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What to see and do in the United States

A birds eye view of the harbour in Baltimore, with several boats docked

What to expect in the United States

Welcome to America, the land of opportunity!

From the dazzling skyscrapers and bright lights of Times Square to the awe-inspiring views of Yosemite National Park – the endless conveyor belt of sights, sounds and scenery in the US will leave you simply spellbound.

Whether you’re looking for a glamourous city break, a laid-back retreat or an adventure-filled getaway, the United States promises the holiday of a lifetime.

Icelandair offers cheap flights to America from multiple airports across the UK and Ireland. Visit some of America’s biggest cities, including New York, Chicago and Orlando.

Plus, when you book tickets to the USA with Icelandair, you can add a stopover in Iceland at no extra airfare. That’s two world-class destinations under just one ticket!

Getting around the United States

Getting around the United States is an adventure in itself, and with so many transportation options, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Discovering a new state is pretty simple thanks to the nation’s extensive transport systems.

America’s main cities come armed with a plethora of accessible public transport options. Buses, trams, trains, and subways provide an easy and affordable way to explore each state.

When travelling between states, domestic flights are a popular option. With most states having their own national airport, internal flights are perfect for getting to your next destination quickly.

However, if you’d prefer to take the scenic route, Amtrak trains offer a comfortable and reliable way of getting around. Sit back, relax and take in the tremendous views of the American countryside.

A street level scene of New York, with a woman walking in the fore of the shot and a yellow cab to the left of frame and several people walking and cycling behind
A scene of Philadelphia in the summer, with lush greenery and pink flowers in frame, set against the historic buildings

Visiting the US in the summer or winter

The United States is a true bucket-list destination. Summer is filled with glorious days of sunshine and the promise of adventure, while festive lights, decorations and community spirit inject magic into even the coldest of months.

Surf lovers and sunshine seekers will adore America in the summer (June - August). This time of the year is characterised by warm temperatures and clear blue skies across most of the country – making it the perfect time to get out and about in the great outdoors! However, summer is peak tourist season, so prices for flights to the US are generally at their highest during this time.

Winter in the US is nothing shy of magical, as the snow falls and the holiday season approaches, an infectious festive spirit brings the nation to life. Expect dazzling displays, luminous lights and crazy Christmas trees in their bucketload. Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge offer ski enthusiast access to some of the most sought-out ski spots on the planet, while Florida and Miami offer sun-seekers some respite from the cold.

The US in the shoulder seasons

If you love sunny and bright days but don’t love those summer prices, then a holiday to the States during spring is ideal. Witness the country come to life as wildflowers start to bloom.

Nature lovers, it’s not too late to get your fix at Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon or Zion. But not only that – spring offers the ideal conditions for some city exploring – making city-strolling around Newark, Boston or Seattle a delight.

Autumn, or fall as it’s known in the States, is a season of raw beauty and transformation. Witness the country bask in all its golden glory as those leaves turn sensational shades of auburn, creating a breathtaking display of colour.

Sports enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that fall signals the official start of American football season, so you can expect both local and NFL games in their abundance.

A woman looks back to the camera as she canoes down a river in America, with the trees lit up in autumnal colours
Brooklyn Bridge in New York pictured in evening light with the city lights bright against the night sky

Best things to do in the United States

From the wondrous West Coast to the equally tantalising East Coast – there’s no shortage of ways to fill your time in America. Here are a handful of the main attractions in the United States:

  • Brooklyn Bridge – hire a bike for the day ride across New York’s most famous suspension bridge. The stunning views of the city and East River are all the rewards you need.
  • The Grand Canyon – one of the world’s most famous natural wonders, the Grand Canyon brings breathtaking views and challenging hiking trails by the bucketload.
  • Walt Disney World – boasting a whooping four theme parks and two fun-fuelled water parks, a visit to Disney World is an absolute must for families travelling to America.
  • The Smithsonian Museums – the collection of 19 impressive museums and galleries can be found across Washington D.C. Prepared to be wowed by art, history, culture and science exhibits!

Most popular cities in the US to explore

America is a country that’s as vast as it is exquisite. With 52 states to discover, let us be your guide to the US.

New York is a place where the energy is electric and the possibilities are endless. Home to some of America’s biggest names: The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Empire State Building to name a few – NYC will leave you lost for words.

At the heart of American politics lies Washington D.C. From iconic monuments and memorials to mesmerising museums, Washington D.C. is a city bursting at the seams with knowledge, history and strength.

Boston is another city steeped in history and culture. Explore the Freedom Trail, sample world-famous seafood or catch a game at Fenway Park. Boston is full of endless opportunities and is sure to leave you wanting more.

Meanwhile, the fun never stops in Orlando! Home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is the perfect destination for families looking for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

A scene from one of the water-based shows in Orlando, Florida with people looking out over the blue pool

FAQs about travel to the United States

Helpful information for travellers flying to the USA

How long is the flight to America?

The flight time from the UK to the United States will vary depending on which UK airport you depart from and which US airport you are flying to.

Direct flights from London to New York typically take around 9 hours, whereas flights to the West Coast of America take around 11–12 hours.

Layovers can also extend your journey time. When you fly to the United States with Icelandair, you can add a stopover in Iceland at no extra cost. What’s not to love?

When is the cheapest time to fly to the United States?

Flights to the US are at their cheapest during its low seasons, which typically run from January to early March or November to early December.

Icelandair offers regular round-trip flights to America all year round. We recommend checking our flight deals regularly and booking in advance to secure the best deal.

Does Icelandair have direct flights to America?

Flights to the US from the UK with Icelandair include a layover in Iceland.

Landing at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), passengers can extend their layover in Iceland for up to 14 days. This gives you the perfect opportunity to explore two magnificent destinations for the cost of just one ticket.

In a hurry? Simply board your connecting flight to America a few hours after landing at KEF.

What are the most popular U.S. airports to fly to?

The most popular US airport to fly into is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, (ATL).

Other top contenders include Denver International Airport (DEN), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

What are the entry requirements for travelling to the United States?

Passengers flying to America from the US will need a valid passport and approved visa.

The travel authorisation, also known as an ESTA, should be obtained before you travel to the USA and you can apply for the visa online through US Customs and Border Protection.

Additionally, you may be asked to provide evidence of a return flight or onward travel, as well as proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in America.