See the US only locals know
The quiet beach town of Pacific Grove, California.(John Elk III/Alamy)
Last week, US President Barack Obama visited upstate New York’s Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in an effort to highlight some of the United States’ most-loved destinations and increase international tourism.
“When it comes to tourism, we have a great product to sell,” he said. “Nothing says ‘Made in America’ better than the Empire State Building or the Hoover Dam.”
According to the Associated Press, a record 70 million international visitors travelled to the US in 2013. But that was still only 13% of the world’s travelers – a smaller market share than the 17% that visited the United States in 2000.
Beyond the country’s iconic locations – which travellers know all too well – the US is home to an array of charming, quirky and fascinating sights that often fly under the radar, from the world’s longest cave system to a city sprawled with a mosaic masterpiece. Here are some of our favourites:
The wild woodlands of the Great Smoky Mountains
One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, this tranquil national park, which stretches across the Tennessee-North Carolina border, has a rich biodiversity that’s rivalled by few other places on the planet.
Philadelphia’s mosaic masterpiece
The city’s downtown offers a one-of-a-kind artistic exploration, with 50,000sqft of tunnels, caves and walls covered in a vibrant and eccentric display of glass tiles, poetry and toys.