No matter what type of getaway you’re craving, there’s something waiting for you within the boundaries of the U.S. While it’s a noble goal to set your sights on hitting every major city, landmark and notable point of interest the US offers up during a single lifetime, a more manageable start is always a good way to go. Here are 20 of the best places to travel in the US that should definitely make the top of your to-go list.
1. Seattle, Washington
It may be rainy, but that doesn’t stop Seattle, Washington from holding the title as of the best coastal cities in the US. Whether you’re here for whale watching at Alki Beach, capturing incredible views of the mountains from the Space Needle or taking a trip through Pike Place Market, Seattle never fails to fascinate.
Best in Resort-Style Experience
2. Sunriver, Oregon
When you’re looking to get out of town and into a resort-style experience that comes complete with a beautiful view, look no further than Sunriver, Oregon. This Deschutes County community strikes the perfect balance between tranquil residential space and relaxing resort. A trip to Sunriver offers up incredible golf courses, lava cave tours, time to unwind at a variety of vineyards or a leisurely boat trip on the river.
3. St. Augustine, Florida
This beautiful city sits on the northeast coast of Florida and is packed with Spanish colonial architecture that transports visitors to another time. It is well-loved for its stretches of sugary-white sand beaches and endless days of sunshine. Come and enjoy a leisurely getaway or make some room in the schedule for a visit to Anastasia State Park to encounter some of Florida’s most incredible wildlife in a protected habitat.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
This east coast gem of a destination isn’t just for the rich and famous. Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a family-friendly place filled with amazing seafood, ample opportunity to get out on the water and of course, a small-town feel that makes for a relaxing summer getaway. Loved for its many lighthouses, Cape Cod is also an incredible place for whale watching during the summer.
5. Nags Head, North Carolina
Sitting on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Nags Head is a popular summer destination that’s worth the visit. This small but vibrant area invites guests to tour sand dune and lighthouses while making the most of the many fishing piers and boat charters that are available to enjoy. Laid back and unbelievably scenic, this is a great place to visit when you appreciate tranquility that still keeps you close to summer fun activities when you’re ready to head out.
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This colorful and energetic city on South Carolina’s coast is a beach town at its best and resort-lovers flock to its fun scene from near and far on an annual basis. Hosting 60-miles of sandy beaches waiting to be enjoyed, Myrtle Beach is just as great of a place for jumping on a Ferris Wheel, hanging out at the aquarium or trying your hand at one of the many upscale golf courses. From boardwalks to stunning beachfront properties, Myrtle Beach has a little bit of everything under the sun.
Best in Savoring the Scenery
7. Savannah, Georgia
A trip to Savannah, Georgia is bound to be an experience in endless photographs. This city proves itself time and again to be one of the most beautiful for capturing a special moment. Between the cobblestones, horse-drawn carriages and Antebellum architecture, it’s easy to fall in love with the classical beauty. A trip to Forsyth Park with its Spanish Moss-covered oak trees shading the path is an iconic and essential stop along the way.
8. Big Sur, California
The breathtaking contrast between land and sea makes Big Sur, California an incredibly scenic destination. Nestled between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur is made up of a series of dramatic cliffsides that are as thrilling as they are impressive. Take time while you’re here to follow Route 1 through town for a first-hand look at this versatile and picturesque landscape.
9. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands are brimming over with natural beauty, but there’s something special about Kailua-Kona that makes it a must-see place for yourself. Snuggled into the west coast of the big island of Hawaii, Kailua-Kona is home to Keauhou Bay and is the ultimate spot for dolphin spotting. Brilliant blue waters and pristine white sand beaches call to those who are passionate about snorkeling, seeing tropical fish and even a manta ray or two. Come explore a colorful forest of underwater coral or take time to admire the ancient architecture while you’re here.
10. Sedona, Arizona
Far from the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean, Sedona brings an otherworldly beauty to a visit that shouldn’t be missed. Saturated with red rock buttes, Sedona is a land of captivating canyons, large forests and colorful desert beauty that’s all it’s own. Come and enjoy the rugged terrain by Jeep tour or immerse yourself in the city’s artistic side with a trip through the many creative galleries and new age shoes that call this area home.
11. Newport, Rhode Island
For those that love to sail, there is no more beautiful place in the US than Newport, Rhode Island. This port town sits on Aquidneck Island and is renowned for its annual sailing regatta. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be regatta time to enjoy the scenic sight of ships. The Newport Harbor is nearly always packed with impressive yachts waiting to be admired. Further inland, visitors can enjoy viewing the sparkling mansions that sit impressively along Bellevue Avenue.
Travel as a Lifestyle
While 11 seems like a lot, it’s only the beginning once the travel bug hits full force. Use this as a stepping stone to what’s bound to be future years filled with exploration. Keep a travel journal or just keep… going. No matter where you land, you’re bound to find something amazing. Happy travels!
This article was written by Caitlyn Knuth, a travel writer whose personal adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafes in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Sunriver Pines Vacation Homes, she’s excited to write about places that inspire the desire to travel in others.