United States - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Among the most striking scenic attractions in the United States are: the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Yosemite National Park in California; Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; Niagara Falls, partly in New York; and the Everglades in Florida. The United States has a total of 49 national parks. Popular coastal resorts include those of Florida, California, and Cape Code in Massachusetts. Historical attractions include the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia; the Statue of Liberty in New York City; the White House, the Capitol, and the monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln in the District of Columbia; the Williamsburg historical restoration in Virginia; various Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields and monuments in the East and South; the Alamo in San Antonio; and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Among many other popular tourist attractions are the movie and television studios in Los Angeles; the cable cars in San Francisco; casino gambling in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City, N.J.; thoroughbred horse racing in Kentucky; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.; the many jazz clubs of New Orleans; and such amusement parks as Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.) and Walt Disney World (near Orlando, Fla.). For abundance and diversity of entertainment—theater, movies, music, dance, and sports—New York City has few rivals. In April 1993, Amtrak began the country's first regularly scheduled transcontinental passenger service, from Los Angeles to Miami.

Americans' recreational activities range from the major spectator sports—professional baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer, horse racing, and collegiate football and basketball—to home gardening. Participant sports are a favorite form of recreation, including jogging, aerobics, tennis, and golf. Skiing is a popular recreation in New England and the western mountain ranges, while sailing, power boating, rafting, and canoeing are popular water sports.

Foreign visitors to the United States numbered 50,890,701 in 2000. Of these visitors, 28% came from Canada, 20% from Mexico, and 10% from Japan. Travelers to the United States from all foreign countries spent US $85,1 billion in 2000. With a few exceptions, such as Canadians entering from the Western Hemisphere, all visitors to the United States are required to have passports and visas.

The cost of traveling in the United States varies from city to city. According to 1999 UN estimates, daily expenses were approximately $263 in Chicago, $275 in New York, $235 in Washington, and $213 in Miami. Costs are lower in smaller cities and rural areas.

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