Best for families: Washington DC
Culture and museum lovers young and old need to visit the capital, Washington, DC. When someone says they're ‘going to the Smithsonian’ in DC they actually mean a collection of 11 museums, 6 galleries and a zoo. First stop should be the Air and Space Museum, a place guaranteed to bring out the little kid in anyone, followed by the Native American Museum next door. Admission is free (yep, even the Zoo) so there's no reason to skip any if you have the time.
Another must-see is the International Spy Museum (SPY) at L’Enfant Plaza and features the foremost collection of spy artefacts in the world. A highlight is the groundbreaking exhibit uncovering the vital work of intelligence analysts that transports visitors to The Situation Room during the capture of Osama bin Laden. Also check out the Hilton Washington DC National Mall just above the Spy Museum.
Best for music lovers: Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is credited with helping create major genres of music including blues, rock’n’roll and soul, nurturing stars like Jerry Lee Lewis, Issac Hayes and of course, The King, Elvis Presley. First stop should be Graceland, the Holy Grail for Elvis fans. In 2016 the site expanded to include a museum complex across the road, as well as the 450-room Graceland Guest House next door to the mansion. ‘Elvis Presley’s Memphis’ showcases some of his cars and stage costumes and under Priscilla Presley’s designer eye, the guest house uses Graceland as a retro template but takes it into the 21st Century. Make the next stop Sun Studios, where Elvis made his first recording, and the Stax Museum, devoted to the legendary soul record label. Wander down the famous Beale Street in Downtown Memphis which is full of blues clubs and the place Elvis used to sneak off to for inspiration.
Best beach: Hapuna Beach, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Sure, Waikiki Beach is beautiful, but it’s really crowded when it comes to swimming and the famed North Shore of Oahu is great for surfing, but again, too crowded. If you want to beach to yourself, Take a plane to the Big Island, officially known as Hawaii. Here along the coast you can snorkel with spinner dolphins and view bright corals and sea turtles.
Of course, The Big Island is best known for its other natural wonders including volcanoes where molten lava oozes into the steaming ocean below. Ringed by pristine beaches, Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’ also offers surfing whilst the spectacular landscape, pollution-free skies and beautiful sunsets offer a truly stunning wilderness experience. Hapuna Beach is almost always sunny, and has a continuous shore break that is great fun for beginners. There’s lifegaurds on duty too, it’s easy to see why this beach is regularly is voted among the ‘best beaches in the world’!
Best new city discovery: St Louis, Missouri
The Gateway to the West needs to be on top of your list for a US visit. Why? One word, barbeque. Go directly to where those in the know go – to Pappy’s. Opened in 2008, Pappy’s Smokehouse is the heart of barbeque in St Louis. The slow-smoked ribs, the pulled pork, the burnt ends, even the fixings are incredible. The best thing about this city is you can eat great food and be entertained at the same time. In St Louis, some of the best homegrown jazz and blues can be seen at Broadway Oyster Bar, where you can have dinner and a dance with the locals (and try their spicy shrimp voodoo) or the Ferring Jazz Bistro at The Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. Right up until his final days the pioneer of rock and roll music Chuck Berry would play once a month in the Duck Room (named after his famous guitar-wielding walk) at Blueberry Hill in an area known as Delmar Loop. It’s still worth a visit for the burgers.
Best cruise: Celebrity Edge from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Welcome to the future of cruising. On board the Celebrity Edge, you can really enjoy the view. Chaise lounges that once encircled the pool now face outwards toward the sea. The pool is tiered so even when lolling in the water you can view the ocean. There’s also A Magic Carpet which doubles as a lounge elevated above the top deck on the starboard side and the disembarkation platform to transfer cruisers to their tender. Also impressive is the colour palette and textures used in the design. Working with renowned London designer, Kelly Hoppen, Celebrity Edge has the feel of a modern boutique hotel suite. Think leafy potted plants and a good dose of velvet soft furnishings in indigos, greens and purples. The ship has two itineraries which depart and return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and take in the Caribbean Islands. Spend a few days in Miami before the cruise and then take in the view.