20 Best U.S. Travel Destinations, According to TripAdvisor
Millions of travelers voiced their opinions, and in the end, these U.S. destinations won the title of the top 20 favorites. From island living to historic charm to destinations beloved by foodies, art enthusiasts, and nature lovers, you’ll be spoiled for choices for your next vaca.
20. Branson, Missouri
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Known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” Branson is home to dozens of performance venues. Love the outdoors? Discover crystal-clear rivers and lakes ideal for canoe trips, fishing, and boating, while well-kept trails welcome hikers, bicyclists, and riders on horseback. Get your theme park thrills at Silver Dollar City, shop the boutiques and galleries in downtown Branson, or simply relax and take in the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Find out the best hotel chains in the world, ranked.
19. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Right smack in the middle of a 60-mile stretch of breathtaking coastline called the Grand Strand lies Myrtle Beach, a beach town with more than 100 golf courses and family-friendly resorts. Swim in the surf, go fishing on Springmaid Pier, and enjoy an ice cream on the boardwalk before taking in the rides and games. When it’s time for dinner, indulge in hearty Lowcountry cuisine like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup.
18. Boston, Massachusetts
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From Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States, to the Freedom Trail, with its 16 historic American Revolution sites including Paul Revere’s Old North Church, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the site of the Boston Massacre, Boston’s charm is rooted in history. Time your visit to a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park, shop the upscale boutiques and galleries along Newbury Street, or stroll past dozens of retailers, restaurants, and food vendors at the landmark Faneuil Hall marketplace built in 1742. Discover Boston’s vibrant culture while strolling cobblestone streets lined with Victorian architecture. The city’s diverse neighborhoods have their own flavor and flair. Cruise to the Boston Harbor Islands, frolic with seals at the New England Aquarium, and dump tea overboard at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
17. Savannah, Georgia
Less than four hours by car from Atlanta, Savannah is the largest historic district in the United States, with dozens of green squares, most of them shaded by huge magnolia and Spanish moss-draped live oak trees. Stroll through historic antebellum neighborhoods and join a walking tour to step into scenes from favorite books and movies. Bite into tasty fried green tomatoes, sample desserts made with fresh local peaches, and enjoy pimento cheese on just about anything. Stay in a historic bed and breakfast where you can sip a mint julep on a stately veranda. If you crave a slower pace and plenty of charm, Savannah is perfect. Find out the most charming small-town bed and breakfast in every state.
16. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is called Music City for good reason: It’s home to more than 100 live music venues. Take in a show or sign up for a backstage tour at iconic venues such as the Ryman Auditorium or the Grand Ole Opry, where legends such as Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire often perform. Smaller but equally beloved venues include the Station Inn for bluegrass music, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge for just about anything, and the lively “honky-tonk” bars on Lower Broadway downtown. Just outside the city, the legendary Bluebird Café is an intimate venue where guests line up far ahead of showtime for a chance to hear singer-songwriters perform each night. An up-and-coming fashion scene and chef-driven restaurants such as the Peninsula, Folk, and Lyra are even more reasons to visit.
15. Charleston, South Carolina
This seaside city is one of the country’s prettiest, with its antebellum historic districts shaded by live oaks. Enjoy a proper brunch to sample Southern favorites like chicken and waffles and sweet potato hash. Then spend the afternoon shopping for antiques on historic King Street, teeing off on your choice of more than 20 golf courses, or walking along Waterfront Park with its the views of Fort Sumter National Monument. Wrap up your days with a horse-drawn carriage ride. Find out the world’s best travel experiences you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
14. Key West, Florida
The southernmost point of the continental USA offers year-round warm temperatures and incredible sunsets. Explore on foot, bike, scooter, or trolley—whichever you choose, you’ll have a variety of shops, cafés, and art galleries vying for your attention. Spend a day at sea enjoying deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, and Jet Ski adventures, or visit museums dedicated to Ernest Hemingway and shipwreck treasures. Wind down watching street performers in family-friendly Mallory Square.
13. Los Angeles, California
Tour movie studios, slip your hands into the famous prints at the TCL Chinese Theatre, or try your luck at a celebrity sighting at Sunset Tower or the Polo Lounge inside the Beverly Hills Hotel. Check out the impeccable boutiques on Rodeo Drive, or visit the Grove for an eclectic mix of storefronts next to a farmers’ market that celebs, including Jennifer Garner, frequent. Take in the iconic artwork at the Getty Center or peek through the telescopes at the Griffith Observatory. Admittedly touristy, Venice Beach has a collection of quirky shops as entertaining as the characters you’ll find on the boardwalk.
12. Miami Beach, Florida
Whether you’re swimming in the world-famous surf, dancing the night away at one of the pulsing nightclubs, or taking in the sunset at South Pointe Park, Miami Beach is a bucket list destination. Take a walking tour of the South Beach Art Deco District, a whimsical collection of pastel-colored architecture from the 1930s and 1940s. Have your pick of oceanfront hotels and sidewalk cafés. Walk the pedestrian-only Lincoln Road with its restaurants and storefronts, and join the locals for cigars and mojitos at a rooftop lounge with amazing views. Looking for a warm getaway? These are the best winter travel destinations for 2019.
11. Washington, D.C.
In the park setting of the National Mall, marvel at the Reflecting Pool under the gaze of a giant statue of President Abraham Lincoln. Enjoy free admission at 17 Smithsonian Institution sites, including the National Zoo, and visit the Museum of African American History and Culture. Peruse the upscale, trendy boutiques of charming Georgetown or spend a day in Tyson’s Corner Center, home to more than 300 stores. Don’t leave D.C. without exploring an eclectic collection of urban neighborhoods, taking in a theatre performance at the Kennedy Center, and indulging in global cuisine.
10. Big Island, Hawaii
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The native Hawaiian culture is so extraordinary, it boasts its own cuisine and language. Test your limits at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the longest volcanic eruption in recorded history, or climb to the indescribably beautiful summit of Mauna Kea. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a bowl of fresh poke and a fruity shaved ice concoction. From historic and natural landmarks to hidden beaches and lush forests, the Big Island is full of authenticity. Get a look at America’s most overlooked landmarks.
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
As the birthplace of jazz and home to centuries-old live oaks and clacking streetcars, a visit to New Orleans is never a bad idea. The calendar is ﬁlled with festivals and parties, most of which celebrate food, music, or both. Taste gumbo and jambalaya in one of many restaurants, then stroll through the French Market and historic French Quarter. Several distinct neighborhoods offer tons of nightlife options—from live music on Frenchmen Street to intimate cocktails at cozy cafés. Experience the city’s supernatural vibe at the Voodoo Museum or take a guided ghost tour through taverns, alleyways, and cemeteries.
8. San Francisco, California
The colorful city of San Francisco is home to colorful landmarks including Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. Indulge your sweet tooth at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, visit the sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39, and sample local cheese and charcuterie at the historic Ferry Building. Spend an entire day at Golden Gate Park checking out the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers. Join a bike tour that includes a visit to the Palace of Fine Arts and ends across the bridge in charming Sausalito, a seaside town with cafés and shops, then take the ferry back, enjoying the views of Alcatraz on the way. Find out the best places to visit in 2019 before they get too popular.
7. San Diego, California
This large, laid-back beach town offers great weather, beautiful beaches, and diverse neighborhoods. Watch harbor seals and sea lions in the quaint village of La Jolla, then see thousands more animals at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. Visit Coronado Island to splash in the surf, browse eclectic shops, and fish off a pier by day and enjoy dining and nightlife in the historic Gaslamp District by night. Love history? Check out the naval aircrafts at the USS Midway Museum. Wherever you go, outstanding Mexican food—hello, street tacos!—is close at hand.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Nestled on Lake Michigan, Chicago is as famous for its Midwestern hospitality as it is for its vibrant culture and culinary scene. Shop the 13-block Magnificent Mile, home to major department stores, luxury boutiques, and the iconic mall known as Water Tower Place. For art galleries and funky bookstores, visit Wicker Park and Bucktown. See amazing works at the Art Institute and natural history exhibits at the Field Museum. Take the kids to Navy Pier for amusement park rides, sightseeing boats, and sweeping lake views. At Millennium Park, check out the iconic collection of public art, including the famous reflective “Cloud Gate” sculpture, commonly known as “The Bean.” Foodie musts include enjoying a hot dog at a Chicago Cubs game, diving into a savory deep-dish pizza, visiting a classic Chicago steakhouse, and checking out one of the city’s many ethnic restaurants.
5. Orlando, Florida
You know it for the magic of Disney and the thrills of the roller coasters at Universal Orlando, but that’s just the beginning. Visit downtown Orlando and cruise around Lake Eola on a swan-shaped pedal boat, check out the Sunday farmers’ market and bevy of sidewalk cafés, or take in a show at the glass-and-steel gem known as Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Taste your way through various food truck experiences in walkable neighborhoods, such as the Milk District, Mills 50, and Ivanhoe Village, all of which also boast restaurants and bars, many with live music. Shop in Winter Park, where upscale shopping and dining at award-winning restaurants such as Prato, the Ravenous Pig, and Luma on Park await. Don’t leave without taking in an Orlando City soccer game. These are the best places to visit every month of the year.
4. Oahu, Hawaii
Year-round surfing, incredible ridge hikes, the world-famous Waikiki Beach, and urban nightlife in Honolulu—it’s all part of the Oahu experience. Hike through a rainforest in the Makiki Valley or venture to the North Shore for superb surfing. Get a taste of traditional Hawaiian culture with a hula performance at the Bishop Museum. Take a sightseeing boat and visit Pearl Harbor. If you can, time your visit to the Haleiwa Arts Festival, a celebration of local crafts, dance, and music.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City has one of the largest collections of entertainment venues of any city in the country. Catch Lady Gaga at Park MGM, a performance of Le Rêve – The Dream at the Wynn, and magicians Penn and Teller at the Rio. Take in a game of roulette or poker at casinos that never sleep. For a bit of free entertainment, experience the iconic dancing Fountains of Bellagio. From steaks to sushi and everything in between, dining is as much a part of the entertainment as anything else Las Vegas has to offer.
2. Maui, Hawaii
Made for nature lovers, Maui is on everyone’s bucket list for a reason. This romantic island is home to bamboo forests and churning waterfalls in Haleakalā National Park. The scenic road to Hana along the island’s northeastern shore is considered one of the most spectacular drives in the world. Wander the historic streets of the old whaling town of Lahaina, see time stand still at the village of Keanae, and gaze at Pi’ilanihale, Hawaii’s largest heiau (temple), located just outside Hana. Find out the most popular tourist attraction in every state.
1. New York, New York
Art, theatre, food, history—New York City is known for it all and has something for everyone. Take in its energy as you stroll Bohemian neighborhoods such as the East Village. Take in a show on or off Broadway, and visit iconic live venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café. Climb to the top of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty for incredible views. Shop for luxury goods at the Oculus, a massive transportation and shopping hub near the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and peruse miles of books at the Strand, one of the city’s oldest bookstores. Stroll through Central Park or along the High Line, an elevated walkway with incredible views that runs along the west side of the city. The latter pairs perfectly with a visit to the restaurants and artisan stalls at Chelsea Market. For the perfect end to your trip, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. Next, find out the best places to visit in 2019, according to travel experts.
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