A Voyage Long and Strange
This is a travelogue rather than a history book, written by a journalist, not an historian. The Voyage Long and Strange is a reference to Columbus’s first voyage, but it applies equally to the author’s journey as he follows the footsteps of the early explorers of North America, starting with the Vikings and ending with the Pilgrim Fathers. There is much more about the author’s adventures and the people he meets than about the explorers, but it is all very enjoyable and aimed explicitly at readers who know nothing about the history of North America between 1492 and 1620.
The first two chapters, on the Vikings and Columbus, are rather superficial, but Horwitz gets into his stride with the expeditions of Coronado and De Soto in the 1540s. If you really don’t know anything about these and those that followed, then start here. If you already know a little you will find the Note on Sources an excellent critical guide for print sources and the internet, and there is a very good bibliography. It could be the beginning of your own voyage long and strange.