52 BEST Vacation Spots in the USA (2024)

There are so many great vacation spots in the USA it is nearly impossible to nail down a succinct list. From hiking in the Arizona desert and soaking up the sun in the Florida Keys to skiing at some of the best ski resorts in the world, there is something in America for every tourist.

There are so many reasons to vacation in the US. The USA is a vast and incredibly diverse country. One can easily visit a big city, a national park, or a beach town – the United States has it all. The USA is a melting pot of cultures, and you can experience this diversity through food, music, art, and festivals.

From the jazz clubs of New Orleans to the street art of Miami, there is always something new to discover. But that’s enough of us gushing about how great traveling in the US is! We’ve had many great vacations in this beautiful country, and here are just a few of our favorite US vacation destinations.

Best Vacation Spots in the USA

Hawaiian Islands

Plan Hawaii Trip - Rental Car Kauai
Best for a Tropical Vacation in the US

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more naturally gifted group of islands than the Hawaiian Islands. We’ve spent our fair share of time in the tropics, and few destinations can compete with the drama of the Napali Coast on Kauai, the ridges of Oahu, the Molokai Crater in Maui, and the volcanic beaches of Kona.

The islands boast golden sand beaches, manicured golf courses, excellent surf, fantastic diving, luxury resorts, lush green forests, exotic wildlife, and near-perfect weather year-round. It’s not a surprise, but the volcanic islands are America’s most well-known vacation spot, attracting millions of visitors annually.

History buffs will also love exploring the USS Arizona Memorial on Oahu, which gives a sneak peek of the Islands’ military history as a strategic location for the US armed forces. We break down how to plan a trip to Hawaii here. It should go without saying Hawaii is very busy and popular, but the island of Molokai is one of the best-hidden vacation spots in the US.

Orlando, Florida

Lake Eola Park In Orlando
Best for a Family Vacation in the US

Orlando has been one of the country’s best escapes for families for decades. It has countless family attractions, resorts, golf courses, and, of course, theme parks. Disney World, Universal Studios, and Seaworld Orlando are the real draw and have a dedicated fan base. It’s America’s most visited destination, aptly nicknamed the “Theme Park Capital of the World.”

The wealth and business of millions of visitors have allowed the city to grow over the decades to become a hub of commerce in Florida. It has a colossal convention center, hundreds of restaurants, bars, and events outside the theme parks. Orlando is also a four-hour drive from the Everglades National Park, a popular day trip.

We suggest travelers avoid visiting in the summer when prices, crowds, heat, and humidity are at their highest. However, Orlando enjoys several water parks to help beat the summer heat. We’re big fans of Disney Animation but have always preferred the experience of visiting Universal Studios.

New York, New York

cheap places to live in new york
Best for a City Escape in the US

For a short while, we once referred to ourselves as New Yorkers and still have a soft spot for the city. It’s often referred to as the Greatest City on Earth and has been a cultural hub of the US for centuries. It has captivated visitors with its dynamic energy and iconic landmarks for decades. However, the real draw is the city’s neighborhoods, each with a distinct charm. Whatever cuisine or desire you may have, you’ll likely find it in New York, the most diverse city in the world, with nearly 800 languages spoken.

Its cultural significance is legendary, appearing in countless films and the birthplace of countless musicians. The arts thrive in the city, from Broadway to jazz bars and the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. It also has incredible museums like the Whitney, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and MoMA. That’s not counting the innumerable number of art galleries and pop-up shows. Something is always going on in “The City That Never Sleeps.” We suggest visitors check out Time Out New York and The Village Voice for the latest events, restaurants, and shows.

We haven’t even mentioned the city’s icons that are true giants in life, such as the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, and One World Trade Center. Each one is a historical monument of America. There is no place in the world quite like New York City. It’s gritty, glitzy, enigmatic, humbling, evolving, and unforgettable.

20 Romantic Things to Do in NYC

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas
Best for a Friends Getaway in the US

If we’re talking about other iconic US cities, it’s tough to deny Las Vegas. Despite all odds, the desert city of Las Vegas has grown to become the “entertainment capital of the world.” Home to some of the world’s most iconic casinos, hotels, resorts, clubs, and entertainment districts, it is no wonder that the city has the motto “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”

It’s a city that continues to evolve year after year and seems always to reinvent itself to draw visitors back. Long gone are the days of smoky casinos and free buffets. Vegas now serves luxurious hotels, swanky restaurants, thumping clubs, expansive pool decks, and the world’s biggest musical artists. The city’s newest event space, Sphere, opened up with a residency from U2.

It’s not just what’s in the city limits but the surrounding natural landscapes. Southern Nevada enjoys mild winters that are perfect for exploring, like The Valley of Fire State Park, Death Valley National Park, Lake Mead, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco Bakers Beach View Of Golden Gate Bridge
Best for a Little Bit of Everything

Thanks to ocean currents, San Francisco enjoys lovely cool weather most of the year, making for a great city escape without all the heat. The city has been an icon for years thanks to landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. However, the city’s history of open-mindedness has cultivated music, art, tech innovation, and lifestyle for decades. Explore abundant culinary delights, vibrant bars, engaging events, and distinctive shops contributing to the city’s dynamic and eclectic character.

It’s not just the city that plies visitors, as there are worthy day trips and gorgeous natural landscapes to explore. The Marin Headlands are a famed stretch of coastline that lies just north of the city known for its healthy sea lion population. However, Redwood National Forest and Yosemite National Park are the real draw – few natural landscapes are as celebrated in the United States.

Zion National Park, Utah

zion national park - Best Vacation Spots in the USA
One of the Best Vacation Spots in the US for Hikers!

Located in Southwest Utah, Zion National Park is most famed for its expansive Zion Canyon and distinct red cliffs. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in the American Southwest, and outdoor enthusiasts will love Zion National Park’s diverse topography with mountains, canyons, mesas, rivers, and monoliths.

The park is also home to numerous unusual and rare species of plants and animals. Visitors can drive through a portion of the park using the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive route, which leads to picturesque forest trails alongside the Virgin River.

Hiking trails also lead to a secret spot known as Emerald Pools – a stunning place with hanging gardens and waterfalls. One of the best Zion hikes is Angels Landing, frequently rated one of the scariest hikes in the world!

New Orleans, Louisana

new orleans - vacations in the usa
Best for a Culture and Grub

Head to the “Big Easy” for a heavy serving of soul. Even with its crumbling old buildings and gritty pubs, there’s an air of romance surrounding this American city. Established on the banks of the Mississippi River, this city is famous for its historic French and Spanish architecture, jazz music, Creole cuisine, and annual Mardi Gras festival every February, which turns the city into one large costume carnival.

While the city has built a reputation for its notorious parties, it’s the cuisine that continues to draw visitors. No trip to the city is complete without trying jambalaya, oysters, po boys, red beans and rice, blackened fish, and beignets. If looking to escape the city, head to some of the nearby Gulf beaches, considered some of the best in the country.

Arches National Park, Utah

arches national park - vacations in the usa
Best Vacation Spots in the US for Desert Landscapes

Arches National Park gets its name from the 2,000+ natural sandstone arches found in the region. Located north of Moab in Utah and bordered by the Colorado River, the park has spectacular geological formations formed over millions of years of water and wind erosion.

While exploring the park’s many hiking trails, you will likely find balanced rocks, pinnacles, fins, and other unique geological formations. To avoid crowds, travel in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. It’s one of the best places to visit in the USA in April! For an amazing hike, make your way to Delicate Arch.

Miami, Florida

miami - Best Vacation Spots in the USA
Best for a Trip All About the Nightlife and Beaches

Head down to Miami for its rich culture, stunning beaches, hot weather, and nightlife. The city’s iconic South Beach beckons with its white sands, blue water, and lively promenade. Miami has been a boom-or-bust city and has seen staggering growth over the decades. Right now, it is very much a boom thanks to tech, particularly cryptocurrency.

The new money and wealth have made a magnet for innovative chefs, musicians, and contemporary artists who thrive in the city. The neighborhood of Little Havana offers a glimpse into the ‘Latino lifestyle’ with plenty of delicious Cuban cafes and Latin American art galleries. Visitors to Miami are not too far from Everglades National Park, or drive even further to Key Largo and Key West!

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park
For Those Looking at an Outdoor Escape!

If you are a fan of the great outdoors, a history buff, or a nature enthusiast, Olympic National Park is a destination that has to be on your bucket list. Located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park spans nearly a million acres and encompasses temperate rainforests, glacier-capped mountain peaks, and even 70 miles of untouched coastline.

This region is rugged, beautiful, diverse, and vast in all the right ways! The park also offers visitors plenty of outdoor recreational activities as they explore its majestic wilderness and uncover its deep-rooted history. The coastline of Washington is widely considered one of the most gorgeous in the world and well worth exploring.

Nashville, Tennessee

Best for Music in the City

Nashville, Tennessee, is known for many things – like Music City or the Hippest City in the South. It’s one of the top cities to visit in the United States and continues to grow in popularity for travelers. Live music is a facet of the city, and even outside of the festival, there is almost always a show taking place in one of the city’s bars. It’s the culture of the city that draws people to Nashville.

Restaurants serve classic Southern staples – most notable is the city’s famous hot chicken. It’s more than fried chicken and country music; the city’s other nickname is the Athens of the South. Its second nickname comes from the city’s many universities that bring progressive ideas into the mix.

The city has no shortage of innovative restaurants, breweries, event spaces, museums, and cafes to explore — especially as a weekend getaway. Some more of the city’s top attractions include the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the Johnny Cash Museum, and Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery.

Aspen, Colorado

Best for a Full Service Ski Vacation

Those seeking the thrill and excitement of mountain climbing and extreme adventure sports will love visiting the small mountain town of Aspen, Colorado. Situated in a remote area in the Rockies and Elk mountains, Aspen lies alongside the Roaring Fork River and is a paradise for those wanting to spend their time outdoors.

It may be America’s most famous ski town, and the wealth levels are sometimes gobsmacking. Few other ski resorts have designer fashion brands steps away from the chairlifts. That’s not to say the town’s four separate ski areas aren’t home to excellent skiing because they are legendary.

While the town is most famous for its skiing, there are plenty of other outdoor recreational activities in breathtaking natural beauty. Surrounded by the scenic White River National Forest, Aspen is a popular year-round destination for locals and tourists.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon
Best For A Family National Park Trip

The Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the world’s seven natural wonders and a testament to the region’s immense natural beauty and historical significance. The Grand Canyon’s unique topography has formed due to millions of years of water erosion caused by the Colorado River.

The result is a 277-mile-long gorge reaching a mile in depth, making it the largest canyon in the world. Grand Canyon National Park is also one of America’s most visited tourist destinations and offers plenty of recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, climbing, kayaking, wildlife watching, and much more. 

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park
Best For National Park Adventures

This national park is known for its Joshua trees, which stick out in the landscape thanks to their twisted zig-zag branches and bristled dagger-like leaves. Situated in the vast protected area of Southern California, the park has a diverse ecology as it borders the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.

The park is famed for its surreal rock formations and geological features and is home to cultural and historical sites such as the Hall of Horrors and the Lost Horse Mine. 

15. Marfa, Texas 

Marfa, Texas 
Best For Small Town Vibes And Vibrant Art Scene

Many don’t think of Marfa as one of the best vacation spots in the US, but we promise it’s worth the journey, Marfa is a quiet town between the Davis Mountains in the high desert region of Trans-Pecos in far west Texas. This quaint town is known for its closely knitted community and thriving art and culture scene.

The town acts as the artistic hub of the Wild West and features plenty of art galleries that offer an immersive experience where visitors can connect and meet with artists as they create their masterpieces. Vacationers can also visit a viewing area outside town, where they can try to get a glimpse of the mysterious orbs referred to as the ‘Marfa Lights’ phenomenon.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park
Best For a Fall Trip!

Perhaps one of America’s most scenic national parks, Acadia National Park, can be found on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. This vast recreational area on the Atlantic coast comprises woodlands, rocky beaches, and granite peaks, made easily accessible to visitors through the 27-mile park loop road system.

The fall foliage at Acadia National Park is breathtakingly beautiful, making it one of the best places to travel in October. The park is also great to visit in the summer and winter as it offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities. Acadia National Park is the best way to explore Maine’s North Atlantic wilderness region and its spectacular wildlife.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats In Utah
Best For Out of This World Adventures

The Bonneville Salt Flats are well-known for running rocket-powered cars to achieve the fastest land speed world records. Even though the salt flats look like a vast frozen lake, they are, in fact, a massive salt pan in the Tooele County of northwestern Utah.

It is one of the most unique and desolate places in the United States, devoid of vegetation or wildlife but a mecca for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. The Bonneville Salt Flats offer the ideal day trip destination when visiting Salt Lake City. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Best for Waterfalls and Cabins

Famous for its southern Appalachian Mountain culture, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. It is one of the best USA vacations one can have. The park has a rich and diverse landscape comprising lush forests, steep gorges, rivers, waterfalls, and burbling streams.

The park also offers its visitors plenty of recreational activities, from offroad tours to white water rafting on the Pigeon River. Black bears are also a common sight at the park, so visitors must follow park guidelines for safety, especially when camping or exploring on their own – we recommend hiking with bear spray!

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado
America’s Best Ski Town

Ski vacations in the US don’t get much better than Telluride. Surrounded by the towering, forested peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Telluride was once a Victorian mining town nestled in the southwest region of Colorado. Today, it is one of America’s most visited ski and golf resort destinations and the perfect mountain retreat for year-round entertainment.

Although there are only a limited number of restaurants and hotels, they offer excellent hospitality for a full ski vacation and make one’s stay as comfortable and delightful as possible. We’re biased, but we love to snowboard and think Telluride is the ski town in the United States.

The Badlands, South Dakota

The Badlands, South Dakota
Best For a Unique Outdoor Adventure

Many don’t consider this region one of the best places to go in the USA. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to have a bad time after a visit. Home to America’s largest wildlife species, such as the mighty bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets. The Badlands of South Dakota are a treasure trove of natural wonders and stunning rock formations with unique color bands that look otherworldly.

Visitors can take the Badlands Loop Road, which winds past many of the Badlands National Park’s most scenic spots and ends at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and The Fossil Exhibit Trail.

Taos, New Mexico

New Mexico - Taos
Best For an American Southwest Vacation

The small town of Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest Native American communities in the US and the only one designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. Situated in the high desert region of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the town is famous for its multi-story adobe homes, museums, and art galleries that are still in use today.

Vacationers can expect a calm and serene vibe away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and enjoy a cultural experience like no other.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Sainte Anne’s Church
Best For a Classic Americana Vacation

Mackinac Island gets its name from the Mackinac Strait in Lake Michigan, although it sits in Lake Huron. Regardless of its name, it is undoubtedly one of the best vacation spots in the US. Most of the island is part of the Mackinac Island State Park, which offers the ideal summer retreat destination for US residents fleeing the heat in the south.

With historical sites such as Fort Mackinac and St Anne’s Catholic Church, the island is a National Historic Landmark and a place worth preserving for its history and unique limestone arch formations. The island is off-limits to vehicles, so horse carriages, bicycles, and walking are the only ways to get around, making it one of the most unique places to visit in all of Michigan!

21 Best Things To Do On Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks, North Carolina
Best for a quiet beach vacation

The Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that stretch for about 200 miles and offer access to expanses of open beachfront. It is a major tourist destination renowned for its pristine sand beaches and rich biodiversity zones at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Famed for its water sports, such as surfing, swimming, kayaking, and jet skiing, and once dubbed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” vacationers can partake in plenty of water-based activities and even explore the many shipwrecks dotted around the coastline with guided diving tours.

Door County, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin
One of the Best Laid Back Vacation Spots in the US

For vacationers who never want to be too far away from pristine waters, Door County in Wisconsin is a spot they won’t ever want to leave. Door County is an outdoor lover’s dream destination with over 300 miles of shoreline waiting to be explored and five picturesque state parks.

However, that’s not all this place has to offer. Door County is also well known for its quaint towns, museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues, making it one of the best vacation spots in the USA.

The Hamptons, New York

The Hamptons
One America’s Classic Summer Retreats

Spanning from Southampton to the tip of Long Island, The Hamptons are a group of seaside communities that act as a popular summer retreat for affluent New York elites. The Hamptons are known for their pristine beaches, art museums, posh designer boutiques, and fine dining restaurants that cater to the ultra-rich. It is no wonder that the Hamptons is home to some of America’s most famous A-list celebrities and has long been the destination of choice for the rich and famous.

The Golden Isles, Georgia

 Little St. Simons Island
Best For A Southern Beach Escape

St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island are barrier islands off the coast of Georgia that lie midway between Savannah and Jacksonville and hold some of the most stunning beaches in the USA. These islands, combined with the city of Brunswick, are collectively known as the Golden Isles.

Each island offers unique natural and historical attractions begging to be explored. However, some things remain common across the Golden Isles – perfect weather, scenic spots, and pristine beaches! 

Sleepy Hollow, New York

 Sleepy Hollow, New York
Best For an Autumn Escape in the United States

If after one of the best fall vacations in the US, this small American town should not be missed. Sleepy Hollow is a small and quaint village in New York State’s Hudson Valley region. The village was made famous by Washington Irving, who made it the setting of arguably one of America’s most popular pieces of literature, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

The headless horseman’s story and resulting folklore give this town a spooky vibe all year round, with plenty of visitors arriving here in October during the Halloween season. While here, you must visit the National Historic Landmarks of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow and the Philipsburg Manor House to get the full experience of this unique place.

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Mass
Best for a Halloween Trip!

Salem, located just above Boston on Massachusetts Northcoast, has a dark past. It was once the location of the infamous 1692 witch trials that saw the execution of several of the city’s residents for alleged witchcraft. Today, remnants of this tragic event can be found at the Witch House. Other attractions include the Derby Wharf and Pedrick Storehouse, designated National Historic Sites. The McIntire District is also famous for its 16th-century architecture. All this makes Salem the ideal vacation destination for history buffs!

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona - one of the best places to visit in the American Southwest
Best For a High-End Desert Adventure

This picturesque Arizona desert town sits almost at the state’s center, about 120 miles north of Phoenix’s capital. It’s a highly sought-after destination and one of the most captivating places to explore in the US, attracting visitors from far and wide who marvel at its stunning beauty.

Nestled among breathtaking red rocks, Sedona boasts a thriving arts scene with close to a hundred art galleries and several impressive festivals throughout the year, such as the Sedona Jazz Festival and the Sedona Arts Festival. After venturing into the galleries, we found plenty of Sedona restaurants. If you love outdoor adventures, there are plenty of amazing hikes. We spent four days in Sedona and easily could have spent four weeks!

26 Best Things To Do In Sedona, Arizona

Florida Keys, Florida

Islamorada, Florida Keys
Best for Jimmy Buffet/ Kenny Chesney/ Margaritaville Vibes

The Florida Keys are like a dream come true for a getaway in the United States. Kick things off in Key Largo for a few laid-back days, then hit the Overseas Highway bound for Key West on the ultimate Florida Keys road trip.

Can’t-miss pit stops include Islamorada and Marathon – real gems along the drive. Once you make it to Key West, there are so many things to do, including the Ernest Hemingway Home, riding the Conch Tour Train, seeing Rhett and Scarlett, two famous flamingos, at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, and, of course, trying Key Lime Pie!

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park
Best for a Mountain Getaway

Tucked away in Montana, Glacier National Park emerges as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In the vicinity of Whitefish, Montana, you’re in for a treat with the abundance of hiking trails Glacier offers. During the summer, you can revel in the awe-inspiring mountain vistas, cool off with refreshing dips in pristine lakes and rivers, and cruise along the picturesque Going-to-the-Sun Road.

In the winter, you can base yourself in the small mountain town of Whitefish and enjoy skiing or snowboarding at the Whitefish Ski Resort! As you venture through the region, you’ll stumble upon numerous picnic spots and nature centers, perfect for delving into the local flora and fauna. But here’s the real gem: a journey to this park won’t set you back much, only a mere $35 for a seven-day pass, granting you unrestricted entry to all these wonders, along with a slew of ranger-led experiences like guided hikes and captivating stargazing events.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach
Best For a Beach Vacation

Myrtle Beach is often called the Grand Strand – a sandy playground full of fun in the sun for everyone, and there are plenty of things to do in Myrtle Beach for everyone. It’s a popular vacation destination with no shortage of entertainment and activities – an Atlantic coast gem ripe with possibilities.

Heading here is one of the best things to do in the Carolinas. See a show, relax on the sand, go for a sail, shop until you drop, stroll down the bustling boardwalks, score a hole-in-one, dine at the Myrtle Beach restaurants, and take in the scenery.

Vail, Colorado

Vail, Colorado
Best For Ski, Golf, and Biking

Vail is one of the most beautiful mountain towns in the United States. It’s renowned for its world-class skiing in the winter and is known worldwide as a fantastic resort. It’s one of the best places to travel if you love snowsports. Vail Mountain Resort offers a vast network of trails catering to all skill levels, from beginners to expert skiers. The resort boasts expansive terrain, consistent snowfall, and well-maintained facilities, making it a premier destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

In Vail in the summer, there’s an impressive downhill mountain bike park and endless hiking opportunities in the Vail Valley. Go horseback riding, or spend a morning practicing yoga with baby goats! In the evening, you are spoiled for options for dinner, whether at a German/Austrian Alps-style restaurant or a hip eatery like Chasing Rabbits!

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier
Best For Mountains and Hiking

Mount Rainier National Park is home to one of North America’s biggest alpine glacial systems and the biggest volcanic glacier system on Earth! Head here in the summer to hike along the Skyline Trail and reach the highest point, where you’ll see incredible views, explore the Grove of the Patriarchs and its huge trees, and head to Packwood Lake and take in more stunning views.

Savannah, Georgia

Best For Old School Southern City Charm

The city of Savannah is one of the South’s most charming and enchanting metropolises. It’s steeped in a rich history and is a cultural haven for arts and crafts, cuisine, and quirky curiosities you won’t find anywhere else.

It’s the oldest city in Georgia and is often heralded as the most enthralling. If you’re after a bit of historic Southern charm, a haunted history (Savannah is frequently touted as one of the most haunted cities in the United States), or a vibrant culinary scene where you don’t have to look far for delicious shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and biscuits Savannah is the perfect city escape for you!

The Redwood National Park, California

The Redwoods
Best for a Nature Focused Trip

Northern California is famous for its redwood forests and is one of the most iconic destinations in the US, home to thousands of years old trees that rise hundreds of feet off the ground. The serene beauty and peaceful atmosphere of these red giants will stun you as soon as you enter the park.

Hiking among these trees is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, thanks to the stunning views of the mountains and coastline. The Redwoods is a must-visit location and one of the best places to vacation in the US for nature lovers and people wanting to spend quality time outdoors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

 The Blue Ridge Parkway
Best For a Road Trip Adventure

The Blue Ridge Parkway has earned its title as “America’s favorite drive” – a winding journey that spans 469 miles, kicking off with the breathtaking Shenandoah National Park and concluding amidst the splendid Great Smoky Mountains. Stretching across 29 counties in Virginia and North Carolina, the Parkway treats you to many awe-inspiring stops that let you soak in the allure of small-town life and its picturesque surroundings.

With a speed limit of 45 miles per hour, two lanes of tranquility, and the absence of imposing trucks, the drive becomes an even more soothing and enjoyable escapade. This route unlocks access to an array of hiking trails, panoramic viewpoints, and natural marvels, securing its spot as one of the premier road trips in the United States.

Denali National Park, Alaska

Best For a Quiet Nature Trip

Denali National Park is one of the most captivating destinations in the USA. Enveloped in the pristine wilderness of Alaska, the park’s awe-inspiring landscapes showcase the majestic Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Vast expanses of untouched wilderness, rugged mountains, and sweeping tundra unfold before visitors’ eyes, offering a unique opportunity to experience the untamed beauty of the natural world. Denali National Park is committed to preserving its ecosystems and offers unparalleled wildlife viewing, from grizzly bears to caribou and wolves. It’s one of the best vacation spots in the USA for wildlife lovers.

Adventure seekers can embark on stunning hikes, go camping amidst the wilderness, or take the scenic Denali Park Road for glimpses of this unspoiled paradise. The park’s remote charm and breathtaking vistas make it a haven for those seeking an authentic connection to nature, making Denali a top-notch destination on the American map.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head
Best Vacation For Golfers

Don’t let its size fool you – Hilton Head Island might be small, but it’s got a big reputation as one of the ultimate vacation spots in North America. And yeah, it’s one of those South Carolina islands that folks all over the US know about – especially golfers!

Hilton Head has golf courses abound, so if you seek a hole-in-one, this is one of the best vacation spots in the US for you! Whether you’re after a plush escape, a beach day that’s off the charts, or an outdoor adventure to remember, this place has got you covered. You can hop on a whale-watching tour, hit the greens at some seriously world-class golf courses, get your biking or hiking fix on the trails, and even paddle out on those crystal-clear waters in a kayak.

And when it comes to must-see stuff on Hilton Head Island, you can’t miss out on the Coastal Discovery Museum, the chill vibes of The Pinckney Island National Refuge, and the downright charming Harbor Town Lighthouse – they’re all at the top of the list!

Chicago, Illinois

Best For a City Escape in the Winter or Summer

If you’re after urban wonders and exciting city life, Chicago may be what you’re looking for! As a city located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago offers beautiful lakefront views, sandy beaches, and recreational activities offering plenty of things to do and see in the summer and winter! The Lakefront Trail is popular for jogging, biking, and strolling.

Some of the country’s best restaurants are in Chicago too, and in the summer, you can comfortably enjoy a meal on one of the many rooftops and patios. Chicago is famous for its unique style of pizza, the deep-dish pizza, a must try for any first-timer! Head to the Lincoln Park Zoo, relax in one of the city’s beautiful green spaces and spend evenings enjoying some of that live Jazz music the city is known for.

Park City, Utah

Best for a Full Service Ski Vacation

Park City ranks as the second-largest ski resort in the USA, a true powerhouse in the skiing universe. If you’re hunting for a ski getaway that throws in a bunch of non-ski activities too, this is your jackpot. Park City’s itself is hailed as one of the most epic ski towns globally, and trust us, it lives up to the hype. Think lavish hotels, dining that’s out of this world, and a vibe that’s just electric during the wintertime.

If you’re into the whole pampered ski vacation deal, Park City is one of the best SLC ski resorts for you. Just remember, it’s a top-shelf kind of place, so be prepared to shell out a bit more for the full-blown resort experience. Like Vail and other destinations listed here, it’s not just great in the winter. In the summer, adrenaline lovers will enjoy mountain biking, hiking, stand-up paddling, or hot-air ballooning!

Fairbanks, Alaska

fairbanks, Alaska
Best for Northern Lights Viewing

If you don’t like cold temperatures and short days, this may not be one of the best places to visit in the winter, though if you are searching for the Northern Lights, you really can’t find a better place in the United States than Fairbanks. In the winter, you can also enjoy activities like dog sledding, kick sledding, of “snow machining” (what Alaskans call snowmobiling!)

Just like Hawaii is the ultimate tropical vacation in the United States, Alaska is the ultimate winter destination. After all, it’s the northernmost state and the one that’s guaranteed to have cold temperatures and snow in winter. However you may want the opposite and seek nearly 24 hours of sunlight. In that case travel to Alaska during the summer season, where you’ll be treated with wildflowers and long days – the perfect combination for hiking!

Petoskey, Michigan

petoskey michigan
Best For Small Town Lake Vibes

Petoskey is a charming small town in Michigan located in the northwestern part of the state, sitting right on Lake Michigan. It’s about three hours away from Lansing, one and half hours away from Traverse City, and three hours from Grand Rapids.

It’s a popular vacation destination and is one of the most charming small towns in Michigan. The historic architecture at the Gaslight District will take you back in time while the Bear River Valley Recreation Area will help you reset your mind and soul with its natural beauty. Downtown Petoskey Trolley will allow you to experience Victorian-era charm. Then there are the watersports galore at the beach for the summers and the Petoskey Winter Sports Park for the winters.

Jackson, Wyoming

Mormon Row Jackson Hole Grand Teton
Best For Powderhounds Chasing Snow

If you are a powderhound and looking for one of the best vacation spots in the US, you can’t get much better than Jackson Hole. As if a location only minutes away from Grand Teton National Park isn’t enough, Jackson Hole is the ideal winter getaway for those who want to enjoy the cold and snow rather than escape it. And if you like your winter weather with a large dose of epic powder, that’s exactly what you’ll get in Jackson Hole!

Jackson is a winter sports haven with skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. In town, you’ll find shops, a bookstore, cozy cafes where you can sip a hot beverage after a long day outdoors, and good old fashion country saloons!

Not really feeling winter? It’s a perfect summer destination to – ideal for those after an active vacation in the mountains. Other attractions nearby include the National Elk Refuge where daily sleigh rides are available, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and Jackson Hole Playhouse.

The Ozarks

Rolling Hills Ozarks
Best For Outdoor Retreats

If you love outdoor adventure, you’ll love The Ozarks! The region is known for its waterfalls, lakes, caves and woodlands so there are plenty of places to explore. Some of the attractions you’ll find around The Ozarks region include Fort Smith National Historic Site, Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and Parrot Island Waterpark.

If you’re there in late September, you may even get to enjoy some beautiful fall colors and we can’t recommend the Ozarks enough as a top travel US destination in September. Whether you’re into canoeing, kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking, or all of the above, the weather in September sees temperatures fairly steady between 74°F and 85°F which creates perfect conditions for these pursuits and more.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Schweitzer Mountain Resort Bowl Snowboard
Best For Ski and Lake Time

Nestled on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, surrounded by the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains, Sandpoint, Idaho offers stunning landscapes that seamlessly blend serene lakeshores with majestic peaks. This unique combination of water and mountains creates a picturesque setting that’s hard to match in the United States.

Outdoor enthusiasts can find a true paradise here. The area is a playground for activities like hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and skiing, catering to both summer and winter adventurers. Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers world-class skiing in the winter and transforms into a hub for mountain biking and hiking during the warmer months.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe
Best For Outdoor Escapades

Picture a destination where you can soak up the delights of a stunning clear lake in the summer and revel in immaculate skiing conditions in the winter. No need to conjure this up in your mind, because it’s the real deal at Lake Tahoe!

When you’re not out and about enjoying the great outdoors, take a leisurely drive along the 72-mile scenic route that gracefully winds around the lake, leading you to discover charming villages along the route. You won’t want to miss the likes of Emerald Bay State Park, the Tallac Historic Site, and the mesmerizing Inspiration Point – these are just a few of the gems the region offers!

Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona
Best For Lake Adventures

One of the coolest places to visit in the US, and right on the Arizona/Utah border near Page, is one of the best lakes in the US – Lake Powell. Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir located on the Colorado River, and is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. It’s a super popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, boaters, and vacationers. From Canyon exploration to houseboating, you can do a lot on this lake.

If you want to hang out on Lake Powell one of the best places to do so is at Long Rock Beach. Bring some chairs and a cooler and enjoy the shores of Lake Powell with great views of Lone Rock.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico
Best For a Cultural Tropical Vacation

Yes, Puerto Rico is in the United States and is one of the best vacation spots in the US if you’re looking for a tropical getaway! Puerto Rico has many claims to fame including being home to the biggest mall in the Caribbean and the biggest virgin tropical rainforest. Whether you want to take it easy on a beach blanket with a gentle breeze, dance the night away in a lively club, whale watching or wander the old streets of San Juan, there’s something for everyone on the Caribbean Island!

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, Catedral Basilica Menor de San Juan Bautista and Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico are just some of the attractions that highlight the history and culture of Puerto Rico. So if you’re seeking a beach getaway that is likely different than what you are used to back home, don’t sleep on PR!

Stowe, Vermont

Best For Fall Colors

The town of Stowe in northern Vermont holds the title of Ski Capital of the East, but it’s a great place to visit all year round. In the warmer months, hiking is popular, particularly along the five-mile Stowe Recreation Path and at Mount Mansfield and Cady Hill Forest.

Other notable attractions include Moss Glen Falls and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. October is an exceptionally beautiful time because the leaves turn color to display some of the best foliage in North America!

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington
Best For a European Escape in America

Experience a little slice of Europe without crossing the Atlantic by embarking on a delightful escape to the small town of Leavenworth, Washington. Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, this charming town exudes a Bavarian ambiance that appeals to all. Culinary aficionados and wine connoisseurs can revel in the offerings of Icicle Ridge Winery, as well as the diverse array of eateries and bars lining Front Street.

Nature enthusiasts will find their bliss at Waterfront Park, Front Street Park, the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, and Enchantment Park and those with a penchant for history can explore the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum and the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington Beach front
Best for Beaches, Downtown Life, and Breweries

We’ll end this list of best vacation spots in the US with the city where we met – Wilmington, North Carolina! Wilmington is a bustling port city in the state’s southeastern part, just an hour north of the South Carolina border and less than two hours from Myrtle Beach.

Wilmington is a coveted coastal destination in the south, renowned for its spectacular beaches, including Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach. These North Carolina beaches attract visitors from far and wide, especially in the summer!

Best Vacations in the US – FAQ

florida keys

What is the best state to visit for vacation?

There is no single “best” state to visit when thinking about USA vacations, as it depends on your personal interests and preferences and what you want out of a trip. That being said, a few states see more tourists than others. They are:

  • California: Cali caters to all kinds of travelers as it has it all. Great weather, beaches, mountains, ski, national parks, and Hollywood.
  • Florida: For warm weather, theme parks, palm trees, and beaches Florida is a top choice.
  • Hawaii: A tropical paradise of Hawaii famous for its stunning black sand beaches, volcanoes, and unique culture.
  • New York: World famous, everyone has heard and likely even seen NYC from the countless movies shot in the city.
  • Colorado: If you are seeking a mountain vacation, Colorado is typically at the top of the list. Especially for skiing!

Where is the cheapest warm place to vacation in the USA?

The US isn’t known for being the cheapest place to visit, however deals can still be had on good vacations spots in places like New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, and Tucson.

26 CHEAPEST Places to Travel in the USA

Where are the best vacation spots in the USA for ski?

The US is full of fantastic ski resorts. We’ve snowboarded at nearly 50 ski resorts in the US. A few of our favorites are Snowbird in Utah, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, and Crystal Mountain in Washington.

Where is the most underrated vacation spot in America?

There are plenty of underrated vacation spots in the USA, but one that comes to our mind the most is the state of Oregon. This state has a diverse landscape with stunning natural features, beautiful forests, mountains, great skiing, and fantastic surfing. You can even enjoy beautiful beach days here at Cannon Beach. Oregon often gets overshadowed by its neighboring states such as California and Washington, but it’s well worth the effort to see this beauty!

Where is the best beach vacation in the US?

There are so many amazing beach destinations in the US. Maui, the Outer Banks, Nantucket, and Santa Monica are some of the most famous and notable.

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.