Few regions on the planet can claim to be as diverse as America’s glorious West. Here is a place that is vastly well known, thanks in part to the famous California cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Then there is the region’s splendid coastline – sun-kissed and iconic in California, more wild and forested as it runs north into Oregon and Washington.
But head inland, and the West also turns to dust. Las Vegas sparkles in its desert setting as the biggest city in Nevada. Utah throws forth epic rock formations – not least amid the high monoliths of Monument Valley and the scarred earth of Canyonlands National Park.
There are also mountain states: Colorado, where the Rockies rear up magnificently; Idaho and Montana, where the combination of wide blue skies and frosted peaks is incredibly photogenic; Wyoming, where the geysers of Yellowstone National Park spurt their fury.
Then there is the outsider – Alaska, the far north-western corner of the USA, a vast realm of colossal summits and ancient glaciers that stands as the Great Outdoors at its greatest.
Here, then, is a region where you can do a little of everything: a cosmopolitan city break; a few days of skiing in any number of superb resorts; hiking, biking and climbing amid incomparable scenery; an afternoon of wine-tasting; a long road trip. The West has it all.