The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, comprising 700 islands and cays that range from uninhabited to resort-packed. The northernmost, Grand Bahama, and Paradise Island, home to the sprawling Atlantis resort, are among the best known. Scuba diving and snorkeling sites include the massive Andros Barrier Reef, Thunderball Grotto (of James Bond fame) and the black-coral gardens off Bimini.
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in vibrant Montego Bay, with its British colonial architecture, and Negril, renowned for diving and snorkelling. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the city’s most famous son.
New Orleans is a Louisiana city on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and public partying.
Atlanta is the sprawling capital of Georgia. It played an important part in both the Civil War and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Atlanta History Center chronicles the city’s past, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is dedicated to the African-American leader’s life and times. Downtown, 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park, built for the 1996 Olympics, encompasses the massive Georgia Aquarium.