The United States of America

Culturally and geographically diverse, with unlimited tourism options

The United States of America (USA) is  culturally diverse, in part to its large size — approximately 2265 million acres, or over 9.5 million square kilometers.  The United States is the world’s third largest nation by total area, counting land and water, ranking below Russia and Canada and just above China. 

The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard features the largest and oldest cities of the US, including New York, Boston, Philidelphia, and Washington.  These tourism destinations are known for arts, history, dining, and entertainment venues.

The coastal plain gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont which transitions into the Appalacian Moutains, extending from the state of Maine known for its quaint villages in the north to Georogia in the south.  The cities in the Piedmont and Applacians are less cosmopolitan and more culturally diverse, developed largely on industry.

West of the Apppalacians are the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest.  Predominant among these cities is Chicago.

The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.  The Rocky Moutains at the western edge of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in Colorado. Farther west are the rocky Great Basin and deserts such as the Mojavie. The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast.

The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical, as is Hawaii. The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Western mountains are alpine. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar.

The U.S. ecology is considered megadiverse: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland. The United States is home to more than 400 mammal, 750 bird, and 500 reptile and amphibian species. About 91,000 insect species have been described. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats, which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. There are fifty-eight national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas. Altogether, the government owns 28.8% of the country’s land area. Most of this is protected, though some is leased for oil and gas drilling, mining, logging, or cattle ranching; 2.4% is used for military purposes.

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