“From California to the New York island, From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, This land was made for you and me.”—Woody Guthrie.
In a country of such beauty and variety, where do people pick for their vacation? Handily, TripAdvisor has named the destinations that most-frequently top travelers’ wish lists.
The company said the rundown was “based on the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings from Tripadvisor travelers for accommodations, restaurants, and things to do in destinations worldwide over a 12-month period (December 1, 2019 through November 30, 2020).”
Here are its top 20 destinations for 2021…
1. New York City
New York City attracted a record 66.6 million tourists in 2019, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism promotion agency.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the city is the number 1 most popular place to visit in the U.S.
The energy, the people, the food, over 500 art galleries, more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations: the list is endless because New York has it all.
2. Maui, Hawaii
Maui is a natural oasis with stunning beaches, valleys, the Haleakala National Park, the imposing Haleakala volcano, or unique black-sand beaches such as Pa’iloa.
In 2019, the island received more than 3 million annual visitors, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported.
3. Las Vegas
Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, is home to some of the world’s biggest casinos, as well as fantastic shopping, cuisine, entertainment and nightlife.
Author Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club, once said the city “looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night.”
4. New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana’s largest city with one of the biggest ports in the U.S., is the perfect escape for culture and fun times.
Places on the not-to-miss list include: the scenic French Quarter, the elegant Garden District and the lively Bourbon Street.
5. Key West, Florida
Key West, the southernmost point of the U.S. boasts impressive beaches and historic landmark. It is “famous for watersports, lively nightlife, beaches, historic sites and its pastel, conch-style architechture,” says Visit Florida. Not to mention the fantastic diving.
6. Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu, also known as “The Gathering Place,” is home to Honolulu.
Famous for the Waikiki Beach and surfers from all over the world who can’t get enough of the high-octane winter waves of the North Shore, there is a lot to do and see along the island’s 112 miles of coastline.
7. Island of Hawaii
The largest of Hawaii’s main islands—hence its “Big Island” nickname—is the home of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses two active volcanos.
The vast island is no question an awe-inspiring natural wonder.
8. San Diego
San Diego, with its thriving tech scene and laid-back atmosphere, is a favourite place to visit in southern California.
It has the beaches, the bay, the culture, the weather, the craft beer and with more than 70-miles of coastline, San Diego is packed with wonderful spots for waterfront dining.
9. Savannah, Georgia
The oldest city in the state of Georgia, has become something of a hotspot for artists.
The city has incredible period architecture, quaint boutiques and oak-lined streets. The squares and parks of Savannah are the city’s most beloved and charming icons.
10. Kauai, Hawaii
The so-called “Garden Island” of Hawaii. The moniker aptly describes the breathtaking golden-sand beaches, emerald valleys, vast tropical rainforests and startling mountains.
11. Nashville, Tennessee
A city proud of its history, Nashville is named after Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash.
Also known as Music City, the city is the mecca for Country music. Visitors love the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Grand Ole Opry.
The city is sometimes referred to as the “Athens of the South,” thanks to the replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park.
12. Sedona, Arizona
Tripadvisor describes the desert town’s Sedona as “a vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert.”
Sedona, with its rich and diverse history, bustling shopping squares and art galleries is also a great base to visit northern Arizona .
13. Charleston, South Carolina
This southern beauty attracts many tourists because of its rich history and many attractions including Charleston’s old colonial homes and churches, the Charleston plantations, picturesque streets and courtyards, beautiful parks and historic buildings such as the Charleston Museum (founded 1773), the oldest museum in the U.S.
Orlando is the undisputed home of theme parks, and also offers more than 100 lakes that are great for relaxing in mother nature.
Visitors can also make a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island in Cape Canaveral.
The city that invented the skyscrapers has a lot to offer, from top museums such as the Arts Institute of Chicago, to top restaurants, or endless cultural events and outdoor activities. Enjoy it all surrounded by a charming Midwestern hospitality.
16. Branson, Missouri
Branson, located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, is one of the most popular destinations in the Midwest with its many live shows and attractions, including Silver Dollar City, one of the world’s top theme parks.
17. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville with its beautiful scenery and fresh mountain air, is home to the largest number of breweries per capita of any city in the country, a thriving music scene and a laid-back attitude.
Asheville is also the gateway to the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, and is also home to “America’s favorite drive”: The Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a 469-mile scenic road, passing right through Asheville and serves as the entrance to the great outdoors.
18. Miami Beach, Florida
One of the most visited places in Florida, this resort city with a vibrant Latin culture is the home of the South Beach Art Deco District, beautiful beaches from South Pointe Park to North Beach Oceanside Park, and a party spirit day and night.
Visit Florida says that “North Beach’s Ocean Terrace is fast becoming a smaller version of South Beach, with inviting oceanfront hotels and cafés.”
19. Washington, D.C.
The powerhouse of politics, the city has an incredible history and culture to offer to visitors. Monuments, memorials, museums, charming neighborhoods, award winning restaurants and so much more.
Washington is a beauty day and night.
20. Austin, Texas
Described as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin has a lot more to offer than music.
Excellent museums such as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, fantastic shopping and wonderful outdoor spaces including the Lady Bird Lake Barton, make Austin the perfect quick getaway.
Correction 10/11/21, 6:68 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to state that San Diego is a favorite location to visit in southern California.