The United States is a vast country with a wide variety of stunning and unique vacation locations to enjoy. From the east to the west, there are cities and landscapes that can make you fall in love with the country in an instant.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a US citizen, or if it is your first visit to the country – there’s no denying that there is beauty all around you.
If you are thinking of taking a trip to the United States, or want to explore your country more, then you may consider going on vacation.
The difficult part is – there are so many options to choose from! How are you supposed to narrow down such a vast country with so much to offer?
The truth is, everything is worth seeing. However, where you decide to go will depend on you and the people you are vacationing with.
From city escapes like New York to places like Lake Tahoe, the Everglades National Park, or the Grand Canyon – there is beauty everywhere.
So, if you need a few ideas on some of the best vacation spots to visit around the United States, just take a look at our list!
To make things easier to navigate, we’ve divided our best vacation spots into different categories – towns and cities, water spots, national parks, and a few miscellaneous options.
If you have an idea of what you want, you can just hop right to the correct section.
Towns And Cities Around The Country
Let’s start with some of the most magical cities dotted around the United States!
From Charleston to Washington D.C, many of the cities throughout the county are rich in history, architecture, and culture. Some of these spots are perfect for couples, others for families!
No matter what kind of city experience you like, there will be something to enjoy in each of these.
Why we love it – this is a striking city with incredible culture, wonderful architecture, theaters, parks, and a showstopper harbor
Best things to do – visit the Charleston City Market, Joe Riley Waterfront Park, Rainbow Row, Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina Aquarium, The Battery, Angel Oak Tree, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Is this destination expensive? – It can be! Depends on the activities you choose to do and the facilities you use
Charleston is among the most beautiful cities in the United States, and is full of beautiful architecture and wonderful culture. You won’t find a city with a better atmosphere than there, and everything is just perfect.
Here, the city market offers a relaxed and enjoyable day out, as does the park on the waterfront.
Rainbow Row is a great photography opportunity, too! You won’t run out of things to do and enjoy during your time here, but you should definitely aim to spend at least three days in the area to really appreciate the place.
If the weather permits, heading down to the beach for a day out is recommended. Folly Beach will be everything you’re looking for, and a real treat for anyone who wants to kill a few hours in the sun.
Why we love it – the oldest city in the state, Savannah is full of dark and light history, colorful buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and incredible antebellum architecture
Best things to do – explore Forsyth Park, the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah Historic District, The Olde Pink House, City Market, Chippewa Square, and Leopold’s Ice Cream!
Is this destination expensive? – It can be! Depends on the activities you choose to do and the facilities you use
Savannah, Georgia, is actually one of the most popular spots for tourists in the United States!
Why? Because, while this city is beautiful year-round, you are guaranteed to have a good time no matter when you visit. However, for a truly special experience, visiting in the spring or summer will be absolutely magical.
There are plenty of interesting places to see around the city, including the Historic District and the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.
Visitors can find joy around every corner here, and enjoy some of the best Southern dining that the country has to offer.
Popular foods come with a delightful twist for everyone to enjoy, and the drinks will flow. The Olde Pink House will fulfil all your needs for food, or you can try the wonderful Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room for some incredible food.
Why we love it – the city sits near stunning mountains and has wonderful walkable downtowns that you can take advantage of in the sunny weather
Best things to do – visit the Denver Art Museum, Coors Field, Denver Botanic Gardens, Larimer Square, Denver Zoo, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater Holly Brown House Museum, Downtown Aquarium, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Is this destination expensive? – It can be! Depends on the activities you choose to do and the facilities you use
This mountain city has stunning landscapes surrounding it, but also incredible culture at its heart. Here, there are plenty of museums, restaurants, concert venues, and attractions for every tourist to enjoy.
One of the most popular of these being the Red Rock Amphitheater – a place every visitor will need to visit at least once for a great performance.
With a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor locations to explore during your time here. This includes the wonderful Pike’s Peak, Cheyenne Canyon, Painted Mines Interpretive Park, and so much more.
Make sure that you give yourself enough time to take in all the sights if you’re planning on visiting this location! There’s no way you will have the time to fully enjoy your experience if you’re staying for less than a week.
Why we love it – this city had stunning coastline and beaches to enjoy, as well as a number of gardens and parks that set it apart
Best things to do – visit Stearns Wharf, Old Mission Santa Barbara 1786, Santa Barbara Zoo, Arroyo Burro Beach Country Park, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Located just two hours from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is an unmissable location in California. This location is among the most beautiful along the Central California Coast, and boasts of plenty of rich history and architecture.
You are likely to be able to enjoy sunshine year-round in this wonderful town.
If you stop by, you should give yourself at least three days to take in the sights and enjoy everything the palace has to offer. This includes stopping by the Old Mission, the El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park, and the downtown area.
No matter what time of year you choose to stop by, the beach is a must. The warm temperatures mean that you can enjoy the warmth all year, and maybe even dip your toes in the water!
If you find yourself with some time to spare, be sure to take a look at the Channel Islands National Park – but you’ll have to get there by boat!
5. Moab, Utah
Why we love it – a stunning city on the doorstep of some of the most incredible scenery in the country, there’s plenty of culture and history to enjoy
Best things to do – whitewater rafting, horseback riding, shopping, rock climbing, scenic driving, concerts, spas, art galleries, zip lining.
Visit Dead Horse Point State Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the Moab Museum, and the Rock Shop
Known as the adventure capital of the US, Moab is full of fun and exciting opportunities for everyone.
Here, you can enjoy the stunning Arches National Park, which sits on the doorstep! In this park, there are no lodges and only one campground, so it’s normal for visitors to spend their nights in Moab.
During the day, there are lots of trails and activities to enjoy at any time of year – including whitewater rafting, zip lining, and even rock climbing!
If you want to take the day off adventure, you could enjoy some shopping or take a scenic drive. Just make sure that you give yourself enough time to enjoy everything that this location has to offer.
The outfitters around the town are more than ready to give you the time of your life, no matter what you choose.
You don’t need to spend your nights in a hotel, either! There are great opportunities for everyone to hit the bars and restaurants if you are looking for something fun to do. There’s no way a visit to this town can go wrong.
Why we love it – this town looks like it’s come straight from a European fairy tale, with rustic cottages and stunning scenery for anyone to enjoy
Best things to do – visit the Carmel Mission Basilica Museum, Mission Ranch Restaurant, Carmel River State Beach, and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Carmel-by-the-Sea is located in California and looks like it has come straight out of a fairy tale. Sitting on the Monterey Peninsula, this town is nothing like you’ve experienced in the United States.
Not only does it sit on the beach, as the name suggests, but the architecture is heavily influenced by Europe. There are a multitude of strange and wonderful cottages, cobbled streets, art galleries, and adorable boutiques.
You really have to visit this place yourself to fully understand how special it is. There are ocean vistas, restaurants, and luxurious spots that everyone needs to check out.
Visitors can book a room at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Hotel for a magical experience for the night. In the morning, there are plenty of opportunities like wine-tasting, shopping, and even surfing!
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming and spectacular spot to visit if you want something unique.
Why we love it – this vibrant city is the largest in the state and has incredible green spaces with views of mountains, forests, and parks that will take your breath away
Best things to do – visit places like Powell’s City of Books, Portland Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden, Pittock Mansion, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Zoo, Forest Park, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Washington Park
The quirky city of Oregon has a lot to offer to anyone who decides to stay a while. Where “weird is cool”, this city boasts of plenty of fun adventures within the city itself, as well as beyond the borders.
If you are a lover of craft beer, then you might want to stay in this city for a while, because there’s a beer for everything.
Nearby, you can get some fresh air and enjoy the wonderful outdoors just on the city’s doorstep. You can take your time on the numerous trails and take in the waterfalls that litter the area.
The Columbia River Gorge is only a short drive from the city center and will be the perfect place for a picnic in the summer, too!
Book lovers will have to stop by Powell’s City of Books – the largest independent bookstore in the world. There, you may run into some gems that you can’t come across anywhere else!
Why we love it – this island is full of beautiful scenery and history, with a charming collection of churches, boutiques and much more
Best things to do – visit spots like the Whaling Museum, Cisco Brewers, Brant Point Lighthouse, Madaket Beach, Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge Gatehouse, Nantucket Shipwreck and Life Saving Museum, Sankaty Head Lighthouse, and Nantucket Atheneum
Located outside Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Nantucket is a quaint and special place. While you’re here, you should stop by the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, as well as the Museum of African American History, and the Whaling Museum.
When you take a walk downtown, be sure to stop by the wonderful shops and restaurants to keep you going for the rest of the day!
You can walk or cycle around, and pass by Siasconset – there, you will find the oldest houses on the island.
Coincidentally, this is also a fantastic place to stop for a moment and enjoy the sunset with your friends and a drink. When you’re feeling up to it, you can also stop by the stunning beaches or stride through the forests and fields.
Why we love it – closer to Cuba than it is to Miami, Key West is a tropical paradise will of history and stunning locations, including beaches, buildings, and reefs
Best things to do – check out spots like Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A., The Hemingway Home and Museum, The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Key West Lighthouse, Truman Little White House, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West Aquarium
You don’t need to be a genius to understand why Key West would be among the top spots to vacation in the United States. While this island town is small – only eight square miles, it is the epitome of tropical perfection.
There are attractions and activities here to keep everyone happy, and the weather is always stunning. Take a walk down Duval Street – a great destination for festivals. On the way, there are unlimited drinks you can try to delight your taste buds.
You can find history, parties, and magical nightlife in this town. Just be sure to stop by places like Fort Zachary Taylor, the Key West Lighthouse, and the Hemingway House to learn about the town’s rich history.
Don’t forget to stop by the stunning beaches, too! They are unmissable, and the sunsets are to die for.
Why we love it – this is one of the most historic cities in the US and is full of historical sites that everyone will be able to appreciate.
Best things to do – visit spots like Fenway Park, Museum of Fine Arts, Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Museum of Science, Quincy Market, New England Aquarium, Bunker Hill Monument
If you would like to go to a city where you can walk just about everywhere, Boston may be a great choice for you. With great architecture all over the city and so many great shopping opportunities, it just makes sense to take them!
Visitors should take the time to check out the waterfront and numerous parks all over the city.
After that, you can take in the incredible foods and drinks that this place has to offer. There are even food tours to join so that you get the best possible experience! On the way, you can get all the food you could ever want.
To walk things off, why not explore the Freedom Trail? This is a 2.5-mile trail that’s suitable for everyone, and will take you through the downtown area to see more of the city.
Why we love it – a charming Victorian town set in the Rockies with immaculate views and sights for everyone to enjoy
Best things to do – visit Town Park, Telluride Ski Resort, Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail, Telluride Offroad Adventures, Telluride Historical Museum, New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride Truffle Artisan Chocolate, and Bridal Veil Trail
If you are looking for a stunning mountain town to visit for a vacation, Telluride may be the perfect spot for you. This town is located within the San Juan Mountains, and may be the most breathtaking town in the country.
Here, there are endless nature trails and gateways, waterfalls, and alpine lakes that seem magical. These all offer some of Colorado’s best hiking opportunities, so be sure to take them!
Among them, you will find Telluride Via Feratta – a climbing and hiking adventure that isn’t for the faint of heart. You’re going to need a harness!
There are also great opportunities for off road driving, and even skiing during the winter. There’s nothing that this town doesn’t have – including plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy after a day of fun and excitement.
Why we love it – this city is surrounded by stunning landscape, including large red rock formations, parks, and beautiful hiking trails
Best things to do – check out spots like the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Broadmoor Seven Falls, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Palmer Park, Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center
Colorado Springs has everything you could want in a vacation spot and more. Pikes Peak sits a short distance away, and the stunning Garden of the Gods is a must-see location for any outdoor enthusiast.
No matter the season here, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
If you decide to stop by, visit places like the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, the Pioneer’s Museum, and so much more.
You can go hiking and explore the nearby trails, and zip line over Seven Falls. For the adventurous, you can head to the incredible Royal Gorge, where you can go whitewater rafting for the afternoon.
Alternatively, you can brave the Manitou Springs and the Incline – which Olympians in training will frequently use!
There are numerous waterfalls around to take in, too, and when you get back, plenty of great food. Stop by any of the incredible bars and restaurants in the area for an unforgettable experience in Colorado Springs.
13. Austin, Texas
Why we love it – as the state capitol, this city is full of incredible history and monuments. The music draws people in from all over.
Best things to do – check out Zilker Metropolitan Park, Blanton Museum of Art, Bullock Texas State History Museum, Barton Springs Municipal Pool, Congress Avenue Bridge, McKinney Falls State Park, Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Austin is the beautiful capital of the state of Texas, and another incredibly popular tourist spot. With a delightfully warm climate that makes it perfect to visit year-round, Austin is magical.
The city boasts of almost 20,000 acres of green space, more than 300 parks, and 227 miles of stunning trails to explore.
Some of the most popular trails include those found in Zilker Metropolitan Park, and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
Any visitor should stop by the Bob Bullock Museum to learn more about the city’s history, including the Great Depression, the Civil War, and much more.
After that, head to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. When you reach the end of the day, sit back and enjoy some incredible music.
Listen to some great rock and blues music while you enjoy some of the best food around. You’re going to be hungry after all that exploring!
Why we love it – as California’s state capitol, Sacramento is full of rich history, architecture, and a whole host of places every visitor must see
Best things to do – visit spots like the California State Capitol Museum, Crocker Art Museum, California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento Zoo, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Stanford Mansion, and the Old Sacramento Waterfront
The capital of California, Sacramento is full of historic monuments, attractions, and natural beauty.
For some reason, this city isn’t nearly as popular as some other Californian cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. However, with so much free stuff to do, the world is missing out!
Here, you can find some beautiful architecture to suit the setting, and visit a number of great locations, such as the California State Capitol Museum or the state’s government administrative building.
There are lots of guided tours that you can enjoy for free, but be sure to stop by the Tower Bridge, the Big Four Building, and the Eagle Theater for some extra fun, too.
Festival lovers will not be able to get enough of this city, so keep an eye out for the free concerts that happen most weekends!
Why we love it – this city sits surrounded by water and evergreen forests that will stun anyone. The rich cultural history of this city sets it apart, and it’s the home of Microsoft and Amazon!
Best things to do – be sure to visit places like the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Museum of Pop Culture, Kerry Park, Pike Place Market, Ballard Locks, Seattle Center, The Seattle Great Wheel, and Discovery Park
Situated between two mountain ranges, Seattle boasts of an incredible backdrop, culture, and architecture. Located beside Puget Sound, this city has some of the most iconic attractions, including Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall, and of course, the Space Needle.
If you want to get away from the city for a while, it’s easy enough to stop by and rent a kayak or paddleboard at Lake Union or Alki Beach. There, you can get some stunning views of the city from afar.
When you’re done, you can top up your energy by checking out the Ballard neighborhood. There, you will find some of the best breweries that you can hop to and try out.
You could even go further afield and visit the Northern Cascades, Olympic, or Mount Rainier if r a day for some fresh air. It’s not something you will want to miss!
Why we love it – this city is full of amazing history, and it can be seen in every cobblestone. Rich with culture and magic, this is a must-see.
Best things to do – check out the New Orleans City Park, The National WWII Museum, Jackson Square, New Orleans Museum of Art, Mardi Gras World, St. Louis Cathedral, French Quarter, Audubon Zoo, and the Shops of the Colonnade
New Orleans is undoubtedly one of the most stunning, vibrant, and incredible cities in the United States.
Although this city has a tragic history going back long before Hurricane Katrina, it also offers hope and life. Now, we are seeing a revival of New Orleans – and one it deserves.
As the birthplace of Jazz and home to some of the best food in the country, this city isn’t one you can miss.
Not only is this city culturally diverse and beautiful, but that beauty extends far into hospitality, architecture, and every street.
You will find plenty of amazing antique shops around the city, as well as live music, street performers, nightlife, and excellent flavors.
Be sure to stop by the French Quarter, and get a tour if you can! There’s a lot of rich history to unpack – both good and bad.
Why we love it – this city has some of the most jaw-dropping architecture around, as well as renowned neighborhoods, culture, music, and of course – food
Best things to do – visit locations such as Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, Cloud Gate, 360 Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry
No matter the season, you can have a great time in Chicago. This city is full of great culture, food, and vibrant life – something you won’t want to miss on your travels.
Here, you will likely first be blown away by the stunning architecture. There are chandeliers everywhere and stunning art deco buildings that look like they come out of a movie.
Not only is there plenty for any sports lover to see like the Wrigley Field and United Center, but there’s something for everyone.
You can’t visit Chicago without at least trying an authentic deep dish pizza, or a roast beef sandwich.
If you want to relax a little, head down to Millennium Park or the Crown Fountain. There’s no place like it, and the reflecting pool is a perfect photo opportunity.
Why we love it – the city of a million lights has some of the most incredible city scenery in the world. With immense casinos, hotels, and some stunning locations throughout
Best things to do – stop by places like the Fremont Street Experience, The Mob Museum, The Neon Museum Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Bellagio Fountain, High Roller, the STRAT hotel, Casino & SkyPod, and Wynn Las Vegas
Everyone knows about Las Vegas – it has a reputation that precedes it. Here, you can find one of the liveliest communities in the world, with incredible vibes and a sense of community. The energy here is contagious, and it’s easy to never want to leave.
If you’re planning a stay in Sin City, you’d better plan! With so much to see and experience, this place can be overwhelming. There’s live music and performances, as well as fine dining and lively clubs to spend the nights in.
The Vegas Strip’s allure will surely bring everyone in, but be sure to watch yourself around the casinos and bars!
19. Miami, Florida
Why we love it – this city is known for its incredible nightlife, warm weather, stunning beaches, and luxurious shopping malls that everyone loves
Best things to do – visit Wynwood Walls, Perez Art Museum Miami, Bayside Marketplace, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Lincoln Road, Philip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Art Deco Welcome Center, Bayfront Park, and the Everglades National Park
Miami is the perfect location to vacation in if you’re looking for fun and free times. This is also one of the most popular tourist spots in the country for a number of reasons – from the climate to the nightlife, and even the food and culture!
There are amazing green spaces to enjoy, and numerous centers for education, arts, music, fashion, and so much more. However, one huge reason why this city is so popular is because of the music festivals that take place here – like the Calle Ocho Festival!
There are also plenty of great venues to check out, including the Ring Theater, Gusman Center For Performing Arts, and the Florida Grand Opera.
Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the wonderful beaches if you stop by, and enjoy all your favorite drinks in the bars.
Why we love it – this city is unique in many aspects, and has a rich history. You can enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and so much more in the beautiful architecture
Best things to do – visit locations such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Park, PIER 39, Palace of Fine Arts, Ferry Building, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Exploratorium, and the California Academy of Sciences
Although this is an incredibly popular city for tourists to stop by, San Francisco is so much more. This city has more than just buildings – it has forests, cliffs, landmarks, a bay, and the perfect climate. The architecture is stunning, too, and the food is to die for.
Any visitor can take a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge free of charge – organized by the Public Library.
On your way through the city, you are likely to come across any number of beautifully designed murals, which are actually encouraged.
One of the best spots to see these is the Mission District, where there are loads of colorful pieces.
Don’t forget to take a ride on the cable cars and see the Victorian architecture, and a trip to the bay. You can even take a boat to Alcatraz for a fun day out and enjoy some of the award-winning food that the city has to offer when you get back.
Why we love it – full of lights, love, and life, this city never sleeps and is the pinnacle of American tourism.
Best things to do – don’t miss out on places like Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, Times Square, The High Line, Top of the Rock, and Grand Central Terminal
The Big Apple is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist locations in the United States. It’s the city that never sleeps, and it always lives up to the name.
This city is the hub for arts, fashion, finance, education, communication, so you won’t be missing out on anything. Not only that, but there’s incredible food and drinks to try out, and a culture like nowhere else.
You are likely to see street performers all over the city, as well as interesting and unusual fashion and foods.
Spots like Times Square and Wall Street are must-see locations. However, be sure to also stop by the Broadway Theater District, the Statue of Liberty, and any of the other dozen popular spots. Just expect it to be busy no matter the time of year you go!
22. Washington D.C
Why we love it – beautiful city with plenty to see and experience, and many places have e entry
Best things to do – visit the National Hall, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington Monument, United States Capitol, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress
As the country’s capital, Washington, D.C. is full of great things to explore year-round. Here, there are monuments to visit such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, and also parks and galleries to spend time in.
One of the most prominent locations in this city is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
If you choose to stop by this place, which is definitely recommended, allow yourself at least a few hours to take everything in.
Once you feel you need a break, there are limitless food and drink options all around the city. Stop by Old Ebbitt Grill, Ben’s Chili, or the Occidental Grill when you want a bite to eat. Don’t forget about the street food, either!
Water Spots To Check Out
Looking for some incredible vacation destinations around water that you’re going to love?
Each of these offer something new and exciting for everyone to enjoy, so be sure to pick your favorite. From skiing to kayaking, these locations have something fun to offer everyone.
Why we love it – this is one of the US’ largest freshwater lakes and has more than 80 islands
Best things to do – ski, snowboards, hike, explore trails, fishing, shopping, museum
Located in Northwestern Maine’s Piscataquis County, Moosehead Lake is the second-largest lake in New England.
The lake itself is a cold water lake, and is home to the largest mountain in the Eastern United States.
If you visit here, you should be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the rich wildlife in the area.
This includes animals such as dares, beavers, mink, otters, red foxes, coyotes, white-tailed deer, bobcats, black bears, and the mighty moose!
There’s also a guide service to enjoy should you stop by, and a number of outfitters that offer off-road tours and fishing charters.
To get the full experience, you should definitely find the time to hop on the Katahdin Cruises and Moosehead Marine System, located on a 1914 steamship.
Why we love it – stunning landscapes, including forests and lakes, great wildlife
Best things to do – explore the state park, hike, ski, boat cruises, enjoy the beach
This stunning body of water is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and is a large freshwater lake. While here, you can go on private sightseeing tours via air or foot.
There are a number of nature and wildlife tours in the area, too, allowing you to catch a glimpse of the local animals. This includes animals such as cougars, beavers, coyotes, martens, and even black bears!
If you are a ski lover, then Lake Tahoe is a great place to visit! Here, the slopes are perfect for enjoying a day of skiing, especially in the winter.
For those looking for an exclusive experience, there are train and private yacht tours that will make for an unforgettable time.
Just a short distance away, there are towns and cities that you should explore, too. These include Truckee and Tahoe City, but don’t forget about spots like Olympic Valley, either!
Why we love it – there are lots of great resorts and beaches to enjoy, as well as beautiful landscapes and wildlife
Best things to do – check out the magic theater, explore the beach and trails, go on a tour
Located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lake Geneva is a magical place for anyone. This place is full of charm and character – something that every tourist will immediately fall in love with. During your stay here, you don’t need to worry about being bored.
There’s a wide range of activities to partake in throughout the year, making for a great experience every time.
Not only are there magical trails to explore in the area, but there are also shopping opportunities and fun adventures for people of all ages.
You can stay in the wonderful and historic mansion to get an authentic experience, and even enjoy cocktails at the dive bar! There is nothing you won’t have, and the guided tours that are offered will only enhance the experience.
While you will need to pay for most things there, you can still enjoy the stunning 26-mile Lake Geneva Shore Path if you’re looking for a free adventure. Be sure to have your binoculars and notepad if you want to spot all your favorite birds!
Why we love it – stunning watery scenes with great wildlife and nature
Best things to do – birdwatching, camping, boating
Located in New York state, Thousand Islands is an area that spreads from the Great Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River. Here, there are almost two thousand (1,864, to be precise) islands dotted across the stunning blue waters.
This area has been voted at the #1 spot for scenic boat rides – so that says a lot! There are two glorious island castles to explore with delightful tours, and a variety of lighthouses, battlefields, museums, and even farm zoos.
On Wellesley Island, there are beautiful sandy beaches to explore, as well as camping grounds, nature trails, and even cottages.
You can even get on the water and try your hand at kayaking, or try scuba diving! Everything is possible – including hot air balloon rides!
Why we love it – a wide variety of beautiful landscapes and scenery to enjoy, including beaches, mountains, and towns
Best things to do – visit the dunes, drive the scenic loop, visit the 1906 shipwreck
The Oregon Coast includes 363 miles of rugged and beautiful coastline. The area is open to the public and completely free, making it an ideal location to stop by on an Oregon road trip!
You can follow the coastline on US Highway 101 from Astoria to Brookings Harbor, near the border of California.
You may think of just driving through, but there’s plenty to see and enjoy if you took a moment to stop.
There are a number of iconic lighthouses, quaint towns, and jaw dropping cliffs to see first! Of course, there are also rolling sand dunes and beaches, as well as parkland.
Some towns you need to stop by include Newport, Seaside, Depoe Bay, and Yachats – each with something fun to offer.
If beaches are your thing, then Rockaway Beach, Cannon Beach, and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area are must-see locations.
Why we love it – great scenery, and the lake is Texas’ only natural lake
Best things to do – fishing, wildlife and birdwatching, kayaking, paddling, hiking, camping
Is this destination expensive? – no
Caddo Lake State Park is a dreamy and magical park found in the piney woods ecoregion in the east of Texas.
The name comes from the Native Caddo people who settled here, and offers something truly special to anyone who takes the time to visit.
Here, the lake itself is the (lone) star of the show, and has more than 50 miles of water to paddle and enjoy!
While you’re here, you should definitely enjoy the multitude of beautiful trails in the area. On top of that, you will have the chance to go fishing and birdwatching.
Wildlife in the area includes beavers, alligators, river otters, bobcats, armadillos, and much more, so you can also sit back and get your binoculars out for the animals, too!
Must-Visit National Parks
It comes as no surprise that the national parks around the country are breathtaking – which means they are perfect vacation destinations. These national parks will take your breath away, and they each have something different for you to fall in love with.
Why we love it – beautiful landscape with woodlands, beaches, and great wildlife
Best things to do – ranger programs, stargazing, fishing, swimming, boating, horseback riding, shopping, picnicking, trails
Acadia National Park is a small gem located on Mount Desert Island on the Schoodic Peninsula and surrounding islands in the state of Maine.
It spans just 76.7 square miles, but is home to an array of rich biodiversity and wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, marten, beavers, porcupines, and more.
During your visit here, you can enjoy everything the island location has to offer, including forests, beaches, and so much more.
Some of the best hiking trails are the Beehive and Precipice trails, as well as the Jordan Cliffs Trail – all with stunning views.
Drive Park Loop Road is the perfect 27-mile loop that goes through the area, connecting all the best spots on the island.
No matter how long you decide to stay, you need to make the time to stop by Sand Beach and Thunder Hole – incredible locations!
Why we love it – unique setting with stunning landscapes
Best things to do – backcountry camping, ranger programs, dune driving, cycling, photography, hiking, picnicking
Is this destination expensive? – no
Established in 1933, White Sands National Park is located in New Mexico and spreads across 227.8 square miles.
The park is completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range, and boasts of stunning landscapes that will wow you no matter what time of year you visit.
For the best experience, spending a night in this part around the full mood will not disappoint. However, the incredible dunes in the area are there to stay, so you should definitely explore them on a drive!
There are even picnic spots overlooking the dunes, as well as a visitor center to check out when you need a moment to relax.
Trails like the Alkali Flat Trail and the Interdune Boardwalk will give you lasting memories – especially if you are able to do it under the silver light of the moon.
Why we love it – beautiful scenery and wildlife
Best things to do – photography, cycling, camping, guided tours, ranger programs, exploring trails
Is this destination expensive? – not especially
This is an unmissable location, especially in the summer. Glacier National Park is picturesque and offers some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country.
There are rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls that all come to life as the ice melts around you.
Here, you can paddleboard to your heart’s content, or simply take some time to enjoy being alone with nature as the rivers rush beside you.
Some of the best spots to visit within this national park include Logan Pass, Lake McDonald, and Apgar Village.
If you are brave enough, challenge yourself to stay at this fantastic location for a week or more. Instead of driving around like most people, get out there and get on your feet. There is so much to explore and enjoy, and the view from a car really doesn’t do it justice.
You might have the best luck here between the months of July and August, so you don’t have to worry about the cold!
Why we love it – stunning scenery with beautiful and bountiful wildlife, pleasant weather
Best things to do – camping, boating, hiking, fishing, cycling, birdwatching, geocaching, kayaking
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Everglades National Park is a name that is known far and wide.
This breathtaking park is found a short way south of Florida, and has been designated as a spot to preserve the beauty and sub-tropical landscape in the North America Territory.
Here, there are incredible marine ecosystems, sanctuaries, and rich wildlife of all kinds. Some of the most notable animal species in the area include the docile manatee, the Florida panther, and of course the American alligator.
You can also see North American river otters, Burmese pythons, and a variety of beautiful birds like the roseate spoonbill.
Exploring the area by boat is a popular option, but you can also explore on foot! Airboat tours and kayaks are great for truly experiencing the watery wonder around you if you ever visit this location.
Why we love it – the redwood trees and scenery create a magical atmosphere
Best things to do – explore the trails and be along the ginormous trees, animal watch
As one of the country’s most famous national parks, this one is unique in many ways. Here, some of the tallest trees in the world soar into the sky, dwarfing everything around them.
There are dozens of incredible trails to explore in this park, including the California Coastal Trail, Little Bald Hill Trail, and Trillium Falls Trail.
While here, you can expect to see a wide array of animals, including elk, beavers, shrews, raccoons, bobcats, cougars, otters, martens, and black-tailed deer.
Because of the animals here, hikers should always keep a careful eye out while enjoying the outdoors.
Be sure to spend at least a day here, so you can visit Tall Trees Grove, camp in the Elk Prairie Campground, and enjoy the beautiful views on the forest roads.
Why we love it – beautiful red scenery with tall hoodoos and endless trails
Best things to do – explore the trails and take in the sights, stargaze at night
Is this destination expensive? – no
Bryce Canyon National Park is a stunning, must-see location for every adventurer in Utah.
While the park is only 55,992 square miles thanks to a recent increase, it is an incredibly popular tourist spot, and for good reason. Here, there are red rock hoodoos, valleys, gorges, rivers, and so much more.
You won’t run out of things to see and experience if you stay here for a few days. There are great trails and tours to go on, including horseback riding, hiking, and ATV rides.
Not only that, but there are even air tours, which include helicopter and balloon options, for anyone who is looking for a truly magical experience.
While enjoying your stay, you may expect to see animals such as pumas, bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, and much more – so keep an eye out!
Why we love it – breathtaking fall foliage with lots of wildlife with scenic landscapes
Best things to do – bird and wildlife watching, hiking, trails, scenic views
Is this destination expensive? – no
Shenandoah National Park stretches across 200,000 acres and is full of thick forest, waterfalls, and images from a dream.
The location has been protected since 1935 in an effort to keep the local animal species safe. These animals include bobcats, white-tailed deer, black bears, and so much more – so there’s plenty to see!
You won’t want to skip past this place in the fall. This national park is known for its stunning fall foliage, making hiking the trails a magical experience later in the year.
The warm colors make the 500 miles of hiking trails an unforgettable experience. This is made even better by the fact that there are trails available to suit everyone’s capabilities – so you’ll never have to miss out.
If you love being outdoors and want a vacation away from the city, be sure to give yourself at least a few days to make the most of this location.
Why we love it – beautiful and picturesque landscape and nature
Best things to do – hiking, camping, mountain climbing, scenic drives
Mr. Rainier National Park, located in Washington state, is a much smaller but stunning national park that every visitor must see.
Here, there are glacier-capped mountains, and the incredible Mount Rainier itself. This is a massive stratovolcano that makes up part of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest.
At this national park, there is plenty to see and so, making it a top spot for visitors to visit. Here, anyone who visits must see the main mountain, as well as the beauty that surrounds it.
Paradise Valley, the Skyline Trail, Grove of the Patriarchs, Tipsoo Lake Loop, and Mt. Fremont Lookout Trail are just some of the must-visit spots in the park.
Tours are available to the public, allowing everyone to immerse themselves in the beauty of everything this park has to offer. You may see animals such as mountain goats, deer, elk, and black bears.
Why we love it – unmatched landscapes, including the geysers and colorful hot springs, amazing wildlife and nature
Best things to do – padding, rafting, camping, hiking, animal and bird watching, explore trails, watch the geysers and take in the hot springs
Yellowstone National Park is a massive 3,500 square mile area that stretches across three states – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Here, there are spectacular landscapes and scenes that will certainly take your breath away.
From massive mountains, including the incredible Yellowstone Volcano, to forests, canyons, rivers, hot springs, and geysers, there’s nothing this location doesn’t have.
Anyone who really wants to be wowed will need to visit Old Faithful – the most famous geyser in the area.
The wildlife is not to be missed, either. At Yellowstone, there are American Bison, Grizzly bears, and packs of wolves that will take your breath away.
You can also expect to see elk, moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep if you venture in far enough on your excursions and tours.
To have the best experience, we recommend giving yourself at least two full days here. There’s plenty to see and do, including kayaking, hiking, and van tours of the area.
Why we love it – amazing landscape and views, spectacular nature
Best things to do – camping, fishing, hiking, exploring trails, ranger programs
As part of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is known for its incredible scenery and landscapes. There is nothing small about this park, and the sweeping mountains and valleys feel like nothing short of a dream.
Visitors can enjoy day trips and tours around the park, and can even go backpacking through the park for an incredible five days. There are luxury tours, sporting events, and various hiking trails to fall in love with all over the national park.
The wildlife here is to die for, and the bodies of water make for excellent kayaking experiences. There are even outdoor yoga sessions to take part in!
Because of this park’s proximity to Redwood National Park, you can split your time between these two beauties. There are also plenty of museums, restaurants and shops to rest in when you feel the need – so you won’t be left wanting.
Why we love it – stunning view of the night sky, remote, great for camping
Best things to do – camp, hiking, sightseeing, horseback riding, birdwatching, biking, driving
Is this destination expensive? – not especially
Death Valley is famous for many things – two of those being the landscape and the heat. This location has the highest ever recorded temperature in the world, at 134 degrees Fahrenheit (or 56.7 degrees Celsius).
As temperatures can reach the extremes during the summer, it may be smarter to visit this location in the cooler months. Winters in this national park are mild and enjoyable!
Because of the remote location, stargazing is a popular activity to do while in Death Valley. Nights can get unexpectedly chilly here, so wrap up warm if you are planning on watching the stars or waiting for a meteors shower!
Visitors can go sightseeing around the park, go on guided tours and rides, and enjoy the historic sights, hiking trails, and geological locations around the valley.
These locations don’t really fit in anywhere else, but they are absolutely worth visiting if you can! No USA vacation list would be complete without a Hawaii option or two.
40. O’ahu, Hawaii
Why we love it – tropical paradise with amazing weather, food, and culture
Best things to do – see the turtles, visit the beach, snorkeling, kayaking
O’ahu is home to Honolulu, the state capital of Hawaii. Here, you can live your paradise dreams and enjoy the incredible weather, scenery, culture, food, and so much more.
A short distance west of the capital is Pearl Harbor, and a memorial for the USS Arizona that was destroyed in the WWII attack.
For anyone looking for a lively night experience, Waikiki has it all – from the nightlife to the dining and stunning beaches.
However, there is lots more to get stuck into if you feel like spending some time away from the city. This includes things like snorkeling with the turtles, going on incredible bus tours, and visiting the surrounding islands.
If you’re looking for adventure, you can even go shark diving! Don’t forget about the scenes that the island has to offer, though, with the dramatic landscapes all around you. There are plenty of geological formations and lookouts to immerse yourself in, too.
Why we love it – beautiful scenery and great history
Best things to do – explore the trails, hike, drive down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, enjoy the view
Is this destination expensive? – no
Big Bend is a region in Texas as well as a national park! The 1,251.9 square mile area borders Mexico, and is just north of the Rio Grande’s prominent bend.
Here, the landscapes are stunning, and there is a rich history of the Native peoples who used to live in the area. There are a number of archeological sites and pictographs throughout the area to enjoy.
In the national park itself, there are plenty of excursion options and trips to choose from if you would like to explore with a professional.
Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the numerous hiking trails and take a look at the various canyons within the canyon. You can also enjoy a day of water sports or walk around the visitor center or fossil exhibit.
42. Southern Utah
Why we love it – stunning landscape with both Zion and Bryce National Parks
Best things to do – hiking, trails, horseback riding
Is this destination expensive? – no
If you’re looking for a scenic place that you won’t be able to get enough of, Southern Utah has everything you could want.
Here, there are two incredible national parks – Zion and Bryce National Parks! On top of that, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument sits proud, and is the last of the 48 lower states to officially be mapped out.
Hikers will fall in love with this place, with some of the best trails in the country on your doorstep. The cliffs, canyons, and wildlife that surrounds you is nothing like you will experience again.
The fresh air and open spaces will give anyone who dares to brave the great outdoors a great work out. However, being among the forests and hoodoos, a bit of exercise seems like a reasonable price to pay.
Why we love it – incredible scenery and landscape
Best things to do – hiking, horseback riding, camping, kayaking
Is this destination expensive? – no
Everyone knows about the Grand Canyon – it is a place of exceptional beauty and will certainly leave you awestruck. As this place is located in Arizona, you can expect the weather to be pleasant just about your-round, making visiting this stop easy!
You can make your own day down the trails of the canyon with some family or friends, or you can elect to go on a tour with the professionals. These can include bus tours, hiking tours, and even air tours so that you can really take everything in.
On the way, there are a number of astonishing lookouts to be aware of – great for photography!
Some of the best viewpoints include Mather Point (South Rim), Redwall Bridge (North Rim), Hopi Point (South Rim Trail), Plateau Point (Bright Angel Trail), and Shoshone Point (South Rim).
There are plenty of other incredible viewpoints, too, which you can read about here.
44. Kauai, Hawaii
Why we love it – this is a stunning island paradise with great food, culture, and weather
Best things to do – explore the trails and state park, snorkel, and hike
As an island located in the Central Pacific, Kauai boats of everything you’re looking for in paradise.
Also known as “The Garden Island”, this island is most well-known for its stunning dramatic landscape, with incredible coasts, cliffs, canyons, and cane fields.
Tropical jungles cover most of the island, making it a popular backdrop for numerous Hollywood films – some of which you have definitely seen before!
If you visit this island, there are a couple of places and activities that you absolutely have to try. The snorkeling around the island is breathtaking and pristine, but there are also guided wildlife and nature tours available.
There are boat tours, as well as helicopter and foot tours to immerse you in the beauty and culture of the island.
For any fan of adventure and paradise, Kauai is the perfect spot to visit, even though it may be pricey! From ziplining and hiking to simply enjoying the beaches and photography tours, this is a paradise for everyone.
There you go! There are so many incredible locations throughout the United States that everyone should try to visit at least once. From beautiful towns and cities to national parks, islands, and waterfronts, there are locations for everyone.
You don’t have to worry too much about budgets for many of these places listed, too! Prices will vary greatly, with some being incredibly affordable, while others are more expensive.
If you are planning a trip to the United States, or you already live there and want to explore a little more, make a list of all your favorite places and go check them out!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are plenty of unusual spots dotted around the US that you should see.
However, places like Cawker City (Kansas), Grant County Historical Museum (Canyon City), the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard (Waterbury), and the Winchester Mystery House take some of the top spots for uniqueness.
All the national parks around the country are absolutely stunning, as are many of the cities. However, Zion National Park, Yellowstone, or Yosemite will have to take the top spots for parks.
Hawaii as a whole is beautiful, and many places like New York City, Boston, and San Francisco are also winners.
Depending on what you want to do, top winter locations around the US will include places like Park City (Utah), the Rocky Mountains, Jackson Hole, Beaver Creek, Kings Canyon National Park, Vail (Colorado), and Sugarbush (Vermont).
Couples can enjoy all of the above locations! However, if you really want something special, head to New York City, Joshua Tree National Park, Maui, Napa Valley, Sedona, Providence, and Big Sur (California).
On a budget? There are still plenty of amazing places you can check out for a low price.
Some of our favorite locations to visit on a budget include the Grand Canyon, Bar Harbor, Cannon Beach, Moab, Destin, and St. Augustine.
There are lots of incredible national parks throughout the United States!
Some that you can’t miss include the Olympic National Park, Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and Mammoth Cave National Park.
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