New York - The United States of America is a large and marvellous place which bustles with holidaymakers throughout the year. The reason for its mass tourist appeal is that the country fairs well through all seasons, making it an ideal holiday destination all year round. America's large size plays to the traveller's advantage when it comes to weather: it's always perfect somewhere in the USA. While the main holiday season is, naturally, summer, the USA has so many sights to see and activities to enjoy during any season.
If you're a fan of winter and the snow, there's a huge variety when it comes to where to go for skiing and snowboarding. Colorado is the obvious choice, with top resorts such as Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge offering some of the best conditions in the world. If those ski destinations are a bit out of your budget, Heavenly and Squaw Valley around Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border, or Park City and Snowbird in Utah offer ideal ski conditions that won't break the bank. In the eastern states, Killington and Stowe in Vermont are great options, and for experts who prefer the backcountry, there is nowhere better than Jackson Hole in Wyoming. The ski season generally lasts from the end of November to early May, but conditions may vary depending on where you are and the amount of snowfall. There are enough ski resorts throughout the USA to suit any budget and itinerary - it just comes down to personal preference.
In the summer, it's all about the beach and the surf in the US. California is naturally the big name on the American surfing scene with some incredible wave action on the beaches around San Francisco, Los Angeles, Malibu and San Diego. When it comes to the ultimate surfer's paradise, nothing beats Hawaii, with the beaches of Waikiki and North Shore on Oahu attracting everyone from beginners to experts. Florida's shores are popular surf spots too, and less well known is the coast of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, which offers some of the best winter surfing around.
In a country as vast as America, it can feel like each state has its own climate. Where sub-zero temperatures dominate New York during the winter, the Florida Keys will be enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. Winter in California's Death Valley should almost be referred to as “summer” because the region can hit an almost unbearable 50°C, while the hard-core skiers in the Rockies face winter temperatures well below freezing. Don't let that put you off though. It all comes down to thorough preparation before you depart for your trip. By reading up on which part of the USA you will be visiting, you'll be able to get a clearer understanding of weather patterns for that area at that specific time, which will help you better prepare for any weather conditions that might come your way.
If you're planning a trip to the USA, here are a few general tips to bear in mind to ensure that the seasons don't catch you off guard.
An umbrella is a great idea if you plan to explore the northwestern Pacific corner because you'll get wet if you don't. It rains a lot in Washington and Oregon, but this won't stop you having fun and seeing the best each city has to offer. If you plan on hitting the California or Florida coasts in the summer, or are heading to Hawaii at any time of the year, make sure you pack a high factor sun block. You'll also need it for skiing the Rockies in winter (November to April) where the altitude makes the sun's rays that much more dangerous - especially when the rays reflect off of the snow. Late summer and early autumn means hurricane season for the Gulf Coast, Florida and some of the East Coast too, so bear this in mind when planning your trip. Best pack a waterproof, just in case. In the winter months, it's a wise idea to pack thick jackets and add on the layers of clothing when you head outdoors.
While the seasons don't always arrive in uniform, and some areas in America experiencing extreme weather conditions all year round, if you plan your trip properly and are well-prepared, you should be able to see the country at its best - no matter what Mother Nature might send your way. There's always something amazing to see or adventure to be had in the USA during every season.
Adapted from a press release for IOL