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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Places to Visit in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Thousands of travelers weighed in on which vacation spots can be considered the best in the USA. Based on those user votes and expert analysis of factors like the variety of attractions, accommodations and dining options in a destination, U.S. News came up with the top places to visit in the USA. These stateside getaways range from beaches to national parks to big cities. Use this list for your vacation planning, and cast your vote below to help us determine next year's list.

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Grand Canyon

Gold Badge #1 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: To experience some of the most inspiring views America has to offer, plan a trip to the Grand Canyon. Whether you choose to hike the Bright Angel Trail or raft the Colorado River, you're sure to feel small against the towering rock formations and picturesque vistas. Read More

Grand Canyon View 19 photos
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Maui

Gold Badge #2 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: With idyllic beaches and verdant parks, Maui is escapism at its finest. Here you can spend your days admiring the scenery as you cruise along the Road to Hana or lounge across the sands of Kaihalulu. Sampling the island's seafood is also a must. Read More

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Yellowstone

Gold Badge #3 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: With steaming geysers, multicolored pools, bubbling hot springs and hiking trails that stretch for miles, there's plenty to excite nature lovers in this national park. Plus, animal fans will appreciate a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn about wildlife in the area. Read More

Yellowstone View 24 photos
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Yosemite

Gold Badge #4 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: In Yosemite, you can check out famous landmarks like Half Dome and Glacier Point or get some exercise hiking the John Muir Trail. And if you're not one for camping, you can make this park a daytrip from San Francisco, Sacramento or Lake Tahoe.  Read More

Yosemite View 19 photos
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San Francisco

Gold Badge #5 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: San Francisco's culture has been affected by diverse ethnic groups and many social movements. The best way to perceive the City by the Bay's character is to explore each neighborhood. From the Mission to the Castro, visitors appreciate each enclave's offerings. Read More

San Francisco View 36 photos
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New York City

Gold Badge #6 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Museum-strolling, theater-going, bar-hopping – the sheer number of things to do in the Big Apple puts most of its U.S. peers to shame. When you need a respite from the city's busy street life and soaring skyscrapers, retreat to scenic Central Park. Read More

New York City View 46 photos
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Honolulu - Oahu

#7 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Oahu features a nice balance of urban and beach environments. And with pleasant weather year-round, there really is no bad time to visit. Waikiki Beach promises to please, but be forewarned: There's a good chance you will be greeted by a barrage of tourists. Read More

Honolulu - Oahu View 26 photos
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Washington D.C.

#8 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: The nation's capital has a lot going for it. Iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument allow you to sightsee for days. Just make sure to save some energy for an evening out – D.C. boasts a lively restaurant and bar scene. Read More

Washington D.C. View 44 photos
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San Diego

#9 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: San Diego appeals to many different kinds of vacationers. While the beach is the marquee attraction, the city also boasts a variety of outdoor activities and a vibrant downtown dining scene. Meanwhile, the sprawling San Diego Zoo offers good times for all ages. Read More

San Diego View 28 photos
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Orlando-Walt Disney World

#10 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: A trip to Disney World is a rite of passage for little ones. And over the years, the "Imagineers" of Disney have gone to great lengths to enchant adults, too. More than ever before, Disney World offers a type of escapism you can't find anywhere else. Read More

Orlando-Walt Disney World View 22 photos
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Charleston

#11 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Beautiful architecture, relaxing beaches and plenty of Southern charm are the defining elements of Charleston. Exploring historic sites and nearby museums is a great way to spend your afternoons. Plus, Charleston also offers mouthwatering Southern cuisine. Read More

Charleston View 26 photos
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New Orleans

#12 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Does any city in America have a culture more unique than the Big Easy? A melting pot of influences ranging from Caribbean to European, New Orleans has a distinct personality. This vibrant city welcomes visitors with all the gumbo, jazz and partying they can handle. Read More

New Orleans View 29 photos
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Las Vegas

#13 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Some of the best dining, shopping and nightlife in the world can be found in America's playground. Though it may not be ideal for everyone, Sin City is a great getaway if you're looking to escape the real world – however innocently or excessively you choose. Read More

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Jackson Hole

#14 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: With its proximity to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, Jackson Hole appeals to outdoorsy types. Whether you're skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or visiting the National Elk Refuge, you'll be in awe of what this destination has to offer. Read More

Jackson Hole View 16 photos
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Cape Cod

#15 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: While the Cape's shoreline entices many visitors, the main draw here is the sense of tradition and laid-back atmosphere. Cape Cod hosts a loyal following of Northeasterners during the summer season; this can make house rentals and hotel rooms expensive, so book early. Read More

Cape Cod View 23 photos
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Chicago

#16 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Chicago is known for its architecture – so much so that numerous companies offer tours devoted to the Windy City's buildings. And at the foot of Chi-town's iconic skyline sit a host of world-class museums, standout restaurants and eclectic neighborhoods. Read More

Chicago View 22 photos
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Anchorage

#17 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: The Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center provide a perfect introduction to "The Last Frontier." What's more, you can break in your hiking boots on Kincaid Park's Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Just save some time for exploring the city's shops and eateries. Read More

Anchorage View 19 photos
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Aspen

#18 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: The snow-capped Colorado Rockies lure visitors from around the country in search of incomparable skiing and hiking trails. Your time off the slopes will be exciting, too: Quirky museums, high-end shopping areas and cozy mountain resorts please a variety of travelers. Read More

Aspen View 29 photos
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Napa Valley

Napa Valley

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Seattle

Seattle

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Sedona

Sedona

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Portland, OR

Portland, OR

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