Clear water of Lake Tahoe California in summer with snowcapped mountains in the background--one of the best places to visit in the USA bucket list

USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US

From snowcapped mountains to tropical beaches, from some of the world’s most iconic cities to some of its most incredible deserts, from the east coast to the west, one thing is incredibly certain: there is absolutely no shortage of awe-inspiring, utterly diverse, and incredibly beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Our home country boasts one of the most incredible national park systems on the planet, along with a huge variety of cities, small towns, and other gorgeous places that ensure that a lifetime would not be long enough to see all of the best travel destinations in the USA.

… But that won’t stop us from trying to enjoy as many of the most amazing vacations in the United States as we can.

We teamed up with several other travel bloggers to put together this giant USA bucket list, and definitely added a few new spots to our personal list of places to see in the US in the process!

From coast to coast, city to countryside, here are the best places to visit in the USA.

Table of Contents

Best Cities to Visit in the USA

National parks + other beautiful places for a us vacation, beaches + islands for your usa bucket list, other beautiful places in the usa to visit.

antelope canyon in arizona with a beam of light streaming into the canyon

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New York, New York

From Disha of Disha Discovers

New York is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the United States and even the world.

It truly is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their lives even if it’s just for a quick weekend in NYC !

The tall buildings are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring, it’s home to some of the most exquisite museums and galleries in the world, and New York City is brimming with so much to explore and see.

Plus, NYC is a foodie’s heaven with cuisines from all over the world.

… And, these are only a few of the many reasons to visit this magnificent city.

kate storm standing at a magnifying glass on liberty island overlooking financial district manhattan

Some bucket-list-worthy things to do in New York City are to watch a play on Broadway, see the Statue of Liberty, hang out in Time Square, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and take a stroll around Central Park.

A few museums to visit are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Guggenheim, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, and Chelsea Market are must-sees as well.

Whatever you decide to do in New York City , you’re in for a real treat!

This city will leave you feeling inspired and you’ll want to book another trip to come back!

kate storm spinning in front of manhattan bridge in brooklyn, a must see duing 4 days in nyc

Miami, Florida

From Veronika of Travel Geekery

Vibrant and colorful Miami is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in the US.

The downtown area merges into wonderfully diverse neighborhoods from Little Havana to Coral Gables.

However, most visitors to the vibrant yet laid-back city head to its beaches located on a long stretch of a barrier island.

South Beach especially is where the glamor’s at, topped by stylish Ocean Drive, which is lined with elegant Art Deco houses including Versace’s mansion, trendy restaurants, and nightclubs… the scene is pretty lively there.

Kate in a pink dress next to a blue Vespa on Ocean Avenue.

The beach itself features uniquely colored watchtowers spread around nice light sand. The waves are mostly mild. Pelicans like it here too and often float on the water near people.

Watching a sunrise on the beach belongs to one of the best experiences one can have in the area.

Miami City and its beaches can easily be visited  even without a car .

The public transport network and the ample ride/bike-sharing services make it an easy destination for any type of traveler.

Blue and yellor art deco lifeguard stand on South Beach in Miami, which is a must-see beach for your USA bucket list!

San Diego, California

From Maria of San Diego Explorer

San Diego is the perfect California beach city and a must on any USA bucket list.

Also known as America’s Finest City, San Diego has a lot to offer, whether you are looking for a beach getaway at one of the many beach resorts in San Diego , a fun time in the city, or a mix of both.

Here are some of the best things to do in San Diego!

In Downtown San Diego, there is something for everyone: from eating delicious Italian fare in Little Italy to visiting the Midway Museum to strolling through Seaport Village, and having a fun night out in the Gaslamp Quarter.

If you love the outdoors and animals, visit Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.  

cityscape of san diego california on a sunny day

And then, there are the beaches: San Diego has some of the best beaches in Southern California.

Some of the most popular ones are Mission Beach, Coronado, and the beaches in La Jolla.

You can relax on the sand, take surfing lessons, or ride your bike along the boardwalk for a fun day on the beach.  

San Diego has so much to offer and is simply a fun city, no matter what you are in the mood for. 

San Diego CA harbor with rows of sailboats in the foreground and the skyline in the back right of the photo

Austin, Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World and capital of the state of Texas is located in the heart of Texas Hill Country and offers a fantastic combination of excellent nightlife, plenty of outdoor activities and day trip opportunities, and truly phenomenal food.

Don’t leave without having at least one giant meal each worth of TexMex and barbecue!

While in Austin, be sure to visit trendy South Congress Avenue, watch the bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge (if you’re visiting at the right time of year, that is), see a show, and go for a hike (or if it’s too hot, hit the lake!).

Want to get out of town?

Austin is within an easy day trip of natural swimming holes, Texas’ wine country, and adorable small towns.

Austin TX skyline with the South Congress Bridge in the foreground

New Orleans, Louisiana

Good food, good music, and good times: of all the best places to visit in the USA, NOLA definitely ranks toward the top of the list for places to go to simply have an amazing time.

There’s far more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and beignets, though.

With a dark and complex history heavily impacted by slavery and a constantly evolving modern culture, New Orleans deserves more than just partying during your visit–though there’s plenty of time for that, too.

While in New Orleans, be sure to listen to some jazz, learn a bit about the city’s history, visit the famous Jackson Square, head to the Garden District, check out the beautiful oak trees in City Park, and–this is very important–eat your heart out.

NOLA is indisputably home to some of the best food in the country–so good, in fact, that the food alone would be a good enough reason to add New Orleans to your USA bucket list.

For those interested in New Orleans’ spooky legends, a ghost tour through the French Quarter at night is also worth adding to your to-do list!

Street in NOLA French Quarter at night with neon lights from the bars lighting it up--don't miss a chance to experience the legendary New Orleans nightlife during your 3 days in NOLA itinerary!

Washington, DC

From Jordan of The Solo Life

One of the best travel destinations in the United States is the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

With everything from museums to monuments to the White House and Capitol Building, DC has something for everyone .

In addition, DC’s public transportation and numerous free attractions make it a surprising destination for the budget-friendly traveler.

Kid-friendly options include the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum.

Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Art or the Hirshhorn Museum for modern and contemporary art.

sunset on the national mall in washington dc facing the washington monument, one of the best places to visit on the east coast america

History buffs should check out the Library of Congress and the National Archives Museum.

Besides museums, the National Mall and Tidal Basin are must-visit locations to see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial, among others.

The best times to visit DC include early summer before it gets too hot or in the fall once summer break is over.

Although extremely crowded due to the Cherry Blossoms, springtime is also a gorgeous time to visit.

No matter what time of year, Washington, DC is one of the best destinations to visit in the US.

Washington Monument in Washington DC framed by cherry blossoms in the foreground. Washington DC is one of the best places to visit in the United States

San Francisco, California

The city of hills, ocean views, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge is at the top of many people’s lists of bucket lists for the United States.

And, with an endless list of things to do that cater to all interests, why not?

Be sure to pay a visit to the touristed highlights that most interest you–Fisherman’s Wharf (and its adorable sea lions!), Alcatraz, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the Painted Ladies (of Full House fame), and checking out Lombard Street.

Once you cross those highlights off your list, though, make time for a few less-obvious attractions, like San Francisco’s Japanese Garden, the Land’s End Labyrinth, and Fort Point.

And, of course, you can’t forget to go for a walk in the woods while visiting San Francisco!

Visiting the Muir Woods is an unforgettable experience worthy of your time on any weekend trip to the area.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco CA shot from above on a clear day

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia has been one of the coolest US cities to visit for centuries, and–like Boston–it features strong ties to the American Revolution.

This is where the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution were signed, touring Independence Hall and visiting the nearby Liberty Bell are among the best things to do in Philadelphia today as a result!

You can’t miss Philly’s food scene when visiting, either–from whoopie pies to Philly cheesesteaks, the city has a (literal) flavor all its own.

elfreths alley in philadelphia, one of the best places to vacation in usa

Start–but don’t finish–exploring Philadelphia’s food scene at the historic Reading Terminal Market.

Be sure to also make time to visit some of Philadelphia’s incredible museums during your visit, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution (we loved this one), and touring the dark but fascinating Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is also home to another essential stop in this iconic East Coast City: the Rocky Steps.

And, if you’re willing to work up a sweat, definitely consider running up them yourself during your classic American vacation in Philadelphia!

independence hall in philadelphia on a sunny day with red and pink flowers in the foreground. attractions in usa things to do

Chicago, Illinois

From Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

Chicago is the third-largest city in the US, and also one of the most ethnically diverse.

Its skyline reflecting off the waters of Lake Michigan is a sight to behold.

No matter what your interests are, whether it’s music, shopping, culture, art, or dining, you could spend months exploring all that Chicago has to offer.

On a shorter USA vacation, though, you can still see quite a few of the best sights in Chicago!

The city’s top museums include the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Don’t forget to check out the many outdoor sculptures and other public works of art around the Loop, either.

View of Chicago IL skyline from willis tower skydeck, a must-see during a 3 day Chicago vacation

A walk along the Magnificent Mile will take you past upscale department stores and through Millennium Park, home of the famous sculpture known as The Bean.

A visit to Bronzeville, also known as “the Black Metropolis”, is a must to learn about the city’s rich African-American history.

Architecture buffs will be interested to know that this is where Frank Lloyd Wright established the Prairie School architectural style. You can find some of his earliest buildings here in Chicago.

You’ll work up an appetite walking the streets of this massive city. This is a good thing, because the restaurant scene here is amazing!

You can find pretty much any cuisine you could imagine, from stylish Japanese to homestyle soul food, and there are even lots of vegetarian and  vegan restaurants in Chicago .

Photo of Chicago train traveling on a bridge over car traffic--using Chicago's public transportation is the best way to get around on a Chicago weekend getaway!

Houston, Texas

From Thanh of The Traveling Asian

Houston, Texas is one of the coolest places to visit in the United States, and while an unexpected vacation option, certainly one that will impress.

After all, it is the 4th largest city in the USA and is often ranked as the most diverse city in the country!

Because of this size, you can expect there to be all kinds of things for you to see and do here in this city.

One of the most iconic places you must visit in the city is Space Center Houston.

There you can learn about NASA and space travel as well as take a tour around the famous mission control center. If you love space, then this place is for you.

sunset over houston texas skyline with pond in the foreground, one of the unexpected places for vacation in usa

Houston is also home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which is the biggest rodeo of its kind in the country.

There, you’ll be able to eat some delicious rodeo foods, pet some livestock, learn about animals, play at the amusement park, and even watch a concert by famous celebrities.

But aside from the attractions, Houston is known for its food. Since it is the most diverse city in the country, you can find just about everything available here in this city.

For instance, you can find Tex-Mex, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, and many other ethnic cuisines available all around the area.

So if you love food and all things fun, then Houston is definitely the place for you.

Skyline of Houston Texas as seen on a sunny day with a park in the foreground, Houston is one of the best weekend getaways in Texas

Las Vegas, Nevada

From Kimberley of Two Travelling Toques

If you’re looking for a cool place to visit in the USA, you can’t get much cooler than Las Vegas .

This well-known city has been depicted in numerous movies such as The Hangover and Ocean’s Thirteen as party central.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it in Vegas.

Long known as both the wedding capital for a quick place to get married, or the perfect spot to hold a bachelor or bachelorette party, either way, it’s the spot to bring your friends, let loose, and have fun!

Gambling has been a big draw to Las Vegas since the early 1930s, and there is no shortage of showy and extravagant casinos to choose from.

view of venice st marks square in las vegas, one of the best attractions long weekend in vegas getaway

Nightlife also takes center stage here.

From world-class musicians to top-notch magical acts, to dependable artists like Wayne Newton who have had a residency here for years. 

During the day, you can grab a fancy drink and chill by the pool. Or hit up one of the pool parties and listen to the headlining DJ.

Either way, be sure to bring lots of money for the high-end shops, ever-flowing drinks, and dazzling casinos looking to draw you in. 

Welcome to Las Vegas sign, one of the most popular weekend getaways in the USA

Savannah, Georgia

Without a doubt, the small but stunning city of Savannah, Georgia is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the USA.

Featuring absolutely stunning architecture, 22 of its original 24 town squares, endless oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and some of the best food in the country, spending a few days in Savannah is bound to be a delight.

While you’re there, be sure to meander down beautiful Jones Street, check out Forsyth Park, hear some of the city’s most enduring legends on a ghost tour, enjoy views from River Street, and take in some of Savannah’s complex history at its various house museums and houses of worship.

Don’t forget to set aside plenty of time to eat!

Kate Storm in a black dress in front of a brick home on Jones Street during a long weekend in Savannah GA

While there are dozens of incredible  restaurants in Savannah , favorites include The Olde Pink House and The Grey for special occasions, The Collins Quarter for their legendary lavender mocha latte, and Leopold’s Ice Cream for a scoop of their famous Tutti Frutti ice cream.

Have enough time for a quick  day trip ?

Tybee Island –also known as “Savannah’s Beach”–is less than a 30-minute drive away, and while you certainly won’t want to swim in the summer, strolling along the sand and climbing the lighthouse are a treat.

Jones Street in Savannh GA with a green house in the left foreground and an oak tree on the right. Jones Street is one of the best Savannah photo spots

Los Angeles, California

From Trijit of Budget Travel Buff

Looking for the coolest place to visit in the United States?

Visit Los Angeles; a unique combination of the entertainment industry, gorgeous beaches, great food, and vibrant nightlife.

It is certainly not the cheapest place in California , but for the right travelers, LA is definitely worth the price tag.

Los Angeles is a large city full of tourist attractions that won’t let you stay idle.

If you are a beach lover, LA won’t disappoint you with its stunning beaches that include Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, and so on.

There are several fantastic museums in LA. LACMA is the most popular one for its diverse art collections and special exhibits.

Skyline of Los Angeles CA with palm trees in the forground, one of the best places to visit in the US

Some other renowned museums are the Grammy Museum, Natural History Museum, and Museum of Broken Relationships.

While visiting LA, you will notice entertainment at every corner of the city. You can see a concert or enjoy a ride at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

If you rent a car in Los Angeles, go for a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that carves through the mountains of Malibu.

Los Angeles has some of the best restaurants in the US.

Once you are done with LA sightseeing, have lunch at any of these food spots – Diakokuya for ramen, Langer’s for a pastrami sandwich, Guisados for tacos, or pizza at Mozza.

aerial view of santa monica beach near los angeles, one of the best places to vacation in the united states

Seattle, Washington

Set right on the water with the dramatic backdrop of Mount Rainier, it’s no wonder that busy and beautiful Seattle is one of the best USA travel destinations.

When visiting Seattle, be sure to eat your way through Pike Place Market, head to the top of the Space Needle, visit the famous Chihuly Museum, and check out the fun and interesting Museum of Pop Culture.

Looking for interesting neighborhoods?

Head to Fremont, where the self-proclaimed unofficial motto is “des libertas quirkas”, aka “the freedom to be quirky”.

Hoping to spend some time outside?

Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Pacific Northwest, endless waterfalls, trails, and mountains–even Mount Rainier itself–are located within day-tripping distance from Seattle.

Seattle Waterfront with space needle visible through the ferris wheel

Charleston, South Carolina

Located just a couple of hours north of Savannah, Charleston shares a lot of similarities with its neighbor to the south.

Fantastic Lowcountry food, Spanish moss dripping from the trees, beautiful architecture, and lots of history to uncover are wonderful to appreciate in both Charleston and Savannah –but Charleston absolutely has its own distinct personality as well.

On your Charleston vacation, be sure to visit the beautiful and photogenic Rainbow Row, check out the tea-making process at the Charleston Tea Garden, visit the gorgeous and interesting Angel Oak Tree, stroll through Waterfront Park and Battery Park, and check out City Market.

Photo of Rainbow Row in Charleston SC, a must see during a 3 day weekend in Charleston SC

If you’d like to do some shopping while in Charleston, King Street is the place to go.

Those interested in US military history will no doubt want to visit Patriots Point to tour the former US naval ships docked there and Fort Sumter for its history (and views).

Beach lovers, don’t miss the chance to check out nearby Folly Beach and/or Sullivan’s Island!

Kate Storm sitting in front of the pineapple fountain in Charleston SC--choosing whether to visit Savannah or Charleston is no easy task, but we wrote this guide to help!

Orlando, Florida

As the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is one of the most popular places to visit in the USA for both domestic and international visitors, mostly on behalf of one iconic mouse.

As home to Walt Disney World , Orlando is a must-see USA bucket list item for many families across the world, and with four amazing Disney parks packed with rides, experiences, and intense amounts of nostalgia, it’s no wonder why.

Disney isn’t the only theme park game in town, though!

Universal Studios Orlando, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is also a fantastic theme park to visit, and big roller coaster fans may even want to take a day trip to Tampa Bay to experience Busch Gardens.

Though the parks are a big draw for people visiting Orlando with kids and kids at heart alike, theme parks aren’t the only places to visit in and around Orlando.

The Kennedy Space Center, plenty of beaches, and even cool swimming holes like Wekiva Springs are within day-trip distance of Orlando.

Lake Eola Park in Orlando Florida with swams in the water and a skyline visible in the background. Orlando belongs on a bucket list for the United States

Portland, Oregon

Much like Austin, Portland proudly embraces its weirdness, celebrating the eclectic and bizarre in all possible ways–and that makes it endlessly fun to visit!

Bookworms like me will immediately head to Powell’s City of Books–I still think it’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever visited–while foodies will want to head directly to the local ice cream obsession, Salt & Straw. 

Voodoo Doughnuts, now with a few locations nationally, also originated here and remains popular with tourists (though depending on who you ask, not locals–for what it’s worth, we’d rate the doughnuts 7/10).

During your weekend trip to Portland, make time to visit the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden, especially if you visit when everything is in bloom.

Plenty of incredible parts of the Columbia River Gorge, including famous Multnomah Falls, are also within easy reach of Portland and deserve to feature on your USA bucket list!

Photo of steal sign stating "portland oregon" in front of a blue sky, a must-see during 3 days in portland or

Nashville, Tennessee

From Apryl of Southern Traveling Gal

No doubt about it, there’s something about Nashville, that casts a long-lasting spell on travelers.

For travelers visiting Nashville, it’s not unheard of to plan a return trip as soon as the current one is over!

Only in “The Music City” is it possible to catch the latest exhibit at the Frist Art Museum, see a replica of the Parthenon and enjoy live music at venues along the Honky Tonk Highway.

For first-timers, touring country music icons like the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-do.

Don’t overlook artist-specific museums such as the Johnny Cash Museum and Glen Campbell Museum that provides a closer look at these music giants, either.

Much of Nashville’s allure lies within its distinctive neighborhoods, like the Gulch, filled with shops and restaurants.

Skyline of Nashville Tennessee at sunset overlooking the river, one of the most romantic getaways in the United States

It isn’t unusual to spot a long line or two here, typically featuring either people waiting in line to take a photo with the “What Lifts You” mural or getting into Biscuit Love.

Save some room for some barbecue from Peg Leg Porker!

12thSouth offers locally-owned boutiques, stores, and eateries. Also found here is Draper James, the flagship store of Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line.

Be sure to take home some cookies from Christie’s Cookie Company and snap a photo with the “I Believe in Nashville” mural.

Across the Cumberland River is the eclectic East Nashville. Don’t miss out on the mini doughnuts at Donut Distillery.

Depending on time, consider visiting Cheekwood Estates and Gardens, a 55-acre botanical garden, as part of your Nashville getaway.

Of course, no trip to Nashville is complete without hot chicken from Prince’s Hot Chicken or biscuits from Loveless Cafe, located near the Natchez Trace Parkway.

country band playing banjois in nashville tennessee

Boston, Massachusetts

From Linn of Brainy Backpackers

Boston is such a cool city to visit in the USA, rich in history, architecture, and food.

Along the waterfront, you can walk the 43-mile-long Harbor Walk.

But there is so much more to add to see during your trip to Boston, like the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path taking you to 16 significant places in American history.

It is well marked and technically be walked in as little as 90 minutes, though you can download the app and visit each place which will take at least a whole day to complete.

Boston is home to the oldest public park in the United States, Boston Common, which is situated next to Boston Public Garden.

boston public garden in the summer, one of the best things to do in boston ma

You can wander the parks and enjoy a ride in the Boston Public Garden’s historic paddleboats.

Nearby, you’ll find the Boston Public Library at Copley Square, which is an incredibly beautiful Renaissance Revival structure from 1895 that you should visit.

You’ll also find the beautiful neighborhood of Beacon Hill nearby, as well as the trendy neighborhood of Back Bay.

For the best views of the city during your Boston itinerary , visit the Skywalk Observatory.

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Beacon Hill

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

From Melissa of Parenthood and Passports

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the United States and one of the best places to visit in the entire country.

Known for its geothermal activity, more than half of the earth’s geysers are located in the national park which straddles the borders of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. 

Old Faithful is one of the most popular things to see in Yellowstone National Park .

The active and predictable geyser erupts approximately 20 times each day.

Visitors to the park gather around to watch the geyser blast hot water and steam into the sky.

Although quite impressive, Old Faithful is just one of many must-see geothermal features found in the park.

View of Grand Prism in Yellowstone National Park, one of the best places to visit in USA

One of the largest hot springs in the world, the Grand Prismatic Spring, is another popular attraction in Yellowstone.

Visitors can get an up-close view of the spring or take a short hike for a stunning overview of Grand Prismatic’s vibrant colors.  

Beyond all of its geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park also boasts beautiful waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, rivers, and more than 200 species of animals.

Bison, deer, moose, wolves, and even bears live in the park.

Because of all the wildlife in Yellowstone, visitors are strongly encouraged to use caution when hiking or camping and to carry bear spray to protect themselves in the event of an encounter.

herd of bison crossing the road and causing a traffic jam in yellowstone national park, one of the best places to vacation usa

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

From Allison of She Dreams of Alpine

Idaho is often overlooked when it comes to cool places to visit in the US, but the tiny town of Stanley serves as the gateway to an abundance of outdoor adventures in the stunning Sawtooth Mountain range and along the swift Salmon River.

Although it has a population of less than 100, Stanley is easily accessible in a 3-hour drive from the main airport in Boise or about a 1-hour drive if you’re coming from Sun Valley.

The best way to explore the Sawtooth Mountains is on one of the many hiking trails.

The hike to Alice Lake is a perfect introduction to the area, and you can either do a 12-mile day hike or backpack the longer Alice/Toxaway Loop over the course of a few days.

sawtooth mountains idaho on sunny day with lake in the foreground, one of the best places to vacation usa

Whichever option you choose, you’ll discover gorgeous views of Alice Lake framed by the “Dragon’s Back” peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains, including Idaho’s own “El Capitan.”

For fun on the water, you can go fishing along the Salmon River or swim in Redfish Lake.

When you need some rejuvenation after your adventures, you can reward yourself with great food and drinks at the Stanley Supper Club and take a dip in the hot springs at the Mountain Village Resort.

Once you head home, you’ll surely find yourself raving to your friends about this hidden gem of a mountain town – unless you want to keep the Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley a secret for yourself!

Sawtooth Mountains Idaho with a lake visible on the left of the photo and mountain peaks in the background. These mountains definitely belong on your USA bucket list!

Oregon Coast

From Kay of The Awkward Traveller

The Oregon Coast is one of the most underrated travel destinations in the USA, but for those who love moody, dramatic scenery, it is the best place to be.

Although the actual coast isn’t very long (338 or so miles, about a 7.5-hour drive without stopping), it makes for a great weekend or longer trip with added stops.

Starting at the north end, about 2 hours outside of Portland, the city of Astoria will serve as your jumping-off point with picturesque bridges and locations from The Goonies.

Heading south, take a pitstop at the cheese capital of the state  –  Tillamook , Oregon.

One car driving along the oregon coast as shot from above

Visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and gorge yourself on all things dairy before continuing on to stunning Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

The highlight of the coast will be Yachats, Oregon, with incredible farm-to-table restaurants that are dedicated to sourcing local sustainable fish, meat, and produce providers.

On the southern end of the coast, you can find sand dunes in Florence, and natural rock arches among the cliffs in Brookings.

If your tolerance for rain is low, summer will be the best season to visit weather-wise, while winter and spring will have smaller crowds and lower prices.

Oregon Coast at sunset looking toward Haystack Rock, one of the prettiest places in Oregon

Acadia National Park, Maine

From Ale of Sea Salt & Fog

Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the eastern United States, perfectly showcasing the beauty of the Maine coast.

Acadia has miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as easy coastal access for kayaking and sailing. 

When visiting, plan to spend at least  2 days in Acadia National Park  so you can make the most of your time there.

One of the best things to do includes watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, where you’ll get stunning views of the islands that dot the coast.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Drive Park Loop Road to enjoy some of the park’s most famous attractions, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Jordan Pond (don’t forget to stop for popovers at Jordan Pond House!).

For hiking, choose a paved Carriage Road to take you down to one of the many picturesque ponds and lakes in the park.

Plan your visit in the fall to see the famous New England fall foliage in full display, or in the summer to enjoy long, sunny days perfect for hiking.

If you love the outdoors, add Acadia to your list of places to visit in the US – you won’t be disappointed.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

From Monica of This Rare Earth

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is an incredible destination in the United States. 

This desert ecosystem became a national park as recently as 1994, and it’s easy to see why it was chosen!

The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, which means that you will see two very different landscapes depending on which half of the park you are in.  

The Mojave Desert is home to the famous Joshua Tree – a tall and spindly yucca – as well as giant boulders popular with climbers and hikers. 

The majority of the park’s hiking trails are found in this region.

desert landscape at sunrise in joshua tree national park, an excellent part of several of the best west coast road trips usa

However,  while planning your Joshua Tree National Park itinerary , it would be a mistake to skip the Colorado Desert at the southern end of the park.  

The Colorado Desert is hotter, lower in elevation, and flatter, but holds gorgeous landscapes full of cacti and, at the right time of year, wildflowers. 

 In the summer months, avoid strenuous hikes or leave early in the morning as temperatures can reach over 100 degrees.

Joshua Tree National Park is a designated Dark Sky Park, perfect for stargazing and well outside the bright light of the city.  

Joshua Tree is roughly 2.5 hours outside of Los Angeles.

Joshua Tree NP in California with a Joshua tree on the right side of the photo

From Chris of Called to Wander

Alaska is known as the Last Frontier, evoking adventure for those looking to travel to a truly unique place.

Because the state is massive, at over twice the size of Texas, you could spend as much or as little time exploring it as you have.

Many people take cruises through the Inside Passage and make stops in places like Ketchikan, Haines, and Seward.

Others fly into the main cities of Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent vehicles and head off on their own adventures.

By far the best way to make the most of an Alaska vacation (though it requires a steep time commitment) is by driving to Alaska and spending as much time as you’d like wandering from one place to the next.

glacier in glacier np in alaska with water in the foreground and a mountain in the background

You can drive to the Arctic Ocean along the Dalton Highway, view North America’s largest mountain (Mt. Denali), or observe wildlife like caribou, grizzly bear, and moose.

Or, catch a flight out to a handful of the most remote national parks, or drive up to and hike out to massive, ancient glaciers.

If you enjoy fishing, go after halibut in Homer or salmon in the famous Russian River.

Regardless of what kind of travel you prefer, Alaska offers adventure for everyone and should definitely be on your travel bucket list!

Train along an Alaska mountainside with wildflowers in the foreground and a mountain in the background. Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the us

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From Dan of Cabin Critic

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most popular national park in the US, hosting over 10 million annual visitors, and it definitely belongs on your bucket list for the USA.

Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, the park has diverse animal life, plants, and natural attractions. There are tons to do and see. 

If you are feeling adventurous you can go zoom down zip lines, go white water rafting, or go mountain biking. 

For a more relaxed trip, you can go on hikes, see beautiful waterfalls, or simply go for a scenic drive.

sunrise of great smoky mountains, one of the most beautiful national parks in the us

Cades Cove, for example, is a broad valley surrounded by mountains you can drive through that is well known for providing the best opportunities for seeing wildlife like white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, and more.

When you aren’t enjoying the outdoors there are numerous mountain towns to enjoy like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Asheville .

Stay in  one of the cabins with a view  of the mountainsides and check out the local attractions like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville . 

View of the Great Smoky Mountains during fall foliage season in the southern USA

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

From Michele of Adventures Abound

Just a 2-hour drive from both Portland and Seattle rest the foothills of the towering volcano Mount Rainier.

Known to the Indigenous since time immemorial, Mount Tahoma is covered in unimaginable beauty and can be enjoyed year-round. 

Visit in the summertime for hiking through meadows strewn with wildflowers of every color, and in the fall for ripening berries and a better chance to catch the trails and lakes free of ice and snowmelt on a variety of great day hikes just outside of Seattle .

To extend your visit overnight, pitch a tent in an established campground, stay in a rustic lodge in the national park, or backpack along the Wonderland trail that circumvents the park.

Not feeling up to a lengthy hike?

hiker in a field of wildflowers in mount rainier np with mount rainier visible in the background

Just driving through Mount Rainier National Park will afford endless views of waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, and even the chance to spot wildlife. 

For those thrill-seekers looking for a more challenging adventure, apply for a permit to climb more than 8,000 feet to the summit, but be aware this is only for experienced mountaineers.

Mount Rainier National Park can also be enjoyed in the winter when the park sees an average of 55 feet of snowfall or more.

Head to the Crystal Mountain gondola to catch a great view of the peak while skiing and snowboarding down the slopes, or pick one of many great locations to snowshoe and backcountry ski along the mountain.

Whatever the choice for season and activity, Mount Rainier National Park is sure to be full of memories and adventure in one of the most beautiful destinations in the United States.

Snowcapped Mount Rainier with wildflowers in the foreground, one of the most beautiful places in usa

Arches National Park, Utah

Home to over 2,000 naturally-occurring sandstone arches, Arches National Park in Utah is one of the most uniquely beautiful places in the USA.

Whether you’re hiking to the incredible Delicate Arch (so iconic that it’s featured on Utah’s license plates), wandering through the Devil’s Garden, or taking one of the shorter hikes to visit some of the most impressive arches in the park, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Even one day in Arches National Park is well worth your time, but more would certainly be better.

Arches National Park is also home to internationally-recognized dark skies and some of the best stargazing in the United States–in order to see the best of the park, be sure to visit at least once after dark!

And, while Arches National Park is easily one of the best places to vacation in the US in its own right, the nearby town of Moab also makes an excellent launching pad to visit Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Double Arch in Arches National Park Utah

Olympic National Park, Washington

From Sophie and Adam of We Dream of Travel

Not only does Olympic National Park cover nearly a million acres, but it is also the most biodiverse of all the US national parks.

It has it all, from glaciated mountains to breathtaking coastlines, crashing waterfalls, ancient rainforests, enchanting hot springs, and plentiful wildlife.

With such a treasure trove of natural landscapes, Olympic National Park is easily one of the best places to visit in the US.

Mountain lovers should budget plenty of time to hike the trails of Hurricane Ridge.

Here you will discover stunning views above the clouds, as well as an abundance of wildlife.

Rocky Beach in Olympic National Park washington at sunset, a fantastic view along a west coast usa road trip destination

A great way to explore the park is on foot, particularly as much of the park is roadless. There are numerous multi-day hikes to choose from and it’s popular with backpackers.

The 17.4 miles Hoh River Trail is one of the most impressive, taking you through a flourishing rainforest to the base of Mount Olympus.

For coastal visitors, Second Beach is one of the best Olympic Park photography  locations and a perfect spot for sunset. 

However, with 73 miles of wild coastline, there’s plenty to explore!

There are endless options for the waterfall, forest, and nature lovers too.

In Sol Duc forest you can watch crystal water plunge into the lush greenery.

Or, you can choose to explore the vibrant green mosses of the Hoh Rainforest.  

No matter which part of Olympic National Park you visit, you will not be disappointed.

Forested trail in Olympic National Park with a river flowing across the photo. Olympic National Park definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Stretching over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona is one of the largest–and most impressive–canyons on the planet, and one of the most popular places to visit in the USA!

Come to Grand Canyon National Park to admire views from the rim, hike into the canyon , watch the sunrise and sunset, and perhaps even hike all the way down to the Colorado River.

If you do want to hike to the river, though, be warned: doing so is a 2-day commitment!

Anyone taking a southwest road trip in the USA should consider adding a visit to the majestic Grand Canyon to their list: it’s truly a sight that you’ll never forget.

View of the Grand Canyon from the south rim near sunset. The Grand Canyon is one of the best USA travel destinations

Death Valley National Park, California

From Michelle of The Wandering Queen

One of the best places to visit in California is Death Valley National Park .

This park is filled with bright white salt flats, mountains splashed with pastel colors, and eerie rocks that move on their own.

This park is such a strange yet unique environment which makes it perfect for avid photographers.

One of the best things to do is to watch the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. The views are glorious as the sun slowly sets on the unique colorful mountains.

Afterward, make sure to hike the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop Hike. The trailhead is right next to Zabriskie Point.

mesquite dunes in death valley national park during a pink sunrise

Another popular activity is visiting Badwater Basin. The basin stands at 282 feet below sea level and is filled with white salt.

This is a great spot to take pictures of the salt in contrast with the tall, dark mountains in the distance.

Nearby the salt flats, you can visit the devil’s golf course where spikey salt formations cover the ground.

The next outstanding area to visit is the Artists Drive. The mountain is sprinkled with pastel colors like yellow, pink, purple, and green.

It truly is a spectacular thing to see!

Rocky Mountain National Park

From Jyoti of Story At Every Corner

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most gorgeous parks in the US.

It’s also easily reachable from Denver, Colorado, which has many flights from across the country, making it fairly simple to access and one of the most popular places to vacation in America!

The best place to stay is in Estes Park , a quaint little tourist town in the mountains.

There are many small towns all around the park and many choices for all price points. 

white and green shop in downtown estes park. shopping downtown is one of the best things to do in estes park colorado

The easiest way to visit RMNP park is by car.

You can then enjoy the park by making stops at each vista point and taking hikes from there.

Most stops have short and long hikes; easy and challenging hikes.

There is a hike for everyone, but there is also spectacular scenery right at the vista points, even without a hike.

Keep in mind that the popularity of Rocky Mountain National Park means that certain places, like Bear Lake Road, must be accessed via reservation.

Kate Storm standing in front of Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the best places to visit in colorado

The most popular road that goes across the park is the scenic Trail Ridge Road.

If you don’t have time to visit anything else, I recommend driving Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to the town of Grand Lake.

Other major attractions include Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, to the south of the trail ridge road.

They offer absolutely stunning views and many wildlife viewing opportunities along with the drives. 

There is so much to do around Denver that RMNP can be part of a week-long itinerary visiting Colorado  or a trip just for RMNP. 

jeremy storm in a gray backpack hiking in rocky mountain national park

Set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most beautiful places in the US.

With crystal-clear water and plenty of activities in and out of the water, from hiking to SUP to swimming, there is no shortage of ways to appreciate the otherworldly beauty of Lake Tahoe .

To enjoy the views of the lake itself, summer is definitely the best time to visit–but winter has its charms, too, including plenty of skiing and incredible views of the lake framed by bright white snow.

From romantic couples’ retreats to fun getaways to Lake Tahoe with kids , all kinds of travelers will find something to love about Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe from above during the summer, one of the best USA travel destinations

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Located on Havasupai tribal lands not far from the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is simultaneously one of the most famous waterfalls in the USA and one of the hardest to access.

In order to visit Havasu Falls, you’ll need to secure an extremely competitive permit (they sell out months in advance) and complete a 10-mile hike in each direction.

You’ll also need to spend the night nearby, as it’s one of the permit requirements set out by the Havasupai people.

If you manage to swing both the logistics and the hike, though, the rewards are pretty spectacular.

Havasu Falls in Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in USA. Turquoise waterfall with orange walls surrounding it

Zion National Park, Utah

Home to some of what are quite possibly the best hikes in the country, Utah’s most-visited national park is absolutely one of the best places to see in the US.

Test your fear of heights (if you have one, that is) by hiking the incredible Angel’s Landing, and be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon.

Venture deep into the Virgin River by hiking The Narrows , a hike that takes place literally in the river!

Seek out incredible views along Observation Point, the Canyon Overlook Trail , and the Watchman Trail.

Try to score a permit to hike the Subway, but if you can’t get one, don’t worry: there’s more to see in Zion National Park than you can cover in one vacation.

No matter how you spend your days at Zion National Park, there’s no doubt that you’ll be experiencing something worthy of a bucket list!

Kate Storm at the viewpoint at the Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park Utah

Texas Bluebonnet Trail

California’s magnificent wildflowers may be a bit better known outside of the country, but Texas’ phenomenal spread of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes that decorate the countryside each spring absolutely belong on anyone’s USA bucket list.

Whether you choose to visit the official Texas Bluebonnet Trail near Ennis (not far from Dallas) or head to the Texas Hill Country , there is no shortage of places to admire bluebonnets in Texas.

Though the blooming times can of course vary a bit depending on the weather, late March and early April are generally the best times to experience the beauty of Texas’ bluebonnets.

Wooden cart parked in a Texas field surrounded by bluebonnets. Beautiful countryside like this close by many of the best weekend getaways in Texas!

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

From Emily of Em’s on the Road

If you’re looking for unforgettable outdoor experiences without the price tag of popular destinations out west, then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the place for you.

One reason the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.) is really unique is that it is an ideal place for adventure seekers all year long. 

In the warmer months, the U.P is a great beach destination in the Midwest thanks to its location with beachfront on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

In the fall, pack your hiking boots and tackle rocky hiking trails for colorful views you’d never expect in the Midwest.

With an unobstructed panoramic view of Lake Superior, the hike up  Sugar Loaf mountain in Marquette, Michigan  is one of the most popular in the region.

Thanks to some serious snowfall, there’s so much to do in the U.P. in the winter months.

There are cross-country ski trails, snowmobiling trails, downhill skiing, dog sledding, ice climbing, and more. 

View of Lake Superior with a rainbow over it during fall foliage season on Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan

Redwood National Forest

From Dhara of Roadtripping California

Most visitors to the Golden State put   California’s national parks at the top of their itineraries because they are just so spectacular.

Redwood National and State Parks, in the northern part of the state, offer you the chance to stroll among giant redwoods, some of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet.

A group of five parks, Redwood National and State Parks feature not just the towering redwoods, but also epic coastal views, beautiful prairies filled with wildflowers in season, and the chance to see birds and wildlife.

Enjoy some of the scenic drives in the parks: Howland Hill Drive, Coastal Drive, and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway are all great choices.

Two people walking through a doorway in a fallen redwood tree in california usa

Do some of the trails through the redwood groves to see the giant trees up close: the Big Tree Wayside Walk, the Stout Memorial Grove Trail, and Lady Bird Johnson Grove are all super scenic and relatively easy walks.

Gaze up at the trees, and enjoy the ferns and rhododendrons in the understory.

You can also go biking in the parks, and camp if you plan to stay for a few days.

Redwood National and State Parks are about 5.5 hours north of San Francisco by road, and you can visit all year, although you will have the best weather in the summer.

Man standing in front of enormous Redwood trees with a sunflare in the top left corner of the photo

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

From Jase of Roaming Vegans

A little-known gem in the north of Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands.

This island archipelago on Lake Superior looks like it belongs in Southeast Asia – not on the shoreline of a humble midwestern town.

However, its tucked-away location makes it all the more special for visitors.

While the lake freezes in winter, the islands come to life in summer with many activities like  sea kayaking , island hopping, and cliff jumping.

There is even an island home to one of the largest concentrations of bears in the Midwest–yes, bears!

The largest and most populated island is Madeline Island which makes for a great base to explore the nearby smaller islands.

sea caves as seen from the water at apostle islands, one of the best places to visit in the us

Maui, Hawaii

From Jessica of I’m Jess Traveling

Famed for her elegant beaches,  world-class resorts , and next-level surf, Maui attracts visitors from all over the world. 

It’s no surprise that Maui was named Condé Nast Traveler’s best island in the U.S. for 23 consecutive years. 

There are countless things to see and do in Maui depending on your travel style. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, hike through a majestic bamboo forest ending at a 400-foot waterfall.  

Ocean lovers can test their skills at surfing or set sail on a sunset cruise.

Bright blue water as seen along the Road to Hana in Maui, one of the best USA road trip itinerary ideas

There won’t be a shortage of exotic beaches to explore, no matter what your travel style is.

The adventure seekers have their pick among plunging the popular Road to Hana or watching the sunrise above the clouds at 10,000 feet inside Haleakala National Park. 

Whatever your draw, sunsets, beaches, luxury, or adventure, Maui has it all. 

Not only is Maui one of the best USA travel destinations but it’s one of the best places to take a tropical vacation in the world. 

Couple walking along Kaanapali Beach in Maui, shaded by a palm tree. Kaanapali Beach is one of the best beaches in America

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

For adorable beach towns, sandy beaches, and some of the best seafood you’ve ever eaten in your life, head to the classic New England summer getaway of Cape Cod.

While you’re in Cape Cod (or as New Englanders say, “on the Cape”), hit one of the beautiful trails, visit a lighthouse or two, stick your toes in the sand, and eat lots and lots of lobster.

While Cape Cod’s swimming season is much shorter than popular beach destinations elsewhere in the country, it’s still well worth visiting.

Just be sure to plan ahead, because rental houses for summer on the Cape tend to book up before winter even wraps up!

Provincetown Massachusetts on Cape Cod as seen from the water

Nā Pali Coast, Kauai

Towering cliffs covered in dense jungle, dramatic waterfalls, small valleys, and views of the Pacific Ocean far below: welcome to the Nā Pali   Coast.

Without a doubt, the Nā Pali   Coast on Kauai is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the US.

Stretching 17 miles along the northwest portion of Kauai, the Nā Pali   Coast is best admired from air–usually via a helicopter tour–or from a boat on the sea.

Whichever option you choose, there’s no doubt that what is arguably the most beautiful corner of The Garden Island is bound to impress.

Na Pali Coast of Kauai Hawaii. Kauai is one of the best road trips in USA.

Florida Keys

For a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the USA, head to the Florida Keys!

Not only is the overseas drive from Miami to Key West one of the most scenic road trips in the USA, but the Keys themselves are also fantastic, home to beautiful beaches, colorful architecture, great food, and plenty of things to do.

While you’re there, be sure to hit the water via snorkeling or scuba diving, go for a swim, enjoy the famous Duval Street, tour the Ernest Hemingway House, and eat several slices of the region’s famous Key Lime pie!

Highway over the Caribbean Sea leading the to Floriday Keys as shot with a drone. The Florida Keys are one of the best places to visit in USA

Big Island, Hawaii

From Patricia of Travel Fam Life

The biggest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) is a cool place to visit.

That starts with the weather: you’ll experience a lot of sunshine temperatures ranging from 85°- 90° in the summer months and 79°- 83 in the winter months, making it the perfect place to escape year-round. 

Hawaii is going to impress anyone that decides to visit.

The food is phenomenal and the choices are vast with plenty of history and cultural backgrounds.

The array of activities ranges from land to sea, from memorable ancient sites to beautiful folklore traditions. 

Some of the best things to do when taking a vacation to the Big Island include:

woman snorkeling in hawaii with orange fish in the foreground

Zip Lining over waterfalls is an activity that can be very exhilarating if you are an adrenaline junkie.

This can also be enjoyed as a family activity, some companies allow kids as young as 5 years old to participate.

Volcano National Park is a breathtaking experience with its majestic hikes, thrilling ride down to the Chain of Craters, and some spectacular scenery and photo opportunities.

Papakolea or Green Sand Beach is one of 4 green sand beaches in the world.

The hike to this remote beach is very worthwhile, and the backdrop of the Hawaiian blue ocean that keeps you company makes the whole experience priceless.

And the list goes on, you can check it out here .

Helicopter tour of Volcano National Park in Hawaii shot from inside the helicopter with lava visible through the windshield

Outer Banks, North Carolina

With sandy beaches framed by sand dunes and rolling waves, the Outer Banks of North Carolina may not boast the bright water of the Florida Keys or the tropical beauty of Hawaii, but they are stunning all the same, and absolutely one of the best places to visit in the USA.

Come for the small beach towns, the history of the Wright Brothers taking their first flight here, the southern food, the historic forts, and the beautiful lighthouses. 

Come for the sunken pirate ships, for the wild horses that live on some of the islands, for the great places to swim, and for the great day trip opportunities.

If you’re looking for a classic, all-American vacation, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina that make up the magnificent Outer Banks.

2 wild horses on a beach in North Carolina. Both horses are brown and they are standing near sand dunes

Oahu, Hawaii

From Sydney of A World in Reach

While visitors sometimes think of Oahu as just being a stopping point before visiting Hawaii’s other islands, the island has so much to offer than overcrowded beaches and tourist attractions.

Oahu is home to delicious food, beautiful scenery, and captivating history and is one of the best travel destinations in the United States.

Most visitors to Oahu will base themselves in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital and largest city.

Guidebooks often recommend spending little time in Honolulu; however, this city is a melting pot of culture and is home to some of the best food on the island.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional Hawaiian meal or some of the best Asian food in the United States, you can easily find a delicious meal in Honolulu.

Start your visit to Oahu off by exploring Honolulu, seeing the sights, and eating all of the delicious food.

oahu hawaii beach at sunset with palm trees in the foreground

Spend a day at Waikiki Beach – it might be touristy, but it’s still worth a visit.

Plan a visit to Pearl Harbor, where you can learn more about one of the darkest days in US History, and spend a morning hiking Diamond Head, one of the best hikes on Oahu .

Spend the rest of your time on the island exploring the North Shore, visiting the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, and indulging in shave ice from Matsumoto.

Visit the beaches along the North Shore, where you might see some surfers catching waves, and hike through a botanical garden to a beautiful waterfall at Waimea Valley.

Lanikai beach in Oahu Hawaii as seen from above. One of the best beaches in USA

Napa Valley, California

Northern California’s wine country is definitely among the most beautiful–and for wine lovers, tastiest, places to visit in the USA.

With beautiful small towns, great boutiques, and rolling hills filled with vineyards that almost feel like being in Tuscany, both Napa Valley and Sonoma County have plenty to offer those looking for a laid-back, wine-filled getaway.

Vineyard in Napa Valley CA with a wood barn visible in the background, one of the best honeymoon destinations in usa

Door County, Wisconsin

From Paulina of Paulina on the Road

Wisconsin often isn’t the first US state that people think of visiting, but from beautiful beaches to quirky attractions like House on the Rock , it has plenty to offer.

One of the most beautiful USA landmarks, Door Country, Wisconsin welcomes you on board with 300 miles of stretched shoreline and an awestruck sunset over the water, you could not leave without a witness. 

It allows your soul to breathe and relax. Wisconsin lets you explore aesthetic art galleries, and thousands of miles of stretched orchards, cherish the local brews and wines, paddle along the beautiful lakes, and devour the cheery pies.

winding road through fall foliage in door county wisconsin, one of the best hidden usa secret vacation spots

Moreover, Green Bay, the capital of the region, is an underrated city that eventually captivates its visitors.

Though it’s a small city, the vibrant culture offers amazing  things to do in Green Bay .

Green Bay entertains visitors with prominent wineries. They produce their wines right up there which adds up to be a vital part of their culture. The landscape and heritage inspire the artists.

Walleye fishermen have the best water. It’s clean and portrays immense beauty. The botanical gardens and zoological parks play their role in charming travelers. 

Green Bay is an enchanting place that charms visitors with its intriguing features. 

Lakeshore at golden hour in Door County Wisconsin with evergreen trees on the right side of the photo

Route 66 isn’t technically just one place, but as one of the most iconic travel destinations in the United States, I couldn’t bear to leave it off this USA bucket list!

Stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 is America’s best-known road trip and the perfect place to find not-quite-forgotten slices of Americana, from quirky roadside attractions like Cadillac Ranch and the Catoosa Whale to beloved diners and 50s-era-inspired motels.

Route 66 passes through nine states in total (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California), and is a fantastic way to experience some of the best of what traveling in the US has to offer, all in one large trip.

jeremy storm sitting on top of a car at cadillac ranch in amarillo

Big cities, small towns, incredibly diverse landscapes, and beloved national parks are all featured heavily on Route 66.

Though it’s not technically on the route, even the Grand Canyon is accessible as an incredible side journey when road-tripping Route 66.

Whether you want to find a quirky campsite in Oklahoma or go hiking in Arizona, there’s no doubt that Route 66 is a classic US travel destination.

Route 66 in California with Joshua trees on either side. Route 66 is one of the absolute best road trips in USA

Big Sur, California

From Lauren of Ready, Set, PTO

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the US and should definitely be on your bucket list.

Cruising along the winding Pacific Coast Highway with sweeping views of the Pacific is a magical experience.

This rugged area is located in Central California, about 5 hours north of Los Angeles.

If you aren’t able to find available lodging within Big Sur, check out nearby towns of Carmel and Monterey for more options, or try car camping with an epic view!

mcway falls as seen on big sur from above, one of the best places to visit in california

There are plenty of amazing  things to do in Big Sur .

I definitely recommend checking out the iconic Bixby Bridge (as seen in HBO’s Big Little Lies), admiring McWay Falls, hiking in Andrew Molera State Park, and Limekiln State Park, having a drink with a view at Nepenthe and watching the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach!

There’s not much cell service in Big Sur, so be prepared for an off-the-grid weekend of relaxation and gorgeous views.

Pacific Coast Highway California shot from above, one of the best romantic vacations for couples in the United States

Page, Arizona

The small town of Page, Arizona may seem like no more than a small town worthy of a brief stop on a road trip at first blush–but this small, unassuming town is home to some of the most incredible sights in the entire southwest, and it definitely belongs on your USA bucket list!

Page is where you can find the famous Antelope Canyon, as well as Horseshoe Bend , the Instagram darling of the Colorado River (for very good reason).

Just outside of Page, you can also find the remarkable Glen Canyon Dam, one of the largest dams in the US, as well as Lake Powell–but to see the best of Lake Powell, you’ll actually need to cross into Utah!

That’s not hard to do, though: Page is located right next to the Arizona/Utah border.

With such an outsized list of fun attractions, there’s no doubt that Page is one of the coolest places to vacation in the USA.

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2 photos of the USA, first from a train ride in Alaska and one from a geothermic spring in Yellow. Black and red text reads "50 bucket list usa travel destinations"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

3 thoughts on “USA Bucket List: 50 Best Places to Visit in the US”

Great info. I know its great because I have been to most of the beaches you mention!

Thank you – will also look at your Italian small towns to see which ones we should visit and maybe retire to.

Thank you so much, Laura!

Retiring to Italy–sounds like quite the dream! 🙂

Absolutely amazing article, just loved it.

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states to visit with friends

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Explore > Destinations > Atlanta > Best Places to Travel with Friends in the US

Best Places to Travel with Friends in the US

If you’re wondering where to travel with friends, the US is filled with exciting places to explore with your best buds on a girls weekend, bachelor party, or birthday getaway . Are you looking for somewhere to get in touch with nature, party all night, or just get out of town while staying in budget? Traveling with friends is a great way have adventure, deepen bonds, and explore awesome places across the United States. So, gather up your travel buddies and get going!

1. Las Vegas – For friends who like to stay up late

A group of friends jumping in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign at night

Whether you’re planning a birthday getaway or a bachelorette party, Las Vegas is one of the best places to travel with friends in the US. Get the party started on the High Roller Observation Wheel to see the city while sipping on cocktails in the Happy Half Hour cabin. Take your friends to check out the Strip’s legendary clubbing scene or see who has the best luck at a casino. Of course, no trip to Vegas with friends would be complete without catching a concert, comedy act, or Cirque du Soleil show .

2. Atlanta – For a friends vacation on a budget

Travel with Friends to the City of Atlanta

As a travel hub for major airlines, it’s easy to find cheap flights to Atlanta when traveling with friends on a budget. From enjoying southern food to walking in the footsteps of civil rights leaders, it’s easy to fill a week or long weekend in Atlanta without breaking the bank. If you and your friends like to binge watch shows together, why not enter the post-apocalyptic landscape of The Walking Dead with a private set tour ?

3. Hawaii – For a friends trip to the beach

One of Hawaii's beautiful white sand beaches

The US has so many great beaches, such as Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida. However, thanks to its sheer number of beautiful beaches, Hawaii wins out as the best place to travel with friends who love the beach. In fact, the Islands of Hawaii consistently rank in the top 10 of the best beaches in the United States due to their pristine shorelines, safety, and plentiful wildlife. Plus, you’ll find some of the world’s best snorkeling in Hawaii . Whether you want to lounge on the sand or learn to surf , gather up your best buds, pack your bathing suit, and head to Hawaii .

4. San Francisco – For foodie friends

Abuela making tortillas in San Francisco

The sheer cultural diversity of cuisine and an emphasis on fresh and local (looking at you Napa Valley wine!) makes San Francisc o a great vacation destination when traveling with foodie friends. Chow down on dumplings in Chinatown, score some scrumptious fish tacos in the Mission District, or enjoy a drink (or two) at any number of awesome bars. Then, escape the city for the vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma with plenty of wine tasting for the perfect friends getaway.

5. Boulder, Colorado – For a trip with outdoorsy friends

Friends hiking on a trip to Boulder

Rugged wilderness and great breweries make Boulder the go-to outdoor adventure and post-hike beer destination when traveling with friends in the US. Lace up your hiking boots to explore the vast landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park  (and keep an eye out for elk, big horn sheep, and black bears). Or relax with some fly fishing. Then, choose from over 300 local breweries to grab a beer with your pals and relive the day’s adventure. You can even feel like true mountain men or women by learning how to throw axes on your friends trip in nearby Denver.

6. New York City – For friends who want to do it all

Travel with friends to Times Square in New York

Between iconic sights, bountiful shopping, and the best theater district in the US, New York City is the place to travel with friends when you want to do it all. Maximize your time (and skip all the lines) with a guided tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art , and early morning access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island . At night, catch a show on Broadway , snap a group selfie in Times Square, and then ascend the Empire State Building to see the glittering city spread out around you.

Scope out your top travel picks with virtual tours you can take from home . Or browse our weekend getaway deals for the perfect city break. Where do you most want to travel with friends in the US?

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I'm a travel writer who's been to all 50 states. Here are the 12 best ones to visit.

  • As a travel writer, I've visited every state in the US multiple times — and I have favorites.
  • Hawaii and Alaska are the two best states to visit, and Michigan is serially underrated.  
  • Wyoming and Montana are must-visits in the American West. Maine is quintessential New England.

I visited all 50 states by the time I turned 13 — and I've been to many of them more than once.

states to visit with friends

I visited my 50th state by age 13, a result of family cross-country trips from New Jersey to California and back.

I remember watching transfixed as the US unfolded outside my window — from East Coast suburbs to heartland prairies, snow-capped mountains to arid deserts , before we finally reached the Pacific.

So it's perhaps unsurprising that I grew up to become a travel writer, and have constantly revisited these places many times since. 

And although every state possesses a singular charm, certain states are simply better to visit than others. Here are 12 of my favorite states to visit: 

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful states.

states to visit with friends

My first choice is America's 50th state , as well as the 50th US state I visited.

I was only in middle school when I first went to Hawaii, but I remember being absolutely entranced by the beauty of Maui and Oahu .

I've since returned to explore Lanai, Kauai, and the Island of Hawaii, and remain more convinced than ever that Hawaii is among the most beautiful destinations on the planet, with its tropical flowers and lush green mountains overlooking an aquamarine sea.

Hawaii is also the most geographically remote island chain in the world, and I certainly feel galaxies away from everyday life the moment I touch down in Honolulu.

Luxury travelers should visit Maui, and honeymooners can bliss out in Lanai. Kauai is for nature-lovers, and Hawaii Island is for adventurers. Culture vultures should consider Molokai, and nightlife aficionados should stay in Oahu.

Whichever island you choose, it's undeniable you're in paradise .

Alaska is beautiful and one of the last truly wild places.

states to visit with friends

My parents first brought me to Alaska when I was 14 months old, and the locals referred to me as "bear meat." 

Alaska feels like one of the last great wild places on earth — and to head north to the Last Frontier is to truly venture into the wild.

I returned a few years ago for a fishing trip to hunt king salmon at Waterfall Resort . Dropping a line into the dark, forbidding waters off the coast of Prince of Wales Island, I'd hear whales surfacing beside our boat, and watch storms roll across distant islands without warning.

Since the island is only accessible via seaplane, I embarked on a 48-hour journey home, crossing the Inside Passage on tiny fishing boats, taking rickety shuttle buses to remote ferry landings, and waiting for hours in the hope that the captain would arrive from the mainland.

Next on my Alaska bucket list? Trekking among the grizzly bears on Admiralty Island and a subzero visit to Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park — the luxury resort is famous for being one of the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights in the wintertime.

Wyoming is my top mainland selection.

states to visit with friends

Although Wyoming is third on my list, it's the state closest to my heart and the place in America that my family returns to year after year.

Known as the Cowboy State, Wyoming is home to both America's first National Park — Yellowstone — and its most photogenic — Grand Teton, of course. If you question my last assertion, you clearly have not visited Jackson Hole.

The Tetons are the teenagers of the Rocky Mountains, with their jagged peaks not yet worn down by time and erosion, unlike the "middle-aged" mountaintops in nearby Colorado.

There is something absolutely magical about the Tetons, and I've yet to behold any other mountain range on earth that can compare to its dramatic beauty — and I've trekked in the Himalayas, the Andes, and the Alps.

In fact, the towering Grand Teton is known as "America's Matterhorn." The skiing is equally excellent in both places but, thanks to the contrast with the high desert valley, the views in Wyoming are far more dramatic than the Swiss Alps.

California is the most visited state in America, and it's not hard to see why.

states to visit with friends

California has tons of gorgeous wilderness areas like Yosemite , Joshua Tree, the Redwood Forest, and Big Sur.

From Palm Springs to Malibu, Lake Tahoe to Napa Valley, the question isn't whether to travel to California but where exactly to visit. 

Whether I prefer NorCal or SoCal is entirely reliant upon which part of the state was the site of my most recent trip.

Whenever I'm in L.A., I convince myself that I'm meant to live this life in a bungalow on Santa Monica (and at The Bungalow in Santa Monica), and whenever I leave San Francisco, I'm convinced that I have left my heart in the Golden City (Marin County, to be specific).

I've found that, unless you're planning to follow Cheryl Strayed's footsteps along the Pacific Coast Trail, the best way to explore California is on wheels — and preferably over the course of a week or two.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway allows you to experience NorCal and SoCal while appreciating the beauty unfolding around you. Carmel and Big Sur are, of course, highlights along this road trip that is simply not to be missed .

Maine is as much a state of mind as it is a location in the US.

states to visit with friends

With the nickname "Vacationland" and the slogan "The way life should be," it's no surprise Maine made my list. Who would object to a life of bonfires, sailing lessons, foliage, lobster bakes, rope swings, blizzards, and blueberry pie?

The mountains and lakes of inland Maine are certainly gorgeous, but I recommend the coastal towns —  Penobscot Bay, Bar Habor, Portland, Kennebunkport, and Prouts Neck, to name but a few.

I've spent summers visiting Maine for as long as I can remember, and it's remained as enchanting as ever on each visit. I recently embarked on a leisurely journey along the Maine coast during peak foliage and belatedly recognized that Maine is as picturesque in autumn as it is in summer.

My latest trip was just last month, a four-day getaway to Portland, and I was amazed by how much the city had to offer, from the incredible restaurants and boutiques lining the city's cobblestone streets to the waterfront cocktails at Luke's Lobster.

And a visit to the L.L. Bean headquarters in Freeport is mandatory, regardless of the season or the destination. 

Texas has incredible views wherever you look.

states to visit with friends

The Lone Star State exudes a feeling of wild independence that's impossible not to find invigorating — so much so that you unironically purchase a cowboy hat to match your all-denim outfit in an ill-advised attempt to go native. (Speaking from experience.)

I've found my travels across Texas to be reliably liberating, whether I'm frequenting the honky-tonks of a remote town in West Texas or perusing the art galleries of downtown San Antonio. Perhaps this is due to the sheer size and scale of my surroundings, since Texas is the largest state on the mainland US. 

Everything's bigger in Texas , including the views: Great Plains, vast deserts, and rolling hills expand endlessly across the state. 

But whether it's the art scene of Marfa, the live music of Austin, the inviting beaches of South Padre Island, or the glitz and glamour of Dallas, there's something for every traveler. Order Tex-Mex , attend a rodeo, and catch a Cowboys game in the stadium or at a local bar. 

There's nowhere like New York.

states to visit with friends

Having spent the majority of my post-graduate life in New York City, I may be biased — but nothing compares to the energy and excitement of this place . 

There's more to New York than Manhattan, which I learned my freshman year as a college student in the Finger Lakes — now an increasingly popular tourist destination upstate (alongside the charmingly rustic Adirondacks and hipster-centric Hudson Valley).

But I'm still partial to a weekend out east, enjoying the mile-long beaches and even longer sunsets on the shores of Long Island.

As for the cocktails served at Bemelmans on the Upper East Side or the Surf Lodge out in Montauk — they're all the more enjoyable because they're slightly overpriced. Just like Gatsby's green light, there's something about New York that remains eternally out of reach.

I think Florida is incredible.

states to visit with friends

I spent a week in April 2019 exploring the Gulf Coast via a road trip from Miami, through the Everglades, and up to Sanibel, Captiva, and Little Palm Island, and the journey made me appreciate the sheer range of vacation spots and natural wildlife and diversity than ever before.

Florida often gets dismissed as a retiree's spot or a gator-infested backwater, and, as a native of New Jersey, I can't help but sympathize with the burden of a bad reputation. But the cultural coverage of Florida obscures the state's appeal as a heavenly travel spot.

I grew up biking through the beachside jungle trails of Vero Beach and would return to that same lovely spot year after year, as I believe many regular visitors to Florida do as well.

But there is more to explore beyond your favorite snowbird resort town, and foremost on this list is the Florida Keys, which I think is the closest mainland America has come to a taste of the Caribbean. It's even nicknamed the Conch Republic.

Book a vacation and watch the days float by on a happy haze of rum cocktails, live music, and island vibes — no passport (and often no T-shirt) necessary.

Just remember to visit the polydactyl cats at the Hemingway Home in Key West — an iconic American landmark, and the only one to house a cat cemetery.  

Michigan is my top choice in the Midwest.

states to visit with friends

My next choice is another of Hemingway's favorite places: Northern Michigan , or in Midwest parlance, "Up North."

Though I am a champion of the Midwest in general — nothing beats a road trip across Kansas or Oklahoma — Michigan is my favorite state to visit for the sheer diversity of landscape available to explore.

Although I'd traveled to Michigan with my family over the years, it wasn't until I befriended two devoted Michigan-lovers in college (trust me, that's a thing) that I fully appreciated how utterly transporting northern Michigan truly is.

The vastness of the Great Lakes feels oceanic, and the golden sands and turquoise waters of Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Dunes are more reminiscent of the Caribbean than North America.

A visit in the summer is to experience a heretofore unknown yet utterly familiar paradise of quaint Americana. Fudge shops abound and horse-drawn carriages remain the primary mode of transport on Mackinac Island and Harbor Point . 

My favorite state to visit in the American South is, without a doubt, Louisiana.

states to visit with friends

Whether I'm making myself sick by overindulging in crawfish boils, staking out the swamp on Bayou gator tours, or taking it a little too easy on a night out in the Big Easy, a trip to Louisiana is pure serotonin.

With Creole, French, Haitian, and Spanish influences, New Orleans is a unique US city. I always recommend venturing beyond Bourbon Street to explore elsewhere in the French Quarter as well the Garden District and Mid-City.

My favorite restaurants in the city are at their peak in the morning hours, whether it's a jazz brunch at Commander's Palace or an order of beignets at the Café Du Monde — the line is always worth the wait.

Big skies and even bigger views define the state of Montana.

states to visit with friends

If you're looking for breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and a classic taste of the American West, visit Montana .

The state is home to the biggest ski area in the US ( Big Sky ) and the best fly-fishing in the nation — as chronicled in Norman Maclean's classic Missoula novella, "A River Runs Through It."

Though I'd always loved Montana — and have long considered it among the most romantic states in the US — my trip to Lone Mountain Ranch last fall felt like nothing short of a revelation. I booked a cabin at a luxury ranch in Big Sky with a couple of friends last September in an attempt to cure our growing wanderlust while also respecting pandemic protocol.

Turns out, social distancing comes naturally on a dude ranch, and I credit the entire experience with restoring my sanity.

And although I highly recommend booking the same experience for yourself, do try to leave the West as wild as you found it.

Montana is one of the least-populated states in an increasingly urbanized America. As such, there is a vested interest on behalf of locals and conservationists to preserve Big Sky Country. So be sure to leave nothing but footprints — the safest options for humans and animals alike. Trust me, you don't want a grizzly rummaging through your campsite.

Rhode Island is the best state for a weekend getaway.

states to visit with friends

Rhode Island is the best state in the world for a weekend trip — and I'm not just saying that because it's where I've spent summer weekends since childhood.

From Narragansett to Watch Hill, Jamestown to Little Compton, America's smallest state has an endless array of idyllic beach towns.

I'm partial to Newport , a historic seaside oasis on Aquidneck Island that is famous for being America's sailing capital.

My ideal day in Newport is always spent out on the water. Visitors can set sail aboard an America's Cup Charter from downtown Thames.

When back on dry land, I'd get mudslides at Black Pearl patio, overlooking the water with the old salts along Bannister's Wharf. Next, I'd sip sundowners and catch the sunset from the Adirondack chairs on the sprawling lawn of Castle Hill Inn, before heading out to the Clarke Cooke House for seafood and espresso martinis. I'd cap off the night dancing to Motown up at the Sky Bar (the third level at the Cooke House).

Just remember to dress to impress, as navy blazers and cocktail dresses are the nightly uniforms. 

states to visit with friends

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10 Best States to Visit in the USA

By Jamie Gambetta · Last updated on February 5, 2024

The United States is a kaleidoscope of cosmopolitan cities, rich cultures, and enchanting landscapes catering for everything from city breaks to longer escapes in nature.

Each American state has its own unique attraction and individual character. Experience the wilderness in Alaska, taste fine wines in California, and tick off bucket list sights in New York State. Whether you’re looking to embrace the beauty of its national parks and desert landscapes, enjoy the thrills and spills of a world-class amusement park, or simply relax on sun-splashed beaches, there’s an American state with your name on it.

United States Map

10. Washington


When you’re touring America, Washington – the only state named after a president – is as good a place to start as any. It’s been nicknamed the Evergreen State because of its abundance of rich green forests, particularly found in Seattle, the Emerald City. Interestingly, it produces more apples than any other U.S. state and it’s home to the oldest human remains in North America.

Split in two by the Cascade Mountains, Washington state has parks, volcanoes and idyllic islands to one side and coastal forests, farmlands, and hundreds of wineries on the other. The North Cascades are a beauty to discover with its steep mountains and crisp freshwater lakes, perfect for outdoorsy travelers.

For those who would prefer a break from the mainland, the San Juan Islands are a series of forested islands offering kayaking, orca whale watching, and bird watching opportunities.

9. Wyoming


Tucked away in the rugged mountains of the Western United States, Wyoming is both wild and wonderful. Despite its large size, it is one of the most sparsely populated states in America. Here, you’ll swap city sights and crowds for national parks, cowboy ranches, hot springs, and endless wilderness.

But there is history to be found here too; Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote in 1869. For outdoorsy travelers, Yellowstone National Park is a major highlight with its extraordinary geothermal activity and wildlife-abundant plains dotted with wolves, elk, and grizzly bears. It is home to more geysers than any other geyser field in the world!

Along with Grand Teton National Park and Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming is perfect for all kinds of outdoor adventures, from hiking, swimming, and kayaking to mountain biking and skiing. 


The second-largest state in the United States, Texas really packs a punch. Situated in the South Central region, it’s loved for its soaring temperatures, country music, famous Texan BBQs, and bird watching – it’s home to more bird species than any other U.S. state.

Known as the Lone Star State (so-called for its flag and former independence as a Republic), Texas still feels different from the rest of the USA. Although despite its massive size that incorporates 28 cities, the proud people of Texas share the same values, patriotism, and a distinct culture.

Don’t leave without taking a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk with its art galleries, museums, restaurants, and endless opportunities for retail therapy. For a little history, visit the Alamo historical fort that played a pivotal role in the 1835 Texan independence war against Mexico. 

7. Colorado


Known as the Centennial State, Colorado is the highest elevated state in the United States. One of the Mountain States, it’s characterized by beautiful peaks, dense forests, deep canyons, and gorgeous meandering rivers. While the majority of the attractions are nature-based, the bustling capital of Denver – the Mile High City – is also worth a visit with its craft breweries and epic nightlife scene.

Colorado has many claims to fame. It’s home to the world’s largest hot spring pool, the deepest hot spring on Earth, the highest paved road in the U.S., and the largest flat-top mountain in the world.

But one of the main reasons tourists flock to Colorado is for its year-round skiing opportunities. Home to a wealth of excellent ski resorts like Aspen and Vail, the state’s frequent mountain snowstorms ensure that there’s plenty of fresh powder for skiing and snowboarding. While you can get great deals for skiing throughout the year, the best skiing in Colorado is hands down between February and March.


Alaska, the largest U.S state, is an astonishing place, home to thousands of rivers and streams, hundreds of thousands of astonishing glaciers, and millions of glistening lakes. In fact, these magical glaciers cover around 5% of the entire state!

Known as the ‘Last Frontier’ because of its distance from the rest of the U.S states, Alaska is an isolated place. The large majority is in the Arctic. A short visit to Alaska likely won’t scratch the surface but you can get a feel for the state with expeditions to see Alaskan wildlife such as wolves, moose, whales, and Kodiak bears.

Many don’t know this, but the best thing about Alaska is that you can witness the Northern Lights here for over 240 days of the year, probably because of the low light levels – in some parts of the state, the sun doesn’t rise for nearly two months! But when the sun does rise, it really rises: it often doesn’t set again for three months. This time of the year is ideal for wildlife watching.


The state of Arizona is an enchanting wonderland of spectacular red rock canyons and desert plateaus. But while it is most famous for the iconic landscapes of the Grand Canyon , stretching through the dramatic Petrified Forest and the vibrant and colorful Painted Desert, Arizona is so much more than that.

You’ll also find more mountains in the Grand Canyon State than in Switzerland, and a quarter of the state is covered in the largest unbroken Ponderosa pine forests in America. Add to that the wooded slopes of the Mogollon Rim and the dramatic desert sweeps of Monument Valley and the Sonoran Desert and you’ve really got a mix of everything.

But scenery aside, Arizona also has some lovely small towns that are worth a visit, including the capital, Phoenix, known for its world-class spas and championship golf courses.

4. New York

New York

New York State is tucked away in the north-eastern section of the United States. Lovingly dubbed the Empire State, it is most famous for the cosmopolitan sights of New York City, where you’ll find the glitz and glamor of Manhattan’s high rises, bustling Times Square, and the fresh green walkways of Central Park.

It’s not just the Big Apple that draws visitors to the fourth most populated U.S. state, but the quieter adventures to be found upstate, such as the captivating Adirondacks. New York State is also known for the thundering Niagara Falls, its fabulous Long Island beaches, and the wine-producing Finger Lakes Region, with 100-plus wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Here, you can enjoy hiking around the many lakes, tastings at a winery, or a mix of both for the best of both worlds!


The state of Hawaii is the longest island chain in the world – so long that it even has its own time zone! The southernmost state in the United States, it is also the only American state that’s made up entirely of islands. Interestingly, only seven of these 130-plus islands are inhabited. The rest are reserved purely for adventures: think waterfall trekking, thrilling helicopter rides, and lazy beach days!

The Aloha State is also a great spot for foodies. It is the only state that grows its own coffee, and more than a third of the world’s pineapples are grown in Hawaii. Each island has its own appeal: spend your days chasing waterfalls in Kauai , surfing on Big Island, or relaxing on Oahu’s powdery beaches. You won’t be disappointed.

2. Florida


Florida is where the fun happens; a fact that’s backed by the 90-million-plus visitors that visit here every year. Known as the Sunshine State, it’s chock-a-block with family-friendly attractions, from theme parks to water parks and beaches. Plus, it boasts over 230 days of sunshine a year!

Orlando is undoubtedly the highlight, home to Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, the most popular theme park in the world. But Universal Studios, the many glamorous shopping malls, and undulating golf courses also give visitors a run for their money.

Miami is a close second with its white-sand beaches, glitzy beach resorts, and diving oases. Interestingly, Florida is home to over 7,000 lakes and more golf courses than any other state in the nation. Perfect for teeing off, it doesn’t hurt that it is the flattest state in the United States.

1. California


With its glorious beaches, great weather, and undulating wine country, the Golden State is the perfect combination for a relaxing holiday. Indulge your inner child with a visit to Anaheim’s Disneyland Park and discover the thrills and spills of San Diego’s endless water parks. Also referred to as the Grape State, California produces nearly 90% of the nation’s wine, so come thirsty!

But wine and beaches aside, Cali also has some spectacular landscapes, ranging from sun-drenched coastlines to desert dunes and everything in between. Hike the peaks of Yosemite National Park, descend to the lowest point of the United States in Death Valley, or explore the iconic city sights like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t miss the chance to walk the eerie corridors of the notorious Alcatraz island prison. It’s unforgettable!

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Ellie's Travel Tips

Road Trip with Friends in the USA: 20 Best Stops!

Posted on Last updated: February 13, 2024

Planning a road trip with your besties? Well, you are in the right place!

With countless amazing destinations to choose from, I have collected the top stops for your road trip with friends through the United States.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure  here .

Key West road trip with friends

Key West, Florida

Recommended by Cami from Travel Cami

Key West is the perfect destination for a road trip with friends. Since it is located on the last of the Florida Keys, to get there you will have to drive through the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge, which makes for one of the most scenic and epic drives in the United States.

Along the bridge, there are several cool stops to make. The coolest are the islands of Islamorada and Key Largo. Once you get to Key West, there is a handful of awesome things to do, like going to the beach, pub crawling, going on a classic Key West sunset sail, and even snorkeling with dolphins.

 Also, from Key West, you can go on a day trip to Dry Tortugas, one of the most remote and unique National Parks in the country. You can read about more awesome things to do in Key West here . Another great thing about Key West is all the great dining options it offers.

Make sure to grab a bite at Lobster Shack, Santiago’s Bodega, and Blue Heaven (which has the best brunch ever!) Regarding places to stay, the best choices are Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, Marquesa Hotel, and Ocean Key Spa and Resort.

Related: Dry Tortugas National Park

Friends road trip to Mt Shasta California

Mt Shasta, California

Recommended by Sumeeta from Sumeeta Seeks

Any road trip with friends in Northern California should include a stop in the town of Mt. Shasta.

Nestled five hours north of San Francisco and an hour south of Oregon, it’s the perfect destination with friends, either as a standalone trip or as part of a West Coast adventure.

Mt. Shasta is a treasure trove of stunning nature and tons of fun things to do . Best of all, it isn’t overrun with tourists so you can feel like you have the place all to yourselves!

Skiing and winter sports are abundant in the winter, and in the other seasons there are a ton of great hikes for hiking lovers.

Some of the best include hiking from Castle Lake to Heart Lake, hiking to Castle Dome in Castle Crags State Park, and hiking any of the awesome trails on the mountain of Mt. Shasta itself.

If you and your friends prefer relaxation, you can have epic picnics and swim in gorgeous spots including Mossbrae Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, and Lake Siskiyou.

You can then finish up an awesome day in nature during your road trip with friends with some spirituality and an incredible meal.

Be sure to check out the Gateway Peace Garden where you can say a prayer or meditate. Afterwards grab some food at one of the best eateries in town – Seven Suns for vegan fare, Lily’s for café grub, Crave for Mexican and BBQ, or Bistro No. 107 for burgers and a great selection of microbrews and wines.

Mt. Shasta is a hidden gem you and your friends are sure to love!

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

Recommended by Karen from Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Burlington, Vermont is a must stop if you are planning a road trip with friends through New England.

This vibrant city is located on Lake Champlain with the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains across the lake. Stroll through Waterfront Park to soak in the beauty.

For more active exploration, rent bikes on the Burlington Bike Path. Ride to some of the beautiful beaches along the trail. North Beach or Leddy Beach are perfect destinations.

Burlington is a foodie town with excellent craft breweries and Mad River distillery. The gang might have a blast tasting their way around town. Foam Brewers on the waterfront is very popular.

The next stop is a visit to the open-air pedestrian mall of Church Street. With its unique stores, street performers, and restaurants with outdoor seating, you can spend a whole afternoon there. Grab a table at Honey Road on the mall for scrumptious Eastern Mediterranean small plates to share with friends.

In the evening, check out the arts and music scene before heading back to Waterfront Park for a magnificent sunset over Lake Champlain.

Have a nightcap at upscale Hen of the Woods before retiring next door to the Garden Hilton Inn with rooms with views of the lake.

Las Vegas road trip with friends

Las Vegas, Nevada

Recommended by Debbie from World Adventurists

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the USA to visit for some fun with friends. The glitz, glamour, and neon lights of Vegas are absolutely intoxicating.

Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world. With its variety of entertainment options that include shows, museums, exhibits, pool parties, casinos, and themed hotels, you’ll never run out of things to do.

Each hotel will transport you to somewhere different. You could spend an entire day just wandering the hotels and soaking it all in.

The Venetian Resort brings Venice to the heart of Las Vegas through its detailed replicas. The Bellagio is a Las Vegas Landmark that draws inspiration from European villages.

The hotel also features the famous Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.Do not be afraid to venture  beyond the Las Vegas Strip .

Free-fall from the sky, take a helicopter ride, ride along in a race car, or go hiking. The sky is the limit for what you can do and experience; it is what keeps people flocking to Vegas all year-round.Las Vegas is a foodie paradise.

You won’t find as many celebrity chefs anywhere else. However, if you don’t fancy spending an entire paycheck on a meal, you can have a great time at Tacos El Gordo, Secret Pizza, Robert Irvine’s Public House, or Nacho Daddy.

It also isn’t a perfect road trip with friends to Vegas without a group photo in front of the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign!

Rocky Mountain National Park road trip with friends

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Recommended by Meg from Fox in the Forest

Set just an hour away from Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best destinations in the USA for a road trip with friends if you’re into nature and keen to explore one of the most  beautiful places in Colorado .

Boasting over 110 hiking trails, gearing up for a day spent hiking is one of the best things to do here (options are aplenty for both newbie and seasoned hikers).

Think crystal-clear alpine lakes, rugged ridgelines, and unbelievable awe-inspiring landscapes to get a picture of what hiking here is all about!

If you and your friends would prefer not to break a sweat, another option to explore the park is to go on a scenic drive to hit all the best viewpoints.

The Trail Ridge Road and the Peak-to-Peak Highway are considered two of the most beautiful roads in Colorado!

Eating options are aplenty in the nearby Estes Park. Some of the best eateries to grab a bite are The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern (hearty food to get you ready for the adventure), Trailhead Restaurant (classic American), and Estes Brewery (hand-crafted beer, pizza, burgers, and delicious sandwiches).

There are many lodging options close to Rocky Mountain in the nearby Estes Park (Della Terra Mountain Chateau and Estes Hotel are both great options).

For more budget-friendly choices during your road trip with friends, consider driving a bit further away on your road trip with friends to Lyons or Boulder.

Moreover, there are five campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains if you’re feeling up for an adventure!

Friends road trip to Charleston South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Recommended by Dymphe from Dymabroad

A great stop on a road trip with friends in the USA is Charleston. Charleston is a great city to visit and there are many things to do and see there.

You find Charleston in South Carolina along the east coast of the United States.

The city of Charleston has a very rich history and culture, which is great to experience. One of the best things to do in Charleston is exploring the French Quarter.

You find here many beautiful streets that are great to wander around at with friends.

These beautiful places also make for great places for photography in Charleston .

For example, Rainbow Row is a street with many colorful houses. You could go here with friends to take photos together.  

Another great thing to do in Charleston is to go to one of the rooftop bars in the city. This is the perfect place to have a drink and watch the city from above.

Another great activity is to go to the beach. Folly Beach is a great beach near Charleston, with many fun water activities.

A great place to have food with friends in Charleston is CO on Lower King Street. Furthermore, a good place to stay is The Spectator Hotel.

Friends road trip to Rainbow Springs Florida

Rainbow Springs, Florida

Recommended by Rebecca from Whatever Packs Your Bag

Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida is a great underrated stop on a road trip with friends. It is located in Central Florida, right outside Dunnellon, Florida.

The natural spring produces over 490 million gallons of beautiful clean fresh water daily! 

It has a very interesting history, in the 1930’s it developed into a road side attraction, with submarines to view the water and wildlife.

It had a full zoo with exotic animals, however the interstate, and the new Disney parks soon made tourists dwindle. It was closed, and then donated to Florida.

Florida developed it as a state park as it remains to this day. You can go swimming in the swimming area, for an entrance fee of $2 per person. 

The real fun comes from tubing the Rainbow Springs River, there are several local options, but doing it at the state park supports the preservation efforts.

The tube and tram fee is $20 per person, and covers the ride down to the launch point as many times as you wish to go. You exit at the parking lot. You can bring your own tube and pay a slightly smaller entrance fee for just the tram.

It is super important to remember sunscreen as the sun will be pretty strong as you float down the river. It is relaxing, and the water is 72 degrees year round. It is the perfect road trip with  friends stop in Florida.

Friends road trip to Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington

Recommended by Chantelle from Flannels or Flip Flops

Leavenworth Washington is an amazing stop on a road trip with friends! There is so much to do in this tiny Bavarian Town that no matter what time of year you and your friends visit you will have so much fun! 

Leavenworth is just over 2 hours from Seattle and makes an excellent road trip destination, or a stop along  Washington’s most beautiful road trip the Cascade Loop.

The town of Leavenworth is a Bavarian themed town that oozes charm around every corner. It sits at the base of mountains so large, you’ll swear your are on a Hollywood Movie set!

You and your friends will enjoy wine tasting, and microbreweries up and down the main street.  There is also great food and super fun shopping! 

In the summer months, the town is beautiful for a road trip with friends with the Wenatchee River flowing through it.

There is excellent hiking, rafting, and biking in and around Leavenworth! In October, Oktoberfest is so much fun in Leavenworth. During the Christmas season, the whole town is sparkling with lights and has a nightly tree lighting ceremony.  

There are many Bed and Breakfasts located in and around Leavenworth, as well as airbnbs and hotels.  The most popular are the Bavarian Lodge and the Enzian Inn.

You’ll want to book your accommodations early, especially during Oktoberfest or the Holidays.  If you can’t find lodging in Leavenworth the nearby town of Wenatchee is a more affordable and not too far away choice.  

friend road trip to Rachel, Nevada

Rachel, Nevada

Recommended by Erin from Pina Travels

Rachel is a tiny town out in the desert of Nevada, about a 2 hour drive from Las Vegas. It’s the perfect stop on a road trip with friends because of it’s quirky reputation.

With a population of around 70 people, this little town is known for being a destination on the famous Extraterrestrial Highway (Nevada State Route 375).

It’s a 98-mile stretch of road that runs alongside the famously secretive Area 51, a classified United States Air Force facility that is off-limits to civilians.

The idea that Area 51’s secretive military base is a cover for alien research has become a popular part of pop culture alien lore.

Space enthusiasts believe that it’s possible to spot aliens and UFOs when you drive out into the Nevada desert on the Extraterrestrial Highway!

Because of all this alien lore, driving the highway out to the town of Rachel is a hilariously fun road trip with friends.

Along the way there are lots of alien-themed stops you can make for fun photo-ops. Be sure to stop at E.T. Fresh Jerk, the Alien Research Centre, and the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign!

When you get to Rachel on your road trip with friends, you’ll find the famous cafe, the Little A’Le’Inn. It’s an eccentric little bar, restaurant and motel full of alien themed kitsch and memorabilia.

There, you can have a drink and a meal (try the Alien Burger!) while chatting with locals who are likely to drop by and tell you their wild stories about Area 51 and alien sightings. If you really fall in love, you can check into the Little A’Le’Inn motel for the night.

Friends road trip to New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Recommended by Martina from PlacesofJuma

New Orleans is a really cool city for a road trip with friends. Located in Louisiana, this city is famous for its vibrant nightlife and the really cool music scene.

Also culinary you can experience a lot: The cuisine of New Orleans combines the French with the African and American – and so you will find many amazing food to try!

Every year the legendary Mardi Gras takes place here, a huge carnival party, but the city is also worth seeing outside this time.

New Orleans is the city of music, and you can feel that at any time of the day or night! So you experience with your girls a really cool flair and you can switch off from the stressful everyday life optimally.

As soon as the sun goes down there is dancing in the city, there are countless possibilities for live music and nightlife. Perfect if you want to party all night long with the girls.

But also during the day you can experience a lot of amazing things. New Orleans has a beautiful historic old town (“French Quarter”) with numerous buildings in Spanish and French colonial style.

Interesting is also, that New Orleans makes it consistently to the list of the most haunted cities in America!? So if you believe in the paranormal you should definitely book yourself and your girls a spooky room in one of the haunted hotels!

friend road trip to Washington DC

Washington DC

Recommended by Cynthia from Sharing the Wander

Washington D.C. is an easy stop on a road trip with friends. All major routes down the East Coast pass through here and there’s tons to do, a lot of it free.

The DC Metro is clean and fast and makes it easy to move around the city.  Have kids in tow? Washington DC is also fabulous for families. Check out How to Have the Most Fun in Washington D.C. with Kids .

Toss down a picnic blanket on the National Mall, and hit up the various food trucks. There’s a great selection of trucks that park across from the National Museum of the American Indian.

This museum also has a terrific native café. Relax in the sun and people watch, or wander through the various monuments.

Catch the DC Circulator to the Tidal Basin to see some of the newer memorials including the stunning Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the FDR Memorial.

In the Spring, this area has an amazing concentration of cherry blossoms.

Catch up with your besties while you stroll through the National Portrait Gallery to check out the Obamas’ Official Portraits, or check out the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives. Feeling adventurous?

Head to the International Spy Museum, where each of you will be given a secret mission and you can test your spy skills.

Ready to head out for the evening? Head to U Street, the birthplace of jazz legend Duke Ellington. There are lots of options, from upscale dining to Ben’s Chili Bowl. On the Eastern end of this area, you’ll find Little Ethiopia. There are lots of bars and music venues, from jazz clubs to live DJs.

Friends road trip to Houston Texas

Houston, Texas

Recommended by Gabby from Office Escape Artist

If you’re unfamiliar with Houston, you may think of Houston as a concrete jungle with hurricanes and oil companies.  Besides NASA, it isn’t really famous for anything touristy like Austin or San Antonio.

Don’t let these misconceptions fool you.  Houston is an underrated gem in Texas and is well worth a stop on a road trip with friends.  

If you’re spending the night, you’ll want to stay “in the Loop”. Houstonians call the I-610 loop the “Inner Loop” and that’s where the best and trendiest activity happens. For a quick trip, most of the action is west of I-45 in the Loop.  

If you’re a fresh college graduate and want to party, definitely check out the Midtown neighborhood during your road trip with friends. For young professionals still interested in the bar scene, Washington Avenue might be a better neighborhood for you.

If you’re looking for a neighborhood vibe with awesome restaurants, either the Heights or Montrose would be great for you.  Luxury travelers can’t miss either the Galleria or River Oaks neighborhoods but museumgoers should stay closer to the Museum District.

For a quick road trip stop, the best way to experience Houston is through the restaurants.  Houston’s dining scene is truly world-class, but still affordable and non-pretentious – really similar to Houston itself. Take your friends to get some amazing Tex-Mex at either El Tiempo or Ninfa’s on Navigation (and definitely  try the margaritas). 

Experience real BBQ Pinkerton’s and taste Viet-Cajun crawfish at Crawfish and Noodles (as seen on Netflix’s Ugly Delicious!)  

Dine at Beyonce’s favorite steakhouse, B&B Butchers, or enjoy  omakase  sushi at Uchi.   Houston has so many amazing restaurants so you won’t go wrong planning your road trip around food.

road trip with friends to San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Recommended by Stéphanie from Bey Of Travel

During a road trip with friends in the USA, you should absolutely make a stop to enjoy  some time in San Francisco . Located in the north of the state of California, San Francisco is a peninsula on the Pacific Ocean. Reserve two to three days to enjoy your stay to the fullest.

Book a room in the InterContinental San Francisco located close to all of the city’s highlights. San Francisco is home to different backgrounds and cultures and the city embraces the hippie & LGBTQ communities. You will see the colorful rainbow flags all over the city. 

Rent a bike and head over to the Golden Gate Bridge, an absolute must while in the city. Take the time to explore the nearby Golden Gate Park. Fisherman’s Wharf should also be high on your USA bucket list , besides the many good restaurants you will see many sea lions sunbathing along the pier.

Take a boat ride to visit the world-famous Alcatraz, the place where many famous gangsters have been kept prison. In addition, there are plenty of beautiful parks to visit, beautiful streets to explore and art stores to visit. In need of some Sun? Enjoy a relaxing day on Ocean Beach.

road trip with friends to Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Recommended by Lina from Bucket List Places

Picture a spa getaway surrounded by mountains in a picture-perfect town in Colorado. Add a natural hot spring in the middle of the river in town.

Pagosa Springs is a destination to add to any Colorado road trip itinerary .Located on the Continental Divide, this quiet town is fed by mineral waters from the deepest hot spring in the world.

Famous for its sunshine, you can choose whether you prefer to visit one of the several luxurious spas or if you prefer the budget option, you can soak for free in the natural pools in the river right in town.  

If you are planning a road trip with friends during the winter, the area is also famous for Wolf Creek, the ski resort with the most amount of snow in Colorado.  

The surrounding San Juan mountains offer more than 2.5 million acres of hiking trails in the national forest. Other activities in the area include kayaking, rafting, waterfalls, biking and more.

Minneapolis Minnesota road trip with friends

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Recommended by Ellie

If you are planning your road trip with friends in the Midwest, you are definitely going to want to add Minneapolis to your itinerary!

Minneapolis has long been a popular travel destination– whether visiting to explore the Mall of America or discover Minnesota’s natural wonders. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to explore this fascinating city on a budget.

There are dozens of fun and free activities in Minneapolis . Start off by strolling down the scenic Stone Arch Bridge while snapping some awe-inspiring photos of you and your friends.

Later, head over to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to explore the iconic red cherry and spoon. If you are looking for an urban natural escape, check out Minnehaha Falls Regional Park. This beautiful park boasts over 190 acres of natural land filled with limestone bluffs, river outlooks, and a 53-foot-tall waterfall.

A great way to spend time in Minneapolis on your road trip with friends is trying out some of the local-favorite restaurants! I actually grew up around 20-minutes south of Minneapolis, and can honestly say that Minneapolis boasts some of the best restaurants ever!

If you are into Vietnamese food, check out Hai Hai. If you prefer tasty cocktails and seafood, head over to Martina. Whatever you choose, I guarantee you will love what Minneapolis has to offer.

For places to stay during your road trip with friends, the Ramada located around 3 miles outside of downtown is far more affordable and comfortable than any hotel you would find in the heart of the city!

road trip with friends to Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree, California

Recommended by Jacqueline from Your Travel Flamingo

In recent years, Joshua Tree National Park has exploded with popularity, namely with the influencer crowd.

It’s become an Instagram hotspot, and upon arriving here, it’s not hard to see why. Aside from being extremely photogenic, Joshua Tree is also a place like no other. Set in the Mojave Desert, this place is the ultimate playground for wild adventures in the untamed desert.

But it’s also a serene place for sundowners by the pool, nights spent stargazing, and admiring the dreamy lavender and pink hued skies during sunset. 

As a California native, I can tell you this is a local favorite pit stop for road trips with friends and outdoor adventures.

Things not to miss while here are hiking to Skull Rock, The Arch Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden (best photo spot during Golden Hour!) and Barker Dam. Also, a great activity to do with friends, is just having a do-it-yourself photoshoot.

For the best photos, shoot during golden hour right before sunset. The iconic photos usually are with a native Joshua Tree, and you will have no trouble finding one of those guys!

For dining, head to Joshua Tree Town, where you’ll be transported back into the days of the wild west. Some of the buildings here resemble historic saloons, reminiscent of old cowboy movies.

A great place to eat is Joshua Tree Saloon, a quirky and lively restaurant serving up juicy steaks and burgers.

As for accommodation during your road trip with friends, there are endless options on Airbnb in Joshua Tree, from rustic cabins, to luxury glamping sites. The best way to enjoy Joshua Tree is by going out in the mornings and afternoons to avoid the heat, and relaxing at your chic cabin during midday. 

friend road trip Moab, Utah

Recommended by Megan from Red Around the World

Moab is one of the best places to stop on a friends road trip, especially for outdoor lovers.  There is so much to do there, it’s crazy.  

If you’re on a budget, consider the Lazy Lizard Hostel (it’s not glamorous at all but it’s fun, even if you don’t stay, I’d highly recommend reading the Google reviews).  If you want to spend a little more, the Slickrock Quality Inn is good.  

As for food, there are tons of delicious options.  The Spoke, Josie Wyatts, Quesadilla Mobilla, and Tacos El Gordo (in the food truck park) are some of my favorites.  Now for the good stuff, all the awesome things to do in Moab.

Make sure to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on your road trip with friends.  

Dead Horse Point is a state park with amazing canyon views, Potash Road has petroglyphs and some arches, hike to Corona Arch, drive the Colorado River Scenic Byway, or check out some of the amazing rock art in Moab.  

If you want to do something more adventurous, join a canyoneering, ATV, Jeep, or off-road tour.  And if you’re feeling super adventurous, sky dive over Canyonlands!

Savannah road trip with friends

Savannah, Georgia

Recommended by Brittany from Travel by Brit

Savannah, Georgia, is an unforgettable stop on a road trip with friends—the charming city offers haunted history, fabulous restaurants, and stunning architecture.   

Since the entire city is walkable, Savannah is the perfect destination to spend some time out of your vehicle, stretch your legs, and explore during a long road trip. Also, Savannah is one of the only cities in the United States with open container laws, so you can sip on a drink while you stroll through Historic Savannah.   

During your time in the city, you can’t miss the opportunity to go on a haunted ghost tour, stroll through Forsyth Park, tour a historic home,  or explore City Market and River Street.   

Savannah is a foodie city, so one of the best things you’ll do during your road trip with friends is eat tons of delicious southern food!

You’ll discover tons of  excellent restaurants in Savannah , like The Olde Pink House for upscale, southern dining, Leopold’s for classic, homemade ice cream, and Huey’s along the river for fresh-baked, doughy beignets!   

Choose accommodations in Historic Savannah to be close to the action during your road trip with friends. You’ll love the DeSoto Savannah  for a classy, centrally-located hotel, The Hamilton-Turner Inn  for a charming bed and breakfast experience, and The Marshall House for a historic (and spooky!) setting.  

Solvang California road trip with friends

Solvang, California

Recommended by Olivia from the Girl With Blue Sails

The quaint city of Solvang, California is one of the best stops on a road trip with friends in the USA.

Often referred to as “a little slice of Denmark in Southern California,” you will feel like you’ve stepped into another country as you walk down streets filled with rural Danish architecture and windmills. No matter the length of your road trip,  planning one day in Solvang, California is a must do. 

The most popular things to do in Solvang include eating Danish pastries and wine tasting while you window shop.

Notorious for its decadent bakeries, Solvang has many to choose from, but one local favorite is Mortensen’s Bakery. Having a fresh bear claw or Danish kringle with your coffee is the perfect way to start the day. 

Embarking on a wine tasting journey is easy to do, as Solvang has tasting rooms set up in the center of town. The city is surrounded by lush wine regions, so there are plenty of local wineries featured.

The tasting rooms are used to groups of friends passing through, so they all have pre-selected wine flight recommendations from which to choose.  

When planning where to spend the night, location is everything. Highly recommended is The Landsby. The look and feel of this hotel is contemporary with a hint of traditional Scandinavian design.

Located right in the heart of town, it is the perfect place to settle down with your friends and toast the quaint town of Solvang.  

Seattle, Washington road trip with friends

Seattle, Washington

Recommended by Karee from Our Woven Journey

Seattle is a perfect place to stop on a road trip with friends. There’s so much to do, you’re sure to find something of interest for everyone in your group to enjoy!

Start your day at the famous Pike Place Market where you’ll find fishmongers doing what they’re most famous for—throwing fish! They often put on a show for customers that draws quite a crowd.

Pike Place has over 500 shops and booths, so you’ll have plenty to explore besides flying fish. You’ll find fresh flowers, local artisans, quirky museum pieces and much more.

You’ll also want to spend time wandering the nearby area where you can add your contribution to Seattle’s Gum Wall (it’s as disgusting as it sounds) and stop by the original Starbucks store.

There’s no shortage of food at Pike Place Market, including those that serve local seafood. You can choose whether to snack your way through the day or stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants.

From there, make your way to the iconic Seattle Space Needle and treat yourself to an amazing view of the city. (Pro tip: if the sun is sunsetting early enough, time your visit to be there for it!) You can visit the beautiful Chihuly Glass Museum at the base of the Space Needle when you’re done.

For dinner, head on over to the Fisherman’s Wharf and have dinner at the Crab Pot, then wrap up your evening by taking a ride on Seattle’s Great Wheel!

Brevard, North Carolina road trip with friends

Brevard, North Carolina

Recommended by Megan from Virginia Travel Tips

There are so many incredible stops along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway that winds through a couple of states on the East Coast, but one of the most underrated (and best) is the charming town of Brevard, North Carolina.

It is the ideal stop on a road trip with friends!There are so many cool  things to do in Brevard  but one of the absolute best reasons to visit the North Carolina town is to explore Pisgah National Forest and all of the waterfalls that naturally occur in the region!

Some of the most notable waterfalls near Brevard are Rainbow Falls, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, and more!

Another reason to stop in Brevard on your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip with friends is that there are some wonderful hikes there.

The Art Loeb Trail is one of the most notable extreme hikes on the East Coast and it is a perfect place to visit from April until November.

If nature isn’t your cup of tea, there is a plentiful craft beer scene in Brevard.  Be sure to check out the Brevard Brewing Co as well as Ecusta in nearby Pisgah Forest.

While the Blue Ridge Parkway is home to plenty of awesome stops, Brevard is often overlooked in favor of Asheville – but, stop at both!

Kansas City road trip with friends

Kansas City, Missouri

Recommended by Alexa from Travel in Missouri

Kansas City is known for a lot including the Kansas City Chiefs super bowl win in 2019 and of course some of the best BBQ & Jazz in the United States.

With more than 100 BBQ restaurants throughout the city and a history dating back more than a century, visitors simply can’t go wrong with KC barbecue. Kansas City is most famous for its burnt ends, no matter the meat.  

Some of the best places to stop for BBQ on a road trip with friends through Kansas City, Missouri are Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Slap’s BBQ. Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, Q39, Jones BBQ, Plowboys BBQ and Gates Bar-B-Q. 

Beyond BBQ, Kansas City, Missouri is also known for its music; rhythm and blues, big band and most of all, its jazz. There are many great clubs and joints to hear great jazz music in Kansas City. A few favorites are The Phoenix that features live music from local jazz bands and has a Saturday jazz brunch.

Another fun choice is the Blue Room which is a jazz club inside the American Jazz Museum, located in the historic ’18th and Vine Jazz District’ area of Kansas City where Kansas City jazz originates from.

Downtown Kansas City is a great choice for accommodations during your road trip with friends. There is an abundance to do and an easily walkable city.

There is also a free street car that runs from Union Station to the River Walk and the oldest farmers market in the city. Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown is a great choice for those looking to make their Kansas City road trip a weekend adventure. 

Dripping Springs Texas road trip with friends

Dripping Springs, Texas

Dripping Springs, as one of the cutest Texas towns , is a fabulous stop to add to your road trip with friends itinerary! Located just 23 miles west of the world-renown city of Austin, you and your besties can explore a wide array of fun outdoor activities at a fraction of the cost.

Whether taking a refreshing dip in the beautiful Hamilton Pool Preserve (shown above) or exploring the unique olive trees at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company, Dripping Springs offers amazing activities and attractions as a fantastic stop on your road trip with friends.

Another great area to explore is the limestone cliffs found around Dripping Springs’ Pedernales River. This spot is perfect for adventurous rock climbing and picture-opts with your best friends.

If you and your besties are looking to go horseback riding or fishing during your friend road trip, make sure to head over to Reimers Ranch. Here, you can enjoy 3 continuous miles of pristine riverfront coastline to explore.

If you are looking for an affordable place to stay on your road trip with friends, I highly recommend checking out the Holiday Inn Express & Suites which is found not far from the center of Dripping Springs.

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states to visit with friends

10 Great Destinations for US Travel Buddies

Where to explore next with your best friends.

These great destinations for US travel buddies include some of the coolest places where the sights and experiences are simply best shared with friends. Whether you’re traveling as a pair with your bestie or as a group out on a road trip together, the thrills of exploration always get a boost with some sort of added camaraderie.

Traveling with friends has other obvious benefits. Besides sharing the bragging rights and bearing actual witness to the new places you’ve been, you can also usually cut down on the budget by evenly sharing certain expenses such as a taxi ride. It can be a lot safer at times too. And it’s simply more fun! Here’s a list of top destinations for your next shared adventures.

A picturesque Caribbean island for a fun shared escape

states to visit with friends

Friends traveling to Aruba are treated to a wonderful island getaway with its dazzling white beaches, colorful architecture, and vibrant art and social scenes. After frolicking in the sun, flyboarding over the blue Caribbean, or going under the surface to discover shipwrecks with your dive buddy, try your luck and share the winning thrills at any of Aruba’s glitzy casinos.

Those inclined towards adventure and discovery can find plenty of historical spots, such as the seaside Alto Visa Chapel. Simply strolling through the port city of Oranjestad treats you to Dutch colonial architecture and souvenirs galore at the Local Market. Aruba has many adults-only hotels and resorts, which are ideal for friends on a trip together. Read more…

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Beach parties and cool history.

states to visit with friends

Fort Lauderdale and the stretch of white sand that borders the blue waves of the North Atlantic is home to among Florida’s most famous party beaches. That’s one good reason for travel buddies to put it up on their list for a fun shared getaway. Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife scene is also more affordable compared to other famous Floridian hot spots like Miami Beach.

Explore The Strip, The Entertainment District, Riverwalk Arts, and many nightclubs in the city for enduring memories. If you share an inclination towards arts and history, cool spots to check out include the History Fort Lauderdale museum that’s also Boward County’s oldest hotel, together with the 1901 trading post known as the Historic Stranahan House Museum. Read more…

states to visit with friends

Barataria Preserve Near New Orleans

states to visit with friends

10 Mistakes People Make When Visiting Boston

states to visit with friends

Streeterville in Chicago

San diego, california, a fun-filled californian city.

states to visit with friends

San Diego is a top pick for friends looking for a place to escape together. For one, it has pleasant year-round weather. Then, there are gorgeous beaches along its 70-mile-long coastline, together with a great collection of cool and fun attractions.

Once you’ve ticked snorkeling or spending time at the cove of La Jolla off your shared list, a popular attraction to hit is the famous LEGOLAND California. Here, you can relive your childhood playtime memories, admire the painstakingly built structures, and even go on Lego-themed thrill rides. You can also explore slightly beyond town with a scenic hour-long road trip to pine-forested Mount Laguna. Read more…

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Get your friends together for a trip to the great smoky mountains.

states to visit with friends

Gatlinburg, a mountain town serving as the ‘gateway to the Smokies’, has plenty to offer for travel buddies sharing an adventure. Getting there is part of creating your memories as you hit the road and enjoy the scenic drive through eastern Tennessee and along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

In town, get breathtaking views from up high at the top of the 407-ft Space Needle observation tower or ride the 2.1-mile Sky Lift cable car to fun-filled Ober Gatlinburg. Downtown is filled with so many things for travel buddies to see and do – share screams at Ripley’s haunted adventures, take wefies with ‘celebrities’ at the Hollywood Wax Museum, hit top game scores at the awesome arcades, and hunt for one-off keepsakes at Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. Read more…

New York, New York

One of the most fun-filled, icon-filled cities in the us.

states to visit with friends

New York with its amazing skyline is one of the most fun-filled cities for traveling friends. To tick off the list are wefies against the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Empire State Building. Also must-dos are watching a Broadway show and exploring the vast urban expanse of Central Park where you can go on guided bike tours or set up the tripod and timer before Belvedere Castle.

Watching a game together at the NYC Yankee Stadium is sure to provide an unforgettable baseball experience. On the novel side, fans of NBC’s hit TV show Friends can check out the real Central Perk at 199 Lafayette St. It features a coffee shop and a museum of show props and souvenirs. Read more…

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Witness wonders of nature in the country’s first national park.

states to visit with friends

Yellowstone National Park continues to invite awe with its breathtaking landscapes and with jewels such as the Old Faithful Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring. Traveling to the park with a buddy or as a group ensures you have reliable witnesses and fun friends to tag on that enviable Instagram post with these natural wonders (do take selfies or wefies from a safe distance). For some history, discover the wonderfully preserved landmarks in Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.

You can plan a camping adventure in the neighboring communities and forests outside the park. Sharing the trip helps you save on your travel budget, and you can also opt for a stay in any of the closest towns near the East Entrance of Yellowstone, such as Cody. Read more…

Chicago, Illinois

Fun times in the windy city.

states to visit with friends

Chicago offers wonderful choices of attractions for friends sharing a trip, ranging from renowned places for art and history to dedicated fun spots on Lake Michigan. Hours and hours of fun await at Navy Pier with its thrill rides. The same can be said for Millenium Park, where you can watch theater shows, skate at an ice rink, and take your group shots at the mirror-surfaced Cloud Gate landmark.

Chicago is also great if you and your friends are looking for some wondrous walks and outdoor adventures. Join an architecture tour to see more of the city’s modern marvels or go on a lakeside bike ride. You can even hike through several state parks with forests, wetlands, and waterfalls – all have well-marked trails and lookout posts. Read more…

Napa, California

Share a fun trip through wine country.

states to visit with friends

A trip to Napa is more fun with friends. You can opt for a road trip together and drive through the heart of Wine Country with stops at various vineyards for wine tours and tastings. Alternatively, hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train together in vintage Pullman cars.

In the charming downtown area, stop by the Oxbow Public Market to buy and sample local cheeses and other fresh produce. The streets are graced by old architecture hailing from the late-1800s and early-1900s. There’s a riverfront promenade for fun shopping and dining. When the sun comes down, enjoy the arts scene at the Napa Valley Opera House. Read more…

Nashville, Tennessee

Honky-tonks are best served with your closest buddies.

states to visit with friends

Nashville is home to legendary country music and what better to sing along to well-known Johnny Cash hits than with a band of close friends? It’s one of the best places to go for a touch of Southern charm and some good old-fashioned vibes. Lovely bars all over town feature live country music. You can wear your cowboy hat and explore downtown together in a vintage convertible and make your own lip-synced country music video.

Pay tribute to local greats at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, historic Ryman Auditorium, and the Johnny Cash Museum. For travel buddies with a penchant for the great outdoors, be rewarded with the gorgeous scenery of Nashville after a hike around Radnor Lake. Read more…

New Orleans, Louisiana

From rich jazz history to extravagant celebrations.

states to visit with friends

New Orleans is the place to visit with your besties, especially if you share a love for jazz. The birthplace of the genre has countless jazz clubs around town. But the city has more to offer circles of friends than music scenes. You can celebrate together during the extravagant, 2 week-long Mardi Gras.

Rich in history, the city streets are graced by numerous 18th-century buildings to admire. You can even learn about voodoo and go on a guided, hair-raising tour of some of the world’s most haunted buildings and cemeteries! Alternatively, spend your evening gaming and sharing a date with lady luck at New Orleans’ 4 cool casinos. Read more…

This article includes opinions of the Go Guides editorial team. compensates authors for their writing appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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24 Best Places to Visit in the United States

Written by Lana Law Updated May 3, 2023

Author Lana Law has spent many years traveling to all corners of the United States.

With so much to see in this vast country, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to planning a trip in the United States. World-class cities , some known for history and others known for fun or glamour, give you a broad spectrum of places to choose from. The best places to visit in the United States may simply depend on your personal interests.

Yosemite National Park

Along the Eastern Seaboard , New York and Washington, D.C. offer two uniquely different city experiences. Along the West Coast , San Francisco and Los Angeles are both hot spots for tourists. In the Southwest , Las Vegas brings the desert to life, and the Grand Canyon shows off one of nature's greatest creations.

Beyond the mainland are the beaches of Waikiki and the tropical Hawaiian Islands , as well as Alaska. These are just a few key locations, but wonderful destinations for any type of traveler can be found all over the country.

Discover more of America with our list of the best places to visit in the United States.

1. New York

2. san francisco, 3. the grand canyon, 5. las vegas, 7. washington, d.c., 9. los angeles, 10. new orleans, 11. utah's national parks, 12. orlando/kissimmee, 13. chicago, 14. phoenix, 15. savannah, 17. yosemite national park, 18. colorado's rocky mountains, 19. seattle, 20. north carolina's outer banks, 21. santa fe, 22. san antonio, 23. yellowstone national park.

New York

New York City is like no other city in the world, and one that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

For first-time visitors, walking the streets can be like walking through a movie set, with famous sites at every turn, from the Empire State Building , to Rockefeller Plaza , the Chrysler Building , Central Park , The High Line , Times Square , 5th Avenue , Broadway , and of course, the Statue of Liberty .

Sightsee by day, take in a Broadway show in the evening, work in time for shopping or a stroll, and relax and reminisce over a fantastic meal. This is New York. With too much to see and do in a day, a weekend, or even a week, this is a city worth visiting time and time again.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

San Francisco

This charming and picturesque West Coast city is the perfect getaway destination for couples, singles, or families. Famous sites, charming streets, beautiful views, and outdoor dining are all part of what makes San Francisco such a great place to visit.

Take a cruise on San Francisco Bay, tour Alcatraz , drive over the Golden Gate Bridge , wander around Fisherman's Wharf , hop on an historic street car, or try a do-it-yourself walking tour to explore the city sites.

Summer or fall is a wonderful time to visit, but the climate here is mild and any time of year is pleasant.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco
  • Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of those must-see, bucket-list destinations that have been attracting visitors for generations. Gazing out over the canyon walls to an endless horizon and an unfathomable depth below is one of the highlights of any trip in the United States.

Visiting the Grand Canyon can easily be done on a day trip from Las Vegas or Phoenix , and from some smaller cities in the vicinity, including Sedona or Flagstaff . Another option is to incorporate a visit into a larger driving trip through Arizona and surrounding states. A train trip from Williams , AZ on the Grand Canyon Railway is another delightful way to experience the canyon.

The south rim of the Grand Canyon, which is the most popular and most visited section, is open all year, and visitors are welcome at any time of year. To avoid the crush of summer visitors, consider arriving in the spring or fall; the weather is good and the crowds smaller. The road to the north rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in winter due to snow.

  • Top Attractions & Things to See at the Grand Canyon
  • From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon: Best Ways to Get There

Houston from Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston is the perfect city for a friends' getaway, a couples' retreat, or a family vacation. With direct flights from cities across the United States and Canada, you can easily fly in to see a sports game, wander through Houston's Museum District , lounge by a pool at one of the many luxury hotels, and spend your evenings enjoying incredible meals.

Houston has developed into a hot spot for dining in the United States and is now well known for extraordinary cuisine.

If you want a relaxed but outdoor urban experience, rent a bike and peddle your way through the miles of paved trails in the parks or on the downtown streets. Rent a kayak and paddle along Buffalo Bayou in Buffalo Bayou Park .

In less than an hour, you can be on the nearby beaches or exploring Galveston , and along the way, you can make a stop at Space Center Houston .

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Houston

Las Vegas

This glittering city of lights in the desert holds a unique appeal, and one that has been attracting visitors for decades. Huge resort complexes, with all kinds of things to see and do at any time of year, have made this a destination that draws everyone, from want-to-be newlyweds who come here to say their vows, to families or singles who just want to hang out around a pool.

Entertainment options are extensive, with some of the music industry's top stars calling Las Vegas home and playing to packed audiences every night. Cirque du Soleil offers another unique experience, and of course, each resort has something to entertain guests, from dancing fountains to an erupting volcano.

When you've had your fill of the city, there is plenty to explore in the surrounding area , with the Grand Canyon , Hoover Dam , Death Valley National Park , and Valley of Fire State Park all within easy day-tripping distance. Las Vegas is ideal for a long weekend if you live in Los Angeles or Phoenix.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Las Vegas
  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Las Vegas, NV


Waikiki is one of America's top beaching destinations, with all the comforts of North America on a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific Ocean.

Located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu , Waikiki is a suburb of Honolulu known for the beautiful golden sand beach that stretches along the oceanfront, backed by hotels and retail establishments.

Rent a surfboard and test your skills in the waves, hit the shops when you're done with the beach, and enjoy great dining options in the evening. This is the perfect destination for everyone, from families to couples or singles.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Waikiki

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is the US capitol and home to some of the most famous sites and national treasures in America, from the White House and the Capitol Building to the Smithsonian museums. This city should be on everyone's itinerary of the East Coast .

In the spring, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a beautiful time to visit, when the trees are in full bloom. Summer can be hot. You may want to hit one of the beaches near Washington for a bit of a cool off.

Fall is also a good time to visit, when the hot summer temperatures have cooled off enough to make walking around outside very comfortable and the rush of the busy summer season has passed. In winter, the crowds are definitely smaller, and the city is stunning after a fresh snowfall.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington, DC
  • Top-Rated Day Trips from Washington, D.C.


The hot spot of southern Florida, Miami is more than just a great beaching destination. Wonderful beaches can be found all over Florida , but Miami offers an atmosphere like no other city in the state.

The Cuban vibe along Calle Ocho in Little Havana , the Art Deco District in Miami Beach that calls to mind the 1930s era, the endless parade of sports cars cruising along Ocean Drive in the evenings, and the summertime beach scene of South Beach , are just some of the unique aspects that make Miami one of the best cities in the US.

For a unique experience take a day trip from Miami to Everglades National Park to see alligators, turtles, and an array of birds in this one-of-a-kind wetlands area.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Miami

Los Angeles

Southern California has a culture all of its own, and Los Angeles is the epicenter of this unique area. The city has always been associated with glamour, with the suburbs of Hollywood , Beverly Hills , and Bel Air dominating pop culture. Travelers will find all kinds of vacation possibilities in the Los Angeles area.

Hollywood is a must for movie lovers, families come to experience nearby Disneyland , and shoppers will definitely find what they're looking for in the Los Angeles area .

If you are looking for a little sand and surf, head to one of the many beaches around LA . For an interesting natural history experience, be sure to visit La Brea Tar Pits to see fossil remains of prehistoric animals that roamed this area 40,000 years ago.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Los Angeles
  • Best Free Things to Do in Los Angeles, CA

Jackson Square, New Orleans

New Orleans is like no other southern city. The mix of cultures, with strong French and Spanish influences, is more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the United States. Cajun and Creole cuisine, jazz music, and the architecture of the French Quarter set this city apart.

Combined with an assortment of luxury resorts and hotels, New Orleans makes a perfect destination for a long weekend getaway .

The highlight of New Orleans' calendar year is Mardi Gras , when elaborate costumes and outrageous floats light up the streets, music can be heard everywhere, and the celebrations seem never-ending. However, if crowds are not your thing, you may want to avoid this time of year.

New Orleans

The best time to visit New Orleans is from December to May, but other seasons offer different benefits. June to November is hotter and prone to storms and hurricanes but is a good time to find deals.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Orleans

Arches National Park

Southern Utah is home to a landscape like no other, with canyons, arches, natural amphitheaters, and oddly beautiful rock formations. Fortunately, Utah's parks offer access to the state's most incredible scenery.

Zion National Park is one of the most outstanding, and particularly of interest for its hiking trails . Soaring cliff walls, waterfalls, and the river running through the valley, making this one of the most visited parks in the United States .

Zion National Park

Arches National Park , near the town of Moab, is home to more than 2,000 sandstone arches, but is much more than the name suggests. Rock spires, petrified dunes, views to distant mountain peaks, and the numerous adventure opportunities in the area , make this a place you'll want to spend some time. It's also a top mountain biking destination in the United States .

Nearby, but completely different in character, is Canyonlands National Park . Some sections of this park are as enchanting as the Grand Canyon but not nearly as busy. Plan on at least a day to see two separate sections of the park, and more if you want to enjoy the hiking trails.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park offers a completely different scene, with a huge natural amphitheater providing the base for a forest of colorful rock pinnacles. The hiking trails in Bryce , which take you through this mystical landscape, are mostly easy to moderate and worth doing. And lastly, Capitol Reef National Park is a little out of the way but is worth a stop if you can work it into your itinerary.

  • Top-Rated National and State Parks in Utah
  • Best Campgrounds Near Capitol Reef National Park


Orlando, which for most tourists is synonymous with Kissimmee, is all about the theme parks; Walt Disney World Resort , Universal Studios , and SeaWorld are the big attractions . This is one of the best vacation spots in the US for families . Kids love it. But adults will also enjoy the parks, as well as the shopping, dining, golfing, and sunshine.

School holidays are the busiest time to visit. Christmas and summer holidays are particularly hectic. Fortunately, Orlando is primed for tourists, with all kinds of hotels and home rentals available in the area.

The city is located inland but within easy day-tripping distance of both coasts and the popular Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast

  • Read More: Top-Rated Beaches near Orlando, FL


Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a great summer destination, with parks and a beautiful waterfront with amazing beaches . But its arts and cultural attractions, as well as fantastic shopping, make it a popular year-round destination.

The Magnificent Mile , along Michigan Avenue, is the city's most famous area, with high-end luxury stores and galleries, along with famous buildings and outstanding architecture. Some of the tourist highlights include Millennium Park , the Art Institute of Chicago , Navy Pier , and the views from the Willis Tower SkyDeck .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Chicago


In the heart of the Southwestern US , Phoenix is a huge, sprawling city that attracts large numbers of northerners during the winter months, who come here to escape the cold weather. Phoenix is a great destination for golfing, shopping, relaxing, and generally having a good time.

The greater Phoenix area has some of the finest resorts in the state. They range from giant family-friendly complexes with beaches and waterslides to small, intimate operations where your every whim is indulged.

You may want to pack your golf clubs. The city and surroundings, which include Scottsdale , Mesa , and several other townships, are known in particular for their world-class golf resorts, some of the most important stops on the men's and women's PGA Tour.

A family hiking in Papago Park, Phoenix

If you have extra room in your suitcase, maybe squeeze in your hiking boots, too. Natural areas that showcase the desert landscape can be found within the city and nearby, providing easy access for hiking , and mountain biking. Summer temperatures can be extremely high, but October to April is very pleasant, especially if you want to spend time outdoors.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Phoenix
  • Top-Rated Campground in the Phoenix Area


Savannah is the quintessential small southern city, with huge moss-covered trees in the beautiful parks, old southern mansions, and a lovely waterfront area with candy stores and other unique shops in historic buildings. The pace is slow, and the people are friendly.

It's easy to see that Savannah is a city where people live and enjoy life, rather than an area simply developed for tourism. The city center is small enough that you can walk everywhere. This is a city you can see in a day, but the kind of place where you will want to linger.

Nearby are some beautiful beaches at Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island , both of which can be reached by car in well under an hour.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Savannah


Located along the Eastern Seaboard, Boston is a city of history. The famous Freedom Trail leads past some of the city's most famous and historic sites, making sightseeing and navigating through the city extremely easy.

Picturesquely situated along the oceanfront, with ferries connecting the outer suburbs, Boston has a unique charm. Modern skyscrapers stand next to centuries-old buildings, and open public spaces , like Boston Common , give the city a quaint, small-town feel. The city also has a strong arts and cultural scene, and is home to the famous Boston Pops Orchestra .

Boston's winters are legendary. Nor'easters roar ashore every now and again, dumping copious quantities of snow. However, that doesn't stop these hardy residents from enjoying life. The list of things to do in winter is long, and this is still a great time of year for a visit.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston
  • Top-Rated Beaches in the Boston Area

Yosemite National Park

While the Grand Canyon is on most international travelers' itineraries, Yosemite is a national treasure that should not be missed. Yosemite Valley is home to some of America's most famous landscapes and iconic natural attractions, from the dramatic waterfalls to the soaring cliff walls of El Capitan and Half Dome .

The captivating photographs of Ansel Adams , the climbing community that has flocked here for decades, and the generations of families who have been coming to the park to enjoy the campgrounds , hike the spectacular trails , and soak up the scenery have all contributed to the park's history.

But long before this, the Miwok people inhabited the area. You can learn more about this at the Yosemite Museum and Indian Village of the Ahwahnee in the park.

Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Rocky Mountains in Colorado

The dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains can be appreciated in many areas of North America, but in Colorado, the climate and small mountain towns make this one of the best places to visit the Rockies. Waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, more than 50 of which reach a height of 14,000 feet or more, make this a beautiful area for sightseeing and appreciating mountain life.

In summer, hiking , mountain biking , and rafting are popular pastimes. Inn winter, the mountains become a playground for skiers and boarders. The ski resorts in Colorado are some of the best in North America.

Some of the best places to visit are the towns of Vail, Aspen , Telluride , and Durango . Scenic drives, like the San Juan Scenic Byway and the Million Dollar Highway , which leaves from Durango, will take you through breathtaking mountain scenery and old mining towns like Silverton and Ouray . Or, hop on the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad for a relaxing day trip through the Rockies.

On the edge of the Rocky Mountains in the southwest corner of Colorado, a little over an hour from Durango, is Mesa Verde National Park . This fantastic park is home to incredible Native American cliff dwellings, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Colorado, USA


In the northwest corner of the US is the lovely coastal city of Seattle. Surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, the city is reminiscent of Vancouver, Canada, with an active, outdoor oriented population and countless things to see and do .

Key sights in the city include the impossible-to-miss Space Needle , the lively Pike Place Market , and the waterfront. Within easy day-tripping distance of the city are beautiful beaches , the Hoh Rain Forest , and mountain landscapes, all waiting to be explored.

Although the winter months see more rain than summer, the city has a mild climate and is a nice place to visit at any time of year. You'll find no shortage of things to do in Seattle in winter .

  • Best Museums in Seattle
  • Top-Rated Hikes near Seattle, WA

Nags Head, Outer Banks

North Carolina's Outer Banks are all about beaches. Miles and miles of spectacular beaches on narrow sand islands have been drawing people from across the United States since the 1830s.

Stretching for over 100 miles, these barrier islands have been the go-to place for families every summer for generations whether at campgrounds or wonderful resorts.

Off the beach, historical cities well worth visiting include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk (home to the Wright Brothers Memorial), Duck, Waves, and the towns on Hatteras Island. The Outer Banks are also home to some of America's most famous lighthouses, many of which are open for tours to the top.

Another popular pursuit is deep sea fishing . Many records have been broken by anglers in this offshore hot spot.

Read More: Best Coastal Towns in North Carolina

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A melting pot of Spanish, Native American, Mexican, and Anglo-Americans, Santa Fe has a unique vibe that, once experienced, tends to draw one back time and time again. This historical city's pleasant streets, lined by Spanish colonial churches, adobe homes, and towering trees, just beg to be photographed.

Be sure to visit the Plaza, the beating heart of all that's going on in town. Cute cafés, many with patios, line the square and make a perfect perch to do a bit of people watching. After you've had your fill of that, wander into any one of the eclectic and unusual shops nearby.

Santa Fe is ideally positioned close to the mountains, where you'll find some of the best skiing in New Mexico at resorts including Taos, Pajarito, and Siapu.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in New Mexico

River Walk in San Antonio

Although Dallas and Houston spring to mind first for many people when they think of Texas , those in the know, will always tell you that San Antonio is their favorite. The reasons for this are many: beautiful Spanish colonial churches and missions, the wonderful Riverwalk area, and, of course, The Alamo.

The city is relatively compact and easy to navigate. For a city of its size, it also has a number of excellent resorts and high-end hotels just waiting for you to check-in and be pampered. The city isn't all about history; it's also the home of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and as a result is a hotbed of foodie delights. Be sure to wander over to the Pearl district to find some of the best places; your taste buds will thank you!

Read More: Top Attractions & Places to Visit in San Antonio

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park

The thermal wonderland known as Yellowstone National Park has been drawing visitors since 1872. Bubbling mud pots, colorful boiling-hot water pools, and erupting geysers are sights that continue to amaze thousands of people every day.

Some of the must-sees when visiting the park include Old Faithful, whose eruptions blast scalding water up to 184 feet in the air; the Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyser Basin area; and the Minerva Terrace.

The park isn't all about thermal sights — the Lamar Valley is a wonderful area for hiking and seeing wildlife, including the park's signature bison herds.

Read More: Best Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park

Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska

Off on its own in the far northwest, above Canada, lies one of the most fascinating states in the union. Snow-capped peaks, glaciers, wild rivers, and wide open spaces are all things that define Alaska .

A frontier attitude still prevails, and can be experienced in places like Anchorage , Fairbanks, and Juneau . This state is one of the most popular places to take a cruise along the Inside Passage where towering mountains reach right down to sea. Or, snuggle up to a roaring fireplace with your special someone at a luxury resort.

Pick your activity or sport; Alaska is a place for doing things outdoors, whether it's camping, mountaineering, canoeing, or fishing. In winter, head for Alaska's ski resorts or maybe catch a glimpse of the northern lights .

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Best Places to Visit in Winter: If you want to experience winter in all its glory, have a read through our article on the Best Winter Vacations in the United States . This isn't about beaches and warm weather getaways, it's for people thinking about snowmobiling, dog sledding, skiing, and drinking hot chocolate in a cozy cottage. And if you're looking to save a little money, see our list of the Best Cheap Ski Holidays in North America .


Getaways for Couples & Families: Trying to come up with somewhere for you and your partner to take a quick trip? See our list of Best Vacation Spots in the US for Couples to find a romantic destination for two. If you're looking for a destination where you can take the kids and have a good time, you'll enjoy our article on the Top Family Vacations in the US .

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18 Great Trips to Take With a Group

From Mykonos to Aspen, these are unforgettable group trips for every type of traveler.

Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.

states to visit with friends

The chance to explore an exciting new destination, or revisit a favorite spot, with your pals is one of the great joys of travel. Virtually any place has the potential to be great for a vacation with friends. (You just might have to get a bit creative in some cases.) That being said, some spots are just inherently better suited for a fabulous group trip. And that can take many forms. It might mean lively nightlife, stellar restaurants with space to accommodate your entire crew, loads of activities, or wide, sandy beaches for everyone to sprawl out in the sunshine.

In need of group trip ideas? Our list includes 18 awesome options, whether your ideal getaway is an action-packed city break or a relaxing island escape .

Tokyo, Japan

At once futuristic and deeply rooted in the past, Tokyo showcases glimmering skyscrapers alongside ancient pagodas, giant megamalls, and tiny artisan shops that honor centuries-old traditions. Book an omakase experience (depending on the size of the restaurant, you might have the whole place to yourself) and then hit the pint-size drinking dens in Golden Gai. Splurge on a traditional luxury ryokan stay with an on-site onsen in the middle of the city at Aman Tokyo .

Ibiza, Spain

Many people consider Ibiza to be the ultimate group trip. That's because this Balearic island paradise is famed for its nightlife. Of course, it's not all about bar hopping and beach clubs. Pals who prefer to relax instead of party can visit secluded coves, traipse around the chiller villages, browse the artisan shops, or just make the Six Senses Ibiza vacation HQ. Ibiza also brims with natural beauty and hosts many yoga retreats throughout the year.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Searching for the perfect place to surf, do yoga, and chill with your pals? Santa Teresa is a laid-back beach town on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula with beautiful beaches, great food, and a relaxed pace. It has an international dining scene with cuisine to please any palette, spirited bars right on the sand to watch the stunning sunsets, and lovely local boutiques to pick up souvenirs. And ATV excursions, hiking, and zip-lining offer plenty of opportunities for adventure.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Scottsdale is quickly gaining steam as a go-to destination for group trips thanks to its broad variety of activities, restaurants, and accommodations. Love high-flying fun? Sunrise hot air balloon rides over the desert await. Craving a little R&R? Book a rejuvenating massage at one of the many destination spas . After a group dinner at FnB Restaurant , snooze at ADERO Scottsdale , the only Autograph Collection property in a certified Dark Sky Community.

Capri, Italy

An upscale coastal Italian getaway with glamorous hotels such as Capri Palace Jumeirah and villa rentals, fresh-caught seafood, chartered boat tours, scenic hikes, a chairlift to the highest point on the island , sun-drenched afternoons at La Fontelina , and aperitivo at the iconic Grand Hotel Quisisana , Capri is a dreamy trip to take with friends. Just be sure to book all your reservations well in advance as things fill up quickly during high season — especially for larger groups.

Cartagena, Colombia

Perched on Colombia's Caribbean coast, Cartagena turns on the charm and makes for a sizzling group getaway. Within its 16th-century stone walls sits a warren of cobbled corridors, preserved Spanish colonial buildings, bougainvillea-clad balconies, striking churches like Catedral de San Pedro Claver, and bustling plazas where groups can sit and sip cocktails while watching local performers. It's also a popular beach destination and provides access to the palm-fringed shores of Isla de Barú and the Islas del Rosario.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Michela Sieman/Travel + Leisure

A charming and energetic city with a little bit of everything for everyone, Amsterdam looks like a postcard with colorful old houses, canals, flower-clad bridges, and bike paths. There are many excellent restaurants, fascinating museums, cool neighborhoods, and glorious green spaces such as the famous Vondelpark. And with everything from dance clubs and dive bars to upscale cocktail bars and underground speakeasies, Amsterdam very much deserves its reputation as a party capital of Europe.

The cosmopolitan gateway to the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is easily accessible with direct flights from most major East Coast airport hubs (which makes things much easier if you have travel buddies flying in from all over). This popular Caribbean vacation destination also wows with its beautiful beaches, incredible snorkeling, interesting cultural sights, and duty-free shopping in the capital of Charlotte Amalie.

New Orleans, Louisiana

A soulful and spirited city on the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a non-stop good time with bars and live music venues around every corner. Need a break from the more raucous side of things? Chow down on flavorful Creole cuisine, go for a ride on the historic St. Charles streetcar, and (provided you're all feeling brave) book an after-dark ghost tour. Then recharge at one of the many design-forward boutique hotels such as The Chloe and Hotel Saint Vincent .

Aspen, Colorado

World-class slopes, swanky lodgings like Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection , and a convivial apres ski scene make Aspen the it destination for the jetset crowd come winter. But this legendary Colorado locale also shines during the other seasons. Wildflowers bloom in the spring, summer brings sunny conditions for trekking and cycling, and fall is prime for leaf peeping. We guarantee everyone in your crew will shout out hiking the Maroon Bells as a highlight of the trip.

Bali, Indonesia

There's a reason why everyone who visits Bali falls in love. The Island of the Gods is a magical place with an irresistible mix of nature, culture, wellness, and nightlife. Beautiful beaches, lush rice terraces, yoga, clifftop temples, fishing villages, flavorful cuisine, spa rituals, and jaw-dropping sunsets are just a few of the highlights. And a trip to this Indonesian paradise won't drain your bank account. Groups can split a huge serviced Balinese villa with a pool and ocean views.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A renowned brewery culture remains one of the biggest reasons to take a trip to Milwaukee . For groups, that translates to good times and sprawling spaces to sip microbrews. In between pints, crews can do a tour to learn about the history of the city's beer industry. A prime perch on Lake Michigan's western shore means access to all sorts of fun waterfront activities, from kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding to jet skiing and sightseeing boat cruises.

Marrakech, Morocco

Hypnotic and at times dizzying, Marrakech is an intoxicating mix of maze-like alleyways, vibrant souks, Moorish architecture, grand palaces, manicured gardens, and ornate mosques. Moments of peace and refreshing mint tea can be found at El Fenn's rooftop refuge above the madness of the medina. Down to splurge on a serene, next-level luxurious stay with your closest friends? The Grand Riad at Royal Mansour Marrakech has a cinema, library, hammam, gym, and two swimming pools.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Does your crew love trying local delicacies? The central Vietnam city of Da Nang is a culinary powerhouse with an array of palate-pleasing delights. The night market stalls overflow with fresh-hauled seafood, and the fragrant aroma of bún chả cá fills the air outside the cafes. Besides mouth-watering food, there are sandy beaches, the Marble Mountains, the Ba Na Hills, and the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort for a swish group stay.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

For some groups, the stress of planning a holiday overshadows the excitement of actually escaping somewhere awesome. That's when a luxury all-inclusive resort comes into play. If you'd rather hit "book" and let the rest unfold in easy, breezy vacation style, consider jetting off to Punta Cana for a few days of oceanfront bliss, great food, and fun with your buddies at the top-rated Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana on beautiful Juanillo Beach.

London, United Kingdom

Love sightseeing, shopping, and theater? London is the perfect place to indulge those passions with your pals. It's home to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and countless other recognizable landmarks, plus posh shops such as Harrods and Dover Street Market as well as the treasure trove of vintage stores in East London. Of course, no trip would be complete without afternoon tea, taking in a show at Shakespeare's Globe, and shacking up at a five-star London legend like Claridge's .

Vancouver, Canada

Movie and television buffs will jump at the chance to visit Vancouver . Beyond serving as the filming location for countless motion pictures and shows, this dynamic British Columbia seaport dishes up diverse cuisine, live music, art galleries and museums, and outdoor adventure. Want to stay in the heart of the action? Groups will love the 1,492-square-foot Rosewood Suite at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia , which features two bedrooms and a rooftop garden terrace with a plunge pool.

Mykonos, Greece

When a group trip means devouring whole grilled octopus, poppin' bottles, and dancing on tables, it's got to be Mykonos. Greece's unofficial party island has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and tons of bars and beach clubs where world-famous DJs spin tunes. It also boasts five-star hotels with impeccable service and amenities to help you recover from a big night out. Because everyone knows the best hangover cure is a dip in your private plunge pool followed by an in-room massage.

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Trips with friends, best places to travel with friends on the weekend and in the world

30 Best Trips with Friends! FUN Weekend and International Places to Go

Best trips with friends on the weekend and in the world

But before you decide on a destination, be sure to keep the personalities and preferences of your friends top of mind. Some friends are awesome to lay on a beach with, but not so great for trekking through the jungle or road tripping through Europe.

My top tip: Embrace the personalities and preferences of who you’re traveling with, and let it guide your destination.

After getting trip ideas below, check out my travel planning guide to help you make it epic.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links to excellent travel-related products. If you use the links below to make a purchase, we’ll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

15 FUN Places to go with friends on the weekend

I highly recommend OFTEN taking fun trips with friends near where you live. Short and sweet trips are a great way to “test the waters” of traveling with friends without putting too much stress on a relationship. Especially if your travel styles are quite different.

Here are awesome places to go with friends on the weekend, including ideas across the US and Canada.

states to visit with friends

1. HOUSEBOATING near you

My very first BIG trip with friends was a houseboating weekend in beautiful British Columbia. It was perfect! 

We soaked in the hot tub and slid down the waterslide when we got too hot. Ate way too much ice cream. Met some cuties. And we even crashed. Yup, we did. There’s nothing like a little drama to pull you together! (Make sure you get insurance, ‘cause those boats are harder to steer than they look!)

Find the nearest pretty lake country near you, book a car and make it happen. It’s like camping but with a waterslide.

2. Fun LOS ANGELES weekend getaway for girls

Crossroads sign of Via Rodeo and Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles

A girls trip to LA is pretty classic. Strut your stuff like Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive. Hit up the star-prone restaurants. And time it with the Oscars to experience the red carpet. It’s possibly THE most epic place to travel with friends on the weekend.

Or, if you’re not into the Hollywood mayhem, stay on beautiful Santa Monica Beach. Cycle The Strand bike path along the waterfront. Ride the ferris wheel on the pier. And people-watch while enjoying incredible beachfront restaurants.

Where to stay with friends in Los Angeles:

  • Casa Del Mar resort and spa (Santa Monica): Right on Santa Monica Beach, with an outdoor pool, restaurants and live music on Sundays. Every room has a hydrotherapy spa tub and floor-to-ceiling windows, some with an ocean view.
  • Beverly Wilshire (Beverly Hills): As close as you can get to Rodeo Drive, overlooking Rodeo Drive and the Via Rodeo fountain and steps. An epic place for a trip with friends to explore Rodeo Drive’s boutique shops and cafes.
  • SIXTY Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills): Five blocks from Rodeo Drive along Wilshire Blvd, with a pretty rooftop pool and bar.

Casa Del Mar LA, best trips with friends on the weekend

3. FLORIDA KEYS road trips with friends

Drinks in Florida Keys, places to stop on drive to Key West from Miami Florida

A road trip from Miami to the tip of the Florida Keys is the perfect mix of beach and culture. It’s only about 3.5 hours, with plenty of time to stop along the way.

If you’re not from Miami, spend a day exploring its museums, Bayside Marketplace at the waterfront, or cultural neighborhoods like Little Havana.

Then, rent a car and head out to Key West. Along the way, stop to play with dolphins, feel the sand between your toes, and eat and drink with a view. Want more adventure? Where better to go skydiving with the girls than in Key West?!

Find all you need to plan your Florida Keys road trip with friends .


4. NEW ORLEANS weekend getaway with friends

states to visit with friends

Visiting the plantations in Louisiana would certainly make for a memorable travel experience with friends in the USA. Stay in a former plantation mansion, the elegant Nottoway Plantation that dates back to the 1850s. It’s the south’s largest antebellum mansion, located right on the Mississippi River. It features antiques and fireplaces in the rooms. Plus, an outdoor pool, hot tub, onsite dining and self-guided tours.

Plantations to visit near New Orleans, Louisiana:

  • Oak Alley Plantation : Known for the stunning Oak-lined path entrance to this sugarcane plantation. Features tours of the “big house” (with a pretty wrap-around upper balcony), slave cabins, expansive garden and exhibits.
  • Whitney Plantation : Famous for its ground-breaking slavery museum, with restored buildings and educational guided tours.
  • Destrehan Plantation : Established in 1787, this sugar plantation was the site of one of the three trials following the 1811 Slave Revolt. Features interpretive tours, exhibits and pretty grounds.

5. Fun trips with friends to NEW YORK CITY

states to visit with friends

New York City can be anything you and your friends want it to be. 

Times Square and Fifth Avenue are perfect for high-end shopping, flashing lights and nightlife. Its museums, Broadway theater and The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts are epic for the culturalists. Foodies will love exploring Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. And for those who love relaxation, Central Park, Staten Island and Brooklyn waterfront promise amazing views. I’d argue that NYC is one of the BEST places to travel with friends.

On my trip with friends to NYC, we stayed in a boutique hotel in the Upper West Side . Within a block, we had a small pastry shop, grocery store and plenty of cute cafes. We could easily walk to Central Park and Riverside Park (perfect for a You’ve Got Mail walking tour). And since we were surrounded by residential streets, I got to meet so many dogs out for their walk! Plus, easy subway access to everything else.

Find your perfect place to stay in Manhattan , Brooklyn , Staten Island , Queens and the Bronx (a 3-part series).

6. SEATTLE jazz weekend trips with friends

states to visit with friends

I love Seattle, Washington. Its Pike Place Market and waterfront restaurants. Plenty of jazz clubs. And lots of excellent shopping and coffee shops, too. Seattle has beautiful waterfront parks, artsy museums, Space Needle views, and boat tours to stay busy. Time it with a concert, too!

When I visited Seattle with one of my best friends, we LOVED the comfortable beds and pillows at the Staypineapple Maxwell Hotel . You simply cannot get a better sleep! It’s colorful vibe is super fun, too, and it has an indoor pool and bikes you can use. Price includes wifi.

Now, as much as I love the Staypineapple beds, you can’t get a better location than The Edgewater . It’s right at Pier 67, with fabulous views of Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Elegant rooms have fireplaces, cozy furnishings and spa bathroom. The property features an onsite restaurant, gift shop and coffee bar. Price includes wifi and downtown shuttle.

The Edgewater hotel in Seattle USA, weekend getaway trips with mom in USA

7. Fun LAS VEGAS weekend trips with friends

I’ll admit that Las Vegas is pretty low on my list of places to visit, but I understand the appeal – especially with friends. Awesome shows. Epic shopping. Sights you just won’t see anywhere else.

If you want to embrace the chaos, Las Vegas Strip is the place to stay. If you want to come up to breathe, consider a place like Tahiti Village Resort & Spa near the airport and outlet mall.

You’ll also find some incredible house rentals on VRBO , both near The Strip or near the mountains.


8. Epic CANYON road trips with friends

states to visit with friends

A great add-on to a friends Vegas trip, especially for the outdoorsy adventurers at heart, is a 2-day canyon road trip . Hike the amazing canyons of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon North Rim and Antelope slot canyon.

You have some incredible options for places to stay, too. Under Canvas near Lake Powell has lovely tents with a cozy wood-burning stove and private balcony with canyon views. Or book the luxury Amangiri spa resort, tucked right into the rocks. It has an onsite restaurant, bar, concierge, sauna and spa. And the rooms look AMAZING.

Under Canvas near Lake Powell Utah, luxury glamping experience retirement gift for woman friend

9. AMUSEMENT PARK hopping trips with friends

Are you guys dare-devils? How fun would it be to go amusement park hopping together?!

Top on my list are Coney Island in New York City and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. In Canada, Montreal’s Six Flags is lots of fun.

To visit a bunch on one trip, take a road trip through California or Pennsylvania. Yup, Pennsylvania! Check out this USA Today article for 17 awesome parks.

10. BEACH resort weekend getaway with friends

Ponte Vedra Inn, Hotels for romantic getaways to Florida USA, romantic weekend getaways United States, Ponte Vedra Inn

You can have an amazing beach resort getaway with friends even without leaving the continental USA. One of my favorite spots is about half an hour from downtown Jacksonville, Florida, at the lovely Ponte Vedra Beach seaside community. It’s also known as San Pablo Island, and is a great mixture of relaxing beaches and bustling Jacksonville nearby.

A wonderful place for a beach weekend getaway with friends is Ponte Vedra Inn and Club . Its beach and gardens are beautiful, with warm and comfortable rooms. Enjoy four heated pools, bikes, seven restaurants and lounges, and plenty of onsite shops and boutiques. Despite all of its amenities, it feels like a charming boutique inn.

Our equivalent for relaxation in Canada is Prince Edward Island. It’s super low-key and perfect for friends who just want to chill.

Dalvay by the Sea Hotel is classic and luxurious, located on the north shore. It’s inside a national park and has an onsite restaurant, bar, tennis courts and bike rentals. Or stay in one of many lovely historic inns in Charlottetown. I highly recommend the charming Fairholm National Historic Inn .

11. Fun ARTSY places to go with friends

Hotels for romantic getaways Near NYC USA, romantic weekend getaways United States, East Hampton Art House Bed Breakfast

Here are two very different types of artsy places to go with friends.

First, East Hampton Art Bed and Breakfast on Long Island. This sprawling property is perfect for art lovers and those looking for a refreshing getaway. Relax in the outdoor pool and jacuzzi while admiring the meditation garden, waterfalls, and lotus pond.

And second, head to Memphis to meet the king! If your friends are big music buffs, you’ll enjoy exploring the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum, Gibson Guitar Factory, and Orpheum Theatre. And of course, the iconic Beale Street’s shops and restaurants. 

Stay at the Peabody Memphis with an onsite dining room, spa, indoor pool and luxurious bathrobes. And don’t miss Peabody’s “March of the ducks” tradition!

12. LAKEFRONT retreat weekend trips with friends

Inns of Aurora New York, places to travel with friends in USA

Head to Upstate New York for a weekend trip with friends at the lake. 

Inns of Aurora is a community of five lakefront properties. They’re beautiful and cozy, with wine tastings, yoga and painting classes. Plus, a private beach, lakeside firepits, paddling and bikes. Organic, fair-trade coffee and fresh scones in the morning. Farm-to-table restaurant during the day. Book a room with a fireplace and lake views.

13. Fun weekend trips with friends in TEXAS

Commodore Perry Estate, romantic getaways Texas Hill Country, Austin Texas hotels, Texas resorts

There are plenty of beautiful resorts in Texas perfect for weekend trips with friends. One of my favorites is the JL Bar Ranch Resort and Spa in lovely Texas Hill Country. This estate is grand, with a full-service spa, outdoor pool and two restaurants. Plus, pretty gardens to explore, complete with a fountain. Rooms offer warm decor, with gorgeous dark wood accents, furnished patios, bathrobes and slippers. Price includes wifi.

Another favorite is Commodore Perry Estate in Austin Texas. Its manicured gardens are gorgeous, as is the massive library with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and plush couches. You’ll also spend plenty of time in its elegant tea room, pool, terrace and restaurant. Book a room with a terrace for pretty views. Price includes wifi and shuttle service.

14. WINE AND SPA getaways with friends

Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley California, best places to travel with friends in USA

Do you girls love sipping wine and relaxing with beautiful views? One of the best places to travel with friends in the USA is Napa Valley, California. Napa Valley is about 1.5 hours northeast of the San Francisco International Airport. You’ll find more than 375 wineries, more than 150 restaurants, and beautiful weather year-round. Napa Valley is nestled among two mountain ranges, with incredible views wherever you look.

For weekend getaways with friends at Canadian wineries, choose from gorgeous views in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, and Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. All three locations have excellent wines, spas and views.

Where to stay for a wine and spa getaway with the girls:

  • Auberge du Soleil Resort (Rutherford, California): This gorgeous resort is the ultimate friends weekend getaway, surrounded by a 33-acre olive grove. Relax in cabanas at the pool. Indulge at the spa and fine dining restaurant.
  • Therapy Vineyards (Okanagan, BC): Suites overlook the vineyard and Okanagan Lake, with oversized windows, fireplace, patio and oversized tub. The property also has an outdoor fireplace and hot tub, and serves breakfast.
  • Prince of Wales (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario): This elegant Victorian-style luxury hotel is the perfect base for exploring nearby wineries. Features an onsite spa and indoor pool. Enjoy traditional English tea at the onsite restaurant and local wines in the cozy lounge.


15. CRAFTING retreat with the girls

There’s something about a crafting getaway that screams “treat”! How often do you dedicate time to create together?

You can find accommodations that offer things like cooking classes or join a retreat that focuses on a particular craft, like painting. For me and my friends, we’d just bring our favorite crafting supplies to a cozy cabin retreat with a hot tub and views.

The Ultimate Travel Bucket List Template ebook

15 BEST Places to travel with friends in Europe and the world

Taking international trips with friends is a sure way to create lasting memories and bonds. But the stress of international travel will put pressure on your friendship. Make sure you choose a destination that complements your relationship and how you enjoy spending time together.

In Europe, my favorite place to look for accommodations is Plum Guide . You’ll find the coolest house rentals ever, all verified and not all ridiculously expensive.

Here are awesome places to travel with friends in the world, including Europe.

Hunters Moon home rental in England, Unique Christmas getaways for couples Europe

16. European CASTLE getaway with friends

Take your international trip with friends around Europe chasing castles! The biggest challenge will be narrowing your castle adventure to a geographical area, like England or France.

Pick the most iconic castle or area you most want to see and plan the rest of your friends vacation from there. Here are three ideas:

  • Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany): The most classic fairytale-like castle nestled in the Bavarian Alps. Take in its stunning architecture, lush surroundings, and panoramic views. Other (relatively) nearby castles to visit include the medieval and mountaintop Hohenwerfen Fortress in Austria and 
  • Château de Chambord (France): A Renaissance masterpiece with elegant French architecture and vast gardens. It’ll enchant you with its grand halls and intricate details. Other notable French castles to visit include the lovely Château de Chenonceau built atop an old mill and the opulent Palace of Versailles.
  • Eilean Donan Castle (Scotland): A remarkably enchanting castle among many in Scotland, with its charming bridge and moss-covered walls near the entrance to the Isle of Skye. My other favorite castles are on the opposite side of Scotland: the grand Sterling Castle and romantic cliffside Dunnottar Castle.

17. International trips with friends to AUSTRIA

Panoramic views of Melk from Melk Abbey's terrace

Austria is a captivating blend of stunning landscapes, rich history, and cultural experiences. Start your trip with friends in Vienna , the capital city. It’s a hub of art, music and architecture, with magnificent palaces, cathedrals and museums. Pick accommodations near City Center so you can walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral for evening drinks.

Then, travel through the Danube’s Wachau Valley before heading south to Salzburg. Wachau Valley is a beautiful area of vineyards and cute villages along the river valley. I also highly recommend a stop at Stift Melk Abbey .

Roam the streets and hills surrounding the lovely city of Salzburg , the birthplace of Mozart and setting for the Sound of Music. It’s a charming old town with cobblestone streets, lovely gardens, and the iconic Hohensalzburg Fortress looming above.

states to visit with friends

18. ENGLAND road trips with friends

Take a road trip with friends through the English countryside. There are SO many romantic castles, parks and gardens. Quaint villages in the Cotswolds. Rugged rolling hills in the Lake District. And haunting mysteries of Rosslyn Chapel. Experience England’s beauty on a drive from London to Edinburgh .

If you’d prefer a relaxing group tour rather than driving yourself, check out excellent tours of England from Trafalgar . Include a tour of Scotland and Ireland, too.

Find amazing places to stay on .

Home rentals in Europe, best international trips with friends

19. EUROPEAN CRUISE vacation with friends 

A European cruise vacation with friends would be AMAZING. You have all the benefits of world-class service, entertainment and food. Plus the gorgeous cities, islands and rugged coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Elegant spires off the Baltic Sea. Incredible history and the Cliffs of Dover off the North Sea. And then the more intimate cruise experience of exploring the Rhine or Danube.

Choosing your perfect European cruise option will be the toughest part. River cruises are quite unique, and an incredible way to experience Europe together.


20. Road trips through ITALY with friends

I’ve been to Italy only once and long to go back. There is SO much to see in Italy and it would be absolutely amazing to experience it with my best girl friends. Given the variety of sights to see, I recommend either getting a train pass for the time you’re there or renting a car.

On a road trip through Italy, start and stop in the vibrant city of Rome. Rome is a must-visit for historical landmarks like the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the Trevi Fountain. Stroll its charmings streets while indulging in pastas and gelato.

Then head up to Venice, a unique floating city built on canals. On your return to Rome, stop in Florence to see the famous Statue of David and beautiful churches. Then calm things down with a few days exploring the stunning Cinque Terre coastline and Tuscany wineries.

If you have more time, continue south of Rome to explore the historic ruins of Pompeii. It’s just south of Naples, another gorgeous coastal city. Sorrento and the Amalfi coast promise more spectacular views and memories for an epic trip with friends.

Find amazing home rentals on and hotels on .

Grande Amore home rental in Tuscany Italy, romantic Christmas getaways for couples

21. Explore ICELAND on a trip with friends

Iceland is a magical land of fire and ice, with waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon and ice caves. It’s an amazing trip with friends who love exploring nature’s wonders … and don’t mind a remote experience. There are no Starbucks in Iceland! But you will find other delicious coffee.

Visit the famous Golden Circle, which includes the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and the Þingvellir National Park. Take in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and nearby Diamond Beach. Hike through the mesmerizing landscapes of Landmannalaugar or the volcanic region of Mývatn. Discover rugged fjords and black sand beaches, and then soak in the soothing Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

If you want to explore Iceland’s famous ice caves or chase the Northern Lights, you must come in winter. Plan your friend’s trip between mid-November and mid-March.

states to visit with friends

22. Fun CARIBBEAN CRUISE trips with friends

A cruise is as easy as they come for trips with friends. Choose a destination, timing, and go!

A super easy cruise vacation for friends would be the Bahamas or Caribbean. Hop from beautiful island to beautiful island, all while enjoying luxury amenities, entertainment, and dining onboard.

A cruise is also a fantastic solution to taking trips with friends who have different interests. So long as you can agree on a cruise destination, you can go your separate ways in the afternoon and come back together at dinner.

Explore cruises on .

23. INDIA adventure places to travel with friends

India is rich in cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and unforgettable experiences for friends traveling together. Explore the bustling streets of Delhi and vibrant markets of Jaipur. Visit the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra. And take a spiritual journey in Varanasi.

But to see the best of India on your trip with friends, you need to leave the popular northern cities. Travel south to the popular Kovalam Beach and witness the breathtaking landscapes of Kerala’s backwaters.

Find incredible treehouses for your next best adventure with friends! Check out these treehouses on , including in India, Chile, Costa Rica and more.

Treehouse in India, best international trips with friends

24. International trips with friends to THAILAND

Are you and your friends intrigued by Asian culture and finding the perfect secluded beach (like in The Beach movie)? Then I’m guessing Thailand is on your radar for international places to visit with friends. 

My main tip for visiting Thailand is to get out of Bangkok as quickly as possible. It’s busy, smoggy and not especially friendly. Instead, head north to Chiang Mai to experience the floating markets . Climb an ancient temple and brush up against an elephant. Then indulge at a beach resort at Phuket or the Phi Phi islands . Bask on white sand beach, surrounded by gorgeous limestone peaks and perfect turquoise waters.

Interested in a guided group tour? I highly recommend Intrepid small group tours for an incredibly rich, “local” experience. They have tours into Northern and Southern Thailand, including food and beach tours!

You may also like 5 Charities in SE Asia Tourists Should Visit .

25. Epic CAMBODIA trips with friends

Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, best international trips, bucket list destinations

Ancient temples, jungle and Tomb Raider. And an incredibly resilient people that carry an awful history of genocide. Cambodia is a place that will touch your soul and guarantees a friends trip you’ll never forget.

You’ll want to visit both the capital of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, home to the famous temples. In Phnom Penh, visit markets, temples and gardens. But hold onto your food, because those monkeys are gutsy! And my opinion is that tourists should pay their respects at the genocide sites . How else can we begin to appreciate what their people have been through?

In Siem Reap, explore the gorgeous temple ruins of Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm. A local guide can also take you to lesser-known temples you can climb with a jungle view all to yourself. Be sure to have a drink at The Red Piano and ask for a Tomb Raider drink. Cheers!

When I was in Siem Reap, my sister challenged me to do more than visit, so I will challenge you. Read about my experience of donating blood in Cambodia . (Yes, it was safe.)

26. JAPANESE MONASTERY places to travel with friends

Mount Koya Japanese monastery, best international trips with friends

I’ve only had a taste of visiting Japan on a layover in Tokyo on our way to Vietnam, but they completely charmed me with their hospitality! Japan is now on my bucket list, and specifically the zen experience of staying in Japanese monasteries.

Two iconic Japanese monastery communities to visit on a trip with friends include Kōya-san (Mount Kōya) and Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Mount Kōya is in a mountainous region about 7 hours southwest of Tokyo. It’s home to over a hundred temples including the famous Kongōbu-ji. Stay in shukubo (temple lodgings) with traditional Japanese-style rooms, vegetarian meals, and the opportunity to participate in morning meditations.

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) is right in Kyoto. It’s known for its stunning golden exterior, and creates a breathtaking view as it reflects off the surrounding pond. Explore its exquisite gardens and the historic tea house inside the complex.

states to visit with friends

27. Fun AUSTRALIA beach road trips with friends

Australia is known for powdery white-sand beaches. So, rent a car and go beach-hopping on a road trip with friends!

Fly into Sydney and start your trip with friends at the iconic Bondi Beach . It’s known for its vibrant atmosphere, excellent surf and coastal walks. Take in the lively beach culture as you sample the many beachside cafes.

Then, head south for about 3 hours to Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay. It holds a Guinness World Record for having the whitest sand. Swim and snorkel at these beautiful clear waters and enjoy the laid-back coastal vibe.

Along the way, stop at the coastal Royal National Park and inland Heathcote National Park . They offer rugged hiking and other adventures that balance nicely with beach-bumming!

28. International trips with friends to BRAZIL

Iguazu Falls Argentina Brazil, best trips with mom, places to go for mother daughter trips of a lifetime

Have you heard of Iguazu Falls? Iguazu Falls is the world’s LARGEST waterfall, made up of a massive 270 separate falls! Check it out for yourself in the best virtual tours of waterfalls around the world . Iguazu Falls is right on the Brazil and Argentina border. 

Along with Iguazu Falls, experience Brazil’s beaches, rainforest and Rio de Janeiro. Make the epic climb up to Christ the Redeemer for epic views.

If you’re interested in a guided tour, check out Trafalgar’s tours in South America . This would be an easy way to explore the best sights on a trip with friends.


29. COSTA RICA best places to travel with friends

Costa Rica resort, romantic beach Christmas vacation ideas for couples, best international trips

I SO want to experience the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. And stay in treehouse resorts. It sounds incredible.

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise known for its incredible biodiversity and natural wonders. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve offers breathtaking views, misty forests, and the chance to see rare wildlife. The nearby Arenal Volcano National Park provides thrilling hikes and hot springs for relaxing afterwards. 

For a beach experience, head to Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio National Park is renowned for stunning beaches and lots of wildlife, perfect for relaxing and snorkeling. It’s on the Pacific Ocean and accessible by road.

With its lush rainforests, stunning coastlines, and eco-friendly practices, Costa Rica offers a memorable and sustainable travel experience for friends.

30. Fun MEXICO beach trips with friends

There’s a reason why North Americans flock to beautiful Mexico! Mexico has some of the world’s finest beaches, best preserved Mayan ruins and fascinating, colorful cultures. But with all the options, where should you travel with friends? I suggest two. 

First, Cancun is an obvious choice. It’s a world-class destination with something for everyone. Exquisite beaches, first-class hotels, a more authentic downtown area, Mayan ruins and fantastic weather year-round. For an incredible trip with Mom to Cancun, stay at the adults-only all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort . 

A second, quieter choice is Playa Maroma. About 30 miles from Riviera Maya, Playa Maroma has arguably the best beaches in the world. Plus rainforests and snorkeling right off the beach. A beautiful all-inclusive resort to check out is Catalonia Playa Maroma .

Enjoy at Le Blanc Spa Resort Fish Spa, Massage, DeepTissue and more.

You may also like:

  • How to travel with friends: Trip planning
  • How to find better accommodations
  • Trips with Mom and Trips with Dad

Featured photo: Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash.

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  • Smart Living

30 Places in the US You Should Visit in Your 20s

states to visit with friends

While your 20s are a great time to get out and explore new cultures, you don't want to forget to take advantage of the diverse destinations right here in the United States. Even if it's a quick weekend trip, finding places to travel in the US will feed that desire of wanderlust in just a few hours by simply hopping on a train or taking a road trip.

From big, popular cities to laid-back coastlines, the United States is made up of so many unique spots that it could be hard to decide where to go next. Whether you're a foodie who's looking to try a new cuisine, or a nature-lover who wants to hike the canyons, we've rounded up the best places to travel in the US if you're in your 20s.

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles should be a must-visit destination, mostly because of its year-round pleasant weather and great selection of food and culture. There's everything from the Santa Monica Pier to Beverly Hills — and the Hollywood sign, of course. For exceptional service, stay at Aka West Hollywood , which has amenities such as a residents-only bar and lounge, a pool with panoramic views, a private screening room, a 24-hour fitness center, and more.

Reno Tahoe, NV

Reno Tahoe, NV

Reno Tahoe offers outdoor adventure, delicious cuisine, and a thriving art scene. Visitors can check into the Whitney Peak Hotel , a boutique, active-lifestyle and pet-friendly property with an onsite music venue, Cargo Concert Hall, and indoor rock-climbing gym. While in town, grab a bite to eat and try a beer flight nearby at The Depot , Nevada's first combined brewery and distillery. Groups can also book a Reno Brew Bike to pedal together around town with their own local guide, stopping at all of Reno's best pubs.

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans offers a rich array of cultural activities, allowing travelers to feed their curiosity, indulge in delicious meals, and engage in exciting events all in one trip. For starters, New Orleans is home to popular festivals, including the French Quarter Fest and the two-weekend Jazz & Heritage Festival . The city continues to celebrate its rich history of French and American culture through additions to its diverse architecture, museums, extraordinary cuisine, vibrant music scene and nightlife, and more, allowing travelers to gain the most bang for their buck.

Tucson, AZ

The main reason Tucson is great? It's an extremely affordable city. Whether it's tasting delicious Mexican food, enjoying live music downtown, or grabbing vintage wear that will be the envy of your friends, there's a ton to do. Tucson manages to be easy to get to but is still off the beaten path, and is filled with Instagram-worthy cacti, murals, and more.

New York, NY

New York, NY

It's called the "city that never sleeps" for a reason. New York City should be on every traveler's bucket list. Manhattan's burgeoning NoMad area is a good place for people in their 20s because it's located in the heart of Manhattan and is the center of many of New York's unique shopping areas.

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD

Aside from the fact that there are several universities in or near Baltimore, the city is a fun destination for travelers. Fells Point is known for its hip pubs and taverns, live music, and seafood joints serving Chesapeake Bay crab and oysters. Another must-visit area is Federal Hill, filled with trendy and upscale boutiques and bars.

Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, HI

Honolulu is a destination with a ton of festivals, making it great for someone with wanderlust. For instance, the annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is based there with over 150 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, winemakers, and mixologists. The 135-room Shoreline Hotel Waikiki was also redesigned with its new "neon meets nature" theme, which features vibrant photo backdrops and hotel decor worthy of social media posts.

Washington DC

Washington DC

Washington DC is a magnet with a work-hard, play-hard vibe. There are dozens of spots for Instagram-worthy cocktails such as Service Bar , Bourbon Steak , or Del Mar . When visiting, stop by The Newseum, which has a gallery of Pulitzer Prize–winning photographs.

Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN

Nashville has become a go-to spot for tons of travelers, especially those celebrating milestone birthdays and bachelor or bachelorette parties. Within the destination, there's been an influx of cool hotel openings, like Bode Nashville , a group-friendly hotel category perfect for friends who want to travel together.

Durham, NC

Having recently undergone a transformation over the last couple of years, Durham is an emerging city, making it one of the most moved-to cities for young people. New, funky hotels are opening (such as The Durham and the 21c Hotel ), hip lounges are serving craft cocktails and locally brewed beer and cider, and small boutiques are quickly filling up once-abandoned streets.

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO — yes, located in Missouri — is an underrated getaway for hard-working young professionals. Spend a long weekend eating your way through the city (and country's) top-rated BBQ joints like Joe's KC and Jack Stack . Then, depending on the season, catch a Royals baseball game , a Kansas City Chiefs football game , a Sporting KC soccer match , or a KC Current soccer match .

Miami, FL

With endless fun things to do and delicious things to eat, Miami is a must-visit hot spot. When you're not checking out the beach, check out Miami's swanky art district that will keep anyone dancing all-night long.

Austin, TX

Austin is a popular travel destination for young professionals and students, mostly because of its thriving nightlife, weekend events, and some of the best BBQ in the country. Lou's Bodega , an East Side destination in Austin, is absolutely worth checking out. In true corner-store fashion, Lou's sells coffee, pastries, and more, as well as a cheerful all-day menu of comforting rotisserie fare to stay or go.

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland is a hot-spot destination for travelers. The Alberta Arts District has a slew of bars, restaurants, boutiques, and art to discover. Portland is an eco-minded and culturally vibrant destination that's increasing in popularity.

Clearwater, FL

Clearwater, FL

Avoid the crowds and head to St. Pete/Clearwater, an overlooked warm-weather getaway in Florida. With a record-breaking 361 days of sunshine per year, it's the perfect escape for a traveler. Aside from all of the outdoor fun, such as swimming with horses and see-through kayaking with manatees, St. Pete is an epicenter for arts and culture.

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

Chicago is constantly on the top of every travel list. It's easy to get to and offers so many activities, from shopping to nightlife and museums. The one must do is to take an architecture cruise down the Chicago River and learn about the city's famed buildings and the history behind them. Stay at The Hoxton , a hotel that's set in West Loop/Fulton Market neighborhood.

Savannah, GA

Savannah, GA

Savannah is a city that exudes both historical charm and modern beauty. It's the oldest city in Georgia, featuring neighborhoods that offer something special for locals and travelers alike. The Alida is a 173-room hotel positioned along the pristine Savannah River Street in the up-and-coming Warehouse District. Bordered by burgeoning breweries, distilleries, and some of the city's best shopping, the hotel is reflective of Savannah's historic nature, while welcoming a new wave of travelers to this great city.

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, NV

There's something for everyone in Las Vegas. Discover the best of the city with new hotels, unlimited entertainment, unique restaurants, and a wide variety of casinos.

Kanab, UT

Any active traveler will love the magic of Kanab, where you can explore some of the state's best outdoor and adventure-filled gems. Hike the slot canyons to snap shots at the stunning Peek-a-boo Canyon, volunteer alongside the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary , or ride ATVs at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park at sunset.

Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge, CO

Whether you're a foodie or ski enthusiast, there are nonstop festivities happening in Breckenridge . With the ski season lasting until May, there's always time to indulge in local brews and eateries along with a slew of outdoor events. Try something new like dog-sledding or snowmobiling.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta is an underrated city that everyone should visit. The music, BBQ, and local beer scenes set it apart from other cities and make it extremely unique.

Bristol Bay, AK

Bristol Bay, AK

Alaska is huge, which means it offers an abundance of activities, especially for someone who loves the outdoors. Being adventurous gives you an advantage when traveling through the state. Tikchik Narrows Lodge is perfect for travelers, as it's a fishing lodge that offers completely customizable outdoor adventures and a full Alaska experience.

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is a trendy destination, so naturally you'll be drawn to it. Stay at The Saguaro Palm Springs , a colorful boutique hotel that's located in Coachella Valley among the mountains with an outdoor pool and delicious restaurants. Beyond relaxing at the pool, visitors can check out art museums, waterfalls, gardens, and more.

Boston, MA

Boston is the place to be for people looking to make the most of their weekend. Check out some of the hottest restaurants in the city, including Bartaco and Kamakura . While there are so many must-see spots in the city, it's easy to devote time to discover the hidden gems in the charming and eclectic city.

The Woodlands, TX

The Woodlands, TX

Located just 30 minutes outside of downtown Houston, the Woodlands is an idyllic travel destination for city slickers, complete with uniquely crafted dining concepts, deeply rooted cultural art experiences, access to more than 200 miles of nature paths and trails, and a variety of trendy high-end retailers. In recent years, the Woodlands community has seen massive growth in the hospitality landscape, including the dining concepts Sorriso Modern Italian Kitchen and Como Social Club Poolside + Bar in Waterway Square.

Denver, CO

Denver is a super-affordable destination with a plethora of things to do. The city is filled with parks, botanical gardens, art museums, and a cool downtown district. It's grown into the ultimate beer and spirits hot spot, great for travelers looking to have a good time. While in town, catch a game at Coors Field or visit the Denver Art Museum.

Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

Seattle's hotel market has been on a record-setting run. The Moxy Seattle Downtown is located in South Lake Union and is geared specifically to young people with complimentary cocktails, trivia nights, and mobile check-ins.

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, MO

Centrally located in Missouri along the Mississippi River, St. Louis is a confluence of Southern cuisine. The Central West End is known as one of St. Louis's dining meccas — and for good reason. From brunch to after-hour bites and everything in between, there's something to satisfy every craving. Take a long ride to the top of the world-famous Gateway Arch monument for the finest view of the city.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

Philly is a vibrant, down-to-earth city — and best of all, home to the cheesesteak. Between exploring Rittenhouse Square and checking out the live-music scene, there's no way you can be bored in this city.

Madison, WI

Madison, WI

Madison is a college town, which means it boasts a lively nightlife. Sit waterside on Memorial Union Terrace at the famed lakeside chairs. There are also tons of restaurants, but a few top spots include Cow & Quince , Lao Laan-Xang , and Morris Ramen .

  • United States
  • Travel Inspiration

Why Tho? Friends were annoying on vacation. Is friendship over?

  • Published: May. 07, 2024, 2:00 p.m.

woman in glasses

Lizzy Acker, Why Tho? advice columnist. Destiny Johnson/The Oregonian

  • Lizzy Acker | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Dear Lizzy,

My daughter and I spent a weekend at a vacation house with some very close, dear friends – another mother and daughter.

All throughout the weekend, both mother and daughter did small but obnoxious things like failing to wash their own dishes, complaining about the rooms or saying negative things about the place we were visiting.

The accumulation of these little things left my daughter and I both with the feeling that we don’t ever want to go away with them again and I am not sure how to address this. Do I say anything at all?

Part of me thinks the solution is to love these people but not spend this kind of intimate time with them. But what if this leaves them confused and wanting to understand why we aren’t making more plans?

I feel conflicted about the “right” thing to do both for this friendship but also for guiding my daughter to have healthy friendships.

It’s also confusing because at what point do we accept people for who they are without wanting to change them and at what point are we communicating in grown-up friendships in a mature and healthy way?!

Confused Friend

Dear Confused Friend,

Here’s the great thing about friends: They don’t have to be your everything.

What I mean is, you might have a really great adventure friend who is not a great hang-out-all-day-doing-nothing friend. You can have one friend who goes with you to every Dave Matthews Band concert and another friend who hates every chord Dave Matthews strikes on his guitar. Both are good! There is nothing wrong with either of them!

You and your daughter made a discovery about these friends: They aren’t your travel buddies. And that’s OK! There is nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with them. When you write: “Part of me thinks the solution is to love these people but not spend this kind of intimate time with them,” I hate to talk myself out of a job, but I think you answered your own question.

When people do things that we don’t like or that make us uncomfortable, the immediate reaction sometimes is to think, “They did something wrong and I should correct them.”

But actually, that’s not your job. Your job is to decide if you want to be friends with them as they are.

You don’t need to have some come-to-Jesus talk with your friends about their dishwashing or negative attitude. If these things haven’t bothered you in small doses, and you want to, keep hanging out occasionally for a couple hours at a time. If they invite you on another trip, just say you can’t go. Be nice about it, certainly, but I can’t go on 90% of the trips I want to go on, so that shouldn’t be a friendship ender.

And look, I’m not saying not to tell someone if they hurt your feelings or say, do something racist, which I think you should do in the moment if you care about a friendship and that’s something you can absolutely teach your daughter to work on.

But friendships wax and wane. I don’t know your kid’s age, but I know a lot of middle school for me was learning about how friendships change and struggling mightily not to take it personally. And mostly failing. No one comes out without tears. Your daughter will probably shed a few as she figures it out. Which I am sure she will.

But the bottom line is: Unless you are forced to live with someone, the way they do or do not wash dishes just doesn’t need to be your problem. Try out more travel buddies! And give yourself a break.

Have a burning question? Send me an email at [email protected] or tweet @lizzzyacker ! Or, if you want to ask me a question with total anonymity, use this Google form .

Read and listen to more Why Tho? here.

More Why Tho?

  • Farewell for now from Why Tho? The Podcast
  • Why Tho? Is there any way I can stop my wife from talking during movies, TV shows?
  • Why Tho? Friend who never acknowledged death of loved one might not be real friend

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2024 cicadas map: Here's where to see trillions of insects. Want quiet? Avoid these states

states to visit with friends

If you're kicking yourself for not booking a vacation to see the April 8 total solar eclipse — seeing as how Florida wasn't in the path of totality — you have another opportunity to see another rare event.

But you'll have to travel outside of Florida to see them. Yes, them. Trillions of them.

We're talking about cicadas. It won't be long before two different broods emerge from underground with love on their minds and plenty to sing about as they look for the special someone.

The rare, double-brood event hasn't happened in  over 200 years , well before the Civil War.

If bugs aren't your thing and you're willing to wait until 2045 for another solar eclipse that puts Florida firmly in the path of totality , that's OK, too.

If you're planning a vacation to celebrate the end of the 2023-2024 school year or just to get some peace and quiet, here's what you should know about areas to avoid.

When are the cicadas expected to emerge?

The two different broods will begin to emerge when the soil 8 inches underground reaches 64 degrees. Their emergence is often triggered by a warm rain. They will likely emerge beginning in mid-May and through late June.

The last time these two broods  emerged together was in 1803 , according to  CicadaMania. It won't happen again until 2245, according to .

Cicadas 2024 map: What states will see the insects?

There are two different broods — or groups — of cicadas that will emerge in a few weeks.

Brood XIX comes out every 13 years. Brood XIII emerges every 17 years.

Brood XIX  is set to emerge across the Southeast and Midwest.  Brood XIII  will emerge in five Midwestern states around the same time, according to  Cicada Mania .

Residents in Iowa and Illinois will be especially "lucky": the two broods will likely overlap in those states.

That makes 17 states across the Southeast and Midwest where the cicadas will be found. 

Want more specifics to plan a vacation around cicadas? These are the states to avoid (or visit)

Brood XIX  (19) is  estimated to emerge  in these states beginning mid-May and lasting through late June:

  • northwest Arkansas.
  • northwest Georgia.
  • southeast Iowa.
  • southern Illinois.
  • southwest Indiana.
  • western Kentucky.
  • northern Louisiana.
  • Maryland, in St. Mary's County.
  • Mississippi.
  • central North Carolina.
  • eastern Oklahoma.
  • western South Carolina.
  • eastern Virginia.

Brood XIII  (13) will  emerge in these states  in mid-May and ending in late June:

  • northern Illinois.
  • Indiana, near Lake Michigan.
  • eastern Iowa.
  • southern Wisconsin.

Are there cicadas in Florida?

Yes, there are  19 types of cicadas in Florida,  according to the University of Florida.

Unlike the types expected to emerge in huge numbers elsewhere this year, Florida's cicadas do not come out in massive periodic cycles. Instead,  adult cicadas in Florida emerge every year.

Just like their northern cousins, Florida cicadas spend most of their lives underground. How long is unknown, except "that the minimum seems to be four years under natural conditions," UF researchers said.

How loud are cicadas?

The din from millions of male  cicadas can hit 100 decibels,  which sounds almost like standing three feet from a chainsaw.

Yes, it's the males that are the noisy ones as they try to attract a female.

Want to hear more? Here are  more than 50 cicada calls from Cicada Mania.

How do you pronounce cicada ?

The most popular ways are ci-KAY-duh or si-KAH-duh, according to Cicada Mania.

Cicada trivia to amaze your friends

  • What is a group of cicadas called ? A plague.
  • Bob Dylan wrote a song inspi red by Bro od X  called the " Day of the Locusts."  Trivia point 2: Cicadas are not locusts; locusts are grasshoppers.  
  • Cicadas'  wings repel water and bacteria.
  • Cicadas live on all continents except Antarctica .
  • Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespan s, living 13 or 17 years. Only a tiny fraction of their lives is above ground.
  • Cicadas use  math to avoid predators . Those 13- and 17-year emergences are prime numbers. Speculation is that helps cicadas avoid synching up with predators, whose populations rise and fall on two- or 10-year cycles.
  • There are almost  3,400 species of cicadas  and the majority of them emerge every two to five years.
  • Cicadas emerge when the  temperature eight inches below the surface reaches 64 degree s. Not 63. Not 65.
  • Cicadas don't eat while underground;  they drink. They suck xylem from plant roots.
  • Those translucent skins they leave behind are called  exuviae .
  • Cicadas have five eyes .
  • Periodical cicadas that emerge in years before they're supposed to are called  stragglers .

Stanley Museum of Art

Keith Haring's Mural

Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), “ A Book Full of Fun”, Horn Elementary School. Photo by Tim Schoon 

© Keith Haring Foundation

To My Friends at Horn: Keith Haring and Iowa City

May 4, 2024 - jan 7, 2025, if the public is afraid of art, should we be afraid of what we have done to make the public afraid of art, —keith haring, 1978.

Opening on Keith Haring’s birthday, this exhibition celebrates the artist’s legacy and honors the many individuals who shaped his visits to Iowa City during the 1980s. The 1989 mural Haring painted for Ernest Horn Elementary School, which is on loan to the Stanley Museum of Art during the school’s renovation, anchors the exhibition and is accompanied by other works of art, photographs, and archival ephemera. 

For Keith Haring (American, 1958­–1990), art was foundational to civic life. Raised in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Haring rose to international fame in the 1980s for the street art he made in New York City, where he found acceptance living as an openly gay man. Over the course of his brief career, Haring reimagined art’s centers of production, its impact, and its audiences. His subway drawings, scrawled in chalk on sheets of black paper pasted over advertisements, equated transit stations with classrooms. Haring’s artwork promoted racial and sexual tolerance while addressing global issues such as nuclear disarmament, the AIDS epidemic, apartheid states, and environmental devastation.

Thanks to the efforts of Colleen Ernst, a teacher at Ernest Horn Elementary School affectionately known as “Dr. Art,” Haring traveled to Iowa City in March 1984. Ernst had introduced her fifth- and sixth-grade students to Haring’s work, and, as she wrote in an introductory postcard to him, “they were fascinated.” What began as an exchange of letters and care packages between Haring and the grade-schoolers grew into a three-day residency. This was organized in partnership with the University of Iowa and with support from many individuals, including the school’s principal, Paul Davis. Haring conducted workshops with students, completed a painting at the Old Capitol Center to the accompaniment of the Johnson County Landmark Band, and delivered a lecture at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, where he was the subject of a small exhibition.

At the invitation of Ernst and Davis, and with the assistance of the Horn Parent Teacher Organization, Haring returned to Iowa City for a single day in 1989. On May 22, which was proclaimed Keith Haring Day at the school, he painted a mural titled A Book Full of Fun in the story well. A Book Full of Fun pays tribute to the literary imagination, depicting an open book and a thought bubble above it swirling with whimsical characters, letters, and numbers.

Keith Haring posing in front of his mural at Horn Elementary

Keith Haring | Rediscovering the Iowa City mural

This exhibition considers that mural alongside works on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation. An early video titled Painting Myself into a Corner deepens an appreciation of the scale and performativity of Haring’s work in relation to someone like Jackson Pollock, whose monumental 1943 Mural is on view in the adjacent gallery. The same year that Haring completed A Book Full of Fun , he also produced Ignorance=Fear, Silence=Death . This print called for people to educate themselves about AIDS and exercise compassion for one another. More broadly, its union of text and image raises questions about freedom of expression and activist strategies, issues particularly relevant to our current moment when knowledge is threatened by censorship and erasure.

Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, and he established the Keith Haring Foundation the following year. He died from complications related to the illness in 1990, less than a year after painting A Book Full of Fun . To My Friends at Horn: Keith Haring and Iowa City reflects on Haring’s time in Iowa and its afterlives for members of our community. It also demonstrates how the artist continues to reach people who need to hear his message.

Keith Haring at work on the mural at Ernest Horn Elementary School

Share your memories of Keith Haring's trip to Iowa City

Keith Haring (1958–1990) was a revolutionary graffiti artist. The Stanley Museum of Art will commemorate Haring's visits to Iowa City in 1984 and 1989 with an upcoming exhibition, and we want you to be involved! 

Scheduled to open on May 4, 2024,  To My Friends at Horn: Keith Haring and Iowa City  will celebrate the artist's ties to our community. We hope to locate individuals who were a part of Haring's visits and incorporate their stories into the show. 

If you or someone you know was at Horn Elementary School, or met the artist during his trips to Iowa City (1984 and 1989), or if you have any related photos, drawings, or other memorabilia, we want to hear from you!

Image Gallery

Keith Haring at work on the mural at Ernest Horn Elementary School

To My Friends at Horn: Keith Haring and Iowa City has been supported by generous grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Keith Haring Foundation with additional support from the Beth and Nate Tross Stanley Museum of Art Support Fund, the Tom Rocklin and Barbara McFadden Program Fund, the Don Heineking Fund for Exhibitions and Programs, the Friends of the Museum Fund, and the Members Special Exhibition Fund.

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Friends, Former Hostages Praise Terry Anderson, AP Reporter and Philanthropist, at Memorial Service

Fellow former hostages, family and coworkers celebrated the life of journalist and philanthropist Terry Anderson

Mark Duncan

Mark Duncan

FILE - Former hostage Terry Anderson waves to the crowd as he rides in a parade in Lorain, Ohio, June 22, 1992. Fellow former hostages, family, and coworkers celebrated the life of journalist and philanthropist Terry Anderson, Wednesday, May 8, 2024, as a man who helped others while struggling to heal himself. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Fellow former hostages, family and coworkers celebrated the life of journalist and philanthropist Terry Anderson Wednesday, remembering a man who helped others while struggling to heal himself.

The news writer became a news subject when he was taken hostage in Lebanon by members of an Islamic extremist group in 1985. At the time, he was chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, had one daughter and his future wife was six months pregnant. He was one of the longest-held hostages in U.S. history, captive for 2,454 days.

Anderson died on April 21 at his home in Greenwood Lake, New York. He was 76. The memorial on Wednesday was shown on YouTube by the Overseas Press Club .

More than a year into captivity, two new hostages were moved into his jail, men from Northern Ireland and England who spoke at his memorial from the AP office in New York. They said Anderson's hunger for intellectual stimulation had him verbally pounce on them, squeezing them for knowledge of current events, histories of their homelands and any shred of literature they could share.

He “prodded and poked at something for weeks and weeks until you almost had nothing left to tell him," said Brian Keenan, originally from Belfast, who was teaching English in Beirut when he was kidnapped and later found himself imprisoned with Anderson.

“Terry’s bullish, stubborn nature was a really vital part of our survival together,” said John McCarthy, a British journalist and fellow hostage who attended the memorial, crediting him for pestering guards to give them books, a radio at one point and crucially — respect. "It was about constantly reminding the men with the guns ... that we were human beings.”

Photos You Should See - April 2024

TOPSHOT - People watch the April's full moonset, also known as the "Pink Moon", rising behind the clouds in Singapore on April 24, 2024. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Terry Anderson received a hero’s welcome when he was freed in 1991, from the AP and New York state. Mourners remembered how he kept his sense of humor. Louis Boccardi, who had been leading the AP for two-and-half-months when Anderson was kidnapped, had arranged for Anderson to spend time in the mountains in Europe to speak with trauma counselors.

“'I haven’t been in the warm sunshine for six and a half years. And you want me to go to the Alps?'” Boccardi recalled Anderson saying. The counseling was moved to the Caribbean.

Anderson struggled with PTSD and, his ex-wife revealed at the memorial, was unable to fully heal from his ordeal. But he was rarely idle and pursued healing and growth for others. Anderson taught journalism and led philanthropic efforts to help children and veterans.

“Terry wanted his students to write with purpose and conviction, to speak the truth through power, with authority and without fear,” said Keenan.

A Vietnam War veteran, Anderson helped found the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which built 51 schools in that country over decades.

On Wednesday, New York State Sen. James Skoufis presented a posthumous Liberty Medal for Anderson's contributions to journalism and his advocacy for homeless veterans in Hudson Valley. Skoufis said that Anderson spent seven years advocating for funding for a veteran's housing program, which was approved only months ago, in the form of a $1 million federal grant.

Copyright 2024 The  Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Live updates, i had a wardrobe malfunction at my best friend’s wedding — she said i ruined her big day.

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A bridesmaid has recounted losing her best friend and feeling humiliated at a wedding , all over a small wardrobe malfunction.

Organizing a wedding is no easy feat, but those who were getting married during the pandemic were handed an exceptionally difficult task.

*Tara’s best friend Holly* planned to host her ceremony and reception together, however, lockdowns threw a spanner into the works, meaning they had to postpone the reception for a full year. 

Bride accuses best friend of “ruining her whole day” over broken zipper

To make the planning process as easy as possible, Tara made sure she was available for help whenever her friend needed it. 

“Leading up to the day, I did everything I could to make her day special,” she said on  Reddit . 

A bridesmaid has recounted losing her best friend and feeling humiliated at a wedding, all over a small wardrobe malfunction.

The wedding day was fast approaching, and thanks to Tara’s help, things appeared to come together smoothly. 

“I made her bouquet, decorations, signs etc., on top of working 40+ hours a week myself and renovating my new home with my husband,” she said. 

On the day of the wedding, Tara picked up Holly and took her for breakfast before swinging past shops to pick up last-minute essentials.

Tara’s zipper broke right before walking down the aisle.

Eventually, they made it to the salon, where the bridal party started getting ready. 

Then something horrific happened: Tara’s zipper broke. 

A million thoughts started running through Tara’s mind. She was just about to walk in front of 200 guests and her dress had started to fall apart. 

“As a very anxiety-prone person, I started to freak out a bit,” she said. 

“A million and one things going through my head how to fix it, how I was supposed to walk and be in front of 200 people with my dress unzipped, how embarrassing it would be.” 

The other bridesmaids launched into action, trying to pin it back together, but nothing was working. “It looked horrible; I just couldn’t do it,” she said. 

All the while, the bride was starting to get angry. 

“No one cares what you look like, no one’s gonna be looking at you,” Holly shouted at Tara, who was still trying to secure her dress back into place. 

But at this point, it looked like nothing was going to save Tara’s dress, so she decided to call he husband and back out of the wedding altogether; if she couldn’t keep her dress up, how could she enjoy herself at the wedding?

But the women at the salon weren’t having it, and “somehow rigged up my dress” and urging her to go to the reception. 

That night, everything else went to plan. “We danced, drank, had fun,” she said. “[Holly] acted like everything was fine.” 

Bridesmaids with flowers stand at the wedding ceremony.

But the next day, Tara received a text from Holly telling her she “ruined her whole day.”

“Because the result of my dress situation caused her to be a little late, and she didn’t get all the pictures she wanted,” she explained. 

The broken zip and the kerfuffle it caused “made her so upset, so was shaken up the rest of the night”, she added. 

a picture of an angry bride.

Holly then accused Tara of acting like a baby by crying over the broken zip. “Even her bridesmaid sent me rude messages after,” she said. 

“I feel horrible and I’ve been going through so much stress, I guess my emotions got the best of me.” 

“The bride needs a sense of humor”

The Reddit community disagreed with the bride and assured Tara her feelings weren’t overblown. 

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“It doesn’t matter if the zipper broke at the top of the dress or the bottom of the dress, every time you move, those little teeth are going to come undone more and more,” someone said. 

“The bride needs a sense of humour,” someone wrote. 

But others saw things differently, accusing Tara of stressing out the bride on her big day – one of the golden rules to avoid. 

Holly then accused Tara of acting like a baby by crying over the broken zip. “Even her bridesmaid sent me rude messages after,” she said. 

“You should have played it cooler and told her you would catch up to start with,” someone suggested. 

“If you made her late, I wouldn’t say you ruined her wedding but you definitely caused unnecessary stress.” 

“Based on the fact that other people messaged you and that the bride was late to the wedding as a result, it seems like you may have made a scene,” said another.

“The first rule of weddings is don’t stress out the bride and it sounds like you may have done just that.”

*Names have been changed

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A bridesmaid has recounted losing her best friend and feeling humiliated at a wedding, all over a small wardrobe malfunction.


states to visit with friends

Create images with your words – Bing Image Creator comes to the new Bing

Mar 21, 2023 | Yusuf Mehdi - Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer

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Image of user asking Bing to create picture of astronaut

Last month we introduced the new AI-powered Bing and Microsoft Edge, your copilot for the web – delivering better search, complete answers, a new chat experience and the ability to create content. Already, we have seen that chat is reinventing how people search with more than 100 million chats to date. We’ve seen people use chat in a variety of ways, from refining answers to complex questions to using it as a form of entertainment or for creative inspiration. Today we’re taking the chat experience to the next level by making the new Bing more visual.

We’re excited to announce we are bringing Bing Image Creator, new AI-powered visual Stories and updated Knowledge Cards to the new Bing and Edge preview. Powered by an advanced version of the DALL∙E model from our partners at OpenAI, Bing Image Creator allows you to create an image simply by using your own words to describe the picture you want to see. Now you can generate both written and visual content in one place, from within chat.

We know from research that the human brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text , making visual tools a critical way people search, create and gain understanding. Based on Bing data, images are one of the most searched categories – second only to general web searches. Historically, search was limited to images that already existed on the web. Now, there are almost no limits to what you can search for and create.

For those in the Bing preview, Bing Image Creator will be fully integrated into the Bing chat experience, rolling out initially in Creative mode. By typing in a description of an image, providing additional context like location or activity, and choosing an art style, Image Creator will generate an image from your own imagination. It’s like your creative copilot. Just type something like “draw an image” or “create an image” as a prompt in chat to get creating a visual for a newsletter to friends or as inspiration for redecorating your living room.

Chat experience with Bing Image Creator

Bing Image Creator preview will also be available in Microsoft Edge, making it the first and only browser with an integrated AI-powered image generator. To use Bing Image Creator in Edge, simply click the Bing Image Creator icon in the sidebar to create your image or invoke from Bing chat in Edge.

image of asset creator in edge

At Microsoft, our teams are guided by our Responsible AI principles and the Responsible AI Standard to help them develop and deploy AI systems responsibly. To curb the potential misuse of Image creator, we are working together with our partner OpenAI, who developed DALL∙E, to deliver an experience that encourages responsible use of Image Creator. We have ensured OpenAI’s safeguards, plus additional protections, have been incorporated into Image Creator. For example, we have put controls in place that aim to limit the generation of harmful or unsafe images. When our system detects that a potentially harmful image could be generated by a prompt, it blocks the prompt and warns the user. We also make it clear that Image Creator’s images are generated by AI, and we include a modified Bing icon in the bottom left corner of each image to help indicate that the image was created using Image Creator. We continue to work closely with OpenAI to build, test and review mitigations for our integrations.

Since making the new Bing available in preview, we have been testing it with people to get real-world feedback to learn and improve the experience. People used it in some ways we expected and others we didn’t. In this spirit of learning and continuing to build new capabilities responsibly, we’re rolling out Bing Image Creator in a phased approach by flighting with a set of preview users before expanding more broadly. We will initially only include Image Creator in the Creative mode of Bing chat and our intention is to make it available in Balanced and Precise mode over time. We are also working on some ongoing optimizations for how Image Creator works in multi-turn chats. We continue to believe the best way to bring these technologies to market is to test them carefully, in the open, where everyone can provide feedback.

New AI-Powered Visual Stories and Knowledge Cards

To support the growing demand for more visual search experiences, we are also making Stories and Knowledge Cards 2.0 available to all Bing users. Stories provide a more engaging way to search and interact with content, offering images and short videos. Also new to Bing users today, Knowledge Cards 2.0 is an AI-powered infographic-inspired experience that provides fun facts and key information at a glance. It’s been updated to include interactive, dynamic content like charts, graphs, timelines, visual stories and more. With these updates and more coming, our goal is to deliver more immersive experiences in Bing and Edge that make finding answers and exploring the web more interesting, useful and fun.

knowledge card showing information about corgis


Bing Image Creator integrated into Bing chat will begin to roll out to Bing preview users on both desktop and mobile starting today. For those not in the new Bing preview, the preview experience of Image Creator is now available at for Bing users around the world in English. We will add more language support over time.

Bing Image Creator is also available in Microsoft Edge from the Image Creator icon in sidebar for both desktop and mobile starting today for Edge users around the world in English. We will also soon integrate Image Creator into Edge from the new Bing button in chat mode in the preview version of Edge.

If you’re not yet in the new Bing preview, you can sign up for the waitlist today. We’re adding more people every day. Thanks for your continued feedback and we look forward to sharing more updates soon.

Tags: AI , Bing , Bing Image Creator , Microsoft Edge , search

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Travel | Indianapolis 500 is a bucket-list experience,…

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Travel | indianapolis 500 is a bucket-list experience, even for those who aren’t racing fans.

Checkered flags are waved at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Visit Indy)

Coming up on its 108th running, the iconic race is the largest single-day sporting event in the world, attracting upward of 330,000 attendees to the massive motorsports landmark.

Regardless of whether you’re a racing fan, the Indianapolis 500 is an event that everyone should put on their bucket list to attend at least once.

The race itself takes place the last Sunday in May, but residents turn up throughout the entire month for near-daily practice sessions and events leading up to the grand finale.

And for six hours on May 26, the speedway effectively transforms into a city within the city. If you’ve never been, it’s hard to grasp just how big this place really is. Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the White House, Vatican City and the Taj Mahal could all fit comfortably inside the 2½-mile oval track with room to spare. Did we mention there’s an 18-hole golf course on the 253-acre grounds?

For drivers and fans, the event is the crown jewel of the NTT IndyCar Series racing season. Since the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, enthusiasts from around the world have made bucket-list pilgrimages to Indy. The race reaches a global viewing audience of millions across 140 countries.

“It’s a generational event,” said speedway President Doug Boles. “At some point during the Indy 500’s life, it became this thing where a granddad brought his son, who brought his son, and it just kept going. Seventy percent of our fans don’t watch another race the rest of the year.”

What is it that inspires that kind of loyalty? For diehards, it’s the pageantry, the time-honored traditions and the nostalgia those yearly trips to the track evoke.

Retired flight attendant Theresa Davis grew up about 2 miles from the speedway’s main entrance at 16th Street and Georgetown Road and has proudly attended 46 Indianapolis 500 runnings, her first in 1973 at age 7.

Fans are seen in the stands on race day at the Indianapolis 500. (Visit Indy)

“My earliest Indy 500 memories are of race-related activities in elementary school,” she said. “We sang race songs and made race cars out of Circus Peanuts, and we’d go around the room telling the class who our favorite driver was and why.”

The 100-plus decibel whine of IndyCar engines lures locals to the speedway like moths to a flame, and not just on race day. Throughout May, when the weather’s nice, you’ll find folks grabbing “track pack” boxes of fried chicken from nearby supermarkets and playing hooky from work or school to catch a practice session.

But Carb(uretor) Day — the Friday before the 500 — is when things really start to amp up. Named for a now-defunct race car part, it’s the drivers’ last opportunity to squeeze in a few final laps before the big show, and a chance for team crews to strut their stuff during a pit-stop speed competition.

For fans, it’s an excellent excuse to day drink, winding down with a concert by a classic rock group such as Journey or Foreigner. This year’s shared bill: George Thorogood and the Gin Blossoms.

The Indiana War Memorial Plaza offers some of Indy's many military monuments, markers and memorials, the largest collection in the country outside Washington, D.C. (Visit Indy)

The Indianapolis 500 itself is, of course, the centerpiece of the Memorial Day weekend schedule. Sleepy fans — some having camped in designated lots since Thursday — start streaming in as soon as a traditional cannon blast announces the opening of the gates at 6 a.m. Sunday. People know to arrive as early as possible.

Whether you’re a devotee or just along for the ride, the people-watching opportunities as well as the pomp and the ceremony leading up to the 12:45 p.m. start are well worth the $85-$145 price of admission . Wave after wave of convertibles parade on the track to honor veterans, service members, first responders and celebrities. The anticipation builds until the roaring crowd quiets to pin-drop silence for the national anthem, followed by a thunderous military jet flyover that leaves only the most stoic visitors dry-eyed.

“I cry like a baby every year during the traditional singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’,” Davis said. “Most of my adult life has been lived away from Indy, so that song really gets me. It hits home.”

Then, the famous “Drivers, start your engines!” announcement whips the masses into a near frenzy as the cars fire up and take several warm-up laps. The pace car pulls off the track and the green flag flies to signify the race is on. What comes next are three hours of 230-mph adrenaline as 33 drivers vie to add their name to the Borg-Warner Trophy, joining an illustrious roster that includes A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.

The Fountain Square cultural district has a wealth of trendy shops, eclectic restaurants and funky music venues. (Visit Indy)

Although quirky traditions such as chugging a bottle of milk in the winner’s circle and kissing the yard of bricks that marks the start/finish line carry over year to year, never knowing exactly what might happen on the track and who might walk away a champion makes every race a fresh experience.

Since buying the speedway in 2020, former driver and team owner Roger Penske has dropped nearly $60 million on upgrades to renovate restrooms, add video screens, and install modern AI technology to monitor entrance gate traffic and improve safety. The result is a surprisingly seamless visitor experience that runs like, well, an enormous well-oiled machine.

“Our biggest challenge is how do you honor what makes the Indy 500 special, which is so much of the history and tradition, but at the same time give it the appeal that’s going to attract the next generation of fans?” Boles said.

For one thing, you add in the Snake Pit, a flashy EDM concert inside the track at Turn 3 while the race is going on, attracting a new demographic of 25,000 young adults just looking to dance and party.

White River State Park boasts a scenic downtown canal, the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, along with the Indianapolis Zoo and the NCAA Hall of Champions. (White River State Park)

By the time the checkered flag drops and the winning driver zooms across the finish line, everyone’s on their feet, screaming themselves hoarse and high-fiving anyone within reachable distance.

And if you want to take a breather from racing, Memorial Day weekend marks the perfect occasion to visit the city’s stunning military monuments, markers and memorials, the largest collection in the country outside Washington, D.C.

THE LUME at Newfields, the city’s major art venue, offers an immersive “Dali Alive” exhibit that bathes guests in 30,000 square feet of surreal moving images set to music. Nearby, the recently opened RH Indianapolis at the DeHaan Estate offers high-end shopping and dining in one of the city’s most storied properties.

White River State Park boasts a scenic downtown canal, the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, along with the Indianapolis Zoo and the NCAA Hall of Champions — all walkable for a wide-ranging, one-stop visitor experience. And as the largest facility of its kind in the world, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis holds 11 major galleries across four floors anchored by a soaring Chihuly glass tower.

The Mass Ave and Fountain Square cultural districts maintain a wealth of trendy shops, eclectic restaurants and funky music venues. Fuel up with a dressy dinner at one of Indy’s signature steak houses. St. Elmo, Prime 47, Hyde Park and Tony’s are all reliably good bets and great spots to catch a glimpse of drivers and celebrities in town for the race.

The recently opened RH Indianapolis at the DeHaan Estate offers high-end shopping and dining. (Visit Indy)

Here are some Indianapolis 500 tips for first-time visitors. If possible, tag along with someone who’s been to the race before and can act as your guide.

Traffic in and out of the speedway can take several hours. Map out a parking plan ahead of time and pack your patience. Insider tip: Pay to park in a neighborhood resident’s front yard and walk in from there. Bikes, ride-shares and shuttle services are also options.

What to wear? Bikinis, tank tops, T-shirts, sundresses, cut-offs — anything goes when it comes to 500 fashion, especially if it’s black and white; or red, white and blue.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Many bleacher seats remain in full sun all day.

IndyCars are loud. Earplugs or headphones are a good idea, particularly for younger or older visitors.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a cashless facility; you’ll need a card to buy food, drinks or merchandise.

Coolers are permitted if you prefer to tote in your own snacks and beer, as many fans do.

Amy Lynch is a freelancer.

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Best family beach vacations in the u.s..

Taking the family to the beach can create lifelong memories, as long as every member of the family is satisfied. To help you choose a beach destination for your next family vacation, U.S. News considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, dining options, spacious accommodations and multigenerational appeal to determine the best family beach vacations in the U.S. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels. And don't forget to pack your beach tent .

Gulf Shores

Outer banks, anna maria island, kiawah island, hawaii - the big island, hilton head, isle of palms, amelia island, jekyll island, kennebunkport, st. augustine, rehoboth beach.

states to visit with friends

This Alabama beach locale is beloved for its soft sand, budget-friendly lodgings and family-focused activities. Thanks to the town's Gulf Coast location, you can expect white quartz sand and teal waters at popular beaches like the sprawling shoreline at Gulf State Park, which also offers a pavilion with a snack bar, restrooms and showers. What's more, budding architects can hone their skills with a building class through Sand Castle University, action seekers can parasail and nature lovers can look for dolphins on the horizon. Gulf Shores' casual eateries are also exceptionally kid-friendly, with fun features like play areas, bubble machines and arcades.

states to visit with friends

Outer Banks is home to some of the best East Coast beaches , lauded for their consistent yet manageable waves and verdant landscapes. And you can count on this group of North Carolina barrier islands to deliver great summer weather (think: highs in the 80s). Plan on renting a cottage or condo for more space without being too far from the beach. For lots of sand to stretch out on and build sandcastles, visit Nags Head's wide shores and sand dunes. Or, head to Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills for easy beach access and lifeguards on duty.

states to visit with friends

Families looking for a slow-paced beach trip will find it on this laid-back island on Florida's Gulf Coast. Anna Maria Island's colorful cottages, free trolley and three historic towns lend a timeless appeal that encourages families to embrace simplicity. There's a stretch of sand for everyone here, from the peaceful Bean Point Beach, known for its wildlife preservation, to the lively Manatee Public Beach, which includes a beach cafe, volleyball and lifeguards. Away from the sand, families can find a sweet treat on Pine Avenue, shop on Bridge Street or step back in time at Cortez Fishing Village. 

states to visit with friends

This South Carolina island less than 30 miles southwest of Charleston provides a slow-paced beach vacation complete with 10 miles of shoreline and plenty of rugged nature to explore. Head to Kiawah Beachwalker Park, the island's only public beach, which features a snack bar, chair and umbrella rentals and a scenic boardwalk. When you're not building sandcastles, spend your time biking on the hard-packed sand, kayaking through the marsh or exploring the island's maritime forests. Or, sign the kids up for one of the day camps offered at Night Heron Park while the adults visit a spa or hit the links at a world-renowned Kiawah golf course.

states to visit with friends

This Florida town's family-friendly vibe and impressive beaches entice multigenerational groups year after year. The stark white sand and calm jade water at Henderson Beach State Park and the Shores at Crystal Beach Park are picture-perfect. Plus, many Destin resorts cater to kids, so parents can relax while the little ones play. Boat tours are also a great way to spend some quality time; the whole family will have fun looking for jumping dolphins, and the kids will have a blast on a pirate-themed cruise.

states to visit with friends

Though less traversed (and slightly cheaper) than Maui or Oahu, The Big Island offers some of Hawaii's top beaches . Families can wade in the water at La'aloa (White Sands Beach Park) in Kona, which is ideal for surfing and boogie boarding, or Carlsmith Beach Park in Hilo, which offers tranquil lagoons and coves. Meanwhile, those wanting to set foot on one of the island's volcanic black sand beaches can visit Punalu'u on the Ka'u coast, which is easily accessible, has a picnic area and offers a chance to see sea turtles. When adventure calls, families can hike or drive through Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

states to visit with friends

Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is perfect for families looking to slow down. Beat the heat (temps reach into the 90s in the summer) at stretches of sand like Driessen Beach Park and the ever-popular Coligny Beach Park. For a break from the sand, take a stroll (or bike ride) through Harbour Town and climb to the top of the iconic red- and white-striped lighthouse. Golf courses, tennis courts and hiking and biking options abound as well, giving your family abundant ways to stay active on vacation.

states to visit with friends

Located less than 15 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, Isle of Palms is an idyllic beach escape that caters to families with its wide 7-mile shoreline and centralized amenities. Wild Dunes Resort is an impressive one-stop spot for all things beach. The resort's grounds encompass two inns, vacation rentals, multiple golf courses, a spa and restaurants and sweet shops. For those staying off the resort or visiting for the day, the island's beaches also feature 50-plus access points. When the family gets restless, switch things up with an eco-tour or kayak rental on the calm Intracoastal Waterway.

states to visit with friends

This barrier island off Florida's northeast coast offers tons of space to spread out in the sand – 13 miles, to be exact. The island's Main Beach is appropriately nicknamed "The Family Zone" and has amenities to please the whole crew, including mini golf, a skate park and a restaurant. For fun away from the shore, nature lovers can head to Egans Creek Greenway, a more than 300-acre protected area that's home to alligators, snakes, bobcats and many birds. The island also offers a handful of family-friendly resorts with exciting kids' amenities and activities.

states to visit with friends

While cost can be a barrier for any family getaway, it can be an especially large deterrent when that getaway is to Maui. Still, this picturesque Hawaiian island has some top-notch kid-friendly beaches. The southwest portion of the island boasts go-to family options like Wailea Beach and the three beaches of Kama'ole Beach Park, with sun-drenched sands and calm waters ideal for little swimmers. Later, swap the sand for rainforests and peaks at Haleakala National Park for an educational yet unforgettable visit to one of the world's largest dormant volcanoes.

states to visit with friends

Families keen on getting back to nature will love this Georgia island. You'll have seven beaches to choose from, including St. Andrews Beach Park (where you may see dolphins) and South Dunes Beach Park (with screened-in picnic pavilions). For more action, play volleyball or bocce at Great Dunes Beach Park, and for a scenic family photo-op, head to the picturesque Driftwood Beach. Families can also visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which offers tours and educational programs about the conservation of this endangered species. Keep in mind: You'll need to purchase a daily or annual pass to access Jekyll Island.

states to visit with friends

For a laid-back East Coast retreat that families can easily traverse by foot or bicycle, consider Kennebunkport, Maine. Mother's Beach is a hit with kids thanks to its playground and tide pools, and Goose Rocks Beach is another family favorite for its gentle surf and white sands that stretch for miles. Just note: You'll need passes to park along Kennebunkport's public beaches during the summer season. Older kids up for an educational adventure may be interested in a Rugosa Lobster Tour. During the scenic cruise, they'll watch the crew haul lobster traps and learn more about lobster biology and fishing practices.

states to visit with friends

Lake Michigan's beaches offer most of the perks of the ocean – refreshing water, sandy shores and plenty of waves – without the saltwater sting. In Michigan's Saugatuck/Douglas area, you'll have your pick of six beaches. Oval Beach is the most popular, boasting undulating dunes and an array of amenities like concession stands, picnic areas and easy parking. Saugatuck Dunes State Park is another favorite thanks to its 200-foot-tall wooded dunes and four nature trails. For more family fun on the water, hop aboard a Star of Saugatuck boat cruise for a gentle paddlewheel ride down the Kalamazoo River.

states to visit with friends

Families visiting this Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod should head straight to Children's Beach. Along with calm water, this small stretch of sand is home to a playground and picnic areas. Plus, it hosts kids' yoga, puppet shows and free evening concerts every summer. The easily accessible Jetties Beach also beckons to families with a wide shoreline and shallow water. For more fun on the water, sign up for a Critter Cruise. Youngsters learn about local marine wildlife and get the chance to cast a line. The sperm whale skeleton on display at the Whaling Museum is another must-see for curious kiddos.

states to visit with friends

Founded by the Spaniards in 1565, St. Augustine, Florida, boasts a rich history that will appeal to families with varying ages and interests. Youngsters will love the interactive exhibits at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the rescued animals at the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. Plus, the area's beaches – including St. Augustine Beach and Anastasia State Park – offer more than 40 miles of sandy shores and are extremely popular with families, thanks to features like splash pads, small waves, volleyball courts and outdoor showers.

states to visit with friends

Soft sand, lifeguard-patrolled shores, a fun-filled boardwalk and plenty of lodging options are just a few reasons why Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, stands out as a top family  beach spot. Families can spend the day playing on the sand or swimming and boogie boarding in the Atlantic Ocean before chowing down on some fresh seafood, Thrasher's french fries and homemade ice cream. No visit would be complete without enjoying a game of mini golf and the rides at the beachfront Funland Rehoboth amusement park.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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  • European Union – New Visa “Cascade” Regime for India

GMS Flash Alert 2024-105

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Jump to: Context   |  New Policy

Travel to the Schengen area for Indian nationals is significantly easier with the introduction of new rules that allow frequent travelklers access to a longer visa period overall.  

On 18 April 2024, the European Commission adopted more favourable rules for visas issued to Indian nationals residing in India. 1  The new rules, known as the visa “cascade” regime, will allow Indian nationals who reside in India to have access to long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas valid for two years after having obtained and lawfully used two visas within the previous three years.  The initial two-year visa can then be followed by a five-year visa, provided that the passport has sufficient remaining validity, providing for a longer stay by the individual. 


The new visa cascade regime for Indian nationals residing in India who apply for Schengen (short stay) visas in India will allow easier access to visas with longer validity for travellers with an established travel history, if the passport validity allows.

In effect, this means that the holder of the new visa would enjoy travel rights equivalent to visa-free nationals.  

The new rules are expected to enhance mobility between India and Schengen-area European countries.

Schengen visas allow the holder to travel freely in the Schengen area for short stays of a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. 2  Although the Schengen visa grants entry to the Schengen area, it does not grant a right to work.

The Schengen area consist of 29 European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

According to a press release, "This decision comes in the context of strengthened relations under the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, which deals with comprehensive cooperation on migration policy between the EU and India." 3   The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility was signed in 2016. 4

Indian nationals who held and used at least two Schengen visas within three years preceding their application, can obtain a Schengen visa for a two-year period followed by a visa for a period up to five years.

This visa allows multiple entries into the Schengen area.


It is important to note that the validity of the new visa is linked to the validity of the individual’s passport.  Issued visas cannot have a duration that exceeds the validity of the passport it is issued for.

Parties affected by the new rules may wish to consult with their immigration counsel or a professional with the KPMG Immigration network .

1  Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan, "European Union adopts more favourable Schengen visa rules for Indians," (22.04.2024) at: .

2  For more information on the Schengen area, see the EU’s Migration and Home Affairs webpage .

3  See footnote 1.

4  See the “Joint Declaration on a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility” (March 2016) at: .

To learn more about the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility signed in 2016, and developments since then, see:

- The International Labour Organization (ILO) webpage . 

- Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs "Joint Press Statement: 7th India-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility" (October 27, 2023) at: .

- The website for the Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan.   

* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the Netherlands.

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