Are you trying to find the perfect destination for your next vacation? Do you think that you need to travel far distances and go overseas to finally experience the vacation of your dreams? Well, I am going to share the best vacation spots within the United States, and I can guarantee that an amazing vacation is closer to your home than you think! We’ve discussed the best scenic views in the USA, the best ski resorts in the country, the best zoos, the best playgrounds, best family vacation spots, and best national parks in the USA.
1. Anchorage, Alaska
The entire state of Alaska is beautiful, but some towns and cities are more difficult to reach than others. Anchorage is almost always a perfect choice, as there are sixty glaciers and multiple national parks not too far away.
Denali National Park is amazing, and you will love climbing to the top of the highest peak in North America when you are there. In between all the hiking, dog sledding, and glacial exploring, you must take the time to stay awake to see the Northern Lights.
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2. Austin, Texas
If you love adventure, then Austin is the city for you during your next vacation! This area of the state has wonderful weather all year, so you can always get outside to do something fun and exciting!
Do a little kayaking on a nearby river or lake before heading over to a festival or one of the restaurants that offer fabulous nightlife options. And less than four hour drive from Austin lies Dallas, a city with so much to offer families on vacation.
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3. San Diego, California
San Diego is a large city that you could spend weeks in and still not see everything that you should. Your first stop should be at Balboa Park, because the twelve-hundred-acre open space is filled with gardens, museums, a botanical house, and a zoo with infamous Giant Pandas.
Once you have exhausted the options within the park, the Embarcadero, which is the harbor walk, will be calling your name. Grab a bite to eat and do a little shopping before venturing over to the USS Midway. Don’t forget to spend at least one day on the beach, as the waves will ensure that you become a world-class surfer in no time at all!
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4. Glacier National Park, Montana
There aren’t any glaciers left within this national park, but they sure did create a magnificent sight for everyone to see. There are more than seven hundred miles of trails in this park, which means that you will get tired of hiking before you have run out of things to see.
As you are wandering around, you will have the chance to see seventy different types of animals, as well as more than two hundred and fifty different types of birds. The one thing you must do when in this area is take a drive along the Going to the Sun Road, as it will take you through the center of the park and over Logan Pass.
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5. Albuquerque, New Mexico
The sun shines almost every single day in Albuquerque, which means that you should have plenty of reasons to stay outside when you are there. The surrounding mountains offer spectacular views, especially if you take the time to hike the trails.
I recommend trying to time your visit to coincide with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, because it is only then that you can watch hundreds of hot air balloons soar through the air.
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6. Sedona, Arizona
Everyone loves visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but Sedona is where history and beauty can be found around every corner. Devil’s Bridge Trail is a sight to see and you must try the wine along the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
One of the best ways to see the gorgeous landscape of Sedona is from a hot air balloon, but you must be an early riser to take advantage of the rides.
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7. Las Vegas, Nevada
There are a few cities that claim to be open all night long, but when you are in Las Vegas, you will find that the streets are almost empty after three in the morning until around seven. That is the best time to explore The Strip, as you can see the true beauty of everything without thousands of people getting in your way!
Wander through the casinos, stop to see the free attractions, watch a thrilling performance, and eat delicious cuisine all day and all night long. There is so much to do right along The Strip, but keep in mind that the city is much bigger than those few blocks. Take the time to explore it all for the authentic feel of this popular destination.
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8. Aspen, Colorado
The winter months bring people to Aspen for the skiing, but this is truly a year-round destination! A river tour will give you a different perspective of the views, while hikes to the tops of the mountains will have you wanting more.
There is always a festival taking place in this city, so do a little research before your trip to see what may be happening while you are there.
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9. Astoria, Oregon
The views don’t get much better than what can be seen within Astoria in Oregon. This historical area is filled with museums, yet you can still venture out and spend some time on one of the stunning sandy beaches.
Ecola Point is a must-see for those who love rocks and want to see spectacular views of them.
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10. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is right by the Teton Mountains, which means that you can have extraordinary views whichever way you turn on any day of the year. During the summer, you can hike, and the winter months bring some of the best skiing in the country.
Whatever time of the year you choose to visit, make sure that you check out one of the spas, as they all offer the ultimate in relaxation and pampering.
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11. Mackinac Island, Michigan
There are no cars allowed on this island, so it is perfect if you truly want to get away from it all on your vacation!
Most of this island is part of Mackinac Island State Park, so you will be able to explore undisturbed beauty almost anywhere that you go. Fort Mackinac is a must-see, as is Arch Rock and the Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World. This island is one of the top ten islands to visit in the continental USA with family.
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12. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Minnesota has another one of the national parks that you might want to see during your travels. This park is quite remote, so you need to be used to being out in the middle of nowhere without too many people around to thoroughly enjoy it.
Guided boat tours are available if you do not have your own boat. You are guaranteed to enjoy every peaceful moment you spend in this part of Minnesota and will return home more relaxed than ever before. And yes, Minnesota is also home to the famed Mall of America.
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13. Salt Lake City, Utah
Public transportation is everywhere in Salt Lake City and the best part is that it is really cheap and affordable! Imagine traveling to this city to see the national parks, attend the numerous festivals, and even ski during the winter months.
There are even plenty of museums that do not have admission fees, but the favorites are the Pioneer Memorial Museum and the Fort Douglass Military Museum. And Utah has one of the best scenic drives in the USA.
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14. Idaho Falls, Idaho
Idaho has long been known as potato country, but you will see much more than fields of spuds when you are in Idaho Falls. After a long walk along the Snake River Greenbelt, with its spectacular views, a picnic at Tautphaus Park will be a welcome reward.
The zoo is within this park, so if you have a love for animals, take advantage of the opportunity. Hell’s Half Acre should not be missed, as the paths are filled with lava from several thousand years ago.
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15. Wichita, Kansas
The town of Wichita is not as quiet as it once was, because its history of the Old West seems to be bringing in more people than ever before. When you are ready for your history fix, you need to consider the Museum of Ancient Treasures and the Old Cowtown Museum.
The Kansas Aviation Museum will have you marveling at air travel from the past and present and the zoo is waiting for when you simply want to watch wildlife frolic in their habitats.
16. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska happens to be the capital city of this state, which may be a turn off to some, but I promise you that it is filled with so much to see and do. The Sunken Gardens must be on your list, as they are filled with more than thirty thousand different plants that create a theme that changes each year.
Sporting events are held throughout the year and tours are always available of Memorial Stadium. If you need even more time outside, then the Pioneer Park Nature Center is your best option.
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17. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
The Big Sioux River Greenway is a perfect place to go bike riding, but the Sioux Falls Trolley will really pique your interest with all the things you will see during your ride.
McKennan Park has theater performances that are free and free movies are shown at night over in Fawick Park one evening a week.
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18. Seattle, Washington
Okay, so Seattle is one of the rainier cities in the country, but that shouldn’t stop you from going out in the rain and enjoying the sights.
If you’re going to get wet, you might as well paddle along Puget Sound. However, if dry is your thing, simply duck into one of the museums or art galleries for some culture in between the raindrops.
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19. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo might be small, but it has earned some huge accolades over the years. One of them has been the cleanest town awards, so make sure that you do your part to keep it looking fantastic!
Shopping is best done at the West Acres Shopping Center and when you are done, you can visit the animals at the Red River Zoo. Hiking trails are everywhere, but the best seem to be the ones that are located within Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Beaver Lake State Park, and Cross Ranch State Park.
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20. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa isn’t the largest city in Oklahoma, but it is the most fascinating! The Oxley Nature Center has more than eight hundred acres of beautiful preserves to hike through, although, the kids may prefer the water at Big Splash Waterpark.
The rose garden is a must-see for those who love roses and it can be found at the Tulsa Garden Center.
21. Branson, Missouri
There are plenty of musical cities and towns, but Branson seems to have the most options when it comes to live shows.
Credits: Branson Ferris Wheel, Flickr
Every night will bring something new and your days will be filled with exciting adventures that include hikes, kayak trips, horseback rides, and even rock climbing and spelunking. The best part about this city is that it is really pet friendly, so you never need to worry about what you are doing with your pets when you are away from home.
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22. Clearwater, Florida
Most people consider Orlando the best and most popular destination within Florida, and it is if you want to tackle one amusement park after the other. However, Clearwater offers so many different things to keep visitors from getting bored.
Your days can begin on the sandy beach before you choose to venture over to downtown to do a little shopping or go over to the aquarium to meet Winter and Hope, the infamous dolphins. Nights should be spent on the Beach Walk, where the sunsets are extraordinary. Those who are there during the spring months will want to watch a Philadelphia Phillies spring training practice or game, as those moments will get you ready for baseball season!
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23. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva is a lakeside town that can be found in southern Wisconsin. If you love the water, you will not be able to wait to do a little jet skiing, paddle boarding, parasailing, or a little swimming.
There are hiking trails when dry land is needed, and the Black Point Estate and Gardens is the best attraction to tour in the entire town. Make sure that you take the time to do a little sightseeing in the downtown area, because there are many stores and restaurants to spend some time in.
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24. Savannah, Georgia
Cobblestone streets will be one of the very first things that you see when you arrive in this historical city. An Old Savannah Trolley Tour in Georgia will allow you to see the entire historic district without a lot of walking.
Out of the fifteen different stops, the mansion within Forsythe Park and the Juliette Gordon Low House seem to be all-time favorites. A walk along the river is a must and you can find plenty of shopping and dining opportunities right there along the river walk. And if you have time and want to see more of Georgia, you can head to Atlanta where there’s plenty to do and see with the kids.
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25. Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City is filled with massive buildings and the hustle and bustle of any other major city. However, the water of Lake Michigan turns this destination into one that offers a countryside feel to everyone that visits.
A walk along Navy Pier should be done multiple times during your visit, as there is always something different going on. There are numerous bike paths throughout this city, so you have a different option when it comes to transportation.
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26. Dubuque, Iowa
One of the best ways to explore Dubuque is by bike, although some trail options are more challenging than others. History is everywhere and the nearby parks will have you spending more time outdoors in nature than you thought possible.
When you tire of the Mississippi River Valley, you can always head over to the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, where twenty-five thousand square feet of water fun awaits with waterslides, tube rides, and a lazy river.
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27. New York City, New York
New York City is one of the few cities around the world that never seems to sleep, which is why you must visit there at some point during your life. The bright lights of Broadway and Times Square, the lush quietness of Central Park, the vastness of Rockefeller Center, and the memories at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
are only a few of the hundreds of things that will mesmerize you as you wander through the city streets. Whether you spend one day or two weeks in this bustling destination, you will see the entire world in a new way afterwards.
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28. Asheville, North Carolina
The town of Asheville may not look like much in the beginning, but once you see the mountains looming in the distance, you will quickly change your mind.
While you are visiting, you can choose to drive over to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers so many more adventures that include horseback riding, ziplining, and rides on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful gardens throughout this town, as they are some of the best that you will ever see.
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29. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Some people have a bucket list that has them visiting every single national park in the country, which is one of the multiple reasons why Hot Springs National Park made this list.
While inside this park, you must venture along the twenty plus miles of trails, as you never know what types of wildlife you will see along the way. Make sure you jump into one of the thermal water holes, as they are known to have healing qualities.
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30. The Gulf Shores, Alabama
When you choose to vacation in Alabama, anywhere within the Gulf Shores will have you loving your time away from home.
While you can spend all your time on the gorgeous beaches, you may want to wander along the nature trails, zipline over Lake Shelby, and attend the concerts and events that are held every night.
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31. New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy is often called NOLA by the outsiders who visit, but the locals will be quick to tell you that the name of their city is New Orleans! While Mardi Gras is one of the best times to visit, you will always find the streets filled with party revelers at any time of the year.
Mingle with the ghosts of smugglers at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, wander through the lush green space of Lafayette Cemetery No.1 while paying your respects, and relax inside City Park. Oh, and if you are not in this magnificent city during Mardi Gras, don’t fret! You can still see all the Mardi Gras action over at Mardi Gras World.
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32. Biloxi, Mississippi
It is all about the seafood, mainly shrimp, in Biloxi, so this is definitely the destination that you need if you want to catch and prepare your own shrimp every night of your vacation.
There are multiple casinos in Biloxi, but don’t worry, there are many other things that you can do if you run out of gambling money before your trip is over! Ship Island is a quick boat trip away and there are dolphins surrounding the stunning beach.
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33. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster is a large part of Amish country in Pennsylvania, so you will definitely get a different perspective on life during your visit. Tours of Amish farms and homes are plentiful, as are museums and markets.
Events are held at Long’s Park throughout the year, although the most popular ones are the season-long music festival and the barbecue competition. Dinner and a show at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre is the perfect way to end any evening in Lancaster.
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34. Cleveland, Ohio
There are plenty of museums for you to wander around in when you are visiting Cleveland, Ohio but make sure that you step outside to see the beautiful architecture that is everywhere throughout the city.
A quick trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park will have you extending your stay, just so you can conquer as many of the one hundred and twenty-five miles of trails as possible.
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35. Fredericksburg, Virginia
Fredericksburg in Virginia is where part of the Civil War was fought, and that history can be seen everywhere. While this area is not as wonderful as Gettysburg, there are enough markings to make history come to life.
See the battlefields in Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, visit the Chatham Manor, where soldiers laid dying in the front lawn waiting for a doctor, and see where George Washington grew up at Ferry Farm.
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36. Nashville, Tennessee
Walks along Music Row will get you yearning for country music, so pop into any bar to get your fill before heading over to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Ryman Auditorium is part of history, but nothing can compare to the beauty that can be found within the Grand Ole Opry a few miles away.
There are plenty of museums to discover everything you need to know about your favorite country musicians, but you may feel just as happy learning what you can from those you meet on the streets.
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37. The Bourbon Trail, Kentucky
Kentucky is another one of those states where there is more than one town or city to really enjoy. The Bourbon Trail offers information on how bourbon is made and there are plenty of distilleries waiting to serve up the perfect glass of deliciousness.
You may want to search for a distillery that offers a class on how to make your own bourbon, so you can relive this experience again and again when you get home.
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38. Indianapolis, Indiana
It is all about sports in Indianapolis, so be prepared to spend a lot of time watching auto races, football, or basketball during your stay. Of course, if you don’t watch it, you will still hear all about it from the locals!
While kids will love all the sports action, most will prefer to visit the best children’s museum in the US, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Don’t worry, adults love this museum too!
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39. Kennebunkport, Maine
Starting in the 1870s, Kennebunkport was the place to be during the summer months in Maine. A tour of the town is best seen with Intown Trolley, although a Foodie Tour will have you enjoying the best local foods immediately.
When rest and relaxation are in order, a little time at the sandy beaches and some whale watching are just what you need. And Maine has one of the best small town summer markets in New England.
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40. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Everyone has heard of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and you may have been there at one point during spring break all those years ago. While the vibe in this destination hasn’t changed much, that won’t matter, because it means that you will still have a fabulous time when you are there now.
Spend your mornings at the beach before exploring the zoo and aquarium or choose to spend an entire day at the waterpark. Views of the area will seem completely different when you choose the take a ride on the SkyWheel.
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41. Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is home to Berkeley Springs State Park, which happens to be located in the middle of the town.
The Roman Baths are perfect for adults, but the kids will prefer the George Washington Bath Tub. Picnics are popular during the summer months, so grab a piece of lush green grass and spread out your blanket and breathe in the fresh air.
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42. Ocean City, Maryland
You may not love the hustle and bustle of big cities, but Ocean City will give you everything you want and more for your next vacation.
This city is one massive resort that is filled with sandy beaches, a boardwalk, pools, mini golf, amusement park rides, and live music. Your days, and nights, will never be better!
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43. Kauai, Hawaii
Each one of the Hawaiian Islands is stunning, but Kauai has an adventure that some of the others are lacking. You must wander along the Kalalau Trail, which is approximately twenty-two miles round trip.
There are numerous beaches tucked away on this trail, so you may find yourself alone on the sand at one point during your travels. Don’t forget a trip to Hali’I Falls, it is one of the many waterfalls on the island, and you can swim at this one.
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44. Boston, Massachusetts
There are so many small towns and cities in Massachusetts, but the lively city of Boston will always give you everything when you are there for vacation. Walk along the Freedom Trail for insights on the history of the city before dining at the original Cheers restaurant for either lunch or dinner.
Don’t forget to do a little shopping at Quincy Market, stroll through the Boston Public Garden, and see the Boston Tea Party Ships. Oh, and the brewery tours are pretty fantastic too!
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45. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is such a rustic, yet beautiful, area of the country and while the Stowe Mountain Resort is popular in Vermont for skiing during the winter, you can still stay there and enjoy yourself during the summer months.
In between all the outdoor adventures, you will want to check out the Cabot Cheese store, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, and Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
46. Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
The northeastern states are known for their skiing when the snow is flying, however, Bretton Woods in New Hampshire offers fun and adventures every day of the year.
The best way to see the area is via zipline, especially when you take the three-hour tour that is available.
47. Atlantic City, New Jersey
There are casinos everywhere in Atlantic City, so be prepared to at least play a few slots when you are in New Jersey.
In between big wins, you can walk along the boardwalk and Steel Pier, visit the aquarium, and stare in awe at the Absecon Lighthouse.
48. Mystic, Connecticut
The town of Mystic will have you feel as if you are stepping back in time to the days where you could watch the ships come in and knew everyone by name.
Shop at the quaint boutiques, explore the ships at the Seaport, watch the animals frolic at the aquarium, and sip cider after watching it being made at Clyde’s Cider Mill. All those things are possible, plus many others, when you spend at least a few days in this beautiful northeast town.
49. Dewey Beach, Delaware
Delaware might be one of the smallest states, but it is packed with things to see and do. Dewey Beach offers soft sand, refreshing water, and enough water sports to keep a person busy from morning till night.
The fun doesn’t end at night either and that is when the clubs open and the music starts, so you can dance until you are ready to drop.
50. Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island is the smallest state, but that doesn’t mean that the capital, Providence, is small and boring.
Providence happens to be one of the oldest cities in the country and it has a fabulous cultural scene. The RISD Museum is a must-see, as is the Botanical Center, which can be found at Roger Williams Park.
51. District of Columbia
The District of Columbia is known better as Washington DC and while politics are everywhere in that part of the world, there is so much to appreciate and see. Start at the National Mall, where you will find a plethora of museums to wander around.
Then venture further out to all the monuments and memorials, before heading over to Arlington to pay your respects to those who are buried in Arlington Cemetery. And if you have to spend, here are the top free things to do in Washington DC with kids as well as the best free things to do in DC.
52. Puerto Rico
So, there really isn’t one true destination in Puerto Rico for you to visit, but when you are there, you must see a few things.
Old San Juan is one of them, due to the bright colors on the Spanish homes, the cobblestone streets, and the plazas that are surrounded by trees. You must also see Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which is where wild horses roam, although it does require an eight-mile boat ride to get there.
53. US Virgin Islands
Out of all the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas makes the list of being the best one for vacations. The island has a laidback vibe, yet there are plenty of things for you to do there. The first thing you should do is explore the streets of the capital, Charlotte Amalie.
This colorful area is one of the best places to experience the traditional foods of the island, so do not leave until you have had something to eat. You will also want to see as many of the historical buildings as you can, although with five hundred of them, you probably won’t see them all. I recommend making sure that you see Blackbeard’s Castle and the St. Thomas Synagogue, plus Fort Christian if you have the time. And if you have a passport handy, you could visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands for a bit of Europe nestled in the Caribbean.
That’s the list of the best destinations within the US and its territories! Use this list when you are planning your vacations and you will never need to worry about arriving in an area that isn’t what you thought it was!