There is more to the USA than the 49 states of the North American continental mainland, plus Alaska. This vastly diverse country also dips its toes into the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean in a series of island groups that offer spectacular scenery and an ideal environment for a sunny holiday.

The most famous of these is Hawaii, whose six main islands lie at almost the exact heart of the Pacific. Here, holidaymakers can find splendid strips of sand and superb conditions for surfing, with Waikiki Beach in Honolulu surely the most iconic of Hawaii’s seafront stretches. Honolulu, on Oahu, is also a fully-fledged city, whose bars and restaurants sit in contrast to quieter islands such as Kauai, where the Napali Coast is a natural wonder.

Hawaii is, of course, the USA’s 50th state. Yet it is not a lone American outrider in the Pacific. The planet’s biggest ocean also plays host to three U.S. Territories. Guam, the largest island in Micronesia, has soft beaches and fascinating World War II history – a pattern which is repeated 100 miles north-east amid the 15 key slivers of the Northern Mariana Islands. Elsewhere, American Samoa sits 800 miles north-east of Fiji and revels in glorious weather as the southernmost ‘corner’ of the USA. All these U.S. Territories are worthy of exploration, whether travellers come by international flight or on board a cruise ship.

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Lava watching, Hawaii
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