North America Overview

Vacation in North America – a dream for many people. Travel at least once to the metropolises of the USA such as New York or discover the natural beauties of Canada – the North American continent offers countless possibilities. Whether sightseeing, hiking in the national park or a beach holiday in the Caribbean: there is something for every taste. Get to know the destination North America.


America is divided into two continents: North America and South America. North America is accordingly the northern part of America or the American double continent.

The continent is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Caribbean to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. After Asia and Africa, it is the third largest continent on earth. North and South America are connected by the Isthmus of Panama.

Large regions and natural areas

Become North America

  • numerous Caribbean island states
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • USA
  • Canada and
  • Greenland (autonomously belonging to Denmark)

counted. Most of the country’s area is on the North American plate. Lying in the west

  • the Sierra Madre Occidental
  • the western cordilleras
  • the Rocky Mountains
  • the Alaska range.

Alaska forms the end of North America in the northwest. It is the largest state in the United States; here is also the highest mountain in North America, Denali (Mount McKinley). Read here what there is to discover in Alaska.

The east is shaped by the Appalachians. Between these and the Rocky Mountains lies the Great Plains, through which the two famous rivers Mississippi River and Missouri River flow.


According to Countryaah, North America consists of 23 states. The following table provides a corresponding overview.

Country Capital Area in km² Residents
Canada Ottawa 9,984,670 36,503,097 (2017)
Mexico Mexico city 1,972,550 124,574,795 (2017)
United States Washington, DC 9,826,675 327,774,344 18 (2018)
Belize Belmopan 22,966 353,858 (2016)
Costa Rica San Jose 51,100 4,947,490 (2017)
El Salvador San Salvador 21,041 7,332,000
Guatemala Guatemala City 109,021 16,913,503 (2017)
Honduras Tegucigalpa 112,090 8,893,259 (2016)
Nicaragua Managua 129,494 6,150,000
Panama Panama City 75,517 3,929,141 (2015)
Antigua and Barbuda Saint John’s 442 94,731 (2017)
Bahamas Nassau 13,939 353,658 (2010)
Barbados Bridgetown 430 278,000
Dominica Roseau 746 72,514
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo 48,730 10,767,000 (2017)
Grenada St, George’s 344 107,850 (2012)
Haiti Port-au-Prince 27,750 10,711,000 (2016)
Jamaica Kingston 10,991 2,9 million (2017)
Cuba Havana 109,884,01 11,239,224 (2016)
St. Kitts and Nevis Basseterre 269 56,000 (2016)
St. Lucia Castries 616,3 165,595
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Kingstown 389 117,200
Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain 5,128 1,218,208 (2017)

Islands dependent on the three states on the main land mass – Canada, Mexico, and the United States – are Bermuda, Greenland, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The island states of the Caribbean – in the table the last 13 – have the following dependent islands and island parts:

  • American Virgin Islands
  • Anguilla
  • Aruba
  • Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Curacao
  • Cayman Islands
  • Guadeloupe
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • Navassa
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Martin
  • Sint Maarten
  • Turks and Caicos Islands


North America has very different climates. Northern Canada and the Hudson Bay area are affected by a polar tundra climate. Hudson Bay is known as “America’s icebox”; together with the east coast, this climate extends to the south.

This is followed by a moderate climate with the USA as the center. These include continental steppes and prairies, as well as a humid continental climate in the north-east – towards the south-east it becomes a humid subtropical climate.

The characteristic of the Cordilleras is a high mountain climate. This region influences the climatic situation of the surrounding areas. In the west there is an oceanic climate, while California and Southern California have a Mediterranean, sometimes desert-like climate. On the leeward side of the Cordilleras region one encounters an arid climate, which leads to a hot and dry desert climate in the southwest of the USA.

Popular travel destinations

It is almost impossible to list all of North America’s must-see destinations. There are countless countries and places worth visiting. In the following, only a rough overview can therefore be given.

Most people think of North America primarily as the USA and Canada. Here you can find metropolises and impressive natural beauties. You can spend a wonderful beach holiday on the paradisiacal islands, such as the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Costa Rica, on the other hand, can prove to be the perfect destination for adventurers.

If you would like to find out more about vacation options in the individual states of North America, we have further information on the most popular destinations here :

  • Vacation in Costa Rica
  • Vacation in Jamaica
  • Vacation in the Bahamas
  • Vacation in Canada
  • Holidays in Barbados
  • Vacation in the Dominican Republic
  • Vacation in Cuba
  • Vacation in the USA
  • Vacation in Mexico

City breaks in North America

Those who enjoy city trips will of course find what they are looking for in North America. The most popular destinations include New York with the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Empire State Building.

The Golden Gate Bridge cannot be missed in San Francisco and Las Vegas is certainly not left without a visit to the casino. Even Vancouver in Canada and Toronto with its Niagara Falls are popular destinations.

Beach vacation in North America

You can also spend a beach and bathing holiday here. There are white sandy beaches, turquoise seas and an area that is lined with palm trees. Popular destinations when it comes to a relaxing beach vacation include

  • Hawaii
  • the Bahamas and
  • Florida.

Winter vacation in North America

Even those who prefer to spend an unforgettable winter vacation will get their money’s worth in North America. In a special mountain panorama with powder snow and great runs, every winter sports enthusiast will find the perfect slopes here. Recommended ski areas in the USA and Canada include:

  • Jackson Hole
  • Alta
  • Park City
  • Breckenridge
  • Vail
  • Snowmass
  • Aspen
  • Whistler and
  • Banff.

Interesting national parks in North America

The United States has a lot to offer for those interested in nature. Particularly spectacular natural landscapes that are worthy of protection are combined in the USA to form national parks that are under the administration of the National Park Service. There are a total of 58 national parks with an area of 210,000 square kilometers – that’s almost the size of the old Federal Republic.

The primary goals of the national parks are nature conservation and education. The flora and fauna enjoy special protection in the parks. It should depict the diversity of the natural landscapes of the USA from the swampy landscapes in the south to the Rocky Mountains.

Yosemite National Park

The individual parks differ from one another in terms of their tourist use. Some remote reserves have more of a wilderness character, such as the parks in Alaska, the Caribbean or the swamps of the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Other national parks are open to mass tourism and have annual visitor numbers of up to three million.

The latter parks also include Yosemite National Park. Located 300 kilometers east of San Francisco, the park is one of the oldest and most famous of its kind. The Yosemite National Park covers parts of the Sierra Nevada and unites several ecosystems with a large biodiversity on more than 3,000 square kilometers.

His are famous all over the world

  • spectacular rock landscapes
  • Waterfallsand
  • the ancient sequoias.

Millions of visitors come to Yosemite Valley each year. Yosemite National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Less known, but no less spectacular, is the landscape in Bryce Canyon National Park. It is located in the southwest of the state of Utah and consists essentially of the Pausaugunt Plateau. A unique canyon-like landscape with the rock pyramids called hoodoos was created here by the non-linear rock breaks.

The semicircular breaking points on the Pausaugunt plateau are called amphitheaters. The Bryce Canyon National Park is located at an altitude between 2,400 and 2,700 meters, which allows a magnificent view of the almost extraterrestrial landscape.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the state of Ohio also has spectacular rock landscapes to offer. The Cuyahoga River with its numerous rapids runs through the park near Cleveland and Akron.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is ideal for hiking, biking and water sports. A towpath was laid on a former part of the almost 500 km long Ohio-Erie Canal.

North American cuisine

North American cuisine cannot be pigeonholed. As different as the individual states of the continent, the cooking and eating are just as different.

From typical American fast food to exotic dishes, you can find everything you can imagine – and much more. You can read about what you would call typically American in our separate article here. Also, visit the individual North American countries under the Popular Destinations section of this article; there you will find a selection of typical food and drinks.

North American cuisine