most scenic and historic sights. The Pony Express Territory, named after the famous riders, offers one of the last opportunities to experience the Old West. In the Pioneer Territory, which encompasses south central Nevada, visitors can trace the story of Nevada’s rich mining history.Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest city, is one of the major gambling and entertainment centres of the world. Las Vegas is probably the easiest place in the world in which to get married. Around 230 marriage licences are issued per day.Reno, another entertainment and casino city, is known for its quiet residential areas, and surrounding historic and natural attractions

Nebraska-United States Of America

Nebraska rises from the Missouri prairie lands to the Great Plains and foothills of the Rocky Mountains, still echoing from the footsteps of explorers, pioneers and Plains Indians. Omaha, its largest city set on the west bank of the Missouri River, is one of the state's major tourist destinations. Girls and Boys Town, the famous homeless boys' community, is situated nearby. Originally founded as ‘Boys Town' by Father Edward Flanagan, the home for unwanted and distressed boys is still thriving, and, today, girls also enjoy the care and protection it offers.Lincoln is one of the most stunning state capitals in the USA. The State Capitol building, known as the ‘Tower on the Plains', is as impressive inside as it looks from the street; for an unsurpassed view of the city, take the elevator to the top floor

Montana-United States Of America

Named after its mountains, which rake the central and eastern sides, Montana is the country's fourth-largest state. It covers 38 million hectares (94 million acres) that was shaped by massive glaciers, scorching heat, molten lava and inland seas.Today almost a quarter of Montana is national forest or public lands, with almost two million hectares (five million acres) protected as wilderness areas. The state is also a gateway into Yellowstone National Park. Elk, deer, antelope, wolves and bears are just a few of the 500 species of wildlife that can be seen in Montana

Missouri-United States Of America

Missouri, in the heart of the USA, is a blend of frontier West, gracious South, the sophisticated East and industrial North. The Missouri Valley was a major pioneer route, with St Louis known as ‘The Gateway to the West'. It is bounded by the Mississippi River in the east. Prairies lie north of the Missouri River (the longest in the USA), with great plains to the west, rolling hills in the south and the Southern-style cotton lands to the southeast.The state's riverboat culture was immortalised by Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi and in his tales of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. St Louis, the largest city in Missouri and one of the US's largest inland ports, was once a booming centre for fur traders and explorers opening up ‘The West'. It is now a modern communications, commercial, industrial and cultural centre. It still retains its love affair with the Mississippi River, on whose banks can be heard ragtime, blues and Dixieland jazz

Mississippi-United States Of America

The beautiful ‘Magnolia State' is a land of great variety, with wide-open spaces, rolling hills, tall pine forests, white sand beaches, bustling cities, quaint little towns and a real feel of the Deep South. Mississippi is the state where the key battle of the American Civil War was fought (at Vicksburg in 1863) and where racial strife erupted with terrifying force in the 1960s. It is also the state whose geographical beauty and rich atmosphere have inspired a wealth of artistic talent, from William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams, to Elvis Presley, Jimmie Rodgers and BB King. The mighty Mississippi River flanks its western border, while the Gulf of Mexico coastline is a tourist playground also home to artists and nature lovers.Mississippi was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but much of the infrastructure and attractions, especially casinos, have been repaired and are open to visitors

Minnesota-USA

Minnesota, the second-northernmost state in the USA (after Alaska), is one of the nation's leading outdoor tourist destinations, with 68 state parks, 55 state forests and more than 12,000 lakes. The state borders Canada, the upper Midwest States and Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.Minneapolis and St Paul adjoin each other on either side of the Mississippi River and have a metropolitan area population of nearly three million. They are known as the Twin Cities and began as frontier towns, with German, Irish and Scandinavian immigrants.

Michigan-USA

Michigan comprises two peninsulas. These are divided by Lake Michigan, and linked by one of the world's longest suspension bridges across the Straits of Mackinac. Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie also form the state's shorelines. The Lower Peninsula, mainly agricultural and industrial, contains inland lakes, meadows and sandy beaches, as well as the ‘Motor City' of Detroit. The Upper Peninsula is more rugged, and boasts forests, white beaches, trout streams and winter ski resorts.Michigan has over 5,149km (3,200 miles) of shoreline, more lighthouses than any other state and numerous shipwrecks. It is a rich state full of diversity, ranging from orchards and vineyards to the heavy industry of the big three Motown motor company giants, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler

Massachusetts-USA

Full of history and diversity, Massachusetts offers everything from cobblestone streets and village greens to space-age technology centres.You can explore the nation's early history in this Eastern Seaboard state, walk in the steps of the early pilgrims, tour battleships and lighthouses, catch the excitement of a Boston Red Sox baseball game or be awed by whales drifting along the coastline.The gateway to New England, Massachusetts was the destination of the Mayflower in 1620, site of the Boston Tea Party which helped ignite the American Revolution in 1773, and is one of the original 13 states. The Berkshire Hills cut across its western corner. To the east the land rolls down to the sea, embracing the state capital, Boston, and the beaches of Cape Cod. Massachusetts has been named by the WWF as one of the world's Top 10 whale-watching spots, with a variety of species of whales found just 40km (25 miles) off the coast. Whale-watching cruises operate from April to October.

Maryland-USA

Maryland, one of the original 13 states of the USA, was founded by Lord Baltimore in 1634. Its Atlantic Plain, divided by Chesapeake Bay, rises through the rolling hills and scenic farmland of the state's heartland to the Allegheny Mountains of the northwest. Its tourist destinations range from the 16km (10 miles) of white, sandy beaches at Ocean City to Baltimore's bustling Inner Harbor. Chesapeake Bay's 6,400km (4,000 miles) of shoreline, including its tributaries, separate the Eastern Shore area of Maryland from the rest of the state. The twin-spanned Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the major link between the two sections.Annapolis is home to the United States Naval Academy, and the Chesapeake the busiest sailing destination on the Eastern Seaboard. It is also one of the ports of call for yachts on the famous Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race. Baltimore is a mere 60km (40 miles) northeast from Washington, DC

Maine-USA

Little changes in the state of Maine. Forests and lakes still cover 90% of the land, just as they did when Leif Ericson and his band of Viking explorers first set foot on the coast. The 8,530km (5,300 mile) Maine coastline from Kittery to Lubec still testifies to two vigorous traditions: fishing and shipbuilding. The landscape is the by-product of massive ice age glacial action, which cut bays, inlets and harbours into the mainland, and left over 2,000 rocky offshore islands.Lobsters are plentiful here, with lobster pots dotting every inlet, and 64 lighthouses guard the state's wildly beautiful coastline. Quaint coastal villages come alive after the winter thaw and tourists flock to enjoy New England charm and hospitality.

Louisiana-USA

Louisiana's marshy Mississippi Valley is one of the most attractive areas of the USA. New Orleans, its largest city, is one of the country's major tourist destinations. It is famed for Dixieland jazz, architecture, superb cuisine and its unique French Quarter. The city also boasts a wide choice of museums and galleries. Other places to see in the state include Lafayette, a city of magnificent gardens and the start of the 40km (25 mile) Azalea Trail; the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest and most remote swamp in the USA; the huge salt domes of Avery; and Alexandria, surrounded by forests and parks. The 138m- (452ft-) high marble and limestone Capitol Building is situated in Baton Rouge.Louisiana was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but most of the tourism attractions and infrastructure have been repaired and are open to visitors. Many areas of New Orleans are still totally devastated, but on the whole the city is recovering and tourism is booming once again

Kentucky-USA

Kentucky is best known for horse farms, bourbon distilleries, mountain hollows and moonshine stills, fried chicken, bluegrass music and the famous Kentucky Derby. Lexington is the horse-breeding centre and many of its surrounding farms welcome visitors on free tours.Louisville was founded by General George Rogers Clark in 1778 as a base from which to harass British troops during the American Revolution. Today, restored historic sites sit side-by-side with modern structures and visitors can wander through the quaint streets in Old Louisville. The state is a mixture of hundreds of lakes and streams, underground caves, prosperous horse country and poor mining towns nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Reelfoot Lake, in the northwestern corner of the state, was formed when the Mississippi River flowed backwards during the Madrid Fault earthquake of 1812.

Kansas-USA

The geographical centre of the United States, Kansas is a major agricultural area, with vast areas of farmland given to grain crops, beef cattle and buffalo. As highway signs remind travellers, ‘Every Kansas farmer feeds 75 people - and you'.It was through Kansas that families on the Oregon and Santa Fe trails drove their wagons westwards in search of new homesteads, while cowboys on the Chisholm Trail drove vast herds of longhorns north in search of the railroads. To cater for the new population, cowtowns like Abilene and Dodge City were born, and as whites forced Native Americans to move westwards, fierce battles over land erupted. Later, feuds over Kansas's maintenance of slavery gave rise to the term ‘Bleeding Kansas'.Today, the state boasts many monuments to its Old West past, as well as numerous recreation centres, reservoirs and rivers offering all kinds of outdoor pursuits. Kansas has played a major role in the history of general aviation, with over 267,000 aircraft being built by dozens of aircraft companies since 1899.

Iowa-USA

The easy-going Midwest state of Iowa is characterised by gently undulating fields and plains, dotted with many scenic parks, lakes and recreation areas, such as East Okoboji, West Okoboji (Iowa's deepest natural lake), Spirit Lake and Clear Lake.Its rich cultural heritage can be seen in the German Amana Colonies, with their many historic sites and museums. The tulips of Pella reflect the town's Dutch past and Des Moines, Iowa's capital, was clearly named by French explorers.

Indiana-USA

Adjoining Lake Michigan to the north, Indiana features deep valleys, cornfields that extend from horizon to horizon, foothills and vast farmlands. The state is home to peaceful Amish communities, covered bridges, Indian mounds and the famous Indy 500 motor-racing legend.Amid the rolling plains stands Indianapolis, the state capital and national centre for industry, commerce and culture. The business sector lies at the heart of the city; however, many of the tourist attractions are situated on the outskirts

Illinois-USA

Illinois, stretching from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, embraces vast, rich farmlands, the giant city of Chicago, rolling glacial plains and, to the south, the hills and valleys of the Illinois Ozarks. Illinois boasts 6,900km (4,300 miles) of scenic shoreline, 1,100 historic sites and half a million acres of state parks. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president, spent most of his professional (he was a lawyer) and political life here. Nicknamed the ‘Windy City‘, Chicago is one of the world's giant trade, industry and transportation centres and the birthplace of the skyscraper. In contrast, its Lake Michigan shoreline is dotted with sandy beaches, hundreds of parks, harbors, zoos and vast expanses of forest reserve. It is one of the USA's largest cities and the hub of the Midwest.The inhabitants in the 'Chicagoland' area speak more than 50 languages, making it the most ethnically diverse city in the USA. For visitors to the USA, it is the gateway to the cities and farmlands of Illinois, Indiana and the recreation areas of Wisconsin

Idaho-USA

Idaho's history is rich in texture, from the early pre-eminence of American Indians to the pioneer fur trappers, miners, loggers, railroad builders and farmers who later settled the territory. This rich heritage can still be discovered today.The state sits on the western side of the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains. Northern Idaho has the greatest concentration of lakes in the west and evergreen forests abound.The Salmon River bisects the rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and provides some of the world's best whitewater kayaking and rafting. The Sawtooth Wilderness Area and the White Cloud peaks provide additional recreational opportunities. World-famous Sun Valley is between these mountains. Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge, lies on the state's western border, overlooked by the Seven Devils Mountains.In Idaho's southwestern corner are the tallest sand dunes on the continent, in Bruneau Dunes State Park. In the south central region is the Craters of the Moon National Monument, where America's astronauts trained for moonwalks.Idaho is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with 16 alpine ski areas, over 320km (200 miles) of groomed nordic trails, over 11,500km (7,200 miles) of groomed snowmobile trails, numerous lakes and reservoirs, fishing streams, several dozen state parks and national forests

Hawaii-USA

The island group of Hawaii lies 3,860km (2,400 miles) off mainland USA, comprised of 132 islands and atolls. The state of Hawaii consists of eight islands, of which seven are inhabited and six allow visitors. Honolulu, the capital, sits on the southern shores of Oahu, the most commercialised island, but Hawaii is the largest island. Oahu has two diagonal mountain ranges (the Waianae and Koolau), with many beautiful waterfalls. Hawaii is cloaked in macadamia orchards, pineapple, sugarcane and coffee plantations. The islands support rainforest, green flatlands and 13 climatic regions.The tropical paradise of Hawaii stands apart from the USA, separated from the mainland by around 3,700km (2,300 miles) of Pacific Ocean. It has an ethnically diverse population and a rich Polynesian heritage. When Captain James Cook landed here in the 18th century, Oahu had been untouched by the West. It achieved prominence when the volume of Honolulu's commercial traffic increased and the US Navy acquired rights to Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941 marked the entry of the USA into WWII, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour.

Georgia-USA

THE large, geographically diverse state in the southeastern US, Georgia was founded in 1735 by James Oglethorpe, an Englishman who landed in Savannah and established the 13th colony in the New World.Visitors can travel through mountains, white-water rapids and forested ridges honeycombed with caves in the north, farms and orchards in the south, to the mysterious, low-lying Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast, and an Atlantic coastline of tidal marshes.Packed with colourful history, Georgia saw the emergence of Creek and Cherokee Indian nations and the start of the infamous Trail of Tears, the wealthy days of cotton plantations fueled by slave labour and bloody Civil War battles culminating in Union General Sherman's devastating ‘March to the Sea' and the burning of Atlanta. The state is still the home of southern hospitality, gracious homes and a rich history and culture proudly preserved. The booming city of Atlanta - known as ‘The City in a Forest' - most dramatically expresses the transition from Old South to New. Magnolia and dogwood trees still surround handsome Georgian-style homes, yet only blocks away, dazzling contemporary buildings add to Atlanta's ever-growing skyline. Georgia's climate ranges from the low humidity of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the subtropical southern coastal region

Florida-USA

Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with visitors heading to ‘The Sunshine State' in search of fun, sun and thrills. Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom Park and Busch Gardens are just a few of the man-made attractions for which the state is famed. Orlando is the face of Florida that most people recognise, with its enormous number of theme parks, movie studios, water parks and entertainment facilities. But there is more to Florida than Mickey Mouse and white-knuckle rides. Winding waterways, freshwater lakes, hills, forests, exciting cities, 13,560km (8,426 miles) of coastline, countless bays, inlets and islands, and a legendary climate make this one of the most popular states in the USA.Florida is divided into eight geographical regions. Miami and Miami Beach have long been a haunt of the rich and famous. Palm Beach scores equally highly in the glamour stakes. Fort Lauderdale is a popular spot for families, offering a wide assortment of sports and recreational activities. To the south, the Florida Keys offers a tropical climate, beautiful beaches and clear blue waters.The capital of Florida, Tallahassee, is geographically closer to Atlanta than Miami and is strictly Southern in tone.Tampa and St Petersburg are the main cities in the Central West region. Sarasota is the cultural capital of the region, thanks to John Ringling and his wife who amassed an impressive art collection, displayed in their restored mansion. The southwestern region is home to Naples, a popular seaside retreat.In the northeastern corner of Florida stands Jacksonville, named after General Andrew Jackson. Nearby St Augustine is known as ‘America's Oldest City'. Amelia Island, often called the ‘Isle of Eight Flags', is the only site in the country to have been governed by eight different countries during its history

Delaware-USA

Delaware is the second-smallest state in America. Much of the state is rural, with 45km (28 miles) of coastline. Lewes is a quaint seaside historic town with some delightful beaches. Cape Henlopen State Park is Delaware's largest state park, with its seabird nesting colony and white sand dunes.Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, back in 1787. The state has a rich history - Fort Christina Historic Park is the site of Delaware's first permanent settlement when Finns and Swedes landed here in 1638.Its administrative and commercial centre, Wilmington, was founded in the same year. The city includes museums, galleries, a port and a trolley car system modelled on the world-famous cable cars in San Francisco

Connecticut-USA

Connecticut is the picturesque southern gateway to New England - a mixture of town, country and quaint coastal villages. Beyond the towns and major cities inhabited by New York commuters are calm colonial villages set in a rural landscape, quietly hiding much of the nation's early history and an abundance of antique stores.The third-smallest state in the USA, Connecticut has a rich literary history. Hartford was the home of Mark Twain and tourists can visit The Mark Twain House, at Nook Farm, where he wrote his greatest work in 1884, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.The coastal metropolis of New Haven has an extraordinary list of firsts, including being the home of the first hamburger sandwich and the first lollipop. It is also home to Yale University

Colorado-USA

Colorado is known for its famous Rocky Mountains and is a year-round destination that boasts spectacular national parks, forests, gold-rush ghost towns and Native American ruins. The state has an impressive count of 54 mountains over 4,267m (14,000ft).The capital, Denver, is the gateway to numerous ski resorts and is home to many museums, parks, gardens and a restored Victorian square. Located at 1,609m (5,280ft) above sea level, on high rolling plains at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver, known as the Mile High City, has a population of 500,000 people and is the largest city within a 1,000km (625-mile) radius. Founded as a gold-mining camp in 1859, Denver was the centre of the Old West, filled with wagon trains, cowboys, Native Americans, gamblers and gunfighters.

California-USA

The Golden State' of California, the most populous state in the USA, has it all: snow-capped mountains, vast deserts, lush forests and long stretches of golden beach.The ruggedly beautiful coastline curves northward of Los Angeles to San Francisco along the famous Big Sur coastal highway, one of the most scenic drives in the country. The San Francisco Bay Area is proudly presided over by San Francisco, the cosmopolitan city whose cable cars and Golden Gate Bridge are instantly recognisable.California's best-known wine country extends north of San Francisco into the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, but excellent wine regions also flourish near Santa Barbara and San Diego. Northern California is the land of giant sequoias and redwoods, waterfalls, whitewater rivers, forests, icy lakes and towering mountains. The California Gold Rush, which began in the Sierras in 1848, forever changed the state and brought new wealth as fortune hunters migrated en masse.Los Angeles, the ‘City of Angels' is the second-largest city in the USA and lives up to its reputation as ‘the entertainment capital of the world', with all the dreams being made in Hollywood.Orange County is home to one of the world's most famous attractions - Disneyland Resort - as well as 67km (42 miles) of beaches and the charming rural communities of the Santa Ana Mountains

Arkansa-USA

Arkansas has a varied landscape of plains, mountains, forests, rivers, cattle farms, industrial centres and oil wells. The main claims to fame of this state are the beauty of its outdoors and that former President Bill Clinton was the governor in Little Rock before moving to the White House - there are museums and exhibits dedicated to his life. Little Rock, the state's capital, is one of Arkansas' earliest settlements and is a thriving place filled with museums, art exhibitions and parks.Elsewhere, the glorious Ozark Mountains stretch from southern Missouri through northern Arkansas.

Arizona-USA

Arizona contains some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the USA. The Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert National Park and Petrified Forest National Park (comprising the Painted Desert in the north and Rainbow Forest in the south) are just some of the highlights.The north of the state is criss-crossed with canyons, mountain streams, ponderosa pineforests, alpine meadows and snow-capped volcanoes. In the south and west are red deserts with stunning rock formations, Native American tribes, ghost towns from gold- and silver-mining days, and deep blue skies.Phoenix, the largest city in the state, shares borders with Scottsdale, the primary resort destination in Arizona. Both cities have a variety of accommodations and attractions, unique shopping, fine art galleries and many cultural events. The fifth-largest city in the USA, Phoenix boasts over 200 spectacular golf courses and a climate that attracts people from across the country.

AlaskUSA

Alaska is the largest state in the USA, a sparsely populated land of immense natural beauty, diverse wildlife and breathtaking adventure. At one-fifth the size of the lower 48 states, Alaska has 3 million lakes, over 3,000 rivers, 17 of the USA's 20 highest peaks, 100,000 glaciers and 15 national parks, preserves and monuments. Soaring snow-covered peaks, glaciers and fjords, bears, moose, salmon-filled rivers and the shrill call of eagles echo the grandeur of this state, which offers an experience like nowhere else on earth.Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, is both a popular tourist destination and the centre of commerce and transportation for the region; 40% of the state's population lives here. Lake Hood is home to the world's largest seaplane base, the main form of transport in Alaska.Fairbanks, Alaska's second-largest city, situated at the northern end of the Alaska Highway, is a trade and transportation centre for the Interior and Far North regions, and gateway to the state's real frontier. From mid-May through to July, visitors can enjoy more than 20 hours of sunlight a day, but in winter the short days are mostly a pink-and-indigo twilight with about four hours of real daylight

Alabama-USA

Alabama, which means ‘tribal town‘ in the Creek Indian language, is a state of mountains, lakes, caverns, rich forests, sweeping farmland and beaches on its southern shore. Rural communities and small towns nestle in the rolling hills, home to bed & breakfasts, museums and antiques.Montgomery was the first capital of the confederacy, and the First White House of the confederacy was home to Jefferson Davis, first president of the provisional government.Alabama played a key role in the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr Martin Luther King Jr first preached at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, a National Historic Landmark, and sites commemorating the struggle can be found across the state.Mobile is a major seaport. The city is famed for its diverse architecture resulting from English, French and Spanish rule, notably in the Church Street Historic District. Alabama was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but much of the infrastructure and attractions have been repaired and are open to visitors

United States of America


Mickey Mouse, Miami Vice, Sleepless in Seattle... thanks to cinema and TV we all have impressions of the United States of America. Yet nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Manhattan's unforgettable skyline, your first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger joints, the vast expanses of prairie, the sweet strains of New Orleans jazz or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas.The USA is a huge country to explore, with 50 states to choose from, flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain. For five centuries, since the 'New World' discoveries of Christopher Columbus, people from every corner of the globe have come here in search of 'the American Dream'. Between them, they have created the richest, most powerful country on earth, and a fascinating melting pot of cultures and traditions.Vast plains, snow-covered mountain ranges, forested rolling hills, deserts, strange rock formations, soaring skyscrapers, stunning coastlines, impressive national parks and a thriving cultural scene; the USA has it all, plus some.Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus initiating trade routes to the Americas in 1492, the northern continent was inhabited by peoples thought to have been descended from nomadic Mongolian tribes who had travelled across the Bering Sea, between Russia and Alaska. The first wave of European settlers, mainly English, French and Dutch, crossed the Atlantic in the 17th century. The restrictions on political rights and punitive taxation imposed by the British government on American colonists led to the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing American War of Independence (1775-1783), with the Declaration of Independence being signed in 1776. The American Constitution resulted from the states' Declaration, a governing format emulated by many other countries. By 1853, the boundaries of the USA were, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, as they are today. Economic activity in the southern states centred on plantation agriculture dependent on slavery. Attempts by liberally-inclined Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, to end slavery were opposed. The election of Lincoln to the presidency in 1861 precipitated a political crisis in which 10 Southern states seceded from the Union, leading to the American Civil War - a war that focused primarily on states' rights. After the four years of war, the country entered a period of consolidation, building up an industrial economy and settling the vast interior region of America known as the Wild West.

Mexico

'¡Viva Mexico!' was how Miguel Hidalgo rallied his fellow Mexicanos to the struggle against colonialism, and it is a cry that is repeated by the president and echoed throughout the land every 15 September - Independence Day. As slogans go, it could not be more apt; Mexico is bursting with life. While many nations live to work, Mexico does the opposite. The people are vivacious lovers of free time and socialising, and work will never have the importance that friends and family do. The mother, giver of life, is honoured and respected, and all children, whether belonging to locals or visitors, are doted upon.The country's past seems to live at one with its present. In Mexico City, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas celebrates the three major cultures that have shaped Mexico: there are Aztec ruins, the 17th-century colonial church of San Diego and several late 20th-century buildings. Even the dead are alive here, at least once a year; on the Day of the Dead, the living bring gifts to their dearly departed and spend the night in their company, remembering and celebrating how things used to be.Where the Caribbean Sea meets the Yucatan Peninsula, coral reefs come alive, with sea creatures, great and small. The Pacific coast attracts elephant seals and spectacular grey whales, who choose Mexico to breed and give birth, year after year. Nor is the desert a barrier to life - it is home to agave, the mother of all tequilas. The blue plant has a lot to answer for in Acapulco and Cancún, where humans come ashore after a day in the surf to flirt in bars and nightclubs.The biggest mass of teeming life in the whole of Mexico, is of course, its capital, where 20 million people (a fifth of the whole population) squeeze in together to work and play, live and love, die... and come back to life

Greenland

Some might be surprised to learn that Greenland is the world’s biggest island. Its large and impressive island terrain is therefore marked by the kind of topography that you might expect: surrounding sea, hills and wildlife. Yet the sea is either permanently frozen or chilled by the mainly cold currents. Its hills are framed by wild and rugged scenery and clear, clean air.In the centre of the country, ice can be up to 3km (2 miles) thick. It is no wonder that most of its population huddles around the ice-free coastal region. Indeed, 'Greenland' is a bit of a misnomer, drummed up by Eric the Red (son of a Norwegian chieftain banished from his home in Iceland for murder) in the year AD982 to attract settlers.Eric the Red's strategy worked for a short while. By the 10th century, the first European settlements of Greenland had been established. The colonists accepted Norwegian sovereignty around 1260, which lasted until the marginal lifestyle of the settlements finally led to their collapse in the 16th century. The territory was then unoccupied by Europeans until Denmark took possession of it in the early 18th century. It became an integral part of the Danish realm in 1953. A referendum in 1979 approved internal autonomy within the Kingdom of Denmark. In 1982, in another referendum, the population voted by a narrow majority to leave the EC (as it then was), which they had joined as part of Denmark in 1972. Greenland is now an overseas territory in association with the EU.Those still wondering why anyone would want to inhabit such unforgiving terrain are ignorant of the beautiful sights that Greenland grants. The arctic nights in the winter concoct a wondrous continuous twilight and, in the far north of the country, complete darkness, coupled with the spectacular Northern Lights. The profusion of snow creates the perfect conditions for activities such as dog sledging and tour cruises, which interweave in and out of Greenland's dazzling array of fjords, mountains, islands and icebergs. The wildlife does not disappoint, either: there are abundant opportunities to view creatures such as whales, seals and birds.

Quebec-Canada

Québec is Canada's largest province and consists of hilly agricultural land along the banks of the St Lawrence and vast tracts of barren mountains in the north: a breathtaking panorama of towering rock faces, 15,204km (9,503 miles) of coastline, looming canyons and craggy fjords.The province's three national parks, 22 natural parks and 16 wildlife reserves beckon outdoor enthusiasts. More than 100,000 lakes and numerous rivers offer excellent fishing. In the tundra of Québec's Far North (Nouveau-Québec), caribou and other game roam the land.What distinguishes Québec from other Canadian provinces is its French heritage, sustained over around 200 years. Québec's official language is French and Montréal (the province's largest city) is the largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Both it and provincial capital Québec City have lively old sections of cobblestoned streets where the atmosphere is overwhelmingly French

Prince Edward Island-CANADA

Even entering Prince Edward Island is elating. Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in Canada and the longest bridge over ice-covered waters worldwide, connects this island province with Canada's mainland, dramatically stretching far into the distance over shimmering blue waters. Once you enter Prince Edward Island, the countryside proves as memorable as this overpass. The entire island seems plunged in red: red soil, red sand and, in autumn, an incredible menagerie of reds transform the island's foliage. Since this province is an island, it is also surrounded by wonderful sandy beaches and terrific, lofty cliffs; from the rugged North Cape to the pretty bays around Prince Edward Island National Park.Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, nestled in the North Atlantic between the warm waters of the Northumberland Strait and the St Lawrence Seaway. It has a suitably small population, but one that is proud of its land. There is even a local saying that to be a true Prince Edward Islander you will have to have been born here. Yet Prince Edward Islanders enthusiastically welcome visitors, happy to share with them some of their delicious home-grown produce, such as the island's famed new potatoes or the abundance of tasty lobster.

Ontario-Canada

Ontario is Canada's most populous province, and denotes this through the sheer size and energy of its two cities (one the federal capital, the other the provincial capital), Ottawa and Toronto. Toronto, in particular, is widely regarded as one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities on the continent, in part due to its huge influx of immigrants. The city heaves with galleries, museums and shops, all against the backdrop of both heritage buildings (such as the Old City Hall, built in 1899) and innovative modern architecture (such as the CN Tower, arguably the world's tallest building).Yet away from the cities, due to the enormity of the province, there are always plenty of places where you can savour some silence. The far north and west of Ontario is a largely uninhabited wilderness of lakes, swamps and forests. Throughout Ontario are six national parks and 260 provincial parks. And, surreal as it may seem when compared to the orovince's urban centres, there are parts of this province where you can see more polar bears than humans.Ontario is also a province of water, containing four of the five 'Great Lakes' of North America. There is also Niagara Falls for those who crave their watery landscapes a little more dramatic; partly lodged in Ontario (and partly in New York State, USA), the falls provide a snapshot of nature at its most phenomenal.

Nunavut-Canada

Nunavut became Canada's largest and newest territory in 1999, when it was separated from the Northwest Territories. It emerged from around 20 years of negotiations by the Inuit communities that constitute about 80% of the population of this Arctic Territory. Nunavut means 'our land' in the language of the Inuit people, Inuktitut, and it is a land that is both Canadian and uniquely distinct from the country's other provinces and territories.In Nunavut is a wilderness that forms one-fifth of Canada. Polar bears dot the landscape, whales the seascape; and it is possible to do all those things that visitors may associate with the Arctic, from enjoying a dog sled to exploring an igloo to watching the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) illumine the dense darkness.There are also less traditional but equally adventurous activities to get your teeth into, such as mountain and rock climbing or challenging hikes across breathtaking national parks. The landscape is one of ice and snow but also spectacular flora and fauna, all the more startling and beautiful for their sparseness and their contrast to the barren scene that they have managed to wriggle out of and flourish in.Any visitor to Nunavut will most likely also flourish, in an area with plenty of indigenous history and plenty of stunning tundra, mountains and deep fjords.

Nova Scotia-Canada

The Scots were, arguably, the first settlers on this province, hence the proud Latin name, Nova Scotia, translating as 'New Scotland'. Nova Scotia is also awash with French and English settlers but it is perhaps the Scottish influence that really sticks in your mind as you wander over conifer-covered highland and stumble across a kilt-clad man playing the bagpipes.Nova Scotia seems to precariously hang off the mainland by a narrow isthmus. It is therefore understandably celebrated for its watery wonders. The residents of Nova Scotia are justly proud of their miles upon miles of beautiful, sandy coast and many lakes and rivers. Sampling some of the delicious sea produce is a must, from the ubiquitous lobster (Nova Scotia is the world's largest lobster exporter) to fresh scallops from Digby.If you prefer to look at marine life rather than eat it, what can be more relaxing than watching whales gracefully cruising off the coast? If you want to actually get in the water, Nova Scotia is also hugely popular when it comes to canoeing and kayaking.

Northwest Territories-Canada

The Northwest Territories are part of Canada's vast, remote north. Most of the territories' population and commercial activity is based in Yellowknife and around the Great Slave Lake. The Territories consist largely of wilderness, punctuated in places by human settlements, mainly of native peoples but also intrepid adventurers. The Inuit and Dene communities comprise almost 50% of the territories' population and have existed for hundreds or thousands of years.In terms of topography, the Northwest Territories are not as barren as one might anticipate. Thick evergreen forests and verdant mountains are a recurrent feature of the landscape.Sparsely populated, you are more likely to spot a herd of bison or come across a grizzly bear than you are to encounter a human. The sheer sum of wildlife in the Northwest Territories is superb. Venturing further north, the territories extend far above the Arctic Circle - something you might remember when you spot some polar bears!Don't forget to look up at the skies too: the Northwest Territories' skies contain some of the rarest species of birds worldwide.The Northwest Territories are, admittedly, stark in places, but it is an austerity that is tinged with beauty. Surrounded by wildlife, pretty flowers on rolling tundra and the sound of running water through a crystal-clear river, it would be understandable to think that you had stepped back in time

Newfoundland And Labrador-Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador is more than three times the size of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined, and is bordered by 29,000km (18,125 miles) of craggy coastline.It is a province that signals the beginning of the 'New World' and its links to European settlers. Water Street on St John's is the oldest street in North America. And it is strange to think that you are actually closer here to Ireland's Cape Clear than to Ontario's Thunder Bay. The province is filled with historical towns and landmarks documenting its beginnings as Canadian land, and its much-lauded maritime connections.In addition, many of its indigenous people (the First Nations, Métis and the Innu) still reside here, in isolated communities. They are more than willing to integrate and provide an insight into how their own history has shaped the province's present.Nature throws up its own surprises in Newfoundland and Labrador. From grazing moose and caribou to amazing whale sightings, and from scores of soaring seabirds to glimpses of black bears, this province is bursting with wildlife. It is also a place of ancient landscapes, such as the unique and beautiful geological features of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gros Morne National Park, or the colossal mountain ranges of the Torngat, Kaumajet or Kiglapait and their primeval exposed rock

New Brunswick-Canada

New Brunswick is a maritime province with three coastlines - on Chaleur Bay, the Northumberland Strait and the Bay of Fundy. Routes along these coasts can provide an interesting introduction to the area, opening up a vista of dramatic rocks, such as Hopewell Cape, and sea dotted with islands that boast astonishing glimpses of unusual fauna, birds and wildlife. Millions of flowers dot the land as far as the eye can see, carpeting the province in colour.New Brunswick is the most heavily forested of all Canada's provinces (indeed, arguably, the most forested in North America) and this, therefore, stretches its nautical associations further. Criss-crossed as it is with lakes, rivers and streams, escapes into the New Brunswick's wilderness are likely to be based around activities such as canoeing, kayaking or swimming.Consequently, the produce from New Brunswick's waters is exceptional. Shediac is reputed to be the lobster capital of the world, such is the quantity and quality of the town's cooked crustacean. In addition, the salmon is succulent, the scallops are plump and juicy and year-round blue mussels are moistly flavoursome.From staring out at the 50-foot tides of the Bay of Fundy to staring out at the vast Washademoak Lake, there is much in New Brunswick to whet the appetite

Manitoba-Canada

Manitoba is a huge province with comparably few residents. Instead of hordes of people, you will find immense countryside that is as diverse as its population: Manitoba is the centre of the cultural festival Folklarama, a celebration of Canada's ethnic communities. It also has a vibrant international mix, which includes Icelandic, Japanese and Italian.In Manitoba, utter peace and quiet is apparent as you amble around a landscape that is carved up into sprawling rivers, desert dunes and forest. You can travel from sub-Arctic coastline to fields that bloom with a startling patchwork of red, yellow and purple. When the sun sets into the flat, open land, the sky can often turn similar, sumptuous colours.This abundance of nature is a haven for wildlife, which is why Manitoba is home to hundreds of species of birds that flock to the province's 100,000 lakes and marshes. Additionally, you can expect to see wolves, bears, elk, moose, beavers, polar bears or whales, depending on your location in the province.Although it gets cold and it is sometimes referred to as the 'Great White North', Manitoba is supposedly Canada's sunniest province.It is guaranteed that you will have a sunny smile on your face by the time you've fully explored this wide-ranging wonderland

British Columbia-Canada

Canada's most westerly province, British Columbia is huge and diverse. If you love the great outdoors, you will never be bored in a province that is so beautiful, with such variation, and with so many opportunities for hiking, rafting, sailing and skiing, to name just a few.British Columbia is studded with breathtakingly beautiful, snow-capped mountains that puncture vast, blue skies. You will also find long stretches of rugged coastline, sandy beaches, wineries, orchards, forests and snowmelt-fed lakes that glisten with an intense hue. There is even Canada's only desert: Osoyoos, in the southern Okanagan, which is home to rattlesnakes, scorpions and prickly pear cacti. If you are seeking unspoiled wilderness, then British Columbia is the perfect province to lose yourself in.If you want company, however, there are plenty of modern and lively cities and towns in British Columbia. Vancouver has scores of galleries, museums and bars. But even in Vancouver you are never too removed from nature: the city contains Canada's largest city park, Stanley Park.With nine national parks and numerous provincial parks, British Columbia is renowned more for its nature than its urban settings. From kayaking with whales off the coast to driving down a highway flanked by mountains, British Columbia will enchant you

Alberta-Canada

Alberta is a nature-lover's paradise, enriched by wide open spaces and stunning sunsets. In terms of nature, the province is most renowned for the glorious peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the beauty of its parks, epitomised by Canada's fist national park, Banff.Alberta also has vast plains, but it is the mountainous Rockies where travellers will find their jaw continually dropping. Whether driving along the Icefields Parkway or hiking through a forested park, you will be constantly amazed by this awesome alpine wilderness of woodland, mountains and lakes. If anything exemplifies 'picture-postcard', it is this.Even in Alberta's cities there is plenty of green space, including Canada's largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. Also in Edmonton and other towns is the lingering of traditional prairie attitudes. This may be because Alberta folk love to hark back to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. The discovery of oil in the Edmonton area in 1947 assured the city of its future, making it one of Canada's fastest-growing metropolitan areas. This love affair with the past reaches its apogee in the annual ‘Klondike Days' extravaganza each July, when Edmontonians relive the Gold Rush days.Most people consider Alberta's true 'gold' to be its stunning scenery, however. And that makes Alberta one very rich province indeed

Canada

Few countries in the world offer as many choices to the traveller as Canada. Whether your passion is skiing, sailing, museum-combing or indulging in exceptional cuisine, Canada has it all. Western Canada is renowned for its stunningly beautiful countryside; Eastern Canada mixes the flavour and charm of Europe with the bustle of trendy New York; wildlife viewing is at its best in Northern Canada; and, everywhere, you will be surprised by how much more there is to this country than just maple syrup and Mounties.However, Canada also has its fair share of unsavoury history. Traces of up to a dozen distinct groups of Inuit (Eskimos – Canada's indigenous peoples) have been discovered across Canada's far northern regions. The Inuit maintain that traditional lands were taken from them by force or subterfuge by previous governments, bearing some resemblance to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia.However, there have been some small measures to tackle their remonstrations: in 1991, a 350,000 sq km (135,135 sq miles) area of the Northwest Territories was relinquished to the Inuit as the semi-autonomous Nunavut territory; and additional lands and measures of self-government were granted to the territory in 1999. There is certainly room in Canada to accommodate for these peoples: despite Canada's gigantic size, the country is sparsely populated. Most people congregate around urban centres, and venturing into more remote rural areas, you may well have only the country's stunning scenery as your companion.Indeed, Canada is so beautifully diverse that it makes it that little bit easier to comprehend why so many people fought for possession of it. During the 17th century, the Anglo-French war over Canada ended with the capitulation of the French Canadian capital, Québec, to the besieging forces of the English General Wolfe. The Americans made a number of efforts to seize control of Britain’s Canadian territories after British defeat in the American War of Independence, but failed, and the two countries thereafter evolved along different historical paths. In 1791, Canada was divided between regions occupied by the English-speaking and the longer-established French-speaking community, but the arrangement did not work and was replaced by a unified system.Canada now promotes itself as a country of peace, most notably in recent times in its opposition to the US-led war against Iraq. Canada governs itself independently but still has the British monarch as its head of state, with relatively little dissent. These factors are typical of a country that somehow succeeds in unifying incredible range: whatever your passion, Canada has a place for it. After all, this country spans six time zones and borders three of the world's four oceans

Bermuda

If lurid knee-length shorts spring to mind when you think of Bermuda it is entirely understandable, for the eighties fashion phenomenon put the remote collection of islands on many people's world map. However, the chain of coral islets couldn't be further from the in-your-face fashion faux pas, having embraced many a quintessential English tradition; from sophisticated gents playing cricket to refined ladies supping on afternoon tea. In all, Bermuda consists of around 180 islands and islets, lying just off the coast of Cape Hatterras, North Carolina, in the Atlantic Ocean. Its many coastlines are characterised by small bays with beaches of fine pale pink coral sand and surrounding vivid blue-green waters. Inland is an abundance of subtropical plants and flowers, interspersed with quaint pastel cottages.Bermuda was first discovered by Juan de Bermudez, a Spanish sailor, in 1505. It was claimed in England's name by Sir George Somers, in July 1609. After colonisation, the island prospered and has continued to do so almost continuously ever since.In 1968, the island was granted internal self-government (formally a British Dependent Territory) while the UK retained control of defence and foreign policy. The issue of independence continues to crop up. A referendum on independence was last held in 1995 but a low turnout produced a majority against independence