Top vacation spots in the US for summer and winter getaways, beach paradises, and family-friendly destinations. Find your perfect vacation destination 🤩
Best Beach Vacation Spots in the USA
Sparkling shorelines spanning two oceans and the Gulf of Mexico give beachgoers endless options when planning coastal getaways. Whether you seek party towns or peaceful solitude, options for sand and surf abound across the country.
Must place to visit! Often called America’s tropics, Hawaii’s islands boast some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Top beach spots span golden crescents like Waikiki with its legendary sunsets to Maui’s Napili Bay, perfect for snorkeling rainbow coral reefs. Though popular, it’s still easy to find seclusion on Kauai’s Na Pali coast with its towering cliffs. With near-perfect weather year-round, Hawaii remains the country’s top beach destination.
Mainland getaways land travelers on Florida’s talcum soft sands, from steamy South Beach’s art deco resorts to Panhandle retreats along emerald coastlines. Two-thirds of Florida’s 825 miles of beaches consistently top best lists, like Siesta Key’s quartz sand shores near Sarasota and Clearwater Beach’s family-friendly surf. No matter where you lay your beach towel, Florida’s combined coasts offer the most beach towns to choose from nationwide.
The Golden State boasts over 300 beaches spanning 1100 miles of spectacular shoreline. In Southern California, Santa Monica’s sun-kissed coast mansions back wide beaches perfect beach walking and cycling along the waterfront path toward Malibu’s celebrity homes. Further south, San Diego visitors mix vibrant beach bars and bonfires with chilled out surf scenes at La Jolla Shores, while Coronado Beach across the bay delights with its easy waves. Up north, wilder Sonoma Coast beaches like Goat Rock Beach beckon nature lovers.
Best National Parks & Outdoor Destinations
Looking to get your heart pumping amid spectacular scenery? America’s national parks offer countless opportunities to continually push your limits through white water, rugged peaks, towering forests and more.
Utah’s Mighty Five
These five iconic Southwest landscapes astound with otherworldly desert terrain. Towering Delicate Arch and soaring Devil’s Garden stone sculptures fill Arches NP, while a maze of fiery red canyons awaits at Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands NP. Massive Bryce Canyon National Park impresses visitors with its cathedral spires called “hoodoos,” and the sheer cliffs of cream, pink and red rising from the depths Zion National Park are equally stunning.
In California, colossal trees sway over fern-fringed creeks in Redwood National Parks, with primeval giants standing over 350 feet tall. Yosemite National Park is also one of the nation’s iconic outdoor gems. Its granite domes, thundering waterfalls and alpine lakes and meadows leave lifetime impressions. Further south, Death Valley National Park contains some of the hottest, driest and lowest points in North America, with oases tucked amid sand dunes and volcanic craters blasted by erosion.
Wyoming & Montana
Up north, Yellowstone National Park holds the world’s largest concentration of geysers, including crowd-pleaser Old Faithful, while bison, elk and bears roam massive snowcapped mountain wilderness. Grand Teton National Park neighbors impressive craggy Teton peaks soaring above glacial lakes. And Glacier National Park crosses the Continental Divide, with over 700 miles of trails ribboning its scenic peaks, trickling streams and glacial lakes before the glaciers disappear in coming decades.
Best Winter Vacation Spots
Come snowfall, ski resort towns across the Rockies and Sierras transform into winter wonderlands perfect for bombing down slopes or simply relaxing in snowy scenes straight out of holiday cards.
Utah & Colorado
Utah’s Park City offers North America’s largest ski resort with over 3,000 snow-smothered acres spanning eight interlinked peaks. Hop off your last chairlift and enjoy Park City’s lively après ski scene, with festive music venues and eateries lining historic Main Street. In Colorado, gluwein warms hands clutched by skiers in Vail’s Bavarian village or after testing the legendary terrain and moguls of Aspen’s four mountains: Buttermilk, Aspen, Snowmass and Aspen Highlands.
Wyoming & Montana
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers expert runs slicing under the daring Aerial Tram in Wyoming’s Tetons, while rustic Red Lodge delivers great skiing without the crowds two hours from Yellowstone. Up north, shred wide open bowls or gladed tree runs at Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort or Big Sky Resort, ranked America’s second largest by acreage. Schuss down Discovery or Lone Peak buttressed by 11,166 ft summits.
Vermont & Lake Tahoe
Over east, Stowe Mountain Resort spans Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield at 4,393 feet, delighting skiers with idyllic New England charm at its base. Out west squatting on the California/Nevada border, Heavenly Ski Resort overlooking crystalline Lake Tahoe also impresses with its unparalleled views spanning two states, earning its heavenly name.
Best Ski Vacation Destination in the US
World renowned for its incredible terrain and top-tier ski resorts, Colorado presents a premier winter vacation destination. Beyond its famed powder stashes and sloping trails spanning four distinct mountain ranges—the Rocky Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Front Range, and Sawatch Range—Colorado entices travelers seeking varied experiences. Mile-high Denver captivates with vibrant art institutions and an exploding culinary scene, while historic mountain mining towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Breckenridge thrill powderhounds with outdoor adventures by day and lively après-ski vibes after dark. Blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, even non-skiers find plenty to fill their vacation days including scenic drives scaling the Rockies, soaking in geothermal hot springs nestled along riverbanks, or embarking on sled-dog rides through frosted forests. With new terrain opening each season spanning world-class resorts like Vail, Colorado continually upgrades its status as America’s premier ski destination.
Best Big City Getaway Spots
Craving a faster pace alongside cultural icons and global dining? America’s cities shine with arts, nightlife, landmarks and more to fill your dance card morning to night.
New York City
The City That Never Sleeps sets a frenetic pace with endless attractions packed into its concrete canyons. Beyond its towering skyscrapers, Times Square billboards, and Brooklyn brownstones beat legendary entertainment venues, world-class shopping, Michelin-starred restaurants, and top museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim lining Central Park.
Further west, San Francisco delights with its postcard-perfect views on Bay cruises sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge toward hilly streets dotted with Painted Ladies Victorian homes. Wander flower-powered Haight Ashbury’s hippie history before enjoying some of America’s best dining experiences within the compact City by the Bay.
Venture inland to Chicago, where acclaimed eateries like Alinea attract globe-trotting gastronomes. Frank Lloyd Wright architecture buffs find oak-aged nirvana at his Home & Studio, while sports fans relish games at Wrigley Field or cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum and more. Enjoy skyline views on Lake Michigan’s ferry rides or meandering trails hugging its shimmering shores.
Lastly, visitors immerse themselves in America’s story at the Smithsonian’s clutch of capitol museums and monuments lining the National Mall within Washington DC. Pay respects at memorials to fallen heroes before witnessing government proceedings inside stately neoclassical structures like the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Unique Hidden Gems Worth Discovering
Looking to escape crowds and uncover unexpected hideaways? Dodging well-trodden tourism trails reveals surprising small town appeal and natural wonders to enjoy alone on empty trails through rarely-glimpsed remote wilderness.
Tucked in Washington’s North Cascades alpine peaks, the tiny Bavarian village of Leavenworth hosts Oktoberfest with beer, brats and polka dancing. Its European facades and festivals feel wonderfully out of place against this Pacific Northwest backdrop of granite monoliths and forested slopes that glow gold in fall.
The remote West Texas art hub of Marfa practically disappears under its enormous skyscape dotted with sculptural installations dotting the minimalist landscape. Stay in hip vintage trailers or El Cosmico’s Mongolian yurts and join conceptual art pilgrims peering at the distant “Marfa Lights,” a mysterious glowing phenomenon, with cocktails in hand at dusk.
Black Hills, South Dakota
In South Dakota, unveil surreal landscapes in Badlands National Park, where stripes and towers of sedimentary rock eroded by wind and water create an eerie Martian scene. Nearby Black Hills hold sacred lands for the Lakota people, including Mount Rushmore’s massive presidential rock sculpture and the monumental Crazy Horse Memorial still under construction after seven decades.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island on Lake Huron feels like stepping back in time. Free from modern vehicles, residents and visitors traverse its Victorian-style downtown on foot, bike or horse-drawn carriage. After visiting 19th century landmarks like British Fort Mackinac and quaint shops, unwind on the front porch of the iconic Grand Hotel listening to lake waves lap below.
Biking Destinations in the US
Boasting over 47,000 miles of mapped bike routes across the country, the USA serves seasoned and recreational riders plenty of biking bliss. Utah’s state bike — the Road Runner — appropriately traverses some of the country’s most dramatic desert landscapes visible while pedaling. Moab specifically built its reputation around exhilarating mountain biking and road cycling with epic trails like the Whole Enchilada and popular multi-day bikepacking routes including the White Rim Trail. Just north, Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and now attracts summer travelers to cruise its urban bike paths and greenways or test lung capacity climbing the Wasatch Range peaks towering over the valley. Downhill enthusiasts particularly flock to Brian Head Resort’s bike park with over 40 miles of descending thrill.
Best Vacation Spots in The US for History Buffs
From sites marking pivotal moments in the nation’s founding to iconic landmarks symbolizing freedom, America overflows with moving historical attractions. Top spots where the past comes alive include Philadelphia where the Liberty Bell still cracks and Independence Hall still stands. Walk the halls of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. to glimpse the workings of democracy. In New York, immigrants’ first glimpses of America started at Ellis Island, now a fascinating museum. Charleston’s cobblestone streets wind past antebellum mansions and gardens. And San Antonio’s centuries-old Missions tell tales of Spanish settlers.
Best Spots for Outdoor Adventure
Adrenaline junkies can get their thrills coast-to-coast across America’s spectacular landscapes. Tackle the raging rapids of the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River on exhilarating white water rafting tours. Scale red rock towers windowed with climbing routes thin as threads at Zion National Park and Moab’s desert wonderlands. Hike sky-high summits like Yosemite’s Half Dome amid California’s Sierra Nevada. Shred endless acres of legendary terrain from Jackson Hole’s Teton peaks to Utah’s Wasatch slopes. Smaller towns like Bend, Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina also serve outdoor recreation meccas with craft breweries and farm-to-table dining the cherry atop.
America’s Charming Small Towns Worth Visiting
Beyond big cities, quaint small towns scattered across the American landscape brim with under-the-radar appeal. Like stepping back in time, New Hope, Pennsylvania’s quirky art galleries, independent shops, and Bucks County Playhouse line car-free streets beside the Delaware River. Further west in Montana, historic Virginia City transports you to gold rush days with wooden boardwalks and Old West architecture flanking old saloons. Down south, Beaufort’s antebellum mansions grace moss-draped oaks along South Carolina’s coastal waters. Out west under looming red cliffs, artistic energy flourishes in Utah’s tiny town of Springdale at Zion National Park’s doorstep with eclectic galleries, restaurants and outfitters to launch park adventures.
Best Places to Spot Unusual Landscapes
Looking beyond classic shorelines and purple mountain majesties, America unfurls unique landscapes lesser-seen. Arizona’s Painted Desert captivates with bands of fiery red, orange and pink etched into buttes and spires that disappear in twilight’s colors. The ocean itself disappears in California’s below-sea-level, otherworldly Death Valley, with volcanic craters and parched salt flats scattered with spindly spires. Farther west at Pinnacles National Park, massive monoliths and towering crags hide trails tunneling through talus passages. Down south the Texas hill country’s rolling meadowlands flecked with bluebonnets bloom into a tapestry come springtime. While up north Minnesota’s North Shore astonishes in fall when nature paints a Masterpiece drenching forests in vibrant hues tumbling toward Lake Superior’s glimmering shore.
Most Scenic Train Rides for Relaxing Rail Journeys
All aboard for leisurely sightseeing aboard America’s spectacular scenic railways! Rattle through pine forests toward ocean vistas on California’s famous Coast Starlight route hugging the Pacific from Seattle to LA. Traverse lofty trestles and glacier-carved peaks on Alaska Railroad’s routes between Anchorage, Denali National Park and ski-hub towns like Girdwood. Back east, New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad chugs past North Conway’s shops through the White Mountains’OI paper birch and evergreen forests Turning crimson in fall. Or soak up classic Americana aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder linking Chicago through Big Sky Country’s wide open plains toward Glacier National Park and onward to Seattle by the Puget Sound.
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Most Unique Islands for Secluded Escapes
Scattered along America’s coasts, enchanting islands offer sanctuary with seclusion and serenity. Off South Carolina, time slows to island pace on Daufuskie Island’s beaches neighbor historic lighthouses, with shorebirds and loggerhead turtles more abundant than people. On Washington’s Puget Sound, captivating Whidbey Island combines quiet forests and quirky towns like Coupville and Langley lined with cafes and galleries. And kissed by the Pacific, crystalline waters surrounding California’s jewel Catalina Island draw snorkelers and nature lovers seeking solitude steps from beaches and trails.