If you’ve felt confined for the past couple of years and are in desperate need of some R&R in fresh surroundings, you’re not alone. But the good news is traveling is back on the agenda, and the time has come to make plans for the perfect getaway. Rather than trying to juggle the complex requirements of international travel, visit one of the many spectacular, exciting, and unique places for fun and relaxation that are closer to home.
Once a playground for wealthy families like the Rockefellers, the Fords, and the Vanderbilts, this island community on the north Atlantic coast welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each year. About 47,000 acres of Acadia National Park spreads out across the island, where camping facilities, beach access, fishing, horse-drawn carriage rides, and hiking opportunities await you. Explore the waterfront area at Bar Harbor or hop aboard a kayak tour. If sightseeing is on your agenda, enjoy a relaxing scenic drive along the Atlantic coastline on Park Loop Road.
No matter what your outdoor skill levels are, the Grand Canyon is one of the best destinations for those seeking to connect with the great outdoors. Visually, the vastness of the canyon and the range of colors in the rock formations are magnificent, no matter what overlook you choose. Hikes through the canyon range in difficulty from easy to strenuous, so there’s something for everyone. Mule trips are available year-round at the South Rim and in the summer and early fall at the North Rim.
If you’ve been dreaming about a Hawaiian getaway, now’s the time to get your beach on. Maui is a vacation paradise offering something for everyone, whether you love diving into the water or just admiring it from the balcony of your hotel room. Sure the seafood is legendary, but you should also dive into other local delicacies like saimin noodles, poi, kalua pork, and poke. Charter a sunset cruise into the Pacific Ocean aboard a racing yacht, take a helicopter ride above the island, or snorkel alongside sea turtles in the calm, blue waters at Turtle Town off Maluaka Beach.
With 200 miles of coastline and access to all kinds of outdoor fun, the Outer Banks, or OBX, is a welcome relief from what you’d find at other top tourist attractions. Cape Hatteras National Seashore has 70 miles of beach, where visitors spend the day flying kites, picnicking, sunbathing, searching for seashells, and creating sandcastles throughout the day. History buffs will love all the historical spots here, including the Wright Brothers Memorial. Horseback riding, kiteboarding, and fishing excursions will help you fill your days with fun and adventure.
One of the most popular destinations in the state, this area is famous for its rivers, wildflowers, swimming holes, and charming towns. Fredericksburg is one of the Hill Country’s shining stars. Here, you’ll come across museums, antique stores, delicacy shops, breweries, wineries, and a wide range of culinary options to explore. Just east of Fredericksburg is the laid-back, tiny town of Luckenbach, where the motto is “Everybody’s Somebody.” Sit back, relax with a cold brew, and listen to great music performances from talented area musicians.
Explore 70,000 acres of scenic views in West Virginia’s newest federal park and the state’s first park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Hike the Endless Wall and Long Point trails for some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. Make plans to camp out along the New River at one of the park’s campgrounds if you’re planning a longer stay. White rafters can run the river on their own or join a guided tour. Book a mountain biking tour of the gorge or take your E-bike to Stone Cliff Trail for a 2.7-mile ride along the banks of the river.
You may not think of “quirky” when you envision an Alaskan destination, but the tiny hamlet of Talkeetna, set within a breathtaking tree-filled backdrop, will change your mind. After all, it’s the inspiration behind the popular TV show Northern Exposure. And, for 20 years, a cat named Mayor Stubbs was the actual mayor. You’ll discover this must-see town about 115 miles north of Anchorage, at the base of Denali peak. In July, Talkeetna hosts the Moose Dropping Festival, where moose dung is tossed from a helicopter onto the crowds below. Dog sled rides, flightseeing tours, and heli-mountain biking tours are just some of the adventures you can try.
It may be on every list of top U.S. travel destinations, but Las Vegas is an ever-changing landscape of fun with a massive list of things to do and a huge array of places to see while you’re there. There’s no other place on the planet like it. Enjoy seafood served in all-you-can-eat buffets, 24/7 adult beverages, and any type of performance you need, from magic shows, to big-name comedy performances, to world-class burlesque shows and music concerts by legends such as John Legend.
For tens of thousands of years, wind-blown dust and silt slowly formed the rolling hills of The Palouse. Although the hills cover parts of northeast Oregon and north-central Idaho, the majority spans out across southeastern Washington state, with the best views from Steptoe Butte. In the spring, the hills are a vivid green, changing to a rich, golden yellow in the fall. You’ll find plenty of sites and explorations to keep you busy, with paved bike paths, swimming spots, and artisan workshops throughout the area.
Travelers seeking both access to nature and all the amenities a big city has to offer will find that Denver is the perfect destination. Craft beers are a big thing here, and the city’s 100+ breweries and pubs prove it. Art lovers can immerse themselves in the city’s extraordinary art scene, with both the Denver Art Museum and The Clyfford Still Museum to peruse. Shoppers will find everything they don’t need but must have at the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian-friendly promenade in the downtown area. And, with 42 outdoor cafes to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect meal to sate your cravings.