Explore America’s lesser-known destinations thru interactive virtual road trip

alaska mountain landscape
Alaska, The Wild Frontier

What better way to escape from reality and satisfy your wanderlust than venturing on a classic American road trip to some of the USA’s most far-flung and awe-inspiring locations.

Visit The USA has launched a complete six-week interactive virtual road trip on its social networks, to enable users to discover the United States like never before. The virtual road trip spans along five regional itineraries in 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia.

By following the Instagram and Facebook profiles of Visit The USA, audiences can participate in quizzes, surveys, and interactive activities each day to decide the next stops on the road trip. Participants will test their knowledge of U.S. destinations and share their best travel stories using the hashtag #UNITEDstories for a chance to have their own USA travel photos featured. Throughout the virtual road trip, followers will also receive insider travel tips from locals to help shape their future travel plans.

From 7 May, the virtual road trip will be cruising through Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories – encompassing American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Below, Visit The USA has provided a diverse selection of experiences from each location for a head start on the journey, from the comfort of home.

Watch wildlife in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Few people know the wilds of Alaska better than Alaskan native and accomplished bush pilot Ariel Tweto, who rose to fame in the reality series Flying Wild Alaska and is now one of the stars of Brand USA’s third giant screen film, Into Nature’s Wild. The vast open spaces of Alaska’s national parks are a haven for all manner of wildlife and nowhere encapsulate this more than Katmai National Park and Preserve. Around 280 miles south of Anchorage this National Park offers spectacular bear viewing opportunities, especially at Brooks River where they catch salmon and bathe each summer.

Enjoy authentic Hawaiian experiences from hula dancing to ukulele performances

Those who have always dreamed of visiting the Hawaiian Islands can use the Hawaii VR app to take part in authentic local experiences across the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and the island of Hawai‘i. Experiences include hula performances, peaceful catamaran rides and original songs sang alongside a ukulele, with local celebrities, singers, and musicians joining them along the way. Users will not only feel acquainted with the warm hospitality of the Hawaiian locals, they will want to return to the charming archipelago to meet them in real life.

Dive into the coral reefs of American Samoa

When it comes to finding a remote paradise, American Samoa sits at the top of the list. Located deep in the South Pacific, this archipelago is blessed with tropical rainforest, white sandy beaches, and coral reefs. Underwater and coastal splendours await visitors to American Samoa and the pristine waters of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa typify this more than anywhere else. This protected area is one of the island chain’s most popular scuba diving spots, home to life-filled coral reefs that draw a variety of animals such as migrating whales and turtles.

Cook like a Chamorro in Guam and Northern Mariana Islands

In addition to its inviting beaches and elegant hotels, Guam has another vital attraction – its unique Chamorro culture, the traditions, and customs of Guam’s proud indigenous island heritage. The native food of Guam is largely based on what early ancestors could gather, grow, and hunt from the land, plus what they could catch and harvest from the ocean. Since then, countless Americans, Europeans, Asians, Micronesians, and other visitors have left their imprints on the island’s cuisine.

Pitched just 100 miles northeast of Guam (a tiny distance in terms of the Pacific), the Northern Mariana Islands share the Chamorro traditions of their larger neighbour, including the food! A signature dish of Chamorro cuisine is Tiao Kelaguen. Cooked without heat, Kelaguen uses a combination of lemon juice, salt, and hot peppers to “cook” meat or seafood. Take a look at this tutorial and recipe to bring a taste of the South Pacific to your home.

 Learn salsa dancing from Puerto Rican professionals

Puerto Rico has extended the uplifting spirit and joy of the destination’s rich culture by inviting the world to escape to the Island, virtually. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the founding of Old San Juan. To celebrate, virtual travellers can meet some of the city’s best dance talent and immerse themselves in workshops, including a salsa lesson with Tito Ortos, the director of San Juan City Salsa Dance Program. The online salsa lesson, recorded in the birthplace of salsa, kicks-off with a brief overview of salsa steps and turns into a salsa party, so people can have some fun in their living rooms. For those who would like to learn the art of salsa, the lesson is available here.

Get in the spirit at Cruzan® Rum Distillery, U.S. Virgin Islands

In 1760, a sugar mill began crushing cane at the current site of the Cruzan Rum® distillery on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is now the only historic distillery site still functioning in the Virgin Islands. When open to visitors, the distillery runs guided walking tours that take people on the aromatic journey of turning molasses into rum. For now, travellers can experience over 200 years of rum making from their homes through this virtual tour. Normally, the Visitors’ Pavilion houses the Rum Boutique and tasting bar, where travellers can learn how to create delicious cocktails but for the time being, check out Cruzan’s recipes and relax with a drink at home, island style.

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