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Best Places to Visit in the USA

Thousands of travelers have weighed in to help U.S. News recommend the best vacation spots in the USA. Our readers' top picks range from beach destinations (like Maui and San Diego) to national parks (like Yellowstone and Yosemite) to big cities (like New York and San Francisco). We hope this list helps you come up with some ideas for your next vacation. Please cast your vote for your favorite vacation spots below.

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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 awe-inspiring park. Plus, animal fans will appreciate a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn about wildlife in the area.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone

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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. And exploring one of the free Smithsonian museums is a pleasant way to spend a day, but make sure to save some energy for an evening out — D.C. boasts a lively restaurant and bar scene. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Washington D.C.

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Why Go: San Diego satisfies the needs of many different traveler types. While the beach is the marquee attraction, the city also boasts an energetic sporting culture and a vibrant downtown dining scene. Plus, the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld offer good times for all ages. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Why Go: As a bohemian capital, San Fran has an unabashed liberalism that few cities can match. The best way to perceive the city by the bay's character is to explore each indiviudal neighborhood. From the Mission to the Castro, visitors appreciate each enclave's diverse offerings. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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Why Go: Museum-strolling, opera-watching, 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 some respite from the city's busy streetlife and soaring skyscrapers, retreat to scenic Central Park or smaller Bryant Park. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in New York City

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Why Go: With postcard-perfect beaches and otherworldly terrain in some areas, Maui is escapism at its finest. Here, you can spend your days admiring magnificent scenery as you cruise along the legendary Road to Hana or lounge across the wine-colored sands of Kaihalulu. Sampling the island's scrumptious seafood is also a must. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui

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Why Go: Oahu features a nice balance of modern city life and shimmering shorelines. With pleasant temperatures and year-round sunshine, 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»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Honolulu - Oahu

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Why Go: Yosemite overflows with activities for adventure- and nature-seekers. You can check out famous landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan, or get some exercise hiking the John Muir Trail. You can make it a camping trip or go the hotel routes if you prefer. Come in spring, summer of fall to avoid winter's wet weather conditions. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yosemite

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Why Go: Nature, history, sunbathing and shopping can all be found here, if you pick the right spot. But it is the extraordinary natural beauty of the USVI that keeps travelers returning. To see it at its purest, make sure to visit the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John.  Read More»

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

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Why Go: The family vacation to Disney World is a classic American rite of passage. And over the years, the "Imagineers" of Disney have gone to great lengths to provide plenty of enchantment for adults, too. Case in point is the fascinating Animal Kingdom. More than ever, Disney World offers escapism of a sort that you can't find anywhere else. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Orlando-Walt Disney World

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Why go: The main appeal of Chi-town has to be its neighborhoods; each area has its own identity that sets it apart. Stroll through the different districts and explore all they have to offer. As an added bonus, some of the best dining, nightlife and shopping in the states can be found here. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Chicago

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Why Go: In this gateway to the north, the Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center provide a perfect introduction to "The Last Frontier." And you can break in your hiking boots along the scenic Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and in Kincaid Park. Afterward, admire the city's gorgeous scenery as you explore the local shops and eateries. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Anchorage

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

Read On: Top Things to Do in Las Vegas

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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 that can be found nowhere else on the globe. This vibrant city welcomes visitors with all the gumbo, jazz and partying they can handle. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in New Orleans

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Why Go: While the allure of the Cape's sandy shoreline entices many visitors, the main draw here is the sense of tradition and laid-back luxury. Booming during the summer season, Cape Cod hosts a loyal following of Northeasterners. But note: Its popularity can make house rentals and hotel rooms expensive, so book early. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Cod

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Why Go:  With an enviable location near Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, Jackson Hole is an ideal home base for visiting nature-lovers. Whether you're skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or snapping photos of the residents at the National Elk Refuge, you'll be in awe of what this destination has to offer. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Jackson Hole

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Why go: Seattle may be known for its consistently soggy weather, but this Pacific Northwest city has plenty to offer. Seattle exudes a laid-back aura, where cafe and bar culture reign supreme. Spend your stay mingling with Seattleites at Pike Place Market or on the slopes of Mount Si. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Seattle

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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 has a lot to offer for those looking to dig into some mouthwatering Southern cuisine. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

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Why Go: The City of Roses exudes a relaxed and friendly spirit that few other American cities can boast. Some locals might say their mellow attitude derives from Portland's delicious craft brews, but others credit the green spaces, like Washington Park. If you're seeking an exciting urban getaway, Portland is hard to rival. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Portland, OR

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Why Go: As the epicenter of American wine, Napa Valley tantalizes all the senses. The sight of the striated hillsides enchants visitors, while the gourmet cuisine paired with local vintages electrifies taste buds. Plus, the vineyards and boutique hotels here cater to both romance and recreation. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Napa Valley

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