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The Best Places To Travel In The United States Right Now


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Louise Whisenant


West Coast Destinations

The West Coast of the United States is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cities, and diverse culture. Here are some of the best destinations to visit on the West Coast right now:

  • San Francisco, California: Known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and eclectic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco offers a mix of history, culture, and culinary delights.
  • Los Angeles, California: Home to Hollywood and iconic attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios, Los Angeles is a playground for movie buffs and beach lovers alike.
  • Seattle, Washington: Nestled between the stunning Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound, Seattle is a vibrant city known for its thriving tech scene, delicious coffee, and iconic landmark, the Space Needle.
  • Portland, Oregon: Famous for its foodie culture, craft breweries, and unique blend of urban and natural attractions, Portland offers a laid-back and eclectic experience for travelers.
  • San Diego, California: With its perfect weather, pristine beaches, and world-class zoo, San Diego is a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of San Francisco, enjoying the sunshine in San Diego, or indulging in the coffee culture of Seattle, the West Coast offers a variety of experiences for every traveler.


East Coast Destinations

The East Coast of the United States is known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cities. Here are some of the best destinations to visit on the East Coast right now:

  • New York City, New York: The city that never sleeps, New York City is a melting pot of cultures, offering iconic landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Miami, Florida: Known for its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife, Miami is a popular destination for those seeking sun, sand, and entertainment.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Steeped in history, Boston is home to landmarks like the Freedom Trail, the Paul Revere House, and Fenway Park, making it a must-visit for history buffs.
  • Washington, D.C.: The capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is filled with iconic monuments, museums, and historical sites, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: Known for its charming cobblestone streets and colorful row houses, Charleston offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture and Southern hospitality.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of New York City, lounging on the beaches of Miami, or immersing yourself in the history of Boston, the East Coast offers a variety of experiences for every traveler.


Southern Destinations

The Southern states of the United States are known for their unique charm, warm hospitality, and delicious cuisine. Here are some of the best destinations to visit in the South right now:

  • New Orleans, Louisiana: Immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene, indulge in the mouthwatering Cajun and Creole cuisine, and experience the lively atmosphere of the French Quarter in New Orleans.
  • Asheville, North Carolina: Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and craft beer aficionados, with its scenic beauty and thriving arts scene.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: Known for its historic charm and antebellum mansions, Charleston offers a rich blend of history, Southern hospitality, and delicious Lowcountry cuisine.
  • Savannah, Georgia: Stroll through the picturesque streets of Savannah, filled with Spanish moss-draped oak trees, vibrant squares, and beautiful historic architecture.
  • Austin, Texas: Experience the vibrant live music scene, indulge in mouthwatering barbecue, and explore the energetic vibe of Austin, the capital of Texas.

Whether you’re dancing to jazz in New Orleans, hiking through the picturesque mountains of Asheville, or strolling along the charming streets of Savannah, the Southern destinations offer a blend of history, culture, and hospitality that will leave you wanting more.


Midwest Destinations

The Midwest region of the United States is often referred to as the heartland, known for its wide-open spaces, friendly communities, and rich agricultural heritage. Here are some of the best destinations to visit in the Midwest right now:

  • Chicago, Illinois: Explore the iconic architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant food scene of the Windy City, from the magnificent Mile to Millennium Park.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Enjoy the thriving arts and theater scene, visit the famous Mall of America, and take advantage of the numerous lakes and outdoor activities that Minneapolis has to offer.
  • Detroit, Michigan: Experience the revitalization of this vibrant city with its impressive music history, delicious food, and unique cultural attractions like the Motown Museum.
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Indulge in mouthwatering barbecue, enjoy live jazz music, and explore the renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in this gateway to the Midwest.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: Discover the charming capital city of Wisconsin, featuring a vibrant food scene, beautiful lakes, and a lively atmosphere, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re exploring the iconic architecture of Chicago, immersing yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Minneapolis, or indulging in mouthwatering barbecue in Kansas City, the Midwest destinations offer a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty.


Mountain Destinations

The mountainous regions of the United States offer stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures, and a chance to reconnect with nature. Here are some of the best mountain destinations to visit right now:

  • Aspen, Colorado: Known for its world-class skiing, Aspen also offers a vibrant arts scene, luxury resorts, and breathtaking mountain views.
  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Surrounded by the majestic Tetons, Jackson Hole is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with activities like hiking, skiing, and wildlife spotting.
  • Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada: Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is a year-round playground for adventurers, offering skiing, water sports, and breathtaking views.
  • Smoky Mountains, Tennessee/North Carolina: Explore the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy scenic drives, hiking trails, and immerse yourself in Appalachian culture.
  • Banff National Park, Canada: Just across the border, Banff National Park in Canada offers stunning mountain scenery, hiking trails, and the famous turquoise waters of Lake Louise.

Whether you’re hitting the slopes in Aspen, hiking through the picturesque landscapes of Jackson Hole, or taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, mountain destinations provide the perfect escape for adventure seekers and nature lovers.


Desert Destinations

Desert destinations in the United States offer a unique and otherworldly experience, with vast landscapes, stunning rock formations, and a sense of solitude. Here are some of the best desert destinations to visit right now:

  • Joshua Tree National Park, California: Famous for its unique Joshua Trees and striking rock formations, Joshua Tree National Park is a haven for hikers, stargazers, and rock climbers.
  • Sedona, Arizona: Known for its red rock landscapes and spiritual energy, Sedona offers a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to vortex tours and spiritual retreats.
  • Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada: With its extreme landscapes and record-breaking temperatures, Death Valley National Park is a captivating destination of vast salt flats, sand dunes, and rugged mountains.
  • Moab, Utah: Nestled in the heart of red-rock country, Moab is a gateway to iconic national parks like Arches and Canyonlands, offering endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading.
  • White Sands National Park, New Mexico: Experience the ethereal beauty of the pure white gypsum sand dunes at White Sands National Park, ideal for sand sledding, hiking, and stargazing.

Whether you’re hiking among the Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park, seeking spiritual enlightenment in Sedona, or marveling at the unique landscapes of Death Valley, desert destinations offer a serene and awe-inspiring experience.


Small Towns to Explore

While big cities often steal the spotlight, there is something charming and alluring about exploring small towns across the United States. Here are some of the best small towns to visit and immerse yourself in their unique character:

  • Charlottesville, Virginia: Known for its rich history and stunning architecture, Charlottesville offers a vibrant arts scene, charming boutiques, and beautiful vineyards.
  • Sedona, Arizona: With its red rock landscapes and spiritual energy, Sedona offers a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to vortex tours and spiritual retreats.
  • Galena, Illinois: Step back in time as you explore the historic streets of Galena, known for its 19th-century architecture, charming shops, and the former home of Ulysses S. Grant.
  • Portland, Maine: Enjoy the coastal charm and culinary delights of Portland, with its lighthouses, lobster shacks, and a vibrant arts and cultural scene.
  • Beaufort, South Carolina: Discover the picturesque charm of Beaufort, with its antebellum architecture, Spanish moss-draped oak trees, and rich Gullah culture.

Exploring small towns allows you to experience a different pace of life, connect with the local community, and discover hidden gems that may often be overlooked. From the historic streets of Charlottesville to the coastal charm of Beaufort, small towns offer a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities.


National Park Adventures

The United States is home to an incredible array of national parks, each offering breathtaking landscapes and unique experiences. Here are some national parks that should be on your adventure bucket list:

  • Yosemite National Park, California: Famous for its towering granite cliffs, majestic waterfalls, and ancient giant sequoias, Yosemite is a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts.
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: Marvel at the vastness of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s natural wonders, with its colorful rock formations and breathtaking vistas.
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana: Discover the geothermal wonders of Yellowstone, from the iconic Old Faithful geyser to the mesmerizing Yellowstone Grand Prismatic Spring.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, with its alpine meadows, clear lakes, and abundant wildlife.
  • Acadia National Park, Maine: Explore the rugged coastline, rocky cliffs, and picturesque landscapes of Acadia, with its scenic drives, hiking trails, and stunning sunrises.

National parks offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, from hiking and camping to wildlife viewing and photography. Whether you’re standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, hiking through the trails of Yosemite, or exploring the geothermal wonders of Yellowstone, national parks provide a truly immersive and awe-inspiring experience in the heart of nature.


Cultural and Historical Sites

The United States is rich with cultural and historical sites that offer a glimpse into its past and diverse heritage. Here are some must-visit cultural and historical sites across the country:

  • The Statue of Liberty, New York: Symbolizing freedom and hope, the Statue of Liberty stands tall in New York Harbor, welcoming millions of immigrants to the United States.
  • The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Explore the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, galleries, and the National Zoo, each showcasing diverse collections and exhibitions.
  • Independence Hall, Philadelphia: Step into the birthplace of American democracy, where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and signed.
  • The Alamo, San Antonio: Experience a significant symbol of Texas history at the Alamo, where an epic battle for Texan independence took place in 1836.
  • Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: Marvel at the iconic sculpture of four U.S. presidents carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota, representing the nation’s history and leadership.

These cultural and historical sites offer a deeper understanding of the United States’ heritage, values, and pivotal moments in its history. Whether you’re standing in the shadow of Lady Liberty, exploring the diverse exhibits of the Smithsonian, or reflecting on the nation’s founding principles at Independence Hall, these sites provide insight and appreciation for the country’s cultural tapestry.


Coastal Getaways

The United States boasts stunning coastal destinations that offer beautiful beaches, charming seaside towns, and a relaxing atmosphere. Here are some coastal getaways that should be on your travel radar:

  • Outer Banks, North Carolina: Explore the pristine beaches, iconic lighthouses, and dunes of the Outer Banks, a collection of barrier islands known for their natural beauty and rich history.
  • Monterey, California: Discover the rugged coastline of Monterey, famous for its scenic drives, world-class aquarium, and abundant marine life in the Monterey Bay.
  • Bar Harbor, Maine: Experience the charm of a New England coastal town in Bar Harbor, with its picturesque harbor, fresh seafood, and stunning views of Acadia National Park.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Myrtle Beach, with its wide sandy beaches, amusement parks, golf courses, and lively boardwalk.
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama: Relax on the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores and soak up the sun, indulge in fresh seafood, and explore the nearby wildlife refuges.

Coastal getaways offer a perfect mix of relaxation, recreation, and natural beauty. Whether you’re strolling along the shores of the Outer Banks, witnessing the stunning coastline of Monterey, or enjoying the charm of Bar Harbor, these coastal destinations provide an escape from the everyday hustle and offer an opportunity to unwind by the sea.


Urban Escapes

The United States is home to some of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in the world. Here are some urban escapes that offer a mix of excitement, cultural experiences, and fascinating attractions:

  • New York City, New York: The Big Apple is a bustling metropolis known for its iconic landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building, as well as its world-renowned museums, Broadway shows, and diverse culinary scene.
  • San Francisco, California: Famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and its historic cable cars, San Francisco offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and thriving neighborhoods like Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Explore the vibrant city of Chicago, known for its stunning architecture, world-class museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, deep-dish pizza, and vibrant waterfront along Lake Michigan.
  • Portland, Oregon: Experience the charm of the “City of Roses,” with its lively arts scene, bustling food cart culture, beautiful parks like Washington Park, and eclectic neighborhoods like the Pearl District.
  • Miami, Florida: Immerse yourself in the vibrant and diverse atmosphere of Miami, with its stunning beaches, trendy Art Deco architecture in South Beach, and lively nightlife in the iconic neighborhoods of Little Havana and Wynwood.

Urban escapes provide a dynamic and immersive experience, offering a mix of culture, history, culinary delights, and vibrant energy. Whether you’re exploring the iconic landmarks of New York City, indulging in the food scene of San Francisco, or discovering the architectural wonders of Chicago, these cities are sure to leave a lasting impression.


Outdoor Adventures

The United States is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts with its diverse landscapes and countless opportunities for adventures. Here are some of the best outdoor destinations to explore and satisfy your craving for adventure:

  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana: Embark on a journey through the first and oldest national park in the United States, featuring iconic geysers, majestic waterfalls, and a range of wildlife, including grizzly bears and wolves.
  • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming: Discover the rugged beauty of the Grand Tetons, with its striking mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and ample opportunities for hiking, mountaineering, and wildlife spotting.
  • Yosemite National Park, California: Traverse the breathtaking landscapes of Yosemite, with its towering granite cliffs, ancient sequoia trees, and numerous trails for hiking, rock climbing, and camping.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina: Explore the lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife of the Great Smoky Mountains, with hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and wildlife viewing.
  • Colorado River, Arizona/Utah: Raft through the mighty Colorado River and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon from a unique perspective, with thrilling rapids and stunning vistas.

Outdoor adventures in the United States offer a chance to connect with nature, push your limits, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re hiking through the stunning landscapes of Yellowstone, rafting through the majestic Grand Canyon, or exploring the granite cliffs of Yosemite, these outdoor destinations promise thrilling experiences and a deeper appreciation for the natural world.