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June 01, 2016 23:27 ET

Diamond Resorts International -- Vacations for Life -- Experience the Most Authentic American Adventures

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - June 01, 2016) - Many writers have spent decades attempting to answer what makes America so wonderful, but ultimately the only real way to understand the United States is to explore it. Which is no easy task, because many people may not realize that at 3.8 million square miles, the U.S. is the third largest country in the world -- bigger than China. With so much ground to cover, where can one begin on the journey of discovery? Global hospitality and vacation ownership company Diamond Resorts International® has put together a list of the top five places that most represent the character of this vast land we call "The United States."

New York City is where so many people from across the world saw their first glimpse of America and is still one of the quintessential parts of the country. As the most populated city by a large margin -- 8.5 million compared to #2 Los Angeles at 3.9 million -- it has a unique energy and drive that can't be duplicated. Dense with media, culture and commerce, New York still reigns as one of the most essential parts of the U.S. with dozens of key landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building that perfectly symbolize the country. The tall buildings reach into the sky, so another destination should present the exact opposite -- "Big Sky Country" in Montana and Wyoming.

This is the land of cowboys and endless plains and blue sky horizons so illogically vast that they create a psychological impact. It's also home to some of the world's most impressive natural attractions as well, including Yellowstone National Park, the country's first national park which was established by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Known for its dramatic geysers and volcanic activity, it's no surprise that half of the world's geothermal resources and two-thirds of all known geysers are located in Yellowstone, and of course it is home to some of the most iconic American animals like grizzly bears, bison and bald eagles.

After a trip out west, where else should travelers visit to find the heart of America? New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz -- America's great contribution to the history of music. In fact, the city at the mouth of the Mississippi River is sometimes called "un-American" for its unique blend of French and Spanish culture. The food is delicious, the music is amazing and the architecture is remarkable. The parties are known worldwide, including the annual Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. If visitors enjoy the exciting parties, they can head to the next destination, Las Vegas. The famous Vegas Strip teems with millions of lights and attractions of all kinds. The 24/7 intensity and extravagance of Vegas is unmatched anywhere else in the world -- a place where ostentatious extravagance is a most cherished virtue.

After all the fun times to be had in the country, what could be the last excursion on an adventurer's Authentic America itinerary? A long drive up the California coast, which extends from Mexico to Oregon, is the best way to see it all on a road trip up Highway 1 -- also known as the Pacific Coast Highway - which runs 655 miles through some of the most beautiful and notable scenery in the country. From San Diego to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to San Francisco to the giant Sequoia redwood trees -- there's nothing that can match the stunning environments along PCH.

About Diamond Resorts International®
Diamond Resorts International®, with its network of more than 420 vacation destinations located in 35 countries throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa, provides guests with choice and flexibility to let them create their dream vacation, whether they are traveling an hour away or around the world. Our relaxing vacations have the power to give guests an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction in their lives, while feeling healthier and more fulfilled in their relationships, by enjoying memorable and meaningful experiences that let them Stay Vacationed.™

Diamond Resorts International® manages vacation ownership resorts and sells vacation ownership points that provide members and owners with Vacations for Life® at over 420 managed and affiliated properties and cruise itineraries.

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