The United States doesn’t exactly have the same network of hostels to support backpacking the way Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia have. So travelers here have to build a support network of friends living in various places across the country. Nothing beats having a friend’s place to crash in after a ten hour drive rather than flopping in a lifeless Motel 6 or in a Walmart parking lot.
The people themselves are the best resource to help get the most from travel in America. There is a seemingly infinite list of travel destinations, national forests, amusement parks and big cities to go and see but honestly there is nothing special about snapping photos of Times Square along with the throng. A better strategy is to come to America with no real set agenda, and simply ask people along the way what would be great to do. Americans are curious about other nationalities and more often than not you’ll be invited to come along and experience something you’d never have originally thought of doing. For the most part you don’t need to be wary of being scammed, either, like in poorer countries.
So don’t isolate yourself. Make small talk with everyone, explain you are visiting the US and ask what’s interesting to see and do beyond the tourist spots.
The summer is a great time to tour. There are music festivals scattered across country like Bonnaroo, Lollapaloosa, and Coachella. Yosemite in California and Glacier National Park in Montana are unsurpassed. The streets of Chicago and New York buzz with excitement.
Americans are mostly weekend partiers and work steady jobs. Don’t stick around someone’s house for more than a couple of days or you’re likely to overstay your welcome. Beer and booze are appreciated and depending on the state and type of person marijuana is common. If you hang out with the investment bankers or Hollywood pretenders there is plenty of white powder to be found.