101 Best Places to Visit in the USA in 2023 (Ultimate Bucket List)

Estimated read time 87 min read


The diversity of people, regional food, varied terrain, and natural beauty are hard to find anywhere else in the world. Prepare to be amazed, the United States is a premier travel destination with endless road trips available and easy cross-country flights. There are endless places to visit in the USA and no matter how you choose to travel around, you’re sure to have a great time.

USA Map Showing Regions

101 Best Places to Visit in The USA

Throughout this article, you’re going to read about 101 places to visit in the United States. This article is by no means exhaustive! I’ve broken up the post by region of the country, and each section has descriptions and recommendations on the best places to stay and things to do in the area.

Best Places in The Northeast

The Northeast United States holds some of the most valuable history of America. The bustling cities and laid-back coastal towns offer a variety of things to see and do.

United States, geographic regions, colored political map. Five regions, according to their geographic position on the continent. Common but unofficial way of referring to regions of the United States.

1. New York City, NY

Skyline from above New York City at night

If you’re wanting amazing food, incredible diversity, and countless cultural experiences, then visit New York City. I lived in New York City for a year, and I fell in love with everything about it. Even if you just have time to visit New York on a weekend, or a quick layover, it’s definitely one of the best places to see in the United States and is worth the trip.

Where to Stay in New York City

  • Upper West Side: The Upper West Side is a quiet and peaceful part of the city overlooking Central Park, and if you stay here, stay at The Wallace Hotel.
  • Chelsea: Chelsea is on the lower west side of Manhattan and is a great place for shopping and sightseeing opportunities. The High Line Hotel is a great place to stay.
  • Williamsburg, Brooklyn: Williamsburg is a quirky, artist-centered part of Brooklyn, and the Williamsburg Hotel is my favorite place to stay in New York.

Things To Do in New York City

  • Central Park: Central Park is an 840-acre park filled with miles of walking trails, ponds, and architecture. It was my daily tradition to end the day with a walking tour through Central Park, taking in the scenery and landmarks along the way.
  • Time Square: Times Square is located in Midtown Manhattan, and it’s always a busy place with street performers, restaurants, and great shopping. If you have a day to spare in the city, I highly recommend taking a day tour of Times Square to experience the vibrant energy of the area.
  • Statue of Liberty: Looking east out of Battery Park, people are gifted with the Statue of Liberty. I enjoyed the daily tours that were given to the statue where people could walk around and see it up close.

2. Boston, MA

City Skyline of Boston, MA

Boston is an underrated and under-appreciated city in New England. This port city was my favorite place to go on a weekend to escape New York due to its fascinating history, fresh seafood, and diverse culture. There are many things to do in Boston to warrant a trip.

Where to Stay in Boston

  • Back Bay: The Fairmont Copley Plaza is a great place to stay in Back Bay which is my favorite place to do my shopping and dining in the city.
  • Beacon Hill: The Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro is in the midst of delicious restaurants as well as the picturesque Victorian-style Beacon Hill neighborhood.
  • Cambridge: The Charles Hotel is near the Harvard University Campus and Harvard Square which has cafes, bookstores, and historical bars.

Things To Do in Boston

  • Freedom Trail: The Freedom Trail is one of the best historical walking tours I’ve taken; it’s 2.5 miles long and connects 16 nationally significant historic sites.
  • Fenway Park: The long-time home of the Boston Red Sox is a must-visit when you go to Boston; my first visit gave me a glimpse of true Boston culture.
  • USS Constitution Museum: This museum is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the USS Constitution is the oldest warship still afloat; I love history, so this was a bucket-list item for me.

3. Niagara Falls, NY

A view of Niagara Falls NY

Seeing Niagara Falls for the first time took my breath away. The sheer amount of water flowing over the falls combined with the entertaining interactive experience makes a trip up to the border well worth it.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

  • Downtown Niagara Falls: The Country Inn & Suites is within walking distance from the falls and is in the midst of historic downtown Niagara Falls.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake: The Prince of Wales Hotel is a historic Victorian-style luxury hotel that’s just 2 blocks from Lake Ontario.
  • Lewiston: Niagara Crossing Hotel & Spa is a brick-style hotel that’s only a few minutes from the city center of historic Lewiston.

Things To Do in Niagara Falls

  • Maid of the Mist Boat Tour: If you’ve ever seen “The Office”, you’ll enjoy recreating Jim and Pam’s wedding on the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour that goes below the falls.
  • Cave of the Winds: This is a natural cave behind Bridal Veil Falls and it’s 130 feet high, 100 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. For an unforgettable experience, I recommend taking the Cave of the Winds tour to explore the cave up close and feel the rush of the falls on your skin.
  • Niagara Gorge Trail: The Niagara Gorge Trail is 6.2 miles one way and has many beautiful gorge vistas.

4. Philadelphia, PA

Twilight Skyline View of Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia showcases the hardworking culture of the United States. I went with the intention of seeing a Philadelphia Eagles game and left with a newfound appreciation for its food and wonderful people. Visit Philadelphia on a weekend, or stay longer to fully appreciate the city.

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

  • Center City: The Rittenhouse Hotel sits at the heart of Philadelphia and is close to historical sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
  • Old City: The Penn’s View Hotel gives visitors access to Colonial-era sites and 18th-century row houses.
  • University City: The Inn at Penn sits right in the midst of University City which is home to the University of Pennsylvania and many others.

Things To Do in Philadelphia

  • Independence National Historical Park: The Independence National Historical Park is home to the Liberty Bell and other attractions. This is one of the most popular things to do in Philly.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: This museum, with its interactive displays, is one of my favorite art museums I’ve ever visited. I highly recommend taking a tour to fully experience the exhibits and engage with the art in a memorable way.
  • Reading Terminal Market: I went with low expectations, but the amount of diverse foods and specialty items is outstanding.

5. Acadia National Park, ME

View at sunset Acadia National Park, ME

Acadia National Park is a 50,000-acre national park filled with rocky beaches, and beautiful forests as well as Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast. My visit to Acadia left me feeling extremely relaxed and recharged thanks to the slow pace and stunning vistas.

Where to Stay in Acadia National Park

  • Bar Harbor: The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel is only 1 mile from the park entrance and right near great local restaurants.
  • Southwest Harbor: Kenway Ranch isn’t far from the Acadia entrance and it’s a nice place to relax after a long day of adventuring.
  • Northeast Harbor: The Kimball Terrace Inn gave me a wonderful experience and it’s only 1 mile from Acadia.

Things To Do in Acadia National Park

6. Cape Cod, MA

View of beach at Cape Cod, MA with chairs in foreground on a wood deck

Cape Cod is one of the best places to go in the USA in the summer. This pretty destination off the coast of Massachusetts offers delicious food, historical lighthouses, and quaint villages that line the peninsula.

Where to Stay in Cape Cod

  • Hyannis: The Hyannis Travel Inn is less than half a mile away from the Hyannis Harbor, and it offers pools, hot tubs, and a lot more.
  • Provincetown: AWOL Hotel Provincetown is less than 1000 feet from the beach and it’s less than 1 mile from Herring Cove Beach.
  • Chatham: The Chatham Wayside Inn gives off the classic Cape Cod feel, and it’s less than 1,500 feet from the beach.

Things To Do in Cape Cod

  • Cape Cod National Seashore: The national seashore has over 40 miles of pristine beaches, ponds, and other upland features.
  • Whale Watching: Be sure to book a whale-watching tour any time from June to September.
  • Biking the Cape Cod Rail Trail: This 25-mile trail is perfect for a morning run or a long bike ride.

7. Bar Harbour, ME

Sunset View of Chicago, IL skyline

Sitting right on Frenchman Bay, Bar Harbor is the perfect East Coast getaway. My journey into this coastal town brought me to the peaceful mountains as well as the Cranberry Islands.

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

  • Downtown Bar Harbor: Central House Inn is the ideal place to stay if you’re hoping to walk around the city.
  • Salsbury Cove: Bar Harbor Cottages & Suites are a bit up the coast, but give you great views of the bay.
  • North Bar Harbor: Edenbrook Motel is the perfect affordable option for any visitor looking to explore the area.

Things To Do in Bar Harbor

  • Whale Watching: Go from April to October to enjoy the whale migration.
  • Acadia National Park: This is one of the best and most accessible national parks in the country, with popular activities including Acadia National Park tours.
  • Visit The Village: The Village is a section of downtown Bar Harbor filled with quaint shops, and tasty restaurants, and it’s recommended that you book a culinary walking tour.

8. Nantucket, MA

view of houses on the water in Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket is a tiny island that’s the perfect summer beach getaway. Classic cobblestone streets and East Coast architecture make this the dream destination for those warm Easy Coast days.

Where to Stay in Nantucket

  • Cliff Lodge: Cliff Lodge is within 2,000 feet of the beach, and it’s the perfect place to stay on your vacation.
  • Seven Sea Street Inn: The Seven Sea Street Inn is located on a quiet street, this inn is close to Harbor Beach and Main Street.
  • The Cottages & Lofts: If you want great access to Steamboat Wharf and the Nantucket Ferry, the Cottages and Lofts is the ideal place.

Things To Do in Nantucket

  • Whaling Museum: The Whaling Museum gives a fascinating insight into the massive whale industry in the area, and admission tickets are available for purchase here.
  • Surfside Beach: Surfside is one of the best beaches on the island. Fishing, surfing, boogeyboarding, or just relaxing, you can do it all here.
  • Brant Point Lighthouse: Take a tour of the Brant Point Lighthouse and learn about its importance in the area.

9. Grand Isle, VT

Morning view of the city Nashville, TN

Located right on Lake Champlain, this island is a perfect summer getaway. It’s easily accessible by car, and visitors have an absolute blast exploring the beaches, fishing, and taking in the views.

Where to Stay in Grand Isle

  • Pearl Bay Holiday: Located right on the island, Pearl Bay Holiday rental is the perfect place to call home for your Grand Isle trip, offering you comfortable accommodations and easy access to all the island’s attractions.
  • South Burlington, VT: Located off the island, but a quick drive away, the Holiday Inn Express in South Burlington is an easily accessible option for Grand Island visitors.
  • Burlington, VT: If you want a taste of the fascinating Burlington history, the Starlight Inn will provide that for you.

Things To Do in Grand Isle

  • Grand Isle State Park: This 226-acre state park on the island is the perfect place to spend the day enjoying Lake Champlain.
  • Point Au Roche State Park: To the East of the island, Point Au Roche State Park is another park with beaches and great trails.
  • Snow Farm Vineyard & Winery: On the south side of the island, the Snow Farm & Winery offer year-round activities and wine tasting.

10. Finger Lakes, NY

Yellowstone National Park, WY

As much as I love New York because of the city, I also love it because of interesting places like Finger Lakes. This string of 11 lakes in upstate NY is perfect to visit in any season — it’s definitely one of the more unique places to visit in the USA.

Where to Stay in the Finger Lakes

  • Corning, NY: Radisson Hotel Corning is within walking distance to the charm in Corning and also a short drive to Hammondsport and Seneca Lake.
  • Watkins Glen, NY: The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is located right on the lake giving you harbor views.
  • Ithica, NY: The Hotel Ithaca is in the heart of downtown Ithaca in a popular area called The Commons.

Things To Do in the Finger Lakes

  • Explore Wine Country: The Finger Lakes area is home to many wineries dating back to the 1860s.
  • Seneca Lake: Seneca Lake is the biggest of the 11 lakes and is known to be the lake trout capital of the world. For those who enjoy wine, a Seneca Lake Wine Tasting & Tour is a must-do while visiting the crown jewel of New York’s Finger Lakes, which also happens to be an American Viticultural Area housing 27 wineries along its shores.
  • Watkins Glen State Park: Hike the famous Watkins Glen Gorge Trail which will take you past several stunning waterfalls.

11. Montpelier, VT

Santa Fe, NM at sunset

Montpelier is the capital city of Vermont and is a charming city full of museums, parks, and historic architecture. If you visit in the fall, you’ll get some spectacular views of the changing leaves.

Where to Stay in Montpelier

Things To Do in Montpelier

12. Manchester, NH

City skyline from above Asheville, NC

Manchester, located right on the Merrimack River, is a historical Mill Town that has interesting culture and arts. My one visit to the area brought me to fascinating art galleries and some phenomenal east coast cuisine. See also: how to spend a weekend in New Hampshire

Where to Stay in Manchester

Things To Do in Manchester

13. Newport, RI

Miami, FL sea and buildings with reflection on the water

Newport is set on Aquidneck Island right on the harbor and has ornate Gilded Age architecture. The miles of beaches, amazing art, and sailing opportunities make it the ideal East Coast destination.

Where to Stay in Newport

Things To Do in Newport

14. Mystic, CT

Skyline view of Seattle, WA

If you want a taste of early-American history and New England Charm, Mystic is the perfect place to stay. Visitors step back in time and can experience all the best aspects of the East Coast of the United States.

Where to Stay in Mystic

  • Central Mystic: The Taber Inn is a classic East Coast inn, and it’s located less than 1-mile from the Mystic Seaport.
  • Downtown Mystic: The Hilton Mystic is directly across the street from the Mystic Aquarium.
  • The Whaler’s Inn: Right off of I-95, The Whaler’s Inn offers visitors luxurious accommodations in the heart of Mystic, making it the perfect place to stay while exploring this charming New England town.

Things To Do in Mystic

  • Mystic Seaport Museum: Immerse yourself in American maritime heritage from the 1800s. This open-air museum is definitely worth a visit.
  • Olde Mistick Village: Take a step back in time and experience some amazing restaurants, shops, and boutiques in Olde Mistick Village.
  • Go Sailing: The sailing opportunities in Mystic are plentiful. Check out this Seaport Museum Adventure in Mystic.

15. Cape May, NJ

Downtown Savannah, GA

Cape May, New Jersey is a resort-style city on the southern tip of New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula. The Victorian houses and perfect access to Delaware Bay make it a popular place to visit in the USA in the summer.

Where to Stay in Cape May

  • On the Water: The Grand Hotel Cape May is right on the water and has great beach access.
  • Oceanfront: The Mahalo Cape May is right on Cape May Public Beach, and it’s the ideal place to relax at the end of the day.
  • East Cape May: ICONA Cape May is right on the water and offers great ocean views.

Things To Do in Cape May

  • Cape May Lighthouse: Cape May Lighthouse is a massive lighthouse on the coast and it takes 199 steps to reach the top. Check out this dolphin watching cruise in Cape May.
  • Visit the Salt Marsh: The salt marsh is often overlooked. Get a guide and learn about the ecosystem here. It’s the perfect place to visit in the summer.
  • Go to the Beach: Cape May boasts exceptional public beaches that are ideal for swimming and relaxing. Don’t miss the opportunity to go on a dolphin watching breakfast cruise in Cape May.

16. White Mountain National Forest, NH

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

The pristine White Mountain National Forest spreads across New Hampshire and Maine. My visits to this national forest in the fall have been some of my favorite adventures yet due to the stunning colors and peace and quiet I am able to find.

Where to Stay in the White Mountain National Forest

  • Twin Mountain, NH: Carlson’s Lodge is on the edge of the national forest and only 14 miles from Mount Washington.
  • Gorham, NH: The Top Notch Inn is only 15 minutes from the Wildcat Mountain Ski Area in the White Mountain National Forest.
  • Sugar Hill, NH: Make the quaint Sugar Hill Inn your home base when exploring the national forest.

Things To Do in White Mountain National Forest

  • Franconia Notch State Park: Right between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range is the Franconia Notch State Park.
  • Cranmore Mountain Resort: Located in North Conway New Hampshire, this resort is perfect for a ski getaway.
  • Flume Gorge: Within Franconia Notch State Park, make sure you visit this natural granite gorge.

17. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. gives tourists an amazing glimpse into the greatness of the United States. I’ve visited three times, and the historical richness of the city leaves me thankful to live in such an amazing country.

Where to Stay in Washington, D.C.

  • Downtown D.C.: The Willard InterContinental Washington is located right downtown, and it’s the ideal central location for restaurants, museums, and all the best features of the city.
  • Dupont Circle: If you’re after restaurants and nightlife, stay in Dupont Circle at The Dupont Circle Hotel.
  • Georgetown: The Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown is a good place to rub shoulders with prominent lawyers, and politicians and get a glimpse into the reality of D.C.

Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

18. Pittsburgh, PA

Aerial view of Austin, TX and parks

It’s hard to not see the charm in the blue-collar ruggedness of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Interesting museums, botanical gardens, and unique restaurants are found all over America’s 20th-century industrial capital.

Where to Stay in Pittsburgh

Things To Do in Pittsburgh

  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: This green oasis in the heart of Pittsburgh is quite peaceful. Explore Pittsburgh’s top attractions on a 3-hour guided bike tour, covering 4 downtown neighborhoods and scenic river trails.
  • History & Architecture Tour: This fun walking tour of downtown Pittsburgh explores historical landmarks, squares, and art. It’s a great way to see the city. Learn more here.
  • The Andy Warhol Museum: If you’re an Andy Warhol fan, this museum is dedicated entirely to him.

19. Ocean City, MD

Twilight beach view of Ocean City in Maryland

Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City Maryland is an amazing beach town with miles and miles of beaches. The city is the ultimate place to relax during those warm summer months.

Where to Stay In Ocean City

Things to Do In Ocean City

  • Trimper Rides of Ocean City: Just across from the boardwalk, this amusement park is a historic hot spot in Ocean City.
  • Jolly Roger Amusement Park: Discover Ocean City’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene on a guided walking tour through the Midtown District, showcasing the hottest culinary spots and local flavors, while enjoying one of the best water parks in the country.
  • Ocean City Beach: Ocean City Beach is the 10-mile public beach you must visit. Embark on an adventurous parasailing experience over the Atlantic for a stunning view of Maryland’s coastline.

Best Places in The Southeast

The Southeast is a great mix of American History and new infrastructure. Visitors are blessed with the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Countless activities will lead to a lifetime of memories.

United States, geographic regions, colored political map. Five regions, according to their geographic position on the continent. Common but unofficial way of referring to regions of the United States.

20. New Orleans, LA

Street View of New Orleans, LA

No place in the world is as unique as New Orleans. I absolutely loved the live music, the melding of cultures, and the insanely delicious food. The festivals in NOLA, the fun cocktail bars, partying on Bourbon Street, and going on a Swamp Tour are just a few fun things to do in New Orleans that you won’t want to miss.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

Things To Do in New Orleans

  • French Quarter: The French Quarter is a must-visit; the food, culture, and excitement are like no other place on earth. Be sure to take a walking and storytelling tour in the French Quarter.
  • National World War II Museum: Experience the fascinating history of World War II at this museum, featuring a massive D-Day exhibit that is well worth a visit. Don’t forget to get your ticket for The National WWII Museum to complete your trip.
  • Café Du Monde: The café is known as one of the most famous and delicious coffee houses in the country. Check out this food history tour in Café Du Monde.

21. Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC beautiful oaks avenue view

Year after year, Charleston wins the best small city in the United States. Since it was founded in 1670, many of the cobblestone streets and antebellum houses are still in place, so the charm of the city is hard to beat.

Where to Stay in Charleston

Things To Do in Charleston

22. Savannah, GA

Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA

Savannah is a lovely historical town with classic architecture, and hip shops all surrounded by trees covered in Spanish moss. It feels as if you’re entering a previous time period when you step foot in the city. Whether you’re visiting Savannah for a weekend, a week, or a month, you’ll be in awe of how pretty it is.

Where to Stay in Savannah

  • Historic District: The Hamilton-Turner Inn is set in the beautiful pre-Civil War section of the city near cobblestone streets and restaurants.
  • City Market: The Andaz Savannah sits in the four-block open-air market that’s existed since the 1700s.
  • Tybee Island: Admiral’s Inn on Tybee Island is set on the small barrier island that holds South Beach as well as Fort Screven.

Things To Do in Savannah

23. Miami, FL

A beautiful view of the sign at Miami beach in Miami, FL

Recently, Miami has blossomed into the premier Florida beach destination. Perfect weather, world-class restaurants, and pristine beaches are around every corner. It’s an excellent place to visit in the winter months when the northern part of the country is freezing.

Where to Stay in Miami

  • South Beach: The Setai Miami Beach gives visitors the perfect access to the ocean as well as fine dining options.
  • Downtown Miami: InterContinental Miami offers views of Biscayne Bay near Miami’s business district.
  • Brickell: EAST Miami has plenty of pools, a restaurant, and perfect access to Miami’s financial district.

Things To Do in Miami

24. Nashville, TN

nightlife in Nashville, TN

Since 2020, Nashville has seen massive growth in all of its industries, but it hasn’t lost the small-town charm that has kept people coming to it every year. This is one of the best places to travel in the US for music and good times! On my several visits, I do my best to enjoy the amazing live music and famous restaurants.

Where to Stay in Nashville

Things To Do in Nashville

  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: The Country Music Hall of Fame is amazing and filled with all of the greatest artifacts in country music. If you’re a fan of country music, be sure to check out admission options for this iconic museum. This is one of the most popular things to do in Nashville.
  • Ryman Auditorium: See a show at the world-famous Ryman Auditorium; it’s filled with history. To fully appreciate this iconic venue, consider taking a self-guided tour in Nashville.
  • Broadway Street: Broadway Street is the primary location for all of the best bars and restaurants. To fully explore this vibrant area, hop on a Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour and experience all that Broadway has to offer.

25. Asheville, NC

Skyline View with Green Space

Asheville is located right in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains, and it’s known for historic buildings and fancy architecture. There are lots of things to do in Asheville to keep you busy. I’ve stayed in Asheville many times on my East Coast fly fishing trips, and I always appreciate how welcoming the city is.

Where to Stay in Asheville

Things To Do in Asheville

  • Biltmore Estate: The Biltmore Estate was once owned by the Vanderbilt family, and it’s filled with an amazing history. To take in the full grandeur of this iconic landmark, don’t miss out on the scenic helicopter experience.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: This 429-mile road offers all of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For an up-close and personal experience of the natural beauty, consider taking a Blue Ridge Parkway hiking tour during your visit.
  • Downtown Asheville: You’ll never tire of the friendly people, tasty restaurants, and varied stores downtown; I always enjoy people-watching here. To add to the fun, consider taking a walking tour in Downtown Asheville and discovering the city’s rich culture and delicious craft beer scene.

26. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC

View of fog over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the only free national parks in the country, and the 500,000 acres are gorgeous. I’ve spent many nights backpacking and fly fishing in the boundaries of this park.

Where to Stay near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Gatlinburg, TN: Greystone Lodge on the River is a 3-minute walk from the center of this historic city.
  • Pigeon Forge, TN: The Inn On The River offers great views of the Smoky Mountains and access to the Little Pigeon River.
  • Cherokee, NC: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort gives you a chance to be outside during the day, and enjoy some gambling at night.

Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Clingmans Dome: Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park standing at 6,600 feet. To explore this natural wonder at your own pace, consider taking a Great Smoky Mountains National Park self driving tour and experience the stunning views along the way.
  • Alum Cave Trail: This 5-mile trail of Alum Cave is one of my favorites in the entire park.
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This 6.6 miles one-way loop gives a true Smoky Mountains experience. To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the park, consider taking a self driving tour along the loop.

27. Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach is to thank for the start of the United States since it was where the Jamestown colonists arrived in 1607. This coastal city is filled with great restaurants and beach access and we made it our home base when we were exploring all of the greater Virginia historical sights.

Where to Stay in Virginia Beach

Things To Do in Virginia Beach

  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk: The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a 3-mile-long boardwalk right along the beach.
  • Ziplining: Go ziplining over the wetlands! Learn about the ecosystem here while flying along 1200-foot-long lines. This is fun for the whole family and no experience is necessary.
  • Military Aviation Museum: The Military Aviation Museum is filled with amazing history, and it’s one of my top-5 favorite museums I’ve ever visited.

28. Outer Banks, NC

Outer Banks, NC at sunrise with pier in the horizon

Thanks to the recent popularity of Outer Banks on Netflix, these barrier islands are gaining attention. Separating the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland, the beaches and diving sites make it an exceptional place to visit in the United States.

Where to Stay in Outer Banks

Things To Do in Outer Banks

29. Birmingham, AL

park and city view of Birmingham, AL

Birmingham is one of the most history-rich cities in the entire country. There’s no shortage of museums, classic restaurants, and deep cultural roots to experience.

Where to Stay in Birmingham

  • Downtown Birmingham: The Mint House Birmingham downtown is located in the heart of the ‘Magic City’, and visitors have access to all of the best restaurants here.
  • Homewood: Aloft Birmingham Soho Square is the commuter suburb of Homewood that’s also the home of Red Mountain Park which has great trails.
  • Mountain Brook: Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook is a boutique hotel near the Birmingham Zoo, botanical gardens as well as Brookwood Village, a fashion square.

Things To Do in Birmingham

  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: If you want a glimpse of the 1963 Birmingham campaign, the Civil Rights Institute is the place to see it. I highly recommend taking a Birmingham Civil Rights Tour in addition to visiting the informative exhibits at the Civil Rights Institute.
  • McWane Science Center: The Birmingham Science Center has some of the best displays in the entire state. Get discounted admission to top-rated Birmingham attractions with the Birmingham Area Multi-Attraction Pass, including the Civil Rights Institute and Sloss Furnaces.
  • Red Mountain Park: This 1,500-acre urban park is ideal for mountain biking and hiking.

30. Chattanooga, TN

civil war era cannon overlooking Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga is in the Appalachian Mountain foothills and is set along the Tennessee River. It’s a picturesque city with the charm of a smaller, eclectic town.

Where to Stay in Chattanooga

  • Downtown Chattanooga: The Read House is in the Chattanooga City Center near the aquarium and close to all the best eateries in Chattanooga.
  • North Shore: The Edwin Hotel, Autograph Collection is in the midst of independent clothing stores, restaurants, gastropubs, and great walking trails that North Shore has to offer.
  • Lookout Mountain: The TownePlace Suites by Marriott is a good place to start your exploration of Rock City, the Incline Railway train ride, and Ruby Falls.

Things To Do in Chattanooga

  • Explore by Segway: Check out the historic downtown, the Dome Building, Tivoli Theatre, and Ross Landing by Segway. This is a popular way to experience the downtown area of Chattanooga. For a truly unforgettable experience, consider adding a private helicopter tour of Downtown Chattanooga.
  • Lookout Mountain: Ride the Incline Railway when you’re visiting Lookout Mountain; it’s one of the best train rides in the country, and for a complete experience of Lookout Mountain’s breathtaking views and rich history, consider taking a full-day tour of Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain.
  • Rock City Gardens: The rock formations, caves, and gardens make this 1-mile walk a must-see. Experience a guided tour in Chattanooga and witness a mountain, ancient rock formations, and stunning natural vistas.

31. Colonial Williamsburg, VA

street view of homes and trees in Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is a flashback to the Revolutionary War era with phenomenal living-history museums and amazing family-friendly fun. I have been several times with my family, and I absolutely loved learning all about the former capital of Virginia Colony.

Where to Stay in Williamsburg

Things To Do in Williamsburg

  • Colonial Williamsburg: Seeing horse-drawn carriages, museums, and historical sites are some of my fondest memories with my family, and for an immersive experience of America’s colonial history, consider adding Colonial Williamsburg to your itinerary.
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Busch Gardens is one of the best theme parks in the United States, and for a thrilling adventure, be sure to add a Busch Gardens Williamsburg trip to experience world-class roller coasters, thrilling rides, and incredible shows.
  • Jamestown Settlement: Visit the Jamestown Settlement and learn about life in the 17th century in America, and for a comprehensive tour of the area’s rich colonial history, consider booking the Colonial Williamsburg and Historical Triangle tour to your itinerary.

32. Gulf Shores, AL

I’ll always think highly of Gulf Shores because of the spring break golf trip I took there in college. It has the best of everything: beaches, hiking trails, and golf courses.

Where to Stay in Gulf Shores

Things To Do in Gulf Shores

33. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

View down a dark cave spiral in Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

Mammoth Cave National Park is a place full of history as it is home to the world’s longest cave system. Not only are there caves to explore, but there’s also hiking, kayaking, fishing, and camping.

Where to Stay near Mammoth Cave National Park

  • Cave City, KY: Holiday Inn Express & Suites is just minutes away from the entrance to the park and is a perfect place for families to stay.
  • Bowling Green, KY: Hyatt Place Bowling Green is located 30 miles south of the national park and is conveniently located in a bigger town with more things to do.
  • Park City, KY: The Grand Victorian Inn is a historic bed and breakfast in Park City, with charming guest rooms featuring antique decor and modern amenities. It’s near Mammoth Cave National Park and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Things To Do in Mammoth Cave National Park

  • Mammoth Cave Tour: Mammoth Cave tours can be anywhere between 1-6 hours and are informational and adventurous.
  • Green River Ferry: The Green River Ferry runs year-round and shuttles hikers, bikers, and vehicles across the Green River.
  • Hiking Trails: There are 18 miles of trails on the south side of the park and 60 miles on the north side.

34. Hot Springs, AR

city aerial view of Hot Springs, AK

Hot Springs is one of my favorite places to adventure. The fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and general kindness of the people in the city is unlike any other outdoor town I’ve ever experienced.

Where to Stay in Hot Springs

  • Downtown Hot Springs: The Embassy Suites in Hot Springs gives perfect access to restaurants, bars, and other top attractions downtown.
  • Euclid Heights: The Holiday Inn Express is on the East side of Hot Springs in a bit quieter and more relaxed area.
  • Emerald Isle Resort: Located right on Lake Hamilton, Emerald Isle Resort is perfect for those who want entertaining water activities.

Things To Do in Hot Springs

35. Myrtle Beach, SC

aerial view of Myrtle Beach, SC at sunset

Located in the heart of 60 miles of beaches, Myrtle Beach is the perfect place to unwind and relax. Five trips of mine have revolved around these beaches, nearby golf courses, and phenomenal restaurants.

Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach

  • Downtown Myrtle Beach: Homewood Suites by Hilton is an oceanfront property right in the midst of the lively downtown near restaurants and bars.
  • North Myrtle Beach: Club Wyndham Ocean Boulevard is in the midst of the quieter, more family-friendly feel of North Myrtle Beach.
  • The Market Common: Residence Inn by Marriott is close to Myrtle Beach State Park and it’s a great place to see a movie, go bowling, or rent bikes for the day.

Things To Do in Myrtle Beach

  • Broadway at the Beach: This shopping center and entertainment complex is in the heart of Myrtle Beach, and for a night of world-class theater, be sure to add a ticket to a show at the Broadway Theater to your itinerary.
  • Enjoy the Beach: There are miles and miles of beaches in either direction of Myrtle Beach to enjoy, and after a day in the sun, be sure to stop by the Hard Rock Café for some delicious food and live music in a vibrant atmosphere.
  • Myrtle Beach State Park: The 312-acre park offers great beaches and a rich history, making it a must-visit destination. If you have time, consider taking a tour of Charleston from Myrtle Beach, where you can experience the city’s charming architecture and fascinating museums.

36. St. Augustine, FL

Fort Matanzas in St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine, found on the Northeast coast of Florida, is a Spanish-style city that claims to be the oldest city in the United States. The history and Atlantic Ocean beaches are hard to beat.

Where to Stay in St. Augustine

Things To Do in St. Augustine

  • Castillo de San Marcos: This is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, and it’s a great place to spend a few hours. Check out this trolley tour with museum entry in St. Augustine.
  • St. George Street: This is the main street of the city with restaurants, galleries and all the shopping you would like. One great way to explore this vibrant street is by taking a leisurely walking tour.
  • Anastasia State Park: Spend as much time as possible at the beaches of St. Augustine. Discover marine life on a kayak tour – a must-try adventure.

37. Stone Mountain Park, GA

If you want to escape the business of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is the place to do it. The 3,200 acres of natural beauty have outdoor activities, rides and yearly festivals the whole family can enjoy.

Where to Stay near Stone Mountain Park

  • Stone Mountain, GA: Atlanta Evergreen Lakeside Resort is in the Stone Mountain Park forest as well as has two golf courses.
  • Stone Mountain, GA: Country Inn & Suites is another good option around 10 minutes outside of the park.
  • Snellville, GA: Hampton Inn & Suites is around 11 miles from the park entrance and it’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of adventuring.

Things To Do in Stone Mountain Park

  • SkyHike: The family adventure course is perfect for those looking for a thrilling experience with SkyHike.
  • Skyride to the Top of Stone Mountain: This gondola ride gives you a great view of the surrounding area. Check out this Stone Mountain Park tour on your visit.
  • Historic Square: The 18th and 19th-century buildings are a great glimpse into America’s history found in the Historic Square in Stone Mountain Park.

38. Kiawah Island, SC

Aligator in Kiawah Island, SC

A trip to Kiawah Island gives visitors a chance to rest in luxury. My one trip to the island gave me a chance to play some of the best golf courses and sit on some of the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen.

Where to Stay on Kiawah Island

  • Freshfields Village: The Andell Inn is under 1-mile from Bohicket Marina and Market, and it’s a perfect peaceful retreat.
  • Kiawah, SC: Mariner’s Watch Villas has beautiful rooms on the island within a few hundred feet of the beach.
  • Kiawah, SC: Windswept Villas on Kiawah offer ocean views and offer visitors their own piece of paradise.

Things To Do on Kiawah Island

  • Freshfields Village: This area of 30 shops has great restaurants, spas, and a boutique hotel like Andell Inn.
  • Play Golf: Kiawah Island has numerous courses for guests to play and experience the low country and one of them is located at Kiawah Resort.
  • Enjoy the Beach: Beachwalker County Park is the primary public beach access on the island.

Best Places in The Midwest

Growing up in the Midwest, I never appreciated it being referenced as “flyover country.” This region of the United States offers amazing cities, outdoor activities, and a slower lifestyle that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Tourist attractions are far less busy, and the people are friendly.

39. Chicago, IL

The river area. One of our favorite parts of Chicago, IL

I’ve spent many summer nights and cold winter days in the city of Chicago. The phenomenal food, historic sites, and vast array of activities keep me coming back to the Windy City as much as I can. No cities in the Midwest compare to Chicago, it’s one of the best places to visit in the USA for sure.

Where to Stay in Chicago

  • Magnificent Mile: The Langham Chicago is the ideal place to stay on the Magnificent Mile with all of the shopping, restaurants, and classic Chicago atmosphere.
  • The Loop: The Loop is the epicenter of Chicago with the RiverWalk, Art Institute, Cloud Gate, and a variety of other attractions, so stay at the JW Marriott Chicago when you visit.
  • Wicker Park: The Robey in Wicker Park is the best place to stay if you’re going to see a show or just eat at one of the many famous restaurants.

Things To Do in Chicago

  • Navy Pier: Navy Pier is the best place to go on a summer night to feel the cool breeze off of Lake Michigan. I always visit the pier when I go to Chicago. Check out this express ticket to experience Navy Pier and the Chicago skyline.
  • Millennium Park: Millennium Park is a 25-acre park with some of my favorite running trails in the city, and it’s located right in the heart of The Loop. Check out this lakefront Segway tour of Chicago and you’ll be able to see all the main sights along the shoreline.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-famous museum that will entertain you for hours on end. It’s one of my favorite date spots. Tour the Art Institute of Chicago and experience world-famous art.

40. Mackinac Island, MI

Fort Mackinac view with ocean and cannon

My first-ever trip to Michigan involved a stop on Mackinac Island. This bike-friendly island is filled with amazing history, great fudge, and all the charm of a small Michigan town.

Where to Stay on Mackinac Island

  • Downtown Mackinac Island: Downtown Mackinac Island looks like something out of a movie with quaint shops and perfectly manicured greenery. Stay at the world-famous Grand Hotel for a true Mackinac experience.
  • Mission Point: The Mission Point Resort is a seasonal hotel that’s the perfect spot for families with pools and direct lake access.
  • Lake Shore Drive: Lake Shore Drive is the road that stretches around Mackinac Island, so anywhere you stay is going to have lake views. Hotel Iroquois is a personal favorite of mine.

Things To Do on Mackinac Island

  • Fort Mackinac: Fort Mackinac was used by both the French and British in the War of 1812, and I absolutely loved the tour and history I learned while visiting. Taking a tour to Mackinac Island is worth considering.
  • Biking around the Island: Biking around Mackinac Island is one of the fondest memories I have of my family, so it’s highly recommended.
  • Mackinac Island State Park: Mackinac Island State Park actually has 70 miles of roads and trails for people to explore.

41. Wisconsin Dells, WI

Man standing in an enormous canyon in Wisconsin Dells, WI

Being born and raised in Minnesota, I spent countless spring breaks, weekends, and bachelor parties at the Wisconsin Dells. The water parks, golf, and family-friendly activities make the Dells one of the premier tourist destinations in the upper Midwest.

Where to Stay in Wisconsin Dells

Things To Do in Wisconsin Dells

  • Noah’s Ark Waterpark: Noah’s Ark Waterpark is the biggest waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, and it’s my personal favorite with over 50 slides for people to enjoy.
  • Go Golfing: The natural landscape and championship golf courses here are surrounded by pines and storne outcroppings. The Wisconsin Dells golf course is great for beginners or advanced golfers.
  • The Kalahari: The Kalahari is another amazing waterpark people must visit. Check out this vintage trolley tour for a ride to the most spooky spots in town

42. Kansas City, MO

A view of a park and statue overlooking Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO has managed to keep a small-town feel in the midst of a big city with a phenomenal downtown. I’ve visited Kansas City countless times for Sporting KC games and to enjoy amazing BBQ.

Where to Stay in Kansas City

  • Downtown Kansas City: Downtown Kansas City offers visitors a chance to walk and spend time in one of the most interesting downtowns in the country, so stay at the Hotel Kansas City- The Unbound Collection when you visit.
  • Village West: The Truitt Hotel in Village West is the largest entertainment area in Kansas city with parks and shops.
  • Midtown-Westport: Midtown- Westport has great breweries, boutiques, and other local features, so it’s best to stay at the Aloft Country Club Plaza while there.

Things To Do in Kansas City

43. Indianapolis, IN

Street view with street lights Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, Indiana acts as the capital of Indiana, and it’s a clean, fun city that I’ve visited three times. I’m a big NFL fan, so I visited during the NFL combine and loved my experience in the city.

Where to Stay in Indianapolis

  • Downtown Indianapolis: The Westin Indianapolis is the best place to stay downtown due to its proximity to great steakhouses and bars.
  • Broad Ripple: Hotel Broad Ripple is in the heart of the laid-back, casual neighborhood that is Broad Ripple.
  • Carmel: Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel is located in Carmel which is a suburb north of Indianapolis that has great bike paths and parks for families to explore.

Things To Do in Indianapolis

44. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD

Mount Rushmore is a required stop for Midwest road trips and is one of the more popular places to see in the United States. I’ve visited the memorial over a dozen times on my way to other Black Hills adventures, and I love learning about the creation process, and the impact the four presidents had, and I always stop to get the ice cream on my way out of it.

Where to Stay near Mount Rushmore

Things To Do at Mount Rushmore

45. Branson, MO

waterfall in Branson, MO

One of my earliest memories was my family trip to Branson, Missouri. Since then, I’ve visited a few times. This Ozark town is filled with phenomenal family activities, amusement parks, theaters, museums, and underrated outdoor adventures.

Where to Stay in Branson

Things To Do in Branson

46. Door County, WI

Door County sunrise beautiful view

If you’re interested in a romantic weekend of hiking, relaxing, and sightseeing on Lake Michigan, Door County is one of the best places in the Midwest to do this. I’ve visited several times in the fall, and the colors are absolutely amazing.

Where to Stay in Door County

  • Sturgeon Bay: Best Western Maritime Inn is a great place right in the heart of Door County with great lake views and all the stores you would need.
  • Fish Creek: The Peninsula Park-View Resort is the perfect place to stay nearby the hundreds of miles of trails around the waters of Green Bay.
  • Egg Harbor: The Landing Resort is a beautiful resort in the small, waterside village in Wisconsin.

Things To Do in Door County

47. Sioux Falls, SD

gorgeous long-shutter photo of the waterfall at Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls, South Dakota is a growing town on the East side of South Dakota. I went to college an hour from the city, so we spent many days and nights exploring Falls Park, eating at phenomenal restaurants on a food tour, and enjoying the relaxed feel of the city.

Where to Stay in Sioux Falls

  • Downtown: The Hotel On Phillips in downtown Sioux Falls is right next to amazing restaurants and close to the famous Falls Park.
  • East Sioux Falls: East Sioux Falls is a more residential part of town and the GLō Vest Western Dawley Farms is the perfect place to stay next to the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum.
  • North Sioux Falls: North Sioux Falls is a growing part of town with Great Shots and other family activities, so be sure to stay at the Sheraton Hotel & Convention Center.

Things To Do in Sioux Falls

  • Falls Park: Falls Park is a 128-acre park to explore and observe the numerous Big Sioux River waterfalls.
  • Go for a Beer: There are quite a few breweries in downtown Sioux Falls. Check out Woodgrain Brewing Co. for a fun atmosphere and excellent brews.
  • Great Bear Ski Valley: If you’re looking for some Midwest skiing, Great Bear is the ideal place to do it.

48. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH

Black Hills, SD

Cuyahoga Valley National Park lies on the Cuyahoga River and covers 33,000 acres of land. This small park is close to Cleveland and is filled with 125 miles of hiking trails and fishing and even has a scenic train ride.

Where to Stay near Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • Cleveland, OH: The Westin Cleveland Downtown is around 25 minutes from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it’s right next to all that downtown Cleveland has to offer.
  • Akron, OH: The Hilton Akron/Fairlawn is about 15 minutes from the park, and offers a smaller-town feel that’s well-respected.
  • Peninsula, OH: The Sheraton Suites Akron is a unique hotel as it offers a stay in the middle of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Things To Do at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • Bike or Hike the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail: This 87-mile trail is perfect for a long walk, run, or bike ride.
  • Take a Scenic Train Ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: This train ride gives visitors a full tour of the park and all of its beauty.
  • Visit Brandywine Falls: Brandywine Falls is a 1.5-mile hike within Cuyahoga Valley National Park that features a waterfall.

49. Black Hills, SD

Black Hills, SD Mountain Goat

The Black Hills of South Dakota is the best-kept secret in the entire United States. The 1 million acres of pine forests and mountains were my home for two summers, and I adored the fishing, hiking, climbing, and biking opportunities the area presented.

Where to Stay in the Black Hills

  • Hill City: Hill City is the ideal central location for visits to the Black Hills, so be sure to stay at the Alpine Inn if you want a little taste of Black Hills’ history.
  • Deadwood: Deadwood was where Wild Bill Hickok was shot, so it’s filled with great Hills history and the Bullock Hotel is the best place to stay.
  • Custer: Custer is a quaint tourist town with tasty restaurants and fun stores. The Bavarian Inn is a good place to call home.

Things To Do in the Black Hills

50. Holland, MI

view of the beach and lighthouse at Holland, MI

Holland, Michigan brings a bit of Netherlands culture to the United States. I’ve visited Holland numerous times and enjoyed my time walking downtown, visiting the numerous Lake Michigan beaches in the summer, and skiing through the massive winter snows.

Where to Stay in Holland

  • Downtown Holland: CityFlatsHotel in Holland is the best place to call home while you’re exploring the many restaurants, breweries, and local shops close to the water.
  • Lake Michigan Shoreline: No trip to Holland is complete without a visit to the Lake Michigan Shoreline, so Lake Shore Resort is your home.
  • Holland State Park: Holland State Park has awesome sand dunes and great access to the lake, so stay at The Beach House at Lake Street for the best views.

Things To Do in Holland

  • Visit the Windmill Island Gardens: Windmill Island Gardens is a 36-acre park with the only working Dutch windmill in the United States.
  • Relax on Holland State Park Beach: Holland State Park is 142 acres and has amazing beaches to relax.
  • Explore the Holland Farmers Market: The Holland Farmers Market happens the first and third Saturday of the month downtown, and the blueberry donuts are amazing.

51. Lake Michigan Shoreline, MI

Lake Michigan Shoreline, MI

There are all sorts of charming towns along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. I’ve spent many summer nights making my way up and down the shore enjoying sunsets and in the off-season, the crisp, cool weather.

Where to Stay on Lake Michigan Shoreline

  • Grand Haven, MI: Grand Haven is a charming small town right on the water and the Harbor House Inn offers a great Michigan experience.
  • St. Joseph, MI: St. Joseph is another classic Lake Michigan town, and The Boulevard Inn & Bistro is the perfect place to stay.
  • Holland, MI: Holland, Michigan is one of the most charming small towns in the country and Lake Shore Resort will give you a great experience.

Things To Do on Lake Michigan Shoreline

52. Minneapolis, MN

bridge and city view at sunset in Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis is a massively underrated part of the Midwest. The live music venues, theaters, trails, restaurants, and diverse culture make me miss my hometown every day. I was spoiled for 20 years when exploring this city.

Where to Stay in Minneapolis

  • Downtown Minneapolis: Downtown Minneapolis prioritizes local businesses, so after you visit a shop or restaurant stay at the Hotel Ivy, a Luxury Collection Hotel Minneapolis.
  • Uptown: Uptown has recently taken over as the section of Minneapolis with great nightlife, so the Moxy Minneapolis Uptown is a good place to make a home base.
  • North Loop: The North Loop is an integral part of Minneapolis’s history, boasting old restaurants and unique shops that are a must-see. During your visit, consider staying at Hewing Hotel, which can be your home for a few days.

Things To Do in Minneapolis

  • Visit the Mall of America: The Mall of America is one of the biggest indoor malls in the world, and it has a large amusement park inside.
  • Explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: When the weather finally turns warm, the sculpture garden is the place to walk and enjoy art from legendary Minnesota artists. Check out this walking tour in Minneapolis.
  • Walk or Bike around Chain of Lakes: The Chain of Lakes is the ideal place to walk, run or bike with a view of the city.

53. Brainerd, Minnesota

ice fishing competition in the winter in Brainerd, Minnesota

Cabin and resort culture is a big part of what makes Minnesota special. I grew up going to our cabin in the Brainerd area for years, and absolutely love the fishing, boating, hunting, golfing, and biking opportunities it presents.

Where to Stay near Brainerd

  • Grand View Lodge: Grand View Lodge is north of Brainerd a few miles, but it provides the full northern Minnesota experience.
  • Madden’s on Gull Lake: Madden’s on Gull Lake is another family-friendly resort with beach access, pools, and a golf course.
  • Cragun’s Resort: Cragun’s Resort is a lakeside resort with a golf course, boat rentals, and entire cabins for rent.

Things To Do in Brainerd

  • Visit Gull Lake: Gull Lake is a 15-square-mile lake with tubing, fishing, wakeboarding, and plenty of beach access.
  • Bike the Paul Bunyan Trail: The Paul Bunyan Trail is 115-mile paved bike trail that’s ideal for walking, biking, and running.
  • Visit the Arboretum: This is a great place to spend the day with family. This non-profit offers events, trail systems, and gardens, all while educating visitors on protecting the natural environment.

54. Traverse City, MI

Aerial coastal view of the harbor in Traverse City, MI

Traverse City, MI is an outdoor adventurers paradise in the northern part of the state along Lake Michigan. My two visits to Traverse City in the summer have been filled with fly fishing, hiking, and camping.

Where to Stay in Traverse City

  • Downtown Traverse City: Downtown Traverse City is a charming small town with restaurants and shopping, and Hotel Indigo Traverse City makes for the perfect home base.
  • East Bay: East Bay is a resort community along the shores of Lake Michigan, and the best place to stay is at the Grand Beach Resort Hotel.
  • Old Mission Peninsula: The Chateau Chantal is located on the Old Mission Peninsula that juts out into Suttons Bay.

Things To Do in Traverse City

  • Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Sleeping Bear Dunes in Traverse City is one of the few places in the United States with easy beach camping. Check out this tour of Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan.
  • Visit the Traverse City Wine Region: The Traverse City Wine Region consists of 40 different wineries. Check out this wine tour in Traverse City.
  • Take a Scenic Drive on M-22: The towering forests and gorgeous Lake Michigan views make M-22 a hard drive to beat.

55. Ohio Amish Country, OH

Ohio Amish Country, OH horse and buggy on the road in town

Ohio’s Amish Country is the perfect place to unplug and get away from the business of everyday life. The relaxed culture, phenomenal food, and picturesque scenery make Amish Country a hidden gem.

Where to Stay in Ohio Amish Country

  • Berlin, OH: The Berlin Grande Hotel is located right in the heart of Amish Country and is 1-mile from the Mennonite Heritage Center.
  • Sugarcreek, OH: The Inn at Honey Run is a boutique resort in the heart of Amish Country and sits on 56 acres open to exploring.
  • Millersburg, OH: The Hotel Millersburg was built in 1830, and it’s in the midst of Amish Country.

Things To Do in Ohio Amish Country

  • Tour Amish Country By Horse and Buggy: The horse and buggy tours give visitors a true Amish Country experience.
  • Visit Amish Country Flea Markets and Shops: Amish materials and goods are always extremely well-made, so any artifact from the Flea Markets and Shops will be a good purchase.
  • Try Authentic Amish Food: Whether it’s creamy mashed potatoes or homemade jam, authentic Amish food is delicious.

56. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

beautiful sunset photo of the city skyline in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and it’s well-known for breweries, restaurants, and good old-fashioned Midwestern fun. It was only a few hours from my hometown, so I went to see numerous sporting events and experience all the fun things Milwaukee has to offer.

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

  • Downtown Milwaukee: The Pfister Hotel in Downtown Milwaukee is in the heart of all the great restaurants and art museums.
  • Walkers Point: Walker’s Point is the best part of Milwaukee to visit if you’re wanting nightlife and more trendy restaurants. Stay at the Iron Horse Hotel while here.
  • Historic Third Ward: The Historic Third Ward is a fun section of town filled with breweries, shops, and restaurants that are all close to the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel.

Things To Do in Milwaukee

57. Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota icy lakeside sunset view

Duluth is arguably the best place in Minnesota due to the restaurants and museums as well as the proximity to Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest. I grew up spending hours and hours of my life fishing Superior tributaries and hiking through the Superior National Forest.

Where to Stay in Duluth

Things To Do in Duluth

  • Park Point: On warm days, Park Point is the perfect place to jump in Lake Superior. Check out this helicopter tour over Duluth.
  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is a great place to hike and learn more about the history of Lake Superior.
  • Walk Along the Canal and Lakewalk: this popular area is home to Lakewalk, a promenade with walking and biking trails that winds through the waterfront area past shops and restaurants.

58. Wisconsin Great River Road, WI

closeup shot of a bald eagle flying over Wisconsin Great River Road, WI

The Great River Road in Wisconsin travels right along the historic Mississippi River. Growing up, I fished all along the river in the over 30 historic river towns found along the highway. The high bluffs and small towns offer a picture of American history.

Where to Stay along the Wisconsin Great River Road

  • La Crosse, WI: The Charmant Hotel in La Crosse is in the perfect location to explore this historic Mississippi River Valley town.
  • Prairie du Chien, WI: The Waterfront Hotel in Prairie du Chien gives visitors a great glimpse into life in small-town Wisconsin.
  • Alma, WI: If you want history, the Hotel de Ville is the ideal place to stay for some of the French culture in Alma.

Things To Do along the Wisconsin Great River Road

  • Take a Scenic Drive along the Mississippi River: The two 250-mile highways are filled with amazing scenery.
  • Visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN: This non-profit organization offers visitors a deep dive into Bald and Golden Eagles.
  • Explore the Effigy Mounds National Monument: The Effigy Mounds National Monument showcases pre-Columbian Mounds that were built in the first Millennium.

Best Places In The Southwest

The American Southwest is currently my home. I live in the greater Phoenix area and spend the majority of my time exploring all that this region of the country has to offer. The gorgeous red rocks, wide open expanses, towering peaks, and unique desert landscapes offer visitors a phenomenal outdoor experience.

United States, geographic regions, colored political map. Five regions, according to their geographic position on the continent. Common but unofficial way of referring to regions of the United States.

59. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

The fiery colors of Grand Canyon National Park, AZ at sunset

The Grand Canyon quickly became my favorite place in the Southwest after I lived there for 3 months in 2018. Now that I live in Phoenix, I try to get there as much at least twice a year to hike the magnificent and challenging Canyon.

Where to Stay near the Grand Canyon

  • South Rim Village: The El Tovar Hotel is a lovely and historic place to stay that is just steps away from the edge of the Canyon.
  • Tusayan: The Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is located less than 10 minutes from the entrance to the National Park.
  • Williams, AZ: The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a historic hotel that has been around since the 60s. If you stay here, you’ll just be an hour’s drive to the Grand Canyon.

Things To Do in Grand Canyon National Park

  • Take a Scenic Helicopter Tour over the Grand Canyon: Taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon gives you epic views and a perspective you can’t get any other way. Check out this helicopter tour in Grand Canyon from South Rim.
  • Hike the Bright Angel Trail: The Bright Angel Trail is the most popular trail at the Canyon giving you more beautiful views the further you go. Check out this hiking adventure along Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.
  • Watch the Sunset at Hopi Point: Watch the sunset at Hopi Point and watch the Canyon change shape and colors as the sun sets. Check out this day tour to the Grand Canyon and Sedona to watch the golden sunset.

60. San Antonio, TX

the river walk San Antonio, TX

San Antonio is a beautiful city known for its iconic River Walk and the historic Alamo. The two times I visited, I loved exploring on foot and taking in the city’s charm.

Where to Stay in San Antonio

  • Downtown San Antonio: The St. Anthony Luxury Collection Hotel is located in the heart of downtown San Antonio and gives you a central location to parks, dining, the River Walk, and the Alamo.
  • River Walk: Hotel Valencia Riverwalk overlooks the River Walk-making it a perfect place for a romantic getaway.
  • Alamo Heights: The Emily Morgan Hotel is located just steps away from the Alamo keeping you close to the city’s history.

Things To Do in San Antonio

61. Austin, TX

flowers in a massive field near Austin, TX

On my one visit to the capital city of Texas, I got a complete taste of what the city offers: live music, tasty food, and natural parks for swimming and hiking. There are many things to see and do in Austin, it’s a great place to visit for a weekend, or longer.

Where to Stay in Austin

  • Downtown Austin: The Driskill is located in the heart of downtown Austin and is within walking distance of the capitol building and to the Austin Convention Center.
  • South Congress (SoCo): South Congress Hotel is a charming boutique hotel located on the infamous Congress Ave close to any restaurants and shops you could want.
  • East Austin: The East Austin Hotel is conveniently located in the center of Austin. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include the Austin Convention Center, the Capitol Building, and the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas.

Things To Do in Austin

  • Listen to Live Music at Austin’s Music Venues: Consider visiting the Moody Center or the Bass Concert Hall for some of the best music. Check out this live music crawl in Austin.
  • Visit the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion: Learn more about the history of Texas by visiting the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, and you’ll also see some impressive architecture dating back to 1854. Check out the best of Austin walking tour.
  • Kayak or Paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake: Enjoy expansive views of Austin as you paddle or kayak down Lady Bird Lake. Take a look at this kayaking tour through Downtown Austin.

62. Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM at sunset

Santa Fe, New Mexico is a hidden gem in the United States. Many of my road trips include a stop in Santa Fe for the quiet mountain activities and amazing Native American culture. It always gives me something new to do.

Where to Stay in Santa Fe

  • Downtown Santa Fe: Stay at the La Fonda on the Plaza hotel when you visit quirky and historical downtown Santa Fe.
  • Railyard Arts District: The Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe is a great place to explore the contemporary art galleries located in warehouse buildings in the Railyard Arts District; it’s one of the coolest art centers I’ve seen in the country.
  • Canyon Road: Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado when visiting over 100 galleries, restaurants, and boutiques in this half-mile stretch of Santa Fe.

Things To Do in Santa Fe

  • Santa Fe Plaza: Santa Fe Plaza in downtown offers visitors a glimpse into some classic Spanish Architecture as well as great local restaurants. Check out this introductory walking tour in Santa Fe.
  • Canyon Road Art Galleries: You can easily spend a day exploring the Canyon Road Art Galleries in this half-mile stretch of the city. Check out this Santa Fe Canyon Road art gallery tour.
  • Ski Santa Fe: Ski Santa Fe is an amazing, quiet ski resort outside of Santa Fe that rivals many of the best resorts in the Western United States. It’s my favorite hidden ski resort in the country.

63. Sedona, AZ

View of rock formations in Sedona, AZ

I’ll never forget visiting Sedona for the first time-the red rocks and the bright blue sky took my breath away. Now, living only 2 hours away from it, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to hike and eat in Sedona! This is one of the best stops on an Arizona road trip.

Where to Stay in Sedona

  • Uptown Sedona: The Amara Resort and Spa is located right on Oak Creek in Sedona and is the perfect place to escape to find beauty and rest.
  • West Sedona: The Saddle Rock Ranch B&B is a bed & breakfast located on the west side of Sedona giving you close access to the highway and plenty of dining options.
  • Village of Oak Creek: Set up against Bell Rock Inn, this bed & breakfast would be a charming place to stay.

Things To Do in Sedona

  • Hike Cathedral Rock Trail: Cathedral Rock Trail is short but technical in some areas; however, it’s all worth it from the view at the top.
  • Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross: The views from within the chapel will take your breath away. Explore Sedona’s iconic sights on a guided tour.
  • Take a Jeep Tour through the Red Rocks: Exploring Sedona via Jeep is one of the best ways to explore the iconic red rocks. You’ll be surprised at what the Jeeps can traverse and where they can take you.

64. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

If you want to see some of the most unusual geology, head to Carlsbad Caverns. You will be impressed by the size of the caves, the stalactites hanging from the roof, and the wildlife that lives nearby.

Where to Stay near Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • Carlsbad, NM: Home2Suites by Hilton is located just 17 miles from the national park.
  • White’s City, NM: The Karbani Inn is located less than 14 miles from the park’s entrance. This Inn is not only convenient but also has features like a pool and free wifi.
  • Carlsbad, NM: The Quality Inn & Suites is around 15 miles from the park, and it’s a great jumping-off point.

Things To Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

  • Take a Guided Tour of the Caverns: Taking a guided tour of the caverns gives you the most in-depth experience of the park.
  • Watch the Bat Flight at Sunset: Find a seat at the amphitheater and watch as the bats exit the caves at sunset.
  • Hike the Guadalupe Ridge Trail: The Guadalupe Ridge Trail is technically 100 miles long, with 21 of those miles passing through the national park.

65. Monument Valley, AZ

sunset view of Monument Valley

I grew up on old John Wayne and Wyatt Earp western movies, and Monument Valley was a common setting for these films. This stunning valley filled with towering red rock formations and breathtaking vistas is paradise in the middle of the Southwest.

Where to Stay near Monument Valley

  • Kayenta, AZ: The Hampton Inn in Kayenta is a nice reservation town that’s a perfect stop before you hit Monument Valley.
  • Bluff, UT: The La Posada Pintada is in the small town of Bluff that’s within 40 minutes of Monument Valley, Natural Bridges NP, and Four Corners.
  • Monument Valley, UT: Goulding’s Lodge is in the heart of Monument Valley that offers the best views.

Things To Do in Monument Valley

66. Albuquerque, NM

hot air balloons over Albuquerque

Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city and it sits at 5,312′ of elevation in the high desert. I love stopping at the restaurants in Old Town before I head to the peaceful mountains around the city for my first stop on my road trips into the Rocky Mountains.

Where to Stay in Albuquerque

  • Old Town: Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town is in the heart of the narrow streets, adobe houses, and authentic eateries in Old Town.
  • Downtown Albuquerque: Downtown Albuquerque is an eclectic place, but I absolutely love the feel and Hotel Andaluz is the ideal place to stay.
  • Nob Hill: Hotel Parq Central is in the heart of Route 66 town with bars, pizza shops, and old-fashioned taquerias.

Things To Do in Albuquerque

  • Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway and Hike: The Sandia Mountains are some of my favorites in the country with beautiful trails, and the tramway is a 3-mile long ride along the ridges.
  • Explore Old Town Albuquerque: The history, cool restaurants and museums within Old Town are a must. Check out this heritage walking tour in Albuquerque.
  • Visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Every year in October, the hot-air balloon festival is a must-visit. Experience breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Valley during a one-hour hot air balloon ride.

67. Amarillo, TX

cityscape view of Amarillo Texas

Amarillo is located in the panhandle of Texas and is a popular stop along the historic Route 66. If you stop here, you’ll find some delicious steak, theater shows, and state parks.

Where to Stay in Amarillo

  • Downtown Amarillo: Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Amarillo Downtown if you’re looking to be close to things like the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • Amarillo West: Staying on the west side of Amarillo at Home2 Suites gives you close proximity to interstate-40 and to things like the Westgate Mall and the Cadillac Ranch art installation.
  • Amarillo East: If you choose to stay on the east side of Amarillo in the Best Western Santa Fe Inn, you’ll be close to Splash Amarillo and the Civic Center.

Things To Do in Amarillo

  • Visit the Cadillac Ranch: The Cadillac Ranch consists of what it sounds like -10 Cadillac cars buried in the sand and covered in bright colors and spray paint!
  • Explore the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum: This hall of fame and museum exists to remember and honor the most famous quarter horses of all time.
  • Watch the Texas Musical Drama at Palo Duro Canyon: This outdoor musical provides you with a comprehensive history of the state of Texas all while sitting outside in a scenic canyon.

68. Big Bend National Park, TX

road trip in Big Bend National Park

The 150 miles of trails within the park made Big Bend a must-visit for me. On my trip, I loved exploring the Chisos Mountains and gaining even more of an appreciation of the expansive Chihuahuan Desert.

Where to Stay near Big Bend National Park

  • Terlingua, TX: If you want to golf and have great access to Big Bed, Lajitas Golf Resort is the perfect place in small-town Terlingua.
  • Presidio, TX: The border town of Presidio is a perfect place to access Big Bend, so stay at the Riata Inn when you go; we loved our time here.
  • Marfa, TX: The Hotel St. George is a phenomenal place to stay north of Big Bend.

Things To Do in Big Bend National Park

  • Hike Emory Peak via South Rim Trail: If you want a long but pretty hike, the Emory Peak via the Rim trail is around 15 miles, and we had a blast doing it and summiting it.
  • Soak in the Hot Springs: A .5-mile walk will get you to the hot springs in Big Bend.
  • Stargaze at the McDonald Observatory: Visiting the McDonald Observatory for stargazing in Big Bend is a must-do experience.

69. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT/AZ

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

In the heart of the 1.25 million acres that make up the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area lies the world-famous Lake Powell. I have a yearly tradition of kayaking to Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell and absolutely love the challenge and adventure.

Where to Stay near Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

  • Page, AZ: The La Quinta in Page is near the best restaurants and desserts in this town right next to Lake Power.
  • Big Water, UT: The Rodeway Inn & Suites Big Water is around 20 minutes from Lake Powell.
  • Monument Valley, UT: Around 40 minutes from Lake Powell lies the marvelous Goulding’s Lodge which offers great views of Glen Canyon Recreation Area.

Things To Do in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

70. Tucson, AZ

skyline view with mountains in the background at sunset in Tucson AZ

Tucson is a quieter, more laid-back city compared to Phoenix. Only living two hours from here, we visit at least once a year to eat the wonderful food and do the unique hikes that the city has to offer. This is a stunning place to see in the USA.

Where to Stay in Tucson

Things To Do in Tucson

71. Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

cut wood in Petrified Forest National Park

Northeastern Arizona is an often overlooked part of the state, and Petrified National Forest National Park reminds people of this. On my several visits, I couldn’t help but sit in awe of the petrified wood and desert views that it offers.

Where to Stay near Petrified Forest National Park

  • Holbrook, AZ: The La Quinta Inn & Suites gives visitors great access to the park and the Navajo County Historical Society.
  • Winslow, AZ: Stay at the La Posada Hotel and Gardens in quaint Winslow on your visit to the park.
  • Gallup, NM: If you’re wanting a true glimpse into Southwestern culture, the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup is the perfect place to call home on your Petrified Forest NP visit.

Things To Do in Petrified Forest National Park

  • View the Painted Desert: The Painted Desert is a badlands-style desert that stretches 150 miles from the Grand Canyon into Petrified Forest NP.
  • Explore the Blue Mesa Trail: The Blue Mesa Trail is a 1-mile loop that gives you a great chance to see the bluish badlands.
  • Visit the Petrified Forest National Park Visitor Center: The visitor center offers great tours and information on all the park has to offer.

72. Taos, NM

Taos New Mexico

Taos is at the top of my list for the most underrated outdoor town in the entire country. I’ve visited numerous times and continually fall in love with the forests, hiking trails, fly fishing, and snowboarding in the winter.

Where to Stay near Taos

Things To Do in Taos

73. White Sands National Park, NM

blindingly white sand dunes White Sands National Park

This 145,700-acre national park is one of the most fascinating places in the Southwest. My visit to the White Sands National Park gave me a great chance to explore the dunes and see a high desert that’s unlike any other in the country.

Where to Stay near White Sands National Park

  • Alamogordo, NM: The Hampton Inn is only 15 miles from the national park, and it has great restaurants surrounding it.
  • Las Cruces, NM: Las Cruces is a classic New Mexico town with great restaurants and interesting people, so stay at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces when you visit.
  • Cloudcroft, NM: The Summit Inn on the East side of the park is a classic inn in a beautiful, small New Mexico village.

Things To Do near White Sands National Monument

  • Take a drive through the dunes: The Dunes Drive is an 8-mile scenic drive that brings you all around the park.
  • Go sledding or sandboarding down the dunes: Slide down the dunes on a sled or sandboard for an exhilarating experience and unforgettable memories. It’s perfect for adventure seekers visiting the White Sands National Park.
  • Stargaze in the park at night: One of the more special experiences at White Sands National Monument is stargazing at night. With minimal light pollution, the sky is filled with stars, making it a perfect spot to witness the beauty of the night sky.

Best Places in The West

The Western region of the United States is filled to the brim with once-in-a-lifetime adventures. I’ve spent weeks traveling up and down the coast, and I’ve explored the inland western states too many times to count. The diversity in landscape and activities keeps me coming back for more every chance I get.

United States, geographic regions, colored political map. Five regions, according to their geographic position on the continent. Common but unofficial way of referring to regions of the United States.

74. Glacier National Park, MT

River and mountain view of Glacier National Park

While the United States is a scenic country, nothing can top the sheer magnificence of Glacier National Park in Montana. I’ve visited several times for weeks at a time, and I continue to find new things to do every time I visit.

Montana travels are filled with wildlife, mountain peaks, glacial rivers, and uninhabited beauty around every corner. There are many stunning places to visit in Montana, with Glacier National Park coming in at number one for me. This is one of the best places to travel in the USA.

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park

Things To Do in Glacier National Park

75. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, California

A perk of living in Phoenix is that I am only a 5-hour drive away from Los Angeles. During my most recent visit, I got to take in a lot of what  LA has to offer: an NFL game at SoFi stadium, the beach, a concert, and dining. 

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Things To Do in Los Angeles

  • Hike to the Hollywood Sign: When visiting LA, you have to take the 4-mile round-trip hike up to the iconic white Hollywood sign. Discover the mystery of the ‘blank star’ on the Walk of Fame with a walking tour.
  • Relax at Venice Beach: Venice Beach is known for its free-spirit vibe home to street performers, pop-up shops, and Muscle Beach. Check out this surfing lesson in Santa Monica.
  • Marvel Universal Studios Hollywood: Experience Hollywood magic at Universal Studios with thrilling rides, shows, and Harry Potter’s world.

76. San Francisco, CA

walking around and checking out the cool old trollies on the street in San Francisco California

San Francisco is a fun city that is home to many iconic structures like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the memorable homes from Full House. My one visit to the city gave me a great glimpse into this piece of California coast.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

  • Union Square, San Francisco, CA: Stay at the Westin St. Francis San Francisco if you want to be close to all of the shopping and dining in Union Square.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA: Hotel Zephyr San Francisco is close to Fisherman’s Wharf-one of the most family-friendly areas of San Fran full of souvenir shops, chocolate, and great views of the Golden Gate and Alcatraz.
  • Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA: InterContinental Mark Hopkins is located on Nob Hill giving you close access to Union Square, China Town, and the Ferry Building.

Things To Do in San Francisco

77. Las Vegas, NV

colorful Las Vegas, NV

Whether or not gambling and nightlife are your things, Las Vegas has something for everyone. My visits to Las Vegas mostly include excellent hiking and golf, but the strip is always a great time.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

  • The Strip: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the Strip!
  • Downtown Las Vegas: The Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel and Casino are located in the heart of downtown Vegas-giving you some distance from the Strip but still close to plenty of restaurants and entertainment.
  • Summerlin: The Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa is my favorite place to stay, and it’s located on the west side of the city-giving you close access to Red Rock Canyon.

Things To Do in Las Vegas

  • Explore the Casinos and Entertainment on The Strip: Spend the day or night walking the Strip-you’ll get to eat delicious food, gamble, and enjoy some world-class entertainment. Check out this bus night tour in Las Vegas.
  • Visit the Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory & Botanical Gardens: The Bellagio Fountain and the Botanical Gardens will take your breath away with impressive beauty. Check out this sightseeing digital tour in Las Vegas.
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Hike or drive through this area to gain an appreciation for the beautiful topography. You can take a tour by driving along at Red Rock National Conservation Area.

78. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

sunset view of the rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

On my most recent trip across the Western United States, I had a chance to visit Bryce Canyon, National Park. The red rocks, ample campgrounds, and otherworldly rock formations give visitors a chance to see a place unlike anywhere else on this planet. This is by far one of the most beautiful places in the USA.

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon

  • Bryce Canyon City: Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn is right next to Bryce Canyon NP, and besides the hotel, there are a few restaurants and a few other amenities.
  • Tropic, UT: The Stone Canyon Inn in Tropic is in the midst of a smaller tourist town with plenty for visitors to do when not in the park.
  • Cannonville, UT: Bryce Canyon Livery Bed & Breakfast is an ideal place to return to after a long day of exploring.

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

79. Arches National Park, UT

view at sunset of the arches at Arches National Park, UT

Lying north of Moab, this park is filled with over 2,000 sandstone arches. I’ve visited the park several times, and absolutely love driving and hiking through the large, red-hued arches.

Where to Stay near Arches National Park

Things To Do in Arches National Park

80. Seattle, WA

nighttime skyline photo of Seattle and the space needle

The pacific northwest is a breathtaking place to explore and Seattle is the perfect home base to do that exploring. During my weekend visit to the city, I enjoyed its rich coffee, hiking, kayaking, and city life. There are many things to see and do in Seattle to keep you busy.

Where to Stay in Seattle

Things To Do in Seattle

81. Portland, OR

fall in Portland Oregon

Like Seattle, Portland is a great place to visit if you’re wanting to explore the PNW. Portland is a city centered on sustainability and full of art, music, and creativity. I love visiting Portland because it’s a perfect combination of outdoor activities and cultural experiences.

Where to Stay in Portland

  • Downtown Portland, OR: The Heathman Hotel is located downtown and puts you right near the best museums and concert venues.
  • Pearl District, Portland, OR: Canopy by Hilton is a great place to stay if you love exploring new restaurants and if you want to be close to the Willamette River.
  • Nob Hill, Portland, OR: The Inn at Northrup Station puts you in a central location to explore the city.

Things To Do in Portland

  • Visit Powell’s City of Books: Spend hours exploring the largest new and used bookstore in the world! Check out this trolley tour in Portland which takes in the bookstore.
  • Explore the International Rose Test Garden: Visit between April and October to see thousands of rose bushes bloom. Check out this city highlights tour in Portland.
  • Take a stroll through Forest Park: Forest Park is a 5,000-acre park-a perfect place to enjoy the lush greenery of the PNW. Check out this hop-on hop-off trolley tour in Portland.

82. Yosemite National Park, CA

visiting Yosemite National Park with family

The Grand Canyon may be my favorite national park, but Yosemite isn’t far behind. The stunning views of El Capitan, the waterfalls, and the hiking make it one of the most amazing places in the United States.

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

Things To Do in Yosemite National Park

83. Yellowstone National Park, WY

hot springs in Yellowstone National Park

No trip to the American West is complete without a visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The 2.2 million acres have provided me with numerous backcountry trips that have been impossible to top in any other national park. If you’re looking for the most beautiful places in the US, add Yellowstone to your list.

Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park

  • Old Faithful: Old Faithful Inn is a great place to stay, and it provides visitors with a great home base for exploring the entire park.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: Mammoth Hot Springs is on the quieter north side of the park and the Yellowstone Park Hotel is the perfect place to stay.
  • Canyon Village: Stay at the Canyon Lodge and Cabins if you choose to stay in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone on the East side of the park.

Things To Do in Yellowstone National Park

84. San Diego, CA

big bridge over sea in San Diego

San Diego is one of my favorite places to visit in California. Within the first year of living in Arizona, I visited three times and was drawn to the soft beaches, delicious food, and expansive parks. 

Where to Stay in San Diego

  • Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA: You can’t go wrong staying at The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter because you’ll be close to the zoo, Balboa park, and the bay.
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA: The Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego is within 6 miles of the village of La Jolla.
  • Coronado Island, San Diego, CA: Hotel del Coronado is one of the most famous hotels in the United States due to its beauty and location on the nicest beach in the city.

Things To Do in San Diego

85. St. George, UT

St. George, Utah is near Zion National Park as well as numerous other outdoor attractions. I’ve visited St. George on many occasions to explore Zion as well as play some of my favorite golf courses in the entire world.

Where to Stay near St. George

Things To Do in St. George

  • Zion National Park: Zion National Park is a phenomenal park for hiking and exploring; be sure to do Angel’s Landing. Thrill with UTV ride and slot canyon hike.
  • Sand Hollow State Park: Sand Hollow State Park has great ATV trails. Explore Sand Mountain on an ATV tour unlike anywhere else in the USA.
  • Play Golf at Sand Hollow Resort: The views here will blow your mind. Enjoy award-winning golfing on a world-class course amidst the stunning desert landscape of Sand Hollow Resort.

86. San Luis Valley, CO

hay in the farm fields of San Luis Valley

Colorado is an extremely diverse state, and one of the most surprising places is the San Luis Valley. The sand dunes and wide-open alpine desert hold some of my fondest memories due to the peace and solitude I found here.

Where to Stay in San Luis Valley

Things To Do in San Luis Valley

87. Lake Tahoe, CA/NV

view of the rocky shore and crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to visit in the United States year-round. In the summer you can enjoy the water and hiking and in the winter the skiing and snowboarding opportunities are endless. Don’t pass up an opportunity to visit the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Things To Do in Lake Tahoe

  • Ski or snowboard at one of the many ski resorts: Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Alpine Meadows, and Heavenly Ski Resort are just a few of the many places to ski and snowboard. Check out this skiing tour in Lake Tahoe.
  • Take a boat tour of the lake: Enjoy the pristine blue waters of Lake Tahoe through a boat tour.
  • Helicopter trip over the lake: What better way to enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe than by air?! Check out this highly-rated helicopter trip.

88. Napa Valley, CA

View of red wine grapes at Napa Valley

I’ll never forget the beauty of wine country from the trip I took to Napa Valley. The lush hills, gourmet food, and premier wine make it a special and romantic place. If you’re a wine-lover, Napa Valley should be firmly planted on your list of places to visit in the US.

Where to Stay in Napa Valley

  • Napa, CA: The Archer Hotel Napa is a great hotel located on the banks of the Napa River in downtown Napa.
  • Yountville, CA: Hotel Yountville is a spa resort surrounded by vineyards and beauty.
  • Calistoga, CA: The Indian Springs Resort & Spa is a historic hotel located on 16 acres north of Napa in Calistoga, CA.

Things To Do in Napa Valley

  • Visit local wineries for wine tasting: This is what Napa is known for-the endless local wineries and vineyards to explore. Check out this guided wine tour in Napa Valley.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride over the valley: Riding above the valley in a hot air balloon will take your breath away as you see the vineyards from a different perspective. Check out this hot-air balloon ride in Napa Valley.
  • Go on a culinary tour to experience the local cuisine: It’s not just the wine that is good in Napa. Taking a culinary tour gives you a chance to explore the tasty local cuisine.

89. Monterey, CA

stilted houses over the water in Monterey california

I visited Monterey for just one day but have often thought about how it would be great to go back and explore the area even more. During my visit, I enjoyed exploring the rocky shoreline and sampling the local clam chowder.

Where to Stay in Monterey

Things To Do in Monterey

  • Go Whale Watching: Located on the Pacific Coast, it’s no surprise that there is some excellent whale watching opportunities here, year-round. Join this fun day out on the water spotting humpback, fin, and blue whales, and dolphins.
  • Drive along the 17-Mile Drive: 17-Mile Drive is one of the most picturesque drives in CA-passing by famous golf courses and following the Pacific coastline. Check out this guided e-bike tour in Monterey.
  • Explore Cannery Row: Cannery Row is full of shops and restaurants to explore all along the oceanfront. Check out this Pacific Coastal Highway tour in California.

90. Crater Lake National Park, OR

stunning view over the lake at Crater Lake National Park

Right in the heart of the Cascade Mountains sits Crater Lake National Park. My visit to the park left me with an appreciation for the mountains and the phenomenal lake. Plus, the peace and quiet in the park were welcomed.

Where to Stay Near Crater Lake National Park

Things To Do in Crater Lake National Park

  • Take a Boat Tour of Crater Lake: It’s a must to get out on the water when visiting Crater Lake. Check out this Crater Lake day tour in Oregon.
  • Hike to the Summit of Mount Scott: This 4-mile hike gives you a great view of the park in Mount Scott.
  • Hike to Garfield Peak: This 3.4-mile out-and-back gives you another wonderful view of the lake in Garfield Peak.

91. Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Beach in California

My two trips to Santa Barbara have shot it to the top of the list of one of my favorite towns in California to visit. The peaceful ocean views, countless outdoor activities, and phenomenal restaurants are a nice break from the busyness of southern California.

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara

  • Downtown Santa Barbara, CA: Cheshire Cat Inn & Cottages gives visitors access to the tasty restaurants and bars found downtown.
  • East San Roque, Santa Barbara, CA: The Agave Inn is further up into the hills of Santa Barbara, and it’s the ideal home base for exploring.
  • Lower State, Santa Barbara, CA: The Eagle Inn is right along the ocean, and offers great access to the beach and trails.

Things To Do in Santa Barbara

92. Joshua Tree National Park, CA

view of sunset and cacti in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a great place for climbing and unwinding. This peaceful park has provided me with hours of time to reflect, drive and climb on some of the most unusual rock features I’ve ever seen.

Where to Stay near Joshua Tree National Park

Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park

93. Olympic National Park, WA

At nearly 1 million acres, Olympic National Park is the most diverse national park in the country. My visit to this park took me through lowland forests, large mountain peaks, alpine lakes as well as rainforests. It’s one of my favorite parks in the United States.

Where to Stay near Olympic National Park

  • Port Angeles, WA: The Olympic Lodge by Ayres is at the base of the Olympic Mountains, and it’s a beautiful resort with great access to the park.
  • Forks, WA: Stay at the Pacific Inn Motel in lovely small-town Forks on your trip to Olympic National Park.
  • Forks, WA: The Hoh Valley Cabins get you extremely close to the entrance of Olympic National Park, and in the midst of the rainforest.

Things To Do in Olympic National Park

  • Explore the Hoh Rain Forest: This is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the United States. Explore Hoh Rain Forest and Rialto Beach on a guided tour of Olympic National Park.
  • Visit Hurricane Ridge for stunning mountain views: Hurricane Ridge is the perfect starting point for all of my favorite hikes in the park. Experience the breathtaking views of Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge on this tour.
  • Join a Full Day Trip from Seattle: This day trip from Seattle is a great option. Visit Olympic NP and take in mountain ranges, hidden beaches, open meadows, and much more. A professional guide, pickup from your hotel, entrance fees, food, and more are included.

94. Big Sur, CA

beautiful white sand cove at Big Sur California shot from above

If you enjoy a rugged coastline, towering redwoods, and a massive amount of marine life, Big Sur is the perfect place for you. My trip up the California coast through Big Sur left me absolutely speechless and eager for even more. This is a must-see west coat destination in the USA.

Where to Stay Near Big Sur

  • Big Sur River Inn: If you’re looking to stay close to Pfeiffer Beach and the Big Sur River, the Big Sur River Inn is the ideal choice.
  • Alila Ventata Big Sur Adult Only: Located on a hillside looking out on the Pacific Coastline, the Alila Ventana Big Sur Adult Only resort is a good option.
  • Carmel Valley, CA: Carmel Valley Lodge is just 15 miles from Big Sur and gives visitors a place to enjoy peace and quiet as well as quaint restaurants.

Things To Do in Big Sur

95. Redwood National and State Parks, CA

two kids standing in front of an enormous redwood for perspective at Redwood National and State Parks

This 140,000-acre area is a heavily protected portion of forest along the Northern California coast. These forests filled with the world’s tallest trees blew my mind as I hiked and traveled through this small piece of paradise.

Where to Stay near Redwood National and State Parks

  • Eureka, CA: Settled in the Historic District of Eureka, The Inn at 2nd & C is a boutique hotel only 1-mile from the beach.
  • Crescent City, CA: The Crescent Beach Motel is right on the beach, and gives visitors perfect access to the nearby Redwood National and State Parks.
  • Fortuna, CA: The Comfort Inn & Suites Redwood Country is the ideal place to start your adventures in the Redwoods.

Things To Do in Redwood National and State Parks

  • Drive through the Scenic Avenue of the Giants: This 31-mile road drives through the Redwood forests. Visit the iconic Muir Woods and its redwood groves on a Northern California tour.
  • Hike the Trails to Experience the Natural Beauty of the Redwoods: The Tall Trees Grove Loop Trail is the perfect hike to experience the Redwoods.
  • Visit Fern Canyon, a lush green valley with fern-covered walls: Discover the must-see Fern Canyon, where 50-foot high walls covered in ferns will take your breath away.

96. Santa Cruz, CA

Aerial view of the crashing surf in Santa Cruz California

Central California is often overlooked by visitors due to the massive amount of attractions in northern and southern California. Santa Cruz is the ideal place to visit in the US if you want to fully invest in surf culture and the laid-back California vibe.

Where to Stay in Santa Cruz

  • Downtown Santa Cruz: The Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection is less than a mile from the beach and it’s located near all the best Santa Cruz restaurants and bars.
  • Capitola, CA: The Capitola Hotel is 150 feet from the beach and within 6 miles of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
  • Scotts Valley, CA: The Hilton Santa Cruz Scotts Valley is in a less busy portion of Santa Cruz, but still within minutes of the boardwalk and beaches.

Things To Do in Santa Cruz

  • Spend a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: Rides, warm sand, and cool surf wait for you at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Check out this private day tour in Santa Cruz.
  • Visit the Natural Bridges State Beach: Explore the rock formations, tide pools, natural bridge, and monarch butterfly migrations at this 65-acre state park.
  • Explore the Redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: A 40-acre Redwood forest is the main attractant of this park. Check it out here.

97. Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best hiking parks in the United States. My visits to the park always lead to phenomenal backcountry, high-alpine experiences, and views that blow my mind.

Where to Stay Near Mount Rainier National Park

  • Ashford, WA: Nisqually Lodge is only 5 miles from the park entrance, and has great mountain views.
  • Packwood, WA: Crest Trail Lodge is in the shadow of Mount Rainier and within 25 minutes of the White Pass Ski Resort.
  • Enumclaw, WA: Stay at the 4-star Alta Crystal Resort when visiting the national park.

Things To Do in Mount Rainier National Park

98. Sequoia National Park, CA

Located right next to Kings Canyon National Park near Fresno, Sequoia National Park is in the heart of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. The massive sequoia trees and beautiful Crystal Cave makes this park one of the most unique in the West.

Where to Stay Near Sequoia National Park

Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

  • See the General Sherman Tree: This tree is estimated to be between 2,200 and 2,700 years old. Explore Kings Canyon with a full-day private tour in Sequoia.
  • Hike Moro Rock: This granite dome rock formation offers some phenomenal views. Explore Moro Rock and discover Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with private guided hiking tours.
  • Visit Crystal Cave: This marble karst cave is one of the 240 known caves in the park.

99. Sonoma Coast, CA

a misty sunset at Sonoma Coast

Long, sandy beaches and a rugged coastline make up the underrated Sonoma Coast. I visited with low expectations, and have made it a point to visit three times since because of how gorgeous the area is.

Where to Stay Near Sonoma Coast

  • Bodega Bay: The Lodge at Bodega Bay is 1,700 feet from the beach, and it sits on a hill overlooking Doran Regional Park.
  • Jenner, CA: The Timber Cove Resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers visitors a fine dining experience.
  • Bodega, CA: Stay at the Sonoma Coast Villa and Spa when visiting the Sonoma Coast; it’s also close to many wineries.

Things to Do in Sonoma Coast

  • Visit Bodega Head: The Bodega Head has a 1.7-mile loop trail and is where I found myself running each morning.
  • Explore Goat Rock Beach: The sandy beach of Goat Rock Beach is easily accessible and near the mouth of the Russian River.
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve: Don’t miss out on your chance to see Redwoods on your visit to the coast.

100. Oahu, HI

oahu island in hawaii with mountains blue water and clear sky with clouds

Located around 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, floating out in the Pacific Ocean, sits the archipelago of Hawaii. There are so many incredible islands to visit here, but for this list, I’m choosing Oahu due to its stunning natural beauty, activities above and below the ocean, and stunning beaches.

Where to Stay in Oahu

  • Waikiki Beach: There are many great places to stay on this stunning beach. Have a look at the highly-rated Halepuna Waikiki, with a pool.
  • Kahuku: Located in the northern part of the island, this area has many accommodations as well. Turtle Bay Resort offers hiking trails and a secluded shoreline.
  • Kapolei: Situated in the southwest of Oahu, Embassy Suites by Hilton offers a pool, a lounge, and a fitness center.

Things To Do in Oahu

  • Shark Cage Diving: Not for the faint of heart, cage diving with Great White Sharks is a must in Oahu! This highly-rated trip gives you that opportunity. Learn more here.
  • Helicopter Tour: Get epic views of the island by joining a helicopter trip. Doors on or off, you decide. Learn more about this scenic, 1-hour flight here.
  • Waterfall Hike: Get out in nature and enjoy some exercise on this fun day hike through the Manoa Valley Rainforest.

101. Fairbanks, AK

northern lights in the sky over fairbanks alaska

If you’re looking for the best place to visit in the US to see the Northern Lights, make sure to add Fairbanks to your list. Apart from experiencing this natural phenomenon, you can visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North, go dog sledding, and enjoy the restaurants.

Where to Stay in Fairbanks

  • Pike’s Waterfront Lodge: Overlooking the Chena River, rooms here all have a fridge and microwave, plus there’s an onsite restaurant. Pike’s also has a sauna and fitness center. Learn more here.
  • The Adamina: The rooms at this homestay vary from studio apartments to deluxe queens. Each room has a fridge, microwave, and coffee machine. Click here for details.
  • River’s Edge Resort: The cute cottages here offer a coffee machine and a patio with garden or river views. There’s also an onsite restaurant and free transfer from the airport. Click here to book.

Things To Do in Fairbanks

  • Dogsled, Dinner & Northern Lights: On this tour, you’ll get to experience a bit of the best that Fairbanks has to offer. Click here for details.
  • Snowmobile Trip: Explore the snowy, natural beauty of Fairbanks by snowmobile. All gear (including warm clothes!) is included on this fun day out. Click here for details.
  • Dog Sledding Adventure: Visit rural Alaska with happy huskies! This dog sled adventure is one you won’t want to miss. At the end, warm up in a cozy yurt. Find out more here.

BONUS (Why Not?): Mount Hood National Forest, OR

A hiker enjoying the views at Mount Hood National Forest

Mount Hood National Forest offers some amazing year-round activities through its 1.1 million acres. I’ve spent many nights backpacking, fishing, and exploring this forest a few hours outside of Portland. There are so many natural places to see in the USA, I had to add this bonus destination.

Where to Stay Near Mount Hood National Forest

  • Timberline Lodge: The Timberline Lodge is deep within Mount Hood National Forest and it even offers ski-to-door access.
  • Best Western Mt. Hood Inn: The Best Western Mt. Hood Inn is at the base of Mount Hood and has phenomenal access to the town of Government Camp.
  • Whispering Woods Resort: Whispering Woods Resort is a perfect escape into nature, and you’re close to great Mt. Hood National Forest activities.

Things to Do in Mount Hood National Forest

  • Visit Trillium Lake: Sit at this lake, fish, explore, and stare at Mt. Hood for hours. Check out this Mt Hood day trip from Portland.
  • Ski at Timberline Lodge: If high alpine skiing is on your bucket list, there are few better places than Timberline Lodge to do it.
  • Hike McNeil Point Trail: McNeil Point is a 10-mile hike that is absolutely beautiful, one of my favorites, and offers great views of Mt. Hood.

Start Ticking Items Off Your USA Bucket List

Wow! You made it. There’s our epic bucket list of 101 of the best places to visit in the USA. Probably more than a lifetime of destinations and activities for the intrepid traveler (though by no means exhaustive) I hope this list is long enough to keep you going for a while.

The United States is a massive and sprawling nation just waiting to be explored. Use these 101 destinations and experiences to help you get started traveling around one of the most diverse and exciting countries in the world.

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