comScore
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.

Change Ranking

Explore More Rankings


Gold Badge #1 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 at sunset
View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #2 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 »

Hula Dancing
View 23 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #3 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 »

Inspiration Point
View 24 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #4 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 »

Colors of Yosemite
View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #5 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 »

Golden Gate Bridge
View 28 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #6 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 »

Buzzing Times Square
View 46 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#7 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 »

Surf's Up
View 26 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#8 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 »

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
View 28 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#9 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 »

View 29 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#10 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 »

Disney Parades
View 20 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#11 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 »

Pineapple Fountain
View 29 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#12 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 »

Jazz in the French Quarter
View 29 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#13 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 »

Dusk on the Strip
View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#14 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 Ranch
View 16 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#15 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 »

Waves Crashing Along Cape Cod
View 23 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#16 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 Skyline
View 22 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#17 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 »

The city of Anchorage
View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#18 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 Highlands Skiing
View 29 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

Vote to Add

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Belongs on List? Yes No

Seattle

Seattle Skyline

Seattle

Belongs on List? Yes No

Sedona

Sedona Hike

Sedona

Belongs on List? Yes No

Portland, OR

Portland in the Fall

Portland, OR

Belongs on List? Yes No

Recommended Articles

Best Airfares