American life is punctuated by certain changes of season and holidays, both secular and religious. Most areas of the United States have four distinct seasons, though in the south the winters are less severe. Schools run from September through June. Children have summer vacation from mid-June through the end of August. While many Americans take their vacations in the summer to get away from the heat, many others take vacations at other times of the year, perhaps flying to Mexico or the Caribbean during the winter or going skiing. Weekends, too, are important punctuating points in American life.
American vacation spots are extremely varied. American families frequently travel together to “theme parks”–providing rides and other amusements–the most prominent being Walt Disney World and Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Outdoor vacations are also popular for families. Some families “rough it” by camping out in the woods, while others travel from campsite to campsite in recreation vehicles that have all the comforts of home. Beach, mountain and lake resorts are popular all over the country. America is a big country, and many Americans–as tourists–will visit other parts of their own country.
Most American holidays are highly commercialized. Card and gift stores sell the appropriate theme cards and gifts, and other stores have holiday sales. Some holidays also have parades. In order to create “three-day weekends,” many holidays are observed on the Monday closest to the actual day being commemorated.
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