Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Relaxing Getaways in the USA

You work hard for your vacation days, and you deserve a little R&R. With that in mind, U.S. News ranked the best domestic destinations for maximizing your days off. This list spans locations that are on the beach or among nature, yet nearby and easily accessible for U.S. travelers. In addition to considering these factors, we compiled our rankings based on the views of travel experts and our readers — cast your vote below to weigh in on next year's list. 

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Belongs on list?
330 83

Why go: The scent of Kona coffee, the sound of waves reaching the shore, the sight of bubbling red lava, the feel of soft sand — is there any need to go on? The Big Island encompasses the best of the Hawaiian islands without the thick crowds found on Oahu and Maui. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Hawaii - The Big Island

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306 76

Why go: Some of the USVI's beaches — like sandy Trunk Bay and secluded Magens Bay — are considered the most scenic and unspoiled in the Caribbean. Life moves at a slower pace here, and you can breathe easy knowing you don't have to deal with international travel. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in U.S. Virgin Islands

Belongs on list?
239 79

Why go: The scenery — composed of waterfalls, geysers and abundant greenery — is a natural elixir for stress. Yellowstone offers nothing for travelers who find solace in the great indoors, but nature-lovers are ensured a recharging of batteries and a good dose of fresh air. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone

Belongs on list?
141 54

Why go: Something about the red rocks and mystical vortexes erases all the worries visitors bring with them to Sedona. You can enjoy casual hikes, shop for Southwestern art or pamper yourself with a replenishing spa treatment at one of the tiny town's upscale resorts. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Sedona

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216 83

Why go: The Outer Banks were long unnoticed by the general public. For this reason, the beaches here are sans boardwalks, spring breakers or monstrous resorts. Instead, OBX will treat you to wide stretches of sand and ample chances for horseback riding, windsurfing and fishing. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Outer Banks

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174 110

Why go: Naples practically begs you to leave your children at home. Doing so leaves more time for a golf game, a spa session and sunbathing. Plus, Naples will give you a chance to exercise your credit card with plenty of gallery-hopping and high-end shopping. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Naples

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118 60

Why go: Unwinding with a glass of wine is more than a pastime in Napa Valley — it's a lifestyle. And if a little vino won't relax you, then you need only look to the other available distractions: a joyful train ride, gourmet dining, heavenly spas and cozy hotels. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Napa Valley

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100 48

Why go: The Hawaiian Islands are inherently relaxing, but Lanai elevates "taking it easy" to the next level. You won't find a single stop light, long line or crowded beach. Expect to be waited on hand and foot at your hotel and to be left alone on the island's remote beaches. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Lana'i

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155 33

Why go: Maui's golden beaches and luxurious resorts make this Hawaiian island a favorite among vacationers. Though you'll find more crowds here than you would on Lanai or the Big Island, Maui's got enough golden sand to satisfy everyone. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui

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58 40

Why go: Santa Barbara is a laid-back town that boasts pristine beaches perfect for curling up with a good book. When you tire of the sand and surf, get to know local artists on an Art Walk or commune with nature on a stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Santa Fe
Belongs on list?
141 159

Why go: With opportunities to unwind at the spa and meander lazily through art galleries, Santa Fe is one of the most relaxing destinations in the Southwest. On the downside, accommodations can be pricey; those looking to relax on a shoestring might be disappointed. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Santa Fe

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114 63

Why go: Martha's Vineyard stands as hideaway for the rich and famous, including President Obama and actors Bill Murray and Reese Witherspoon. But that's not the island's only draw. The Vineyard is home to scenic nature trails, sandy beaches and quiet seaside hotels. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard

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