From the NFL to maple syrup pancakes, there are some things that are just quintessentially American. But when it comes down to the individual states, from Ohio to Michigan, a lot of our perceptions can often be based on more falsehood than fact.
For example, you might think Detriot, Michigan, is a modern-day ghost town, but it still houses up to a third of its peak population. The U.S. is home to incredibly diversity, from the midwest mountains to west coast beaches. Although some of these assumptions and mistruths are widespread, they’re still far from the truth.
1. California is Always Sunny
California is famous for the visuals of its scenic beaches and towering palm trees, but it’s hardly like that all-year round. Apart from the Death Valley, which holds the record for being the hottest place on earth, the rest of California actually has a Mediterranean climate.
This means that the weather is fairly moderate, with cooler winters and warmer summers. It also varies depending where you are along the coast. The north, for example, gets a lot more rainfall because of the mountains. Extreme weather conditions – most often wildfires – occur during the fall, but overall, this sunny state has weather as unpredictable as any other part of the U.S.
2. Hawaii is All about Surfing
Surfing, thought to be the sport of kings in ancient Polynesia, is primarily what this island state is famous for. But Hawaii actually boasts an incredible amount of natural diversity, with canyons, volcano craters, and mountain ranges. Two active volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kilauea, are a part of the National Park.
On the other hand, Iao Valley is an example of the rich history and folklore attached to the region, as this was the battle site where the first ruler of Hawaii won his victory in 1790. On Hawaii's tallest mountain, stargazing tours are a popular option for tourists wanting to look at a clear starry sky.
3. Texas is just Cowboys and Oil
Cattle drives and the petroleum industry have been a major part of Texas's history and economy, but the state is also home to rich natural geography. The coastal plains along the Texas Gulf Coast are home to multiple beaches and immense biodiversity, while the route past San Antonio boasts some beautiful chaparral scrubs.
Texas also has three major cities (Austin, Dallas and Houston), which have a number of interesting cultural spots, like museums, lakes and breweries. Lastly, Texas also has a growing tech landscape, with companies like Dell, IBM and Texas Instruments having a significant presence in the state.
4. Nevada is all about Las Vegas
As one of the few U.S. states where gambling is legal, Nevada has some great casino-resorts – but that’s not all. Virginia City, a town that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, houses churches and saloons that offer a glimpse of the Old West.
Nevada also has incredible natural diversity, including North America’s largest alpine lake. Lake Tahoe offers great opportunities for hiking and camping in the summer, and when the weather’s cooler, for skiing and snowboarding. Even in Las Vegas, the Arts District boasts a variety of art galleries, antique shops, bars and bistros.
5. Florida is Just for Retirees
While Florida is widely regarded as the best state for retirees, it also provides an unparalleled range of cultural attractions. The famous Dali museum contains stunning pieces of surrealist art, while the Bok Tower gardens are a gorgeous natural beauty. An iconic American author, Ernest Hemingway, also lived in Florida. His house has been preserved as a historical landmark.
The state also has a rich history of art and theatre, as seen in the Miami City Ballet or the classic Florida Theatre, where Elvis once performed. Even the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee, located on Florida's Adventure Coast, has delighted audiences since 1947.