Background information;  by

The broadest area of North America is taken by Canada, the world’s second largest country. Eastern Canada is composed of Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island,  and New foundland) and Canada’s two largest provinces (Quebec and Ontario),  which together form central Canada. Western Canada includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. (The latter three provinces are sometimes called the Prairie Provinces or the prairies). Three northern territories cap off the country; the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.  Two U.S. states, both south of British Columbia, make up the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon). Above them, and separated from them by British Columbia and Yukon, is Alaska. Below them are California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico – often labeled south-west. Occasionally, you will hear of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington grouped as the far west. More than 2,000 miles to the southwest of the North American is the state of Hawaii. The Rocky mountain region is a buffer between the pacific region and the middle of Canada and the United States. Though the precise states that make up the U.S. Rocky mountain area are somewhat debatable – several of them qualify for inclusion in the southwest and others as part of the Great Plains area – north to south (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado).

Texas, the second largest state after Alaska, almost needs a category for itself, though it is often mentioned in the same breath with Oklahoma, which is just north of it. The flat agricultural area that stretches above Oklahoma is generally called the Great Plains. It is made up of, from north to south, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. The Midwest encompasses many states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio (many of these states are in the eastern half of the United States, but they still call themselves Midwestern). The south also covers a vast area. Its states are Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. West Virginia and Virginia are occasionally labeled southern or can be classified with the Mid-Atlantic States; New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. And between Maryland and Virginia is the District of Columbia, a “neutral” federal district that marks the U.S capital, Washington, D.C. Finally,  New England nestles in the northeast corner of the United States. Its members are Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

  • The most prominent feature in U.S.A;

From the flat plains of the continent’s center to the worn peaks of the Appalachian Mountains or the barren deserts of the U.S. southwest,  the land offers crisp differences. Because these natural features (and other ones, like lakes, rivers, and oceans) have such a strong impact on travel plans, it is important to understand where and what they are.

  • Bodies of Water;

The continent is flanked by two oceans: the Atlantic Ocean that lines the eastern shores and the Pacific Ocean that laps against its western coast. Curving into Mexico and the U.S. southeastern border is the Gulf of Mexico; winds blowing over the Gulf help create the warm and often humid climate of that area. To the northeast, separating the United States from Canada, are the Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. These Lakes – and their shores – are important both to tourism and commerce. Toward the western side of the continent is another noticeable body of water, the Great Salt Lake, and to the north are several huge lakes;  Great Bear, Great slave, and Lake Winnipeg. Dominating this northern region is huge Hudson Bay. The St. Lawrence slices into the continent’s northeastern region. To the west, the Columbia River forms part of the border between Oregon and Washington. The Mississippi River divides the United States almost in half, starting up in Minnesota and traveling down through the Midwest and south to Louisiana, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Even today, tourists can take a riverboat trip past its historic river front towns. The Missouri River starts in Montana and passes through the Great Plains states, finally merging with the Mississippi River in Missouri. In the southwest, the Colorado River winds from Colorado through Utah and forms part of the borders of Arizona, Nevada, and California; along the way, it has been dammed, creating two lakes that are major recreation areas; Lake mead in Nevada, and lake Powell in Utah. The Colorado is also a popular rafting site for tourists. The Rio Grande marks off a large part of the country’s southern border between Texas and Mexico.  Throughout North America, many smaller rivers and lakes add to the landscape. In New England and the Atlantic provinces, numerous inlets dig into the coastline and are popular recreation centers. Swampy bayous cover much of Louisiana, as do those of the Everglades in Florida. And Florida’s collection of Islands off its southwest coast, the Florida Keys, is a major tourist destination.

  • Mountains;

Three mountain ranges loom over the North American landscape. They have a major effect on climate, travel conditions, and skiing. The impressive scenery they offer is a major draw for tourists. The weathered Appalachian mountains – prime camping and hiking areas – rise in Pennsylvania,   continue southwesterly down through Maryland,   West Virginia,  Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky,  and end in the northern Georgia. Other mountain ranges farther north,  in New York,  New England, Quebec, New Brunswick , and New foundland are popular summer tourist and winter skiing resorts. (Some geographers consider those northerly mountains an extension of the Appalachians). The Rocky Mountains run down the entire western length of North America,  from Alaska  to New Mexico, through the Yukon,  British ,Columbia  Alberta’s , western edge , Montana , Idaho , Wyoming , Colorado  , Utah, and Arizona . One depression near the Rockies would be very noticeable from above; the cavernous GRAND CANYON IN ARIZONA. Stretching down the western states are two ranges (some consider them tributaries of the Rockies); the CASCADE MOUNTAINS in Washington and Oregon, and the SIERRA NEVADAS, running most of the length of California. Like the Rockies, they both present great skiing and hiking opportunities .The cascades continue northward through British Columbia into Alaska, where they become the Alaska Range. Between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains are the flatlands of Canada’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and the U.S Great plains and Midwest.

  • Climate;

The southern portion of Canada and the northern portion of the contiguous United States have warm or hot summers but cold snowy winters; whereas  the southern region of the United States is mild to hot  year round. Because of this, southern portions of the continent tend to be all – year destinations, whereas tourism in the north is largely limited to the summer. Winter in Alaska and Canada can be cold and harsh. However, late spring, summer, and early fall are surprisingly mild; and in southern Canadian cities like Toronto and especially Vancouver, winter is not as bitter as people might imagine. Rainfall and humidity patterns vary widely across the continent. Rain is frequent in the Pacific Northwest and, often in the form of thunder showers,  in the south and southeast. The southwest is dry and desert like, with rain coming mostly in the winter months. Hurricanes are most likely along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in the summer and fall.

Top attractions in North America;

  • 1. Niagara Falls, Canada.
  • 2. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore , USA.
  • 3. Rocky Mountains , Canada.
  • 4. Northern Lights , Alaska , USA.
  • 5. Banff National Park , Canada.
  • 6. Haleakala National Park , Maui , Hawaii , USA.
  • 7. Las Vegas – USA.
  • 8. San Francisco.
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