The latest editions of the U.S. News & World Report travel rankings have been released, with a list of the best destinations to visit in the U.S. issued as part of their findings. The list was created by using a 50/50 mix of both user scores and editorial staff scores, a wide range of criteria was considered before each destination found its spot on the list. Here’s a look at the destinations in the U.S. that made the top 10.
10. New York City
Not only a top destination in the U.S. but a major attraction the world over, New York City has long since been the poster child for a modern-day metropolis. Home to some of the world’s best eateries, museums, galleries, and events, New York City offers travelers a wealth of attractions that they’re unlikely to exhaust, even in several trips to the city.
If the skyscrapers and busy streets get a bit too much, travelers can retreat to Central Park, one of the most famous parks in the country and a true New York Landmark. Easily serviceable by road, rail or air, the Big Apple shines in all seasons and caters to all crowds, making it worthy of a place in any top 10 list.
9. Grand Teton National Park
The first of several National Parks to feature in the list, Grand Teton stands out from the crowd thanks to its dramatic Teton mountain range, which erupts abruptly from the ground and jut fiercely into the heavens.
Located north of Jackson, Wyoming, and close to Yellowstone (but far from its shadow), Grand Teton’s snow-capped peaks serve as the perfect backdrop to a range of outdoor activities that are popular here, such as mountaineering and hiking, whilst adventures often give way to hidden gems such as waterfalls, streams and a vast array of wildlife.
It takes a lot to stand out as a Hawaiian island, yet Kauai manages it with ease. Hawaii’s very own Garden Island is renowned for its stunning coasts, canyons, and mountains, whilst an absence of garish towering resorts and thronging crowds only serves to enhance its natural charms further. Perfect for outdoorsy types, with its abundance of trails, biking routes, and water sports, Kauai has more than earned its spot on this list, with the island’s very own Poipu Beach considered amongst the world’s best.
7. Honolulu – Oahu
Despite being markedly different from Kauai, Honolulu – Hawaii’s state capital located on the island of Oahu – still bears many similarities. Undeniably beautiful, with awe-inspiring locations such as Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Hanauma Bay, Honolulu also caters to a more cosmopolitan crowd, with luxury resorts, top dining opportunities, and shopping facilities all readily available for travelers to take advantage of. The best of both worlds when it comes to natural beauty and a big city feel, there are plenty of reasons why so many travelers flock to the shores of Honolulu each year.
6. Zion National Park
Whilst this may be a list of the best destinations in the US, travelers would be forgiven for thinking that a trip to Zion National Park had accidentally transported them to another planet.
The park’s pink, orange, and red-hued sandstone cliffs resemble something of an alien landscape, and can be explored up close with a spot of canyoneering that will take you to the base of the cliffs. Rivers that weave through the canyons can also be explored, either through wading, swimming, or tubing, whilst camping at the park provides the opportunity to wake up some of the best views in the country. If a tent isn’t your thing, there are plenty of places to stay located in the surrounding area.
5. Glacier National Park
Located in Montana, Glacier National Park is yet another example of the United States’ amazing national parks. The park is one of the few places travelers can see glaciers in the US, with as many as 25 of these floating ice masses located here, but it has so much more to offer – including an abundance of lakes to explore. It’s an all-year-round destination, with winter providing ample opportunity to take part in cross country skiing and snowboarding, and the other seasons prove a hit with hikers and rock climbers.
Glacier allows travelers to embrace their inner adventurer by going horseback riding, ice-fishing, and camping out under the stars. Whether exploring on two legs, four legs, on wheels or on a kayak, the park rewards its visitors with stunning vistas at every corner and is well worth a visit.
Much like its sister islands, Maui is a veritable feast of dramatic landscapes and wild topography that draws huge numbers of travelers each year. This lush island is more than just sandy beaches and quiet coves, boasting lush green valleys and volcanic landscapes that are just as rewarding to be explored in a helicopter as they are on foot.
Maui’s world-class beaches serve as a gateway to some top snorkeling sites, whilst back on terra firma the island’s charming towns give travelers a chance to sample island life at its most natural and authentic best. Spend an evening strolling down Front Street or watching the sunset from a beach, and it’s easy to see why Maui made the cut.
Situated around California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite is the perfect destination for travelers looking to reconnect with the great outdoors. The park is home to some of the most attractive natural features in the country, such as the famous El Capitan rock formation and the ancient giant sequoia trees, and plays host to a diverse range of wildlife including bears, bobcats, and river otters.
Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls are must-visit locations for waterfall enthusiasts, and there are hiking trails of several difficulties and durations to make sure that no travelers feel left out. One of the United States’ most famous destinations, it’s a testament to the glory of nature and serves breathtaking beauty at every corner.
Only open for a few months of the year, Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres and 10,000 thermal features are the very definition of a must-visit destination. Whilst the main draw is Old Faithful – a geyser that can erupt more than 50m – the park has so much more to offer travelers. It’s one of the best places to see natural hot springs, which dazzle in their multi-colored splendor, and is also home to some fantastic hiking trails.
Wildlife is also another attraction, with the park home to grizzly bears, wolves, bison and moose to name but a few species. Travelers can also take part in various activities on Yellowstone river, such as fishing and rafting. As the United States’ first national park, it stakes a strong claim that it’s America’s best.
1. Grand Canyon
One of the United States’ most instantly-recognizable and famous landmarks, the Grand Canyon has been crowned the top destination in the country. Visiting the canyon – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a transformative, inspiring experience; stretching as far as the eye can see, the shapes, colors and majesty of the canyons can scarcely be captured on camera and must be seen to be truly appreciated.
Beautiful as it is, it’s more than just a pretty view; travelers can hike, swim, raft, pedal, and climb their way around different stretches of the canyon and are all-but-guaranteed good weather and better views as they do it. Providing visitors with a trip that is quintessentially American, no travelers that have visited the canyon would argue against its place on this list.
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