From the orange and red landscapes of Arizona and Utah to the rainbow of colours in Yellowstone National Park, and from the lush green countryside in the Cascade Range to the White Sand Desert in New Mexico, those who travel to the Western United States will be far from disappointed by the myriad of colours that awaits them. From the Canadian to the Mexican border, those visiting the American West will soon discover its grandiose nature on a trip down Route 66, whether they are passing through the Grand Canyon or zigzagging between the monoliths of Monument Valley. Indeed, these sparsely populated states very popular with tourists are home to an abundance of natural wonders. A visit to the Western United States often includes a trip to Seattle, a modern and energetic city which, with the Space Needle and Mount Rainier as its backdrop, makes for a picture postcard setting.
Our Editorial team's advice
The best season to visit the Cascade Range is in the autumn, when the forests are a yellow and orange colour and leaves carpet the ground. The summer is the best time to visit the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Arizona, Utah and Nevada are great for visiting all year round, but it's best to avoid the plateaus and the mountains if you want to escape the cold temperatures. The monsoon season in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Colorado begins in June and can last for several months. Although it doesn't rain continuously, violent storms are frequent during this period.
With regard to travel formalities, make sure that your passport is in perfect order, as the US authorities carry out extremely thorough checks. Your passport must meet a number of criteria so check the website of the Embassy of the United States in London for more information. If everything is in order, you must then fill out the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) online form before you can fly to the US.
Lastly, don't forget to pack an adaptor.
+The very colourful landscapes
+The natural wonders protected by the national parks
-The huge size of the territory. You'll need several weeks to visit all of the main sites
-Some of the sites are slightly spoilt by the number of tourist facilities and the crowds of tourists
Those who love a tasty burger will without doubt take a liking to the little restaurants found on many street corners in the US. There's also the option of the typical American food court, a facility that brings together lots of different food vendors where everyone can choose to eat something different and still eat at the same table. Another tradition in this country is brunch, perfect for those who like to sleep in on Sundays.
What's more, visitors can enjoy many different types of seafood on the Pacific Coast. There's the fish soups served in the pleasant Bayfront district of Newport and the famous crab cakes popular in Seattle.
If you're visiting Seattle in the winter, stop for a hot drink in the first ever Starbucks café, and in the summer, try some frozen yoghurt while strolling through the city centre.
The cuisine typically served in New Mexico is particularly original. With many of the dishes containing beans and peppers, it's easy to see the influences of the nearby Hispanic cultures. One particularly delicious dish is the Caldillo, a stew made from green chilli peppers.
For something completely different, head to Wyoming to enjoy a buffalo steak alongside the locals.
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Shopaholics will love the huge malls that await them in the Western United States. In Seattle, there's the Westfield Southcenter Mall, U-Village (an outdoor shopping area) and the North Bend Outlet where there's something for everyone, from the trendiest boutiques to the chains found all over the US.
Seattle is also the home of Pike Place Market, which overlooks Elliot Bay in the historic district. Opened in 1907, it was originally a farmers' market. Today, a wide range of fresh produce and handmade local arts and crafts are sold here. In Newport, why not take a walk through the Bayfront district right on the seafront and take a look inside some of the many art galleries and souvenir shops.
Most of the major tourist sites, like the Grand Canyon for example, have their own souvenir shops in their visitor centre, where tourists can buy lots of little knick-knacks to show they visited the national monuments of the West.