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Grapes have been grown in the loamy California soil since the 18th century, but it wasn't until Napa Valley grape growers and vintners got into active marketing in the 1970s that the name "California Wine Country" became a global brand. Napa may wear a patina of glitz these days, but the rolling countryside embroidered with grapevines is still magical — as is the bucolic landscape of neighboring wine-producing powerhouse Sonoma Valley.
A 15-mile stretch of muscular volcanic rock rising from turquoise seas, the sumptuous Na Pali coastline on the Hawaiian island of Kauai's northwest shore is indeed an eyeful. You might recognize this dramatic landscape of green jungle and Pacific blue as the film location for the TV show Lost and the movies Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can hike the mossy ridges high above the Pacific, get bird's-eye views on a helicopter tour or skim the coastline by boat, trailed by dolphins and iridescent fish.
George Diebold/Blend Images/Corbis
George Diebold/Blend Images/Corbis
Walk in the footsteps of our nation's founders on Boston's Freedom Trail, which covers 16 historical sites, including Faneuil Hall, the cobblestoned colonial marketplace where George Washington toasted America on its first birthday. Tour the 1770 home of Paul Revere and visit his burial site at the Granary Burying Ground.
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Let the good times roll to rollicking music and saucy local cuisine when you delve deep into French Louisiana's rustic Cajun Country. Tour steamy cypress swamps in the Louisiana bayou, kick up your heels to zydeco rhythms and sample filé gumbo and seafood jambalaya in country cafes.
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The heart of big-hearted Texas, Texas Hill Country is a voluptuous slice of rural America, bookended by a couple of the country's most appealing cities, Austin and San Antonio. In between are swooping hills and sapphire meadows bursting with bluebonnet flowers and sinuous rivers.
The only way Thelma and Louise could compete with the sheer drama of the red rock landscape of the American Southwest was to plunge off a tremendous cliff. The region's rust-red canyonlands provide an ideal film location, with otherworldly sandstone formations and red rock arches set against skies as blue as robins' eggs.
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The snow-topped Rockies shadow icy lakes and wildflower meadows in the sprawling wilderness landscape of these two sparsely populated Western states. This is Big Sky country, where bison still roam and fat trout swarm sparkling mountain streams. Take a drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road for unparalleled scenic splendor.
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The grand antebellum architecture of these two Southern coastal cities, separated by just 100 miles, was left relatively unscathed during General Sherman's destructive Civil War March to the Sea. What remains are whole neighborhoods of gracious, centuries-old homes, cobblestoned streets and venerable oaks hung with silvery Spanish moss.
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You can cruise the southeastern coast of Alaska to spots like Prince William Sound, where dazzling ice-blue glaciers float in College Fjord and enormous chunks of glacial ice regularly break away and crash into the sea. Cruises to Kenai Fjords bring you close to humpback whales breaching the surface in spectacular fashion.
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With one foot in the Latin world, cosmopolitan Miami revels in its exotic beauty. A tropical gem in a sun-soaked landscape, this city pulses with vivid color. Don't miss the sleek Art Deco architecture of South Beach, authentic Cuban cuisine in Little Havana, and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, lush with tropical blooms. Yet no more than an hour's drive south are the Florida Keys, a scattering of white sand islands and islets reaching out into the Caribbean Sea.
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There's plenty to do and see in America, where the variety of wonderful destinations is endless. But some destinations are so spectacular they make the top of any travel wish list. Here are 10 of our favorite must-do trips in the United States.
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