The Ultimate Guide to the Best Domestic Travel Destinations in the US
Looking to embark on an unforgettable adventure right here in the USA? Look no further - we've got the inside scoop on the best domestic travel destinations for an extraordinary vacation! From the awe-inspiring landscapes of Alaska to the vibrant city life of Austin, and the sun-kissed beaches of Miami to the tranquil charm of Savannah, these top vacation spots in the US will leave you longing for more. So, pack your bags and join us as we uncover the most captivating cities, scenic parks, and hidden gems that await you in 2023. Get ready for a journey of a lifetime!
🌟 Recap: Top 10 Vacation Spots in the US
In this guide, we have provided information on more than 60 vacation destinations in the United States. To quickly summarize, here are the top 10 places to consider for your vacation. Please note that this list is subjective, but each destination offers unique qualities that make it worth considering.
- Page, Arizona — This destination boasts some of the most extraordinary and picturesque landscapes in the US, perfect for capturing stunning photos.
- New Orleans, Louisiana — Known for its outstanding culinary scene, vibrant live music, and distinctive atmosphere, this city offers a truly exceptional experience.
- Yosemite National Park, California — If you're looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure, with incredible hiking opportunities and breathtaking natural beauty, this is the place to visit.
- Oahu, Maui, and Kauai in Hawaii — These three islands in Hawaii provide the perfect tropical getaway, with stunning beaches and stunning landscapes.
- Sedona, Arizona — A place known for its spiritual significance and tranquil environment, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and meditation.
- Portland, Oregon — Home to some of the finest restaurants on the West Coast, this city is a food lover's paradise.
- Aspen, Colorado — Renowned as the top destination for winter sports enthusiasts, this is the place to go for skiing and snowboarding.
- Orlando, Florida — Known as the theme park capital of the world, this city offers an unrivaled experience for families, with plenty of attractions for everyone.
- Death Valley National Park, California — If you're fascinated by stargazing, this national park offers some of the best opportunities to observe the night sky's wonders.
- NYC, New York — This city is the ultimate melting pot of cultures, allowing you to experience the world without leaving the US.
🇺🇸 The Best Vacation Spots in the US in 2023
🌿 The Best Vacations in the US – National Parks
There are many fantastic places to vacation in the US that offer thrilling adventures and breathtaking natural wonders. Whether you enjoy hiking, wildlife spotting, water activities, or simply basking in the beauty of nature, these national parks have everything you need for an unforgettable trip.
63. Yosemite National Park, California
☀?? Why vacation here: Yosemite National Park is renowned for its towering sequoia trees and majestic waterfalls, making it one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the US. It offers thrilling outdoor activities and unique cultural experiences.
🏞 Enjoy stunning views: Yosemite is famous for its jaw-dropping landscapes that are often seen on screensavers. Whether you choose to climb, camp, hike, or drive, you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas. Don't miss the iconic sights like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, and Glacier Point.
💎 Explore crystal caves: The park is also home to Dorothy Lake, which houses the stunning Crystal Caverns. These hidden gems are filled with dazzling quartz crystals, and you'll have the advantage of experiencing them without crowds. Be sure to bring a headlamp and a map for the hike!
62. Glacier National Park, Montana
☀?? Why vacation here: Glacier National Park offers over 700 miles of hiking trails, winding through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. It's a paradise for adventure seekers, with a variety of outdoor activities like rafting, swimming, and biking.
🌿 Immerse yourself in nature: Even less experienced hikers can enjoy the scenic Trail of the Cedars, which leads to a stunning waterfall. For a more challenging hike, embark on the Grinnell Glacier Trail, where you might spot floating icebergs in a lake.
🐠 Try fly-fishing: Glacier Guides offers an exciting fly-fishing experience suitable for all skill levels. Learn hands-on techniques and enjoy the beauty of the river while spotting various fish species.
🏡 WHERE TO STAY: Glacier Outdoor Center (⭐?? 9.2)
61. Death Valley National Park, California — One of the Top Vacation Destinations in the US
Death Valley National Park in Eastern California offers diverse and intriguing landscapes, making it one of the top 10 vacation spots in the USA. It also provides exceptional stargazing opportunities, perfect for a warm winter getaway.
🏜 Explore the landscapes: Take a scenic drive along Highway 190 to witness stunning viewpoints like Zabriskie Point and Dante’s View. The park offers a range of hiking trails, including the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes hike.
🌠 Marvel at the Milky Way: As the largest Dark Sky National Park, Death Valley provides unparalleled views of the starry night. Head to Dante’s View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, or Badwater Basin for an unforgettable experience.
60. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
☀?? Why vacation here: Known as a red-rock paradise, Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most enjoyable vacation spots in the US. Its unique natural wonders and stunning sunrise views make it a photographer's dream.
🏜 Discover scenic trails: The park is filled with hoodoos, striking red rock formations best explored through hikes. The Queens Garden Trail takes you to a valley of hoodoos, while the Peekaboo Loop Trail offers more adventure.
📸 Capture breathtaking views: Bryce Canyon offers numerous viewpoints that are easily accessible by car. Don't miss Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point for perfect photo opportunities.
59. White Sands National Park, New Mexico
☀?? Why vacation here: White Sands National Park is a hidden gem in southeastern New Mexico, offering a stunning desert landscape without the snow. As the world's largest gypsum dune field, it provides a unique winter wonderland experience.
🛷 Toboggan down the sand: Embrace the lack of snow and sled down the dunes using toboggans or sleds. You can even purchase waxed snow-saucers at the gift shop for an exhilarating ride.
🏜 Hike through the dunes: The park offers five established trails of varying difficulty. The Interdune Boardwalk is a scenic short walk with wildlife spotting opportunities, while the Alkali Flat Trail takes you through the heart of the sands.
58. Joshua Tree National Park, California
☀?? Why vacation here: Joshua Tree National Park boasts almost 2,000 square miles of stunning California desert. With its unique landscapes, outdoor museums, and holistic experiences, it's a must-visit destination.
🛀 Indulge in a sound bath: After hiking, relax at Integratron, a white-domed structure near the park that offers 60-minute sound baths. Experience holistic healing through the resonance of quartz bowls.
🗿 Admire ethereal sculptures: Explore the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum's 10 acres of captivating environmental sculptures made from various materials. These large-scale pieces allow you to immerse yourself in art.
57. Olympic National Park, Washington
☀?? Why vacation here: Olympic National Park offers a lush and tropical escape with its rainforests, beaches, and glacier-capped mountains. It's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring climbing, hiking, and more.
🦜 Explore a rainforest: Step into Hoh Rainforest, one of the few remaining rainforests in the US. Wander through the enchanting Hall of Mosses, where moss-covered trees create a fairytale-like atmosphere.
🚴♂?? Enjoy a scenic bike ride: The Olympic Discovery Trail is a favorite among bikers. Starting in Port Townsend, the trail takes you through forests, snowy mountains, and beaches, offering a picturesque cycling experience.
56. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
☀?? Why vacation here: Surrounded by the majestic Mt. Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park offers stunning mountain views, wildflower meadows, and unique wildlife encounters.
🌸 Hike among wildflowers: From mid-July to August, the park blooms with vibrant fields of wildflowers. Explore trails like Skyline Trail, Alta Vista Trail, Naches Loop Trail, and Pinnacle Peak for breathtaking views of these beautiful flowers.
🌅 Witness a glorious sunrise: From Sunrise Point, the highest visitor center in the park, you can watch the sun slowly rise and illuminate Mount Rainier. It's a truly magical experience. Keep an eye out for other surrounding volcanoes.
55. Zion National Park, Utah
☀?? Why vacation here: Zion National Park is a premier attraction in Utah, offering thrilling outdoor adventures and unique wildlife encounters. Its sandstone cliffs, clear blue skies, and slot canyons make it a remarkable destination.
🏞 Backpack along the rim: Both the East Rim and West Rim of the park offer fantastic backpacking routes. These trails, ranging from 12 to 16 miles, provide breathtaking views and an immersive canyon experience.
🦅 Observe majestic birds: With 291 bird species, including cooper's hawks and black-chinned hummingbirds, Zion is a haven for birdwatchers. The park provides a checklist of all the birds you might spot during your visit.
54. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
☀?? Why vacation here: Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming offers dramatic mountains, scenic lakes, and a winter wonderland in its vast expanses. It's the perfect destination for nature lovers.
🚗 Explore from your car: The 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive takes you through the park's highlights, offering picturesque views of lakes, canyons, and scenic overlooks. Don't miss the Signal Mountain summit for panoramic vistas.
⛵?? Enjoy a river adventure: Take a scenic raft trip down Snake River or embark on a canoe adventure on Jenny Lake. These water activities offer the opportunity to spot majestic wildlife like moose, osprey, and eagles.
53. Redwood National & State Parks, California
☀?? Why vacation here: Redwood National and State Parks are a haven for nature lovers, housing the tallest trees and oldest redwood groves in the world. It offers a magical forest experience in a picturesque coastal setting.
🌊 Take a coastal drive: Discover the park's beauty by driving along the scenic Park Loop Road. This 27-mile drive takes you past lookout points like Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and Sand Beach. Stops along the way allow for hikes.
🎶 Listen to a babbling brook: Embark on the Trillium Falls Trail to experience a gorgeous waterfall nestled within the redwoods. Relax by the splashing water and enjoy a picnic on the rocks while listening to the soothing sounds. Keep an eye out for elk on this moderate hike.
🏡 WHERE TO STAY: Holiday Inn Express Redwood National Park (⭐?? 8.5)
52. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
☀?? Why vacation here: Yellowstone National Park is a top vacation spot, known for its spectacular geological features and abundant wildlife. It offers unique landscapes and natural wonders like dramatic canyons and geysers.
⛲?? Witness a water show: Yellowstone's geysers are a must-see attraction. Visit the famed Old Faithful geyser for the best chance to witness an eruption, which occurs approximately 20 times a day, reaching heights of up to 180 feet.
🦌 Spot majestic wildlife: Yellowstone is home to diverse wildlife, including 300 bird species, bison, and large land animals. Mount Washburn offers the opportunity to witness bighorn sheep scaling mountains, while Lamar Valley is ideal for observing grazing moose and bison.
51. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
☀?? Why vacation here: Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado offers stunning topography, including beautiful mountains and thrilling climbing routes. It's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
🚗 Take a scenic drive: Explore the park's beauty along the 48-mile Trail Ridge Road, offering breathtaking views and opportunities to spot wildlife like elk and bighorn sheep. Lookout points like Forest Canyon Overlook and Many Parks Curve shouldn't be missed.
⛰ Explore the mountains: The park offers various mountaineering and rock climbing opportunities for all skill levels. From easy climbs to multi-day adventures, there's something for everyone, including winter ice climbing options.
50. Acadia National Park, Maine
☀?? Why vacation here: Known as the "Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast," Acadia National Park in Maine offers picturesque beaches, stunning hiking trails, and scenic roads that stretch for 50 miles. It's a perfect destination for relaxation and wildlife spotting.
🚗 Take a scenic drive: Start your exploration by driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which passes by stunning lookout points like Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and Sand Beach. Along the way, you can stop and hike on the park's numerous trails.
Eagle’s Nest Lodge, located in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley (or Mat-Su), is conveniently only a 12-minute helicopter flight away from downtown Anchorage.
Ralph Kristopher Nestled between the frigid sea and the towering Chugach Mountains, Anchorage serves as a basecamp for Alaska's expansive wilderness. Many travelers from the lower 48 states come here for a short stay before embarking on cruises or journeys along the Alaska Railroad, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023. However, Anchorage is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in its own right. From August to April, the northern lights enchant visitors, downtown's Ship Creek is teeming with salmon, and moose often make appearances along the city's extensive 100-mile trail network.
When the adults-only Alyeska Nordic Spa opened in September, becoming the first Nordic spa in the state, Anchorage also became Alaska's most accessible wellness destination. The spa offers a tranquil experience amidst the temperate rainforest, featuring Finnish- and Russian-style saunas within its expansive 50,000-square-foot bathing circuit. The Alyeska Resort, a Readers' Choice Award-winning ski area, is also part of the spa complex. In the summer, visitors can enjoy mountain bike rides and glacier hikes. Additionally, in January 2023, Eagle's Nest Lodge will open in Mat-Su, offering an exclusive-use facility spanning 8,000 square feet. Owned by the ski guides at Third Edge Heli, this lodge promises luxurious barrel-sauna sessions and thrilling alpine powder adventures. With the recent pioneering of guided ski descents on Mount Denali by Mountain Trip, even more untamed terrain is now accessible to eager explorers. - Jen Rose Smith
Ever since I moved to Austin in 2016, I have been absolutely in love with my new home. The warm weather, the lively honky-tonks and live music, the unique house bars on Rainey Street, the incredible hiking and biking trails, and the abundance of outdoor activities—Austin truly has it all.
The city's food scene has also captured my heart, from the ever-growing number of food trucks to the flagship Whole Foods store with its amazing salad bar (try the grilled pineapple!). I find myself constantly indulging in delicious meals and eating to my heart's content. The presence of the University of Texas campus adds a youthful energy to the city, attracting a diverse and eclectic population with its liberal attitude. In short, Austin is a city that you simply cannot miss. And trust me, if you try to skip it, I will personally make sure you end up here.
Where to Stay in Austin: The Firehouse Hostel is a centrally-located accommodation option housed in a charming old firehall dating back to 1885. The hostel offers fast Wi-Fi, plenty of relaxed common areas, and an incredible on-site bar serving top-notch craft cocktails.
For more travel tips on Austin, check out these posts:
Hawaii, a group of exotic volcanic islands situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is undeniably one of the most renowned vacation spots in the United States. These islands boast stunning golden sand beaches, luxurious resorts, lush green forests, unique wildlife, and near-perfect weather all year round.
Visitors to Hawaii can explore numerous popular attractions, such as the Na Pali Coast on Kauai, the Kalalau Trail, Big Kahuna's scenic drive, and Waikiki Beach, famous for its breathtaking golden sands and majestic sunsets. For those seeking something off the beaten path, Molokai is a hidden gem among vacation spots in the US.
History enthusiasts will find delight in the USS Arizona Memorial on Oahu, offering a glimpse into the islands' military history and strategic significance for the US armed forces. If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, we've got you covered with a detailed guide on how to plan the perfect vacation.
What are the Best Cities in the US to Visit for a Vacation?
Some of the best cities to visit in the US include Seattle, Charleston, and New Orleans. These cities offer large airports, ensuring affordable airfare, budget-friendly accommodations, and a perfect mix of attractions for tourists to enjoy.
Parts of Florida can be quite expensive for a vacation, especially during peak tourist season. However, Miami stands out as a city where accommodation remains reasonable, with a range of hotel and hostel options to suit all budgets. The best part about visiting Miami is that, apart from food and accommodation expenses, travelers can enjoy numerous free activities, such as exploring the city on foot or lounging at the beach.
Phoenix, Arizona, is a desert destination that offers pleasant temperatures for sun-seekers in the spring and fall, as well as scorching heat in the summer. The city is vibrant and lively, while still being budget-friendly. Nature lovers will appreciate the unique landscapes and attractions like the Desert Botanical Garden and Camelback Mountain.
When it comes to the best family vacation spots in the USA, it's hard to beat Orlando, Florida. The city is renowned for its countless family attractions and theme parks. The most notable among them are Disney World and Universal Studios, which are recognized worldwide. These theme parks are practically household names.
Other top family attractions in Orlando include Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Seaworld. For those looking to experience Florida's untamed outdoors, a visit to the Everglades National Park, about a four-hour drive away, is a must. The park is home to some of the largest reptilian species on our planet.
What are the Most Popular Vacation Spots in the US?
Classic vacation spots in the US include New York City, Oahu, Orlando, and our beautiful national parks.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is an underrated destination that offers an affordable vacation experience. Accommodation can easily be found for less than $150 per night, and the city offers plenty of free outdoor activities to enjoy. Nature walks, hikes, bike rides, and sound baths are just a few ways to connect with the great outdoors in this hidden gem of North Carolina.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico provides an affordable alternative to its neighboring state, Texas, for travelers seeking a budget-friendly big city experience. Santa Fe, in particular, offers relatively affordable accommodation options and boasts a unique charm with its Pueblo-style architecture. As a hotbed for creative artists, the city offers plenty of things to do, including performances, galleries, and museums.
Savannah is a historic and charming southern city in the United States, offering a plethora of free things to do for visitors. Whether it's biking in Forsyth Park, admiring the Savannah Botanical Gardens, visiting the Bonaventure Cemetery, or exploring the many nearby trails, there are endless budget-friendly ways to enjoy the city.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a beloved travel destination that remains budget-friendly. While it's possible to spend a lot of money on upscale hotels and lavish restaurants, travelers can still enjoy the city on a budget. Choosing a budget hotel or opting for a New Orleans hostel can help save on accommodation costs. Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption can further reduce expenses.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is a charming city in South Carolina known for its historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and the romantic ambiance of horse-drawn carriages meandering through the city. Compared to other popular cities in the United States, Charleston offers affordable accommodation options, especially for those willing to stay just outside the historic city center or in one of the many local hostels.
Situated in the northeast, the coastal town of Portland, Maine, is a picturesque destination that offers a more affordable alternative to the popular beach destinations further south. Portland is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and seafood lovers alike.
San Antonio, Texas
Texas, in general, is an affordable state to visit when it comes to accommodation prices. However, San Antonio stands out as one of the most budget-friendly cities in the state, thanks to its many free or low-cost attractions. From walking along the San Antonio Riverwalk to visiting the Japanese Tea Gardens, there's plenty to see and do without breaking the bank.
Arts District, Los Angeles
Chef Enrique Olvera's Damian on 7th Street is among the area's notable openings.
DamianThe ROW has helmed the flourishing Arts District for years, but hits a new high with forthcoming hotels and galleries.
ROW DTLAIn all its sprawl, Los Angeles can be a challenging city to navigate. However, if you're in search of trailblazing restaurants, breweries, designers, artists, cafes, and bars, the Arts District in downtown LA is an absolute must-visit. In the 1970s, artists flocked to the area's vacant buildings, seeking refuge from the increasingly expensive communities in Venice and Hollywood. Over the years, the district experienced ups and downs, but in the past decade, it has once again become a thriving creative hub.
While the neighborhood may not be entirely walkable due to its sprawling nature, lively pockets of attractions are only minutes away from each other by car. The historic Sixth Street Viaduct, which recently reopened after a significant rebuild, provides access to a dozen galleries and an array of culinary options, ranging from the widely acclaimed Bestia and Enrique Olvera's Damian to the newly popular Yangban Society. Exciting upcoming openings include the Greek-inspired Mandolin Taverna & Mrs. Mandolin boutique at Soho Warehouse, Spanish tapas at Flor y Solera, Let's Go Disco and Cocktail Club, and the Kensho Ryokan Hotel, set to open in spring 2023. The ROW DTLA, consisting of eight well-established buildings adorned with vibrant murals, has long been the heart of the flourishing Arts District. Now, it houses over 30 independently owned boutiques, open-air markets, and a diverse range of weekly activities and events. The district's culinary scene is further elevated by the presence of two Michelin-starred restaurants, Hayato and Kato. The anticipated transformation of an old firehouse into the Kensho Ryokan Hotel, as well as the renovation of the historic The Rendon Hotel (home to The Rendon Gallery), are also on the horizon for 2023. - Danielle Bernabe
Taos, New Mexico
The small town of Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest Native American communities in the United States and holds the distinction of being designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.
Located in the high desert region of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is famous for its multi-story adobe homes, museums, and art galleries that continue to be actively used to this day.
Vacationers visiting Taos can expect a serene and tranquil atmosphere, far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. It is an opportunity to enjoy a unique cultural experience like no other.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Located in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, Sleepy Hollow is a charming and quaint village town. It gained fame as the setting for the popular American literary piece "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," written by Washington Irving. All year round, Sleepy Hollow exudes a spooky vibe due to the famous headless horseman story and resulting folklore. In October, the town attracts numerous visitors during the Halloween season. Don't miss visiting the National Historic Landmarks of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow and the Philipsburg Manor House to fully experience the uniqueness of this place.
The Golden Isles
The Golden Isles, consisting of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island, are a collection of barrier islands in Georgia. These islands, together with the city of Brunswick, boast some of the most stunning beaches in the USA. Each island offers its own unique natural and historical attractions. However, they all share common features such as perfect weather, scenic spots, and pristine beaches.
Stretching from Southampton to the tip of Long Island, The Hamptons is a group of seaside communities that serve as a popular summer retreat for affluent individuals from New York. Known for its pristine beaches, art museums, designer boutiques, and fine dining restaurants, The Hamptons has attracted numerous A-list celebrities and has long been a preferred destination for the rich and famous.
Door County, Wisconsin
Door County in Wisconsin is a paradise for vacationers looking to enjoy pristine swimmable waters. With over 300 miles of shoreline and five picturesque state parks, Door County is a dream destination for outdoor lovers. In addition to its natural beauty, Door County is famous for its quaint towns, museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues.
The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Stretching for about 200 miles, it offers access to expansive open beaches and is renowned for its pristine sand beaches and rich biodiversity zones at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities such as surfing, swimming, kayaking, and jet skiing. Guided diving tours are also available for exploring the various shipwrecks along the coastline.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Located in Lake Huron but named after the Mackinac Strait in Lake Michigan, Mackinac Island is a must-visit vacation spot. Most of the island is part of Mackinac Island State Park, offering an ideal summer retreat for US residents. The island is a National Historic Landmark with historical sites such as Fort Mackinac and St. Anne’s Catholic Church. It is a unique place to visit in Michigan, as vehicles are not allowed on the island, making horse carriages, bicycles, and walking the only modes of transportation.
The Badlands, South Dakota
The Badlands of South Dakota are a natural wonderland filled with exotic wildlife species such as bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets. Known for its stunning rock formations with unique color bands, the Badlands National Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore its scenic spots along the Badlands Loop Road. The park also features the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and The Fossil Exhibit Trail.
Olympic National Park
Nestled in Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers. Encompassing temperate rainforests, glacier-capped mountain peaks, and untouched coastline, this vast park offers a diverse and beautiful landscape. Visitors can engage in various outdoor recreational activities while exploring the park's majestic wilderness and learning about its rich history.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Lying on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty and Appalachian Mountain culture. The park features lush forests, steep gorges, rivers, waterfalls, and streams, offering visitors a diverse landscape to explore. With its abundant recreational activities, such as offroad tours and white water rafting, the park is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It is also known for its population of black bears, so visitors are advised to follow safety guidelines.
Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are famous for being a unique and desolate place. The vast salt pan, located in Tooele County, offers a mecca for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Known for setting land speed records, the Bonneville Salt Flats attract those seeking excitement and speed. This destination is ideal for a day trip when visiting Salt Lake City.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park, located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, is one of the most scenic national parks in America. This vast recreational area offers a breathtaking combination of woodlands, rocky beaches, and granite peaks. Visitors can easily explore the park through the park loop road system, which spans 27 miles. Acadia National Park is a treat for nature enthusiasts and provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreational activities throughout the year.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is known for its distinctive Joshua trees, which create a stunning and unique landscape. Spanning the Colorado and Mojave Deserts, the park showcases surreal rock formations and geological features. It is also home to cultural and historical sites such as the Hall of Horrors and the Lost Horse Mine. Nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers will find plenty to explore and enjoy in this incredible national park.
The Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, is a natural wonder and one of the world’s seven natural wonders. This immense canyon, formed by millions of years of water erosion from the Colorado River, stretches for 277 miles and reaches a depth of one mile, making it the largest canyon in the world. Grand Canyon National Park attracts numerous visitors who come to admire its breathtaking beauty and engage in a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, camping, climbing, kayaking, and wildlife watching.
Aspen, Colorado is a small mountain town that offers thrilling mountain climbing and extreme adventure sports. Surrounded by the scenic White River National Forest, Aspen is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The town is renowned for its ski resorts, outdoor recreational activities, and stunning natural beauty. With its laid-back and artsy vibe, Aspen stands out as a unique destination, resembling cities like Austin or Portland. It has become a popular year-round hotspot for both locals and tourists.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park in Utah is named after its numerous natural sandstone arches, totaling over 2,000. The park, located north of Moab, showcases spectacular geological formations that have been shaped by millions of years of water and wind erosion. Visitors can explore the park's hiking trails, witnessing balanced rocks, pinnacles, fins, and other unique natural formations. April is an excellent time to visit for a chance to witness the park's beauty without the crowds. A must-see is the hike to Delicate Arch.
Zion National Park
Located in Southwest Utah, Zion National Park is renowned for its expansive Zion Canyon and distinctive red cliffs. The park offers a diverse topography, including mountains, canyons, mesas, rivers, and monoliths. It is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Visitors can explore the park by driving along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and embark on hiking trails that lead to beautiful spots like Emerald Pools. One of the park's scariest, yet thrilling hikes is Angels Landing. Zion National Park is a true gem in the American Southwest.
Louisville, Kentucky is a vibrant city situated on the Ohio River. It offers a plethora of attractions and activities for visitors. From an established theater scene and museums to galleries and delicious dining options, Louisville is a city with a laid-back and artsy vibe. It has gained popularity and recognition, moving beyond being considered just a "fly-over" city. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the city's bourbon culture and enjoy all that it has to offer.
Deadwood, located in western South Dakota, is a historic town that rose to fame during the Old West days. It gained further recognition as the setting of an HBO series. Despite its kitschy and recreated nature, Deadwood offers a unique glimpse into the frontier days of the past. Its proximity to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore makes it a convenient and fascinating destination to explore. Enjoy the charm and ambiance of this town during your visit.
The stunning mountain town of Telluride in Colorado has exciting plans to celebrate multiple 50th anniversaries in 2023. These milestones include beloved ski seasons and festivals.
Doug Berry/GettyBridal Veil Falls, one of the natural attractions in Telluride, is a favorite destination for visitors.
JJ Shev/UnsplashTelluride experienced a decline in its gold mines and fortunes. However, in the early 1970s, a group of visionary ski enthusiasts came up with a plan to build a resort there. Fast forward fifty years, and this small, quirky mountain town nested in a picturesque box canyon in southwestern Colorado has gained global recognition as a beloved community that attracts visitors from all over. In light of reaching the 50-year milestone in 2023, Telluride, with its year-round population of 2,600, is preparing for a grand celebration. Winter sports enthusiasts can join in the festivities by marking the 50th ski season at Telluride Ski Resort. The resort has added a new, high-speed quad chairlift and enhanced snowmaking capabilities. Additionally, the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival is preparing for its 50th edition in June, featuring a world-class lineup of artists. The festival's secret lineup will only be unveiled in the spring, so fans are advised to secure their tickets early, as the event consistently sells out.
In celebration of its 50th year, the Telluride Film Festival will illuminate Labor Day weekend. The festival brings together esteemed directors, A-list movie stars, and passionate film enthusiasts for screenings and engaging conversations in the town's bars, parks, and gondolas. The official film selections are kept confidential until the last minute, heightening the excitement. However, for the 2023 festival, the event will run for an additional day, from Thursday, August 31 to Monday, September 4. —Laura Beausire
As a New Englander, I have spent many summers on Cape Cod since it is the ultimate summer retreat. Along the coastline, you'll discover numerous charming beach towns. While Provincetown and Hyannis are the most well-known, I also have a soft spot for Chatham, Falmouth, Wellfleet, and Brewster. If you're seeking fresh seafood, beautiful beaches, lively boardwalks, and the perfect family vacation, Cape Cod is the place to be!
WHERE TO STAY IN CAPE COD: Cape Sands Inn – Just a short stroll from the beach in West Yarmouth, this three-star property offers all the standard amenities such as TV, coffee/tea, and free Wi-Fi. It also provides free parking and a relaxing sauna and hot tub.
Hudson Valley, New York
In New York, approximately 90 miles north of Manhattan, lies the enchanting Hudson Valley. Over the past decade, this region has seen a surge in hospitality establishments, making it a preferred weekend escape for city residents. While the valley has already gained recognition for its exceptional culinary scene and vibrant shopping districts, it is now becoming a renowned destination for wellness retreats. In late 2022, a farmhouse-style spa was introduced at Wildflower Farms, an Auberge Resort in Gardiner. Additionally, the 30,000-square-foot spa at the esteemed Mohonk Mountain House has recently undergone renovations. The new year ushers in the arrival of The Ranch Hudson Valley (from the creators of The Ranch Malibu), offering three- and four-day wellness programs encompassing hiking, fitness classes, massages, and a plant-based diet. Additionally, the much-anticipated Soho Farmhouse, the first expansion of the UK-based brand outside of its home country, is rumored to open in 2023. This rustic retreat is said to be located in a historic manor house in Rhinebeck, complete with a restaurant in a stone barn and a spa.
Other noteworthy openings slated for 2023 include permanent locations in Kingston for Izakaya Makishi, a Japanese bar snack and cocktail lounge developed by the team behind Stockade Tavern, as well as Chleo, a wine bar serving fire-cooked cuisine by the talented duo behind Blue Hill at Stone Barns. In North Salem, two restaurants by the team behind the now-closed Papilles in Manhattan are set to make their debut. One is a bistro named Cenadou, while the other is a fine-dining French establishment called La Bastide by Andrea Calstier. By summer, the Klocke Estate in Claverack will host an apple and grape brandy distillery, where ingredients will be grown and distilled on the property's expansive 160 acres. The estate will also feature a hospitality venue designed by the renowned Ken Fulk. Design enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that Magic Hill Mercantile, a coveted destination for mid-century furniture and decor, has recently opened a new location in Kingston. Additionally, Finch, known for its carefully curated vintage housewares, has unveiled a significant expansion in Hudson. —Devorah Lev-Tov
Seagulls gracefully glide over Virginia Beach, a destination celebrated for its Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and locally produced, handcrafted spirits.
Jenna Lee/UnplashExciting surf and extreme-sports competitions will debut in Virginia Beach during 2023.
Rebecca Sorto/UnsplashNestled along a vibrant three-mile boardwalk facing the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach proudly boasts the world's longest pleasure beach and the longest-running surfing competition on the East Coast. However, the pristine beaches are not the only reason to visit this resort city. Virginia Beach is also renowned for its succulent Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and locally crafted spirits. Additionally, visitors can explore the colorful ViBE District and immerse themselves in the area's rich history.
In 2023, the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships, an annual event, will celebrate its 61st year. This esteemed competition takes place just blocks away from the oceanfront. Furthermore, groundbreaking will commence on The Wave, a surf park supported by Grammy-winning artist Pharrell Williams, who hails from Virginia Beach. The park will feature the East Coast's first man-made wave pool, scheduled to debut in 2024. Williams is also bringing back the Something in the Water Festival in Virginia Beach in the spring of 2023. Another exciting addition to the city's event calendar is the Jackalope Fest, a novel outdoor festival showcasing high-adrenaline competitions like breakdancing and bouldering. This festival, previously held in Canada for the past decade, will now take place along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in June.
October saw the opening of the Waterman Spirits distillery and tasting room on Atlantic Avenue. This establishment offers a refreshing selection of organic spirits infused with citrus flavors. Moreover, the illustrious master distiller Larry Ebersold leads Tarnished Truth Distillery, which specializes in a variety of handcrafted bourbon specialties ranging from moonshines to creams.
For a serene and luxurious hotel experience, consider booking a room at The Cavalier Resort. This collection of historic and modern properties includes the Historic Cavalier Hotel, Autograph Collection and the Marriott Oceanfront Virginia Beach. The Resort District will also welcome the new Moxy hotel during summer 2023. This oceanfront establishment will provide 134 rooms, multiple bars, and an elegant outdoor pool featuring a slide from the second floor. —Taryn White
Explore the Everglades ecosystem with canoe excursions and Seminole-style eco camps that prioritize environmental conservation.
Douglas Rissing/GettyEverglades National Park will be rededicated in honor of its 75th anniversary.
Dennis Axer/GettyWith the spotlight on America's newest national parks, it's the perfect time to revisit the third-largest park in the country. Everglades National Park, spanning nearly 20,000 acres, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. President Harry Truman dedicated the park on December 6, 1947, inspired by the extraordinary biodiversity and conservation efforts described in Marjory Stoneman Douglas' book, The Everglades: River of Grass. However, the park now faces environmental challenges, including climate change and the presence of non-native and invasive species such as Burmese pythons, which are being actively hunted to manage their population. A rededication ceremony hosted by the National Parks Service in 2023 will kick off a year-long celebration of this remarkable park. (Please check the NPS website for the latest information on trail accessibility due to damage from Hurricane Ian.)
The Everglades encompasses over 1.5 million acres of wetlands in South Florida, offering a diverse range of experiences such as airboat rides, hiking trails, and even the opportunity to camp in traditional Seminole-style chickees (elevated sleeping platforms). The park is rich in indigenous history, with the Seminole tribe maintaining a presence in the Everglades to this day. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and Big Cypress RV Resort & Campground on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation provide opportunities to learn about Seminole culture. For those who prefer not to camp, the Flamingo Lodge and Restaurant is set to reopen in 2023, offering unique accommodations in converted shipping containers and eco-friendly tents. —Caroline Eubanks
Seattle, home of the famous Starbucks, offers a vibrant downtown district, fresh seafood, authentic Asian cuisine, art museums, and a lively nightlife. In historic Pioneer Square, you can take an underground tour to explore the city's ruins, a truly unique experience. With its location on the waterfront, you can also venture out onto Elliott Bay to visit the nearby islands, weather permitting. Seattle is a cool city that has something for everyone. It's a hub of technology, where people are laid-back and there's always something to do. Plus, you can enjoy craft beer and coffee, making it even more appealing!
WHERE TO STAY IN SEATTLE: Consider staying at the Green Tortoise, a social hostel located across from the iconic Pike Place Market. This hostel organizes various activities, making it easy to meet fellow travelers. They even offer complimentary breakfast, which is a rare find in the US!
For more travel tips on Seattle, read this detailed planning guide!
Scottsdale and East Valley, Arizona
The desert towns located east of Phoenix are emerging as exciting destinations in their own right.
Jeremy Alford/UnsplashIn Scottsdale, you can explore the vibrant Sonoran Desert, which is home to over 400 species of plants. Visit the famous Taliesin West, a Frank Lloyd Wright property, and indulge in a refreshing paloma cocktail while enjoying a day-club pool party. This sprawling town spanning 184 square miles northeast of Phoenix has become a magnet for bachelor/bachelorette parties, golf trips, nature enthusiasts, and sun seekers. What's even more surprising is the rise of other East Valley towns such as Gilbert, Chandler, and Mesa, which are outshining Scottsdale in terms of the quality of their new dining and beverage establishments.
Downtown Mesa has become a culinary powerhouse, with Espiritu, a modern Mexican seafood restaurant offering an impressive cocktail program. This establishment is revolutionizing the Mexican food scene in the United States by combining exquisite mariscos dishes with meticulously crafted progressive cocktails. In Chandler, a small and intimate eatery called Thaily's serves a unique fusion of Cambodian and Iraqi cuisine. Feringhee Modern Indian Cuisine in Chandler reimagines classic regional Indian dishes with a contemporary twist. Meanwhile, the downtown strip of Gilbert hosts several standout restaurants imported from Scottsdale and Phoenix. For a comfortable and convenient stay in the East Valley, consider the upcoming opening of two top-notch hotels: The Ritz Carlton, Paradise Valley and Caesars Republic Scottsdale are both set to open in 2023. —Chris Malloy
Park City, Utah
Pendry Park City, known for its cozy interiors, is now part of the Canyons Village resort area.
Pendry Park CityPark City is poised to attract both skiers and non-skiers with new après-ski options and the return of the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Mollie Moran/UnsplashAfter a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the largest independent film festival in the United States, the Sundance Film Festival, will be live in Park City this January. However, the festival is not the only reason to visit this vibrant destination, as it offers numerous new attractions throughout the town.
If you're attending the film festival, you might want to consider staying at the Pendry Park City. Located in the heart of the theater hotspots in Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort, this hotel features a new heated après-ski beach and a 100-seat outdoor patio for the upcoming ski season. In addition, Pendry Park City offers Dos Olas Cantina for craft tequila cocktails, a rooftop pool house with DJ sets, and KITA, a Japanese-inspired restaurant serving sustainably sourced seafood flown in daily. At Deer Valley, a ski-only resort, the new Burns Express chairlift provides greater access to beginner-friendly terrain. The mid-mountain area of Silver Lake Village is now home to Goldener Hirsch, a luxurious Auberge Resort featuring spacious residences with chef's kitchens, private balconies, and a high-end concierge service for the upcoming winter season. Deer Valley also offers the two-day Taste of Luxury Series, a culinary event featuring Michelin-star chefs (December's event will be hosted by Massimo Bottura). If you want to access both ski resorts, the Park City Marriott, a mid-range hotel with 127 rooms, will open later this year.
Even existing hotels in Park City are elevating their offerings. The St. Regis Deer Valley will soon open its new Astor Bar and La Stellina Italian restaurant, adding a touch of elegance to the hotel. Located just twenty minutes from downtown Park City in the scenic Wasatch-Uinta Mountains region, the Lodge at Blue Sky now offers unique guided backcountry ski adventures using snowmobiles and psychic-led alternative energy journeys in a new creekside sanctuary. —Nina Kahn
Michigan's Lower Peninsula is home to the stunning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Nick Li/GettyThe shimmering freshwater shores of Northern Michigan have long attracted summer crowds. Now, with a slew of notable restaurant openings and a growing wine scene gaining national recognition, this region, known as the "Cherry Capital of the World," is emerging as a must-visit culinary destination. At Modern Bird in Traverse City, located on Front Street, you can indulge in fine dining that combines Midwestern comfort food with inventive vegetable sides and natural wines. This new establishment, which opened in August, offers dishes like fried chicken and cheddar bread. On the same street, you'll find Hexenbelle, a new Palestinian bakery and coffee shop that entices brunch crowds with the aroma of spiced potatoes and coconut curry. Another noteworthy dining destination is Farm Club, a unique concept that encompasses a working farm, a market, a restaurant, and a brewery. Accessible from downtown Traverse City via the TART bike trail, Farm Club offers a picturesque setting and a true farm-to-table experience. Keep an eye out for the highly anticipated Crocodile Palace, set to open in late 2022, offering delectable Sichuan takeout with a seasonal twist.
If you're a wine enthusiast, don't miss a visit to Dune Bird Winery, a new addition to the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Known for its crisp Pure Leland Sparkling, this winery is one of the highlights along the trail, which features 24 award-winning vineyards and takes you through picturesque landscapes and charming towns. The trail culminates near Glen Arbor, an ideal starting point for exploring the magnificent sand bluffs of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. For a delightful lunch in the vicinity, The Mill, an upscale café housed in a carefully restored 1897 grist mill, is set to open in spring 2023.
Northern Michigan's fate is intricately tied to the health of its waterways. Leading the charge in conservation efforts is the Tribal Stream and Michigan Fruitbelt Collaborative, spearheaded by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. A project called The Mishigamiing Journalism Project, launched in June, empowers Indigenous journalists to report on their own communities while promoting the conservation of tribal lands. —Christine Chitnis
Northern Kentucky & Cincinnati
Experience the revival of Cincinnati's prohibition-era lager tunnels at Ghost Baby, a subterranean bar and music hall.
Ghost BabyBourbon has been made in-house at New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky since 2014.
New Riff Distilling
Ten years ago, renowned Cincinnati bar expert Molly Wellman crossed the Ohio River to open Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar in Covington, Kentucky. This move sparked the opening of upscale bourbon bars and unique distilleries in recent years, making the region a must-visit for whiskey enthusiasts. The Neeley Family Distillery in Sparta has a rich legacy that goes beyond Prohibition, with 11th generation distiller Royce Neeley being the first in his family in almost 300 years to practice the craft with a license. At Second Sight Spirits in Ludlow, a pair of former Cirque du Soleil fabricators created a functional still in the shape of a carnival fortune teller. Meanwhile, Newport's New Riff Distillery began producing its own bourbon in 2014. However, true collectors seek out the team's previous product, O.K.I., a blend of whiskey sourced from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana tristate area, which can be found at Brad Bond's Revival Vintage Bottle Shop in Covington, where rare bottles are curated from private collections.
While in Covington, stay at North by Hotel Covington, a newly expanded downtown property. It is conveniently located near a vibrant restaurant scene, including the original location of the popular taco and slushy empire Agave Rye, Libby's Southern Comfort which offers a taste of Cincinnati with its goetta hush puppies, and the upcoming Opal rooftop bar, created by local restaurateur Bill Whitlow, who is also responsible for Wenzel's Whiskey. Wenzel's Whiskey is a new bourbon rectifier that allows guests to participate in a hands-on blending and bottling experience. And for a must-visit bar in Cincinnati, head over to Ghost Baby. Located five stories below Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, this underground bar and music hall captures the essence of one of the city's recently discovered lager tunnels. —A.R.
Indulge in the flavors of the Mediterranean at Zaytinya, José Andrés' newly opened restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad.
Jason VarneyEnjoy an array of mezze dips and shish taouk skewers at Zaytinya.
Jason VarneyManhattan's NoMad neighborhood, once known as the bustling hub for wholesalers dealing in flowers, hairspray, and handbags along Broadway between Madison Square Park and Macy's, is now establishing itself as the most exciting destination in Tennessee. Over the past decade, the downtown area has invested billions in revitalization projects, and the results are starting to show.
In 2023, an enhanced Tom Lee Park will open in downtown, just in time for the month-long Memphis in May festival, which celebrates the city's culture with events like the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The park's million transformation will introduce new pavilions, serene pathways, riverfront seating, sound gardens, and a Canopy Walk that connects the park to downtown. This tribute to the heroic namesake of the park, a Black Memphian who rescued passengers from a sinking steamboat on the Mississippi River almost a century ago, is sure to impress. Another exciting project is The Walk on Union, the largest new mixed-use development in the Southeast. It will feature retail businesses, green spaces, and two new Hilton hotels, with its opening scheduled in phases over the coming years.
Memphis is also experiencing a hotel boom, with eight new properties opening in 2022 and more on the horizon. Notable new additions include the unique and trendy The Memphian and the inaugural Caption concept hotels from Hyatt, both of which celebrate the city's heritage through their design and cuisine. Furthermore, Memphis is embracing a new wave of restaurants, with a focus on lighter fare alongside its staple barbecue. Raw Girls now has two permanent locations specializing in smoothies and juices, while Food Network star chef Tamra Patterson is set to open a new vegetarian restaurant in 2023. For sophisticated mocktails, head to Cameo, a craft cocktail bar that opened this year.
Experience the rich heritage of Memphis through the design and cuisine of The Memphian Hotel.
Sélavie PhotographyWhile Nashville has garnered much attention on the national stage, the city of Memphis has quietly transformed itself into Tennessee's most vibrant destination. Over the past decade, the downtown area has invested billions in revitalization projects, and now it's time for visitors to enjoy the results.
In 2023, downtown Memphis will unveil the enhanced Tom Lee Park, just in time for the month-long Memphis in May festival. This incredible event celebrates the city's culture with the renowned Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The million transformation of the park will introduce new pavilions, tranquil paths, riverfront seating, sound gardens, and the Canopy Walk, which will connect the park to downtown. This remodel pays homage to the park's heroic namesake, a Black Memphian who valiantly rescued passengers from a sinking steamboat on the Mississippi River nearly a century ago. Another exciting development is The Walk on Union, an expansive mixed-use project touted as the largest in the Southeast. As it opens in phases over the next few years, The Walk on Union will house retail businesses, green spaces, and two new Hilton hotels.
Now is the perfect time to visit Memphis, as the city is experiencing a surge in hotel openings. In 2022 alone, eight new properties debuted, with more on the horizon. Noteworthy additions include the stylish The Memphian and the inaugural Caption concept hotels by Hyatt, all of which embrace the city's heritage through their design and culinary offerings. Additionally, Memphis is undergoing a gastronomic renaissance, with a focus on lighter options alongside its famous barbecue. For example, Raw Girls now boasts two physical locations where visitors can enjoy smoothies and juices. Furthermore, renowned chef Tamra Patterson plans to open a new vegetarian restaurant in 2023. For sophisticated mocktails, head to Cameo, a craft cocktail bar that opened this year.
Prehistoric mounds at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park were built around 900 CE.
Viktor Posnov/AlamyA mural greets visitors at The Woodward Hotel, which recently opened in downtown Macon.
Jesse HortonIn Macon, Georgia’s Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park, the newest U.S. national park is expected to be declared in 2023. The park showcases earthwork mounds constructed around 900 CE and houses over 2,000 artifacts from the Mississippi culture and the Muscogee Nation, who founded Macon on the sacred Ocmulgee Old Fields. In 2023, Macon will celebrate its bicentennial by honoring the original Native American inhabitants and the enslaved individuals who contributed to the city's construction.
Since 2015, Macon has seen significant growth, with the addition of 98 new businesses, 30 bars and live music venues, and 50 new restaurants. Culinary highlights include Vibez, Dovetail, Felicia's Cake Factory, and the iconic H&H Soul Food. Additionally, downtown Macon welcomed its first boutique hotel, Hotel Forty Five, and a nine-room hotel called The Woodward opened next to the historic Capitol Theater in October 2022. Macon's rich music history includes being the hometown of Little Richard and Otis Redding, as well as the former location of the influential Capricorn Recording Studios in the 1970s. The studios have since been transformed into Mercer Music at Capricorn, a recording studio and music incubator that also features a Macon music history museum. Furthermore, a 10,000-person amphitheater is expected to be completed at Macon Mall in 2023. —D.L.
Charles County, Southern Maryland
The Haberdeventure, also known as the Thomas Stone House, is a National Historic site located in Charles County.
AlamyJust 24 miles south of the White House, Charles County, Maryland, will serve as the historical backdrop for the upcoming Apple TV series "Manhunt" in 2023. The series will depict the days following President Lincoln’s assassination and the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, and it is produced by Monica Beletsky, the writer and producer of Fargo, and stars Tobias Menzies from The Crown. This picturesque region is rich in history, offering activities such as kayaking around shipwrecks from the Revolutionary War at Mallows Bay, a newly designated National Marine Sanctuary. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, including the presence of nesting bald eagles, and savor farm-to-table dining along the Potomac River.
Charles County is experiencing a renaissance of music and arts, as well as a revitalized downtown area. The county seat, La Plata, showcases a picture-perfect small-town charm coupled with contemporary additions along Charles Street. The town is now home to BIPOC- and woman-owned businesses, such as Landon’s Ices and Creams, known for their Old Bay Caramel flavor. Bird City Records and Shop 53, both founded by artist Shannon Wang, are recent additions to the town. The local community has planned exciting large-scale public art projects to launch the #MakeLaPlataWeird 2023 campaign, which will add to the already dedicated "Live Small, Love Large" mural centerpiece created by painter Donald Ely and Shannon Wang. Visitors can explore The Charles, a farm-fresh gourmet market and restaurant, for local and organic goods. The area has also seen the establishment of Patuxent Brewery, Bridgett Vines Winery, and third-wave coffee roaster Wee Bean in recent years. Visitors seeking accommodation can choose from a variety of charming and historic bed and breakfasts in Southern Maryland. —Thuc Doan Nguyen
The Pacific Coastal Drive
The Pacific Coast Drive is renowned as one of the most breathtaking scenic routes in the world. From my personal experience driving from San Francisco to Portland, I can attest to its incredible beauty: towering cliffs, forests that stretch to the shore, expansive beaches, and majestic redwoods. Every moment of the drive is awe-inspiring. However, be prepared for slow progress as you will often find yourself pulling over to stop, hike, and take in the stunning views. I particularly enjoyed the towns of Bandon and Coos Bay in Oregon, as well as Mendocino, California.
WHERE TO STAY ON THE PACFIC COAST HIGHWAY: Airbnb – Airbnb is the best option for accommodation unless you have camping gear and prefer to camp in one of the many parks along the route. There are also a variety of affordable motels conveniently located along the highway.
I absolutely fell in love with Kansas City. It boasts some of the world's best BBQ and a vibrant downtown area. The city is also home to fascinating attractions such as the jazz museum, which provides detailed insights into the genre, and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. During my visit, I wished I had more time to explore, but that only gives me another reason to return.
WHERE TO STAY IN KANSAS CITY: Home2 Suites Downtown – This three-star hotel located in downtown KC offers a fitness center, a pool, and a satisfying breakfast spread. It is one of the more affordable lodging options in the city.
I may be biased because I grew up in Boston, but I truly adore this city. Boston is both historic, founded in 1630, and compact, making it easy to navigate. The city is filled with wonderful and loyal people. There are numerous attractions to explore, such as the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, the JFK Museum, and the Boston Commons and Public Garden. Additionally, Boston is known for its exceptional Italian and seafood restaurants. Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in the best brunch in the city at Zaftigs! Boston is simply wicked!
WHERE TO STAY IN BOSTON: HI Boston – This spacious and clean hostel is conveniently located within walking distance of almost everything in the city. It offers female-only dorms, free Wi-Fi, and several relaxing common areas where you can connect with fellow travelers.
For more travel tips on Boston, check out these posts:
As the capital of the United States, Washington D.C. is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that captivates with its diversity. Second only to New York City, Washington D.C. is a melting pot with a multitude of international influences, thanks to its large presence of people from aid organizations and embassies. In this city, you will hear a myriad of accents. Alongside the free Smithsonian museums, beautiful parks, and historic government buildings and monuments, D.C. is an exceptional place to relax, indulge in delectable food, and enjoy a wide array of drinks. Don't forget to take a tour of Capitol Hill while you're here!
WHERE TO STAY IN WASHINGTON: Highroad Hostel – This cool hostel is housed in an old Victorian mansion and offers pod-style bunks. The beds feature memory foam mattresses, there is a fully-equipped kitchen, and the common area includes a cozy fireplace.
For more travel tips on Washington D.C., check out these articles:
Wild Rice Retreat is a year-round arts and wellness getaway that offers various activities like yoga, meditation, and creative classes such as mandala painting and vision boarding. It is located on a lush 100-acre forested property that was once home to the beloved Wild Rice Restaurant.
The retreat is nestled on Lake Superior's scenic southern shoreline in Bayfield, Wisconsin. It has been a popular destination for tired urbanites from Minneapolis and Chicago who come to enjoy the charming Victorian main street, the Bayfield "fruit loop" with its organic farms and orchards, and the convenient access to Apostle Islands National Park. Bayfield is currently experiencing a revitalization with new businesses, the opening of St. James Social in 2023, and a growing generation of young entrepreneurs who are restoring the town's historic buildings.
In terms of accommodation, Wild Rice Retreat offers modern Scandinavian lodging designed by award-winning architect David Salmela. The renovation of the retreat, which cost $10 million, also includes a spacious yoga studio, a "nourishment center," and a new sauna with a rain room and cold plunge pool. Guests can participate in various activities such as slow flow yoga, guided meditation, and classes on mandala painting and intentional vision boarding.Visitors to Bayfield can also explore local shops like Good Flower Farm, a small batch skincare company and apothecary lab, and Penny Print Studio, a boutique that supports local artists and illustrators. For coffee enthusiasts, Wonderstate Coffee offers frothy maple lattes. Another unique attraction is Copper Crow, the country's first Indigenous-owned distillery, which was started by members of the neighboring Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Glacier National Park
Although I visited when most of the park was still closed (it was too early in the year and there was still snow around), I was still amazed by the area: stunning snow-topped mountains rising high into the sky; a beautiful, tranquil lake to admire those mountains and large glaciers; and an abundance of hiking trails. It was the most incredible place I saw on my trip, and I understand why everyone raves about it. I highly recommend a visit there.
WHERE TO STAY IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK: Camping – Bring or rent a tent and enjoy a few nights under the stars. You won't be disappointed.
Redwood National Park
Along the Pacific Coast is Redwood National Park, a vast area filled with gigantic redwood trees, offering picnic areas, camping spots, and miles of hiking trails. The trails range from easy to challenging, and there are many loops that lead to nearby beaches. It is truly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and humbling in every way. It is a must for anyone road-tripping around California.
WHERE TO STAY IN REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK: View Crest Lodge – Located on the coast in Trinidad, this rustic budget-friendly lodge offers basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and TV, and some rooms have full kitchens. It is a clean, comfortable place to spend the night.
Despite all odds, the desert city of Las Vegas has become the "entertainment capital of the world." With its iconic casinos, hotels, resorts, clubs, and entertainment districts, it's no wonder the city has the motto "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!" For tourists seeking indulgence and luxury, a visit to Sin City should always be on the itinerary. "Vegas Baby" is a phrase everyone should say at least once in their lifetime!
The Quoin Hotel is the first boutique hotel in Wilmington. Delaware may be best known for its breezy southern beaches, but up north in Wilmington, the city is gaining attention for its wave of new restaurants that have transformed it into a true food destination. When The Quoin Hotel opened in September, it brought three new dining and drinking destinations. Set in a historic brownstone designed by renowned Victorian-era architect Frank Furness, this stylish property with 24 rooms is home to a warm local restaurant, a moody cocktail lounge, and Wilmington's first rooftop bar. A few blocks away, the grand dame Hotel Du Pont reopened its outdated Green Room as the brasserie Le Cavalier in late 2020. The newly revealed original terrazzo floor and saffron velvet banquettes create a modern backdrop to enjoy chef Tyler Akin's dishes, such as tuna crudo and mint-flecked lamb shoulder.
At the nearby Bardea Steak, which opened in July, the menu features meat-centric options like wagyu empanadas and kangaroo chili served over Roman gnocchi. (Its sister restaurant, Bardea, has been attracting crowds and earning accolades, including a James Beard Award nomination for best new restaurant, since 2018.) The new food hall, The Chancery Market, is set to open with a curated selection of stalls, including Fuku by David Chang and the fast-casual Indian spot Kati Roll Wala, overseen by NYC-based chef Akhtar Nawab. Along the Christina River, the highly anticipated Riverfront East project plans to bring even more new restaurants to the neighborhood starting in 2023.
Beyond Wilmington's vibrant dining scene and downtown area, you'll find a scenic landscape known as Chateau Country, famous for its collection of historic Du Pont family estates. The Gilded Age-era mansion Nemours is known for its French gardens inspired by Versailles, while Winterthur showcases roughly 90,000 American decorative art objects. The Hagley Museum, formerly a Du Pont company gunpowder mill overlooking the Brandywine River, recently unveiled its first permanent exhibit in 65 years, called "A Nation of Inventors," which highlights visionary creations dating back to the 1700s. —Regan Stephens
Located just outside of Nashville, Franklin is bursting with small-town charm (it's also where I found my new favorite Bourbon: HC Clake). The city is steeped in history, with a historic main street, and offers a variety of delightful bars and restaurants. I didn't have high expectations, but the city truly surprised me. It's the perfect destination for a two-night stay.
WHERE TO STAY IN FRANKLIN: The Harpeth Hotel – This upscale property features an on-site restaurant, fitness center, bar, and terrace. If you prefer something more budget-friendly, check Booking.com for other options.
***The United States offers too many "must-see" places to visit to list in a single blog post. After all, the country is home to over 329 million people and covers 3.8 million square miles.
But for those looking for a starting point on where to go, what to see, and the places to visit, this list should guide you in the right direction and fill your time!
Just remember to venture off the main highways, explore the small towns, and discover your own favorites. The best of the USA is often found away from the major highways, in the little no-name towns with charming diners, unique shops, and friendly locals!
For more travel tips on exploring the USA, read these other blog posts:
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find affordable flights using Skyscanner. It's my go-to search engine as it compares websites and airlines worldwide, ensuring you don't miss any deals.
Book Your Accommodation
Don't Forget Travel Insurance
Protect yourself against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations with travel insurance. It's comprehensive coverage in case anything goes wrong. I never travel without it, as I've had to use it multiple times in the past. My top recommended insurance providers are:
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations – without any additional spending. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started and find the best deals.
Need Help Planning Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a comprehensive online marketplace where you can find walking tours, excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use personally, as they are industry leaders and guarantee a fantastic trip.
In conclusion, the United States boasts an array of incredible vacation destinations that cater to all interests. From the vibrant city lights of Miami and the enchanting landscapes of Asheville and Santa Fe, to the historic charm of Savannah and the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure-packed journey through national parks, there's a destination for everyone. So, why wait? Start planning your next domestic vacation and discover the wonders that await you in the best travel spots across the US in 2023.
The Best Destinations for Halloween: From Colonial Williamsburg to Venice, Unforgettable Halloween Experiences Await 2023-11-23 03:00:20
Discover the top Halloween destinations that will send shivers down your spine! From the historical charm of Colonial Williamsburg to the haunting beauty of Venice, prepare for an unforgettable Halloween experience.
Top Travel Destinations During COVID: Budget-friendly Airfare to Explore Spectacular International Hotspots 2023-11-23 03:00:05
Discover incredible budget-friendly international travel destinations during COVID. Explore the wonders of spectacular hotspots with affordable airfare. Plan your dream trip today!
Exploring the Ultimate August Travel Destinations: Unveiling the Best Places to Visit in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Beyond! 2023-11-23 03:00:02
Discover the must-visit August travel destinations across Europe, Asia, Oceania, and more! Uncover the hidden gems and top places to explore, ensuring an unforgettable and adventurous journey abroad. Start planning your ultimate summer escape now!
Exploring Enchanting Autumn Escapes: Unveiling the Best Travel Destinations in October 2023-11-23 02:57:21
Unveiling the best travel destinations in October, embark on an enchanting autumn escape as we delve into the most captivating spots. From vibrant fall foliage to charming cultural experiences, discover the top destinations to embrace the beauty of this season. Plan your perfect October getaway now!