From world-famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge to stunning natural wonders like Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon, the USA is overflowing with bucket-list destinations.
It wasn’t just Hollywood movies that made me want to visit when I was a kid, though that is how I discovered some cool places to visit in the US. When I first set foot on these shores, I knew I wanted to live here. There’s just so much to see and do that it can almost be overwhelming — and with more than enough to explore over anyone’s lifetime, you might find it a challenge to decide where to go.
To help you narrow down your options, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in the USA. If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, experience some fascinating history, or simply relax in a beautiful setting, you’ll find what you’re looking for right here.
Best Places to Visit in the USA
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Located in Maine, Acadia National Park is one of the best natural places to visit in North America. Hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking are all popular here, and with all the mountains, forests, and miles of rugged coastline, you’re going to be kept busy.
One of the most dramatic national parks in the United States, it’s particularly beautiful in the fall, when the colors of the leaves will leave you speechless.
Acadia National Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an active vacation or a chance to relax in nature. If you don’t feel like going on your own steam, try this three-day guided tour that leaves direct from New York.
See Related: Best Hiking Trails in the United States
2. Atlanta, Georgia
The capital of Georgia is a bustling city known for its museums and cultural landmarks – particularly when it comes to the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Martin Luther King National Historical Park is a must-see experience for anyone visiting Atlanta, and this MLK history walking tour is one of the most popular things to do here. There’s also the Civil and Human Rights Museum, Atlanta History Center, and Oakland Cemetary if you want to seriously get your history fix.
For foodies, Atlanta also has an exciting restaurant scene and buzzing nightlife. It’s also home to a certain iconic soft drink, and tours of the World of Coca-Cola are high on the list of top attractions in “A-Town.”
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Jekyll Island, Georgia
3. Austin, Texas
The bohemian bolthole capital city of Texas is known for its live music scene and annual South by Southwest festival. The city also features a number of pleasant green spaces, like Zilker Park and the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
If you’re looking for a cultural hub with good food and live music, Austin is the perfect place for you. The city offers a mixed vibe of college town by way of an active startup community. Austin is also a great layover destination if you’re traveling onward.
Add this great city to your United States bucket list – you won’t regret it. Who knows? You might not ever leave.
See Related: Where To Stay In Austin, Texas: Best Areas & Districts
4. Big Sur, California
Running along the famous Highway 1, Big Sur in California offers some of the most genuinely breathtaking views you’ll ever see in your life. This stretch of coastline features towering cliffs, crashing waves, lush forests, and plenty of hiking trails to explore if you want to get out and stretch your legs.
When I first drove this route, I decided to do it in style and rented a convertible in San Francisco to drive it all the way down to Los Angeles.
For a truly unique experience, I recommend a stay in the hostel at Pigeon Point Lighthouse. But no matter where you decide to break up this journey, it’s easily one of the best road trips in the United States, and the Big Sur stretch is almost certainly the highlight.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California
5. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the US. The park features striking and unique rock formations called “hoodoos,” and there’s certainly a bewitching quality about them.
Located in southern Utah, it can be a little tricky to get to the park. Salt Lake City will likely be your jumping-off point, but the nearest airport is Cedar City, which is about an hour away.
Once there, I highly recommend taking a horseback ride tour for an immersive Wild West experience. You can also hike, camp, or take a scenic drive through the park if you prefer to be a little less energetic.
See Related: Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon
6. Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City is easily one of the best places to visit in the USA and is home to world-renowned museums and art galleries, like the Art Institute of Chicago. It also has a lively theater and music scene, and a number of iconic skyscrapers, such as the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center.
Chicago is an architecture lover’s dream, and you’ll definitely want to check out some of the famous buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, along with many other iconic Chicago landmarks.
In the summer, you can enjoy views of the city and the enormous Lake Michigan from one of the many lively rooftop bars, while the Willis Tower offers the (in)famous Ledge attraction on the 103rd Floor. For those without a head for heights, try a private sunset tour on the lake instead.
See Related: Where to Stay in Chicago
7. Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park is where you go to see a “who’s who” of North American wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears, caribou, and whatever the plural of moose is.
This vast wilderness also contains the largest mountain in North America: Mt. Denali. Its peak sits at a nose-bleeding 20,310 feet above sea level.
To get the most out of your visit, I highly recommend a thrilling Jeep tour. For the more energetic, there are some truly outstanding hiking trails. Just remember to pack that bear spray.
You can also charter a light aircraft to explore Denali from the air. But no matter the angle you view it from, you’ll discover that it’s unlike any other park in the world. This is nature in its truest, rawest form.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Alaska
8. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is one of the United States’ most popular tourist destinations.
Over a mile deep and 18 miles at its widest point, it stretches around 277 breathtaking miles and is easily in the top five of the nation’s iconic landmarks.
Located in Arizona, the canyon gets plenty of sunshine throughout the year, and hiking, biking, horseback rides, and helicopter rides are all popular activities inside the park.
Check out the Grand Canyon Village for places to stay, but it’s also a short hop from Las Vegas if you’re looking for a little sin to wash down all that stunning natural beauty!
See Related: Where to Stay in the Grand Canyon
9. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
The awesome power of volcanoes used to thrill me as a kid, and I’m pleased to report that nothing has changed as an adult. If you’re also into this powerful force of nature, look no further than Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.
Home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the park also features a rainforest, hiking trails, horseback riding, and a variety of dramatic lava flows, which will light up anyone’s Instagram.
The best time to visit Hawaii is during the summer when the weather is drier. But if you’re a little nervous about going on your own, I highly recommend a professionally guided tour.
See Related: Best Islands in the US to Visit
10. Hollywood, California
Hollywood is one of the most famous neighborhoods in the United States, well-known for its movie studios, celebrities, glitz, and glam.
Located in Los Angeles, California, a visit is essential for any TV and movie fan. The legendary Walk of Fame features more than 2,600 stars embedded in the sidewalks, and it’s tremendously fun to pick out your favorites. A tour to visit the iconic sign is also a must.
Visitors can also check out the beloved TCL Chinese Theater, where many famous movies have been screened over the years, and the iconic Dolby Theater (formally Kodak), which hosts the Oscars every year. And who knows, maybe you’ll spot the next Brad Pitt selling fast food wearing a chicken costume?
See Related: Do You Need a Car In Los Angeles?
11. Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best places to go camping in the US. Named after the ubiquitous Joshua trees that grow there, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with multiple hiking trails and rock climbing routes. It’s also famous as an international dark sky park for budding stargazers.
Located in southeastern California, just a few hours from Los Angeles, a driving tour from Palm Desert, near Palm Springs, is one of the best ways to explore the area.
The park is open year-round, but I recommend visiting during the spring or fall when the temperatures are milder. If you do come in the summer, be sure to bring plenty of water, as it can get very hot from May to August.
See Related: Where to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park: Best Accommodation Options
12. Las Vegas, Nevada
The gleaming lights of Las Vegas glow in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, attracting a colorful mix of characters, lost souls, and high rollers. Known for its casinos, hotels, and raucous nightlife, it’s easy to see why “Sin City” is one of the world’s most popular (and notorious) tourist destinations.
Las Vegas is a year-round destination that is packed with things to do – not all of them related to losing your money to the house. Try the thrilling Mob Museum and the illuminating Neon Museum, or why not get married/renew your vows at the famous Graceland Chapel?
Many top musicians call Las Vegas home, performing all night for a rowdy crowd, while Cirque du Soleil shows are also well attended here in the “Adult Disneyland.”
See Related: Las Vegas vs. Phoenix
13. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a city like no other. With its unique heritage and glamorous reputation, it’s little wonder that the “City of Angels” is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.
Whether you’re a film lover, a shopper, or a beach bum, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in this eclectic melting pot, with attractions like Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits, and of course, the Hollywood Sign.
To keep things simple, I highly recommend a Best of LA Tour – to make sure you don’t miss a thing. But remember that car you hired to drive here? Get rid of it as fast as possible!
See Related: The Ultimate Weekend in Los Angeles Itinerary
14. Maui, Hawaii
Maui is an island in Hawaii known for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts. It’s also home to a number of interesting attractions and plenty of exciting outdoor activities.
Quick show of hands: how many of you can say you’ve swum in a sunken volcano? Snorkeling tours in Maui are not to be missed.
For history buffs, the Lahaina Banyan Tree is a must-see. Planted in 1873, it now covers an entire city block. And of course, no trip to Maui would be complete without spending some time on the beach.
Getting to Maui is easy – you can fly into the Kahului Airport (OGG) from most major US cities. Once you’re on the island, renting a car is the best way to get around.
See Related: Where to Stay in Maui
15. Miami, Florida
Miami is known for its clear blue skies, white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, buzzing nightlife, and a classic 1980s crime drama.
But for something a little different, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that features 10 acres of formal greenery and a European-style mansion. And Zoo Miami is home to more than 3,000 animals from 500 different species, which makes for the perfect day trip for families with kids. Of course, lazying on Miami Beach is also a good option.
If you prefer to check out a local vibe, take a walk or ride a bike through Coconut Grove, which is an upscale neighborhood with tree-lined streets and plenty of local shops and restaurants. A visit to Miami doesn’t have to be about vice.
See Related: Best East Coast Vacation Spots in the US
16. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in the USA, notable as the world’s first national park and famous for its dramatic geothermal features, such as geysers and hot springs. A tour of Old Faithful is not to be missed.
For wildlife lovers, bison and elk roam freely in these parts, but they’re not alone. More than 300 species of birds can be spotted here, as well as 67 different mammals and 16 species of fish. And that’s before we’ve mentioned the reptiles!
Throughout the park, you’ll find hiking routes and scenic drives, which makes Yellowstone one of the best places to visit in the USA for appreciating some of the most stunning scenery in the country.
See Related: Where to Stay in Yellowstone
17. Yosemite National Park, California
Nestled in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is one of the best hiking locations in the country. Mountain biking is also popular, as are scenic drives for the less mobile.
Aside from its waterfalls and giant sequoias, the Half Dome is an iconic natural landmark in Yosemite, but you need a permit to climb it, and obtaining one can be something of a challenge.
What isn’t a challenge is getting to Yosemite, and you can fly into the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) from most major US cities. Once you’re on the ground, you can pick up a rental car or take public transportation to the park. Guided day trips from San Francisco are also popular.
See Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park?
18. Zion National Park, Utah
The Zion National Park is a must-see for anyone interested in hiking and scenery. The park boasts a number of iconic hiking routes, like the Angels Landing trail, which takes you to the top of a cliff with incredible views.
The easiest way to get to Zion National Park is to fly to St. George Municipal Airport. From there, you can rent a car and drive to the park, which will take about an hour.
If you’re coming from further afield, you can fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport and drive from there. This route will take you about five hours, but you do get to see plenty of gorgeous Utah along the way.
See Related: Best Hot Springs in Utah
19. Orlando, Florida
As a family holiday destination, Orlando is one of the best places to visit in the USA, filled with a plethora of theme parks, attractions, and legendary destinations. The city is home to the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, and WonderWorks, making it a paradise for the whole family. The Kennedy Space Center is also a short drive away.
Just mentioning the name Orlando can have kids screaming with joy, but there’s plenty to see and do for adults, too. Be warned, though: school holidays are particularly busy here, so if you’re looking to visit during that time and/or you don’t have kids, be sure to book your accommodations well in advance – and prepare yourself!
See Related: Best Bars in Orlando, Florida
20. Seattle, Washington
One of my favorite cities in the world, Seattle is a buzzing and potentially very wet location on the Pacific Northwest coast. Surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, it’s easily one of the best places to visit in the USA.
The major attractions in town are the unmissable Space Needle, the colorful Pike Place Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park, Discovery Park, and the Museum of Pop Culture. Barely having a musical bone in my body, I recorded a song at the “MoPOP” many years ago, and it’s still a very fond memory.
And with so much to see and do in the home of Grunge, I highly recommend picking up a Seattle CityPASS, which will save you a small fortune on attractions.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Downtown Seattle
21. Baltimore, Maryland
It might not be the city on everyone’s lips when it comes to the best places to visit in the United States, but Baltimore offers a lot to see and do and is often unfairly overlooked.
From its Inner Harbor to its role in American history, there’s plenty to explore here. Try the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center, or enjoy an informative historical sightseeing tour. And of course, baseball fans shouldn’t forget about the Baltimore Orioles.
So whether you’re looking for history, culture, sports, or just a great place to have some fun on the East Coast, Baltimore makes the list as one of the best places to visit in the USA.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Ocean City, Maryland
22. Boston, Massachusetts
Rich in colonial US history, “Beantown” is home to a number of famous colleges and universities, which gives the city a young, energetic feel, particularly in the Downtown and Back Bay neighborhoods.
But Boston’s true highlight has to be the world-famous Freedom Trail, which is one of the finest attractions I’ve ever seen. A great way to learn more about the American Revolution, you can pound the Freedom Trail yourself or get a costumed guide for a more immersive experience.
Ghost tours are also immensely popular here, too, so book early. And if you’re a baseball fan, the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park are definitely worth a visit, considering it’s one of the most iconic stadiums in the country. Good luck getting Red Sox tickets!
See Related: The Best Boston Tours
23. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is a beautiful city known for its charming architecture, polite society, and its darker roles in US history. It’s also home to a number of interesting attractions, like the Charleston Museum and the Fort Sumter National Monument.
The former is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States, dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry region. Meanwhile, Fort Sumter National Monument commemorates the start of the American Civil War. Visitors can take a ferry ride out to the island fort, tour the exhibitions, and watch a film about the conflict.
And when you are in town, don’t miss the most photographed Charleston attraction – Rainbow Row. To be honest, it’s going to be hard not to!
See Related: The Best Museums to Visit in Charleston
24. Washington D.C.
A city that’s an essential stop on any East Coast itinerary, Washington D.C. is absolutely packed with some of the most iconic cultural and historic landmarks, monuments, and memorials in the country.
I tried a night tour when I visited, and I wasn’t disappointed. The likes of the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and the Lincoln Memorial look sensational when lit up.
The nation’s capital also lays claim to some of the country’s top museums, including the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.
For getting around, D.C. is a very bicycle-friendly city and is best explored on two wheels. Get on your bike in the spring when the blossom is in full bloom.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Washington D.C. By Train
25. Houston, Texas
Anyone who is remotely interested in our little corner of the universe must travel to Houston at some point. The NASA Space Center has got to be up there with the best places to visit in the USA.
But aside from the famous astronaut training and flight control complex, the largest city in Texas has a lot going for it if you scratch below the astronomical surface.
You’ll find that the downtown area is remarkably compact for such a populated metropolis, and it boasts some interesting attractions, including the Houston Grand Opera in the Theater District, the Museum of Fine Arts, and some fine 19th-century architecture. And don’t miss the impressive Museum of Natural Science, which is the largest dinosaur hall in North America.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Beaumont, Texas
26. Cleveland, Ohio
Musical Cleveland is a surprisingly pretty destination for travelers who are looking for a charming mix of history and culture. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see for music lovers, and the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the finest in the country. And don’t miss the highly rated Cleveland History Center, which is about as far from a stuffy old museum as you can get.
Cleveland is also a great city for foodies and features some outstanding restaurants, including the opulent Marble Room – a historic former bank with a jaw-dropping dining hall.
For places to stay, the Hilton Downtown is close to all the action, and the Comfort Inn is also a good option.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Cincinnati, Ohio
27. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Home of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs is known for its scenic setting and its many outdoor activities.
Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the city is a nature enthusiast’s paradise. Colorado Springs is also home to a number of interesting attractions, including the famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway and the Garden of the Gods. And I highly recommend taking in the stunning surrounding landscape with a Jeep tour.
If you don’t fancy walking or driving, try a segway tour in the Garden of the Gods through the Juniper Loop – one of the park’s must-see locations. Balloon rides are also popular for an altogether different perspective of one of the most beautiful parks in the American West.
See Related: Best Ski Resorts in Colorado
28. Savannah, Georgia
Coastal Savannah is a quintessential Southern city known for the scenic landscape of big grassy forests, old Southern houses, and a picturesque waterfront that offers dozen of one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques.
There is a beautiful sandy beach on Tybee Island, and Hilton Head Island is accessible in just under an hour. It’s a great place for a romantic weekend getaway, and we highly recommend this charming retreat as somewhere to stay with a loved one.
Savannah is also one of the country’s most haunted locations, and the Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour is always popular for learning about the city’s spooks.
See Related: Best Weekend Getaways in the USA
29. Dallas, Texas
The third-largest city in Texas and the home of the Cowboys, Dallas boasts top-drawer attractions like the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Sixth Floor Museum – which chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Walking tours to see key locations are also popular, but for those less interested in this tragic event, the Dallas World Aquarium is one of the largest of its kind on the planet and is teeming with marine life, including sharks, rays, and penguins.
Dallas is a great city for history buffs, art lovers, and anyone who enjoys Tex-Mex cuisine. And the Cowboy’s Stadium Tour is a must for any NFL fan, so don’t miss it – even if you don’t manage to catch a game.
See Related: Best Breweries in San Antonio, Texas
30. Denver, Colorado
An outdoor mecca, Denver is famous for being the gateway to some of the country’s most dramatic and adventurous external play areas – including Rocky Mountain National Park.
But it’s not all about the great outdoors. Denver also offers some excellent museums, including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Wings Over the Rockies, and the Clyfford Still Museum. There’s also a thriving art scene, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the brilliant Denver Zoo.
The city’s food and craft beer scene has been top-notch for years. You’ll love all that downtown has to offer, and you can start by checking out this article on the 35 Best Restaurants in Denver.
See Related: Where to Stay in Estes Park: Best Areas & Accommodations
31. Waikiki, Hawaii
Waikiki is a world-famous tourist destination for its pristine seashore and abundance of activities, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some time in the sun.
Located on the island of Oahu, just a short drive from Honolulu, some of the finest golden sandy beaches on the planet are found here. While lazying around is an easy option, Turtle Canyon snorkeling tours, parasailing, and surfing lessons are available for the more adventurous. There’s even an Atlantis submarine tour for exploring beneath the waves.
Safe, comfortable, and friendly, Waikiki is perfect for families or couples looking for a relaxing, stress-free vacation. And don’t miss a private catamaran cruise at sunset as a wonderful end to the day.
See Related: Best Snorkeling Spots in Hawaii
32. Minneapolis, Minnesota
There’s a lot to love about Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city is home to a diverse array of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and culture. It’s a booming and culturally eclectic melting pot.
The city offers a selection of great attractions, including the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the gleaming US Bank Stadium. You’ll find a number of attractive green spaces, including Minnehaha Park, which features a beautiful waterfall, and Loring Park, which is perfect for picnics and people-watching.
But what genuinely makes it one of the best places to travel in the United States is its beer and distillery scene. For fans of the grain, Minneapolis is hard to beat.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Minneapolis & St. Paul
33. Portland, Oregon
Portland is a hip and happening destination, the city equivalent of a crunchy, bountiful granola. For foodies, there are several James Beard Award-winning restaurants and zany eateries like Voodoo Doughnut. And have you ever been on a donut tour?!
If you’re a fan of the arts, you’ll find plenty of galleries and museums, including the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Washington Park and Forest Park are popular greenspaces, and you can head to the Columbia River Gorge for some hiking and rafting.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon
34. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson is a beautiful town in Wyoming in the heart of the Jackson Hole Valley. It’s just south of Grand Teton National Park, a short drive from Yellowstone, and one of the country’s most beloved western towns. Famous for its outdoor activities and wildlife, it’s one of the best places to visit in the USA if you’re looking for adventure.
The town is home to a number of great restaurants, bars, and shops, but its primary attraction is as a jumping-off point to explore the outdoors.
In the valley itself, there are plenty of biking and hiking trails, horseback riding, and you can go rafting or kayaking on the Snake River. Bridger-Teton National Forest is a popular place for hiking and camping, and of course, Grand Teton National Park is a huge draw.
Heading to Wyoming in the winter? You’ll find two world-class ski resorts and one beloved town hill (Snow King), all worth visiting. The larger resorts are Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, and Grand Targhee Resort, accessible from Driggs, Idaho, just over Teton Pass.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Wyoming
35. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is one of the premier winter sports destinations in the world, popular with celebrities, the rich and famous (and the rest of us mere mortals as well).
Sitting in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the town is known for its year-round beautiful scenery – like the “quaking Aspen trees,” which turn a stunning shade of yellow in the fall.
It’s also a great place to enjoy the outdoors in the summer, with plenty of biking and hiking trails, and you can even go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. Try this off-the-beaten-path tour for an alternative view of Aspen and its surroundings.
But make no mistake – powder is king here. Aspen features a number of world-class ski resorts, including Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Buttermilk.
See Related: Best Places To Stay In Aspen, Colorado
36. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska and is a staging point for boundless adventures in one of the last great wilderness regions of the USA.
There are plenty of things to do in Anchorage, from hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking. And, for winter sports enthusiasts, you can head to the Chugach Mountains for some skiing or snowboarding. This helicopter and glacier dogsled tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the region.
Anchorage is a great place to learn about Alaska’s native culture. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and promoting native history and traditions across the state. The center is a living museum with cultural programming and indigenous awareness workshops.
See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in Alaska
37. New Orleans, Lousiana
New Orleans is one of the world’s most unique cities, evidenced by its strong French, Cajun, Haitian, and Spanish influences. I particularly love the more off-beat attractions, like the Museum of Death, The Voodoo Museum, and the Cemetary Tours.
But the biggest draw is undoubtedly the world-famous annual parade during Mardi Gras. Elaborate costumes and outrageous floats light up the streets, music is heard around every corner, and the celebration seems as endless as the beads. So. Many. Beads!
If you’re visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras, be aware the crowds can be overwhelming, and crime rates tend to rise during this time. Plan ahead, book early, and be sure to secure your valuables.
See Related: A Local’s Guide to Mardi Gras in New Orleans
38. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is one of the best places to visit in the USA – especially for anyone looking to escape the winter weather. This desert city offers an excellent place to shop, relax or have fun, and is known for its resort facilities, golf courses, and year-round sun.
UTV tours of the Arizona desert offer an exciting way to explore the dusty surroundings, and it’s also a popular home base for Grand Canyon day trips.
Overall, whether you’re hitting the links or just taking in some sun, Phoenix should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Check out our favorite things to do in Phoenix, Arizona if you’re spending some time here.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Phoenix, Arizona
39. Glacier National Park, Montana
Founded in 1910, Glacier National Park is located in Montana and covers one million acres. Hiking to one of its 80 glaciers is an essential outdoor adventure in these parts.
You’ll find over 700 miles of trails for trekking, and exploring the many lakes by kayak is also popular. And whitewater rafting is never far away with this topography.
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in the summer when all of the trails are open and the weather is warm. However, the park is also beautiful in the winter, when snowshoeing tours are a great way to explore the dramatic landscape.
See Related: The Best Places to Visit in Montana
40. New York City, New York
The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, Broadway…it’s all here, and a one-day guided sightseeing tour will make sure you don’t miss anything in New York.
If you’re a fan of culture, pay a visit to the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And if you want to catch a Broadway show, be sure to get your tickets in advance as they sell out fast during peak times.
There are restaurants and bars to cater to every taste, and the Big Apple is one of the best places to visit in the USA if you want to try every conceivable kind of cuisine.
Pick up a New York CityPass which can help keep costs down – and wear comfortable shoes!
See Related: Where to Stay in New York City with Family
41. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites are a must for any history buffs. The sites include the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the USS Utah Memorial, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was an action that finally brought the United States into the war, and today the sites stand as a moving tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflict.
The best time to visit the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites is in the morning, as it can get very crowded later in the day. You’ll need to take a boat to the USS Arizona Memorial, so make sure to arrive early. Pearl Harbor guided tours are highly recommended to get the most out of your visit.
See Related: Fun and Best Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii
42. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular tourist destination. “The City” is known for its hilly streets, late Victorian architecture, and, of course, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Some of the must-do activities include visiting Alcatraz Island, taking a cable car ride, and exploring Chinatown. Be sure to hike through Muir Woods and visit Yosemite National Park. And don’t miss the legendary Pier 39.
It’s well-known that San Francisco can be an expensive city to visit. Purchase a CityPASS, which gives you access to some of the city’s most popular attractions for a discounted price.
When you visit San Francisco, come prepared for the infamous fog, and be sure to wear a flower in your hair.
See Related: Best Family Hotels in San Francisco, California
43. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, regardless of its controversial history. The national monument features the faces of four American presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – carved into the mountainside.
The best time to visit is in the summer, as the monument is open year-round but can be inaccessible in the winter due to snow.
Once you’re at Mount Rushmore, you can take a ranger-led or self-guided tour, explore the visitor center, and hike the many trails in the area. But don’t miss the Crazy Horse Monument, which is only 30 minutes away, and – in my humble option – is the much better (and more ethical) monument.
See Related: List of US National Monuments
44. Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
Lake Tahoe is a large lake that straddles the border between California and Nevada. The lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and its scenic beauty.
There are plenty of things to do in Lake Tahoe, including hiking, biking, skiing, and kayaking. You can also relax on one of the many beaches or take a scenic boat tour.
Lake Tahoe is a popular tourist destination, so it’s best to visit during the week. The lake is also quite large, so you’ll want to make sure you have a map so you can explore all the different areas. You won’t believe the color of the water here, and for that reason alone, it’s one of the best places to visit in the USA.
See Related: Best Beaches in Lake Tahoe
45. Mall of America, Minnesota
Now, hear me out. A shopping mall might not ordinarily be on your list of the best places to visit in the USA, but in a country that’s known for gargantuan things, The Mall of America is the largest in the United States. And what’s a vacation without a little shopping, after all?
Not only will you find more than 500 stores under its roof, but there’s also an amusement park, a Sealife Center, a movie theater, and a wide selection of restaurants.
Located in Bloomington, Minnesota, the mall is open all year round. Be advised, though: it’s best to visit on a weekday, as weekends can get very crowded indeed.
See Related: Best Tours in Minnesota
46. San Diego, California
There are over 70 miles of stunning sandy beaches around San Diego, but the city is perhaps best known for the world-famous San Diego Zoo. You can visit SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and whale-watching cruises from the harbor are also popular.
The city also has a number of world-class museums, including the USS Midway Museum, the San Diego Maritime Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
The climate ensures that San Diego is a great place to visit any time of year, but it can be quite crowded during the summer. If you’re visiting during peak season, be sure to book your hotels and tickets in advance.
See Related: Best Restaurants in San Diego, California
47. Death Valley National Park, California
I remember being absolutely terrified of the name of this place when I was a kid, and while care must be taken when exploring this fascinating desert landscape, Death Valley National Park should not be missed.
Hiking, mountain biking, and camping are popular activities, or a scenic drive is on offer for the less energetic. The park also boasts the darkest skies in the USA, and nighttime stargazing tours are a chance to beat the heat and enjoy the thrill of an unpolluted majestical firmament.
The best time to visit is in the winter or spring. Just be sure you keep that water bottle topped up.
See Related: Where to Stay in Death Valley: Best Areas & Places
48. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend is a popular tourist destination located in Arizona, part of the East Rim of the Grand Canyon. This geological marvel has been formed over thousands of years by the Colorado River, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape.
There is no charge to visit Horseshoe Bend, but there is a fee for parking. The best time to go is in the morning or evening, as the sun can be very harsh in the middle of the day – particularly in summer.
To get there, take a day trip from Las Vegas, which also includes the iconic Antelope Canyon – which is not to be missed just before the sun goes down. The local town of Page on the Colorado River offers plenty of quality accommodation if you want to stay nearby.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Arizona & Places to Visit
49. Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park is so-called because it contains more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. It’s located in Utah, and it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and snap some unforgettable photos.
The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the spring or fall. When you’re at the park, you can go hiking, camping, or take a scenic drive; and keen photographers will want to be there at sunset.
You can also head to the visitor center to learn more about the park’s history and geology, and whitewater rafting is available on the nearby Colorado River.
See Related: Where to Stay in Utah for the National Parks
50. Nashville, Tennessee
Music City is a wonderful place to visit if you’re a fan of Country. Home to the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville is full of country music attractions, traditions, and music venues, making it a great place to catch a live show.
You can even take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry itself and learn about the world’s number-one country music hall.
In addition to being known for its music, Nashville is also famous for its cuisine. The city has a great selection of restaurants that offer everything from Southern comfort food to fine dining.
And you simply must not miss the chance to visit Jack, with a Jack Daniel’s distillery tour, complete with whiskey tastings. Just remember, we encourage sensible drinking!
See Related: Best Bars in Nashville, Tennessee
51. Monument Valley, Arizona
Have you ever wanted to star in a Western? A visit to the vast, wind-swept wilderness of Monument Valley is as close as you can get without the cameras actually rolling.
Formed over thousands of years, these impressive structures tower over the valley floor and have changed little since the West was genuinely wild. Take a tour with a local Navajo guide to visit all the best locations.
But horseback riding is a must here – no arguments! Get on the back of the beast and explore the dramatic scenery of the stunning Monument Valley as nature intended. Just be sure to take regular breaks, or you really will be walking like John Wayne.
See Related: The Most Beautiful Valleys in the US
52. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
I’m a big fan of the mysticism, power, and loneliness of the sea, and I’m at my happiest when near it. The food, the sights, the smells, and the romance of the ocean is hard to beat.
And while there’s a wealth of places that fit the bill in the US, it’s the Cape Cod Peninsula in Massachusetts that keeps me coming back. This is one of the best places to visit if you want to get away from it all and quiet the mind.
Aside from gorging on the fresher-than-fresh seafood, whale watching is the big draw in these parts, with regular tours from Provincetown. Seeing these majestic creatures in the wild is a truly unforgettable experience. To get there, high-speed ferries are available to and from Boston.
See Related: Best Beaches on the East Coast
53. Key West, Florida
When visiting the United States, surely it’s on anyone’s bucket list to drive the length of that funny-looking road at the tip of the Florida panhandle?
At the end of the aptly named Overseas Highway, you’ll find Key West, an island city that’s famous for its diving, snorkeling, and kayaking in and on its pristine tropical waters. If you love watersports by day and parties by night, boy, are you in for a treat.
Key West has an abundance of coral reefs that pull in scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world. Dolphin watching is also popular, and the conch-style architecture is charming to take in when you’ve hung up your flippers for the day.
See Related: Best Resorts in Key West, Florida
54. San Antonio, Texas
Located in South-Central Texas, San Antonio is a history buff’s dream and an essential stop for anyone wishing to learn more about the USA’s often turbulent past.
Its most famous attraction is the legendary Alamo, the historic Spanish mission and fortress that played a key role in Texas’ war for independence from Mexico. San Antonio also has several other missions that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and tours are recommended.
A town steeped in rich colonial history, San Antonio offers old-world architecture and stunning views at every turn – not least along its famous River Walk promenade. Try a food walking tour or a River Walk cruise to take it all in.
One visit here and you’re sure to be joining Texans in saying, “Remember the Alamo!”
See Related: Where to Stay in San Antonio
55. Niagara Falls, New York
Some might say the better view of this legendary waterfall is from the Canadian side, but there’s enough here to merit its inclusion as one of the top places to visit in the USA.
And to really get the best angle of this stunningly powerful natural wonder, you need to join the world-famous Maid of the Mist Cruise from the US side. I’ve still got my iconic blue souvenir poncho somewhere!
Aside from the essential scenic boat tour, there’s also the Cave of the Winds, a great view from the Hurricane Deck, hiking trails to explore, and the memorable Top of the Falls restaurant for eats. To get there, a day trip from New York is an ideal way to see Niagara Falls with minimal fuss.
See Related: Incredible Places to Travel Without a Passport
What is the number one vacation spot in the USA?
New York City, hands down. Next question.
What are some of the top bucket list destinations to visit in the USA?
In a country filled with bucket list destinations, it can be hard to pick the very best, and it all depends on the tastes that need to be catered for. But, since you’ve backed me into a corner, I would say my top five include the Grand Canyon, New York City, The Golden Gate Bridge, driving California State Route One, and Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.
Where is the prettiest place to visit in the USA?
This largely depends on what you consider to be beautiful. From a natural landscape perspective, some of the most stunning places in the US are Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re looking for man-made beauty and romantic scenery, you will love the likes of New York City, Chicago, Charleston, New Orleans, and San Francisco.
- Most Famous Historical Landmarks in the USA
- Best Road Trips in the USA
- Best National Parks in the USA to Visit
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