VisitUSA - VisitUSA - Visit USA Sun, 16 Dec 2018 12:49:40 -0800 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb What Brought 40 Million People to Las Vegas Last Year?

Las Vegas continues to be the go-to destination for millions of visitors annually; in fact, the city recorded just shy of 40 million tourists in 2012 alone. Visitors from North America and other parts of the world, they’re drawn to the many opportunities that await them. To learn more about the fabulous city of Las Vegas, here are some interesting facts from the Las Vegas Conventions and Visitors Authority:

• Total first-time and repeat visitors in 2012: 39,727,022

• 16% were first-time visitors

• 8% were there primarily to gamble

• 47% said that their primary reason for visiting was for vacation and pleasure

• 14% gave visiting friends/relatives as the main reason for visiting

• Repeat visitors have made an average of 5.8 trips in the last five years

While Las Vegas still remains as one of the most visited cities in the United States, the percentage of tourists whose primary reason for being in Vegas is to gamble has steadily declined over the last decade. Hotels and casinos have both responded to the trend and helped counter it by ramping up family entertainment, opening fabulous restaurants and bars, adding more shops and boutiques, and offering visitors more choices of entertainment. And due to its unparalleled tourist visits, trusted flight service provider, DialAFlight has hailed the Sin City as one of their most booked/visited places on earth.

Aside from gambling, other tourists take advantage of the many local attractions on the Strip. For example, the area is now a destination for serious golfers who want to enjoy the challenge and beauty of playing courses that integrate the desert into their designs.

The Red Rock Canyon—which offers fun and exciting opportunities such as hiking, photography, and painting—is just a short drive from the city center. Somewhere off the city’s hustle and bustle, Mt. Charleston and the Spring Mountain Recreational Area are the best places to go camping, biking, birding, and other outdoor fun activities.

Meanwhile back at the heart of the city, catching a Las Vegas 51’s baseball game is a treat for the whole family from April to September. But if you want to see the wild side of Vegas, the Las Vegas Zoo is open all year round. These are just a few of the things and activities to enjoy that keep bringing visitors to Las Vegas by the millions.

]]> (Visit USA) Blog Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0800
Local Guide to Phoenix, Arizona

Founded in 1871, Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona & the 5th largest city in US. The metro area, called The Valley of the Sun, or just “The Valley”, encompasses the cities of Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale and Mesa. A major cultural, economical & political center, Phoenix’s fast paced vitality opens a plethora of activities to its visitors. At over 500 square miles, the city of Phoenix actually exceeds the land area of the Greater Los Angeles area!

Arriving in Phoenix

The best way to get to Phoenix from anywhere in the world is by air.  Like many cities in the American west, there is not a truly viable rail option; the nearest Amtrak stop is in Maricopa, about 50 miles away.  Phoenix is served by two commercial airports, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), and Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA).  Sky Harbor is centrally located to the center of the city, convenient to downtown Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, and many other destinations.  Mesa Gateway is located in the southeast section of the metro area, and is much smaller.

If part of your trip through the American southwest is by car, Phoenix is located on Interstate 10, which is the southernmost transcontinental highway in the U.S. interstate system.  Phoenix is about 6 hours from Los Angeles on the I-10, and about 6 and a half hours from El Paso along the same highway.

What time of year should I visit Phoenix?

Phoenix enjoys around 300 days of sunshine per year on average, so if you like sunshine, any time of year is great!  However, there is a caveat!  Phoenix is perhaps the hottest major American city with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit not uncommon from May through September.   While not “cold” by the standards of anyone living in the Northeastern U.S., Canada, or much of Europe, the winters in Phoenix can get a little chilly; given that, our favorite times to visit Phoenix are late September through November and February through April.  During those months, the weather is nearly perfect.

How should I get around Phoenix?

Phoenix really began to grow as a city after the introduction of air conditioning about 100 years ago.  As a result of another invention of about that time, the automobile, the city is very car-centric.  Phoenix has a good assortment of freeways, and its roads are organized largely on a grid system, making it very easy to find your way around.  However, there is not much in the way of rapid public transit.  There is an extensive bus system, and the start of a light-rail system, but there is no subway.  Simply put, if you’d like to see a lot of Phoenix, you’ll need to rent a car.

A couple of fun facts:

  • Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert.  The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world that the saguaro cactus grows naturally.
  • Phoenix is home to a professional sports team in each of the four major American sports (NFL Football: Arizona Cardinals; NHL Hockey: Phoenix Coyotes; NBA Basketball: Phoenix Suns; MLB Baseball: Arizona Diamondbacks)
  • The metro-Phoenix area is home to Arizona State University, the largest university in the United States by student count (over 75,000 undergraduate and graduate students)
  •  South Mountain Park, located in Phoenix, is the largest municipal park in the world
  • Historic Route 66 cuts through Phoenix on its way to California.  Route 66 was one of the original highways in the U.S. highway system, starting in Chicago, Illinois and ending in Santa Monica, California.
]]> (Visit USA) Blog Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0800
Exciting Changes to Come! originally came online in 1998 with the simple mission of being the best travel guide for all of America – every city, every town, every major park, and every dusty road. We don’t have everything on our site, America is a huge country—but we’re working on it! If there’s something about your town or favorite park we’ve missed, please let us know. We want to help our readers make informed travel plans, as well as just learn about great places to visit in this wonderful country of ours.

Over the coming months there will be many new and exciting things happening with our site. For one, we will be bringing on guest writers for the first time – our first one is our friend Will, from Shwayze23 who will be hiking the Appalachian Trail this spring, and periodically updating us with pictures, thoughts, and information about his experience on the trail during the thru-hike 2014. If there ever was a great way to see the eastern seaboard, hiking the trail is it! Many of us don’t have the time to take this particular adventure, so we invite you to live vicariously through our friend on his journey.

Amtrak Coast Starlight train

On top of that, we plan to add other similar series – for trips in America that you might not think to take these days. For example, we will be covering the legendary Amtrak Coast Starlight train as it goes from Los Angeles to Seattle over a span of a day and a half. In this age of jet travel and instant gratification, the Coast Starlight is a throwback to a simpler time – when travel was more civilized! None of us here at VisitUSA have actually taken this trip, but we’re exciting to report back to you on how it goes!

]]> (Visit USA) Blog Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0800
Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike 2014


Appalachian Trail Map

Appalachian Trail Map

As promised, our good friend Will is about to embark on his journey of a lifetime – the 2014 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. An Appalachian Trail thru-hiker is someone who attempts to hike the entire length of the trail in one season. To say the least, this is an arduous journey which many undertake, but not all can complete. We wish him health and vitality during this trip. We expect to hear from Will about once per week with an update on the trail, a unique update solely for’s readers.

We hope you will enjoy reading about his journey as much as we do.

The Editors

February 25, 2014

This is it! I have decided to attempt a Thru Hike of the entire Appalachian Trail, starting March 9th, 2014. This epic adventure will take me through 13 states and almost 2200 miles.

I plan on updating my blog daily, posting photos, thoughts about the trail, my mental state, and just the overall feel for what I am going through day to day. You can visit my blog for more updates, pictures and more to live vicariously through me.

To some, this may not sound like their idea of fun. To me, this is something I have been craving for quite some time. To understand ‘why’ I am going through with this, you have to look at my past, my present, and where I am at in my current profession.

This all started when I was young, growing up in Boston, MA, my father (a very adventurous, outgoing, self-starter type man) would bring me out on day hikes in the towering mountains of New Hampshire. There is something about the crisp, fresh air in the mountains, the views you take in, the challenge in a mountain itself, even the task of walking itself helps clear the head. I fell in love. My father and I hiked 36 out of the 48 peaks in New Hampshire that were over 4,000 ft. During our travels we bumped into some ‘thru hikers’ (someone hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in one season) and I realized that this was an adventure that I would one day attempt. Through the years, I went on some Outward Bound programs, climbing the mountains of Colorado, to canoeing the rivers/lakes of Maine. I realized I was in love with the outdoors. Recently, I have started acquiring the gear necessary, building the endurance via conquests of adventures in Arizona in the Grand Canyon with views and campsites one could only dream of.

Havasupai Trail at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Havasupai Trail at the bottom of the Grand Canyon


Currently, I am on a wait list for Physical Therapy school, I have no relationship tying me down, and I have saved enough money to take 6 months off work to undertake a journey like this. This was the perfect storm for me, a sign that pointed me in the direction to just start toying with the idea of a thru-hike. Those thoughts quickly transformed into reality as I started reading the blogs of previous thru-hikers. I had, for some time, felt like a part of me was missing. It was adventure, and as I started planning and preparing, I felt that part of me starting to mold my attitude, emotional state, confidence levels, etc. I am so excited to begin this journey in less than a month. I am more excited to share my journey with those of you that are willing to read about it.

Please check my blog for more updates! I look forward to sharing with you all!

]]> (Visit USA) Blog Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0800