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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Places to Visit in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

From coastlines to big cities, the United States is made up of so many diverse travel destinations it's hard to decide which places deserve the distinction of the best in America. That's why U.S. News considered a variety of factors, such attractions, hotels and dining options, as well as votes from thousands of travelers, to determine which vacation destinations can be considered the best in the USA. Use this list for your vacation planning, and cast your vote below to have a say in next year's list.

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Gold Badge #1 New York City

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

Why go: Known around the world for its museums, theaters and restaurant scene – 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 75 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #2 Philadelphia

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

Why go: The first (and only) city in the USA to be named a UNESCO World Heritage City, Philly offers so much more than cheesesteaks. Visit historic spots like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell before satisfying your appetite at Reading Terminal Market. Read More »

Ben Franklin in the Park View 25 photos
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Gold Badge #3 Honolulu - Oahu

Gold Badge #3 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 »

Wakiki Beach View 27 photos
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Gold Badge #4 Maui

Gold Badge #4 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 44 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 35 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #6 Grand Canyon

Gold Badge #6 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 Grand Canyon National Park. 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 35 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Gold Badge #7 Sonoma

Gold Badge #7 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Travelers visit Sonoma for its wine, but stay for its rolling hills and relaxed atmosphere. The Northern California county overflows with wineries and upscale hotels that are tailor-made for an easygoing vacation. Read More »

Cline Cellars View 17 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 46 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#9 New Orleans

#9 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, live jazz and partying they can handle. Read More »

Jazz in the French Quarter View 35 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#10 San Diego

#10 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
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#11 Kauai

#11 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: With lush mountains, breathtaking beaches and a laid-back reputation, this Hawaiian island is made for outdoor enthusiasts. Visit the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" in Koke'e State Park, hike the Kalalau Trail or swim in Hanalei Bay. Read More »

Lighthouse at Sunset View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#12 Hawaii - The Big Island

#12 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Hawaii's Big Island is best known for the two active volcanoes within Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. As a result, you can stroll along black sands on Punalu'u Beach or see unique green sands at Papakolea Beach. Read More »

Hawaii - The Big Island View 18 photos
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#13 Breckenridge

#13 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: This world-renowned Colorado town sees a huge influx of travelers during the winter ski season. And with more than 3,000 acres of mountain terrain fit for skiing, plus plenty of upscale hotels, it's easy to see why. Even if you don't ski, the views from one of the 34 lifts always impress visitors.  Read More »

Breckenridge View 14 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#14 Boston

#14 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Plan a trip to Boston for USA history, baseball and wicked smart universities. If you visit during the summer or spring, you can picnic on the Boston Common or Boston Public Garden after wandering the more than 2-mile-long Freedom Trail. Read More »

Boston Harbor View 25 photos
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#15 Miami

#15 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Travel to this South Florida city to experience the melting pot that is Miami. The vibrant food and nightlife scenes are worth the trip alone, but don't forget to visit some of the many museums that showcase the city's unique cultural history. Read More »

Miami Skyline View 24 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#16 Los Angeles

#16 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: LA is the world-famous home of Hollywood films, Beverly Hills boutique shops, top-notch hotels and plenty of celebrities. But you'd be remiss to think that's all there is to Los Angeles. Sample the fusion cuisine from street vendors, people-watch at Venice Beach and take in the breathtaking views at Griffith Observatory. Read More »

Santa Monica Beach Houses View 25 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#17 Charleston

#17 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 49 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#18 Yosemite

#18 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: In Yosemite National Park, 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 a visit to this park a daytrip from San Francisco, Sacramento or Lake Tahoe. Read More »

Colors of Yosemite View 19 photos
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#19 Seattle

#19 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Seattle may be known for its consistently soggy weather, but this Pacific Northwest city has plenty to offer travel buffs. 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 »

Seattle Skyline View 21 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#20 Asheville, NC

#20 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: This small mountain town in North Carolina has been gaining acclaim as a foodie destination in recent years. It's also gained the nickname Beer City USA for offering more breweries per capita than any other place in America. Walk off those calories with a visit to the massive Biltmore Estate.  Read More »

Asheville primary View 18 photos
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#21 Park City

#21 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: This Utah town is full of luxury hotels and resorts that are packed with skiers and snowboarders in the winter. And when you aren't hitting the slopes, you might catch a glimpse of celebrities in town for the Sundance Film Festival that happens each January. Read More »

Fresh Powder View 26 photos
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#22 Denver

#22 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Part urban center, part gateway to the Rockies, the Mile High City is the place to enjoy an outdoor concert at the unique Red Rock Amphitheater, sample craft beer from local eateries and take in views from the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Read More »

Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center View 25 photos
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#23 Savannah

#23 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Savannah is one of the best travel destinations the South has to offer. Plenty of history, friendly locals, river views and a nearby beach put this southern staple on many travelers' vacation bucket lists. Read More »

Forsyth park View 21 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#24 Big Sur

#24 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Why go: Although this coastline isn't made for swimming, the California destination is the place to go for Instagram-worthy photos. Some of the best views are found at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but those just looking to relax can head to Sand Dollar Beach. Read More »

Big Sur View 19 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

#25 Yellowstone

#25 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, this national park provides plenty of attractions to excite nature lovers. 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 32 photos
Belongs on List? Yes No

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

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Chicago

Chicago Skyline

Chicago

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Belongs on List? Yes No

Monterey

Monterey

Monterey

Belongs on List? Yes No

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