Last updated: October 18th, 2023
Are you looking for the best vacation spots in the US to unwind and soak up the sun? Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical escape, a warm winter getaway, or a fall foliage paradise, this guide on the top vacation ideas in the US has got you covered.
In this article, you’ll discover the most interesting cities to enjoy live music, history, and art. You’ll learn about charming resort towns surrounded by jaw-dropping landscapes, the most beautiful national parks to adventure in, and the best beach destinations to tan in the sun.
At the end of the article, there’s also a summary of the top 10 vacation spots in the US to help you narrow down the choices. Admire world-class wonders, dance to live music, gaze at the Milky Way, and enjoy the tastiest barbecue in the following best places to vacation in the US.
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☀️ Best Places to Vacation in the US: Highlights
Here are the top highlights of the best places to go on vacation in the US, by category. These are just a few of the 60+ destinations in this guide, and below, you can find the main reasons why they make such great vacation spots in the US.
- 🏝 The best vacation destinations in the US for island vibes: Key West, Florida + Hawaii
- 🧗🏻♀️ The top vacation spot in the US for adventures: Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado
- 🥘 The best place to vacation in the US for foodies: Portland, Oregon
- 📸 The best vacation destination in the US for photos & views: Page, Arizona
- 🎉 The best vacation in the US for festivals: Atlanta, Georgia
- 🏂🏻 The best vacation spot in the US for winter sports: Aspen, Colorado
- 🌠 The top vacation destination in the US for stargazing: Death Valley NP, California
🇺🇸 The Best Vacation Spots in the US in 2023
🌿 The Best Vacations in the US – National Parks
There are tons of good places to vacation in the US that will quench your thirst for adventure. Whether you’re looking to hike, spot wildlife, explore from the water, or lie down and stargaze, these fantastic national parks have got you covered.
63. Yosemite National Park, California
☀️ Why vacation here: Famed for its tall sequoia trees and majestic waterfalls, Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the US. Perfect for thrilling outdoor adventures, this park also offers unique natural wonders and cultural experiences.
🏞 Enjoy breathtaking views: There’s a reason Yosemite is featured so much on screensavers. The landscapes there are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and nature enthusiasts will be in heaven. Enjoy the stunning views by climbing, camping, hiking, or driving. The most unmissable spots include the famous Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, and Glacier Point.
💎 Explore crystal caves: Dorothy Lake is a glacier lake at the northern tip of the park, and it’s home to the stunning Crystal Caverns. These hidden attractions are filled with dazzling quartz, and you’ll barely see any tourists there. Bring a headlamp and a map for the hike!
62. Glacier National Park, Montana
☀️ Why vacation here: With over 700 miles of hiking trails carved out of the Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park is perfect for vacationers looking to explore the wilderness. There are also plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy there, such as rafting, swimming, and biking.
🌿 Commune with nature: Even less experienced hikers can hike the spectacular Trail of the Cedars, an easy path that leads to a gorgeous waterfall. Other must-do hikes include the more strenuous Grinnell Glacier Trail, where you can spot floating icebergs in a lake.
🐠 Learn to fly-fish: Enjoy a fun fly-fishing experience with Glacier Guides, suitable for anyone from beginners to experts. Professionals will lead you to the river and teach you hands-on fly-fishing techniques, including how to read river currents and angling strategies.
🏡 WHERE TO STAY: Glacier Outdoor Center (⭐️ 9.2)
61. Death Valley National Park, California — One of the Top Vacation Destinations in the US
☀️ Why vacation here: The Death Valley National Park in Eastern California is home to some of the most diverse and intriguing landscapes in the US. It also offers incredible stargazing opportunities. Take a warm winter vacation here to explore without the desert heat.
🏜 Explore the landscapes: Take the Highway 190 driving route to see the most photogenic vantage points, such as Zabriskie Point and Dante’s View. There are also plenty of scenic hiking routes ranging from easy to difficult. Don’t miss the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes hike!
🌠 Gaze at the Milky Way: Death Valley is the largest Dark Sky National Park in the US and offers the darkest skies in the entire country. Grab a blanket and head over to Dante’s View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, or Badwater Basin for a once-in-a-lifetime Milky Way viewing.
60. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
☀️ Why vacation here: The red-rock paradise of Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most fun vacation spots in the US. Filled with unique natural wonders and incredible sunrise viewing spots, this park is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic places in the country.
🏜 Hit the scenic trails: This park is filled with hoodoos — unique red rock formations that are best explored through spectacular hikes. The Queens Garden Trail is an unmissable one as it takes you right into a valley of hoodoos. The Peekaboo Loop Trail is another fun hike to do.
📸 Take in the views: There is no shortage of breathtaking viewpoints inside this gorgeous park, and you can reach many of them by car. Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point are some of the most picture-perfect spots to capture the stunning hoodoos!
59. White Sands National Park, New Mexico
☀️ Why vacation here: The underrated White Sands National Park in southeastern New Mexico is one of the prettiest vacation spots in the US. As the world’s largest gypsum dune field, this 275-square-miles of pure desert is a dreamy winter wonderland, minus the snow.
🛷 Toboggan down the sand: Who said you needed snow to sled? This national park is the perfect place to bring a toboggan or sled, find a dune, and slide down! The fastest way to go down the dunes is by using waxed snow-saucers, which can also be bought at the gift shop.
🏜 Hike over the dunes: There are five established trails in the White Sands National Park, each varying in difficulty. The Interdune Boardwalk is a scenic short walk with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy wildflowers. Avid hikers would love the panoramic Alkali Flat Trail, which takes you through the heart of the sands and over steep dunes.
58. Joshua Tree National Park, California
☀️ Why vacation here: With almost 2,000 miles of endless California desert, Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best vacation spots in America. This unique park is home to over 100 miles of hiking trails, cool outdoor museums, and a couple of holistic experiences, too.
🛀 Take a sound bath: There are plenty of places to relax after hiking in Joshua Tree. Integratron, a white-domed structure right next to the park, offers 60-minute sound baths, where individual notes are played on quartz bowls to give holistic healing to the body.
🗿 Admire ethereal sculptures: Explore 10 acres of fascinating environmental sculptures at the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum. The large-scale pieces there are made from all kinds of materials, such as burnt wood and glass fragments. Most of them are even large enough to walk into and explore from all angles!
57. Olympic National Park, Washington
☀️ Why vacation here: The lush and tropical Olympic National Park is definitely one of the top cool places to vacation in the US. Home to rainforests, beaches, and glacier-capped mountains, this park offers endless outdoor activities to enjoy, including climbing and hiking.
🦜 Wander through a rainforest: Step into the fairytale that is Hoh Rainforest, one of the last remaining rainforests in the United States. Filled with more shades of green than you can imagine, it is home to the lush Hall of Mosses, an atmospheric forest of moss-covered trees.
🚴♂️ Enjoy a scenic bike ride: The Olympic Discovery Trail is a popular destination for bikers. Starting at the seaside town of Port Townsend and winding through the Quimper Peninsula, the path takes riders through beautiful forest landscapes, snowy mountains, and beaches.
56. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
☀️ Why vacation here: Mount Rainier National Park in Washington surrounds the glacier-capped Mt. Rainier and offers an incredibly scenic getaway for nature lovers. Vacationers can enjoy epic mountain views, wildflower meadows, and unique wildlife in this stunning park.
🌸 Hike through wildflowers: From mid-July through August, vibrant fields of wildflowers bloom inside Mount Rainier National Park. Skyline Trail, Alta Vista Trail, Naches Loop Trail, and Pinnacle Peak are just a few of the many hikes that offer breathtaking views of these flowers.
🌅 Catch a glorious sunrise: At 6,400 feet, Sunrise Point is the highest visitor center inside the park. From there, you can watch the sun slowly rise and light up beautiful Mount Rainier — an absolutely magical experience, to say the least. You can also spot other nearby volcanoes!
55. Zion National Park, Utah
☀️ Why vacation here: As one of Utah’s premier attractions, Zion National Park offers epic outdoor adventures and wildlife encounters unlike anywhere else in the US. Clear blue skies, sandstone cliffs, and unique slot canyons are just a few of the stunning features at Zion.
🏞 Backpack along the rim: Both the East Rim and West Rim of the park offer fantastic backpacking routes. The trails are 12 and 16 miles respectively, and both offer several gorgeous views as you descend into the canyon and experience the cliffs surrounding you.
🦅 Gaze at majestic birds: There are 291 species of birds at Zion National Park, so cooper’s hawks, ring-necked ducks, and black-chinned hummingbirds are common to see. The National Park Service even provides a checklist of all the birds you might spot!
54. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
☀️ Why vacation here: Spanning over 300,000 acres of gorgeous land, the Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming is home to dramatic mountains and scenic lakes. In the summer, it is a paradise for hikers, and in the winter, it is a snow-covered wonderland.
🚗 Explore from your car: The 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive takes you through all the highlights of the park. Along the way, you’ll spot picturesque lakes, deep canyons, and many scenic overlooks. Be sure to drive up to the Signal Mountain summit to get the best panoramic views!
⛵️ Float down the river: Enjoy a scenic raft trip down Snake River or a canoe adventure down Jenny Lake. From the water, you might even spot moose, osprey, beavers, deer, and eagles. Plus, nothing beats the spectacular view of the rugged mountains surrounding the lakes.
53. Redwood National & State Parks, California
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to the world’s tallest trees and oldest redwood grove, the Redwood National and State Parks are some of the best travel spots in the US. The verdant landscapes there create a mystical forest experience for those in need of a nature getaway.
🌊 Take a coastal drive: A Redwood National Park itinerary offers many scenic driving routes. Cruise along the coast, watch the waves crash, and take in the magnificent view from the Coastal Drive Loop, Requa Road, and Enderts Beach Road.
🎶 Listen to a babbling brook: Hike the Trillium Falls Trail to see a gorgeous waterfall tucked inside the beautiful redwoods. The splattering water is soothing to listen to as you enjoy a picnic on the rocks. You might even spot a few elk along this short and moderate hike.
🏡 WHERE TO STAY: Holiday Inn Express Redwood National Park (⭐️ 8.5)
52. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to spectacular geological hotspots and wildlife, Yellowstone National Park is one of the top places to vacation in the US. A trip to this outdoor paradise will dazzle you with unique landscapes, such as dramatic canyons and gushing geysers.
⛲️ Catch a water show: The famed geysers at Yellowstone are a sight to see. While there are several water features in the park, check out the Old Faithful for the best chance of seeing a geyser erupt. The eruption happens around 20 times a day and can reach as high as 180 feet!
🦌 Spot majestic wildlife: Yellowstone is home to 300 species of birds, countless bison, and many of the biggest land animals in the US. Head to Mount Washburn to watch bighorn sheep scale a mountain, and the calmer Lamar Valley to observe grazing moose and bison.
51. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
☀️ Why vacation here: Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado is home to some of the most stunning topography in the US. This park is filled with beautiful hikes through mountains, thrilling climbing routes, and one of the highest roads in the country to drive on.
🚗 Take a scenic drive: The 48-mile Trail Ridge Road offers absolutely gorgeous views and opportunities to spot wildlife, like elk or bighorn sheep. Sightsee from your car and stop by popular lookouts such as Forest Canyon Overlook, Fairview Curve, and Many Parks Curve.
⛰ Explore the mountains: Outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers would especially love mountaineering and rock climbing at this national park. There is everything from easy climbs and bouldering to multi-day climbs up cliffs. In the winter, you can even ice climb!
50. Acadia National Park, Maine
☀️ Why vacation here: Commonly dubbed the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”, Acadia National Park is marked by picturesque beaches, stunning hiking trails, and 50 miles of scenic roads. Vacationers can also enjoy spotting wildlife and relaxing in resort towns.
🚗 Take a scenic drive: Start exploring the park by driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road. This drive passes by some of the best lookout points of the park, including Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, and Sand Beach. You can also get out along the way to hit the many hiking trails.
🌅 Catch an unforgettable sunrise: Cadillac Mountain, the gem of Acadia, is famous for being the first place the sun touches in the US. Its summit, which can be hiked or driven up, offers gorgeous panoramic views of the bay, especially at sunrise. It’s definitely worth getting up for!
49. Denali National Park, Alaska
☀️ Why vacation here: With 6 million acres of wilderness, the Denali National Park in Alaska is one of the best nature vacation spots in the US. While summer is perfect for hiking and water rafting, visiting in the winter offers other kinds of outdoor fun, like skiing and snowshoeing.
🐕 Meet sled dogs: Denali is home to the only working sled dogs in the US. These creatures have been protecting this national park since 1922. Visit the kennels in the park to meet the sled dogs, learn about the history of this tradition, and watch a mushing demonstration.
🚁 Soar above the mountains: There’s so much more to do in Denali National Park than just hiking and skiing. Soar above the mountains on one of the many flightseeing tours to get a bird’s-eye view of wildlife and to see the peaks up close. You can even land on a glacier!
48. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona — One of the Most Popular Vacation Spots in US 📸
☀️ Why vacation here: The Grand Canyon National Park is hands down one of Arizona’s best family vacations and one of the best holiday destinations in USA. With incredibly breathtaking viewpoints, this canyon offers unforgettable hikes and endless outdoor adventures.
🌠 Spot shooting stars: This national park is one of the darkest places in the country, which means it’s the perfect spot for stargazing. Head over to some of the best viewpoints, such as Walhalla Plateau and Bright Angel Point, at dusk and settle down for a spectacular night.
🚣 Go whitewater rafting: While there are endless hikes to enjoy at the Grand Canyon, one unique way to experience the beauty of this park is by rafting down the Colorado River. Hualapai River Runners offers multi-day tours through exciting rapids, and it’s the perfect activity for adventurous souls.
🏝 The Best Relaxing Vacations in the US – Beaches
If you’re looking for great places to vacation in the US for tropical vibes, here are the most irresistible beach destinations across the country. From the sunny shores of Hawaii to the rugged coast of Oregon, these nice vacation spots in the US have just the right exotic atmosphere.
47. Kauai, Hawaii
☀️ Why vacation here: If you’re looking for cool vacations in the US for tropical outdoor adventures, don’t miss the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Home to luscious rainforests and many picturesque hiking spots, Kauai is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature.
🏇 Ride through the jungle: Take an unforgettable horseback ride through secluded beaches, farmland, and jungle terrain in the historic Maha’ulepu area. You’ll get gorgeous coastal and mountain views along the way and can even enjoy a custom picnic lunch on the beach!
🚜 Traverse off-road: For a unique adventure, hop on an ATV and embark on an exhilarating waterfall expedition. On this bestselling Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour, you can see private waterfalls, stunning bamboo jungles, cultural history, and enjoy a swim at the waterfall!
46. Key West, Florida
☀️ Why vacation here: Closer to Cuba than to the mainland, Key West is hands down one of the best honeymoon destinations in the US. This island city offers an energetic nightlife, a vibrant Caribbean culture, and a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
🐢 Venture under the sea: Key West is home to a barrier reef, so whether it’s snorkeling, mangrove kayaking, or spotting sea turtles, there is plenty to experience in the tropical waters there. Take a day trip to Dry Tortugas to enjoy more unforgettable water adventures!
🎉 Enjoy the nightlife: Start your evenings by catching an iconic sunset in Mallory Square. Then, dance the night away in one of the many nightclubs, such as 801 Bourbon Bar and Aqua Nightclub. If you enjoy live music and singing with the crowd, don’t miss Sloppy Joe’s Bar.
45. Cape Kiwanda, Oregon — One of the Best Mini Vacations in the US 🌊
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Oregon Coast, Cape Kiwanda is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers. As one of the most relaxing vacation spots in the US, Cape Kiwanda is perfect for a short and peaceful coastal getaway.
🏜 Hike up a sand dune: There’s a giant 240-feet-tall sand dune at Cape Kiwanda, and it’s quite a workout to climb. Once you get to the top, though, you’ll be treated to an incredible 360° view of the ocean and surrounding beauty. In the summer, you might even spot whales!
🔥 Relax by the fire: Enjoy a cozy evening at one of the beaches on Cape Kiwanda, where you can set up a toasty fire. Make s’mores and have a barbecue as you listen to the waves crash. There are also 7 camping sites at Cape Kiwanda RV Resort, so you can easily spend the night.
44. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
☀️ Why vacation here: Perched on the coast of northeastern South Carolina, the city of Myrtle Beach sits on a 60-mile stretch of stunning white sand beach called the Grand Strand. A vacation here offers a variety of outdoor and cultural activities as well as a vibrant nightlife.
🏄♀️ Enjoy beach fun: Outdoor lovers will love the variety of water activities at the Grand Strand. Enjoy kayaking, parasailing, fishing, surfing, and jet skiing at the white sand beaches, or for a different kind of adventure, go horseback riding along a forest trail by the beach.
🔮 Get entertained: There’s plenty to do in Myrtle Beach that doesn’t involve the beach itself. Head to WonderWorks for interactive science exhibitions and fun physical challenges. To enjoy the most entertaining dinner, watch cool acrobatic tricks at the Pirates Voyage Show.
43. Big Sur, California
☀️ Why vacation here: The coastal area of Big Sur in Central California is home to some of the most dramatic sceneries in the US. This beautiful 100-mile stretch of coast along the Pacific Ocean is filled with iconic lookout points, campgrounds, and notable historical landmarks.
🌊 Enjoy a coastal drive: Big Sur stretches along the stunning Highway 1. Cruising down this road, you’ll come across the unmissable Bixby Bridge, which offers breathtaking ocean views. Be sure to also stop by Point Lobos State Park to spot a blend of green forest landscapes.
🌿 Hike to waterfalls: There are many hikes in the Big Sur area that lead to charming waterfalls. Hit the Pfeiffer Falls Trail, Salmon Creek Trail, and Ragged Point Cliffside Trail to enjoy panoramic views of the coast, dramatic cliffside views, and many majestic waterfalls.
42. Oahu, Hawaii
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to more than 125 beaches, the Hawaiian island of Oahu is hands down one of the most relaxing vacations in the US. Enjoy endless underwater activities, thrilling experiences, and Hollywood film spots in this incredibly exotic dream destination.
🐙 Take a submarine tour: Head on the Waikiki Atlantis Submarine Adventure for a unique way to experience the magical underwater world of Oahu without getting wet. Panoramic views give you a front-row seat to hundreds of colorful fish, coral reefs, and even a few turtles!
🦜 Fly through the jungle: Enjoy the longest ziplines on the island on the once-in-a-lifetime North Shore Zipline Tour. This adventure includes eight ziplines, an ATV ride through the jungle, and four sky bridges to experience the rich woodlands and lush mountains of Oahu.
Read more: 24 Prettiest White Sand Beaches in the US
41. Miami, Florida
☀️ Why vacation here: The coastal metropolis of Miami offers the perfect combination of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. With several sandy beaches, there are plenty of water sports in town to choose from. Visitors can also enjoy museums and vibrant nightlife.
🐬 Swim with dolphins: Head over to the Miami Seaquarium to get up close and personal with many sea creatures. Spot penguins, enjoy a dolphin show, and learn about thousands of vibrant fish. For a unique experience, you can even swim with adorable dolphins and seals!
🍷 Sip freshly-made wine: While there are plenty of wine bars in Miami, don’t miss Schnebly Redland’s Winery for a tropical taste of the city. Sip exotic wines made from local fruits and explore their massive grounds, which houses a tropical courtyard, waterfalls, and many tikis.
40. Big Island, Hawaii — One of the Top Vacations in US for Unique Landscapes 🌋
☀️ Why vacation here: Big Island is home to some of the most diverse landscapes on the Hawaiian archipelago. Home to fascinating green sand beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes, there are plenty of unique, outdoorsy, and underwater adventures to enjoy here.
🌋 Watch a volcano erupt: The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island is home to the Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Watching it spew fire is an unmissable experience. Afterward, don’t miss a stroll down the unique Nahuku Thurston Lava Tube!
🐬 Meet dolphins and turtles: Head to Makako Bay, Kealakekua Bay, or Kauhako Bay to observe spinner dolphins as they ride the waves of the ocean. For more adorable wildlife spottings, head to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach for the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles.
39. Maui, Hawaii
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to 30 miles of tropical beaches, the Hawaiian “Valley Isle” of Maui is known for its stunning coastal views and dazzling sunsets. The perfect place to unwind, Maui was voted the “Best Island in the US” by Condé Traveler for the past 20 years.
🐳 See giant whales: Dring the months of December to April, over 10,000 humpback whales migrate to the warm, shallow waters of Maui. You can join many whale-watching expeditions during this time and watch these majestic animals splash around and perform aerial dances.
🏝 Enjoy island life: There’s no better place to unwind than on the beautiful beaches of Maui, such as Makena ‘Big’ Beach and Ka’anapali Beach. Endless water activities include surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can also go snorkeling with dolphins and manta rays!
38. San Diego, California
☀️ Why vacation here: With consistently warm weather all year long, vibrant San Diego offers plenty of lively entertainment, cultural experiences, and water activities to fill your time. It is hands down one of the top ten vacation spots in US for beach-loungers and museum-lovers.
🏝 Meet sea lions: San Diego is home to over 30 beaches with plenty to offer. Children’s Pool and Shell Beach are both great places to spot sea lions and seals. Sunny Jim Cave is another popular sea lion hangout, and it’s also the only West Coast ocean cave accessible by land.
🎨 Tour the museums: Balboa Park in San Diego is home to a whopping 17 museums, including the Museum of Us, which chronicles the origins of human history; the San Diego Air & Space Museum, which displays spectacular space artifacts, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Read more: 51 Most Tropical Places in the USA
🌉 The Top Vacation Spots in the US – City Breaks
From NYC to Atlanta, there are plenty of incredible cities to explore in America. Catch a food festival, get a history lesson, and enjoy live country music at a vibrant metropolis. Here are some of the most beautiful places to vacation in the US for city lovers.
37. New York City, New York
☀️ Why vacation here: New York City is a once-in-a-lifetime destination with something to offer everyone. This melting pot has it all; from renowned art galleries and Broadway shows to world-class cuisine. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to go on holiday in America.
🌍 See & taste the world: In NYC, you can find endless authentic ethnic food. Head to Flushing in Queens for real Chinese cuisine, Urubamba Restaurant for traditional Peruvian dishes, and Buon’Italia for the freshest Italian groceries. Those hungry for art are blessed with a sea of options, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Smithsonian Design Museum.
🎭 Catch an affordable show: While there are endless amazing Broadway shows to catch in NYC, there are also plenty of great affordable shows to see. An Off-Broadway show is a wonderful option; they’re less expensive but still offer a high-quality Broadway experience.
36. Nashville, Tennessee
☀️ Why vacation here: Nashville, the bustling capital of Tennessee, has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US. This city boasts an inviting Southern charm, heritage architecture, live music venues, unique culture, and an up-and-coming food scene.
🎸 Enjoy country music: Known as the ‘Capital of Country Music’, Nashville is the perfect place to experience live music. Head to Bluebird Café to watch performances by up-and-coming artists. Many singer-songwriters, including Taylor Swift, had career-defining moments at this venue!
🎨 Take in the art & culture: There is no shortage of cultural experiences to enjoy in Nashville. See the impressive art collection inside The Parthenon, catch a concert or ballet show at the TPAC, and immerse yourself in music history at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
35. Atlanta, Georgia — One of the Top Cool Vacation Spots in the US for Festivals 🎉
☀️ Why vacation here: Boasting a mouthwatering food scene, vibrant festivals, and tons of history, Atlanta is a city that has it all. As one of the best places to go for vacation in the US, Atlanta is also known as the ‘City of Trees’ and offers plenty of gardens and outdoor fun.
🎉 Experience a festival: There’s a festival nearly every weekend somewhere in Atlanta. Don’t miss the Atlanta Brunch Festival in the fall, the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival in the summer, the Shaky Knees Music Festival in the spring, and the Atlanta Pizza Festival in the fall.
🗿 Immerse yourself in history: Tour the Atlanta History Center for one of the biggest exhibitions on the Civil War. Stroll the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park to relive the Civil Rights Movement. This 35-acre park also encompasses MLK’s birth home and tomb.
34. New Orleans, Louisiana
☀️ Why vacation here: Nestled in the Deep South, vibrant New Orleans (NOLA) is hands down among the top 5 vacation spots in the US. This bucket-list destination is a haven for live music, delicious food, and boisterous nightlife. It also stands out for its unique French culture.
🍩 Enjoy food & music: NOLA has put endless dishes on the map, including jambalaya, po’ boys, and beignets (a local doughnut). The best beignets can be found at Cafe Du Monde. Crawfish season is from March to June, and a stop at BOIL Seafood House is a must. This city is also the birthplace of American jazz, which can be heard live at pretty much any bar in town.
💀 Take in the spooky vibes: NOLA has a long tradition of voodoo and stands out for its fun spooky atmosphere. Join the popular Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5) to explore the city’s haunted past, or learn about your fate from one of the many tarot readers in town. You can also take an in-depth look at the town’s voodoo past at the Historic Voodoo Museum.
33. Seattle, Washington
☀️ Why vacation here: Tucked away in the Evergreen State is the small but vibrant city of Seattle, one of the good places to go on vacation in the US. Home to unique museums, gorgeous parks, and plenty of cultural experiences, Seattle is far from short on adventures.
🤠 Walk through a movie set: One of Seattle’s lesser-known museums is the Museum of Pop Culture (MOPOP). Featuring many movie artifacts, this museum also offers the unique experience of walking through entirely themed exhibits based on different genres of films.
🎭 Catch a performance: New York City isn’t the only place with amazing performances. The Paramount Theatre, which has been open since 1928, does a production of the Nutcracker every Christmas season and has high-quality, rotating performances all year round.
32. San Francisco, California
☀️ Why vacation here: Famed for its not-so-gold bridge and relaxing vibes, San Francisco offers endless entertainment, delicious food, picturesque views, and historical sites. With something to offer any vacationer, SF is one of the best holiday destinations in America.
🌉 Bike across the iconic bridge: While there are many ways to admire the famous Golden Gate Bridge, biking across it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rent a bike nearby and enjoy the stunning vistas from the bridge. You can bike all the way to charming Sausalito!
🎨 Soak in the culture: The stunning Palace Of Fine Arts has an incredibly photogenic exterior and hosts various theatre shows throughout the year. Museum lovers would love the amazing science exhibitions at the California Academy of Sciences inside the Golden Gate Park.
31. Las Vegas, Nevada — One of the Most Fun Vacations in the US for Groups of Friends 👭🏻👬🏻
☀️ Why vacation here: Known as the ultimate playground, Vegas is a once-in-a-lifetime destination filled with casinos, high-end clubs, fine dining, shopping, and endless entertainment. Needless to say, this vibrant resort city is one of the best group vacation spots in the US for friends to enjoy together.
🎡 Fly above the city: Take a nighttime ride on the High Roller, the largest observation wheel in North America, to see all the lights of Vegas from a spectacular viewpoint. For something more thrilling, ride the Big Apple Coaster on The Strip. It features a 180° “heartline” twist, has a 203-foot drop, and goes 67 mph!
🏝 Hit the tropical resorts: Vegas has no shortage of tropical resorts lined with palm trees and outdoor pools. These resorts, such as the Desert Club Resort (⭐️ 8.9) and Hilton Grand Vacations Suites (⭐️ 8.9) are the perfect places to escape to for some exotic vacation vibes.
30. Boston, Massachusetts
☀️ Why vacation here: Filled with relaxing green spaces, live entertainment, fresh lobster rolls, and historical landmarks, Boston makes one of the most interesting great vacations in the US. With several beaches nearby, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy here.
🌿 Relax in nature: The scenic Charles River flows through Boston and offers tons of fun activities on a sunny day. Enjoy kayaking, sailing, and paddleboarding on the water. To relax afterward, head to the Boston Common for a picnic on the grass or a stroll through a garden.
🗿 Soak up the history: The self-guided, 2.5-mile Freedom Trail is the most famous historical walk in town, and it’s a great starting point to discover Boston’s main attractions. The landmarks you’ll see include churches, state houses, and the beautiful USS Constitution ship.
Read more: 40+ Best East Coast Vacation Spots in US
29. Savannah, Georgia
☀️ Why vacation here: The coastal town of Savannah is bursting with gorgeous architecture and charming parks. As one of the cool places to go on vacation in the US, it also has centuries of historic landmarks under its belt. In fact, it’s one of the oldest cities in the South.
🚎 Sightsee from a trolley: Hop on an Old Town Trolley and ride past Savannah’s most popular landmarks and beautiful antebellum architecture. This bright orange and green trolley will whisk you away on an educational and entertaining tour of the oldest city in Georgia.
🍦 Taste the best ice cream in the US: Don’t miss Leopold’s Ice Cream, a Savannah staple for almost a century. They’ve been named one of the top 10 ice cream parlors in the US for their homemade ice cream. Their scratch-made soups and sandwiches are also worth tasting!
28. Phoenix, Arizona
☀️ Why vacation here: The stunning metropolis of Phoenix has something to offer everyone. This warm spa resort destination is filled with art and cultural attractions, botanical gardens, theme parks, unique museums, and mountains to hike. It’s the perfect exotic escape.
💦 Enjoy fun in the water: Phoenix is home to the River Ranch Water Park, which features a waterslide, spa, pools, a lazy river, and cabanas. For something more thrilling, enjoy the massive 8-story Slide Canyon Tower at Oasis Water Park, which is home to six resort pools.
🎻 Explore unique museums: There are several fascinating museums in Phoenix, and the Musical Instrument Museum is definitely one of them. It is the only global musical instrument museum in the world, and it’s a great place to learn about music from all parts of the world.
27. Chicago, Illinois
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to over 300 parks, world-renowned museums, and some of the best architectural designs worldwide, Chicago is one of the best nice places to vacation in the US. Enjoy diverse food, unique history, and fascinating attractions in the Windy City.
💎 Step above the city: The Willis Tower is not only the tallest building in Chicago; it’s also home to the Ledge, a picturesque glass box suspended 1,353 feet in the air. There is no better way to conquer a fear of heights than to step inside and see the entire city below your feet.
🏙 Take a scenic riverwalk: The 1.25-mile Chicago Riverwalk is a photogenic pedestrian walkway that offers beautiful views of Chicago’s majestic skyscrapers. You can also take a boat tour or kayak on the river, or sit down for a meal at one of the many riverside restaurants.
26. Portland, Oregon
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to unique gardens, dramatic hiking trails, and some of the best restaurants on the West Coast, Portland boasts an eclectic vibe. Enjoy the wild outdoors, taste unique snacks, and catch a sports game in a city with literally everything to offer.
🥘 Eat your heart out: Portland is known for its famous food scene, featuring a wide range of international cuisines. Don’t miss Le Pigeon for inventive French food, Por Que No for delicious Mexican bites, and Voodoo Doughnut for crazy bacon, grape, and pistachio doughnuts!
🌹 Stroll through gardens: Appropriately nicknamed ‘City of Roses’, Portland is home to one of the biggest rose gardens in America. Admire more than 10,000 roses inside the gorgeous International Rose Test Garden. For something a bit different, witness some of the most beautiful Japanese landscapes outside of Japan at the Portland Japanese Garden!
25. Los Angeles, California
☀️ Why vacation here: From sandy beaches and theme parks to museums, there’s no shortage of fun attractions in the sprawling city of Los Angeles. This vibrant metropolis is the entertainment capital of the world, and vacationers can enjoy everything from outdoor adventures to delicious vegan food and exciting nightlife.
🏡 Spot your favorite celebrities’ homes: LA is the place where you can casually stroll past Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio’s home. Join a fun Hollywood & Celebrity Homes Tour to get a glimpse of where the rich and famous hang out from the comfort of an open-top bus.
🌿 Hike to the Hollywood Sign: Get up close and personal with one of the world’s most famous monuments — the iconic Hollywood Sign. There are three different trails that take you up to these 45-foot famous letters, and you’ll get a fantastic view of LA from up there.
24. Austin, Texas
☀️ Why vacation here: “Keep Austin Weird” is the catchphrase of Austin, the vibrant Texan capital. Boasting an eclectic art scene, Austin is the perfect vacation spot to experience Southern culture. It also offers a delicious food scene, stunning parks, and booming nightlife.
🎨 Admire the street art: Austin is home to many impressive murals and street art exhibits. Aside from the famous “I Love You So Much” wall, be sure to check out “Before I die…”, “Greetings from Austin”, “Girl with camera”, and the Tau Ceti — the tallest artwork in town.
🔦 Survey a cave: Under wraps for 10,000 years, the Inner Space Cavern in Austin is one of the best-preserved caves in Texas. Take a walk inside to discover its beautiful formations, prehistoric animal bones, and hidden passages. Children can also enjoy gemstone panning!
Read more: 31 Best Warm Winter Vacations in the USA
23. Washington, D.C.
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to countless museums, monuments, and important historical artifacts, Washington, D.C. is the ultimate vacation spot for self-proclaimed patriots and history buffs. There are also many gorgeous parks and cultural experiences to enjoy in town.
🏛 Explore the museums: One of the little-known secrets of DC is that all the Smithsonian museums are free. In the 17 museums and galleries there, you can see the flag that inspired the National Anthem, Neil Armstrong’s suit, the Declaration of Independence, and more.
🌸 Browse local markets: The Eastern Market is a great place to connect with locals and shop for flowers, food, and fresh produce. It’s also one of the oldest markets in DC. There, you’ll find local vendors such as florists, jewelers, and farmers showcasing a taste of their trade.
22. Louisville, Kentucky
☀️ Why vacation here: Louisville is a big city with a classic small-town feel. Visiting in the fall will bring fun festivals and beautiful changing leaves, but you can vacation here at any time of the year to experience the rich art, culture, and famous bourbon that this town has to offer.
🥃 Taste delicious whisky: Louisville is essentially the walkable Napa Valley of bourbon. In fact, Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon supply, and you can taste this famous whisky in many downtown Louisville distilleries such as Old Forester and Angel’s Envy.
🏇 Catch a horse race: Watching the famous Kentucky Derby is one of the top things to do in Louisville. This annual race takes place in May, but even in other months, you’ll find plenty of exciting horse races at Churchill Downs, the most well-known track in Louisville.
21. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
☀️ Why vacation here: Philadelphia is one of the best places to relax in USA for history buffs, foodies, and art lovers. If you’re looking for a city break with museums to explore, gardens to stroll in, festivals to attend, and craft beer to taste, then look no further than vibrant Philly.
🇺🇸 Discover the origins of America: Home to both the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, Philly has plenty of historical landmarks that mark the beginnings of this nation. Step into the room where the Declaration of Independence was written and see the most famous bell in American history in person.
🌭 Taste the local cheesesteak: Be sure to try a Philly cheesesteak, a delicious sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese — inserted in a long hoagie roll. It’s the most famous food in town, and Sonny’s Famous Steaks has some of the best ones.
20. Orlando, Florida — One of the Most Popular Vacation Spots in the US for Families 👨👩👧👦
☀️ Why vacation here: Orlando is one of the best places to vacation in America for families or large groups of friends. Home to the famous Disney World, this vibrant city is the theme park capital of the world. Its year-round warm weather is also perfect for enjoying water activities.
🎢 Enjoy theme parks: Orlando is home to an abundance of world-class theme parks. You can easily spend days exploring the thrilling rides and attractions inside the world-famous Disney World and Universal Resort. For more rollercoasters and water parks, don’t miss Legoland.
🐧 Meet cute animals: Head to Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins and snorkel with thousands of tropical fish. For even more thrilling adventures, head to SeaWorld for the flying rollercoasters. There, you can also dine with orcas and hang out with penguins!
19. Houston, Texas
☀️ Why vacation here: Cosmopolitan Houston is definitely one of the most amazing vacation spots in the US. This dynamic destination is incredibly ethnically diverse, making it perfect for exploring many different kinds of food, culture, artistic expressions, and local events.
🍺 Experience a cultural festival: No matter what time of year you visit Houston, there’s a cultural festival awaiting you. Catch the Texas Lunar Festival in February, the Original Greek Festival in October, and the Juneteenth celebration to honor African-American heritage.
🚀 Explore NASA: Don’t miss the NASA Space Center, which houses the original Apollo Mission Control Center, a collection of spacesuits, and the largest exhibition of moon rocks in the world. You can also learn about what it takes to travel to Mars and see how astronauts train!
🌟 Best Vacation Ideas in the US – Unique Places
There are many unique nice places to go on vacation in the US ranging from underrated cities to small resort towns in spectacular settings. Here are some of the top rated vacation spots in the US that will wow you with their unique culture and natural beauty.
18. Moab, Utah
☀️ Why vacation here: The small city of Moab is the ultimate paradise for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. As the gateway to the infamous red rock formations in the Arches National Park, Moab is filled with natural beauty and offers many hikes and stunning vistas.
🏜 Hike through red arches: Just outside of Moab is the fascinating Arches National Park, which is home to over 2,000 sandstone arches. Hike the Delicate Arch Trail to see the world’s most famous natural stone arch, and Skyline Arch Trail to explore more fascinating geology.
💦 Splash down a river: If you visit Moab in the summer, then river rafting is one of the most exciting activities. Join the popular Colorado River Half-Day Rafting Trip (⭐️ 4.7/5) to enjoy 7 miles of fantastic scenery, gorgeous desert landscape, and of course — fun, splashy rapids.
17. Aspen, Colorado
☀️ Why vacation here: Known as the #1 ski destination in America, Aspen is a gorgeous resort town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Aside from snow adventures, visitors can also enjoy beautiful hikes, an incredible food scene, art museums, and other cultural activities.
🏂🏻 Explore the outdoors: Winter is the perfect time to surf the slopes of Snowmass, the largest ski resort in Aspen, on skis and snowboards. Hikers can also enjoy many breathtaking trails in the Maroon Bells — gorgeous twin peaks in the Elk Mountains. The scenery there is so stunning that it is one of the most photographed spots in North America!
🥘 Enjoy food & culture: Downtown Aspen is home to over 80 restaurants, and ultimate foodies won’t want to miss the Food and Wine Classic Festival in the summer. Art lovers can browse the Aspen Art Museum, and there are also several theaters and film venues in town.
16. Santa Fe, New Mexico
☀️ Why vacation here: Santa Fe is the nation’s oldest state capital and a big creative arts hotbed. In fact, it’s the perfect place to experience a plethora of art, culture, and history. The city is also famous for its Pueblo-style architecture and bustling ski resorts in the winter.
🎨 Gaze at art: There are over 250 art galleries in Santa Fe, and the city is a visual feast for art lovers. See the world’s largest collection of international folk art at the Museum of International Folk Art, and watch traditional Native American dance performances at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Find 80 more art galleries and boutiques on Canyon Road.
🎉 Take in the lively atmosphere: The Santa Fe Plaza is a great starting point for exploring the city’s top attractions, and no matter when you go, there always seems to be something going on, whether it’s a festival, a parade, or a market. In this lively plaza, you’ll also find tons of restaurants, galleries, and Native American crafts shops.
15. Detroit, Michigan
☀️ Why vacation here: Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, has been lovingly nicknamed the “Comeback Kid”. Over the years, this eclectic town has shed its bad reputation and will charm visitors with its vibrant culture, calming green spaces, and underrated food scene.
🏝 Relax on an island: You can easily spend a whole day discovering Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park rich with history and natural beauty. Home to half a mile of beaches, 13 acres of botanical gardens, an aquarium, a giant slide, picnic areas, and tennis courts, there’s something there for everyone. You can even enjoy swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking!
🎨 Enjoy art & culture: Stroll the Eastern Market to experience local arts & crafts and to taste the local cuisine. Dive deeper into the art scene at the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to more than 65,000 works of art. Finally, learn about R&B and soul music at the Motown Museum.
14. Sedona, Arizona — One of the Most Relaxing Places in the US 🧘🏻
☀️ Why vacation here: The desert town of Sedona is definitely one of the most awesome vacation spots in the US for outdoor lovers and yoga enthusiasts. Though famous for its unique red rock landscapes and scenic vistas, Sedona also offers many cultural experiences.
🧘🏻 Immerse in yoga: The best way to unwind after a hike in Sedona is to do some yoga and meditate. This town is a spiritual mecca, and many talented healers flock there to help others seek spiritual enlightenment. In the winter, you can even join the Sedona Yoga Festival!
🎨 Experience local culture: Culture seekers would love the outdoor markets, art galleries, and craft shops at the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. Stroll the cobblestone paths, admire the decorative arches in town, and get a real taste of the local culture in Sedona.
13. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
☀️ Why vacation here: A bustling ski resort in the winter and hiking destination in the summer, the town of Jackson Hole boasts numerous outdoor adventures. With plenty of wildlife and various festivals throughout the year, this town is one of the best scenic vacations in the US.
🚡 Soar through the mountains: While there are many hiking trails in Jackson Hole, those looking to explore nature in a more relaxing way can enjoy the Aerial Tram. Sightsee from the comfort of your seat as you scale the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. Take in the gorgeous 360° views of the Tetons and the Snake River Valley from above.
🤠 Join a Western festival: For 10 days every year, Jackson Hole transforms into the Old West town it once was. Celebrate Western culture and learn local history at the Old West Days Celebration, a festival that features rodeo events, live music, food, theatre, and arts & crafts.
12. Kansas City, Missouri
☀️ Why vacation here: Sitting on Missouri’s western edge, Kansas City is one of the top vacation spots in America for foodies and music lovers. This vibrant town is also home to famous filming spots, a boisterous art scene, many antique shops, and a fascinating amount of working fountains — more than any other city in the world, save Rome.
🍗 Taste famous BBQ: Home to over 100 barbecue restaurants, Kansas City is known as the “Barbecue Capital of the World”. In fact, the words “Kansas City” and “barbecue” are pretty much synonyms. The meat here is traditionally slow-smoked for up to 18 hours and served in local favorites, such as SLAP’s BBQ, Char Bar, and Arthur Bryant’s BBQ.
🎷 Take in the jazz scene: Locals will tell you that jazz was born in New Orleans but grew up in Kansas City. It was here that this music genre evolved into a style that features more musical improvisation. Today, you can explore the live music scene in more than 40 jazz bars in town!
11. Texas Hill Country, Texas
☀️ Why vacation here: With plenty of natural wonders, delicious barbecue, and excellent wine, a Texas Hill Country road trip can never be boring. This year-round destination offers bluebonnet blossoms in the spring and mild winters perfect for hiking and stargazing.
🌿 Explore the outdoors: Visit between October and April to hike the rolling hills and sweeping valleys of the Texas Hill Country without getting hot and sweaty. Some of the most scenic places to explore are Garner State Park, Enchanted Rock, and Blue Hole Regional Park.
🍷 Savor wine & BBQ: Texas Hill Country is home to some of the most delicious barbecue. Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood is a top choice, as is Smitty’s Market in Lockhart. You can also indulge in some delicious local wine at the many Fredericksburg wineries, such as Lost Draw Cellars.
Read more: 35+ Best Hidden Vacation Spots in the US
10. Page, Arizona
☀️ Why vacation here: Page is a small desert town in Arizona surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, such as Horseshoe Bend. Because of that, it is arguably the number one vacation spot in the US for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Base yourself in Page for at least a week to explore some truly jaw-dropping natural wonders.
🏜 Admire world-class wonders: Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots in the US for a good reason. At sunset, the soft light glowing over the river and the canyon is mind-blowingly beautiful. After crossing this bucket-list destination off your list, head over to the famous Antelope Canyon to admire some of the most stunning slot canyons on earth.
💎 Discover hidden gems: Several natural wonders in Page are devoid of crowds. Admire the unique landscapes at the quiet Waterholes Canyon, or take a day trip to see The Toadstools in Utah. The rock formations there resemble mushrooms and offer absolutely enchanting views.
9. The Ozarks, Missouri – Arkansas – Oklahoma
☀️ Why vacation here: The Ozarks is a mountainous region spanning Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This scenic area boasts 300 miles of hiking trails, 1,100 miles of shoreline, historical landmarks, and recreational sports such as golf. An outdoor adventurer’s paradise, the Ozarks is definitely one of the best places to take a vacation in the US.
💦 Jump into a lake: Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri offers a variety of water activities, including swimming, paddle boarding, tubing, and fishing from the shore. You can even rent a full-sized deck boat and cruise across the expansive 93-mile-long lake, soaking in the views.
🔦 Explore a cave: Dating back centuries before Lake of the Ozarks was even created, the fascinating Bridal Cave boasts a long history and played an important role in Native American culture. Take a guided tour through this cave to explore its fascinating landscape!
8. Charleston, South Carolina — One of the Fun Places to Go on Vacation in the US for Food 🥗
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to endless festivals, smooth sand beaches, innovative restaurants, and a classic Southern charm, Charleston has it all. This stunning port city is a hub for arts and entertainment, making it one of the coolest places to vacation in the US.
🎉 Enjoy a festival: No matter which month you visit Charleston, there’s a festival waiting for you. Soak up the winter sun at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival — the largest oyster festival on earth. Taste more local specialties at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival in the spring. In the summer, enjoy spectacular dance and jazz performances at the Spoleto Festival.
🌊 Dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean: There are five beaches in Charleston with calm waters and smooth sands. Surf or paddleboard at the popular Folly Beach, enjoy golf on Kiawah Island, listen to live music on Isle of Palms, and taste delicious seafood on Sullivan’s Island.
7. Stanley, Idaho
☀️ Why vacation here: Stanley, a small town in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho, is one of the favorite vacation spots in US among those who love to explore off-the-beaten-path. Home to jaw-dropping scenery, this hidden town is the trailhead to Idaho’s outdoor adventures.
💦 Relax in hot springs: Stanley is home to several picturesque hot springs, such as Sunbeam Hot Springs and Boat Box Hot Springs. You can find these natural hot tubs right in the middle of the river, under the dreamy backdrop of snowy hills. Head over to Mountain Village Resort for more relaxation in a hot tub housed inside a scenic shed.
🚵🏽♀️ Explore the mountains: There are endless hiking trails to explore in Stanley. Get gorgeous views of Sawtooth Mountains from Fishhook Creek Trail, and admire unbeatable lake views from the Fourth of July Lake Trail. There are also mountain biking trails along Redfish Lake!
6. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina
☀️ Why vacation here: The Great Smoky Mountains is a stunning mountain range that boasts plenty of hiking trails, breathtaking vistas, and an abundance of wildlife to spot. It’s definitely one of the top United States vacation spots for those seeking ultimate outdoor relaxation.
🦌 Spot diverse wildlife: There’s wildlife at every corner of the Great Smoky Mountains. In the early mornings and late evenings, you might spot black bears or elk. In the early afternoon, a flock of wild turkeys might cross your path and a white-tailed deer might be grazing near you.
✨ Witness a firefly festival: One of the most unique things to enjoy in the Elkmont area of the park is the annual firefly viewing in the spring and summer. Book a tour with Cataloochee Valley to watch hundreds of fireflies light up the night skies, or apply for a lottery ticket to view it from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Either way, act fast because this is a popular event!
5. Lake Tahoe, California
☀️ Why vacation here: Seated in between Nevada and California is Lake Tahoe, a freshwater lake surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lake Tahoe is filled with beaches, hikes, and spectacular views. This peaceful, dog-friendly destination is the perfect place to unwind.
🏞 Admire turquoise waters: Emerald Bay is aptly named for its turquoise water, and it’s known for its colorful granite cliffs and gorgeous panoramas. From there, hop on a boat out to Fannette Island to see glaciers and stop by Vikingsholm, a hidden Scandinavian castle.
🧘🏽 Enjoy yoga on a paddleboard: For something unique, relaxing, and exciting all at once, try stand-up paddleboard yoga with Lake Tahoe Yoga. Get to the lake before the crowds arrive and enjoy a reinvigorating morning with new friends. What better way to push your limits?
4. Napa Valley, California
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to over 500 world-class wineries, delicious wine tours, and fine dining, Napa Valley is the perfect destination for a luxury getaway. This Californian region is one of the world’s most premier wine destinations and offers fun activities year-round.
🍷 Enjoy wine with a view: Many Napa Valley wineries are known for their spectacular gardens, architecture, and the gorgeous vistas they offer. Admire stunning Victorian architecture at the iconic Beringer Vineyards, explore Tuscany in Napa at the Castello di Amorosa, and take in beautiful countryside views at Artesa Vineyards.
🎈 Fly over the vineyards: One of the most exciting ways to explore Napa is to take the popular Wine Country Hot Air Balloon Ride at sunrise. Enjoy spectacular bird’s-eye views of expansive vineyards, green rolling hills, and elegant estates during this thrilling flight.
3. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
☀️ Why vacation here: The White Mountain National Forest boasts some of the tallest peaks in New England and offers plenty of outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping, and winter sports. It is also one of the best places to vacation to in the US for unique activities.
❄️ Adventure in ice castles: Step into the White Mountain Ice Castles in the winter to explore a magical world of ice caves, frozen waterfalls, glaciers, and breathtaking LED-lit sculptures. Enjoy ice slides, snow tubing, sleigh rides, and crawl tunnels inside this fairytale setting.
🚂 Ride an old-fashioned train: If you aren’t one for hiking, Hobo Railroad offers an 80-minute round-trip train tour of the White Mountain National Forest. Travel along the banks of the Pemigewasset River on a restored vintage coach and admire the beautiful forestscapes.
😎 More Amazing Vacation Destinations USA
There are 2 particularly pretty vacation spots in the US located outside the mainland. They’re both US territories though, and visiting requires no passports from U.S. citizens. Here are some more good places for vacation in the US that are just a bit further away.
2. Puerto Rico
☀️ Why vacation here: Known as the ‘Island of Enchantment’, the US territory of Puerto Rico is an amazing place to experience rich Spanish culture and dreamy tropical vibes. Boasting historical attractions and unique water activities, this Caribbean island has plenty to offer.
🔮 Kayak in sparkling water: One of the most magical experiences on the island is kayaking in the dark and seeing the water around you light up in a neon blue-green color. This rare phenomenon is thanks to Puerto Rico’s famous bioluminescent bays. To enjoy this glow-in-the-dark paradise, head into the waters of Mosquito Bay, Laguna Grande, and La Parguera.
🗿 Travel back in time: Don’t miss out on San Juan, the historic capital of Puerto Rico. This city is filled with historical landmarks, impressive forts, and colorful colonial buildings. Be sure to stop by Castello San Filipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal to get a history lesson!
1. U.S. Virgin Islands
☀️ Why vacation here: Home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, the U.S. Virgin Islands are a tropical paradise made up of St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix islands. White sands, turquoise waters, and constant sunshine make these islands some of the best relaxing vacation spots USA.
🏝 Unwind on the sand: The many beaches on the U.S. Virgin Islands offer a plethora of fun water activities, including snorkeling, paddling, and boating. Head over to Trunk Bay on St. John and Magens Bay on St. Thomas to enjoy a lazy beach day or some proper water fun.
🌱 Get a history lesson: The Annaberg Plantation was one of the 25 active sugar plantations on the islands. It was run by slaves back in the 1800s. Take a historic tour through the plantation to learn how sugar was made and about the dark conditions slaves once faced.
🌟 Recap: Top 10 Vacation Spots in the US
As this guide covers more than 60 vacation destinations United States, here’s a quick summary of the top 10 places to vacation in the US. This list is of course subjective but contains a variety of reasons for why the following places have been chosen.
- Page, Arizona — Has some of the most unique & photogenic landscapes in the US 📸
- New Orleans, Louisiana — An impeccable city for food, live music & unique vibes 🎸
- Yosemite National Park, California — The ultimate hiking & outdoors destination 🏞
- Oahu, Maui, and Kauai in Hawaii — The ultimate tropical & beach destinations 🏝
- Sedona, Arizona — A spiritual mecca perfect for relaxation & meditation 🙏🏼
- Portland, Oregon — Home to some of the best restaurants in the West Coast 🥗
- Aspen, Colorado — The top winter destination for skiing & snowboarding 🏂🏻
- Orlando, Florida — The theme park capital of the world & best family destination 👨👩👧👦
- Death Valley National Park, California — The best stargazing destination in the US 🌠
- NYC, New York — The ultimate place in the US to experience the rest of the world 🌎
✈️ Best Places to Vacation in United States: Tips
- ✈️ Find the best flights around the US with Skyscanner or Kiwi.com
- 💸 Get reliable travel insurance from World Nomads
- 🚖 Book your private transfer from the airport to your hotel with Expedia
- 🏨 Find the best accommodations on Booking.com or Expedia
- 🧔🏻 Get the best tour guides via Get Your Guide, Tiqets, or Viator
- 🚗 To rent a car for road trips, get the best deals on Rentalcars.com
- 🎒 Pack a bathing suit cover-up, a water-proof phone case, and durable hiking boots
- 📚 Read Lonely Planet USA and some dreamy beach quotes for more inspiration
- 📸 Bring the best photography gear (including these must-have Sony lenses!)
🌸 Good Vacation Spots in the US: Final Thoughts
I hope you found some inspiration from these 60+ best places to vacay in the US! Whether you’re looking for gorgeous white sand beaches, rugged mountains to climb, or warm places to spend winter, this diverse and breathtaking country has got you covered. If you’re looking for more vacation ideas, don’t forget that the US is also filled with marvelous hidden gems.