The onscreen US destinations we've lusted after during Covid – and can't wait to visit

Badlands National Park, which is among Nomadland’s filming locations, offers 244,000 acres of land – Getty/hbrizard

Some 16 months of lockdowns and ongoing travel restrictions have left British holidaymakers itching for fresh views, unseen countries and a little escapism. Many reverted to vicarious exploration through onscreen characters, whether fictional or part-fictional, small screen or – when rules permitted – big screen.

The US has, as ever, played backdrop to many new shows and films in the past year and left us raring to return. Your desired destination will depend on your viewing habits. It might be that you fancy sipping cocktails by the pool in a luxury Hawaiian resort, or wandering through Central Park. Perhaps you're yearning for a night in the penthouse of a skyscraper. Or maybe – after hours spent watching the Sopranos, and then watching the Many Saints of Newark – the lesser-known delights of New Jersey are tempting you to consider the Garden State.

With the States' ban on UK travellers set to lift in November we can venture again to the cityscapes, beaches and wide open countryside we’ve longed for while shut out. Here's how to turn the big screen into a holiday dream.

The White Lotus, Hawaii

This HBO series may take a darkly comical look at the holiday choices of the wealthy and pampered, but it doesn’t make Hawaii any less appealing. The show was filmed in 2020 at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, which has been described by one of Telegraph Travel's hotel reviewers as “a place to see and be seen”. Megan Miner Murray writes of the resort: “Surrounded by statuesque palms and its fountained central pool dotted with bright white cabañas, the Four Seasons Resort Maui exudes an aura of refined class, even at its busiest.” Rooms start from £900 in high season.

The White Lotus was filmed in the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – Television Stills

Rather than trouble in paradise, you can check in for spa treatments (how about a facial featuring crushed black diamonds), helicopter tours and nightly hula shows. Wade into the sea like Jennifer Coolidge’s character Tanya McQuoid; take cues from Oliva and Paula and lounge by the pool; or stay in the Presidential Suite (otherwise known as Tradewinds) where the Mossbacher family sleep.

The 50th state holds many delights, particularly if you venture beyond Maui. Head to Hawaii (or the Big Island) to see Kilauea and Maunaloa, which are both part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; go for a dramatic clifftop hike on Kauai or take a horseback tour of Oahu (a key filming location in the Jurassic Park series).

A view of the Four Seasons Resort located on the island of Maui, Hawaii – sanfel/Getty

There are no direct flights between the UK and Hawaii. With a stop over, it’s not a short flight (at least 16 hours). However, after 18 months of effectively being locked out of the States you may as well make the most of your time on US soil, perhaps by taking a city break. Flights tend to include a connection in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Succession, New York City and upstate

Series three of this drama following a family and their media empire, chock-full of unlikable characters, has been filmed across the city (as well as Italy) over the past year. With 28 Liberty Street acting as the Waystar Royco headquarters, the show relies heavily on views of New York’s Financial District.

A clutch of city hotels feature, often in the tourist hubs where Britons might hope to rush back to for a long weekend of Christmas shopping and sightseeing. They include The Pierre, which at 41 storeys has sweeping views of Central Park, and The Plaza on Fifth Avenue.

The Plaza Hotel, New York – Yukinori Hasumi

You might briefly picture yourself as Kendall or Roman Roy as you gaze out from glass windows tens of storeys above Manhattan. As you wander past the townhouses of Fifth Avenue, perhaps you’ll imagine the behind-doors machinations of the Roy family as seen in Logan’s home.

The Hamptons, the base of another Roy family residence, may be best saved for summer, though. East Hampton specifically featured in the ‘boars on the floor’ scenes of season two. Filming took place in Wainscott, also home to residences owned by Bill Gates and Jay Z (population approximately 650).

East Hampton is known for is luxurious and upscale shops and boutiques in its historic downtown area – Kirkikis/Getty

Book early for a 2022 summer break combining city and beach. Either of the city options could work, or save those for an evening meal or cocktail and save your budget. How about Sohotel, which, according to its owners, is New York’s oldest hotel. Among Telegraph Travel’s highest rated Hampton’s hotels is Shou Sugi Ban House. It’s a “a super-luxe Japanese-inspired wabi sabi wellness retreat and spa by the beach, within easy reach of New York City,” according to Mark C. O’Flaherty, who reviewed it. Or jump on that pre-Christmas trip. Interest in flights to the US has spiked since the announcement, but there are still bargains to be found. Aer Lingus is listing Manchester to New York (JFK) for as little as £199 one way (

Nomadland, Midwestern skies

Exploring the world (as far as you were allowed to) via campervan or RV became a somewhat overused trope in 2020 – and into 2021. Nomadland looked at the reality of those forced into the “vanlife”. The tale of loss and grief, however, comes with a backdrop that leaves you craving a roadtrip across the wide open plains of the midwest. And perhaps take a trip to states that were previously at the bottom of your ultimate US itinerary, such as Nebraska, South Dakota, Arizona and Nevada (beyond Las Vegas).

Frances McDormand, left, and and David Strathairn in a scene from the film “Nomadland”

Badlands National Park, which is among Nomadland’s filming locations, offers up 244,000 acres of land. You’ll find undulating pinkish peaks sitting beneath broad skies clear enough to view the Milky Way. The Highway 240 Badlands loop road passing through the North Unit of the park includes access to some of its major features. There are plenty of hiking trails, for novices (the quarter-mile Window Trail) to avid hikers (the park’s longest maintained route, The Castle Trail stretches 5.4 miles).

Selling Sunset, The LA Hills

Half the appeal of Selling Sunset, a scripted reality show about “real estate” agents selling multi-million-dollar properties in Los Angeles, were the views from swimming-pool bedecked rooftops. The Hollywood Hills somehow seemed devoid of the slate smog that is usually an off putting feature of the city’s vast skyline.

You might not have access to the homes of tech billionaires, but there are plenty of rooftop bars: head to the Mama Shelter hotel or 71Above. With each new house the clutch of all female agents secure a listing or hold an open house, you’re reminded of the sprawling nature of LA (albeit confined to its most expensive districts). The Oppenheim Group headquarters may add glitz to the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Plaza Drive, but the areas that don’t feature heavily on the show – from the Downtown Arts District to Silverlake for coffee, cocktails and exciting new restaurants.

The Hoxton, Downtown LA – Robert Rieger

Many Saints of Newark, New Jersey

As Sopranos fans will be well aware, today marks the UK release of Many Saints of Newark. It, as the title suggests, was filmed in New Jersey – largely in the cities of Paterson and Passaic and the township of Bloomfield. The chance to follow the trail of its stars, including Michael Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Joey Dizaz and Vera Farmiga, may tempt many to the state – not usually the top of the US holiday hit list among Britons.

As well as the opportunity to eat in (at Bendix Diner) and shop in (Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery; the same spots and the characters, there’s plenty of history to delve into. Paterson, for example, is known as the “Silk City”, thanks to its role in silk production in the 19th century. Passaic began as a Dutch settlement on the Passaic river, formed in 1679, when it was known as Acquackanonk.

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