From space, the US appears to be an immense single land mass hemmed between the planet's two greatest oceans. Look a little closer, however, and you notice something else. All around its coastline floats a gauntlet of countless islands. Unbeknownst to many, the coasts of America are home to over 18,000 named islands, with thousands more too small to name. Following his experiences exploring the islands of Australia and Britain, Martin Clunes sets off on an epic journey to discover what lies beyond the mainland of America and to challenge the misconceptions that America is simply a country filled with towering buildings, endless highways, and mega-stores.
The actor travels around the coast of the United States to discover what life is like on the surrounding islands. He sets off on a 10,000-mile journey from the west to the east, to explore the vast swathe of islands that are scattered beyond America's shores. The first port of call on his journey is Hawaii, and his exploration looks beyond its image as a tourist paradise, crammed with sun-kissed beaches and world-class surfing, and into the havoc wreaked by advancing lava fields and smoking craters. Leaving Hawaii, Martin flies 2,500 miles north to the islands of Alaska, where the contrast couldn't be more extreme, from tropical rain forests to snow-fringed glaciers, and from crowded beaches to some of America's most sparsely populated territories.
The presenter travels 1,500 miles to the San Juan Islands in Washington State, just off America's North West Pacific coast, on the border with Canada. There are more than 100 islands, mostly uninhabited. From the San Juan Islands, Martin travels down America's West coast to visit the Channel Islands National Park, which is known as `America's Galapagos' because of its unique wildlife. Later, Martin takes a 2,000-mile journey across the States to Louisiana, where he visits Avery Island and Delacroix Island.
The actor visits Puerto Rico, America's third largest island, and the only one where Spanish is the main language. In 2017, Hurricane Maria ripped through the region, causing the worst disaster in its history. One year on, Martin sees how the locals have begun to recover from the disaster. Later, he travels north to the Sea Islands along the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas, explores part of the 200-mile string of barrier islands of the Outer Banks, and visits Chincoteague island for the annual pony swim.
The actor arrives in New York to explore Manhattan Island, and its Empire State Building, from where he can see the city's 500 miles of coastline and more than 40 islands. He later takes the ferry to Ellis Island, which opened in 1892 as an immigration centre for those arriving in the US by sea. Following a trip to Coney Island, home to the iconic amusement park, he explores Martha's Vineyard more than 200 miles away, where Jaws was made. Martin ends his trip in Maine, America's most easterly state, with hundreds of islands off its coast. Last in the series.