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The United States of America is a huge country. In total, the US covers over 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million square kilometers). The US has the third largest area behind China and Russia, and the American country covers 6.1% of the Earth’s land area. In fact, the US is big in other ways as it covers six time zones and numerous natural habitats from snow-covered tundra, desert dunes, lush wetlands, and deciduous forests. Each of the largest states has its own unique attractions and reasons to visit and each is almost like a country in its own right.

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Alaska

Alaska has a total area of 665,384 square miles (1,723,337 square kilometers) making it the largest US state and is over twice the size of the next largest state. Sparsely populated, Alaska sits partially inside the Arctic Circle. With such a cold climate, glaciers form and about 100,000 of the frozen ice rivers cover some 5% of the total land area in Alaska.

Because it’s such a large area, it isn’t surprising that there are lots of places for tourists to visit. The main sights on many peoples “must see” lists are Alaska’s natural wonders. The Northern Lights are a regular, but not guaraunteed site in the dark skies. The city of Fairbanks has a record recorded number of 243 days a year in which the glowing Northern Lights were spotted.

Tour Buses in Denali NP, Alaska, US
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Texas

The second largest US state is Texas with an area of 268,596 square miles (695,662 square kilometers). Nicknamed the Lone Star State because of the state’s flag with one star, Texas is also known for its hot weather and outdoors lifestyle. Many Texas homes have a pool to cool down in and a BBQ to cook on in the garden. Even though Texas is a large state, it has a relatively dense population of 28.7 million people. The locals enjoy their music and tourists are welcomed to join in with the many outdoor concerts. There are many other attractions for visitors to Texas, one of the most popular in The Alamo. Located in San Antonio, The Alamo was where the local defenders fell to the Mexican army and is thought of as a shrine to Texas liberty.

Big Bend Sunset Dean_Fikar / Getty Images
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California

With its history as a gold rush destination, Californian is nicknamed the Golden State. California has an area of 163,696 square miles (423,972 square kilometers) making it the third largest state.

There are many top tourist attractions for visitors to the Golden State. One of the most popular destinations are the theme parks of Disney World and Orlando. Other options include the San Francisco Bridge, Yosemite National Park, and the Redwood National Park.

Solo Traveller at Mono Lake
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Montana

The fourth largest state, Montana is 147,040 square miles in size (380,831 square kilometers). Montana is famous for its rolling hills and outdoor sites. South Montana has Yellowstone National Park which contains the world-famous geyser Old Faithful.

Montana is also famous for its wildlife, and the state has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. The state also has the largest migratory elk herd and vast numbers of trumpeter swans making this state a great choice for people interested in wildlife.

Man and woman with backpacks looking at Excelsior Geyser from the Midway Basin in Yellowstone National Park. MargaretW / Getty Images
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New Mexico

Called “The Land of Enchantment” the state of New Mexico covers an area of 121,590 square miles (314,917 square kilometers). The state's nickname of the land of enchantment was given because of its stunning beauty and became the official legend in 1999.

Among the most popular sites in New Mexico is Santa Fe, which is the highest capital city in the US at over 7,000 feet above sea level. The state is a culturally rich blend on American, Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cultures. With such a diverse mixture of people, there are many unique and tasty cuisines in the state of New Mexico.

Bandelier National Monument
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Arizona

Arizona is the sixth largest state with an area of 113,990 square miles (295,234 square kilometers). Famous for the Grand Canyon in the northern part of Arizona, the state is a hot desert landscape. The colorful rock layers of the Grand Canyon are a popular destination for visitors and it is best enjoyed during the cooler sunset.

The state of Arizona has a rich cultural history with many important sites from native American peoples. Some of these sites are open to visitors and are well worth investigating.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
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Nevada

The seventh largest state in the US, Nevada has an area of 110,572 square miles (286,380 square kilometers). With a history of silver and gold mining, it is fitting that today Nevada is famous as the gambling and entertainment state. While the state capital is Carson City, the largest city is Las Vegas. The destination for thrill seekers, Las Vegas is not all about gambling there are live music shows and entertainment which is also famous around the world.

View of the Hoover Dam in Nevada
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Colorado

At 104,094 square miles (269,601 square kilometers) Colorado is the eighth largest state. Colorado is famous for the beautiful Rocky Mountains including 54 peaks that are taller than 14,000 feet above sea level.

There are many natural wonders in Colorado state from the Red Rock Amphitheatre, Strawberry Hot Springs to the Sand Dunes National Park. The state is a top destination for lovers of outdoor adventures.

ocky Mountains National Park, Colorado
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Oregon

Oregon has an area of 98,379 square miles (254,799 square kilometers) making it the ninth largest state in the US. The state of Oregon is known for its "wild west" past and natural wonders. One of the most famous sites in Oregon is Crater Lake which is the deepest lake in the US. With hundreds of campsites and walking trails, Oregon is a popular state with hikers.

oregon Us state facts crater lake JeffGoulden / Getty Images
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Wyoming

Covering an area of 97,813 square miles (253,335 square kilometers) Wyoming is the tenth largest state of the US. Despite its size, Wyoming has the smallest population of the 50 states so it feels rather empty.

The majority of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming. Yellowstone is actually a supervolcano which is why the area is so volcanically active.

Mountain Biking, Road Cycling in Grand Teton National Park, USA YinYang / Getty Images

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