Sometimes getting a European-like vacation is a lot closer to home than it seems. Here are 9 spots in North America that will make you wonder if you aren't across the pond.
The second largest French speaking city in the world (after Paris) is also one of the most bilingual cities on the continent. Begun as a fur trading center in 1611, the old part of the city has cobbled stone streets and architecture dating back to the 17th century. It is a great place for a near by vacation with old world charm.
Founded in 1911 by folks leaving Denmark during a tough economic time, the city feels like a tiny Denmark in a California climate. Complete with a replica of the little mermaid statue, a Danish horse-drawn streetcar and a Hans Christian Anderson Museum, it makes for a sweet getaway.
Bonus: Look to go there in September when the city host its “Danish days” festival.
St Augustine, Florida
Near Jacksonville, you’ll find the oldest European settled city in the USA. Founded in 1566 by Florida’s first governor, it was once the capitol of Florida when it was a Spanish colony. Spanish colonial architecture and sunny weather combine to make this a beautiful vacation destination.
Cape Breton Island, Canada
This spectacular island off the coast of Nova Scotia has been owned by the Portuguese, British, and French before becoming an official part of Canada. The name derives from the French name for Brittany, and the Celtic culture of “Bretagne” remains strong as many people still speak Gaelic on the island. The rocky landscape is reminiscent of the coasts of Scotland, Ireland and Brittany. It's a great destination for fresh seafood, amazing seascapes, and Celtic fiddle music.
Founded in 1531 by Franciscan monks, this town maintains an old-world authentic feel to this day. The monument zone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes quaint streets with winding alleyways that just beg to be explored.
Originally the headquarters of the Great north Railroad, this town rebuilt itself into a Bavarian village in the 1960’s primarily to attract tourists. With mountainous backdrops, the village really makes you feel as if you have wandered in an alpine region of Germany. A nutcracker museum, sausage gardens and wine shops complete the feel.
Bonus: go there during Oktoberfest or the Bavarian Ice festival to double your fun.
Named after Boston in Lincolnshire England, this Puritan started city has vastly expanded beyond its namesake. Boston was the capitol of British North America and retains the quaint colonial feel of the times before the revolution. The harbor, Quincy Market and Faneuil will all have you feeling as if you are closer to merry old England than a baseball crazy Beantown.
Quebec City, Canada
A three-hour drive from the US and you are in what may be the most European feeling city in North America. Started in 1608, this walled city is filled with fascinating architecture, heritage, art and culture. Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with cobble stoned streets and amazing food choices. La Citadelle, a fortress built into the city walls and the iconic Chateau Frontenac make up part of the amazing feel of this exotic, yet nearby city.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Like a pot of gumbo, New Orleans is a blend of many different cultures. Founded by the French in 1718 and named after the Duke of Orleans, the city combines Spanish and French colonial architectures in a magical mix. Almost two thirds of the residents still speak some form of French and the cuisine is an amazing amalgamation of Spanish, French, Native American, and West African influences. The oldest area is the French quarter (Vieux Carré) where you can find great music, enticing restaurants and laid-back happy feelings that gave the city its name, “the big Easy”.
Bonus: See if you can get there for Mardi Gras for a once In a lifetime experience.