5 Best Places to Visit in the USA From pristine beaches to vibrant cities, the United States offers destinations and landscapes to suit all kinds of travelers. But one of the challenges with planning a US vacation is narrowing down the choices.
Visit Glacier National Park to experience alpine lakes and mountain ranges that will inspire wanderlust. Or explore Joshua Tree with a sound bath at Integratron, a tour of the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum, and shopping in Pioneertown.
1. Glacier National Park
Located in northwest Montana, Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in North America. It’s also home to a diverse array of wildlife and the historic Blackfeet Nation.
This incredible park is renowned for its stunning scenery and offers visitors the chance to drive the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike spectacular trails, explore pristine lakes, and view breathtaking glaciers. The best time to visit is spring or summer when you can take advantage of all the outdoor activities.
But even if you visit in the off-season, you’ll still experience some of the most gorgeous scenery and nature on earth. For example, the autumn colors and wildlife in Glacier National Park are simply unmatched.
The park is home to over 130 named lakes, but its most famous feature is probably the Grinnell Glacier, which is visible from hiking trails throughout the region. Glacier National Park is also a geological wonder, with rocks that tell a story millions of years in the making. The park also features Triple Divide Peak, which is the hydrological apex of the country and from where water flows to the Pacific, Atlantic, and Hudson Bay.
2. Lake Tahoe
Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering peaks, Lake Tahoe creates a visually captivating setting. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or take a dip in the water, this natural gem is sure to inspire your inner adventurer.
The pristine landscape also has a rich history. From the Zephyr Cove Resort, built in 1900 to serve silver miners, to Camp Richardson offering city folk a lakefront retreat since 1924, you can discover stories of the area’s rich past. From there, head to the Vikingsholm Castle, where Mark Twain once stayed, or explore the historic properties of Emerald Bay.
Whatever you do, remember that Lake Tahoe is a sacred region and respect its natural beauty. The mountains, beaches, and panoramic hiking trails all make this place truly breathtaking. Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles and be a good steward of this natural treasure.
3. Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is a living history experience, with its pristine downtown and the calming sound of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles on its car-free streets. It is known for fudge, caramel corn, and saltwater taffy, as well as the Grand Hotel, which was built in 1887. The hotel has the longest front porch in the world and is an architectural marvel.
Visitors can also tour the historic fort, which was once home to 14 original buildings and daily reenactments. Among other things, the fort has an old-fashioned ice cream shop, rifle demonstrations, and cannon firings.
The Great Turtle Kayak Tours on Lake Huron is a must-do for nature lovers, offering the opportunity to paddle toward the sunrise or watch the sun sink behind the Mackinac Bridge at sunset. On the shores of the lake, there are natural limestone rock formations and cave-like features like Skull Cave and Devil’s Kitchen. Other activities include horseback riding, biking around the island or touring its historic sites, including Fort Mackinac and Beaumont House (dedicated to U.S. Army surgeon William Beaumont, who made discoveries about human digestion while stationed at the fort).
The beaches and wild ponies are the main draw to Chincoteague but there’s much more to this charming island. Birders love the area for its wildlife and unique shorebird habitat. Foodies savor the local oysters, clams, and other seafood. Water lovers can kayak, charter fish, and go on nature cruises with Captain Dan’s Around the Island Tours. History buffs love the Museum of Chincoteague Island which has fossils, a historic church, a fire department, and business artifacts as well as the Assateague Lighthouse’s first Fresnel lens. The kids in your group will be thrilled to see rocket launches at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on nearby Wallops Island.
If you’re planning to visit in February, you’ll get the opportunity to see the annual Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. This spirited city knows how to throw a party and it’s a great place to witness the excitement of thousands of people coming together for an unforgettable experience.
Savannah is a cobblestone Southern Gothic wonderland with gorgeous historic homes, stunning gardens, and a mystique that takes visitors under its spell. The city has a rich mix of culture, food, and shopping, including many family-friendly activities.
Stroll through tree-filled squares to admire their architecture and learn about their history on one of the free tours. Chippewa Square is where Forrest Gump sat on his bench, and Johnson, Oglethorpe, and Forsyth Parks all have their own fascinating stories to tell.
Take a tour of the Mercer Williams House, the setting for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The Flannery O’Connor Museum and the Juliette Gordon Low House are also worth a visit.
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is a classic family-friendly attraction, where kids can sample some of the city’s famous praline and watch as workers prepare candy by hand. Another kid-friendly activity is the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium, where you can see sea snails and crabs. The best place to enjoy Savannah’s local brews is at Service Brewing Company, where you can also get a brewery tour.
6. Las Vegas
With a reputation for excitement, Vegas is a hot spot where glitz and glam are the norm. The Strip features resorts that recreate glamorous sites from around the world and offers free streetside shows ranging from dancing fountains to erupting volcanoes. Beyond the bright lights and electric atmosphere of the Strip, the city has a variety of natural and historical attractions. Check out the Neon Museum to learn about the city’s tumultuous past or visit Madame Tussauds to pose with celebrity wax figures.
Portland may get drenched in rainy weather most of the year, but in summer it’s a beautiful coastal town with plenty to do. Take a cruise on Casco Bay, shop at Old Port, or taste the local cuisine, from potato donuts at The Holy Donut to lobster rolls at Eventide Oyster Co.
Milwaukee may be a beer town, but it’s also home to innovative museums and theaters, including the Bradley Symphony Center. From motorcycles to metalwork and dinosaurs to art that celebrates the labor movement, there are endless things to marvel at in this Wisconsin city.
Take a tour of the Mitchell Park Domes and enjoy the dinos. Or, head to Discovery World, a science museum that teaches kids and adults about the Great Lakes, Wisconsin’s maritime history, and scientific discoveries through hands-on exhibits, saltwater and freshwater aquariums, and digital theaters. The schooner ship docked at the museum is a must-see, and the double helix staircase awes visitors.
If you’re in the mood to party, check out Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This age-old celebration takes place every year from January 6 through Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. It includes parades, king cakes, and plenty of drinking and dancing up and down Bourbon Street. It’s one of the best places to visit in 2023-2024 for free-spirited fun!
With its craggy peaks and cool mountain air, Asheville isn’t just an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Asheville is an energetic, eclectic, and spirited city of art and cuisine. Amongst the lush forests and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville beckons visitors with its rich history and dynamic future.
A tour of the opulent estate at Biltmore is a must, with 250 rooms and expansive grounds to explore. Kids will also love the Grovewood Village, a cultural hub with working artist studios, unique museums, and galleries showcasing top-notch crafts.
A visit to the Asheville Botanical Gardens is free for the whole family, but a donation helps keep it operating. The gardens feature native plants that grow in one of the most diverse temperate ecosystems in the world, with a focus on education and conservation. Another fun kid-friendly attraction is the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest, where the family can immerse themselves in a forest setting with interactive and educational exhibits.