North America

A Continent of Great Sights and Contrasts

North American is a continent of great contrasts. Ranging from the bustling cities of the west and east coasts to the open expanses of the Great Plains, there is so much variety. Cities such as New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver are among some of the finest in the world. While the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon, Paricutin Volcano and Yosemite showcase the best of the natural world.

The red rock buttes of Sedona
The beautiful town of Sedona in Arizona is a popular destination.

The continent is culturally a story of two halves. Canada and the U.S. in the north contrast with the southern nations of Mexico and Central America. While the former are English speaking and bastions of globalisation, the latter are principally Spanish speaking, domestically focused developing nations. This makes any trip to North America fascinating and varied, particularly when taking in more than one country. However for all the differences, what all of the countries have in common is fantastic cuisine, incredible landscapes and a strong sense of national pride.

When deciding where to visit, you’ll need to weigh up the merits of each of the areas. The U.S. and Canada boast iconic cosmopolitan cities and some of the most famous destinations in the world. In contrast,  Mexico and Central America offer off the beaten track travel, outstanding natural beauty and amazing beaches and jungle experiences. Regardless of where you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Aerial view of Central Park in New York
Aerial view of Central Park amongst the sprawling city and skyscrapers


North America is home to 23 different countries. It’s dominated politically, geographically and in terms of population by the big three; Canada, Mexico and the USA. These three countries account for over 84% of the continents population and an even higher percentage of the land mass. The remaining countries can be characterised into two distinctive groups, the 13 independent Caribbean Islands and the 7 mainland countries of Central America. The latter group is made up of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Stretching all the way down to Colombia in South America, these countries form a continuous land bridge between the two continents. However, don’t be deceived by the apparent simplicity of travelling by road to South America


Best Time to Visit North America

The best time to visit North America is dictated by where you’re intending to visit and the climate. The continent stretches from the Artic Circle in the north, to close to the equator in the south, meaning it’s home to all manner of varying climates.

The south of the continent including Mexico and Central America is home to year round warm weather with a wet season running from June to November. As you progress into the U.S. the climate becomes more variable. A rule of thumb for the U.S. climate is that temperatures drop the further north you go and rainfall decreases the further west you go. For example, states such as Nevada, Arizona and California in the south west will see warm year round weather with minimal rainfall. As you move into Canada, the weather becomes more temperate with the north of Canada and Alaska seeing cool summers and freezing, snowy winters. 

North America is a year round destination. The ski resorts such as Aspen and Whistler attracts winter sport enthusiasts while Mexico and Central America offer plenty of winter sun. The U.S. and Canada comes alive in the spring with both the west and east coasts cities and beaches warming up. Summers are hot, often uncomfortably so. For many Autumn or Fall is the best time to visit with vivid colours and less visitors but still plenty of fine weather to enjoy. 

The vast sandstone buttes of Monument Valley in Utah, USA
The vast sandstone buttes of Monument Valley tower above the desert in Utah, USA

Best Places to Visit in North America

North America’s numerous impressive cities, beaches, natural wonders and off the beaten track destinations could fill a life time of travel. It’s not possible to list all of the great places to visit in this vast continent, but we’ve taken a stab at highlighting the very best the continent has to offer. 

Best Beaches in North America

North America has a wealth of beaches from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Atlantic Coast in the east. Throw in the stunning Caribbean beaches and those in the Gulf of Mexico and you’ll never be short of some sun, sea and sand.

Our top 5 best beaches in North America are:

  1. Balandra Beach, Mexico
  2. San Blas Islands, Panama
  3. Yemaya, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
  4. Waimea Bay Beach, Oahu, USA
  5. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Best National Parks in North America

Many of the finest national parks in the world are located in North America. Of all the categories, this is perhaps the hardest to decide on given the wealth of options.

Our top 5 best national parks in North America are:

  1. Banff National Park, Canada
  2. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA
  3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
  4. Volcan Baru National Park, Panama
  5. Grand Canyon National Park, Nevada, USA

Best Cities in North America

Home to some of the biggest, best and most iconic cities in the world, North America is not short of great cities. While we’ve selected our top 5, this list could easily extend to 50 or more great cities.

Our top 5 best cities to visit in North America are:

  1. New York, USA
  2. Las Vegas, USA
  3. Vancouver, Canada
  4. San Francisco, USA
  5. San Diego, USA

North America Travel Routes and Travel Itineraries

Vancouver to Cabo San Lucas

North America Guide and Blog Archive

North America Country Guides

Canada Guide

Mexico Guide

USA Guide

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