The top 12 places to visit in the USA in 2024

Bailey Freeman

Feb 23, 2024 • 6 min read

united states tourist destinations

New York City never gets old, not with so many exciting and dynamic neighborhoods to explore © LeoPatrizi / Getty

The best thing about visiting the USA can be summed up in one word: variety. This expansive country contains an incredible number of travel experiences that would take a lifetime to complete – try wandering through the redwoods, breathing in deep gulps of sea air on glimmering beaches, or immersing yourself in the underground art scenes in some of the world's most famous cities.

Whether you're a nature lover looking for wide open spaces and snow-covered peaks or a culture fiend who can't get enough of museums and galleries, the USA has something for you. To help stem the overwhelm of options, these are our 12 favorite places to visit in the USA in 2024.

1. New York, New York

Best place for art and architecture

A city that looms large in American lore, New York continues to live up to its hype. A global center for art, fashion, finance, music and food, the Big Apple will never leave you feeling bored. Sip sunset cocktails on luxurious rooftops, mosh at local punk shows, marvel at world-class art in famous museums, or indulge in the best food you've ever had at a hole-in-the-wall favorite.

Planning tip: New York has so much to offer, but resist the urge to see it all on your first trip. Break things down by neighborhood or borough , or perhaps even by interest.

2. San Francisco, CA

Best for counter-culture

San Francisco contains multitudes, offering an urban travel experience with a distinctly West Coast flavor: take in breathtaking bay views at Golden Gate Park , wander the alleyways of the country's largest and oldest Chinese neighborhood , pay homage to LGBTIQ+ heroes in the Castro, or dive into cutting-edge art at SFMOMA and a plethora of local galleries.

3. National Mall in Washington, DC

Best for national history

Washington DC's National Mall represents the center of American political life and distills its cultural history into a two-mile strip of iconic monuments and the country's most famous museums. The mall contains ten Smithsonian museums – the National Museum of Natural History , the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History, among others – plus landmarks including the National Gallery of Art, the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol building.

A group of friends cooking seafood over a fire outdoors in Maine

4. New England

Best for forest drives

Want to meander on mountain roads beneath brilliant forest canopies and savor tasty lobster and coastal views all in the same trip? New England is the place to be. Explore the quaint villages and cranberry bogs of Cape Cod , snuggle into a cabin in the mountains of Vermont , or dive into all the seafood you can eat in Portland, Maine . And if you visit in autumn, prepare yourself for some of the most spectacular fall foliage in the country.

5. Pacific Coast Highway

Best for West Coast exploration

The Pacific Coast Highway – technically three highways linked together – connects sunny San Diego with moody Seattle , delivering epic West Coast experiences along the 1600-mile journey. Stay at kitschy motels in coastal towns, admire the cliffs of Big Sur , marvel at the tidepools in Oregon , and explore Washington's Olympic National Park .

Planning tip: Sections of the Pacific Coast Highway run along sea cliffs prone to rockslides. Always check road conditions before setting out in case of any unexpected closures.

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

Best for foodies and art lovers

There's no place in the world like New Orleans  – we promise. A vibrant cocktail of Indigenous, Caribbean, African, French and Spanish influences, this city possesses a unique magic that keeps people coming back for more. Dive into its legendary Creole cuisine, revel in its lively festivals, and immerse yourself in a world-class music scene – this is the birthplace of jazz, after all.

Planning tip: New Orleans's coastal location makes it susceptible to hurricanes from June through October, with the most active months being August and September.

7. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best for Indigenous history and culture

Nicknamed the "City Different," Santa Fe is rooted in American history while still keeping up with the times. A cultural melange of Indigenous, Spanish and Mexican influences, this city is home to numerous historical sites – like the 400-year-old Plaza – and a cutting-edge art culture that features a strong contingent of independent artists and the original Meow Wolf , a game-changing immersive art installation.

Tourists admire iconic Cloud Gate at Millenium Park during early spring Rolf_52_Shutterstock.jpg

8. Chicago, Illinois

Best metropolis for midwestern charm

Chicago contains all the hallmarks of a great American city – excellent food, multicultural neighborhoods , top-tier museums – with a distinctly midwestern twist. Spend your days lounging next to the ocean-like Lake Michigan, catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field , or have an evening of laughs at Second City , the launchpad for greats like Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey.

9. Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Best for big peaks and winter sports

If you want to see the quintessential mountains of the American West, the Rockies in Colorado should be your first stop. Rocky Mountains National Park is a logical starting point, but in truth, there are so many different ways to access this dynamic mountain range – hit the slopes in ski hubs like Vail , Aspen and Telluride, drive the scenic byways of the San Juan range, or pitch camp in one of the state's numerous national forests.

Planning tip: Unless you're from somewhere with similar elevation, you might feel the effects of altitude throughout the Rockies; stay extremely hydrated, take your time on hikes, and skip the alcohol.

10. Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina and Virginia

Best for east coast mountains

While the Rockies tend to get a lot of press – for good reason – the USA's oldest mountain range is a must-see. The Blue Ridge Mountains make up the southern third of the Appalachian mountain chain, and the lush forests wrapped around these rolling hills make for incredible blue-green vistas from the region's many ridges and balds. Dive into the numerous day hikes, cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway , or hike a section of the storied Appalachian Trail .

Man kayaking at a mangrove forest in the Everglades

11. The Everglades, Florida

Best for wildlife watchers

The importance of the Everglades can't be overstated – this sprawling wetland is an International Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a national park, thanks to the diverse profusion of flora and fauna that live here. Paddle through the coastal estuaries and camp among mangroves, or whiz through the numerous waterways via airboat. All the while, keep your eyes peeled for wading birds, manatees, and of course, alligators and crocodiles.

Planning tip: For the best experience, come prepared for the elements: sunscreen and bug spray are essentials.

12. Southwestern Utah

Best for geology lovers

If you want to visit one place in the US that sums up the grandiosity of its natural history, southwestern Utah is the place to go. Home to five of the country's most spectacular national parks, Red Rock Country puts the region's geological past on display with a dazzling amount of artistic flair. Hike the peaks and valleys of Zion and Bryce Canyon , or marvel at the crimson, ochre and amber palette in the cliffs and canyons of Capitol Reef and Canyonlands . And if you want a special treat, watch the sun rise over the sandstone masterpieces at Arches .

Planning tip: Large swaths of this region are extremely remote and sometimes lack cell service, both on the road and on the trail. Always share your plans with others and bring plenty of water in case of emergencies.

This article was first published May 3, 2021 and updated Feb 23, 2024.

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The gateway arch

The 20 top tourist attractions in the USA

Discover the top tourist attractions in the USA, from national-park essentials to iconic structures to must-see streets

Scott Snowden

Visiting popular tourist attractions can often mean navigating long lines and crowds—essentially, a lot of work for an experience that sometimes doesn't live up to the hype. While some attractions may be a bust, specific landmarks across the United States are well worth the effort. 

The top tourist attractions in the USA span from coast to coast, including iconic  buildings  like the national monuments in Washington DC, must-stroll neighborhoods  like the French Quarter in New Orleans,  unique landmarks  like the Space Needle in Seattle, or sights within breathtaking national parks .

We have rounded up the top U.S. tourist attractions you should add to your bucket list. In your quest to check them off your list, make a trip out of it and book one of the best hotels in America . And if you’re looking for a bit more travel inspiration, check out the best places to visit in the USA right now.

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Top tourist attractions in the USA

National Mall | Washington DC

1.  National Mall | Washington DC

Immaculately maintained by the National Park Service, the National Mall and Memorial Parks feature more than 1,000 acres of must-see monuments, sites and green space. While the Washington Monument towers above all else—quite literally, the city doesn’t zone for buildings taller than the marble icon—the Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial are just as magnificent. Though it will take a full day (or two) to see the National Mall, set aside some time to peruse through some of  Washington, D.C.’s top museums .

Niagara Falls | New York State

2.  Niagara Falls | New York State

Situated on the border of New York and Canada, the three waterfalls (Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridalveil Falls) have the combined highest flow rate of any waterfall worldwide. Their impressive force is nothing short of awe-worthy. A top tourist destination since the 19th century, the unstoppable beauty and charm of Niagara Falls  make it a memorable and unique landmark. 

The French Quarter | New Orleans, LA

3.  The French Quarter | New Orleans, LA

The oldest corner of New Orleans remains its most charming attraction. Walk down famous Bourbon Street to enjoy jazz, great nightlife and tons of food. While you travel on a streetcar between destinations, pay close attention to the spectacular architecture. And no trip to the French Quarter would be complete without a taste of authentic Cajun grub or a stop to pay your respects in the Cities of the Dead. 

Statue of Liberty | New York City, NY

4.  Statue of Liberty | New York City, NY

Though she may have been born in France, the Statue of Liberty has become synonymous with America and the country’s highest-held values. True, the 151-foot-tall copper monument can be seen up close from aboard the free Staten Island Ferry, but you can also pay your respects in person and even step inside it while on an official tour.

Old Faithful | Yellowstone Park, WY

5.  Old Faithful | Yellowstone Park, WY

A cone geyser found in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful is not entirely as predictable as it once was (it won’t erupt precisely every 74 minutes, for example) yet remains as historically exciting. When erupting, the geothermal feature unleashes more than 3,700 gallons of piping hot water. When you’re done marveling at the spectacle, spend at least a full day exploring the rest of the park.

The Strip | Las Vegas, NV

6.  The Strip | Las Vegas, NV

Immortalized in a seemingly endless amount of movies, the Strip’s bright lights, larger-than-life performers and casinos are burned into our collective subconscious. Whether planning on trying your luck at poker or looking to catch a diva’s residency, the Strip is a top destination for all things entertainment and, yes, a bit of debauchery.

Smithsonian Museums | Washington, D.C.

7.  Smithsonian Museums | Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum, education, and research complex. Located in the heart of this nation's capital, you can explore the  National Air & Space Museum , the National Museum Of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, and many more. The best part? It's all free. The latest addition to the museum line-up, which opened in 2016, is the National Museum of African American History and Culture and is a must-visit. 

The Grand Canyon | Arizona

8.  The Grand Canyon | Arizona

So, about five to six million years ago, the Colorado River more or less established its route through the Arizona desert. Glacial erosion, meltwater runoff and the simultaneous counter effect of the land slowly rising—as the weight of the glaciers was reduced—ultimately resulted in one of the most spectacular natural wonders on our modest, little blue-green planet. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, varies between four and 18 miles wide and has a maximum depth of 6,000 feet. There are hotels and restaurants in key locations, but for the most part, you should visit and marvel at how incredible this world is—you know, before we ruin it.

J. Paul Getty Museum | Los Angeles, CA

9.  J. Paul Getty Museum | Los Angeles, CA

The Getty brings visitors from across the country and around the world to California. The $1 billion facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Richard Meier, features travertine and white-metal pavilions highlighting the complex’s futuristic frame. Inside, find one of the most exciting art collections—including Medieval manuscripts, paintings by Van Gogh and Monet, and modern sculptures.

Kennedy Space Center | Orlando, FL

10.  Kennedy Space Center | Orlando, FL

If you’ve always dreamed of working in outer space, this is your chance to see and touch models of space shuttles, rockets, satellites, tools and mission control rooms. The simulators and explorable modules will make you feel like an actual astronaut—though if you wonder just how much the experience compares to the real deal, you can meet one of those brave scientists in person at the Astronaut Encounter Theater.

Golden Gate Bridge | San Francisco, CA

11.  Golden Gate Bridge | San Francisco, CA

Name a more iconic bridge—we'll wait. There's a reason the Golden Gate Bridge is so famous. With its vibrant international orange color and spanning from San Francisco to the Marin headlines, stands as a symbol of the West. There are countless ways to take in the stunning bridge views: head to a beach (try Baker Beach), head to the new Presidio Tunnel Tops Park, go to a vista overlook, or get up close and personal by crossing the bridge by foot or bike. A trip to San Francisco isn't complete until you get a picture with the Golden Gate in the background.

Little Havana | Miami, FL

12.  Little Havana | Miami, FL

After decades of serving as a home to Cuban exiles, Little Havana has become a must-visit destination in its own right. While out on the town, throw back rum-spiked Caribbean drinks and dance the night away to live rumba and salsa music. The food here is legendary : Cuban sandwiches, Colombian arepas, savory tacos and other Latin American dishes will leave your mouth watering.

Hoover Dam | Nevada

13.  Hoover Dam | Nevada

Perhaps the best example of America’s building prowess in the first half of the 20th century, this dam remains a bewildering feat of engineering and labor. Construction started in 1931 and took five years, 5,000 workers and 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete to complete. Today, you can tour the dam and its power plant to learn more about the facility’s history and unique features.

The Gateway Arch | St. Louis, MO

14.  The Gateway Arch | St. Louis, MO

Not only is St. Louis’s premiere attraction the world’s largest arch, but it is also the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Standing proud at 630ft tall, this metal beauty was built in the mid-20th century as a monument to America’s westward expansion and is meant to signify the connection of the East to the West, honoring the country’s first pioneers. To fully understand this architectural wonder, snag a ticket to the Gateway Arch Tram and ride to the top of the monument.

Mammoth Cave Park | Kentucky

15.  Mammoth Cave Park | Kentucky

With more than 400 miles explored, the world’s longest known cave system (by far) is in Kentucky and it welcomes any visitor not afraid of the dark or the damp. See the dramatic passages lined with geological formations that might inspire your inner explorer during a guided tour by a park ranger. The tours vary in length but they always include historic details about how the cave system was formed and how people and other creatures have interacted with it. After several hours in the caverns, appreciate the beauty of the clear waters and the untouched nature of the area while on a bike ride or canoe adventure.

Space Needle | Seattle, WA

16.  Space Needle | Seattle, WA

Like many famous landmarks, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was built for the World’s Fair, back in 1962 when the theme was “The Age of Space.” Today, it remains one of the most recognizable and photographed landmarks worldwide for its futuristic design. Standing at 605 feet tall, visitors can take an elevator up to the tower’s saucer-shaped top floor with 360-degree views. Recent renovations resulted in a multi-level viewing experience with floor-to-ceiling glass viewing that will make your stomach drop.

Navy Pier | Chicago, IL

17.  Navy Pier | Chicago, IL

Clearly, one of the Midwest’s most popular destinations, Navy Pier is visited by roughly nine million people each year. From excellent shopping opportunities to eateries and, of course, Lake Michigan, the destination offers something for everyone. The little ones will be delighted by the Chicago Children’s Museum , while grown-ups should head to the award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater . 

Alcatraz | San Francisco, CA

18.  Alcatraz | San Francisco, CA

This formidable fortress in the middle of San Francisco Bay was converted from a lighthouse station to a military prison in the 1870s. However, it found genuine acclaim after being upgraded to a maximum security prison in 1934, home to the early 20th century’s most notorious criminals. Today, the tiny island is only accessible to the public via a ferry from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. You should plan to spend about three hours soaking up the amazing history and during that time, a self-guided audio cellhouse tour narrated by former inmates and guards will fill you in on harrowing escape attempts, prison riots and the 19-month-long occupation of the site by Native Americans demanding reparation for broken treaties in 1969. 

Venice Beach | Venice, CA

19.  Venice Beach | Venice, CA

Wedged in between Marina del Ray and Santa Monica, Venice Beach is one of the biggest draws for visitors to Los Angeles. It's firmly established as the bohemian epicenter of Southern California and you won't find a higher concentration of recognizable landmarks from film and TV anywhere else in Los Angeles. At weekends, during the summer, it gets pretty packed, but that just adds to the slightly chaotic atmosphere. Street acts add a carnival feel to the proceedings, plus, of course, the beach is just a few feet away. Try Hinano Cafe  for a great burger in a back-to-basics, spit 'n sawdust setting and the newly refurbished Pier House for classic cocktails as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Alamo Mission | San Antonio, TX

20.  Alamo Mission | San Antonio, TX

Most Americans know the phrase 'Remember the Alamo' even if they’re not exactly sure what transpired at the 18th-century Spanish mission. Later secularized and used as a fortress, 1836 the Alamo was the site of a bloody and decisive battle of the Texas Revolution between Texas’s early Anglo settlers and Mexico (the latter won). One of the most visited historic sites in the country today, the fort welcomes about three million visitors annually. 

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USA Travel Bucket List: 50 Places to Visit Before You Die

united states tourist destinations

Megan is a Senior Editor, SEO for SmarterTravel Media. Megan started with SmarterTravel Media’s Airfarewatchdog way back in 2008, moved over to FamilyVacationCritic, and finally SmarterTravel in 2021. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Nova Scotia, London, and New York City. She has spent nearly every summer (or at least part of it) on Prince Edward Island. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two young children, and their dog, Indiana Bones (Indy). The Handy Item I Always Pack: Kindle Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Some sort of wellness retreat somewhere exotic. Travel Motto: Be flexible Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Window, if you prefer a middle seat, please message me so I can write an article about you.

While we’re often daydreaming of beaches in the Maldives and vineyards in Tuscany, there are plenty of amazing destinations in our own backyard. To help you with your bucket list, we’ve rounded up 50 places you must visit in the United States before you die — in no particular order.

1. New York City

Central Park aerial view, Manhattan, New York; Park is surrounded

One of the most-visited places in the world, New York City has numerous attractions, a multicultural population, and something for all types of travelers. Tourists should be sure to fit in a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building or One World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square. Central Park offers a respite from the crowds, museums are impressive, and a show on Broadway followed by a slice of pizza is an ideal night out.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Majestic Vista of the Grand Canyon at Dusk

The second-most popular national park in the U.S., the Grand Canyon in Arizona wows with its Colorado River-formed canyon, which stretches 277 miles long and over a mile deep. Visitors can see the park from scenic lookout points, via a stunning helicopter ride , during whitewater rafting, while riding a mule, or by hiking down and back.

3. Disney World, Florida

Orlando, FL, USA - November 5 2022 : Magic Kingdom Park. The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration.

One of the most magical places for people of all ages, the massive Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando has four fun theme parks. Magic Kingdom has the breathtaking Cinderella Castle and nightly fireworks shows, while Epcot allows park-goers to travel around the globe by showcasing 11 different countries — think a pagoda in Japan, a biergarten in Germany, and Eiffel Tower views in France.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Jackson square

Vibrant, historic, and downright fun, New Orleans is a popular city throughout the year. While most people know about the city’s rambunctious Mardi Gras celebrations, NOLA also offers world-class jazz music, delicious Creole and Cajun cuisines, art galleries, ghost tours, and notable buildings such as the 18th-century St. Louis Cathedral. The French Quarter is best explored with a coffee and beignet or a frozen cocktail in hand.

5. San Antonio Missions, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio Texas during golden sunset. Historic Texas Mission and battle site in the Texas Revolution against Mexico

Sure, you probably know about The Alamo in San Antonio, but it’s actually one of five Spanish missions found across the city. The oldest is Mission Espada , which was built in 1690; original frescoes are still visible inside Mission Concepcion ; and the largest is Mission San José . Visitors can bike or drive between the missions, and park rangers provide free tours.

6. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls

While we’d argue that Niagara Falls is more impressive from the Canadian side , you can still witness the three stunning waterfalls without a passport. Head to Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park for a stellar vantage point, or consider a Maid of the Mist boat tour for a more up-close-and-personal view. Also worth a visit is Cave of the Winds , which is set behind Bridal Veil Falls and offers visitors a sensational view of the falls, often accompanied by a beautiful rainbow.

7. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate, San Francisco, California, USA.

Opened in 1937, the famous Golden Gate Bridge is an orange-colored suspension bridge that impresses with its main span of 4,200 feet and a total height of 746 feet. It connects San Francisco to Marin County, where the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has hiking, historical attractions, and lovely vistas of the bridge and San Francisco. After snapping a photo on land, travelers can bike or walk across the bridge for more picturesque views.

8. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains, autumn sunrise Tennessee

Both a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most frequented national park in America. The gorgeous park is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina, and it has tons of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and water tubing. Fall also offers striking foliage.

9. Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see where the government is run. From the White House to the Capitol to the Supreme Court Building, all three branches of government are found here, in addition to historical monuments such as the [Lincoln Memorial](Lincoln Memorial), the Washington Monument , and World War II Memorial . Visitors can also spend hours touring the various Smithsonian museums within the National Mall .

10. Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

a bison grazes near the steaming old faithful geyser in yellowstone national park

One of the most well-known geological features in the country, Old Faithful , is a cone geyser within Yellowstone National Park . It was discovered in 1870 and got its name from its frequent and generally predictable eruptions, which occur about every 60 to 110 minutes. An average eruption is 130 to 140 feet high, expelling 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water (depending on the length of the eruption).

Related: The 6 Best National Parks for Winter Wildlife Spotting

11. South Beach, Miami

Miami Florida USA

South Beach is Miami‘s trendy hot spot, home to one of the prettiest beaches in America, gorgeous Art Deco architecture, tasty Cuban fare, and popular nightlife spots. A Latin American influence pervades the city at large, and in South Beach, tourists can shop at fancy boutiques, eat cheap Cuban sandwiches, and lounge at posh beach clubs . A beachside boardwalk is great for strolling or biking and, of course, people-watching.

12. The Narrows, Zion National Park

Orange glow hits the canyon walls in The Narrows of Zion National Park

Within Utah’s Zion National Park , The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. It’s the park’s most popular hike due to its striking setting within a gorge, where the river acts as the trail. Hikers must wade in water that varies from ankle- to waist-deep. It’s particularly pleasant in the hot summer months, but visitors should stay on top of weather conditions, as it’s known for dangerous flash flooding.

13. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Cityscape view in Santa Fe, New Mexico mountains of road street through community neighborhood with green plants summer and adobe traditional houses

Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a charming artsy town with a strong Native American influence. Pueblo-style architecture, a central plaza where vendors sell various handicrafts, and historic sights such as Loretto Chapel give the city a unique feel, plus there’s plenty to keep busy throughout the year. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and restaurants serving New Mexican cuisine are additional highlights.

14. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Bixby Creek Bridge Big Sur California

Whether you choose to drive the entire 659 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway or just a fraction thereof, you’ll be rewarded with sensational vistas. Certain routes can be done in a day, but we recommend taking your time by starting in San Francisco and slowly making your way to Orange County. The best views are arguably in Big Sur, where you’ll find rugged cliffs against the ocean on one side and redwood forests on the other.

15. Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Just outside of Washington, D.C., is Arlington National Cemetery , which spans 624 acres and houses the graves of 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and their families. The graves of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are frequently visited, as is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is a monument dedicated to deceased U.S. service members whose remains haven’t been identified. The moving Changing of the Guard can be witnessed every 30 or 60 minutes while the cemetery is open, depending on the time of year.

16. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, December 6, 2022: Broadway Street on a rainy night.

Even those who don’t love country music will likely be enamored with Nashville, Tennessee. Excellent restaurants and hip bars make for a thriving nightlife scene, and the live music — much of which is country — on Broadway is not to be missed. Top attractions include Centennial Park for its full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon, the Grand Ole Opry concert hall, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum .

17. Freedom Trail, Boston

Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston played a large part in America’s independence, and the city’s Freedom Trail passes through 16 historically significant locations. The two-and-a-half-mile trail takes visitors to Boston Common (America’s oldest public park), the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s House , and the USS Constitution (the oldest commissioned ship that acts as a museum today).

18. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Purple sunset and rising moon in Joshua Tree National Park, USA

Located in southern California, east of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is a dreamy destination known for its distinctive-looking namesake trees, big boulders that are ideal for rock climbing, and stellar stargazing opportunities . Visitors can drive through, hike around, camp, or ride horseback through the desert landscape.

19. Road to Hana, Maui

Road to Hana: The Hana Highway turns to cross a one lane bridge beside a waterfall on the north coast of Maui.

The top attraction in Maui on TripAdvisor, the Road to Hana (Hana Highway) is a 64.4-mile drive that connects Kahului, where the airport is located, to the town of Hana on Maui’s more rugged east coast. The drive is not for the faint of heart, as it has over 600 switchbacks and 56 one-lane bridges, but the speed limit never surpasses 25 miles per hour. Travelers who hit the road are rewarded with spectacular lush greenery, stunning black-sand beaches, multiple waterfalls, and spots to buy banana bread.

20. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Colorado

Red Rocks at sunrise, near Denver Colorado

Located about a 30-minute drive outside of Denver, the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is an open-air concert and entertainment venue. The entire theater, including the seating, was built into the red rocks, which make for a phenomenal acoustic experience. Tourists can run up and down the steps in the morning and see big-name acts at night. Past performers include The Beatles, U2, Coldplay, and John Denver.

Related: Maui vs. Kauai: Which Hawaiian Island Is Better for You?

21. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

amazing sundown at horseshoe bend, arizona

Horseshoe Bend is where the Colorado River takes a horseshoe-shaped bend in Glen Canyon. Visitors to Horseshoe Bend have skyrocketed since it gained recognition through Instagram. It’s easily accessible, as travelers can hike a one-and-a-half-mile round-trip trail from a parking lot off the highway.

22. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, USA cityscape on the river and walkway.

The capital of Texas, Austin, is a hip, youthful city where low-frills barbecue joints and big-name tech corporations coexist. From stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Austin to topless sunbathing at Barton Springs Pool , there are a lot of ways to beat the daytime heat. Nights can be spent at upscale restaurants, Sixth Street bars with live music, or watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Buy a University of Texas T-shirt and some cowboy boots while you’re there.

23. Space Needle, Seattle

Amazing View of Seattle From Far Away with mountain tops on the horizon

An iconic landmark in Seattle, the Space Needle is an observation tower that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. With its antenna, it rises 604 feet, allowing for panoramic views of Seattle and the surrounding water. A 100-million-dollar renovation included the creation of the Loupe, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor. A cafe and wine bar entice visitors to linger.

24. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

American flag waiving in front of Mount Rushmore

Located in South Dakota, this famous landmark depicts four American presidents carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore . Constructed between 1927 and 1941, the sculpture features the 60-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

25. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension at Sunrise, Hot Air Balloons

Every year since 1972, Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, in which the sky is filled with colorful hot air balloons. For nine days in October, families and friends gather to watch the largest balloon festival in the world.

26. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

The Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park (the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world)

Another top attraction (and the most-photographed) within Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest hot spring in the United States, measuring 370 feet in diameter. It’s best viewed from above, as the spring has vibrant bands of rainbow colors.

27. Griffith Observatory, California

Los Angeles Griffith Observatory sunset

Situated on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, Griffith Observatory is a popular observatory with free admission. It has stellar views of the Hollywood Sign and Los Angeles, and visitors can use telescopes, the planetarium, various events, and a cafe.

28. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Biker on the Going-to-the-Sun Road with mountain background, Glacier National Park, Montana

Completed in 1932, Going-to-the-Sun Road is a two-lane highway that allows visitors to traverse the 50-mile width of Glacier National Park . Various scenic lookouts and noteworthy hikes can be found off the road, and it crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Due to weather conditions, it generally doesn’t open until late June or early July.

29. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Skyline

Whether for a bachelorette party, Celine Dion concert, or business conference, there’s a good chance you’ve at least thought about going to Las Vegas. Sin City is renowned for its world-class casinos, nightlife, and celebrity-chef-helmed restaurants, not to mention rowdy pool parties with famous DJs. It’s not all debauchery, though, and many kid-friendly activities dot the city.

30. Acadia National Park, Maine

Bass Harbor Head lighthouse at sunset. Bass Harbor Head Light is a lighthouse located within Acadia National Park, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay

Maine‘s beauty is undeniable, and that’s perhaps best displayed at Acadia National Park . Located near Bar Harbor, the 47,000-acre park sits along the coast and offers ample wildlife, such as moose and peregrine falcons, beaches, lush forests, and granite ridges formed by glaciers. While summer is a popular time to visit, the fall foliage makes for great autumn hiking.

Related: Top 9 Las Vegas Hotels on the Strip for Every Type of Traveler

31. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Girls on vacation hiking trip. Friends standing next to Thor's Hammer hoodoo on top of mountain looking at beautiful view. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

Located a four-hour drive south of Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon is a national park best known for having the largest concentration of hoodoos (irregular rock columns) in the world. The park was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019 due to the great nighttime visibility and many astronomy-related programs on offer.

32. Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Liberty Bell old symbol of American freedom in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Often considered a symbol of America’s independence, the iconic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was ordered by Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751. It was previously housed in Independence Hall, the building where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted. It has since been moved to the Liberty Bell Center within the Independence National Historical Park .

33. Charleston, South Carolina

Broad Street Panorama in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The 1670-founded Charleston is South Carolina’s oldest city, Today, it offers a lovely mix of old-fashioned Southern charm and contemporary style. Cobblestone streets filled with horse-drawn carriages and striking mansions can be found in its well-preserved Historic District, while notable wartime places, like Fort Sumter and Patriots Point , sit nearby. Cute boutique shops and traditional Southern comfort food appeal to visitors, as does Folly Beach , located a 25-minute drive south of the city.

34. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

Hot springs may conjure images of Iceland or Costa Rica, but the aptly named city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, offers U.S. travelers ample opportunities to soak in naturally heated springs. The town is located in the Ouachita Mountains, about one hour from Little Rock. Bathhouse Row has several bathhouse options, including places for coed or gender-segregated experiences. A few dispensers around the city let people obtain cold spring water straight from the mountain.

35. Redwood National and State Parks, California

Hiker in Sequoia National Park, California, USA

Roughly equidistant from Portland and San Francisco, the Redwood National and State Parks encompass 139,000 acres and three state parks. Visitors here will find stunning redwood trees, which are some of the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in the world. On average, redwoods live between 500 and 700 years, and a typical redwood here measures 300 feet tall and 16 to 20 feet in diameter.

36. Oahu, Hawaii

Beautiful day at world famous and popular snorkeling spot Hanauma bay in Honolulu on Oahu, Hawaii

The most popular of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu provides picture-perfect beaches, hiking opportunities, and the conveniences of a city — think budget-friendly hotels, chain restaurants, and an international eatery. Top attractions include Waikiki Beach in Honolulu , Diamond Head — a dormant volcano crater that can be hiked — and North Shore, a beach with huge waves that make it a frequent host of international surfing competitions in the winter. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is also worth a visit.

Girl watching Aurora borealis in Fairbanks, Alaska

The 49th state of Alaska is stunning, with greenery-filled forests, tons of wildlife (think bears, humpback whales, and moose), and massive glaciers. However, it’s not the easiest place to explore, as even the capital of Juneau has no roads leading out of the city. Arguably the best way to see Alaska is on a cruise , stopping at ports like Ketchikan , which has a strong native culture and renowned salmon fishing.

38. Sonoma, California

Sunset at Sonoma California patchwork vineyard at harvest. Vista of Sonoma Valley wine country, with patches of yellow and green vines in autumn. Sunbeams shine on mountains and valleys.

While we love Napa Valley in California, Sonoma provides a slightly less touristy wine-country experience. Sonoma is set among beautiful rolling hills, and many of the over 400 wineries within Sonoma County have a laid-back atmosphere that will put visitors at ease. Like Napa, Sonoma has tons of top-notch restaurants, relaxing spas, bike rentals, and charming bed-and-breakfasts to choose from.

39. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Man on hilltop viewing Crater Lake with full moon

A four-hour drive south of Portland, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is 183,224 acres and home to America’s deepest lake. Crater Lake, a caldera formed by the eruption of Mount Mazama volcano, is 1,943 feet deep at its deepest point and has a striking deep blue hue. Swimming and fishing are permitted, plus park-goers can hike, bike, ski, and stargaze.

40. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Taos Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico

Located 90 minutes north of Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. An active Native American community resides on Taos Pueblo lands, both within the Pueblo and in surrounding areas. The present buildings, which are made of adobe, are believed to have been constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. Guided tours are available of the site.

Related: Best Destinations for Adult-Only Vacations

41. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope canyon, Arizona

Another Instagram darling, Antelope Canyon , is a magnificent, awe-inspiring slot canyon near Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone. It’s located on Navajo tribal lands, and the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons can only be accessed with a guide licensed by the tribe.

42. Minnesota Lakes

Yellow canoe on shore of beautiful lake with island in northern Minnesota at dawn

Minnesota is considered the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” though it actually has nearly 12,000, and many are fantastic spots for a summer vacation. Whether you choose to dip your toes in the chilly Lake Superior — one of the Great Lakes — or go full-on swimming in Mille Lacs Lake (which is large but shallow), there’s a lake in Minnesota for you.

43. Arches National Park, Utah

Jubilation at Delicate Arch, Moab Utah

Just outside of Moab is Arches National Park , famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches — the largest concentration of them on Earth. The most photographed is the 52-foot-tall, freestanding Delicate Arch, plus the park has many other striking geological formations.

44. Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY, USA - October 25, 2017: The exterior of Churchill Downs while it was closed to the public and under construction. A gift shop is open and tours of the inside are available.

Since 1865, the Kentucky Derby horse race has been taking place at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. Women wear elaborate hats, while gentlemen don seersucker suits in pastel hues. Visitors come to watch the 20 three-year-old Thoroughbred horses race 1.25 miles — often with a mint julep in hand.

45. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island view from Fort Mackinac in Michigan

Located in Michigan’s Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is a charming 1780-founded island with a population of just around 1,000 (though it sees many tourists during its peak season). A majority of the island is a state park, which has forests, wildlife, and hiking trails. The use of motor vehicles has been outlawed here since 1898, so expect to ride around on bikes or in horse-drawn carriages and buggies.

46. Santa Monica, California

View of Santa Monica beach and Pacific Coast highway in southern California.

Santa Monica sits due west of Los Angeles, and the town lures travelers with its postcard-worthy beach, pier with amusement park rides, and boulevard lined by shops and eateries. A 22-mile paved bike trail is a great way to see the city, plus the famous Muscle Beach , an outdoor gym dating back to the 1930s, is not to be missed.

47. Space Center, Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS, USA - JUNE 9, 2018: The NASA Space Shuttle Independence and NASA 905 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at Independence Plaza, Space Center Houston, Texas.

The Space Center in Houston is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and home of NASA Mission Control and astronaut training. It allows visitors to view more than 400 space artifacts, as well as traveling and permanent exhibits related to space travel.

48. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Picture Lake Reflection of Mount Shuksan

About a 90-minute drive from Denver is Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park , which attracts millions of visitors each year with its 355 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives to more than 12,000 feet in elevation, and over 50 lakes and streams for fishing. Year-round activities abound, and travelers can either camp within the park or stay at a nearby hotel such as the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for “The Shining”).

49. Fenway Park, Boston

Fenway Park - home of the Boston Red Sox - BOSTON , MASSACHUSETTS

Long considered America’s pastime, baseball is something every U.S. citizen and traveler should witness at least once. There are 30 Major League Baseball teams, and while Wrigley Field in Chicago, Yankee Stadium in New York, and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles are all suitable spots, we love Fenway Park in Boston for its easy-to-reach location. Plus, the many die-hard Red Sox fans make for a fun experience.

50. Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island Sail Boats San Francisco California

Located in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is a fascinating tourist attraction that was developed as a Civil War fortress, followed by a military prison and federal prison (until 1963). Ferries shuttle visitors to the island, where guided tours showcase the complex history of the site and its prison.

How many destinations can you check off the list? Find out down below:

USA Travel Bucket List Checklist

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Discover the World

25 Top Tourist Attractions in the USA

By Mike Kaplan · Last updated on April 3, 2024

As one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world, The United States boast an amazing amount of tourist destinations ranging from the skyscrapers of New York and Chicago, the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska to the sunny beaches of California , Florida and Hawaii.

With so many tourist attractions in the USA it’s tempting to list entire cities or even states, but in this top 25 I have tried to focus on specific attractions.

25. Mount Rushmore [SEE MAP]

Mount Rushmore

Perhaps the most unmistakably American landmark is Mount Rushmore, a national memorial located in South Dakota. Constructed in the early 20th century, Mount Rushmore depicts the faces of four former American presidents, each of which is carved and blasted from the side of a rock face.

Visitors can admire the larger-than-life faces of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The short Presidential Trail at the base of Mount Rushmore provides better views and an interesting perspective on the landmark.

24. Pike Place Market in Seattle [SEE MAP]

Pike Place Market

Overlooking the waterfront of Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington, is the Pike Place Market. Opened in 1907, the market is now a historic, iconic part of the city. Pike Place Market is the ultimate place to shop in Seattle, because it is full of the oldest establishments in the region.

There are markets where fresh fish straight from the Puget Sound gets tossed dramatically, cheesemongers who offer tastings of locally made brie and camembert and then there is the site of the original Starbucks coffee shop.

23. Venice Beach in Los Angeles [SEE MAP]

Venice Beach

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a trip to Venice Beach. Its canals and beaches are spectacular, but the biggest hit is undeniably the Venice Beach Boardwalk. This is a truly entertaining spot where street performers juggle, dance, sculpt and sing for passersby.

Shop for souvenirs, grab a refreshing drink and bring some small bills for a stroll on the boardwalk. After stopping to admire a live performer, many visitors tip a dollar or two to show appreciation.

See also: Where to Stay in Los Angeles

22. Mesa Verde [SEE MAP]

Mesa Verde

The Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is home to the preserved homes of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Many of these homes, which are carved right from caves and rock faces, date back to the early 13th century.

Today, it is possible to walk beneath the overhanging cliffs and tour these ancient abodes. The Balcony House is especially well preserved, and it boasts 40 rooms that are accessible exclusively by ladder. The nearby Cliff Palace is even bigger, and it is believed to have housed more than 100 people in its 150 original rooms.

21. Faneuil Hall in Boston [SEE MAP]

Faneuil Hall

One of the most historic destinations in Boston, a city already full of heritage, is Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Also known as the Cradle of Liberty, this early 18th century structure served as a space where early leaders gathered to fight against oppression in the years before and during the American Revolutionary War.

Today, touring Faneuil Hall Marketplace means lots of opportunity to shop for local produce and desserts in the indoor and outdoor marketplace.

20. Kennedy Space Center [SEE MAP]

Kennedy Space Center

Cape Canaveral, located on the coast of Florida, boasts a lot of space-related attractions. One of the best is the Kennedy Space Center, which has been the launch site for every US human space flight since 1968 and currently operates as a launch site for unmanned rockets.

Visitors can learn more about the early pioneers into space, and they can also experience the tension and excitement over the rush to the moon. There is even the chance to participate in the Shuttle Launch Experience, which replicates the experience of space travel.

19. Navy Pier in Chicago [SEE MAP]

Navy Pier

Extending over the waters of Lake Michigan is Navy Pier, an enormous pier in the heart of Chicago’s coastal Streeterville neighborhood. Within the pier, there are countless attractions suited to the whole family.

Beautifully manicured gardens are the ideal place for a scenic stroll, and lots of souvenir shops are a wonderful way to snag gifts on a vacation to Chicago. The pier is also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, two theaters and an abundance of excellent restaurants.

18. Great Smoky Mountains National Park [SEE MAP]

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is the most visited in the entire country, thanks in large part to its enormous size and its incredible scenery.

Visitors can hike through old growth forest, spot hundreds of species of birds and check out the two visitor centers. Hikes can also wind through trails that lead to the waterfalls of Laurel Falls and the vistas of Clingman’s Dome.

17. River Walk in San Antonio [SEE MAP]

River Walk

In the city of San Antonio, Texas , there are few attractions more appealing than the River Walk. Also known as the Paseo del Rio, the River Walk is a network of walkways lining the San Antonio River.

Reserved for pedestrians, the revitalized area is packed with fascinating architecture, lush greenery and water views. The River Walk is a hub for dining and culinary exploration in this Texan city. It is possible to dig into Tex-Mex cuisine, upscale French fare and everything in between in this one easily navigable destination.

16. Carlsbad Caverns [SEE MAP]

Carlsbad Caverns

As the name suggests, Carlsbad Caverns is a collection of over 115 caves. Located in southern New Mexico, these caverns are carved from limestone, and it is possible for visitors to descend more than 900 feet (275 meters) below the surface of the earth on a guided tour.

The largest single cave chamber in all of North America is found here and is known as the Big Room. Within the room itself, visitors can set off on a 90-minute walk exploring the incredible underground environment.

15. Bryce Canyon National Park [SEE MAP]

Bryce Canyon National Park

Located in Southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is a breathtaking display of rock formations. Technically, Bryce Canyon isn’t a canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters. Mormon settlers once called the canyon home, but now most visitors come for the awe-inspiring views and the magnificent hiking opportunities.

Sunset Point is one of the most popular vantage points, offering panoramic views of the red, yellow and orange rock formations. Queen’s Garden Trail is another favorite, because it offers green trees among the red rocks for a brilliant juxtaposition.

14. French Quarter in New Orleans [SEE MAP]

French Quarter

New Orleans, Louisiana, is made up of several unique districts, but none is so famous as the French Quarter. Also known as the Vieux Carre, the French Quarter truly explores the rich French colonial influences on the city of New Orleans . Incredible architecture abounds, with the St. Louis Cathedral being the main attraction.

The French Quarter boasts the Moon Walk, a paved walkway next to the Mississippi River, as well as Bourbon Street, the undeniable hub of nightlife, drinking and entertainment in the city.

13. Sedona Red Rock Country [SEE MAP]

Sedona Red Rock Country

A two-hour drive north of Phoenix is Sedona, Arizona. Sedona isn’t a big city, but it is a major tourist attraction in the USA thanks to its gorgeous red rock landscape. Known as Red Rock Country, this region is an outdoor lover’s dream. Countless canyons, creeks and paths encourage outdoor activity, with Cathedral Rock Trail being one of the local favorite hiking spots.

One of the most interesting spots in Sedona combines the new with the old, with the contemporary Chapel of the Holy Cross built right into the side of the red rocks themselves.

12. Walt Disney World in Orlando [SEE MAP]

Walt Disney World

Orlando, Florida , is a hub of amusement parks, but none is so popular as Walt Disney World. Many travelers don’t realize that Walt Disney World is actually made up of several distinct theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the Blizzard Beach Water Park.

Visitors will be able to enjoy thrill rides, watch Broadway-quality shows and explore the nightlife, cuisine, shopping and entertainment at Disney Springs.

11. Yosemite National Park [SEE MAP]

Yosemite National Park

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, there is Yosemite National Park. This extraordinary destination is known the world over for its amazing scenery. Within this single park, visitors can peer off spectacular granite cliffs, admire clear waterfalls and see sequoia trees that are hundreds of years old.

Yosemite Valley is a top spot to explore in the park, because it boasts the enormous Yosemite Falls as well as the granite monolith called Half Dome.

10. White House in Washington D.C. [SEE MAP]

White House

The White House in Washington DC is the official residence and office of the President of the United States. It was built between 1792 and 1800 and first used by President John Adams.

After the 9/11 attacks it has become more difficult to visit the White House and today tours are available only for groups of 10 or more and must be requested up to six months in advance through your member of Congress or your country’s US Ambassador.

9. Denali National Park [SEE MAP]

Denali National Park

The Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. The word “Denali” means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language and refers to Mount McKinley. In addition, the park protects an incredible wilderness area that contains grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and numerous other creatures.

8. Las Vegas Strip [SEE MAP]

Las Vegas Strip

The gambling mecca of the world, Las Vegas is situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape. Casinos can be found throughout Las Vegas, but the strip, a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South, contains the most of them.

It features giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish care and attention to detail to create a fantasy-like atmosphere. The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destination.

See also: Where to Stay in Las Vegas

7. Florida Keys [SEE MAP]

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a 120 mile long chain of tropical islands curving around the base of the Florida peninsula, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges.

The most spectacular bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge in the Lower Keys, has been frequently used as a location for films including True Lies and Fast 2 Furious. US Highway 1, the “Overseas Highway” runs from Key Largo , Islamadora, Marathon, Lower Keys and finally to Key West, the most distant and most famous island.

6. Kilauea [SEE MAP]

Kilauea

Kilauea is the most recent of a series of volcanoes that have created the Hawaiian Archipelago. It is a very low, flat shield volcano, vastly different in profile from the high, sharply sloping peaks of stratovolcanoes.

Kilauea is one of the most active volcano on the Earth, an invaluable resource for volcanologists. Thirty-three eruptions have taken place since 1952, not including the current eruption which started on January 3, 1983 and is still ongoing.

5. Niagara Falls [SEE MAP]

Niagara Falls

Situated between the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Niagara Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the North American continent. Niagara Falls is actually three different falls, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls.

Horseshoe Falls is located on the Canadian side while the other are located in New York. With more than 14 million visitors each year it is one of the most visited tourist attraction in the world.

4. Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco [SEE MAP]

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed in 1937, and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California . The famous red-orange color of the bridge was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge.

3. Yellowstone [SEE MAP]

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park, set aside in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area. Yellowstone lies on top of a gigantic hotspot where light, hot, molten mantle rock rises towards the surface.

Subsequently, the park contains half of all the world’s known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples of geysers and hot springs. In addition, black bears, grizzly bears, deer, elk, bison and wolves can all be found within the park borders.

2. Manhattan [SEE MAP]

Manhattan

Manhattan is one of New York’s five boroughs and is what people most often think of when they picture New York City . It’s familiar skyline and sights have been featured a thousand times on screen. Walk in the shadow of the skyscrapers, picture the Statue of Liberty, see a Broadway show , climb the Empire State building, stroll Central Park, window shop on 5th Avenue or stagger around a museum.

1. Grand Canyon [SEE MAP]

#1 of Tourist Attractions In The Usa

The Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona and is one of the great tourist attractions in the United States. Carved over several million years by the Colorado River, the canyon attains a depth of over 1.6 km (1 mile) and 446 km (277 miles) long.

The Grand Canyon is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape offers visitor spectacular vistas that are unmatched throughout the world.

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Reader interactions.

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November 12, 2020 at 8:34 pm

I’ve been to almost all of these. HANDS DOWN Grand Canyon- Bryce-Tetons- Yellowstone-Glacier is the most amazing trip. I’ve been all over the world, and Yellowstone’s wildlife and the view at the Grand Canyon are by far the most epic. I love Washington State as well: Mt. Ranier, Seattle, Olympic and the anitoles- you can see a variety in a small distance.

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July 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

You should have included the historic triangle in Virginia. It includes Williamsburg (Colonial Williamsburg) Jamestown (America’s first settlement) & Yorktown (the site of Cornwallis’ surrender, effectively ending the Revolutionary War) it is literally the birth place of this great nation and is a huge tourist destination.

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May 24, 2019 at 10:31 pm

Nice article, but may I make one correction regarding Pike Place Market? As a local tour guide, it bugs me when people tell our visitors that the Starbucks at the market is the original. It isn’t, and I try to set this myth straight every chance I get. The original Starbucks was on Western Ave., and burned down in the 70s. The original owner and team moved to the present location at the market, which is how they get away with calling it original, but in reality, it is misleading the public.

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October 31, 2018 at 10:15 am

Hello!? Savannah GA is amazing. It’s like stepping back in time.

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August 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm

oh my gaawwwd. these photos are amazing and I cant wait to go back to the us so I can visit vegas. I didn’t get to last time so im really looking forward to it!!!

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September 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

I am excited to see Niagra falls soon and its my dream to see New York specially Statue of Liberty, Central park and Brooklyn Bridge. I hope that soon i shall be there.

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February 9, 2015 at 8:09 am

It makes you dream and want to go there. I’ve learned a lot on the USA thanks to your site and the like. Your publications perfectly reflect the wonderful side of the USA.

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January 30, 2015 at 12:36 am

Christina Rusia! You are right America is fabulous and offer amazing sights to see there. I have explored its major attractions and Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon are one of those places which are my ever best spots to enjoy the natural beauty. Recently I went to have some fun with friends in Nagara Falls after my pedestrian streets trip.

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October 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

I think that america is fabulous, The sights and also the view is amazing to see and visit. I am currently in New York.

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July 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I visited Yellowstone National Park. This is an awesome place in USA.

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December 12, 2013 at 4:46 am

I have been very lucky myself to have visited most of these places. One of my main reasons why I love America (USA) is because of the diversity the country has to offer in terms of landscapes e.g. countryside, deserts, mountains ect. Out of the above Yellowstone and Vegas are my favourites. Niagara Falls was an sight I will never forget – waking up each morning and opening my hotel room curtains to see the falls directly below….breathtaking.

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November 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

these are great places

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September 14, 2013 at 6:17 am

Las Vegas is my final destination …….thankew. informative website

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August 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I think that Niagara Falls needs to be higher on the list. Who agrees?

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March 27, 2013 at 6:44 am

Niagara Falls & Manhattan is my dream….I have no word to express the beauty

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February 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

great feed back about us visitor Sp like me who is going to visit USA first time and with family it was quite difficult for me to decide where to go but after visiting this page i am clear about my trip thanks alot

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November 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I can say that I have been very fortunate to have visited all but one of these tourist attractions. (Alaska being the only one) Visiting Alcatraz and seeing the Golden Gate was interesting, along with watching the Geysers in Yellowstone. I live in NY (15 minutes from Niagara Falls and an easy drive to NYC) so those don’t interest me as much but after driving cross country in my early twenties, I have realized just what a beautiful country we live in. I now have three children and make it a point to travel with them. Each child gets a surprise birthday trip every year and it has proved to be not only memorable but also educational. My 11 year old has been many places, in and out of the U.S. and now is starting to understand the value of travel. Great site! 🙂

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September 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Manhattan: “… stagger around a museum”… you have you never lied. I recently visited New York, and a friend of mine and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our initial plan was to try and see if we could make it through that one and the American Museum of Natural History. After a good 7 hours in the Met, we ended up taking a taxi to Penn Station, and slept our way back on the train to Long Island. I will say, however the exhaustion was worth it.

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August 6, 2012 at 8:52 am

A great page, I’ve been to the USA many times – Cities such as New York and San Francisco are really worth a visit – For natural wonder Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are a must.

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August 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Very good collection of tourist places. I have bookmarked this page, and i will follow this blog at the time of my usa tour. Thanks.

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April 26, 2011 at 3:47 am

Fabulous photos of places to visit in the US. I have been very lucky to visit Vegas, and to have flown over the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Over the page you have photos of Alaska and Denali National Park which I plan to visit next year. When I see those photos I can hardly wait. Thanks great post.

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24 Best Places to Visit in the United States

Written by Lana Law Updated May 3, 2023

Author Lana Law has spent many years traveling to all corners of the United States.

With so much to see in this vast country, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to planning a trip in the United States. World-class cities , some known for history and others known for fun or glamour, give you a broad spectrum of places to choose from. The best places to visit in the United States may simply depend on your personal interests.

Yosemite National Park

Along the Eastern Seaboard , New York and Washington, D.C. offer two uniquely different city experiences. Along the West Coast , San Francisco and Los Angeles are both hot spots for tourists. In the Southwest , Las Vegas brings the desert to life, and the Grand Canyon shows off one of nature's greatest creations.

Beyond the mainland are the beaches of Waikiki and the tropical Hawaiian Islands , as well as Alaska. These are just a few key locations, but wonderful destinations for any type of traveler can be found all over the country.

Discover more of America with our list of the best places to visit in the United States.

1. New York

2. san francisco, 3. the grand canyon, 5. las vegas, 7. washington, d.c., 9. los angeles, 10. new orleans, 11. utah's national parks, 12. orlando/kissimmee, 13. chicago, 14. phoenix, 15. savannah, 17. yosemite national park, 18. colorado's rocky mountains, 19. seattle, 20. north carolina's outer banks, 21. santa fe, 22. san antonio, 23. yellowstone national park.

New York

New York City is like no other city in the world, and one that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

For first-time visitors, walking the streets can be like walking through a movie set, with famous sites at every turn, from the Empire State Building , to Rockefeller Plaza , the Chrysler Building , Central Park , The High Line , Times Square , 5th Avenue , Broadway , and of course, the Statue of Liberty .

Sightsee by day, take in a Broadway show in the evening, work in time for shopping or a stroll, and relax and reminisce over a fantastic meal. This is New York. With too much to see and do in a day, a weekend, or even a week, this is a city worth visiting time and time again.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

San Francisco

This charming and picturesque West Coast city is the perfect getaway destination for couples, singles, or families. Famous sites, charming streets, beautiful views, and outdoor dining are all part of what makes San Francisco such a great place to visit.

Take a cruise on San Francisco Bay, tour Alcatraz , drive over the Golden Gate Bridge , wander around Fisherman's Wharf , hop on an historic street car, or try a do-it-yourself walking tour to explore the city sites.

Summer or fall is a wonderful time to visit, but the climate here is mild and any time of year is pleasant.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco
  • Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of those must-see, bucket-list destinations that have been attracting visitors for generations. Gazing out over the canyon walls to an endless horizon and an unfathomable depth below is one of the highlights of any trip in the United States.

Visiting the Grand Canyon can easily be done on a day trip from Las Vegas or Phoenix , and from some smaller cities in the vicinity, including Sedona or Flagstaff . Another option is to incorporate a visit into a larger driving trip through Arizona and surrounding states. A train trip from Williams , AZ on the Grand Canyon Railway is another delightful way to experience the canyon.

The south rim of the Grand Canyon, which is the most popular and most visited section, is open all year, and visitors are welcome at any time of year. To avoid the crush of summer visitors, consider arriving in the spring or fall; the weather is good and the crowds smaller. The road to the north rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in winter due to snow.

  • Top Attractions & Things to See at the Grand Canyon
  • From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon: Best Ways to Get There

Houston from Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston is the perfect city for a friends' getaway, a couples' retreat, or a family vacation. With direct flights from cities across the United States and Canada, you can easily fly in to see a sports game, wander through Houston's Museum District , lounge by a pool at one of the many luxury hotels, and spend your evenings enjoying incredible meals.

Houston has developed into a hot spot for dining in the United States and is now well known for extraordinary cuisine.

If you want a relaxed but outdoor urban experience, rent a bike and peddle your way through the miles of paved trails in the parks or on the downtown streets. Rent a kayak and paddle along Buffalo Bayou in Buffalo Bayou Park .

In less than an hour, you can be on the nearby beaches or exploring Galveston , and along the way, you can make a stop at Space Center Houston .

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Houston

Las Vegas

This glittering city of lights in the desert holds a unique appeal, and one that has been attracting visitors for decades. Huge resort complexes, with all kinds of things to see and do at any time of year, have made this a destination that draws everyone, from want-to-be newlyweds who come here to say their vows, to families or singles who just want to hang out around a pool.

Entertainment options are extensive, with some of the music industry's top stars calling Las Vegas home and playing to packed audiences every night. Cirque du Soleil offers another unique experience, and of course, each resort has something to entertain guests, from dancing fountains to an erupting volcano.

When you've had your fill of the city, there is plenty to explore in the surrounding area , with the Grand Canyon , Hoover Dam , Death Valley National Park , and Valley of Fire State Park all within easy day-tripping distance. Las Vegas is ideal for a long weekend if you live in Los Angeles or Phoenix.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Las Vegas
  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Las Vegas, NV

Waikiki

Waikiki is one of America's top beaching destinations, with all the comforts of North America on a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific Ocean.

Located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu , Waikiki is a suburb of Honolulu known for the beautiful golden sand beach that stretches along the oceanfront, backed by hotels and retail establishments.

Rent a surfboard and test your skills in the waves, hit the shops when you're done with the beach, and enjoy great dining options in the evening. This is the perfect destination for everyone, from families to couples or singles.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Waikiki

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is the US capitol and home to some of the most famous sites and national treasures in America, from the White House and the Capitol Building to the Smithsonian museums. This city should be on everyone's itinerary of the East Coast .

In the spring, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a beautiful time to visit, when the trees are in full bloom. Summer can be hot. You may want to hit one of the beaches near Washington for a bit of a cool off.

Fall is also a good time to visit, when the hot summer temperatures have cooled off enough to make walking around outside very comfortable and the rush of the busy summer season has passed. In winter, the crowds are definitely smaller, and the city is stunning after a fresh snowfall.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington, DC
  • Top-Rated Day Trips from Washington, D.C.

Miami

The hot spot of southern Florida, Miami is more than just a great beaching destination. Wonderful beaches can be found all over Florida , but Miami offers an atmosphere like no other city in the state.

The Cuban vibe along Calle Ocho in Little Havana , the Art Deco District in Miami Beach that calls to mind the 1930s era, the endless parade of sports cars cruising along Ocean Drive in the evenings, and the summertime beach scene of South Beach , are just some of the unique aspects that make Miami one of the best cities in the US.

For a unique experience take a day trip from Miami to Everglades National Park to see alligators, turtles, and an array of birds in this one-of-a-kind wetlands area.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Miami

Los Angeles

Southern California has a culture all of its own, and Los Angeles is the epicenter of this unique area. The city has always been associated with glamour, with the suburbs of Hollywood , Beverly Hills , and Bel Air dominating pop culture. Travelers will find all kinds of vacation possibilities in the Los Angeles area.

Hollywood is a must for movie lovers, families come to experience nearby Disneyland , and shoppers will definitely find what they're looking for in the Los Angeles area .

If you are looking for a little sand and surf, head to one of the many beaches around LA . For an interesting natural history experience, be sure to visit La Brea Tar Pits to see fossil remains of prehistoric animals that roamed this area 40,000 years ago.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Los Angeles
  • Best Free Things to Do in Los Angeles, CA

Jackson Square, New Orleans

New Orleans is like no other southern city. The mix of cultures, with strong French and Spanish influences, is more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the United States. Cajun and Creole cuisine, jazz music, and the architecture of the French Quarter set this city apart.

Combined with an assortment of luxury resorts and hotels, New Orleans makes a perfect destination for a long weekend getaway .

The highlight of New Orleans' calendar year is Mardi Gras , when elaborate costumes and outrageous floats light up the streets, music can be heard everywhere, and the celebrations seem never-ending. However, if crowds are not your thing, you may want to avoid this time of year.

New Orleans

The best time to visit New Orleans is from December to May, but other seasons offer different benefits. June to November is hotter and prone to storms and hurricanes but is a good time to find deals.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Orleans

Arches National Park

Southern Utah is home to a landscape like no other, with canyons, arches, natural amphitheaters, and oddly beautiful rock formations. Fortunately, Utah's parks offer access to the state's most incredible scenery.

Zion National Park is one of the most outstanding, and particularly of interest for its hiking trails . Soaring cliff walls, waterfalls, and the river running through the valley, making this one of the most visited parks in the United States .

Zion National Park

Arches National Park , near the town of Moab, is home to more than 2,000 sandstone arches, but is much more than the name suggests. Rock spires, petrified dunes, views to distant mountain peaks, and the numerous adventure opportunities in the area , make this a place you'll want to spend some time. It's also a top mountain biking destination in the United States .

Nearby, but completely different in character, is Canyonlands National Park . Some sections of this park are as enchanting as the Grand Canyon but not nearly as busy. Plan on at least a day to see two separate sections of the park, and more if you want to enjoy the hiking trails.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park offers a completely different scene, with a huge natural amphitheater providing the base for a forest of colorful rock pinnacles. The hiking trails in Bryce , which take you through this mystical landscape, are mostly easy to moderate and worth doing. And lastly, Capitol Reef National Park is a little out of the way but is worth a stop if you can work it into your itinerary.

  • Top-Rated National and State Parks in Utah
  • Best Campgrounds Near Capitol Reef National Park

Orlando/Kissimmee

Orlando, which for most tourists is synonymous with Kissimmee, is all about the theme parks; Walt Disney World Resort , Universal Studios , and SeaWorld are the big attractions . This is one of the best vacation spots in the US for families . Kids love it. But adults will also enjoy the parks, as well as the shopping, dining, golfing, and sunshine.

School holidays are the busiest time to visit. Christmas and summer holidays are particularly hectic. Fortunately, Orlando is primed for tourists, with all kinds of hotels and home rentals available in the area.

The city is located inland but within easy day-tripping distance of both coasts and the popular Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast

  • Read More: Top-Rated Beaches near Orlando, FL

Chicago

Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a great summer destination, with parks and a beautiful waterfront with amazing beaches . But its arts and cultural attractions, as well as fantastic shopping, make it a popular year-round destination.

The Magnificent Mile , along Michigan Avenue, is the city's most famous area, with high-end luxury stores and galleries, along with famous buildings and outstanding architecture. Some of the tourist highlights include Millennium Park , the Art Institute of Chicago , Navy Pier , and the views from the Willis Tower SkyDeck .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Chicago

Phoenix

In the heart of the Southwestern US , Phoenix is a huge, sprawling city that attracts large numbers of northerners during the winter months, who come here to escape the cold weather. Phoenix is a great destination for golfing, shopping, relaxing, and generally having a good time.

The greater Phoenix area has some of the finest resorts in the state. They range from giant family-friendly complexes with beaches and waterslides to small, intimate operations where your every whim is indulged.

You may want to pack your golf clubs. The city and surroundings, which include Scottsdale , Mesa , and several other townships, are known in particular for their world-class golf resorts, some of the most important stops on the men's and women's PGA Tour.

A family hiking in Papago Park, Phoenix

If you have extra room in your suitcase, maybe squeeze in your hiking boots, too. Natural areas that showcase the desert landscape can be found within the city and nearby, providing easy access for hiking , and mountain biking. Summer temperatures can be extremely high, but October to April is very pleasant, especially if you want to spend time outdoors.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Phoenix
  • Top-Rated Campground in the Phoenix Area

Savannah

Savannah is the quintessential small southern city, with huge moss-covered trees in the beautiful parks, old southern mansions, and a lovely waterfront area with candy stores and other unique shops in historic buildings. The pace is slow, and the people are friendly.

It's easy to see that Savannah is a city where people live and enjoy life, rather than an area simply developed for tourism. The city center is small enough that you can walk everywhere. This is a city you can see in a day, but the kind of place where you will want to linger.

Nearby are some beautiful beaches at Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island , both of which can be reached by car in well under an hour.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Savannah

Boston

Located along the Eastern Seaboard, Boston is a city of history. The famous Freedom Trail leads past some of the city's most famous and historic sites, making sightseeing and navigating through the city extremely easy.

Picturesquely situated along the oceanfront, with ferries connecting the outer suburbs, Boston has a unique charm. Modern skyscrapers stand next to centuries-old buildings, and open public spaces , like Boston Common , give the city a quaint, small-town feel. The city also has a strong arts and cultural scene, and is home to the famous Boston Pops Orchestra .

Boston's winters are legendary. Nor'easters roar ashore every now and again, dumping copious quantities of snow. However, that doesn't stop these hardy residents from enjoying life. The list of things to do in winter is long, and this is still a great time of year for a visit.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston
  • Top-Rated Beaches in the Boston Area

Yosemite National Park

While the Grand Canyon is on most international travelers' itineraries, Yosemite is a national treasure that should not be missed. Yosemite Valley is home to some of America's most famous landscapes and iconic natural attractions, from the dramatic waterfalls to the soaring cliff walls of El Capitan and Half Dome .

The captivating photographs of Ansel Adams , the climbing community that has flocked here for decades, and the generations of families who have been coming to the park to enjoy the campgrounds , hike the spectacular trails , and soak up the scenery have all contributed to the park's history.

But long before this, the Miwok people inhabited the area. You can learn more about this at the Yosemite Museum and Indian Village of the Ahwahnee in the park.

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Rocky Mountains in Colorado

The dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains can be appreciated in many areas of North America, but in Colorado, the climate and small mountain towns make this one of the best places to visit the Rockies. Waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, more than 50 of which reach a height of 14,000 feet or more, make this a beautiful area for sightseeing and appreciating mountain life.

In summer, hiking , mountain biking , and rafting are popular pastimes. Inn winter, the mountains become a playground for skiers and boarders. The ski resorts in Colorado are some of the best in North America.

Some of the best places to visit are the towns of Vail, Aspen , Telluride , and Durango . Scenic drives, like the San Juan Scenic Byway and the Million Dollar Highway , which leaves from Durango, will take you through breathtaking mountain scenery and old mining towns like Silverton and Ouray . Or, hop on the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad for a relaxing day trip through the Rockies.

On the edge of the Rocky Mountains in the southwest corner of Colorado, a little over an hour from Durango, is Mesa Verde National Park . This fantastic park is home to incredible Native American cliff dwellings, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Colorado, USA

Seattle

In the northwest corner of the US is the lovely coastal city of Seattle. Surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, the city is reminiscent of Vancouver, Canada, with an active, outdoor oriented population and countless things to see and do .

Key sights in the city include the impossible-to-miss Space Needle , the lively Pike Place Market , and the waterfront. Within easy day-tripping distance of the city are beautiful beaches , the Hoh Rain Forest , and mountain landscapes, all waiting to be explored.

Although the winter months see more rain than summer, the city has a mild climate and is a nice place to visit at any time of year. You'll find no shortage of things to do in Seattle in winter .

  • Best Museums in Seattle
  • Top-Rated Hikes near Seattle, WA

Nags Head, Outer Banks

North Carolina's Outer Banks are all about beaches. Miles and miles of spectacular beaches on narrow sand islands have been drawing people from across the United States since the 1830s.

Stretching for over 100 miles, these barrier islands have been the go-to place for families every summer for generations whether at campgrounds or wonderful resorts.

Off the beach, historical cities well worth visiting include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk (home to the Wright Brothers Memorial), Duck, Waves, and the towns on Hatteras Island. The Outer Banks are also home to some of America's most famous lighthouses, many of which are open for tours to the top.

Another popular pursuit is deep sea fishing . Many records have been broken by anglers in this offshore hot spot.

Read More: Best Coastal Towns in North Carolina

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A melting pot of Spanish, Native American, Mexican, and Anglo-Americans, Santa Fe has a unique vibe that, once experienced, tends to draw one back time and time again. This historical city's pleasant streets, lined by Spanish colonial churches, adobe homes, and towering trees, just beg to be photographed.

Be sure to visit the Plaza, the beating heart of all that's going on in town. Cute cafés, many with patios, line the square and make a perfect perch to do a bit of people watching. After you've had your fill of that, wander into any one of the eclectic and unusual shops nearby.

Santa Fe is ideally positioned close to the mountains, where you'll find some of the best skiing in New Mexico at resorts including Taos, Pajarito, and Siapu.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in New Mexico

River Walk in San Antonio

Although Dallas and Houston spring to mind first for many people when they think of Texas , those in the know, will always tell you that San Antonio is their favorite. The reasons for this are many: beautiful Spanish colonial churches and missions, the wonderful Riverwalk area, and, of course, The Alamo.

The city is relatively compact and easy to navigate. For a city of its size, it also has a number of excellent resorts and high-end hotels just waiting for you to check-in and be pampered. The city isn't all about history; it's also the home of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and as a result is a hotbed of foodie delights. Be sure to wander over to the Pearl district to find some of the best places; your taste buds will thank you!

Read More: Top Attractions & Places to Visit in San Antonio

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park

The thermal wonderland known as Yellowstone National Park has been drawing visitors since 1872. Bubbling mud pots, colorful boiling-hot water pools, and erupting geysers are sights that continue to amaze thousands of people every day.

Some of the must-sees when visiting the park include Old Faithful, whose eruptions blast scalding water up to 184 feet in the air; the Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyser Basin area; and the Minerva Terrace.

The park isn't all about thermal sights — the Lamar Valley is a wonderful area for hiking and seeing wildlife, including the park's signature bison herds.

Read More: Best Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park

Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska

Off on its own in the far northwest, above Canada, lies one of the most fascinating states in the union. Snow-capped peaks, glaciers, wild rivers, and wide open spaces are all things that define Alaska .

A frontier attitude still prevails, and can be experienced in places like Anchorage , Fairbanks, and Juneau . This state is one of the most popular places to take a cruise along the Inside Passage where towering mountains reach right down to sea. Or, snuggle up to a roaring fireplace with your special someone at a luxury resort.

Pick your activity or sport; Alaska is a place for doing things outdoors, whether it's camping, mountaineering, canoeing, or fishing. In winter, head for Alaska's ski resorts or maybe catch a glimpse of the northern lights .

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Best Places to Visit in Winter: If you want to experience winter in all its glory, have a read through our article on the Best Winter Vacations in the United States . This isn't about beaches and warm weather getaways, it's for people thinking about snowmobiling, dog sledding, skiing, and drinking hot chocolate in a cozy cottage. And if you're looking to save a little money, see our list of the Best Cheap Ski Holidays in North America .

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Getaways for Couples & Families: Trying to come up with somewhere for you and your partner to take a quick trip? See our list of Best Vacation Spots in the US for Couples to find a romantic destination for two. If you're looking for a destination where you can take the kids and have a good time, you'll enjoy our article on the Top Family Vacations in the US .

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Clear water of Lake Tahoe California in summer with snowcapped mountains in the background--one of the best places to visit in the USA bucket list

USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US

From snowcapped mountains to tropical beaches, from some of the world’s most iconic cities to some of its most incredible deserts, from the east coast to the west, one thing is incredibly certain: there is absolutely no shortage of awe-inspiring, utterly diverse, and incredibly beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Our home country boasts one of the most incredible national park systems on the planet, along with a huge variety of cities, small towns, and other gorgeous places that ensure that a lifetime would not be long enough to see all of the best travel destinations in the USA.

… But that won’t stop us from trying to enjoy as many of the most amazing vacations in the United States as we can.

We teamed up with several other travel bloggers to put together this giant USA bucket list, and definitely added a few new spots to our personal list of places to see in the US in the process!

From coast to coast, city to countryside, here are the best places to visit in the USA.

Table of Contents

Best Cities to Visit in the USA

National parks + other beautiful places for a us vacation, beaches + islands for your usa bucket list, other beautiful places in the usa to visit.

antelope canyon in arizona with a beam of light streaming into the canyon

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New York, New York

From Disha of Disha Discovers

New York is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the United States and even the world.

It truly is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their lives even if it’s just for a quick weekend in NYC !

The tall buildings are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring, it’s home to some of the most exquisite museums and galleries in the world, and New York City is brimming with so much to explore and see.

Plus, NYC is a foodie’s heaven with cuisines from all over the world.

… And, these are only a few of the many reasons to visit this magnificent city.

kate storm standing at a magnifying glass on liberty island overlooking financial district manhattan

Some bucket-list-worthy things to do in New York City are to watch a play on Broadway, see the Statue of Liberty, hang out in Time Square, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and take a stroll around Central Park.

A few museums to visit are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Guggenheim, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, and Chelsea Market are must-sees as well.

Whatever you decide to do in New York City , you’re in for a real treat!

This city will leave you feeling inspired and you’ll want to book another trip to come back!

kate storm spinning in front of manhattan bridge in brooklyn, a must see duing 4 days in nyc

Miami, Florida

From Veronika of Travel Geekery

Vibrant and colorful Miami is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in the US.

The downtown area merges into wonderfully diverse neighborhoods from Little Havana to Coral Gables.

However, most visitors to the vibrant yet laid-back city head to its beaches located on a long stretch of a barrier island.

South Beach especially is where the glamor’s at, topped by stylish Ocean Drive, which is lined with elegant Art Deco houses including Versace’s mansion, trendy restaurants, and nightclubs… the scene is pretty lively there.

Kate in a pink dress next to a blue Vespa on Ocean Avenue.

The beach itself features uniquely colored watchtowers spread around nice light sand. The waves are mostly mild. Pelicans like it here too and often float on the water near people.

Watching a sunrise on the beach belongs to one of the best experiences one can have in the area.

Miami City and its beaches can easily be visited  even without a car .

The public transport network and the ample ride/bike-sharing services make it an easy destination for any type of traveler.

Blue and yellor art deco lifeguard stand on South Beach in Miami, which is a must-see beach for your USA bucket list!

San Diego, California

From Maria of San Diego Explorer

San Diego is the perfect California beach city and a must on any USA bucket list.

Also known as America’s Finest City, San Diego has a lot to offer, whether you are looking for a beach getaway at one of the many beach resorts in San Diego , a fun time in the city, or a mix of both.

Here are some of the best things to do in San Diego!

In Downtown San Diego, there is something for everyone: from eating delicious Italian fare in Little Italy to visiting the Midway Museum to strolling through Seaport Village, and having a fun night out in the Gaslamp Quarter.

If you love the outdoors and animals, visit Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.  

cityscape of san diego california on a sunny day

And then, there are the beaches: San Diego has some of the best beaches in Southern California.

Some of the most popular ones are Mission Beach, Coronado, and the beaches in La Jolla.

You can relax on the sand, take surfing lessons, or ride your bike along the boardwalk for a fun day on the beach.  

San Diego has so much to offer and is simply a fun city, no matter what you are in the mood for. 

San Diego CA harbor with rows of sailboats in the foreground and the skyline in the back right of the photo

Austin, Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World and capital of the state of Texas is located in the heart of Texas Hill Country and offers a fantastic combination of excellent nightlife, plenty of outdoor activities and day trip opportunities, and truly phenomenal food.

Don’t leave without having at least one giant meal each worth of TexMex and barbecue!

While in Austin, be sure to visit trendy South Congress Avenue, watch the bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge (if you’re visiting at the right time of year, that is), see a show, and go for a hike (or if it’s too hot, hit the lake!).

Want to get out of town?

Austin is within an easy day trip of natural swimming holes, Texas’ wine country, and adorable small towns.

Austin TX skyline with the South Congress Bridge in the foreground

New Orleans, Louisiana

Good food, good music, and good times: of all the best places to visit in the USA, NOLA definitely ranks toward the top of the list for places to go to simply have an amazing time.

There’s far more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and beignets, though.

With a dark and complex history heavily impacted by slavery and a constantly evolving modern culture, New Orleans deserves more than just partying during your visit–though there’s plenty of time for that, too.

While in New Orleans, be sure to listen to some jazz, learn a bit about the city’s history, visit the famous Jackson Square, head to the Garden District, check out the beautiful oak trees in City Park, and–this is very important–eat your heart out.

NOLA is indisputably home to some of the best food in the country–so good, in fact, that the food alone would be a good enough reason to add New Orleans to your USA bucket list.

For those interested in New Orleans’ spooky legends, a ghost tour through the French Quarter at night is also worth adding to your to-do list!

Street in NOLA French Quarter at night with neon lights from the bars lighting it up--don't miss a chance to experience the legendary New Orleans nightlife during your 3 days in NOLA itinerary!

Washington, DC

From Jordan of The Solo Life

One of the best travel destinations in the United States is the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

With everything from museums to monuments to the White House and Capitol Building, DC has something for everyone .

In addition, DC’s public transportation and numerous free attractions make it a surprising destination for the budget-friendly traveler.

Kid-friendly options include the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum.

Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art or the Hirshhorn Museum for modern and contemporary art.

sunset on the national mall in washington dc facing the washington monument, one of the best places to visit on the east coast america

History buffs should check out the Library of Congress and the National Archives Museum.

Besides museums, the National Mall and Tidal Basin are must-visit locations to see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial, among others.

The best times to visit DC include early summer before it gets too hot or in the fall once summer break is over.

Although extremely crowded due to the Cherry Blossoms, springtime is also a gorgeous time to visit.

No matter what time of year, Washington, DC is one of the best destinations to visit in the US.

Washington Monument in Washington DC framed by cherry blossoms in the foreground. Washington DC is one of the best places to visit in the United States

San Francisco, California

The city of hills, ocean views, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge is at the top of many people’s lists of bucket lists for the United States.

And, with an endless list of things to do that cater to all interests, why not?

Be sure to pay a visit to the touristed highlights that most interest you–Fisherman’s Wharf (and its adorable sea lions!), Alcatraz, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the Painted Ladies (of Full House fame), and checking out Lombard Street.

Once you cross those highlights off your list, though, make time for a few less-obvious attractions, like San Francisco’s Japanese Garden, the Land’s End Labyrinth, and Fort Point.

And, of course, you can’t forget to go for a walk in the woods while visiting San Francisco!

Visiting the Muir Woods is an unforgettable experience worthy of your time on any weekend trip to the area.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco CA shot from above on a clear day

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia has been one of the coolest US cities to visit for centuries, and–like Boston–it features strong ties to the American Revolution.

This is where the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution were signed, touring Independence Hall and visiting the nearby Liberty Bell are among the best things to do in Philadelphia today as a result!

You can’t miss Philly’s food scene when visiting, either–from whoopie pies to Philly cheesesteaks, the city has a (literal) flavor all its own.

elfreths alley in philadelphia, one of the best places to vacation in usa

Start–but don’t finish–exploring Philadelphia’s food scene at the historic Reading Terminal Market.

Be sure to also make time to visit some of Philadelphia’s incredible museums during your visit, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution (we loved this one), and touring the dark but fascinating Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is also home to another essential stop in this iconic East Coast City: the Rocky Steps.

And, if you’re willing to work up a sweat, definitely consider running up them yourself during your classic American vacation in Philadelphia!

independence hall in philadelphia on a sunny day with red and pink flowers in the foreground. attractions in usa things to do

Chicago, Illinois

From Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

Chicago is the third-largest city in the US, and also one of the most ethnically diverse.

Its skyline reflecting off the waters of Lake Michigan is a sight to behold.

No matter what your interests are, whether it’s music, shopping, culture, art, or dining, you could spend months exploring all that Chicago has to offer.

On a shorter USA vacation, though, you can still see quite a few of the best sights in Chicago!

The city’s top museums include the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Don’t forget to check out the many outdoor sculptures and other public works of art around the Loop, either.

View of Chicago IL skyline from willis tower skydeck, a must-see during a 3 day Chicago vacation

A walk along the Magnificent Mile will take you past upscale department stores and through Millennium Park, home of the famous sculpture known as The Bean.

A visit to Bronzeville, also known as “the Black Metropolis”, is a must to learn about the city’s rich African-American history.

Architecture buffs will be interested to know that this is where Frank Lloyd Wright established the Prairie School architectural style. You can find some of his earliest buildings here in Chicago.

You’ll work up an appetite walking the streets of this massive city. This is a good thing, because the restaurant scene here is amazing!

You can find pretty much any cuisine you could imagine, from stylish Japanese to homestyle soul food, and there are even lots of vegetarian and  vegan restaurants in Chicago .

Photo of Chicago train traveling on a bridge over car traffic--using Chicago's public transportation is the best way to get around on a Chicago weekend getaway!

Houston, Texas

From Thanh of The Traveling Asian

Houston, Texas is one of the coolest places to visit in the United States, and while an unexpected vacation option, certainly one that will impress.

After all, it is the 4th largest city in the USA and is often ranked as the most diverse city in the country!

Because of this size, you can expect there to be all kinds of things for you to see and do here in this city.

One of the most iconic places you must visit in the city is Space Center Houston.

There you can learn about NASA and space travel as well as take a tour around the famous mission control center. If you love space, then this place is for you.

sunset over houston texas skyline with pond in the foreground, one of the unexpected places for vacation in usa

Houston is also home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which is the biggest rodeo of its kind in the country.

There, you’ll be able to eat some delicious rodeo foods, pet some livestock, learn about animals, play at the amusement park, and even watch a concert by famous celebrities.

But aside from the attractions, Houston is known for its food. Since it is the most diverse city in the country, you can find just about everything available here in this city.

For instance, you can find Tex-Mex, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, and many other ethnic cuisines available all around the area.

So if you love food and all things fun, then Houston is definitely the place for you.

Skyline of Houston Texas as seen on a sunny day with a park in the foreground, Houston is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas

Las Vegas, Nevada

From Kimberley of Two Travelling Toques

If you’re looking for a cool place to visit in the USA, you can’t get much cooler than Las Vegas .

This well-known city has been depicted in numerous movies such as The Hangover and Ocean’s Thirteen as party central.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it in Vegas.

Long known as both the wedding capital for a quick place to get married, or the perfect spot to hold a bachelor or bachelorette party, either way, it’s the spot to bring your friends, let loose, and have fun!

Gambling has been a big draw to Las Vegas since the early 1930s, and there is no shortage of showy and extravagant casinos to choose from.

view of venice st marks square in las vegas, one of the best attractions long weekend in vegas getaway

Nightlife also takes center stage here.

From world-class musicians to top-notch magical acts, to dependable artists like Wayne Newton who have had a residency here for years. 

During the day, you can grab a fancy drink and chill by the pool. Or hit up one of the pool parties and listen to the headlining DJ.

Either way, be sure to bring lots of money for the high-end shops, ever-flowing drinks, and dazzling casinos looking to draw you in. 

Welcome to Las Vegas sign, one of the most popular weekend getaways in the USA

Savannah, Georgia

Without a doubt, the small but stunning city of Savannah, Georgia is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Featuring absolutely stunning architecture, 22 of its original 24 town squares, endless oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and some of the best food in the country, spending a few days in Savannah is bound to be a delight.

While you’re there, be sure to meander down beautiful Jones Street, check out Forsyth Park, hear some of the city’s most enduring legends on a ghost tour, enjoy views from River Street, and take in some of Savannah’s complex history at its various house museums and houses of worship.

Don’t forget to set aside plenty of time to eat!

Kate Storm in a black dress in front of a brick home on Jones Street during a long weekend in Savannah GA

While there are dozens of incredible  restaurants in Savannah , favorites include The Olde Pink House and The Grey for special occasions, The Collins Quarter for their legendary lavender mocha latte, and Leopold’s Ice Cream for a scoop of their famous Tutti Frutti ice cream.

Have enough time for a quick  day trip ?

Tybee Island –also known as “Savannah’s Beach”–is less than a 30-minute drive away, and while you certainly won’t want to swim in the summer, strolling along the sand and climbing the lighthouse are a treat.

Jones Street in Savannh GA with a green house in the left foreground and an oak tree on the right. Jones Street is one of the best Savannah photo spots

Los Angeles, California

From Trijit of Budget Travel Buff

Looking for the coolest place to visit in the United States?

Visit Los Angeles; a unique combination of the entertainment industry, gorgeous beaches, great food, and vibrant nightlife.

It is certainly not the cheapest place in California , but for the right travelers, LA is definitely worth the price tag.

Los Angeles is a large city full of tourist attractions that won’t let you stay idle.

If you are a beach lover, LA won’t disappoint you with its stunning beaches that include Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, and so on.

There are several fantastic museums in LA. LACMA is the most popular one for its diverse art collections and special exhibits.

Skyline of Los Angeles CA with palm trees in the forground, one of the best places to visit in the US

Some other renowned museums are the Grammy Museum, Natural History Museum, and Museum of Broken Relationships.

While visiting LA, you will notice entertainment at every corner of the city. You can see a concert or enjoy a ride at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

If you rent a car in Los Angeles, go for a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that carves through the mountains of Malibu.

Los Angeles has some of the best restaurants in the US.

Once you are done with LA sightseeing, have lunch at any of these food spots – Diakokuya for ramen, Langer’s for a pastrami sandwich, Guisados for tacos, or pizza at Mozza.

aerial view of santa monica beach near los angeles, one of the best places to vacation in the united states

Seattle, Washington

Set right on the water with the dramatic backdrop of Mount Rainier, it’s no wonder that busy and beautiful Seattle is one of the best USA travel destinations.

When visiting Seattle, be sure to eat your way through Pike Place Market, head to the top of the Space Needle, visit the famous Chihuly Museum, and check out the fun and interesting Museum of Pop Culture.

Looking for interesting neighborhoods?

Head to Fremont, where the self-proclaimed unofficial motto is “des libertas quirkas”, aka “the freedom to be quirky”.

Hoping to spend some time outside?

Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Pacific Northwest, endless waterfalls, trails, and mountains–even Mount Rainier itself–are located within day-tripping distance from Seattle.

Seattle Waterfront with space needle visible through the ferris wheel

Charleston, South Carolina

Located just a couple of hours north of Savannah, Charleston shares a lot of similarities with its neighbor to the south.

Fantastic Lowcountry food, Spanish moss dripping from the trees, beautiful architecture, and lots of history to uncover are wonderful to appreciate in both Charleston and Savannah –but Charleston absolutely has its own distinct personality as well.

On your Charleston vacation, be sure to visit the beautiful and photogenic Rainbow Row, check out the tea-making process at the Charleston Tea Garden, visit the gorgeous and interesting Angel Oak Tree, stroll through Waterfront Park and Battery Park, and check out City Market.

Photo of Rainbow Row in Charleston SC, a must see during a 3 day weekend in Charleston SC

If you’d like to do some shopping while in Charleston, King Street is the place to go.

Those interested in US military history will no doubt want to visit Patriots Point to tour the former US naval ships docked there and Fort Sumter for its history (and views).

Beach lovers, don’t miss the chance to check out nearby Folly Beach and/or Sullivan’s Island!

Kate Storm sitting in front of the pineapple fountain in Charleston SC--choosing whether to visit Savannah or Charleston is no easy task, but we wrote this guide to help!

Orlando, Florida

As the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is one of the most popular places to visit in the USA for both domestic and international visitors, mostly on behalf of one iconic mouse.

As home to Walt Disney World , Orlando is a must-see USA bucket list item for many families across the world, and with four amazing Disney parks packed with rides, experiences, and intense amounts of nostalgia, it’s no wonder why.

Disney isn’t the only theme park game in town, though!

Universal Studios Orlando, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is also a fantastic theme park to visit, and big roller coaster fans may even want to take a day trip to Tampa Bay to experience Busch Gardens.

Though the parks are a big draw for people visiting Orlando with kids and kids at heart alike, theme parks aren’t the only places to visit in and around Orlando.

The Kennedy Space Center, plenty of beaches, and even cool swimming holes like Wekiva Springs are within day-trip distance of Orlando.

Lake Eola Park in Orlando Florida with swams in the water and a skyline visible in the background. Orlando belongs on a bucket list for the United States

Portland, Oregon

Much like Austin, Portland proudly embraces its weirdness, celebrating the eclectic and bizarre in all possible ways–and that makes it endlessly fun to visit!

Bookworms like me will immediately head to Powell’s City of Books–I still think it’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever visited–while foodies will want to head directly to the local ice cream obsession, Salt & Straw. 

Voodoo Doughnuts, now with a few locations nationally, also originated here and remains popular with tourists (though depending on who you ask, not locals–for what it’s worth, we’d rate the doughnuts 7/10).

During your weekend trip to Portland, make time to visit the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden, especially if you visit when everything is in bloom.

Plenty of incredible parts of the Columbia River Gorge, including famous Multnomah Falls, are also within easy reach of Portland and deserve to feature on your USA bucket list!

Photo of steal sign stating "portland oregon" in front of a blue sky, a must-see during 3 days in portland or

Nashville, Tennessee

From Apryl of Southern Traveling Gal

No doubt about it, there’s something about Nashville, that casts a long-lasting spell on travelers.

For travelers visiting Nashville, it’s not unheard of to plan a return trip as soon as the current one is over!

Only in “The Music City” is it possible to catch the latest exhibit at the Frist Art Museum, see a replica of the Parthenon and enjoy live music at venues along the Honky Tonk Highway.

For first-timers, touring country music icons like the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-do.

Don’t overlook artist-specific museums such as the Johnny Cash Museum and Glen Campbell Museum that provides a closer look at these music giants, either.

Much of Nashville’s allure lies within its distinctive neighborhoods, like the Gulch, filled with shops and restaurants.

Skyline of Nashville Tennessee at sunset overlooking the river, one of the most romantic getaways in the United States

It isn’t unusual to spot a long line or two here, typically featuring either people waiting in line to take a photo with the “What Lifts You” mural or getting into Biscuit Love.

Save some room for some barbecue from Peg Leg Porker!

12thSouth offers locally-owned boutiques, stores, and eateries. Also found here is Draper James, the flagship store of Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line.

Be sure to take home some cookies from Christie’s Cookie Company and snap a photo with the “I Believe in Nashville” mural.

Across the Cumberland River is the eclectic East Nashville. Don’t miss out on the mini doughnuts at Donut Distillery.

Depending on time, consider visiting Cheekwood Estates and Gardens, a 55-acre botanical garden, as part of your Nashville getaway.

Of course, no trip to Nashville is complete without hot chicken from Prince’s Hot Chicken or biscuits from Loveless Cafe, located near the Natchez Trace Parkway.

country band playing banjois in nashville tennessee

Boston, Massachusetts

From Linn of Brainy Backpackers

Boston is such a cool city to visit in the USA, rich in history, architecture, and food.

Along the waterfront, you can walk the 43-mile-long Harbor Walk.

But there is so much more to add to see during your trip to Boston, like the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path taking you to 16 significant places in American history.

It is well marked and technically be walked in as little as 90 minutes, though you can download the app and visit each place which will take at least a whole day to complete.

Boston is home to the oldest public park in the United States, Boston Common, which is situated next to Boston Public Garden.

boston public garden in the summer, one of the best things to do in boston ma

You can wander the parks and enjoy a ride in the Boston Public Garden’s historic paddleboats.

Nearby, you’ll find the Boston Public Library at Copley Square, which is an incredibly beautiful Renaissance Revival structure from 1895 that you should visit.

You’ll also find the beautiful neighborhood of Beacon Hill nearby, as well as the trendy neighborhood of Back Bay.

For the best views of the city during your Boston itinerary , visit the Skywalk Observatory.

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Beacon Hill

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

From Melissa of Parenthood and Passports

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the United States and one of the best places to visit in the entire country.

Known for its geothermal activity, more than half of the earth’s geysers are located in the national park which straddles the borders of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. 

Old Faithful is one of the most popular things to see in Yellowstone National Park .

The active and predictable geyser erupts approximately 20 times each day.

Visitors to the park gather around to watch the geyser blast hot water and steam into the sky.

Although quite impressive, Old Faithful is just one of many must-see geothermal features found in the park.

View of Grand Prism in Yellowstone National Park, one of the best places to visit in USA

One of the largest hot springs in the world, the Grand Prismatic Spring, is another popular attraction in Yellowstone.

Visitors can get an up-close view of the spring or take a short hike for a stunning overview of Grand Prismatic’s vibrant colors.  

Beyond all of its geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park also boasts beautiful waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, rivers, and more than 200 species of animals.

Bison, deer, moose, wolves, and even bears live in the park.

Because of all the wildlife in Yellowstone, visitors are strongly encouraged to use caution when hiking or camping and to carry bear spray to protect themselves in the event of an encounter.

herd of bison crossing the road and causing a traffic jam in yellowstone national park, one of the best places to vacation usa

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

From Allison of She Dreams of Alpine

Idaho is often overlooked when it comes to cool places to visit in the US, but the tiny town of Stanley serves as the gateway to an abundance of outdoor adventures in the stunning Sawtooth Mountain range and along the swift Salmon River.

Although it has a population of less than 100, Stanley is easily accessible in a 3-hour drive from the main airport in Boise or about a 1-hour drive if you’re coming from Sun Valley.

The best way to explore the Sawtooth Mountains is on one of the many hiking trails.

The hike to Alice Lake is a perfect introduction to the area, and you can either do a 12-mile day hike or backpack the longer Alice/Toxaway Loop over the course of a few days.

sawtooth mountains idaho on sunny day with lake in the foreground, one of the best places to vacation usa

Whichever option you choose, you’ll discover gorgeous views of Alice Lake framed by the “Dragon’s Back” peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains, including Idaho’s own “El Capitan.”

For fun on the water, you can go fishing along the Salmon River or swim in Redfish Lake.

When you need some rejuvenation after your adventures, you can reward yourself with great food and drinks at the Stanley Supper Club and take a dip in the hot springs at the Mountain Village Resort.

Once you head home, you’ll surely find yourself raving to your friends about this hidden gem of a mountain town – unless you want to keep the Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley a secret for yourself!

Sawtooth Mountains Idaho with a lake visible on the left of the photo and mountain peaks in the background. These mountains definitely belong on your USA bucket list!

Oregon Coast

From Kay of The Awkward Traveller

The Oregon Coast is one of the most underrated travel destinations in the USA, but for those who love moody, dramatic scenery, it is the best place to be.

Although the actual coast isn’t very long (338 or so miles, about a 7.5-hour drive without stopping), it makes for a great weekend or longer trip with added stops.

Starting at the north end, about 2 hours outside of Portland, the city of Astoria will serve as your jumping-off point with picturesque bridges and locations from The Goonies.

Heading south, take a pitstop at the cheese capital of the state  –  Tillamook , Oregon.

One car driving along the oregon coast as shot from above

Visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and gorge yourself on all things dairy before continuing on to stunning Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

The highlight of the coast will be Yachats, Oregon, with incredible farm-to-table restaurants that are dedicated to sourcing local sustainable fish, meat, and produce providers.

On the southern end of the coast, you can find sand dunes in Florence, and natural rock arches among the cliffs in Brookings.

If your tolerance for rain is low, summer will be the best season to visit weather-wise, while winter and spring will have smaller crowds and lower prices.

Oregon Coast at sunset looking toward Haystack Rock, one of the prettiest places in Oregon

Acadia National Park, Maine

From Ale of Sea Salt & Fog

Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the eastern United States, perfectly showcasing the beauty of the Maine coast.

Acadia has miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as easy coastal access for kayaking and sailing. 

When visiting, plan to spend at least  2 days in Acadia National Park  so you can make the most of your time there.

One of the best things to do includes watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, where you’ll get stunning views of the islands that dot the coast.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Drive Park Loop Road to enjoy some of the park’s most famous attractions, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Jordan Pond (don’t forget to stop for popovers at Jordan Pond House!).

For hiking, choose a paved Carriage Road to take you down to one of the many picturesque ponds and lakes in the park.

Plan your visit in the fall to see the famous New England fall foliage in full display, or in the summer to enjoy long, sunny days perfect for hiking.

If you love the outdoors, add Acadia to your list of places to visit in the US – you won’t be disappointed.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

From Monica of This Rare Earth

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is an incredible destination in the United States. 

This desert ecosystem became a national park as recently as 1994, and it’s easy to see why it was chosen!

The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, which means that you will see two very different landscapes depending on which half of the park you are in.  

The Mojave Desert is home to the famous Joshua Tree – a tall and spindly yucca – as well as giant boulders popular with climbers and hikers. 

The majority of the park’s hiking trails are found in this region.

desert landscape at sunrise in joshua tree national park, an excellent part of several of the best west coast road trips usa

However,  while planning your Joshua Tree National Park itinerary , it would be a mistake to skip the Colorado Desert at the southern end of the park.  

The Colorado Desert is hotter, lower in elevation, and flatter, but holds gorgeous landscapes full of cacti and, at the right time of year, wildflowers. 

 In the summer months, avoid strenuous hikes or leave early in the morning as temperatures can reach over 100 degrees.

Joshua Tree National Park is a designated Dark Sky Park, perfect for stargazing and well outside the bright light of the city.  

Joshua Tree is roughly 2.5 hours outside of Los Angeles.

Joshua Tree NP in California with a Joshua tree on the right side of the photo

From Chris of Called to Wander

Alaska is known as the Last Frontier, evoking adventure for those looking to travel to a truly unique place.

Because the state is massive, at over twice the size of Texas, you could spend as much or as little time exploring it as you have.

Many people take cruises through the Inside Passage and make stops in places like Ketchikan, Haines, and Seward.

Others fly into the main cities of Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent vehicles and head off on their own adventures.

By far the best way to make the most of an Alaska vacation (though it requires a steep time commitment) is by driving to Alaska and spending as much time as you’d like wandering from one place to the next.

glacier in glacier np in alaska with water in the foreground and a mountain in the background

You can drive to the Arctic Ocean along the Dalton Highway, view North America’s largest mountain (Mt. Denali), or observe wildlife like caribou, grizzly bear, and moose.

Or, catch a flight out to a handful of the most remote national parks, or drive up to and hike out to massive, ancient glaciers.

If you enjoy fishing, go after halibut in Homer or salmon in the famous Russian River.

Regardless of what kind of travel you prefer, Alaska offers adventure for everyone and should definitely be on your travel bucket list!

Train along an Alaska mountainside with wildflowers in the foreground and a mountain in the background. Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the us

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From Dan of Cabin Critic

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most popular national park in the US, hosting over 10 million annual visitors, and it definitely belongs on your bucket list for the USA.

Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, the park has diverse animal life, plants, and natural attractions. There are tons to do and see. 

If you are feeling adventurous you can go zoom down zip lines, go white water rafting, or go mountain biking. 

For a more relaxed trip, you can go on hikes, see beautiful waterfalls, or simply go for a scenic drive.

sunrise of great smoky mountains, one of the most beautiful national parks in the us

Cades Cove, for example, is a broad valley surrounded by mountains you can drive through that is well known for providing the best opportunities for seeing wildlife like white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, and more.

When you aren’t enjoying the outdoors there are numerous mountain towns to enjoy like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Asheville .

Stay in  one of the cabins with a view  of the mountainsides and check out the local attractions like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville . 

View of the Great Smoky Mountains during fall foliage season in the southern USA

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

From Michele of Adventures Abound

Just a 2-hour drive from both Portland and Seattle rest the foothills of the towering volcano Mount Rainier.

Known to the Indigenous since time immemorial, Mount Tahoma is covered in unimaginable beauty and can be enjoyed year-round. 

Visit in the summertime for hiking through meadows strewn with wildflowers of every color, and in the fall for ripening berries and a better chance to catch the trails and lakes free of ice and snowmelt on a variety of great day hikes just outside of Seattle .

To extend your visit overnight, pitch a tent in an established campground, stay in a rustic lodge in the national park, or backpack along the Wonderland trail that circumvents the park.

Not feeling up to a lengthy hike?

hiker in a field of wildflowers in mount rainier np with mount rainier visible in the background

Just driving through Mount Rainier National Park will afford endless views of waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, and even the chance to spot wildlife. 

For those thrill-seekers looking for a more challenging adventure, apply for a permit to climb more than 8,000 feet to the summit, but be aware this is only for experienced mountaineers.

Mount Rainier National Park can also be enjoyed in the winter when the park sees an average of 55 feet of snowfall or more.

Head to the Crystal Mountain gondola to catch a great view of the peak while skiing and snowboarding down the slopes, or pick one of many great locations to snowshoe and backcountry ski along the mountain.

Whatever the choice for season and activity, Mount Rainier National Park is sure to be full of memories and adventure in one of the most beautiful destinations in the United States.

Snowcapped Mount Rainier with wildflowers in the foreground, one of the most beautiful places in usa

Arches National Park, Utah

Home to over 2,000 naturally-occurring sandstone arches, Arches National Park in Utah is one of the most uniquely beautiful places in the USA.

Whether you’re hiking to the incredible Delicate Arch (so iconic that it’s featured on Utah’s license plates), wandering through the Devil’s Garden, or taking one of the shorter hikes to visit some of the most impressive arches in the park, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Even one day in Arches National Park is well worth your time, but more would certainly be better.

Arches National Park is also home to internationally-recognized dark skies and some of the best stargazing in the United States–in order to see the best of the park, be sure to visit at least once after dark!

And, while Arches National Park is easily one of the best places to vacation in the US in its own right, the nearby town of Moab also makes an excellent launching pad to visit Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Double Arch in Arches National Park Utah

Olympic National Park, Washington

From Sophie and Adam of We Dream of Travel

Not only does Olympic National Park cover nearly a million acres, but it is also the most biodiverse of all the US national parks.

It has it all, from glaciated mountains to breathtaking coastlines, crashing waterfalls, ancient rainforests, enchanting hot springs, and plentiful wildlife.

With such a treasure trove of natural landscapes, Olympic National Park is easily one of the best places to visit in the US.

Mountain lovers should budget plenty of time to hike the trails of Hurricane Ridge.

Here you will discover stunning views above the clouds, as well as an abundance of wildlife.

Rocky Beach in Olympic National Park washington at sunset, a fantastic view along a west coast usa road trip destination

A great way to explore the park is on foot, particularly as much of the park is roadless. There are numerous multi-day hikes to choose from and it’s popular with backpackers.

The 17.4 miles Hoh River Trail is one of the most impressive, taking you through a flourishing rainforest to the base of Mount Olympus.

For coastal visitors, Second Beach is one of the best Olympic Park photography  locations and a perfect spot for sunset. 

However, with 73 miles of wild coastline, there’s plenty to explore!

There are endless options for the waterfall, forest, and nature lovers too.

In Sol Duc forest you can watch crystal water plunge into the lush greenery.

Or, you can choose to explore the vibrant green mosses of the Hoh Rainforest.  

No matter which part of Olympic National Park you visit, you will not be disappointed.

Forested trail in Olympic National Park with a river flowing across the photo. Olympic National Park definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Stretching over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona is one of the largest–and most impressive–canyons on the planet, and one of the most popular places to visit in the USA!

Come to Grand Canyon National Park to admire views from the rim, hike into the canyon , watch the sunrise and sunset, and perhaps even hike all the way down to the Colorado River.

If you do want to hike to the river, though, be warned: doing so is a 2-day commitment!

Anyone taking a southwest road trip in the USA should consider adding a visit to the majestic Grand Canyon to their list: it’s truly a sight that you’ll never forget.

View of the Grand Canyon from the south rim near sunset. The Grand Canyon is one of the best USA travel destinations

Death Valley National Park, California

From Michelle of The Wandering Queen

One of the best places to visit in California is Death Valley National Park .

This park is filled with bright white salt flats, mountains splashed with pastel colors, and eerie rocks that move on their own.

This park is such a strange yet unique environment which makes it perfect for avid photographers.

One of the best things to do is to watch the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. The views are glorious as the sun slowly sets on the unique colorful mountains.

Afterward, make sure to hike the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop Hike. The trailhead is right next to Zabriskie Point.

mesquite dunes in death valley national park during a pink sunrise

Another popular activity is visiting Badwater Basin. The basin stands at 282 feet below sea level and is filled with white salt.

This is a great spot to take pictures of the salt in contrast with the tall, dark mountains in the distance.

Nearby the salt flats, you can visit the devil’s golf course where spikey salt formations cover the ground.

The next outstanding area to visit is the Artists Drive. The mountain is sprinkled with pastel colors like yellow, pink, purple, and green.

It truly is a spectacular thing to see!

Rocky Mountain National Park

From Jyoti of Story At Every Corner

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most gorgeous parks in the US.

It’s also easily reachable from Denver, Colorado, which has many flights from across the country, making it fairly simple to access and one of the most popular places to vacation in America!

The best place to stay is in Estes Park , a quaint little tourist town in the mountains.

There are many small towns all around the park and many choices for all price points. 

white and green shop in downtown estes park. shopping downtown is one of the best things to do in estes park colorado

The easiest way to visit RMNP park is by car.

You can then enjoy the park by making stops at each vista point and taking hikes from there.

Most stops have short and long hikes; easy and challenging hikes.

There is a hike for everyone, but there is also spectacular scenery right at the vista points, even without a hike.

Keep in mind that the popularity of Rocky Mountain National Park means that certain places, like Bear Lake Road, must be accessed via reservation.

Kate Storm standing in front of Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the best places to visit in colorado

The most popular road that goes across the park is the scenic Trail Ridge Road.

If you don’t have time to visit anything else, I recommend driving Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to the town of Grand Lake.

Other major attractions include Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, to the south of the trail ridge road.

They offer absolutely stunning views and many wildlife viewing opportunities along with the drives. 

There is so much to do around Denver that RMNP can be part of a week-long itinerary visiting Colorado  or a trip just for RMNP. 

jeremy storm in a gray backpack hiking in rocky mountain national park

Set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most beautiful places in the US.

With crystal-clear water and plenty of activities in and out of the water, from hiking to SUP to swimming, there is no shortage of ways to appreciate the otherworldly beauty of Lake Tahoe .

To enjoy the views of the lake itself, summer is definitely the best time to visit–but winter has its charms, too, including plenty of skiing and incredible views of the lake framed by bright white snow.

From romantic couples’ retreats to fun getaways to Lake Tahoe with kids , all kinds of travelers will find something to love about Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe from above during the summer, one of the best USA travel destinations

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Located on Havasupai tribal lands not far from the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is simultaneously one of the most famous waterfalls in the USA and one of the hardest to access.

In order to visit Havasu Falls, you’ll need to secure an extremely competitive permit (they sell out months in advance) and complete a 10-mile hike in each direction.

You’ll also need to spend the night nearby, as it’s one of the permit requirements set out by the Havasupai people.

If you manage to swing both the logistics and the hike, though, the rewards are pretty spectacular.

Havasu Falls in Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in USA. Turquoise waterfall with orange walls surrounding it

Zion National Park, Utah

Home to some of what are quite possibly the best hikes in the country, Utah’s most-visited national park is absolutely one of the best places to see in the US.

Test your fear of heights (if you have one, that is) by hiking the incredible Angel’s Landing, and be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon.

Venture deep into the Virgin River by hiking The Narrows , a hike that takes place literally in the river!

Seek out incredible views along Observation Point, the Canyon Overlook Trail , and the Watchman Trail.

Try to score a permit to hike the Subway, but if you can’t get one, don’t worry: there’s more to see in Zion National Park than you can cover in one vacation.

No matter how you spend your days at Zion National Park, there’s no doubt that you’ll be experiencing something worthy of a bucket list!

Kate Storm at the viewpoint at the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park Utah

Texas Bluebonnet Trail

California’s magnificent wildflowers may be a bit better known outside of the country, but Texas’ phenomenal spread of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes that decorate the countryside each spring absolutely belong on anyone’s USA bucket list.

Whether you choose to visit the official Texas Bluebonnet Trail near Ennis (not far from Dallas) or head to the Texas Hill Country , there is no shortage of places to admire bluebonnets in Texas.

Though the blooming times can of course vary a bit depending on the weather, late March and early April are generally the best times to experience the beauty of Texas’ bluebonnets.

Wooden cart parked in a Texas field surrounded by bluebonnets. Beautiful countryside like this close by many of the best weekend getaways in Texas!

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

From Emily of Em’s on the Road

If you’re looking for unforgettable outdoor experiences without the price tag of popular destinations out west, then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the place for you.

One reason the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.) is really unique is that it is an ideal place for adventure seekers all year long. 

In the warmer months, the U.P is a great beach destination in the Midwest thanks to its location with beachfront on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

In the fall, pack your hiking boots and tackle rocky hiking trails for colorful views you’d never expect in the Midwest.

With an unobstructed panoramic view of Lake Superior, the hike up  Sugar Loaf mountain in Marquette, Michigan  is one of the most popular in the region.

Thanks to some serious snowfall, there’s so much to do in the U.P. in the winter months.

There are cross-country ski trails, snowmobiling trails, downhill skiing, dog sledding, ice climbing, and more. 

View of Lake Superior with a rainbow over it during fall foliage season on Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan

Redwood National Forest

From Dhara of Roadtripping California

Most visitors to the Golden State put   California’s national parks at the top of their itineraries because they are just so spectacular.

Redwood National and State Parks, in the northern part of the state, offer you the chance to stroll among giant redwoods, some of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet.

A group of five parks, Redwood National and State Parks feature not just the towering redwoods, but also epic coastal views, beautiful prairies filled with wildflowers in season, and the chance to see birds and wildlife.

Enjoy some of the scenic drives in the parks: Howland Hill Drive, Coastal Drive, and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway are all great choices.

Two people walking through a doorway in a fallen redwood tree in california usa

Do some of the trails through the redwood groves to see the giant trees up close: the Big Tree Wayside Walk, the Stout Memorial Grove Trail, and Lady Bird Johnson Grove are all super scenic and relatively easy walks.

Gaze up at the trees, and enjoy the ferns and rhododendrons in the understory.

You can also go biking in the parks, and camp if you plan to stay for a few days.

Redwood National and State Parks are about 5.5 hours north of San Francisco by road, and you can visit all year, although you will have the best weather in the summer.

Man standing in front of enormous Redwood trees with a sunflare in the top left corner of the photo

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

From Jase of Roaming Vegans

A little-known gem in the north of Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands.

This island archipelago on Lake Superior looks like it belongs in Southeast Asia – not on the shoreline of a humble midwestern town.

However, its tucked-away location makes it all the more special for visitors.

While the lake freezes in winter, the islands come to life in summer with many activities like  sea kayaking , island hopping, and cliff jumping.

There is even an island home to one of the largest concentrations of bears in the Midwest–yes, bears!

The largest and most populated island is Madeline Island which makes for a great base to explore the nearby smaller islands.

sea caves as seen from the water at apostle islands, one of the best places to visit in the us

Maui, Hawaii

From Jessica of I’m Jess Traveling

Famed for her elegant beaches,  world-class resorts , and next-level surf, Maui attracts visitors from all over the world. 

It’s no surprise that Maui was named Condé Nast Traveler’s best island in the U.S. for 23 consecutive years. 

There are countless things to see and do in Maui depending on your travel style. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, hike through a majestic bamboo forest ending at a 400-foot waterfall.  

Ocean lovers can test their skills at surfing or set sail on a sunset cruise.

Bright blue water as seen along the Road to Hana in Maui, one of the best USA road trip itinerary ideas

There won’t be a shortage of exotic beaches to explore, no matter what your travel style is.

The adventure seekers have their pick among plunging the popular Road to Hana or watching the sunrise above the clouds at 10,000 feet inside Haleakala National Park. 

Whatever your draw, sunsets, beaches, luxury, or adventure, Maui has it all. 

Not only is Maui one of the best USA travel destinations but it’s one of the best places to take a tropical vacation in the world. 

Couple walking along Kaanapali Beach in Maui, shaded by a palm tree. Kaanapali Beach is one of the best beaches in America

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

For adorable beach towns, sandy beaches, and some of the best seafood you’ve ever eaten in your life, head to the classic New England summer getaway of Cape Cod.

While you’re in Cape Cod (or as New Englanders say, “on the Cape”), hit one of the beautiful trails, visit a lighthouse or two, stick your toes in the sand, and eat lots and lots of lobster.

While Cape Cod’s swimming season is much shorter than popular beach destinations elsewhere in the country, it’s still well worth visiting.

Just be sure to plan ahead, because rental houses for summer on the Cape tend to book up before winter even wraps up!

Provincetown Massachusetts on Cape Cod as seen from the water

Nā Pali Coast, Kauai

Towering cliffs covered in dense jungle, dramatic waterfalls, small valleys, and views of the Pacific Ocean far below: welcome to the Nā Pali   Coast.

Without a doubt, the Nā Pali   Coast on Kauai is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the US.

Stretching 17 miles along the northwest portion of Kauai, the Nā Pali   Coast is best admired from air–usually via a helicopter tour–or from a boat on the sea.

Whichever option you choose, there’s no doubt that what is arguably the most beautiful corner of The Garden Island is bound to impress.

Na Pali Coast of Kauai Hawaii. Kauai is one of the best road trips in USA.

Florida Keys

For a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the USA, head to the Florida Keys!

Not only is the overseas drive from Miami to Key West one of the most scenic road trips in the USA, but the Keys themselves are also fantastic, home to beautiful beaches, colorful architecture, great food, and plenty of things to do.

While you’re there, be sure to hit the water via snorkeling or scuba diving, go for a swim, enjoy the famous Duval Street, tour the Ernest Hemingway House, and eat several slices of the region’s famous Key Lime pie!

Highway over the Caribbean Sea leading the to Floriday Keys as shot with a drone. The Florida Keys are one of the best places to visit in USA

Big Island, Hawaii

From Patricia of Travel Fam Life

The biggest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) is a cool place to visit.

That starts with the weather: you’ll experience a lot of sunshine temperatures ranging from 85°- 90° in the summer months and 79°- 83 in the winter months, making it the perfect place to escape year-round. 

Hawaii is going to impress anyone that decides to visit.

The food is phenomenal and the choices are vast with plenty of history and cultural backgrounds.

The array of activities ranges from land to sea, from memorable ancient sites to beautiful folklore traditions. 

Some of the best things to do when taking a vacation to the Big Island include:

woman snorkeling in hawaii with orange fish in the foreground

Zip Lining over waterfalls is an activity that can be very exhilarating if you are an adrenaline junkie.

This can also be enjoyed as a family activity, some companies allow kids as young as 5 years old to participate.

Volcano National Park is a breathtaking experience with its majestic hikes, thrilling ride down to the Chain of Craters, and some spectacular scenery and photo opportunities.

Papakolea or Green Sand Beach is one of 4 green sand beaches in the world.

The hike to this remote beach is very worthwhile, and the backdrop of the Hawaiian blue ocean that keeps you company makes the whole experience priceless.

And the list goes on, you can check it out here .

Helicopter tour of Volcano National Park in Hawaii shot from inside the helicopter with lava visible through the windshield

Outer Banks, North Carolina

With sandy beaches framed by sand dunes and rolling waves, the Outer Banks of North Carolina may not boast the bright water of the Florida Keys or the tropical beauty of Hawaii, but they are stunning all the same, and absolutely one of the best places to visit in the USA.

Come for the small beach towns, the history of the Wright Brothers taking their first flight here, the southern food, the historic forts, and the beautiful lighthouses. 

Come for the sunken pirate ships, for the wild horses that live on some of the islands, for the great places to swim, and for the great day trip opportunities.

If you’re looking for a classic, all-American vacation, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that make up the magnificent Outer Banks.

2 wild horses on a beach in North Carolina. Both horses are brown and they are standing near sand dunes

Oahu, Hawaii

From Sydney of A World in Reach

While visitors sometimes think of Oahu as just being a stopping point before visiting Hawaii’s other islands, the island has so much to offer than overcrowded beaches and tourist attractions.

Oahu is home to delicious food, beautiful scenery, and captivating history and is one of the best travel destinations in the United States.

Most visitors to Oahu will base themselves in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital and largest city.

Guidebooks often recommend spending little time in Honolulu; however, this city is a melting pot of culture and is home to some of the best food on the island.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional Hawaiian meal or some of the best Asian food in the United States, you can easily find a delicious meal in Honolulu.

Start your visit to Oahu off by exploring Honolulu, seeing the sights, and eating all of the delicious food.

oahu hawaii beach at sunset with palm trees in the foreground

Spend a day at Waikiki Beach – it might be touristy, but it’s still worth a visit.

Plan a visit to Pearl Harbor, where you can learn more about one of the darkest days in US History, and spend a morning hiking Diamond Head, one of the best hikes on Oahu .

Spend the rest of your time on the island exploring the North Shore, visiting the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, and indulging in shave ice from Matsumoto.

Visit the beaches along the North Shore, where you might see some surfers catching waves, and hike through a botanical garden to a beautiful waterfall at Waimea Valley.

Lanikai beach in Oahu Hawaii as seen from above. One of the best beaches in USA

Napa Valley, California

Northern California’s wine country is definitely among the most beautiful–and for wine lovers, tastiest, places to visit in the USA.

With beautiful small towns, great boutiques, and rolling hills filled with vineyards that almost feel like being in Tuscany, both Napa Valley and Sonoma County have plenty to offer those looking for a laid-back, wine-filled getaway.

Vineyard in Napa Valley CA with a wood barn visible in the background, one of the best honeymoon destinations in usa

Door County, Wisconsin

From Paulina of Paulina on the Road

Wisconsin often isn’t the first US state that people think of visiting, but from beautiful beaches to quirky attractions like House on the Rock , it has plenty to offer.

One of the most beautiful USA landmarks, Door Country, Wisconsin welcomes you on board with 300 miles of stretched shoreline and an awestruck sunset over the water, you could not leave without a witness. 

It allows your soul to breathe and relax. Wisconsin lets you explore aesthetic art galleries, and thousands of miles of stretched orchards, cherish the local brews and wines, paddle along the beautiful lakes, and devour the cheery pies.

winding road through fall foliage in door county wisconsin, one of the best hidden usa secret vacation spots

Moreover, Green Bay, the capital of the region, is an underrated city that eventually captivates its visitors.

Though it’s a small city, the vibrant culture offers amazing  things to do in Green Bay .

Green Bay entertains visitors with prominent wineries. They produce their wines right up there which adds up to be a vital part of their culture. The landscape and heritage inspire the artists.

Walleye fishermen have the best water. It’s clean and portrays immense beauty. The botanical gardens and zoological parks play their role in charming travelers. 

Green Bay is an enchanting place that charms visitors with its intriguing features. 

Lakeshore at golden hour in Door County Wisconsin with evergreen trees on the right side of the photo

Route 66 isn’t technically just one place, but as one of the most iconic travel destinations in the United States, I couldn’t bear to leave it off this USA bucket list!

Stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 is America’s best-known road trip and the perfect place to find not-quite-forgotten slices of Americana, from quirky roadside attractions like Cadillac Ranch and the Catoosa Whale to beloved diners and 50s-era-inspired motels.

Route 66 passes through nine states in total (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California), and is a fantastic way to experience some of the best of what traveling in the US has to offer, all in one large trip.

jeremy storm sitting on top of a car at cadillac ranch in amarillo

Big cities, small towns, incredibly diverse landscapes, and beloved national parks are all featured heavily on Route 66.

Though it’s not technically on the route, even the Grand Canyon is accessible as an incredible side journey when road-tripping Route 66.

Whether you want to find a quirky campsite in Oklahoma or go hiking in Arizona, there’s no doubt that Route 66 is a classic US travel destination.

Route 66 in California with Joshua trees on either side. Route 66 is one of the absolute best road trips in USA

Big Sur, California

From Lauren of Ready, Set, PTO

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the US and should definitely be on your bucket list.

Cruising along the winding Pacific Coast Highway with sweeping views of the Pacific is a magical experience.

This rugged area is located in Central California, about 5 hours north of Los Angeles.

If you aren’t able to find available lodging within Big Sur, check out nearby towns of Carmel and Monterey for more options, or try car camping with an epic view!

mcway falls as seen on big sur from above, one of the best places to visit in california

There are plenty of amazing  things to do in Big Sur .

I definitely recommend checking out the iconic Bixby Bridge (as seen in HBO’s Big Little Lies), admiring McWay Falls, hiking in Andrew Molera State Park, and Limekiln State Park, having a drink with a view at Nepenthe and watching the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach!

There’s not much cell service in Big Sur, so be prepared for an off-the-grid weekend of relaxation and gorgeous views.

Pacific Coast Highway California shot from above, one of the best romantic vacations for couples in the United States

Page, Arizona

The small town of Page, Arizona may seem like no more than a small town worthy of a brief stop on a road trip at first blush–but this small, unassuming town is home to some of the most incredible sights in the entire southwest, and it definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Page is where you can find the famous Antelope Canyon, as well as Horseshoe Bend , the Instagram darling of the Colorado River (for very good reason).

Just outside of Page, you can also find the remarkable Glen Canyon Dam, one of the largest dams in the US, as well as Lake Powell–but to see the best of Lake Powell, you’ll actually need to cross into Utah!

That’s not hard to do, though: Page is located right next to the Arizona/Utah border.

With such an outsized list of fun attractions, there’s no doubt that Page is one of the coolest places to vacation in the USA.

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2 photos of the USA, first from a train ride in Alaska and one from a geothermic spring in Yellow. Black and red text reads "50 bucket list usa travel destinations"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

3 thoughts on “USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US”

Great info. I know its great because I have been to most of the beaches you mention!

Thank you – will also look at your Italian small towns to see which ones we should visit and maybe retire to.

Thank you so much, Laura!

Retiring to Italy–sounds like quite the dream! 🙂

Absolutely amazing article, just loved it.

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Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

My 31 Favorite Places to Visit in the USA

The colorful rocks of the Grand Canyon during sunset

From sea to shining sea, the United States is home to a diverse landscape — both culturally and physically. Spending months traveling across it gave me a deep appreciation for all my country has to offer.

After traveling across the continental United States as part of multiple cross-country road trips (you never really realize how big Texas is until you drive through it. Damn that state is big!), I wanted to share some of my favorite places in the United States with you. I’ve already talked about my favorite restaurants and lessons learned , so it only seems proper to give you a list of the best places to visit in the USA when you come and travel here!

To help you get started, here’s a quick overview of some of the highlights:

Best destination for foodies: New Orleans Best destination for partying: Miami or Las Vegas Best destination for hiking/nature: Glacier National Park Best destination for history: Natchez Best destination for museums: Washington, D.C. or New York City Best destination for families: The Grand Canyon

In no particular order, here’s my detailed list of the best places to visit in the USA:

( Note: This list is based only on where I myself have been. There are a lot more incredibly breathtaking places I haven’t explored yet, which is why you don’t see them on this list!)  

The restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee lit up at night

WHERE TO STAY IN MEMPHIS : Hostel Memphis – A hip hostel in a century-old building with a fully-equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. The hostel is also a non-profit that donates 100% of its profit to social justice causes around the city.  

Austin, Texas skyline at dusk shining over the water

Thanks to everything from the growing food truck population to the flagship Whole Foods store with the incredible salad bar (grilled pineapple!), I eat — and eat well — nonstop. The Austin campus of the University of Texas provides a youthful vigor to the city, and its liberal attitude attracts a diverse and eclectic population. In short, you can’t skip Austin, because if you do, I’ll find you and drag you there.

WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTIN : Firehouse Hostel – This centrally-located hostel is located in an old firehall from 1885. They have fast Wi-Fi, plenty of chill common areas, and an amazing on-site bar that serves top-notch craft cocktails.

For more travel tips on Austin, check out these posts:

  • My Complete Guide to Austin
  • My Guide to Eating in Austin

3. New Orleans

The beautiful and historic buildings of New Orleans, USA at night

WHERE TO STAY IN NOLA : HI New Orleans – An award-winning hostel with spacious dorms, comfy beds, privacy curtains, and fast Wi-Fi. Everything a budget traveler needs!

For more travel tips on traveling New Orleans, check out my suggested itinerary on how to spend 4 days there !  

4. Asheville

A massive old mansion surrounded by visitors in Asheville, North Carolina

If you’ve ever seen Downton Abbey, that’s what the house is like! (And, if you haven’t, you should! The show is addicting!)

WHERE TO STAY IN ASHEVILLE : Bon Paul & Sharky’s – A laid-back hsotel with a spacious front and back porch for relaxing. There’s free parking, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of nearby restaurants and cafes.  

5. The Pacific Coastal Drive

A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean from the Pacific Coastal Drive

WHERE TO STAY ON THE PACFIC COAST HIGHWAY : Airbnb – Airbnb is your best bet here, unless you have camping gear and want to camp in one of the many parks. There are also lots of cheap motels along the highway too.  

6. Redwood National Park

Towering redwood trees in the Redwood National Park, California during the day

WHERE TO STAY IN REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK : View Crest Lodge – Located on the coast in Trinidad, this rustic budget-friendly lodge has basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and TV, and some of their rooms also have full kitchens. It’s a clean, comfy no-frills place to crash for a night.  

7. Glacier National Park

Calm waters and snow-capped mountains in Glacier National Park

WHERE TO STAY IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK : Camping – Pack (or rent) a tent and cozy up for a few nights under the stars. You won’t be disappointed.  

The downtown Denver, Colorado skyline lit up at night

WHERE TO STAY IN DENVER : Ember Hostel – This boutique hostel is rated one of the best in the country, offering a swank interior, free jacuzzi, outdoor firepit, comfy beds with blackout curtains, free parking, and more.  

The famous bean sculpture in Chicago, Illinois shining at night

And once the winter deep freeze is over, Chicagoans burst out of their homes to enjoy the summer weather, so there’s a positive, happy vibe emanating through the city. Take advantage of it.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHICAGO : HI Chicago – A spacious, clean hostel with female-only dorms, free Wi-Fi, and a great location. The beds are comfy and the common area is huge so it’s easy to meet people.

For more travel tips on Chicago, check out this detailed planning guide !  

10. New York City

The iconic skyline of NYC on a bright summer day

WHERE TO STAY IN NYC : Jazz on the Park – Located near Central Park on the Upper West Side, this no-frills hostel is close to the train and is one of the more affordable places in the city. The dorms are basic and the beds aren’t winning any awards but it’s cheap (for NYC at least!).

For more travel tips on New York City, check out these posts:

  • The Complete Guide to New York City
  • The Best Walking Tours of New York City
  • 21 Delicious Places to Eat in NYC
  • How to Spend 4 Days in New York City

11. Natchez

A bright orange sunset over the water near Natchez, Mississippi

Now, they are historic monuments, and you can tour them while enjoying a view of the Mississippi River. It’s far off the beaten path — and my favorite discovery from my last road trip.

WHERE TO STAY IN NATCHEZ : The Guest House Historic Mansion – If you want to splash out, this 19th-century mansion includes free breakfast and spacious historic rooms as well as modern amenities like Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flatscreen TVs.

For more travel tips on Natchez,  check out this post on my visit there .  

12. Savannah

A black and white photo of an antebellum mansion in Savannah, Georgia

WHERE TO STAY IN SAVANNAH : Thunderbird Inn – This affordable three-star motel is just a short 5-minute walk from downtown. Boasting a retro vibe, there’s free coffee and juice every morning, as well as free donuts and popcorn available in the lobby.  

13. The Grand Canyon

A sweeping view from the top of the Grand Canyon on a sunny day in Arizona

WHERE TO STAY IN THE GRAND CANYON : Camp – Pack (or rent) a tent and cozy up for a few nights under the stars. You’ll need to reserve a spot early though as they disappear fast!

For more travel tips on the Grand Canyon, read this post on hiking the canyon .  

14. Nashville

A lively street of music bars in Nashville, Tennessee at night

There’s not a lot of “touristy stuff” to do here, but what makes this city one of my favorites are the music, the food, the wildly friendly and happy people, and the positive energy the city seems to exude. When you’re here, plan to spend a few hours at the Tennessee State Museum. It goes into great (though sometimes very one-sided) detail about the state’s history, but it’s more exciting than you might think.

WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE : Red Roof Inn – While it’s not centrally located, this is one of the city’s few affordable two-star options. A quick 13-minute drive from the Grand Ole Opry, this budget-friendly joint boasts an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and free coffee.  

15. San Francisco

Looking up at the Golden Gate Bridge from the San Francisco Beach in the summer

WHERE TO STAY IN SAN FRANCISCO : Green Tortoise – As one of the oldest in town, this hostel is an institution in San Francisco. It offers free breakfast, free dinners multiple times per week, and even a free sauna! It has a huge common room so it’s easy to meet people and has a very fun, social atmosphere.

For more travel tips on San Francisco, read these posts:

  • The Complete Guide to San Francisco
  • San Francisco Itinerary: Things to See & Do in 3 Days
  • The Best Hostels in San Francisco

Wide and spacious beach on the coast of Miami, Florida

WHERE TO STAY IN MIAMI : Generator Miami – This hostel has a pool, two restaurants, a bar, and is just minutes away from the beach. It’s massive (there are 8 floors), the beds are more comfortable than the cheap ones you’ll find at the party hostels.

For more travel tips on Miami, check out this detailed planning guide !  

17. San Diego

A tall wooden pier on the San Diego beach during sunset

The downtown Gaslamp area — as well as the famous Pacific Beach — is full of trendy seafood restaurants, bustling bars, and some seriously life-changing taco stalls. I love San Diego .

WHERE TO STAY IN SAN DIEGO : ITH Adventure Hostel – With a focus on sustainable travel (there’s a vegetable garden and backyard chickens), this chill hostel is very friendly and social. It’s clean, and the water pressure in the showers is decent, and the beds are comfy too.  

19. Lake Tahoe

A sweeping view of the forests around Lake Tahoe in California

WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE TAHOE : Camping – Pack (or rent) a tent and cozy up for a few nights under the stars. You won’t be disappointed.  

20. Anywhere in Montana

A flat, sparse farmyard in rural Montana during the summer

WHERE TO STAY IN MONTANA : Treasure State Hostel – Located in downtown Bozeman, this hotel is quiet, clean, and is home to friendly staff. They organize all kinds of events too, like pub crawls and movie nights, so it’s easy to hang out and meet people.  

21. Washington D.C.

The White House in Washington, D.C

WHERE TO STAY IN WASHINGTON : Highroad Hostel – Offering pod-style bunks, this cool hostel is located in an old Victorian mansion. The beds have memory foam mattresses, there’s a fully-equipped kitchen, and the common area has a fireplace.

For more travel tips on Washington D.C., here are some other articles I’ve written:

  • Travel guide to Washington D.C.
  • Free Things to do in Washington D.C. in 2019

22. Cape Cod

Waves crashing against a sunny beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

WHERE TO STAY IN CAPE COD : Cape Sands Inn – Just a short walk from the beach in West Yarmouth, this three-star property has all the standard amenities (TV, coffee/tea, free Wi-Fi), as well as free parking and a relaxing sauna and hot tub.  

A historic statue surrounded by flowers in Boston, Massachusetts

It’s home to a ton of activities, like the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall, the JFK Museum, and the Boston Commons and Public Garden, as well as some of the best Italian and seafood restaurants in the country. Be sure to eat at Zaftigs for the best brunch in the city! It’s wicked!

WHERE TO STAY IN BOSTON : HI Boston – This spacious and clean hostel is just a short walk from pretty much everything in the city. They have female-only dorms, free Wi-Fi, and several chill common areas where you can meet other travelers.

For more travel tips on Boston, check out these posts:

  • Travel guide to Boston
  • Boston Itinerary
  • Free Things to do in Boston

24. Las Vegas

The glamorous hotels and casinos of the Las Vegas strip lit up at night

Get off the Strip, explore the real Vegas (because technically the Strip is located in Paradise, NV, not Las Vegas), and see why people decide to live here.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAS VEGAS : Sin City Hostel – Just a short walk from the (in)famous Fremont Street, this is a social hostel that hosts all kinds of events (such as bar crawls, pasta & wine nights, BBQs, casino nights, and more). It’s a great place to connect with other travelers.

For more travel tips on Las Vegas, these articles can help:

  • Travel guide to Las Vegas
  • 12 Things to do in Vegas That Don’t Involve a Casino
  • How to be a High-Roller in Vegas on a Low-Roller Budget

25. Portland

A sunny public plaza in Portland, Oregon with people walking around

Portland is just an awesome city, especially in the summer when the weather is perfect and there are festivals and events galore, like the World Domination Summit and the Portland International Beerfest.

WHERE TO STAY IN PORTLAND : HI Portland – Northwest – Rated one of the best hostels in the world, this centrally-located HI hostel offers free breakfast, in-house made craft beer, an outdoor courtyard with a firepit, regular live music, and much more. It’s a lively, social, and fun place to stay!

For more travel tips on Portland, read this post on the city .  

26. Seattle

Neon Public Market sign lit up at night in Seattle, Washington

WHERE TO STAY IN SEATTLE : Green Tortoise – Located right across from the iconic Pike Place Market, this social hostel organizes all kinds of activities so it’s easy to meet people. They also offer free breakfast — a rare perk in the US!

For more travel tips on Seattle, read this detailed planning guide !  

27. Deadwood

The snowy main street of the historic town of Deadwood, South Dakota

WHERE TO STAY IN DEADWOOD : Gold Country Inn – This kitschy hotel is one of the cheapest places in town. Located right downtown, they have a mini gambling hall on-site, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. It’s nothing fancy but it won’t break the bank either.  

28. Kansas City

The exterior of Joe's BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri

WHERE TO STAY IN KANSAS CITY : Home2 Suites Downtown – With a fitness center, pool, and a decent breakfast spread, this three-star hotel in downtown KC is one of the more affordable places to crash in the city.  

29. Louisville

An old steamboat docked on the river in Louisville, USA

Louseiville has a laid-back, artsy vibe to it. It feels much more like an Austin or a Portland than your traditional southern/midwest city. In the past, it was considered a fly-over city and was skipped by most people. It’s definitely not now.

WHERE TO STAY IN LOUISVILLE : Microtel Inn – While it may be 20 minutes from downtown, this budget-friendly inn is affordable, includes free breakfast and free parking, and has free Wi-Fi. It’s a no-frills choice but clean and comfy.  

30. Charleston

A quiet sidestreet lined by trees in Charleston, USA

WHERE TO STAY IN CHARLESTON : Charlestons NotSo Hostel – Located in a historic neighborhood, this laid-back hostel includes free coffee/tea and oatmeal and free Wi-Fi. The rooms are small but the beds are perfectly comfy.  

31. Franklin

Downtown in Franklin, Tennessee, USA

WHERE TO STAY IN FRANKLIN : The Harpeth Hotel – This upscale property features a restaurant on-site, fitness center, bar, and terrace. If you don’t want to splash out, check Booking.com for other options.

The United States is filled with too many “must-sees” places to visit to list in a single blog post. After all, the country is home to over 329 million people and covers 3.8 million square miles.

But for those looking for a starting point for where to go, what to see, and the places to visit, this list should point you in the right direction and fill your time!

Just be sure to turn off the highways, head to the small towns, and discover some favorites of your own. The best of the USA is always away from the major highways in the little no-name towns with little diners, quirky shops, and friendly people!

For more travel tips on traveling the USA, read these other blog posts:

  • How to Travel Across the USA on $50 A Day
  • 19 Amazing Restaurants from My Road-Trip Across the U.S.
  • 9 Things I Learned While Driving Across the U.S.
  • Detailed Travel Planning Guide on The United States

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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How to Be a High Roller in Vegas on a Low-Roller Budget

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The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the U.S.

From magical deserts to gorgeous beaches, these are the most beautiful places in each state.

Anne Olivia Bauso is a travel writer and hotel expert based in New York City. She has written hundreds of hotel reviews, from 5-star Ritz-Carlton properties to treehouse eco-resorts in the jungle.

united states tourist destinations

The U.S. has an abundance of natural beauty, with diverse landscapes ranging from desert mesas and wooded river valleys to whisper-thin barrier islands and lush, steamy tropics. The scenery along Florida's palm-studded coast is much different than you would see in California's rugged Sierra Nevadas or the fiery canyonlands of the Southwest.

The natural beauty found across the 50 states is so vast and staggering, it's practically impossible to make sense of — though you can't say we didn't try. Here, our totally subjective, state-by-state list of the most beautiful places in the U.S.

Alabama: Magnolia Springs

Mail is delivered by boat — the last year-round river mail delivery in the country — in this small coastal village along the Magnolia River. Dating to the late 1700s, the town is named for its natural assets: gushing springs and a shady canopy of magnolia trees.

Alaska: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Few states seize the popular imagination like Alaska. And at 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias, the largest national park in the U.S., encompasses the overwhelming beauty of the far north. Hiking here leads you through a boreal forest, along glittering glaciers (the Root Glacier Trail goes right on the icy mass; crampons recommended), and up to ridges for breathtaking mountain views. To boot, this park contains some of the highest peaks in the country.

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

Don Eim/Travel + Leisure

The most beautiful place in Arizona has to be the Grand Canyon. Though outrageous natural beauty is found in every corner of the state, from the enchanting Emerald Cove to the sacred Canyon de Chelly, nothing quite compares to the majesty of Arizona's flagship feature.

Within this natural wonder of the world, Havasu Falls (aka Havasupai Falls) contrasts the red rock with its impossibly turquoise water, while the circular arc of the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend is not to be missed.

Arkansas: Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Dominating northwestern Arkansas, the Ozark-St. Francis is an all-season haven rich in things to do. Its ferny oak-hickory woods are dotted with caverns (the tour-friendly Blanchard Springs Caverns has an underground river), grottoes, swimming beaches, campsites, and horseback and ATV trails. Whitaker Point and Sam's Throne are favorites with hikers and rock climbers.

California: Yosemite National Park

Vince Fergus/Travel + Leisure

The nation's third-oldest park has major status with the National Park System, UNESCO, and traveler wish lists around the world. The alpine wonderland draws millions of annual visitors to see its high-country Sierra Nevada beauty, marked by granite domes, towering sequoias, and sheer-drop waterfalls.

Hike or drive up to Glacier Point to behold Yosemite Valley from 7,000 feet; the million-dollar panorama includes Yosemite Falls and the famous Half Dome, which is staggeringly close and rises almost 4,800 feet from the valley floor at a practically vertical pitch.

Colorado: Garden of the Gods

Anyone with even a passing interest in geology or photography, or just knockout natural splendor in general, might find themselves speechless at the sight of Garden of the Gods. Two tips: Aim to visit the lofty sandstone formations on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds, and take the Siamese Twins loop for a view of snowy Pikes Peak (the inspiration for "America the Beautiful") set in a frame of red rocks.

Connecticut: The Connecticut Shore

If you close your eyes and try to imagine the ideal seaside town in New England , your vision is probably not too far off from Old Lyme, Mystic, Old Saybrook, and other coastal Connecticut villages. The small towns strung along the Long Island Sound combine quiet coastal beauty and gobs of old-timey charm (think picture-perfect inns and cozy taverns).

Delaware: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

You don't have to be an avid birder to treasure this nature preserve. One of the largest surviving tidal salt marshes in the region, it's the boggy domain of bald eagles, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and other wildlife.

Florida: Everglades National Park

Stephanie Pollak/Travel + Leisure

A UNESCO World Heritage site and International Biosphere Reserve, this watery 1.5 million-acre wilderness is home to extraordinary flora and fauna, including American crocodiles, manatees, otters, and wading birds. To see it, join an airboat tour, paddle the mangroves in a canoe or kayak, bike the popular Shark Valley Tram Road, or set out on the flat Anhinga Trail through a seagrass marsh.

Georgia: Cumberland Island

It's hard to imagine a place better suited to peace seekers, bird-watchers, and even history fans than car-free Cumberland Island. Development on the Georgia barrier island is limited to the stately Greyfield Inn , and the rest of the some 36,000 acres are wild, including almost 10,000 acres of protected nature. When you're not strolling the driftwood-strewn beaches, you can kayak the quiet waterways and stop by the Gilded Age-era Dungeness ruins.

Hawaii: Nāpali Coast

The Earth's wrinkles are on spectacular display along Kauai's Nāpali Coast, where sheer, fluted sea cliffs (pali) plummet into the Pacific. The only land access is the strenuous 11-mile Kalalau Trail, which follows the jagged, jade-colored coast's gulches and valleys. The first two miles are a popular day hike; beyond that, a permit is required. This is considered one of the country's most dangerous treks, though helicopter tours are another way to see the exquisite terrain.

Idaho: Sawtooth National Forest

Four mountain ranges and four major rivers collide in Sawtooth National Forest, a 2.1 million-acre great-outdoors paradise whose landscape has remained virtually unchanged since Lewis and Clark explored it in 1805. The forest is home to dozens of 10,000-plus-foot peaks, hundreds of sparkling alpine lakes, and more than 3,000 miles of gushing streams, as well as grassy meadows, sagebrush flats, and pine and aspen woods. Manners of exploration are as vast as the land itself and include backpacking, rafting, skiing, and mountain climbing.

Illinois: Cache River State Natural Area

You might think you're deep in a Louisiana bayou in this bald cypress and tupelo swamp, the northernmost of its kind in the U.S. Explore acres of wetlands by kayak, canoe, or foot via the park's trails and boardwalks. Some of the cypresses you'll see are more than 1,000 years old, with flared bases that exceed 40 feet around.

Indiana: Hemlock Cliffs

For the uninitiated, Indiana is full of surprises. It has the covered bridges and country lanes of Vermont, the sand dunes and lakeshore of Michigan, and fall foliage that could be taken for the Smokies. This box canyon within Hoosier National Forest is a terrific ravine- and waterfall-filled place that you probably wouldn't associate with the heartland.

Iowa: Maquoketa Caves State Park

Avid explorers will be in their element at Maquoketa Caves State Park, where bluffs, miles of trails, and more than a dozen limestone caves await investigation. Some of the caves, such as the 1,100-foot Dancehall, can be walked through upright, while others require serious spelunking. Either way, bring a headlamp.

Kansas: Castle Rock Badlands

This quirky site is off the beaten path — literally. Located on private ranchland accessed by four-wheel drive-demanding dirt roads, Castle Rock is a relic of an inland sea that once covered this part of the continent. The fragile, fossil-rich limestone pinnacles provide a near-shocking change of scenery from the prairie Kansas is known for.

Kentucky: Mammoth Cave

The longest known cave system on the planet is found below the wild hills of south-central Kentucky. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a vast (as in still-being-mapped vast) limestone network of cool caverns, cathedral-like rotundas, and claustrophobia-inducing crawl spaces. Lest you think a Mammoth Cave adventure is all below ground, the lushly forested park above it offers hiking and horseback riding, plus canoeing and kayaking on its two rivers.

Louisiana: Wild Azalea Trail

Bar-crawling in Louisiana may come to mind before forest hiking, but the 31-mile-long Wild Azalea Trail showcases some of the state's best scenery: think pine trees, clear creeks, gentle hills, and maybe even wild horses. Time your trek to March or April to see the namesake pale pink flowers blanketing the countryside.

Maine: Acadia National Park

With its rocky shores, crashing surf, and coastal mountain hiking trails, Acadia National Park wins the top spot on Maine's most beautiful places list. Drive to the Cadillac Mountain summit before dawn for the first glimpse of sunrise in the U.S. (from October to March, that is).

Maryland: Weverton Cliffs

Along the famed Appalachian Trail, Weverton Cliffs is a roughly two-mile switchback hike in South Mountain State Park. The reward for your effort? Views from 500 feet above the Potomac that include neighboring Virginia and West Virginia.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod National Seashore

This delicate stretch of federally protected land is rich in natural appeal. It contains marshes, woodlands, wild cranberry bogs, windswept dunes, walking paths, and miles of sandy beaches. This is one of the last remaining blocks of Atlantic coastal pine barrens, a now-rare forest ecosystem teeming with animals and birdlife.

Michigan: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Out-of-staters might not equate Michigan with sandy beaches and striking sand dunes, but both are found along the state's largely coastal boundaries — most notably on the 35 miles of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This carved-by-glaciers shoreline is home to a beech-maple forest, scenic hiking and driving, and the immense namesake dunes rising high above Lake Michigan.

Minnesota: North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore is a road-tripper's daydream. Many Minnesotans and Midwesterners drive the Lake Superior-adjacent route time and time again, hitting the four-tiered Gooseberry Falls, the precariously perched Split Rock Lighthouse, and the tallest waterfall in the state, High Falls (shared by the U.S. and Canada). And don't miss World's Best Donuts , a very important stop for cinnamon-sugar donuts and deep-fried "skizzles."

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

Beauty and blacktop meet on the Natchez Trace, a 444-mile drive that crosses Mississippi like a pageant sash, following a Native American foot trail that goes back millennia. Instead of billboards and interstate exit signs, you'll cruise past cypress swamps and meadows edged by black-eyed Susans and log fences, with lots of opportunities to pull over for picnics and nature walks.

Missouri: Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The spring-fed Current and Jacks Fork rivers anchor this protected pocket of the Ozarks. Swim, canoe, and fish in its crystal-clear waters and explore the area's caves (more than 300 have been discovered so far, some only accessible by boat), trails, natural springs, and historic mills.

Montana: Going-to-the-Sun Road

Take the ride of your life on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile route that climbs above the clouds in Glacier National Park. Looking out the window takes a bit of bravery because of the steep drops, but your prize is jaw-dropping views of alpine valleys, flowing rivers, and fields of wildflowers far below the surrounding peaks and ridgelines. The road crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass (elevation: 6,646 feet), where you can get out and hike the Hidden Lake and Highline trails.

Nebraska: Toadstool Geologic Park

Nebraska's native prairie is thrown into splendid relief at Toadstool, a tract of unusual wind- and water-carved rock formations and vast fossil beds in the Oglala National Grassland. Some rock layers contain tracks of animals long vanished from this part of the world, like rhinos and camels.

Nevada: Red Rock Canyon

Only about 30 minutes from the LED skyline of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, named for its giant cliffs and craggy jumbles of yellow and red sandstone. The hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and scenic driving on offer here are a pretty amazing contrast to the gaming, buffet feasts, and pool parties that define a typical Sin City getaway.

New Hampshire: Kancamagus Highway

Kancamagus Scenic Byway ("the Kanc") may just be New England's prettiest drive. Connecting the small towns of Lincoln and Conway, it meanders by the rocky gorges, waterfalls, swimming holes, campgrounds, and trailheads of White Mountain National Forest. Fall is a lovely time to make the journey, when the foliage colors and moose sightings are at their peak. Just be sure to pack snacks and fuel up — there are no gas stations or businesses for some 30 miles.

New Jersey: Cape May

Cape May's main claim to fame may be its late Victorian-era houses and hotels — some 600 structures in all — but this seaside resort town has non-architectural virtues as well. There are wineries, gardens, biodiverse wetlands, and, of course, end-of-peninsula beaches. Head to west-facing Sunset Beach at twilight for an amazing natural show over Delaware Bay.

New Mexico: Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Millions of years of erosion have created this sci-fi, fantasy-like display of pinnacles, spires, and other weirdly wonderful bodies of weathered rock. This high-desert wilderness (read: no marked trails) is essentially the geologic record of a prehistoric coastal swamp where dinosaurs once roamed.

New York: Finger Lakes

Glacial force shaped this beautiful upstate landscape, leaving behind 11 long, skinny, finger-like lakes in its wake. The region is heaven in the summer, when visitors can choose between waterfall hiking (Watkins Glen and Shequaga Falls are popular stops), endless lake activities, and more wineries, vineyards, and breweries than you can shake a stick at.

North Carolina: Outer Banks

This remote stretch of North Carolina coastline has drawn pirates, colonists, and early aviators. Now, it's the realm of beach lovers looking for peace, quiet, white sand, and salty air. Add in the barrier islands' wild dunes (including the East Coast's largest), incredible Outer Banks campgrounds , and multiuse paths — it's actually possible to bike the entire 100-plus-mile length of the region — and you've got a region set for quaint coastal exploration.

North Dakota: Maah Daah Hey Trail

Hike, bike, or hop on a horse and ride through the remote scenery for which North Dakota is known. This 144-mile system is made up of nine sections with various lengths, difficulty ratings, and backdrops, from grassy prairies to dizzying badland buttes. It's a timeless American landscape, and the trail is aptly named for the Mandan phrase: "an area that will be around for a long time."

Ohio: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

You can pretend you're in Victorian London in the Crystal Palace-evoking glass greenhouse that is the cornerstone of this botanical landmark. Its biomes and gardens might transport you to the desert, rain forest, and even the Himalayas.

Oklahoma: Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Native grasslands, the ecosystem perhaps most powerfully entwined with our national identity, are on the decline. This protected preserve is the largest sweep of tallgrass prairie in the world. Here, you can see the American plains as they looked centuries ago, with herds of bison (about 2,200 of the shaggy-haired beasts roam freely) and swaths of purple prairie clover.

Oregon: Crater Lake

Crater Lake is evidence of the tectonic activity that's eternally shaping the planet. A long-ago eruption formed a giant caldera, which filled with rain and snow over time. The gradual result is a deep lake (the deepest in the country, in fact) with intense blue waters and fantastic clarity. Crater Lake's mountain setting atop the Cascade Range makes it even more hypnotic.

Pennsylvania: Appalachian National Scenic Trail at the Delaware Water Gap

The famous Delaware Water Gap area spans 70,000 acres of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, yet its namesake point is where the river carves through the rugged Kittatinny Mountain. See the Gap from Appalachian National Scenic Trail (the AT, to in-the-know hikers), which offers a clear view from Mount Minsi.

Rhode Island: Block Island

Fieldstone walls hemming in emerald-green fields, Victorian buildings, and dramatic cliffs lashed by the Atlantic define Block Island. You could be forgiven for thinking you've been dropped on a distant British shore. Mosey around the island by bike or moped, visit the two lighthouses, and pop into a classic New England eatery — we like Block Island Oyster Bar and Grill for lobster bisque and daily-harvested oysters.

South Carolina: Hilton Head Island Bike Trails

Wide beaches may be a big draw, but Hilton Head locals and vacationers alike praise the island's bike trail system for low-key cruising (and for bypassing road traffic, which can be intense). The 64-mile, well-maintained network is easy to navigate and takes you to some of Hilton Head Island's best spots, like Sea Pines Forest Preserve. A bike ride is especially lovely in the late afternoon, as the sun begins to set over the marshes.

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

Between the steep buttes, crystal-lined caves, granite spires, prairies, and ponderosa pine forests, speculating the most beautiful South Dakota place is hopeless. But the fossil-packed landscape of Badlands National Park must come close. Here, meadows meet whimsically eroded canyons and vibrant, layered hills. Drive Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) and the perimeter route around the South Unit. Bonus points if you time your visit to the south-facing Pinnacles Overlook for sunset.

Tennessee: Cherokee National Forest

Lovers of the outdoors have their work cut out for them in Tennessee, especially its eastern edge. The 650,000-acre Cherokee National Forest has something for adventurers of every sort, whether you're looking to tackle a section of the Appalachian Trail or other backcountry treks, whitewater raft down Pigeon River, pitch a tent next to Watauga Lake, or witness the dazzling rhododendron summer bloom in the Roan Highlands.

Texas: Guadalupe Mountains

These mountains in windswept West Texas are the exposed tips of the 400-mile Capitan Reef, one of the best-preserved ancient reef systems in the world. Explore more than 80 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks through the Chihuahuan Desert to hardcore hikes to the "top of Texas" (a.k.a. Guadalupe Peak, the state's highest point).

Utah: Arches National Park

We'll confess to paralysis by indecision here, such is the vast choice on offer (see: Grand Staircase-Escalante, Monument Valley, Bryce and Big Cottonwood canyons). Yet surreal Arches National Park gets the nod. Its natural sandstone arches, tall cliffs, and honeycomb rocks are like a 65-million-year chronicle of our planet. The scenery will leave you breathless — as will a stamina-requiring Fiery Furnace hike (ranger guidance or individual permit required).

Vermont: Mad River Valley

In the 1950s, the snowy ski resorts of Mad River Valley pulled the likes of the Kennedys and Hollywood VIPs. Its creviced mountains and charming small towns still make it a prime destination for all manner of outdoor and simple-pleasure pursuits, like hiking, maple syrup- and cheese-tasting, shopping for crafts, and seeking local swimming holes, to name a few. Even just cruising Route 100 is a delight.

Virginia: Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway's "America's Favorite Drive" tagline isn't just a stroke of marketing genius. The 469-mile drive (shared by Virginia and North Carolina) takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the southeastern U.S. One example? Natural Bridge, a 215-foot-tall "overpass" spanning 90 feet to connect solid limestone cliffs. Don't forget good hiking shoes and your phone charger because there are hundreds of trails and photo ops.

Washington: Hurricane Ridge

This mountainous area within Olympic National Park packs the best features of Washington state into one enchantingly alpine package: snowy peaks, glassy lakes, grazing black-tailed deer in steep meadows, and thick evergreen forests.

West Virginia: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

A highlight of West Virginia is the seemingly endless reserve of spectacular river ravines and mountain views. New River Gorge gets a special mention for its iconic bridge. With a 3,030-foot steel span that's nearly 90 stories high, it will make your heart skip a beat.

Wisconsin: Apostle Islands

There's so much to explore on the 20-plus islands that make up this archipelago. Hike through the wilderness, hop in a kayak, scuba dive to shipwrecks and underwater sea caves (Lake Superior really does look and feel more like an ocean), and explore the lighthouses.

Wyoming: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Even in a state that's wall-to-wall with magnificent scenery, this site is a high point. The deep river gorge is a rumbling mass of natural beauty, with roaming wildlife (bison, elk, and even a grizzly crossing may make traffic come to a standstill), plunging waterfalls, and canyon walls made colorful by iron compounds.

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Ultimate USA Travel Bucket List: 125+ Best Places to Visit in USA

The United States is a large country so even those of us that live here have many bucket list places in the US that we have yet to visit.  Whether you live in the US and want to explore more of this amazing country or visiting the US for the first time and need help planning your trip, I’ve created this epic guide containing more than 125 incredible things to see and do in the United States which are perfect for any USA Travel Bucket List .

Some of these must see places I have already visited and recommend and the rest are places that look so beautiful or sound so interesting that I have added them to my personal America travel bucket list. So read on if you are looking for inspiration and ideas for your own US travel bucket list.

USA Travel Bucket List

USA Travel Bucket List

Alaska Bucket List

  • Explore Denali National Park .
  • See Mendenhall Glacier , a 13-mile long glacier near Juneau.

Arizona Bucket List

  • Take photos at Antelope Canyon. This sandstone slot canyon is made up of two sections (Upper and Lower) and is one of the most instagrammable places in the United States. Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo protected land and is only accessible via guided tours. Click here for more information about tours.

Antelope Canyon is a must on any USA Travel Bucket List

  • See Horseshoe Bend , the beautiful natural horseshoe-shaped curve in the Colorado River.  This picture perfect view only requires an easy short 3/4 mile hike each way.

Horseshoe Bend American Bucket List Challenge

  • Visit the Grand Canyon National Park . The famous Grand Canyon is at the top of most American bucket lists. There are many ways to visit the Grand Canyon including hiking, bike tours, mule rides, by helicopter or by small plane .
  • Hike to the Wave. Getting a hiking permit is very difficult since only 20 people are allowed each day.  Find out more about how to get a permit and other logistics in this guide to Coyote Buttes North (home to the Wave) here .
  • See White Pocket. This lesser known remote natural wonder is a great alternative if you cannot get a permit to the Wave. You need a 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle or else it is best to book a tour.
  • Visit the Arizona desert town of Sedona.
  • Visit the city of Flagstaff, surrounded by mountains, desert and pine forests. It is a gateway to the San Francisco Peaks which is  home to Arizona’s tallest mountain (Humphreys Peak).
  • Visit the Painted Desert , famous for its striking bands of colors.
  • Visit the Petrified Forest National Park.

Arkansas Bucket List

  • Hunt for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park . This state park is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds – anything you find is yours to keep!

California Bucket List

  • Explore San Francisco . Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting Alcatraz are at the top of my San Francisco bucket list. Read: 2 Days in San Francisco: The Perfect Itinerary (As Written By a Local!)

Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best places to visit in the USA

  • Go wine tasting at Napa Valley and Sonoma in Northern California.
  • Visit Los Angeles. There are a lot of bucket list things to do in and around LA including hiking to the Hollywood sign, shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Read: 3 Days in Los Angeles: The Perfect Itinerary
  • Have fun at Disneyland.
  • Explore Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree is one of top California bucket list destinations

  • Visit Palm Springs.
  • Enjoy sunny San Diego.
  • Explore Solvang, a charming historic Danish village.
  • Explore Yosemite National Park.
  • Visit The Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks. These adjacent parks are home to the world’s largest trees.
  • See giant California redwoods at Redwood National Park .
  • Visit Lake Tahoe. Read:   2 Days in Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary
  • Explore Death Valley National Park.
  • Take a Pacific Coast Highway road trip along the coast of California which is without a doubt one of the best road trips in the USA . In addition to San Francisco and Los Angeles, some of the best stops along the way include Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, San Simeon, Malibu, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Read: California Bucket List: 30 Best Places to Visit in California for more bucket list worthy places to visit in California

Colorado Bucket List

  • Visit Denver .
  • Explore Rocky Mountain National Park. You can visit on a day trip from Denver .
  • Visit the Garden of the Gods , a free park full of red rock formations with great hiking.
  • Drive to the top of Pikes Peak .
  • See Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park . Several scenic drives in the park offer great views with relatively easy access.
  • Visit the Maroon Bells, a reflective lake and two giant snow-striped mountaintops and most photographed place in Colorado.
  • See the highest sand dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park .
  • See Pueblo cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park .

Connecticut Bucket List

  • Visit the charming town of Mystic .

Florida Bucket List

  • Visit Miami. Highlights include Miami Beach, Wynwood Walls and the Little Havana neighborhood. One of the busiest time to visit other than spring break is during Art Basel in December.
  • See wildlife at Everglades National Park, the largest designated sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent.
  • Drive from Miami to the Florida Keys on the scenic Overseas Highway (one of the best American road trips ). Read: Weekend in Key West: The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary
  • Have fun at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando.
  • Swim with manatees in Crystal River. You can visit on a day trip from Orlando .
  • Visit St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.  Read: Weekend in St. Augustine: Perfect 2 or 3 Day Itinerary

Read: Florida Bucket List

Georgia Bucket List

  • Visit Atlanta.  Read: 48 Hours in Atlanta: The Perfect 2 Day Itinerary
  • Visit the beautiful historic city of Savannah.

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Hawaii Bucket List

  • Seeing the beautiful Na Pali Coast in Kauai is a must on any Hawaii bucket list. You cannot visit by car. The entire Kalalau Trail is 11 miles long but you can hike the first couple of miles in a day or half a day. If hiking is not your thing, you can also view the Napali coast from helicopter tour or boat tour.

the best things to do in Kauai

  • See the Waimea Canyon in Kauai, a large canyon known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. There are hiking trails but you can enjoy great views from two lookout points.

top things to do in Kauai

  • Hike to the top at Diamond Head State Monument in Oahu for great views of Honolulu. The 1.5-2 hours round trip hike is not too challenging but go as early as possible in the morning because it gets hot!
  • Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu which marks the Japanese attack on the U.S. in World War II.
  • Drive the Road to Hana in Maui.
  • See a beautiful sunrise or sunset from the top of Haleakala Crater , a dormant volcano and the highest point in Maui. Unless you are visiting on a tour, you will need to make reservations in advance to access the park at sunset. Read: The Perfect Maui Itinerary: How to Spend 5 Days in Maui (As Written By a Local)

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Idaho Bucket List

  • See the beautiful Shoshone Falls (which are taller than Niagara Falls).
  • Soak in one of the many Idaho hot springs .

Illinois Bucket List

what to do in chicago

  • Explore Chicago . Maybe I’m biased because it is my hometown, but Chicago is one of the best cities to visit in the US. There are a lot of bucket list worthy things to do in Chicago : watch a baseball game at historic Wrigley Field, take a selfie in front of the Bean at Millennium Park, take in the amazing views from The Skydeck at Willis Tower and/or 360 CHICAGO, take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River and more! Read:  Best Things to Do in Chicago in the Summer and Most Instagrammable Places in Chicago
  • Visit Starved Rock State Park (one of the most popular attractions in Illinois) and the nearby Matthiessen State Park . Both parks have great hikes, stunning sandstone cliffs, canyons and beautiful waterfalls. You can even visit on a day trip from Chicago .

Read: Best Things to Do & Places to Visit in Illinois for more bucket list worthy places to visit in Illinois

Indiana Bucket List

  • Visit the the capital city of Indianapolis.

Iowa Bucket List

  • See the covered bridges of Madison County .
  • Visit the Iowa State Fair. The eleven day fair (August 12-22, 2021) has food, games, rides and competitions, livestock exhibitions, shows, concerts and more.
  • Recreate the famous American Gothic painting in front of the original house in Eldon depicted in the painting. Visitors to the American Gothic House are provided with costumes to wear while the staff takes photos in front of the house.

Read :  Beautiful Sunflower Fields in Iowa That You Can Visit

Kansas Bucket List

  • Eat BBQ at the famous Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que  in Kansas City.

Kentucky Bucket List

  • Visit Louisville during the Kentucky Derby.
  • Journey on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail .

Louisiana Bucket List

  • Explore New Orleans.  Visit NOLA during Mardi Gras is a bucket list worthy experience.

Maine Bucket List

  • Explore Acadia National Park, a great spot to see the fall foliage in New England.
  • Visit Portland, a charming coastal city.

Maryland Bucket List

  • Visit Baltimore. See the historic waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point and make sure to try Maryland’s famous crab cakes.

Massachusetts Bucket List

  • Visit Boston. Some Boston must dos include walking the Freedom Trail, watching a game at Fenway Park and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Relax at Cape Cod.
  • Learn about the history of the witch trials at Salem.
  • Visit Martha’s Vineyard , a tiny island which is a popular summer vacation destination for wealthy East Coast residents.

Michigan Bucket List

  • Explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore .
  • Visit historic Mackinac Island. The entire Victorian-themed island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is car-free so visitors can only explore by foot, bicycle or horse drawn carriage.

Read: Best Places to Visit in the Midwest

Minnesota Bucket List

  • Visit Minneapolis-St Paul. Don’t miss the Minnehaha Regional Park (and the stunning Minnehaha Falls).
  • Explore the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior .

Mississippi Bucket List

  • Explore the Mississippi Blues Trail, nearly 200 trail markers throughout the state including cotton fields, train depots, cemeteries, clubs and churches that tell stories of famous blues artists and significant sites. You can even download an app to help you follow the trail.

Missouri Bucket List

  • Enjoy the view from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
  • Eat some of the best BBQ in the country and explore the underrated Kansas City. Read : Weekend in Kansas City: The Perfect Itinerary (According to a Local!)

Montana Bucket List

Glacier National Park one of the top 100 places to visit in usa

  • Explore the beautiful Glacier National Park. One of highlights of the park is driving the famous Going-To-The-Sun Road .

Nebraska Bucket List

  • Witness the Annual Sandhill Crane Migration in the spring.
  • See Carhedge . This quirky man made attraction built from 38 vintage American cars covered in gray spray paint is a replica of England’s famous Stonehenge.
  • Visit Toadstool Geologic Park (referred to as the “badlands of Nebraska”) to see unusual rock formations and fossils.

Read: 7 Cool Things to do in Nebraska

Nevada Bucket List

  • Gamble, party, eat and have fun in Las Vegas. Read : Weekend in Las Vegas: The Perfect Itinerary (According to a Local!)
  • Visit Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity dam on the border between Arizona and Nevada.
  • Photograph the Seven Magic Mountains , a temporary art exhibition located in the desert outside of Las Vegas, featuring thirty to thirty-five-foot high day glow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders.
  • Explore the Valley of Fire State Park, full of red rock formations just an hour outside of Vegas. It is also home to the Fire Wave, a smaller version of the famous Wave in Utah/Arizona.

Valley of Fire USA travel bucketlist

  • Admire colorful rock formations at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on several hiking trails or on a 13-mile scenic drive.

New Jersey Bucket List

  • Go gambling in Atlantic City, one of the most popular cities in the Jersey Shore.
  • Hang out at Liberty State Park and enjoy great views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

New Hampshire Bucket List

  • Explore the stunning White Mountains, a mountain range with many hiking spots of all levels.
  • Drive Kancamagus Highway , a 34.5 mile scenic drive along Route 112 and one of the best New England drives for fall foliage.

New Mexico Bucket List

  • Visit Albuquerque during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta , the largest balloon festival in the world.
  • Explore Santa Fe.
  • Visit Taos.
  • Visit White Sands National Monument .

united states tourist destinations

New York Bucket List

  • Explore New York City. Read : Weekend In New York City Itinerary
  • See Niagara Falls from the US side.

North Carolina Bucket List

  • Visit Asheville. One of the highlights is a visit to the historic Biltmore Estate , the largest house in the United States.
  • Explore the Outer Banks islands.

North Dakota Bucket List

  • Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park .

Read: 7 Reasons North Dakota Should Be On Your Bucket List

Ohio Bucket List

  • Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland.
  • Explore Hocking Hills State Park and view the beautiful sandstone formations and waterfalls.

Oregon Bucket List

  • Visit Portland, a city that likes to keep it weird.
  • Explore the Columbia River Gorge.  Don’t miss the beautiful Multnomah Falls just a 30 minute drive outside of Portland.

Multnomah Falls American travel bucket list destination

  • See Crater Lake National Park .  The highlight is the vivid blue Crater Lake (America’s deepest lake).

Crater Lake Pacific Northwest bucket list

Read: Bucket List Places to Visit in the West Coast

Pennsylvania Bucket List

  • Visit Philadelphia. Visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Eastern State Penitentiary and have a Philly cheesesteak.

Rhode Island Bucket List

  • Explore Newport, a beach town known for its lavish mansions from the Gilded Age.

South Carolina Bucket List

  • Visit the charming city of Charleston.

South Dakota Bucket List

  • Explore Badlands National Park known for its spires and pinnacles.
  • See Mount Rushmore National Memorial . This sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore features the heads of four U.S. presidents.

Tennessee Bucket List

  • Visit Nashville.
  • Visit Memphis. Highlights include Graceland (home of Elvis Presley), Beale Street and the Duck March at the Peabody Hotel .
  • Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park and a UNESCO world heritage site which straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Trail passes through the Great Smoky Mountains for more than 71 miles.
  • Walk across Gatlinburg SkyBridge , the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the US for beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains.

Texas Bucket List

  • Visit Austin. It is especially popular during South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals . Read : Best Things to Do in Austin in One Day
  • Visit San Antonio.  The Alamo and the River Walk are the top attractions.
  • See the bluebonnets in bloom every spring in Texas Hill Country .
  • Explore Big Bend National Park.
  • Visit the small quirky town of Marfa .
  • Stop at Cadillac Ranch , a public art installation of half-buried Cadillacs on Route 66.

Utah Bucket List

  • Visit Salt Lake City.
  • Explore Bryce Canyon National Park , known for crimson-colored hoodoos (spire-shaped rock formations).

Bryce Canyon is one of the top United States bucket list places

  • Explore Zion National Park .
  • Explore Arches National Park , home to the highest density of natural arches anywhere in the world.

Arches National Park is a must on any North America bucket list

  • Explore Canyonlands National Park .
  • Visit Monument Valley .
  • Explore Goblin Valley State Park.
  • Take fun perspective pictures at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Vermont Bucket List

  • Do a fall road trip in Vermont to see the beautiful fall foliage.
  • Visit the picturesque town of Stowe .

Virginia Bucket List

  • Visit Virginia Beach.
  • Drive through Shenandoah National Park. Read :  Complete Guide to Shenandoah National Park

Washington State Bucket List

  • Visit Seattle.
  • Explore Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Explore Olympic National Park.
  • Explore North Cascades National Park .

Washington, D.C. Bucket List

  • Exploring the capital of the United States of America is a must on any USA bucket list. Points of interest include Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and National Mall. The city is especially beautiful (but crowded) during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring.

Read: Best Places to Visit in the East Coast

West Virginia Bucket List

  • See the New River Gorge Bridge. If you are feeling adventurous, you can sign up for bridge walk guided tour where you cross the catwalk under the bridge.

Wisconsin Bucket List

  • Visit Milwaukee.
  • Relax in Lake Geneva , a lakeside resort city popular with wealthy Chicagoans that built large historic mansions.
  • Explore beautiful Door County .
  • Explore the Apostle Islands and the sea caves on Lake Superior.

Wyoming Bucket List

  • Explore Yellowstone National Park . Full of mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, geysers and wildlife, it is America’s first national park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include Grand Prismatic Spring (a large hot spring is known for its rainbow effect) and Old Faithful.

Grand Prismatic Spring is a US bucket list destination

  • Explore the Grand Tetons .

Grand Teton USA travel bucket list ideas

  • Visit Devils Tower National Monument , a 870-foot stone monument and the center of many Indian religious ceremonies.

So there you have it – the ultimate USA travel bucket list .  If there is an experience or place I should include let me know in the comments below!

Need more travel inspiration? Check out some of my other travel bucket lists below:

  • Europe Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do
  • Australian Bucket List: Best Places to Visit in Australia
  • Africa Bucket List: 50 Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • South America Bucket List: 50+ Things to Do and Places to Visit
  • Southeast Asia Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do in SE Asia
  • Travel Goals: 100 Things to Do Before You Die
  • 10 Hotels That Should Be on Your Bucket List!

USA Travel Bucket List Places You Need to Visit

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BEST Warm Places to Visit in January in the USA

savvyglobetrotter

There are so many places in the USA that I have yet to visit. I love that you put together this list by state, it’s a very easy reference to have. It’s embarrassing that I have been to so many places around the world, but haven’t been to 2 of the 3 places in your Wisconsin list (it is the state I grew up in!).

I love ticking things off bucket lists. US is such a diverse country and going through the places you recommended I have realized I still have so much more to see in this amazing country. So far I checked some in California (L.A., Disneyland and a road trip along the Pacific Coast), Florida (Miami Beach, Florida Keys, Everglades), Louisiana (yes NOLA during Mardi Gras is madness, loved it!!), and New York City! You got me wanting to go again and check out so many other places!

This is a fabulous list! I don’t think we will be venturing too far out of North America and the Caribbean this year, so this post will be very helpful for planning some USA travels. Going to Chicago and Las Vegas later this year so will definitely refer back.

Absolutely shows how much there is in the US of A to explore. I love the national parks there and that all the states have something unique to offer. Love this list – and definitely will come back to it to check a few of those places.

This is such a great list! I don’t think you have missed out on anything at all. I didn’t even know many of these places and now I want to visit them.

Wow, this is an awesome list! So many great options and so fun to see the ones I’ve already seen, like Sedona and the Grand Canyon. There are so many more I want to visit, I’ll have to keep your list handy!

I love traveling and my life partner also loves traveling. Recently we got married and planning to visit all over USA. Your List will be more helpful for us and others also.

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The 100 Most Popular American Tourist Destinations

rushmore

There's a whole big beautiful planet out there — but some of its most alluring attractions exist practically in America's backyard. America is blessed with bustling cities, gorgeous deserts, and breathtaking parks from sea to shining sea, but which ones do people love the most? 

In order to compile our list, we started by consulting government agencies, including the National Park Service, as well as existing rankings both in print and online. From there, we narrowed it down to the absolute must-visit destinations based on historical relevance, cultural significance, beauty, and overall appeal. From statues and buildings to canyons and harbor towns, these are the 100 most popular American tourist destinations.

1. 9/11 Memorial, New York

The National September 11 Memorial in New York City exists to remember the 2,977 people who died in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It also honors the six people who were killed in the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993. All of their names are inscribed on bronze panels. The memorial has identical pools where the Twin Towers once stood. Each spans nearly one acre each, and they feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. 

2. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is 47,000 acres of recreational land located primarily on Maine's Mount Desert Island. It's a mostly mountainous, wooded area with rocky beaches, and it's home to the highest rocky headlands on the Atlantic coastline. Every year, more than 3.3 million people visit to go birdwatching, boating, camping, hiking, and mountain climbing.

3. Alcatraz Island, California

A 15-minute ferry ride takes visitors to Alcatraz, just over a mile offshore from San Francisco, California. The 22-acre island is home to an abandoned federal prison and the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. It's also the site of a historic, 18-month occupation by a group of Native American activists called Indians of All Tribes. You may recognize Alcatraz from popular culture, as it's appeared in several movies, including "The Book of Eli," "X-Men: The Last Stand," and "Catch Me If You Can," as well as video games like "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops II."

4. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

If you say you've never seen Antelope Canyon on your Instagram feed before, you're lying. This sandstone canyon — located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona — is extremely popular with photographers because of the tranquil shapes in the rock formed by flash flooding. Though the corridors are very tall, the width is very narrow. Catch beautiful beams of direct sunlight in the upper canyon (the entrance is at ground level and requires no climbing) or opt for a challenging hike in the lower canyon. Visitors can enter only with a Navajo guide.

5. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park is in Eastern Utah, just north of Moab. It features more than 2,000 sandstone structures (it has the highest density of natural arches in the world) including the renowned Delicate Arch, which can be seen on Utah license plates. There are over 76,000 acres in total for adventurers to enjoy backpacking, biking, camping, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, stargazing, and more.

6. Balboa Park, California

Balboa Park in California was named after Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa in honor of the Panama-California Exposition, a fair that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and San Diego for being the first American port of call for ships sailing north after passing westward through the canal. Today, guests can enjoy gardens, walking paths, museums, theaters, restaurants, shops, and the famous San Diego Zoo.

7. Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Nevada

The Bellagio is an insanely gorgeous luxury resort, hotel, and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Vacationers can gamble, shop, eat, hang out at the pool, party the night away, or ogle the incredible acrobats and entertainers in Cirque du Soleil. Whether you're watching from inside or out, you must see the Fountains of the Bellagio, a mesmerizing water show with synchronized music and lights. It runs for 15 minutes, and every show is free.

8. Big Sur, California

Big Sur is an undeveloped mountainous coastline in Central California stretching 71 miles between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. People from all across the world come here to gawk at redwood forests and the big, blue Pacific Ocean. It's estimated that the region gets just as many visitors per year as Yosemite National Park. Go birdwatching to spot condors (the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere) or hike to waterfalls and beautiful beaches. In the summer, you can even tube down the Big Sur River and have a barbecue in any of the area's state parks.

9. Brooklyn Bridge, New York

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Brooklyn with Lower Manhattan. It's one of the oldest roadway bridges in America and the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the entire world. Today, it's one of the most iconic parts of the New York City skyline. Travel by car or take a stroll on the elevated pedestrian walkway. Just watch out for bicyclists!

10. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park exists in Utah's Garfield and Kane counties, but believe it or not, it's actually not a canyon. Rather, it's a bunch of natural amphitheaters and towering hoodoos (tall, thin spires) formed from red, orange, and pink rocks by frost and stream erosion. The best times to come here are in summer and fall. Winter temperatures fall below freezing, and there are snowstorms well into spring.

11. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park features canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires. It's located in Utah's high desert and is split into four parts including the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the Green and Colorado Rivers. While they look close together on a map, no roads connect them directly. It takes anywhere from two to six hours by car to get from one to another, and because of this, visitors usually visit just one area in a single trip.

12. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod in southern Massachusetts is an extremely popular vacation spot for tourists in the summer, mostly for beaches and boating. Go whale-watching, swimming, kayaking, biking, birdwatching, fishing, golfing, hiking, shopping, or sightseeing. The possibilities are endless. There are also some pretty great breweries and wineries in these parts.

13. Carnegie Hall, New York

Carnegie Hall is a concert hall in Manhattan just south of Central Park. It's one of the world's most highly regarded venues for both classical and pop music. Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, George Gershwin, and the Beatles have all played here. In all, the property houses three auditoriums: Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Zankel Hall, and Weill Recital Hall. It's one of New York City's last large buildings originally built completely of masonry without a steel frame.

14. Central Park, New York

Central Park is the most visited urban park in America with approximately 38 million visitors per year. It's also one of the most filmed locations in the world, so if you're lucky you might make a cameo in the latest TV show or movie. There's truly so much to do within the confines of this 843-acre recreational space in New York City. Visitors can enjoy ice skating on various rinks, catch a ride on the carousel, visit the zoo, or enjoy Shakespeare in the Park. There are also tons of ponds, walkways lush with foliage, and sports facilities.

15. Chicago Bean, Illinois

This sculpture is formally called "Cloud Gate," but everyone calls it the "The Bean" because ... well, it looks like a giant, shiny silver bean. Artist Anish Kapoor created this in 2006 by welding 168 stainless steel plates together, but it's so well polished you can't see the seams. You've probably seen it on your Instagram feed, as it's a popular Chicago tourist attraction , and the mirrored contours can create neat photos.

16. Coney Island, New York

Coney Island is a neighborhood in southern Brooklyn. It's famous for its sandy beach and boardwalk featuring food stands, bars, playgrounds, and amusement rides. It's also home to the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which kicks off every year on the Fourth of July. In the off-season, check out the aquarium, skating rink, or baseball stadium, which is home to the Mets' minor league team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. It's the perfect place to get away from New York City life for the day.

17. Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley lies in the Great Basin on the border of California and Nevada. Its name sounds a tad extreme, but it's really not that gruesome. It's true that Death Valley is the hottest place in North America, though. Temperatures average over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer but can reach well over 120. It's also the driest and lowest national region on the continent, but many nearby peaks have snow on them, and once in a blue moon, there's rain and wildflowers take bloom. Just make sure to travel with plenty of water and salty foods or sports drinks to maintain proper electrolytes.

18. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

This national park features 6 million acres of forest, tundra, and snowy mountains in central Alaska. Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley) is North America's tallest peak at 20,310 feet. There's only one road here. Stay on course or trek somewhere far on a hike. As far as wildlife goes, you can see moose, sheep, bears, caribou, wolves, birds, and small mammals like foxes, red squirrels, and snowshoe hares.

19. Disneyland, California

Anaheim, California's beloved Disneyland is the only park built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. With 18.3 million visitors each year, it's the second most visited amusement park in the world after Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Florida. Disneyland's nine districts include Main Street, U.S.A. (home to Sleeping Beauty Castle), Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Mickey's Toontown, Tomorrowland, and the newest addition, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

20. Disney World, Florida

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, contains water parks, resorts, hotels, golf courses, camping grounds, four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios) and an outdoor shopping center called Disney Springs. It's estimated that 52 million visit every year.

21. Ellis Island, New York

Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. In 1965, the island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and the main building reopened as a museum in 1990. Annually, 2 million visitors ferry in from New York and New Jersey to tour the immigration museum and surrounding property. There's an abandoned contagious disease hospital here, too, but that's closed to the general public.

22. Empire State Building, New York

The Empire State Building is on par with the Eiffel Tower as one of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in the world. The 102-story building is the sixth-tallest skyscraper in the U.S., and each year, approximately 4 million tourists head up to the 86th- and 102nd-floor observation decks for stunning aerial views of New York City. Passersby can also watch the festive lights on the tower from below or from a distance. They change colors (from a palette of 16 million shades) for seasonal events, holidays, and cultural happenings.

23. Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park protects 20 percent of the original Everglades in Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties. It's the largest tropical wilderness in America and the third-largest park after Death Valley and Yellowstone. Every year, a million visitors come here to camp, hike, canoe, kayak, geocache, bike, fish, and catch a glimpse of rare and endangered species including manatees, crocodiles, and Florida panthers.

24. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Massachusetts

Faneuil Hall is a vibrant, mixed-use marketplace located near the waterfront of the Charles River in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. This fan-favorite tourist destination hosts more than 70 retailers, from restaurants and pubs to shops and the renowned Quincy Market Colonnade. Outside on the cobblestone, you'll find street performers, musicians, and people in full body paint standing as still as statues. Wait, is that a statue? 

25. Fisherman's Wharf, Washington

In the 1800s, Chinese and Italian fishermen swarmed to San Francisco by the bay to sell Dungeness crab to a rapidly growing population caused by the gold rush. Though it's more of a tourist attraction now, people still actively fish here. There are a ton of fresh seafood restaurants at Fisherman's Wharf, some of which are accessible by way of the extremely popular Pier 39. This is a great place to take children who might enjoy visiting the aquarium, riding the carousel, or watching the California sea lions sunbathing on wooden docks.

26. Florida Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys is a 110-mile string of coral islands off the southern tip of the Sunshine State. Tons of people flock here to sit on a beautiful beach and relax with a drink in hand, while others venture out into the big blue on Jet Skis and speed boats. Other popular activities include paddleboarding, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and snorkeling.

27. Fremont Street, Nevada

Fremont Street is one of the most famous destinations in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. There's so much glitter and glam. Everywhere you look there are flashing lights. Check out the Neon Museum (dedicated to preserving vintage neon signs) or take a free photo with a million dollars in cash at the iconic Binion's Gambling Hall. Oh, and if you want to see a piece of the Berlin Wall (yes, the actual Berlin Wall), head into the men's bathroom at Main Street Station.

28. Gateway Arch, Missouri

The Gateway Arch is symbolic of St. Louis, Missouri. The 43,000-ton concrete and stainless steel structure is the tallest arch in the world and the tallest manmade monument in the Western Hemisphere. Ogle it from below or take a tram ride 630 feet up to the top to see as far as 30 miles away to the east and west.

29. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park is in northwestern Montana on the border of the U.S. and Canada near Alberta and British Columbia. The park stretches over more than 1 million acres, including two mountain ranges, 130 lakes, 1,000 plant species, and hundreds of animals, including grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats, wolverines, and Canadian lynxes.

30. Golden Gate Bridge, California

This picturesque, red suspension bridge is an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco. It connects the city with Marin County, California, over the Golden Gate strait. Travelers can drive, bike, or walk across. The best time to visit the Golden Gate Bridge is in September and October because the weather is comfortably warm. It's not suggested that people go in July and August because it's cold and windy.

31. Golden Gate Park, California

This urban park in San Francisco, California comprises more than 1,000 acres in the shape of a rectangle — not unlike New York City's Central Park, but it's 20 percent larger. Approximately 13 million people visit Golden Gate Park each year, making it the fifth most visited park in America. Take it all in on foot, bike, or Segway. Some attractions include the Japanese tea garden, bison observatory, flower conservatory, windmills, carousel, and aquarium.

32. Graceland, Tennessee

The late King of Rock and Roll once owned this 13.8-acre estate in Memphis, Tennessee. Before passing, Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley owned Graceland, but she didn't live there. In 1982 (five years after the passing of Elvis), the mansion was opened as a public museum, and in 2006, it became a National Historic Landmark. Welcoming more than 650,000 visitors per year, it's the second most visited house in America after the White House.

33. Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is located in northwestern Arizona. It's 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and more than a mile deep in some places. The North Rim is closed during winter months (December 1 through May 15), but when it's open, you can go for a day hike, ride a mule, or take a scenic drive. The South Rim is open all year. Here, you can learn about the canyon's history and culture from park rangers, see a museum, watch a film, walk, hike, bike, ride a mule, drive, go whitewater rafting, and more.

34. Grand Central Terminal, New York

Grand Central Terminal is the third-busiest train station in North America after Penn Station and Toronto Union Station. Here, people can travel in and out of New York City by bus, train, or subway. Apart from everyday commuters, tourists venture here to see the romantic architecture and interior design. The main concourse is often seen in movies or on TV. If you've never been, you may recognize it from "Gossip Girl," "Armageddon," "Men in Black II," "I Am Legend," and "The Avengers." An animated version also appeared in the 2005 DreamWorks film "Madagascar."

35. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming is home to northern parts of Jackson Hole and major peaks of the Teton Range in the Rockies. Explore the alpine terrain, lakes, or the Snake River. There are 310,000 acres in total perfect for backcountry camping, biking, birdwatching, boating, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. In the winter, the park is a popular place to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

36. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

There are two active volcanoes in this Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Just 45 minutes south of Hilo are Kīlauea, the world's most active volcano, and Mauna Loa, which is actually the largest active volcano on Earth and the second largest overall after the extinct undersea Tamu Massif. Tourists can take in the breathtaking volcanic landscapes, craters, petroglyphs, deserts, and rainforests.

37. Hollywood Walk of Fame, California

There are more than 2,600 stars embedded in the sidewalk of California's world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. They span 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. The historic landmark pays homage to people in the entertainment industry. Some fictional characters have also been honored, including Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog, Shrek, Godzilla, and Lassie.

38. Hoover Dam, Nevada

The Hoover Dam stretches across the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border of Nevada and Arizona. The 726-foot dam holds back the waters of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S. by capacity. Construction on the wall began in 1931 during the Great Depression, and it officially opened in 1936. While it was originally called the Boulder Dam, it was renamed after President Herbert Hoover in 1947. Today, visitors can take a tour of the dam's powerplant any time between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

39. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park is just east of Los Angeles, California. It's named after the twisted and spiky Joshua trees that grow in the Mojave Desert. The Colorado Desert also exists within park limits, as well as a portion of the San Bernardino Mountains. The landscape is great for driving down backcountry roads, backpacking, birdwatching, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, photography, and stargazing.

40. Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

The massive freshwater Lake Tahoe straddles the border of California and Nevada. It's about 2 million years old, making it one of the 20 oldest lakes in the world. It's also the second deepest in the country after Crater Lake in Oregon. An estimated 2.7 million people visit each year for stunning panoramic views, summer recreation and winter sports like downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobile riding.

41. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada

The Las Vegas Strip is about 4.2 miles of restaurants, resorts, hotels, and casinos. It's not actually in Las Vegas, though. It's just outside the city limits in Clark County, Nevada. People from all over the world come here to relax, party, shop, gamble, and golf. The strip is home to several Cirque du Soleil shows and musical residencies.

42. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial is open 24/7. It was built to remember America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. It's right across from the Washington Monument on the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Greek-inspired building has large, white columns on the outside with murals and a giant statue of Lincoln on the inside. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech here.

43. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas, stretching from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City. The 26,000-foot roadway crosses the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. A surplus of tourists use the bridge to get to the Upper Peninsula in the summer, but others seek out the bridge itself to appreciate it in all its glory (and snap a few pictures while they're at it).

44. Mall of America, Minnesota

The Mall of America is a giant shopping center in Bloomington, Minnesota, just outside the Twin Cities. It is the largest mall in the country and the 12th largest in the world. Every year, about 40 million people visit its 520 shops, 50 restaurants, and aquarium. There are more than 28 amusement rides, and the entire first floor is dedicated to Nickelodeon Universe, the nation's largest indoor theme park.

45. Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

Monument Valley is part of the Colorado Plateau. It's on the border of Arizona and Utah. Although this is a popular tourist destination, there are basically just canyons, red sand, tall buttes, and the biggest blue sky you've ever laid eyes on. It looks pretty much exactly how you'd imagine the Wild West. Tourists can take a drive down a 14-mile dirt road to see the Mittens, Three Sisters, John Ford's Point, Totem Pole, Yei Bi Chai, and Ear of the Wind. Other guided tours are available to reach Mystery Valley, Hunts Mesa, and more. If you want, you can even see it all on horseback.

46. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore features sculptures of four former presidents carved into the Black Hills near Keystone, South Dakota. Every year, more than 2 million visitors come to view George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, whose stone heads measure 60 feet each.

47. National Mall, Washington, D.C.

The National Mall is the two-mile stretch of green between the United States Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Every year, the park sees about 24 million tourists who are also visiting Smithsonian museums, art galleries, memorials, statues, and other landmarks.

48. Navy Pier, Illinois

The 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier juts from the lakeshore in downtown Chicago, Illinois. An estimated 2 million people visit yearly to sightsee and experience the shops, amusement rides, parks, gardens, and restaurants. Every Wednesday and Saturday of the summer, there's a fireworks show over Lake Michigan, which guests can enjoy from the dock or aboard an evening cruise.

49. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls is made of three waterfalls — Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls — on the border between Ontario and New York. It's part of the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. Most people visit in the summertime during the day or night. Floodlights allow a clear view of the falls when it's dark out. The most popular attraction is the Maid of the Mist boat cruise, which takes passengers into the basin of Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall in North America.

50. Pike Place Market, Washington

Seattle, Washington's Pike Place Market is one of the oldest, continuously running, and public farmers markets in America (and a tourist trap worth visiting). It features a rainbow of retailers selling antiques, comics, collectibles, fresh produce, crafts, coffee, and cannabis paraphernalia. Tourists adore the fish market, where employees toss giant fish to one another at great lengths. The first-ever Starbucks store is here, too.

51. Redwood National and State Parks, Washington

On California's Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek State Parks combine with Redwood National Park to cover 139,000 acres, an area that is home to the tallest trees on Earth. There are no hotels or motels in the parks, so take a hike and pitch a tent in the redwood forest. Other recreational activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing.

52. Rockefeller Center, New York

Rockefeller Center is a complex of buildings in New York City. Here, you'll find gardens, shops, and restaurants, as well as Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios, where "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" are filmed. Head to the Top of the Rock for stunning views on the observatory deck, or brave the crowds during the holiday season when the gargantuan Christmas tree lights up by the skating rink.

53. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park is in north-central Colorado, about 75 miles from the Denver International Airport. The region offers spectacular mountain and lake views, wildflowers, and 300 miles of hiking trails. This environment offers close-up views of wildlife such as bighorn sheep, birds, elk, and mule deer.

54. San Diego Zoo, California

The San Diego Zoo in California's Balboa Park houses 700,000 plants and more than 3,500 animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies, which includes leopards, anacondas, camels, cheetahs, alligators, elephant, giraffes, and more. It's the most visited zoo in the country, clocking in at 4 million ticketholders per year.

55. Sequoia National Park, California

Some of the world's largest trees can be found in Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California. In fact, the biggest one in the world is here, and it goes by the name General Sherman. The massive sequoia is 275 feet tall, 25 feet wide, and 52,500 cubic feet by volume. In addition to these monster trees, the park features canyons, caverns, foothills, and mountains. Limited Wi-Fi and cellphone coverage will have you feeling at one with nature.

56. Smithsonian, multiple locations

Cultural and research centers, a national zoo, and 19 museums make up the Smithsonian Institution. Eleven of the museums are on the National Mall, two are elsewhere in Washington, D.C., two are in New York City, and one is in Chantilly, Virginia. Admission for all is free, excluding the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.

57. South Street Seaport, New York

South Street Seaport is in lower Manhattan along the East River. This historic New York City district features some of the city's oldest architecture, as well as modern shops, restaurants, and bars. The seaport has been a popular place for filming. You may recognize it from "I Am Legend," "Godzilla," or "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York."

58. Space Needle, Washington

The Space Needle is a symbol of Seattle, Washington. At a soaring 605 feet tall, the tower is built to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour and earthquakes up to a 9.0 magnitude. Visitors can travel up to the upper observation deck for unforgettable views of the surrounding mountains and bay. There's also a lower-level observation deck called "The Loupe," which has the world's first and only rotating glass floor.

59. Statue of Liberty, New York

The Statue of Liberty is one of America's most iconic landmarks and is recognized as a symbol of freedom to people around the world. The massive, green copper statue was gifted by France in 1886, and today, tourists ferry over from both New York and New Jersey to marvel at her beauty.

60. The Alamo, Texas

The Alamo is the site of a famous battle in during Texas' war for independence from Mexico. In February 1836, thousands of Mexican troops beseiged the fort, but the Alamo's 200 defenders (including the famous frontiersman Davy Crockett) were able to fend them off for 13 days before ultimately losing the fight. Today, visitors can take guided or self-guided tours of the mission to learn more about its history.

61. The High Line, New York

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated public park on the west side of Manhattan. It's built on the abandoned New York Central railroad. The walkway features lots of trees and other plants, art installations, decks, overlooks, and other various passageways. The High Line typically welcomes food vendors during summer months, but Italian restaurant Santina is open all year round at the park's southern end.

62. The Hollywood Sign, California

The iconic Hollywood Sign sits on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, California. Each letter is 45 feet long, spanning a total 352 feet altogether. It's illegal to walk right up to the sign (a police officer is stationed there 24/7), but tourists can hike the trails above and below it, or simply view it from practically anywhere in the city.

63. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as "the Met," is the largest art museum in America, and with nearly 7 million annual visitors, it is the third most visited in the world. There are more than 2 million permanent pieces separated into 17 different cultural departments.

64. Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to the Founding Father and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The monument has a marble staircase and large columns. A 19-foot-tall, 10,000-pound statue of Jefferson is at the center of the building's interior. An excerpt from the Declaration of Independence and other writings are inscribed on the walls.

65. Times Square, New York

Times Square is the heart of New York City and "The Center of the Universe." It's a major tourist destination because of all the flashy billboards, bright lights, Broadway musicals, art, shops, and restaurants. The world's most famous New Year's Eve countdown happens here, with about 1 million people packed into NYC's Times Square . It's estimated that 330,000 people cross through the area every day, accounting for 50 million visitors annually.

66. Union Station, Washington, D.C.

This station is a major transportation hub in Washington, D.C., with several railways connecting metros such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. It's the headquarters for Amtrak, but it also services other commuter railways and buses. Union Station is also home to a huge number of restaurants and other retailers.

67. United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

The Capitol Building in Washington D.C. is the focal point of the legislative branch and a symbol of the American government. The building has been a meeting place for the House of Representatives and the Senate for the last two centuries. Today, it's also an art and history museum. Visitors can explore the building or even watch Congress in session.

68. Universal Studios Hollywood, California

Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park in California's San Fernando Valley. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is here (and other themed rides), as well as the world-famous studio tour, which gives parkgoers a dramatic, behind-the-scenes look at how movies are made.

69. Venice Beach, California

This isn't your average beach. People from near and far come to Venice Beach in California to watch street performers, shoot hoops, surf, shop, eat, skate, break a sweat at the outdoor gym, and drink with their toes in the sand. It features a promenade, a fishing pier, Muscle Beach (the birthplace of the physical fitness boom), a bike trail, and a recreation center for beach volleyball, paddle tennis, skating, and handball.

70. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

At 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument is the world's tallest obelisk. It can found east of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The marble structure was dedicated to the nation's first president, George Washington. Fifty American flags fly at the base 24 hours a day.

71. White House, Washington, D.C.

The White House is a mansion in Washington, D.C., where the president and first family live. Anyone visiting the nation's capital can go on a self-guided tour of the historic building, but a reservation must be made ahead of time by submitting a request through your Member of Congress.

72. World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.

The World War II is on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. It consists of 56 pillars, two arches, and a large fountain created to honor American civilians and those who served in the military during World War II. The site is open to the public 24/7, and approximately 4.6 million tourists visit annually.

73. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

Yellowstone was the first national park in the world. The park's 2.2 million acres of land cover parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Its most famous feature is the Old Faithful geyser, which erupts every 45 to 125 minutes. An estimated 4 million visitors arrive here annually to camp, hike, bike, boat, fish, ride horses and llamas, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, and take in the wildlife. Grizzly and black bears, bison, elk, wolves, bighorn sheep, and moose are just a select bunch of the area's residents.

74. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. It covers about 748,000 acres of land featuring cliffs, valleys, meadows, waterfalls, streams, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and ancient sequoia groves. Most visitors stay within Yosemite Valley, which has great hiking trails and mountaintop views.

75. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale. Take short or long walks through trails in the uber-popular Zion Canyon or Kolob Canyons. Guests can also go rock climbing, horseback riding, camping, biking, birding, canyoneering, stargazing, and boating down the Virgin River. 

76. 360 Chicago Observation Deck, Illinois

Visitors looking for the best views of the Windy City can head up to the 360 Chicago Observation Deck for a stunning panoramic perspective. The deck sits on the 94th floor of 875 N Michigan Avenue, located in the middle of the city and just a few blocks from Lake Michigan. Visit the attraction during the day for a clear sight of the skyline and breathtaking horizon, or head to the deck at night for sunset views and to watch the city light up. Adrenaline junkies can also try TILT, an exhilarating ride that tilts the entire body (contained safely in a full-length window) over the streets of Chicago.

77. Guggenheim Museum, New York

The Guggenheim may be best known for its distinctive round, smooth-looking facade, but there's a lot to discover inside its walls, too. The unique architecture of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building continues inside with a magnificent skylight, triangular staircase, and other one-of-a-kind design features. When you're done marveling at the building, visit one of the museum's rotating exhibitions or take a peek at its permanent collection of 8,000 pieces of art. The Guggenheim also hosts events, such as opera and ballet performances, as well as classes for all ages.

78. French Quarter, Louisiana

The French Quarter is a historic neighborhood in New Orleans dating back to 1718, and just as its name sounds, the area has a French flair rarely found on this side of the Atlantic. There's no shortage of things to do in the Vieux Carre (another name for the French Quarter). Stop by one of the district's many museums or traditional homes to get a taste of New Orleans' history. Alternatively, explore the sights outdoors, making sure to hit up St. Louis Cathedral, Pirate's Alley, and the French Market. Don't forget to take the Algiers Ferry for views of the French Quarter from the water.

79. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park, located in Southwestern Colorado, is a lot more than beautiful mountains and open skies. The park stands out for its 4,400 recorded archaeological sites, including ancient dwellings from the Pueblo community that once called it home. The national park is made up of 81 square miles, and you can easily spend a day or two hiking and exploring. To make the most of your visit, camp at the Morefield Campground or book a stay at the park's Far View Lodge. For full access to the cliff dwellings, be sure to book a tour in advance.

80. Kennedy Space Center, Florida

You may not be able to take a trip to space whenever you want, but the next best thing might just be a trip to the Kennedy Space Center on Florida's Merritt Island, a one-hour drive from Orlando. One of the most exciting to-do list items at the center is watching a live rocket launch, but even if there are no launches during your visit, you're still in for a treat. The visitor complex includes a Hall of Fame area, conversations with real astronauts, a tour of the Firing Room responsible for the Apollo 8 launch, and even a ride that simulates what it feels like to be blasted into outer space.

81. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee

You don't have to go west for amazing mountain ranges. The Appalachian Mountains offer stellar terrain and untouched greenery, and the range's Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places to experience this unbeatable slice of nature. According to the National Park Service , the Great Smoky Mountains is the country's most visited national park. The area is accessible from both North Carolina and Tennessee and offers camping grounds, hiking trails, and plenty of wildlife. When exploring on foot, visitors should watch out for the estimated 1,900 black bears that call the national park their home.

82. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

A cave might put off some claustrophobic travelers, but Mammoth Cave is expansive enough to feel welcoming even to those who despise small and dark spaces. The National Park Foundation notes that the Kentucky attraction is the longest cave system in the world, spanning over 400 miles. However, most tourism is limited to a 10-mile stretch. Underground cave tours are the area's selling point, where groups are taken into the caves to explore the dark and windy trails safely together. Nature lovers will also find opportunities for hiking, canoeing, fishing, and horseback riding nearby.

83. American Museum of Natural History, New York

Located in New York City's Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History boasts an impressive collection of more than 30 million research specimens and one of the largest fossil and insect collections in the world. That might be why a whopping 5 million people visit it every year. The museum offers exhibitions that'll fascinate guests of all ages, from its life-sized ocean animal displays to the jaw-dropping T-rex skeleton. Expect a number of temporary exhibitions in addition to the museum's permanent fixtures.

84. Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Hawaii

A visit to Hawaii's O'ahu is sure to include beach days and sightseeing in Waikiki, but no trip to the island is complete without stopping by the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The site marks the spot where battleships were sunk and destroyed during World War II. In particular, visitors are invited onto the USS Arizona Memorial, built right over the sunken USS Arizona ship, which contains the 1,177 crewmen who succumbed to the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Though the memorial may be somber, it serves as an informative and moving reminder of past tragedy. Pearl Harbor also offers museums and various monuments to commemorate the events that took place there and the lives that were lost.

85. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is a region in California comprised of five towns — American Canyon, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga — meaning there's no shortage of places to explore in this destination. However, Napa Valley is perhaps best known for its hundreds of wineries. Wine lovers can enjoy the valley's many tours and tastings. There are also breweries and distilleries for those who are passionate about beer and other spirits. Even if you don't imbibe, you'll find relaxing sights and activities (how about a spa day or a bit of golfing?) that still make Napa Valley worth a visit.

86. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Inside Arizona's Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is Horseshoe Bend, a landmark canyon that seems to jut out of the water in a unique horseshoe shape. The site formed from one of the many twists and turns of the Colorado River, resulting from shifts in tectonic plates. The lone canyon poking out from behind the river makes for an awe-inspiring visual and the perfect backdrop for mid-hiking selfies. For those looking to take in more breathtaking canyon sights, Grand Canyon National Park is located just nine miles away.

87. St. Augustine, Florida

Sun, beaches, and a bit of history — St. Augustine has it all. This Florida city was founded in 1565, making it the oldest settled town in all of the U.S. Tourists can sense St. Augustine's legacy in its European-style buildings and historic sites, like the Castillo de San Marcos fortress. For visitors craving something more contemporary, there are also hip food spots, concerts at the St. Augustine Amphitheater, and — in true Florida fashion — an alligator farm (the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park), where you can meet every crocodilian species known to man.

88. Rodeo Drive, California

Many of the U.S.'s top destinations have shopping nearby, but sometimes the shopping area is a destination in itself. That's the case with Rodeo Drive, a street in Beverly Hills dotted with luxury brand shops. Top designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga, and Gucci have locations on the highly regarded block, but you don't have to spend big money to enjoy the neighborhood. Rodeo Drive is an ideal spot for catching a glimpse of a celebrity or just taking in the sights of the street's signature palm trees and window displays.

89. Atlantic City, New Jersey

A getaway for East Coast city dwellers and a destination in its own right, Atlantic City welcomes more than 27 million visitors each year. The seaside town built its boardwalk in 1870, and since then, it's become a summery spot complete with beaches, casinos, shopping, and nightlife. The boardwalk continues to be a must-visit spot and is home to the Steel Pier, where you can find a Ferris wheel, rides, games, and carnival-style food. Think of Atlantic City as New Jersey's Las Vegas, mixed with beachy vibes and all the fun you'd find at the county fair.

90. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park is a park containing Washington's Mount Rainier and its diverse array of flora and fauna. The mountain stands as the tallest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States and remains an active volcano. Despite being watched carefully for possible eruptions, Mount Rainier and the surrounding park invite visitors to explore its picturesque waterfalls, numerous hiking trails, and unmatched wildflower meadows. The national park is also perfect for travelers who like to keep moving — depending on the season, try kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, or foraging for berries and mushrooms.

91. Waikiki, Hawaii

Travelers heading to Honolulu will likely find themselves staying in Waikiki, a tourist-friendly neighborhood that still offers a taste of island paradise. Waikiki has many of O'ahu's big hotels and resorts, plus the amenities you'd typically expect in an urban area: restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and more. Of course, most people don't visit Hawaii for the hotels or dinner spots — they come for the white sand beaches and pristine waves, and Waikiki doesn't disappoint. Millions of people soak up the sun at Waikiki Beach each year, whether they're taking surf lessons, cooling off in the water, or just enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.

92. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Often considered one of the best ski resorts in the U.S., Park City Mountain Resort in Utah is a skier's dream destination. It boasts over 7,000 acres of skiable land, making it the largest ski area in the country. Those who prefer to keep their feet firmly planted can snuggle up in a wintertime yurt or unwind at the RockResorts Spa. In the warmer months, visitors can partake in numerous outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining. Park City Mountain Resort is easily accessible from the town of Park City, making it a breeze to explore the charming Main Street and other nearby attractions.

93. White Sands National Park, New Mexico

The phrase "national park" usually brings to mind images of wildlife and greenscapes, but White Sands National Park defies expectations with its white sand dunes made of gypsum sediment. The park can be found in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin, an area that also holds military missile tests. Therefore, guests should check in advance for possible park closures during scheduled tests. White Sands offers a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities, such as camping and cycling, but an especially memorable way to spend time in the park is by sandboarding and sand-sledding down the smooth, powdery dunes.

94. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio

No matter what type of music you choose to listen to, a trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is worth the trek to Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, the museum is considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire state. Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offers a crash course in popular music, with exhibits showcasing some of the biggest names in the business, as well as a look at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. There's also an impressive collection of memorabilia, such as a David Bowie performance outfit, Johnny Cash's guitar, and Kurt Cobain's official death certificate.

95. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach was once called one of the most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic, and a trip to the Oregon spot will quickly reveal why. Cannon Beach may not have year-round sunshine or tropical views, but it offers a charm all its own. The beach is rocky, with the giant Haystack Rock grabbing the most attention. The structure adds character to the beach's horizon line while also acting as a resting spot for puffins and other birds. Away from the coastline, travelers can soak up the town's artsy culture in one of its galleries and studios.

96. Savannah Historic District, Georgia

Savannah might sit in the shadows of Georgia's larger cities, such as Atlanta, but the town's personality-rich Historic District shouldn't be overlooked. The area follows the same grid street plan originally laid out in 1733, but that's not the only relic you'll find in Savannah. Packed into its blocks are small preserved parks, historic homes, and museums celebrating the city's heritage. Visitors should be sure to stroll down Jones Street, a residential stretch found right in the heart of the Historic District. The street is lined with romantic, colonial-era houses that'll have you questioning what year it really is.

97. Devils Tower, Wyoming

Wyoming's Devils Tower became the very first U.S. national monument, and with its peculiar shape and cultural significance, it's easy to see why it warranted special federal protection. Historically, the monument was central to numerous folklore stories passed down by indigenous tribes. Today, it's still considered a sacred site by many Native American communities. Rock climbers also flock to the tower to try scaling its unique vertical ridges. However, in June, the park encourages a voluntary hiatus for climbing, as June is a particularly sacred month in the Plains Indians' religious calendar. The landscape is also ideal for hiking (catch a glimpse of Devils Tower, along with some wildlife, from one of the surrounding trails) and camping.

98. Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Museum of Modern Art — often shortened to "MoMA" — is an art museum in New York City that has been showcasing modern and contemporary art since its inception in 1929. In the last century, the museum has built an impressive 200,000-piece collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other works of art. Along with several other New York-area museums, MoMA is practically a destination on its own, and an expert at The New York Times notes that visitors should set aside four or five hours to work their way through it.

99. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia was established in 1699, making it one of the first planned cities in the U.S. Those days may be long in the past, but tourists can still relive the city's colonial era by making a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Unlike some other old-timey towns, such as Savannah or St. Augustine, Colonial Williamsburg remains separate from the city center. Visitors can purchase an admission ticket to access the museum's sites and attractions, including its historic government buildings and authentic craftspeople. Stay in one of the Colonial Williamsburg accommodations to keep the nostalgia going overnight.

100. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park is full of eye-catching canyons and rock formations, colored in bands of orange, white, and even purple. However, that's not all you'll find in this must-visit park. The magnificent 244,000 acres also include a mixed-grass prairie and sights of the animals who thrive there. Keep your eyes peeled for bison, rattlesnakes, sheep, and other wildlife. When you're done scoping out the various species living in the Badlands, go hunting for fossils. The national park is considered to have some of the best fossil beds in the world.

Top 12 Places to Visit in the US

united states tourist destinations

The United States has so many diverse cities and attractions that it is difficult to narrow down the list to the 12 top travel destinations. These are the destinations most often cited as the places to see before you die, another version of saying they should be on your bucket list—and offbeat and trendy spots are not included here. That's another topic altogether.

This list is an introduction to the best and most popular places in the United States, from hotspots in New York City to when to see the cherry blossoms in Washington.

New York City

TripSavvy / Donghee Eim

American icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square are on every first-time visitor's list. Still, they are just a few of the attractions to see in New York City , America's most populous and most popular city. Also known as the "Big Apple," New York City is a favorite destination for both domestic and international visitors . 

Don't miss a leisurely walk on the High Line, an old-railroad-track-turned-park with greenery, artwork, and beautiful skyline views. Broadway and the Theater District is the place to see the latest plays and musicals. If you're an art lover, New York has an embarrassment of riches: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Frick Collection.

Or go shopping on Fifth Avenue, check out Washington Square, Greenwich Village, and Rockefeller Center, take a walk through Central Park, and get awed by Grand Central Terminal. If you're staying for more than a few days, dig deeper into NYC's architecture or make a trip to Brooklyn.

Los Angeles

The lure of Hollywood and its celebrities and the mild breezes from the Pacific Ocean keep  Los Angeles  on the top of the list of U.S. tourist destinations. Search for Los Angeles's best hotels near the city's famous beaches like Malibu or Santa Monica for a luxurious stay. Go shopping on Rodeo Drive, tour Beverly Hills, and walk along the boardwalk in LA's most famous beachfront neighborhood, Venice Beach . 

Chicago has long been called the "Second City," coming in second to New York City in size and population. A beacon in the Midwest, Chicago is third in population these days, but it has a skyline, restaurants, shopping, museums, and activities that easily rival New York and Los Angeles. If it's baseball season, don't miss seeing a Cubs game at the famous Wrigley Field. Check out the Magnificent Mile, where you'll find every upscale shop imaginable and fantastic restaurants. Chicago is home to some of the nation's most important buildings, and you can see them all on a guided architecture tour on land or from a boat on Lake Michigan. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the top art museums in the country, and Millennium Park is Chicago's newest attraction. 

Washington, D.C.

 Taylor McIntyre / TripSavvy

Washington , D.C., the capital of the United States, has miles of museums and monuments—almost all of which are free. That's one reason it is one of the most visited cities in the country, especially for families and school groups. It's the perfect place to learn about U.S. history at places like Mount Vernon, George Washington's plantation; Ford's Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was shot; the White House; the Capitol; Georgetown; and Alexandria, along with museums like the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and the National Museum of the American Indian. You can overdose on museums if you add the United States Holocaust Museum, the Newseum, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.

The famous cherry blossoms are typically in full bloom from late March to early April along the Tidal Basin, where you can also see the Jefferson Memorial and memorials to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Don't miss the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans memorials on the National Mall.

Most people go to Las Vegas to try their luck at its famous casinos. But Las Vegas also has blockbuster shows, world-class shopping, and top-notch restaurants, all of which make this city a true desert oasis and a top travel destination. Take a tour of the MGM Grand, try your luck at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, or walk through the Neon Museum , which showcases iconic Las Vegas signs. And, of course, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

San Francisco

Symbolized by the red rafters of the Golden Gate Bridge, this legendary city on San Francisco Bay is known for its neighborhoods, like Chinatown and the hippie-turned-haute enclave of Haight-Ashbury . While San Francisco is an ideal city for nature lovers and the jet set , it is also a great jumping-off point for trips to Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine country or to the colossal tech campuses of Silicon Valley. Check out the Bay Area's top hotels before you go and make San Francisco your base to discover Northern California.

New Orleans

New Orleans is all about festivals, French roots, and a "laissez-faire" attitude, making it a distinctly different—and popular—destination for both American and international travelers. From Mardi Gras, New Orleans' biggest party, to Jazz Fest, one of the world's most respected gatherings of jazz musicians, there are plenty of ways to "let the good times roll" in the Big Easy. For the most authentic experience, stay in the French Quarter, where you'll be close to legendary restaurants and streets like Bourbon. And it's just a short drive from Frenchman Street, where you can hear the live jazz music New Orleans is famous for.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville sits right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with its spectacular views across the southern Appalachians and the Appalachian Trail, which runs right down Main Street. Its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains makes it a jumping-off point for hiking or jaw-dropping drives. Rent a convertible for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In town, check out the Biltmore, the largest privately-owned estate home in America, built by Goerge W. Vanderbilt in the Gilded Age. It makes for jaw-dropping of a different sort. Spend evenings in downtown Asheville, bursting with music, art, and restaurants worthy of serious foodies.

Say "aloha" to Hawaii , a top U.S. destination that's a quintessential island paradise. From the natural beauty of its beaches and volcanoes to its rich Pacific culture, Hawaii is the perfect destination if you're looking to really get away from it all. It's definitely a relaxing oasis with ideal weather no matter when you decide to go; average highs range from 79 F in the winter to 84 in high summer, with average lows of 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer. Go hiking on the island of Kauai, see humpback whales in Maui, or play with fire at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Sedona and the Grand Canyon

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

An incredible geological wonder stretching over 250 miles, the Grand Canyon is a deep ravine carved out by the Colorado River over thousands of years. Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a top destination to visit in the Southwest and one of the most popular U.S. national parks. Take a drive of about two hours south of the Grand Canyon to Sedona, surrounded by stone formations of many colors that change with the light. USA Weekend called it one of the most beautiful places in America. Amid this spectacular landscape, you'll find great eating, luxurious lodging, and many art galleries and shops.

Miles of beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions like Walt Disney World, and the Latino culture and Art Deco style of Miami make Florida a top-of-the-list travel destination. You can soak up the sun on beaches that line the Emerald Coast in the Florida Panhandle, the western Gulf Coast, or the Atlantic, enjoy the rides in Orlando, or have a blast in Miami's South Beach culture. Check out Tampa and St. Petersburg, or explore the Everglades. Mostly, Florida is all about getting away and basking in its famous sunshine, which is a massive draw in the wintertime for Americans in most of the rest of the country.

The drive down the coast of California on California Highway 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway, is legendary. The road through Big Sur and the Central Coast, covering about 163 miles from Carmel to San Simeon, is a visual feast of winding turns and cliffs with the waves of the blue Pacific as a backdrop. (It takes about three hours to drive.) It's been memorialized in song, film, and books, and it's just simply one of the most unforgettable places in the United States. Check out the Carmel-Monterey area on the north end and visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon at the end of the drive.

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Flowing Cents

Flowing Cents

10 of the Worst Tourist Destinations in the United States

Posted: June 16, 2024 | Last updated: June 16, 2024

<p>Tourism is a booming industry in the United States, with millions of visitors traveling to various destinations yearly. However, not all tourist destinations are created equal, and some may leave visitors feeling disappointed or underwhelmed. Recently on an online platform, people have shared their thoughts on the worst tourist destinations in the U.S.</p>

Tourism is a booming industry in the United States, with millions of visitors traveling to various destinations yearly. However, not all tourist destinations are created equal, and some may leave visitors feeling disappointed or underwhelmed. Recently on an online platform, people have shared their thoughts on the worst tourist destinations in the U.S.

<p><span>In Los Angeles, California, Hollywood Boulevard is rich in museums, theaters, and landmarks commemorating the city’s vibrant cinematic history. However, it garners its fair share of disapproval due to excessive crowding during peak seasons and the associated high exploration costs.</span></p>

1. Hollywood: A Dirty and Overpriced Destination

Hollywood, the once-glamorous and fascinating city that’s often been glorified in movies and T.V. shows, has received some criticism from a commentator who believes it to be the worst tourist destination in the United States. According to them, the city’s filthy surroundings, overpriced attractions, and overall bleak atmosphere make it a far cry from the glitz and glamour that it’s often portrayed to be.

<p>Have you ever stumbled upon a destination that left you with an indelible mark, but not for the reasons you had hoped? Some places have an uncanny ability to evoke such strong emotions that people swear they will never set foot there again. From bewildering encounters to disappointing experiences, these locations have made an unforgettable impact on countless travelers.</p>

2. Niagara Falls: Cool Views but Disaster Towns

While Niagara Falls may still be an awe-inspiring natural wonder, the second user has expressed disappointment with the surrounding towns. The user believes the tourist destination has lost its charm due to rampant commercialization and lack of maintenance, leaving the towns unappealing. Despite the magnificence of the falls, the user suggests that the overall experience of visiting the area may be better.

<p><span>New York greeted one user with an unwelcoming greeting from a local homeless person. However, the towering buildings and the hustle and bustle of the streets soon caught their fascination. Despite the rough start, the user was enthralled by the city's energy and couldn't help but be drawn into its allure.</span></p>

3. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience – Overpriced and Lacking

Imagine: a traveler eager to experience the art scene in New York City sets their sights on the Van Gogh exhibit. But alas, their dreams are shattered as they realize that the exhibit is devoid of any authentic Van Gogh pieces. To add insult to injury, the steep cost of admission only adds salt to their wound. This disillusioned traveler has expressed dissatisfaction with Van Gogh: New York City is the worst tourist destination in the entire United States.

<p><span>Japan and the United States have a longstanding cultural exchange. Over the years, many American things have gained immense popularity in Japan. Recently on an online platform, people have shared several American things that are now an integral part of Japanese culture.</span></p>

4. Underwhelming Potato Famine Memorial in Boston

According to an explorer, the Potato Famine memorial in Boston is the worst tourist destination in the United States. The memorial, a mere plaque outside a Starbucks, was underwhelming for them, considering the historical significance of the potato famine. The user expected more information and context in the memorial, but the lack thereof disappointed them.

5. Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD: Repeatedly Underwhelming

Step right up and behold the wonder of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD! With its intricate murals and unique decorations made entirely of corn, this attraction is billed as one of South Dakota’s most popular tourist destinations. However, only some people who set foot inside are blown away by its corn-plastic charms. In fact, one visitor was left feeling a bit let down, finding the experience less impressive than they were led to believe.

<p>Many people are talking about Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a beautiful place with sandy beaches and clear skies. However, one person stands out by saying it's like the armpit of the state, showing their dislike for it. This lively discussion questions whether Myrtle Beach's beauty can outweigh its perceived flaws. But we shouldn't forget that different people have different tastes. What one person finds unattractive, another might find wonderful. Even though Myrtle Beach has a bad reputation, it can still captivate those who appreciate its unique charms.</p>

6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: A Hollow Tourist Trap

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, once considered a glamorous and attractive destination, has received criticism from another tourist who suggests it is a tourist trap devoid of meaningful experiences. Instead, the user recommends exploring other areas that offer more authentic and enriching travel experiences.

<p>Are you looking to travel to the Great Salt Lake in Utah for your next vacation? Consider thinking twice after hearing what some Americans have to say about it. One traveler has labeled it the worst tourist destination in the country, citing its unpleasant smell, stinging water, and lack of activities. The lake was a popular spot for tourists, and it has lost its charm over time.</p>

7. Great Salt Lake, Utah: A Disappointing Destination

Picture this: you’re planning your next vacation, and you come across a review that labels a popular tourist spot as the worst destination in the entire country. That’s exactly what happened to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, which a disgruntled traveler slammed. According to them, the lake is underwhelming and downright unpleasant, with a pungent odor and stinging water caused by its high salt content. As if that’s not bad enough, there’s also a severe lack of things to see and do in the area, making the journey not worth the hassle.

<p>While Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans may be a popular attraction for tourists, an adventurer suggests that it is the worst tourist destination in the U.S. They describe it as a trashy, overpriced, and depressing spot for drunken revelry. The user suggests exploring other parts of the city, such as Faubourg Marigny, the Garden District, and Audubon Park and Zoo, for a more authentic and enjoyable New Orleans experience. They also recommend visiting museums, antique shops, bookstores, and French Quarter art galleries outside Bourbon Street.</p>

8. Bourbon Street, New Orleans: A Depressing Tourist Trap

While Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans may be a popular attraction for tourists, an adventurer suggests that it is the worst tourist destination in the U.S. They describe it as a trashy, overpriced, and depressing spot for drunken revelry. The user suggests exploring other parts of the city, such as Faubourg Marigny, the Garden District, and Audubon Park and Zoo, for a more authentic and enjoyable New Orleans experience. They also recommend visiting museums, antique shops, bookstores, and French Quarter art galleries outside Bourbon Street.

<p>The idyllic farmlands and quaint villages of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, may seem like a perfect getaway for some. However, one traveler finds it perplexing that people would travel there to gawk at the Amish way of life. To them, this type of tourism is insensitive and exploitative. They suggest that visitors instead take the opportunity to learn about Amish culture and traditions respectfully, without treating it like a sideshow attraction.</p>

9. Lancaster, PA: Staring at Amish People as a Vacation?

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has received criticism from a wandering soul who finds it hard to believe anyone would visit to stare at the Amish people living in the area. The commenter finds this aspect of Lancaster’s tourism industry exploitative or distasteful.

<p>Times Square, the bustling hub of New York City, is one of the most recognizable tourist destinations in the world, but some Americans are unimpressed. They criticize the area for its expensive stores, cheesy souvenir shops, crowded streets, and flashy billboards. These travelers suggest the area is overrated and doesn't live up to the hype. Instead, they recommend exploring some of the lesser-known neighborhoods in the city, where you can find more authentic experiences and better value for your money.</p>

10. Times Square: Expensive Stores and Tacky Gift Shops

Times Square, once considered a must-visit destination for tourists, has disappointed the final voyager who found it a waste of time. The user describes the area as filled with expensive stores, cheap, tacky gift shops, giant signs, and an overwhelming number of people. The user suggests that the area is overhyped and needs to live up to expectations.

<p><span>Every person must have seen some shadows in their life that are of different shapes, but when midnight is almost over, some of them start to appear, which are very scary, and because of these shadows, many people often get scared. When various people were asked about their experiences, people gave their own opinion. Some people found these shadows to be of strange shapes, and some said they were human figures that stayed around them for a long time. </span></p>

  • Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

Crime is at an all-time high in the United States, and people are fleeing the most dangerous cities in favor of safer places. Here are the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States today.

<p><span>Traveling to new places is so much more fun than traveling to your nearby places. Interacting with new people and witnessing their culture is another level of experience. A second user stated that seeing new places with completely different people makes you realize that all humans on this planet have safety, happiness, and love. This is a great and wholesome experience.</span></p>

  • “Watch Your Wallet” 10 Tourist Traps Everyone Inevitably Experiences

When it comes to traveling, every city has its charms and its traps. However, some cities are more known for their tourist traps than others. In a popular thread on a social media platform, travelers were asked which cities they believed to be the biggest tourist traps. Here are the top 10 cities that made the list.

<p><span>In an online post’s comment section, a user adds that he was hanging out with his friends when he noticed a starving person. Without drawing attention, he quietly offered some help. As his friends approached, he didn’t mention it and acted like nothing happened because he didn’t like to boast about such things.</span></p>

  • “The Italian Countryside For Me” 10 Places To Move To If Money Were No Big Deal

The United States is home to some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes, from towering mountain ranges to breathtaking coastlines. When asked where the most beautiful place in the United States is, users on an AskReddit thread had no shortage of stunning locations to share. Here are ten of the most popular responses:

<p>When it comes to travel trailers, there are a lot of different brands on the market. This article will discuss 10 of the best travel trailer brands on the market today. We will describe the features of each brand and give our top pick for the best product. So whether you need space for two people or the whole family, we have you covered.</p><ul> <li><a href="https://maxmymoney.org/dont-be-a-mooch-10-things-canadians-will-judge-you-for-if-you-dont-do/">“Don’t Be A Mooch” 10 Things Canadians Will Judge You For If You Don’t Do</a></li> </ul>

  • “Don’t Be A Mooch” 10 Things Canadians Will Judge You For If You Don’t Do

When it comes to travel trailers, there are a lot of different brands on the market. This article will discuss 10 of the best travel trailer brands on the market today. We will describe the features of each brand and give our top pick for the best product. So whether you need space for two people or the whole family, we have you covered.

<p>It’s no secret that people are moving around the United States a lot lately. Ever since the rapid increase in housing prices and the rapid decrease of employment since the pandemic, people have been searching for more affordable places to go.  So where are all these people going? Let’s take a look at some of the states that are losing the most people and where they are ending up.</p><ul> <li><a href="https://maxmymoney.org/states-people-are-leaving-and-where-theyre-going/">States People Are Leaving (And Where They’re Going)</a></li> </ul>

  • States People Are Leaving (And Where They’re Going)

It’s no secret that people are moving around the United States a lot lately. Ever since the rapid increase in housing prices and the rapid decrease of employment since the pandemic, people have been searching for more affordable places to go.  So where are all these people going? Let’s take a look at some of the states that are losing the most people and where they are ending up.

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Best romantic getaways in the u.s. for 2024.

Sometimes it's necessary to take a break from the stresses of real life and spend quality time with the person you love. And what better way to do that than to travel? To help you and your sweetheart plan the ideal romantic retreat, whether it's for an anniversary or just because, U.S. News considered ambiance, privacy and access to couple-friendly activities to rank the best romantic getaways in the USA. Use this list to pick your next one-on-one vacation, and vote for your favorite locales below. Looking to stay even closer to home? Check out these romantic weekend getaways by state .

Kaua'i

Napa valley, charleston, sc, big sky, mt, amelia island, adirondacks, martha's vineyard, jackson hole.

united states tourist destinations

Kaua'i offers many distinct ways for both thrill-seeking and sun-worshipping couples to up the romance factor. You and your sweetheart can lounge on secluded beaches , relax in a private luxury villa or go on a kayaking adventure along the picture-perfect Napali Coast. For even more opportunities to marvel at nature, check out Kaua'i's scenic state parks like Koke'e and Waimea Canyon. Once you've tackled the Hawaiian island's trails hand in hand, consider booking a private helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view you and your better half will never forget.

united states tourist destinations

Few things are more romantic than sharing a remote island with your beau. Lanai's exclusivity can make it feel like the two of you are alone with the Hawaiian island breeze. Head to a luxury hotel or resort to indulge in high-end cuisine and soak up some sun by the pool before exploring the tiny island's landscape side by side. For a memorable hike that requires little effort, follow the short trail from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai to the Pu'upehe overlook. Also known as "Sweetheart Rock," this landmark offers stunning views of Hulopo'e Bay, especially at sunset.

united states tourist destinations

Brimming with rolling vineyards , cozy wine caverns, chic restaurants and top-notch hotels, this wine lover's paradise 60 miles north of San Francisco is the ultimate romantic getaway. Wine enthusiasts can sip Napa's award-winning reds at intimate venues like O'Brien Estate and Jarvis Estate or while savoring gourmet cuisine on the Napa Valley Wine Train. When couples need a break from being wined and dined, they can explore the scenic Napa River via kayak, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride, or visit the town of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley for its spas and hot springs.

united states tourist destinations

Another ideal retreat for wine connoisseurs , Sonoma is known to be more laid back than its neighbor, Napa, and boasts more than 425 wineries. However, strolling through vineyard vines isn't the only must-do activity for twosomes. Outdoor lovers will want to explore regional parks such as Taylor Mountain (for its trails) and North Sonoma Mountain (to enjoy a picnic surrounded by the peaks of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley). Plenty of Sonoma's hotels offer spa treatments, but what could be more memorable than a massage in a 22-foot wine barrel? Book side-by-side treatments at Magical Massage for a one-of-a-kind experience.

united states tourist destinations

A low-key getaway, Charleston, South Carolina, is filled with pastel-hued historic homes, art galleries and tasty Lowcountry cuisine (perfect for foodie couples). To dial up the romance, take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage or sign up for a sunset harbor cruise just for two. For a quiet shoreside escape free from crowds, head to one of the nearby beaches like Sullivan's Island. Accommodations range from beachfront resorts to charming bed-and-breakfasts but keep in mind you'll likely have to pay a pretty penny for a stay in the historic district.

united states tourist destinations

It's easy to proclaim your love when you're suspended atop red rocks and looking out upon miles of colorful Arizona landscape. After working up a sweat hiking Sedona's sandstone buttes, bring those romantic vibes indoors for a couples massage at one of the city's world-renowned wellness retreats . Or, if you and your amour prefer relaxing with a glass of vino, save time for a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which boasts 15 venues ranging from small tasting rooms to vast wineries sprawling along the banks of Oak Creek. At night, hold your loved one close and gaze at the star-filled sky.

united states tourist destinations

Travel to Big Sur for its windswept coastline and rugged mystique. This peaceful destination carved out of the California coast offers a couple of luxurious hotels, but nature is the real star in Big Sur. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the area's redwood-lined trails and admire picturesque Pfeiffer Beach before setting up a tent and roughing it beneath the stars. For an atmospheric picnic, head to Sand Dollar Beach, where couples can admire the scenery sans the crowds. For a more upscale outing, take a day trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea for its art galleries and fairy tale cottages.

united states tourist destinations

Let Big Sky's vast terrain, fresh air and rustic romance carry you and your loved one away from the ins and outs of everyday life. Every winter, couples flock to this Montana destination for its top-notch ski resort (complete with a heated chairlift), though the offseason has its charms, too (think: fly fishing on scenic rivers, hiking under an endless blue sky or taking a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.) For a curated Montana experience, spring for an all-inclusive ranch, where you'll find private cabins, homegrown cuisine and personalized service.

united states tourist destinations

What could be more romantic than a sunrise beachfront horseback ride for two? Or a private sunset cruise aboard a 40-foot catamaran? You and your love can experience this and more on Amelia Island, one of Florida's Atlantic coast barrier islands. Hop on bikes and explore the scenic Amelia Island Trail, or pedal to downtown Fernandina Beach for its Victorian-style architecture, antique shops and galleries. After a day spent sightseeing, pamper weary muscles with a couples massage at one of the luxury resorts that call the island home.

united states tourist destinations

This tiny Massachusetts island exudes New England charm. Stroll arm in arm with your sweetheart down cobblestone streets, unwind on white sand beaches and snap selfies in front of iconic lighthouses, such as Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse. Then, grab a lobster roll to share from one of the island's premier seafood restaurants, and revel in the extraordinary Atlantic Ocean views from the Sconset Bluff Walk. When you're ready to retire for the night, you'll have your pick of quaint Nantucket inns.

united states tourist destinations

Whether you time your trip for summer boating, fall leaf peeping or snow season, upstate New York makes for an intimate setting. Depending on when you visit, you can bond with your beloved on a sleigh ride, a paddling trip or a scenic hike, where you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the Adirondacks' forests, lakes and mountains. When you're adventured out, bop between some of New York's most iconic small towns, including Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, for local dining and shopping. What's more, you can choose from accommodations ranging from luxe lodges packed with amenities to secluded wooden cabins for two.

united states tourist destinations

Savannah, Georgia, is tailor-made for a weekend getaway. Spanish moss hangs over sidewalks that lead past hundreds of historic homes. The lively River Street area features a bevy of shopping, dining and nightlife options, while nearby islands provide a relaxing respite. Meanwhile, Forsyth Park provides the ultimate romantic backdrop for memorable couples photos, and if you're feeling brave, you can hold each other tight during a ghost tour at the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery. For charming digs in the heart of the city, hang your hat at one of Savannah's charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations, or rent a snug carriage house.

united states tourist destinations

If your ideal romantic escape entails a lazy agenda, shingle-covered beach houses and quaint towns, Martha's Vineyard is just the place. On this Massachusetts island, you can relax on quiet beaches, sample decadent fare at upscale restaurants and explore the historic Edgartown Lighthouse, which offers incredible views of the harbor and neighboring Chappaquiddick Island. On a warm, sunny day, venture to Oak Bluffs, where you'll find charming gingerbread cottages at The Campground. For the ultimate romantic retreat, book a stay at one of the island's top hotels, some of which offer complimentary bike rentals, beach chairs and continental breakfast to guests.

united states tourist destinations

Reconnect with your sweetie during a getaway to Jackson Hole. This piece of Wyoming paradise is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, including hiking and skiing. Should you need to soothe your aching muscles after an active day, go for a dip in the Granite Hot Springs, Astoria Hot Springs or your high-end resort's outdoor hot tub. Whether your dream romantic vacation includes horseback riding through the majestic Grand Teton National Park, sipping wine by a crackling fireplace or unwinding at a world-class spa, Jackson Hole is the perfect place for you and your other half.

united states tourist destinations

For lovebirds who enjoy skiing and cuddling up by a fireplace, Aspen is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Spend your days sharing ski lifts in the snow-capped mountains before partaking in the highly touted après ski scene. If you arrive during the warmer months, take advantage of superb hiking and scenic gondola rides. Then, retreat to one of the many hotels and resorts that offer glitzy accommodations for two – not to mention some must-visit spas . If you're not ready to turn in just yet, Aspen's nightlife options include plenty of live music venues, clubs and cocktail lounges.

united states tourist destinations

With 40 miles of protected seashore, this region of Massachusetts offers plenty of space for that long walk on the beach. And the slow pace of Cape Cod means you don't have to focus on the hustle and bustle of daily life – you can spend quality time together swimming, biking and eating fresh seafood instead. Cape Cod is also home to a handful of breweries and wineries, so you can toast to your special someone during a tasting. Splurge on one of the Cape's five-star accommodations for spectacular ocean views and sumptuous amenities like soaking tubs for two, in-room fireplaces and private balconies.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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Willamette Valley

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Santa Barbara

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Fredericksburg, TX

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Newport, RI

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Set off to explore Las Vegas’ most famous attraction: the Strip. Spend your day browsing, shopping and playing at renowned casinos, or test your nerves on some jaw-dropping rides. Then, cap off the day by putting yourself smack-dab in the center of Sin City’s famous nightlife.

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2024 Total Eclipse: Where & When

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For a mobile-friendly or full-screen version of this interactive map, visit go.nasa.gov/EclipseExplorer .

The Monday, April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse crossed North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The total solar eclipse began over the South Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, the first location in continental North America that experienced totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 a.m. PDT.

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