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The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersPin me!

The USA is gorgeous, from sea to shining sea. I love being from such a huge and varied country with all kinds of different landscapes, cultures, and things to see. If I spent my lifetime never leaving the States and only exploring my own backyard, I’d have so much variety it would still feel like I’d traveled far and wide.

It’s incredible that in one country you can get some of the highest mountain tops, tropical beaches in Hawaii and glaciers in Alaska, plus rocky and warm deserts with some of the most breathtaking rock formations on planet Earth.

So for those who want to test out solo traveling at home before they go abroad, or if you’re from elsewhere and want to see what the US has to offer to solo travelers, you’ve made a great choice. But with so many options, you might be wondering where to start. For a visual tour, watch the video below, or keep reading for an explanation of each below:

These are some of my favorites in the USA, plus the advice of several other solo female travelers to get you started:

1. Alabama Hills, California

alabama hills sunrisealabama hills sunriseJust amazing

The Alabama Hills is an area of BLM land, meaning it’s owned by the public, with arches, beautiful views of the Eastern Sierras, and lots of Hollywood history. I did a solo road trip here and enjoyed every minute of it. If you are a photography lover, the Alabama Hills has plenty of photogenic stops, including the popular Movie Road as pictured above, Mobius Arch (go at sunset!), Boot Arch, and Miss Alabama herself.

As a solo traveler, you’ll get lots of solitude in the Alabama Hills and the other deserts on my California deserts road trip, which I personally loved. This is one of the beautiful things about traveling in this part of the world – all the wide open spaces and the spiritual vibe. Plus, you can’t beat the stargazing or the sunsets!

2. Page, Arizona

arizona itineraryarizona itineraryMind-blowing

Page is the jumping-off point for several of Arizona’s most beautiful places. I was blown away by Horseshoe Bend and of course the famous Antelope Canyon in particular. Since this part of the world attracts so many travelers, I found it easy to have conversations with others who were free camping with me, and even made a friend when I ventured to the paid campsites for a shower (but not in the shower itself, it was in the parking lot later, I swear).

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

If you’re considering which of the two canyons to visit I did a comparison of Lower and Upper here, though both are worth checking out for different reasons!

3. San Francisco, California

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelAt Baker Beach

Whenever people who aren’t from the state visit California, almost everyone ends up falling in love with San Francisco. As a native Southern Californian it’s in my DNA to roll my eyes and find this offensive but deep down, I silently agree. The Bay Area in general is beautiful, temperate, and has a unique culture. My European friends often say it has a charm that reminds them of home.

I love it for the ease of getting around on the BART system, how small and contained the city itself is, how picturesque, and how multicultural it is. Try a yoga or meditation class, head there during Pride or Outside Lands music festival, and see some live music. It’s the perfect place to jump off from or end up in when on a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway too!

Book your stay in San Francisco here, or check this mushroom dome on Airbnb out!

4. Bayfield, Wisconsin

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelApostle Islands sailing – what a dream

Midwesterners are known for being friendly and they lived up to their reputation when I visited Bayfield, Wisconsin. It’s an artsy town with outgoing people, and it is small enough that it feels intimate yet big enough that there is plenty to do. Join a kayaking trip, a boat trip, or take a drive around to the various orchards.

There are plenty of beaches and quirky hangouts as well. If you love camping, there’s plenty of that and if you visit in the winter, the famous caves ice over, which looks incredible. If you’re into photography and the outdoors, then you will absolutely love this little town on Lake Superior, the jumping-off point for the Apostle Islands.

Book your stay in Bayfield here, or spend a night on a sailboat!

5. Moab, Utah

capitol reefcapitol reefA great spot to meet fellow adventurous female travelers

Moab is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. For those all about the camper van life, bouldering, hiking, and kayaking, Moab has it all going on. It’s where you’ll find Canyonlands and Arches National Parks as well as Dead Horse Point State Park. Basically it’s one of the most gorgeous areas on Earth with a high concentration of incredible rock formations and free campsites.

I easily met people just by hanging around the free campsites, the coffee shops, and while watching the sunset over Dead Horse Point during my solo American Southwest road trip. I tend to find that when a place attracts people because of common shared interest, especially something outdoorsy, it tends to be social. Moab is a perfect example of that.

Book your stay in Moab here, or check out this awesome Airbnb with 600+ 5-star ratings!

6. Big Sur, California

mcway fallsmcway fallsBig Sur’s most famous feature, McWay Falls

I’ve looked on every continent and I still haven’t found anywhere as beautiful or majestic as Big Sur on the central coast in California. Though it’s had its fair share of disasters lately, when accessible, McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the dreamiest waterfalls I’ve seen.

Big Sur is a fantastic place to unwind. If you want to meet others, the campsites can be pretty social. However when I’m out there, I find the best companions are the dolphins and whales jumping out of the water, the squirrels and deer on the trail, and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. For more on my favorite state and national parks in California, check out my musings on Alamo’s Scenic Route.

Book your stay in Big Sur here, or stay in a yurt!

7. Squaw Valley, California

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelBeautiful view from KT-22 at Squaw

“My go-to solo trip destination is Squaw Valley. During the winter, Squaw offers amble skiable terrain that is safe to navigate solo, in addition to a wide array of yoga classes and spa services perfect for wrapping up a long day of solo skiing or boarding.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelBailey at Squaw

The variety of restaurants at Squaw also cater to the solo female travel with many offering small intimate booths where you can curl up with a book and hot toddy while waiting for your meal. When the snow has melted, Squaw is still my favorite solo trip destination as it offers dozens of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. For those who don’t feel comfortable hiking or biking on their own, there are multiple companies who offer guided tours.” – Bailey of Feng Shui Mommy

Book your stay in Squaw Valley here!

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersVegas, baby!

Las Vegas wouldn’t have been the first place that I would have expected to be awesome alone, but with so much to do, it’s actually perfect!

According to Noni, “I’ve traveled in North America by myself and I’ve never enjoyed anything more than Las Vegas!! I’m not American and didn’t expect much before, but when I arrived I knew it was so much better than any other location in Northern America!

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelNoni in Vegas

It’s very easy to meet people, everybody’s in a good mood and very open to meeting new people, there’s a bus that’s very popular and goes every couple of minutes which makes traveling easy and there’s so much to do, from cinemas and clubs to bowling and casino’s – Las Vegas is definitely my favorite place to travel as a female solo traveler!” – Noni of Noni May

Book your stay in Las Vegas here!

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

solo female travel in new orleans - Taken at Royal and Dumaine street in the French Quartersolo female travel in new orleans - Taken at Royal and Dumaine street in the French QuarterGetting cheered on while taking selfie in front of the French Quarter

“I believe New Orleans is a perfect place for solo female travelers to visit. I have traveled there on my own and loved it. The city may be known for Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras, but there is a fascinating and rich cultural history to discover over a long weekend. There’s something for everyone in NOLA. For starters, I suggest staying in a boutique hotel on Royal Street, right near the allegedly haunted LaLaurie Mansion. While you’re there, tour cemeteries in the Garden District and the French Quarter, and sample the town’s famous beignets, po’ boys, and beverages.

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersEntertainment is plentiful and ranges from low key to raging parties. Learn about the dueling reign and lingering influence of France and Spain, or the city’s centuries-long history of voodoo and witchcraft. Or join the revelers in the Fruit Loop for a round of Hand Grenades. You’re sure to find exactly what you’re in the mood for and stay within your budget, too.

New Orleans is a large city, but easy to navigate on foot or by streetcar and bus. I never felt unsafe as a solo traveler because the streets are always bustling with tourists and locals, although it’s smart to practice precautions appropriate for travel in any big city.”  – Brittany of She Goes With Purpose.

Book your stay in New Orleans here. Airbnb has a bunch of great options, too.

10. Maui, Hawaii

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersRoad to Hana – unmissable

I forgive you if you don’t think of Hawaii when you think of great places to travel solo, and I wouldn’t have either until I actually went to Maui alone last year. It was fantastic! There was so much to do, from a women’s surf school, to driving the Road to Hana, and joining snorkeling trips.

I thought I would be surrounded by honeymooners but I actually found that people were very outgoing and friendly, coupled off or not. I highly recommend Maui solo, much to my surprise!

Book your stay in Maui here, or check this adorable cottage out!

11. The Big Island of Hawaii

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersA gorgeous Airbnb – you can find so many of them on the Big Island!

“The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the best places for adventurous solo female travelers to visit. With volcanoes, world-class dive sites, interesting beaches, and miles of hiking trails, any girl with a penchant for the unexplored can never get bored. Solo travelers will love watching lava bubble at the top of Mauna Loa, snorkeling in Honaunau Bay, and visiting Uncle Robert’s night market — an eclectic market that serves fresh food and sells handmade clothing, beauty products, and decor.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelChantae doing her thing!

It’s easy to meet friends through activities, at the beach, and by going on day tours. The island is easy to navigate with a rental car as there is one main road that circles around the entire island. Most people consider going to the more tourist-heavy islands like Oahu, but the Big Island is an underrated spot that is well worth the trek over.” – Chantae of The Salt Sirens

Book your stay in The Big Island here, or consider staying in a real treehouse (!).

Read: The perfect Hawaii Big Island itinerary, the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, 25 amazing things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii

12. Seattle, Washington

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersView for days

“Traveling solo in Seattle is great because it offers such a variety of activities that you can enjoy some solitude or plant yourself in an area teeming with activity (or even do both easily on the same day). Seattle offers neighborhoods with distinct character, food from any culture you can imagine, fantastic museums, and gorgeous public parks.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelRobin and Ava canoeing!

A highlight of any trip to Seattle was experiencing the exceptionally talented local musicians that perform throughout the city on most nights. Jazz, experimental, rock, punk, metal, baroque, blues, hip-hop ­– all there waiting for you. Public transit can get you most places during the day and taxis/ride-shares are readily available for late night adventures. It is very common for people to dine solo or listen to live music by themselves in Seattle, so no need to hesitate or feel awkward. Also, if you have heard of the “Seattle Freeze” don’t worry locals are actually friendly and helpful once you start the conversation. But no umbrellas please!” – Robin

Book your stay in Seattle here. There are many great options on Airbnb, too!

13. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersCape Cod is for sunset lovers

“Cape Cod is known as the tail of Massachusetts and a family-friendly beach destination in New England, but it’s also very well suited to solo female travelers. Why? Because it’s extremely safe, easy to get around, and downright beautiful. The Cape is just over an hour’s drive from Boston or Providence. You’ll definitely want to have a car so that you can freely explore its beautiful beaches. The ocean beaches are all lined with epic sand dunes, while the bay beaches host the most stunning sunsets (if you’re lucky enough to catch one at low tide, wow – the reflections off the puddles in the sand flats are something else!).

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelLindsay in Cape Cod

Outdoor adventurers should tackle the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs for 25 miles from Dennis to Wellfleet. There are outposts all along the trail where you can rent a bike and cycle past cranberry bogs, marshes, and lakes. Or for slightly less-active adventures, hit up Wellfleet for the weekend flea market and drive-in movies, gay-friendly Provincetown for shopping and nightlife, and just about any restaurant for the Cape’s legendary clam chowder.” – Lindsay of Frugal Frolicker

Book your stay in Cape Cod here, or look for an Airbnb!

14. Minneapolis, Minnesota

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelPretty, pretty Minneapolis

“I call Minneapolis the Stockholm of the Midwest. It’s filled with Swedish-Americans, gets very cold in winter (colder than Stockholm, actually), and has many opportunities to enjoy the fine arts.

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travelHayley in Minneapolis

“For a solo female traveler, it’s a perfect big city to visit. It’s safe to wander around, has beautiful architecture and natural vistas, provides great bike paths, and features plenty of fun shops like cafes and stationary boutiques.

When it comes to the outdoors, in the summertime it’s wonderful to explore all the green space and the hundreds of lakes nearby. And in the winter you have plenty of opportunities to go ice skating, skiing/snowboarding, and snowshoeing. No matter the time of year, Minneapolis has plenty on the calendar for you to enjoy.” – Hayley of International Hotdish

Book your stay in Minneapolis here, or look for an Airbnb!

15. Sun Valley, Idaho

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travel

Idaho really must be one of the most beautiful states in the wintertime. I celebrated New Year’s there last year and I just loved the welcoming and friendly vibe.

Sun Valley is a quaint town with fantastic skiing, snowshoeing, naturally occurring hot springs, and locals who are more than happy to have a conversation with visitors and newcomers. Idaho is so underrated! If you want to venture outside of Sun Valley, there are tons of amazing hot springs to check out. You can find my itinerary here.

Book your stay in Idaho here, or stay in a cozy, heated treehouse!

best places in USA for solo travelbest places in USA for solo travel

Though the USA is huge, and no list could ever do the wealth of places to see and experience justice, these are a few of our favorites. I hope this list helped you to get a sense of where to start, or continue, your solo journey.

If you have some favorite solo spots to share, please tell me in the comments below!

The 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo TravelersThe 15 Best Places in the USA for Solo Travelers

*This post was brought to you in partnership with Alamo Rent A Car. All thoughts on the best places to travel solo in the USA belong to their respective authors. 

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US Travel: 25 Best Places To Visit In 2020

Adam Perry Lang
Miami Beach Travel 2020

In the surf in Miami Beach, which is one of the 25 best places to travel in 2020.


What’s on your travel list for 2020? Maybe this is the year to see more of the United States. After all, there’s so much to love in our own backyard. I tapped into a handful of travel experts and influencers to find out the top places in the USA that they recommend visiting in 2020. Their picks range from historic cities to mountain getaways to some up-and-coming locations that you might not know—but that you need to see in the new year. Compare these to the best places in the US that the experts chose for 2019. I’ve also got my own shortlist of some of the travel spots I’m most excited about in the US for 2020. 

For those of you who want to explore beyond our borders, check out the 27 top places to travel in 2020, where travel experts select next year’s most compelling destinations around the globe.

Want to see where to go in 2021? Check out this year’s list: “The 20 Best Places To Travel In 2021: Where To Go Next.”

Or do you just want to add some amazing places to your travel bucket list? Check out: “Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S.”

And now, read on for the 25 best places to visit in the United States in 2020. These are locations that will make every American citizen very proud.

New Orleans where to go 2020

On a porch in New Orleans, which is one of the top places to visit in 2020.


Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Chosen by: Natalie DiScala is a writer and editor at JohnnyJet.com, covering travel trends, products and family travel.

Why: New Orleans may masquerade as a Mardi Gras party town, but really, it’s a city with a rich history that’s known for its music and food scene—not to mention the festivals. New Orleans has about 130 festivals each year so there’s really no bad time to visit. In 2020, the city is throwing its doors open to host the Women’s Final Four games as well as the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, making it the perfect time for sports fans to visit. But even if you’re not into sports, New Orleans has so many things for visitors to do. Bourbon Street is the obvious choice for food, drink and jazz and it’s definitely a must-visit location, especially for first-timers to the city. (For easy access to Bourbon Street, check into The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, which is in a 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building and is wrapping up a transformation to the guest rooms, suites, corridors and the spa just in time to kick off the new decade.)

Also check out Frenchmen Street for more live music and a different vibe altogether. Beignets at Café du Monde is the ultimate tourist trap but for good reason; it’s worth a stop on your itinerary, both for the atmosphere and the tasty treats. The Garden District is a charming part of town with beautiful homes (think: everything from cottages to mansions) to gawp at and nearby Magazine Street offers cafes and restaurants where you can refuel before hitting up the nearby antiques shops and boutiques.

READ MORE: “The 20 Best Places To Travel In 2021: Where To Go Next”

Vail, Colorado

Writer Becca Ingle in Vail, Colorado.

Photo courtesy of Becca Ingle

Where: Vail, Colorado

Chosen by: Becca Ingle is an avid family travel blogger. She is the founder of BeccaIngle.com, where you can read all her travel guides. Follow her on Instagram to see behind the scenes of each trip (@Beccaingle).

Why: Vail, Colorado, is the perfect destination for families and travelers looking to find everything in one central spot. Stay at the amazing Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail to be steps away from Vail Village, a popular town with heated cobblestone streets for strolling, restaurants and bars, coffee shops, ice-skating, a movie theater and a bowling alley, all within reach. The country’s largest free transportation system runs frequently, making it easy to access almost anywhere from Vail Village to Lionshead Village without the hassle of driving. 

Pop over to the Gorsuch store to get all your ski rentals and winter clothing for the season. It has everything from designer clothing to home goods and even whimsical gingerbread houses. Vail’s extensive snowmaking upgrades and expansions have opened up nearly 200 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking terrain to allow longer ski seasons. Opening day for Vail Mountain was November 15 and the mountain remains open through April 19, 2020. Put the kids in Vail ski school at Golden Peak Mountain and ski over 5,317 acres of mountain terrain. During peak season, make sure to check out Epic Discovery, where you can ride a rollercoaster through the snow and tube down the mountain. It also has adventure courses, zip lines, a mountain coaster, tubing hills, a climbing wall, bungee trampoline and much more available in the summer months. To get the most bang for your buck, make sure to purchase the Epic Pass for the 2019–20 season. If you are feeling adventurous, book a day of dog sledding with Mountain Mushers, a two-hour scenic ride through Vail Mountains and you will feel like you are in a Christmas card.

Hudson Valley, NY

A summer evening in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie.


Where: Hudson Valley, New York

Chosen by: Devorah Lev-Tov is a freelance food and travel writer based in Brooklyn who regularly writes for The New York Times, Afar, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Robb Report, among others.

Why: The Hudson Valley is where New Yorkers go to escape the city when they need a healthy dose of nature and relaxation. Just an hour and half north of New York City, the Hudson Valley is comprised of dozens of small, impossibly charming towns east of the Hudson River. And while the air is fresher and things do move slower in the mountains, that doesn’t mean nothing happens up here—in fact, quite the opposite is true. The region recently debuted the third outpost of the beloved Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Rhinebeck, complete with a luxurious spa and wet-room and a knockout Charlie Palmer restaurant. Plus, all 50 rooms have deep soaking tubs and fireplaces, ensuring a cozy and tranquil getaway. Grab a bite at the new Hudson Valley Food Hall in Beacon that’s filled with local vendors, or head to Hudson to eat at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis—its chef-owners were nominated for the Best Chef: Northeast James Beard Award in 2019.

If you need to work off all that food, check out the new Empire State Trail, which is slated to be finished by the end of 2020. The 750-mile biking and hiking route links communities across New York State and links up to the Hudson Greenway Trails. Also new for 2020 is the kid and adult favorite, Legoland New York Resort, opening just in time for July 4th. Expect more than 50 rides for varying age levels, the New York City skyline (and plenty of other cities) built entirely out of Lego, Lego Ninjago World and more.

READ MORE: “Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S.


Writer Patrice J. Williams in Memphis.

Photo courtesy of Patrice J. Williams

Where: Memphis, Tennessee 

Chosen by: Patrice J. Williams is a travel and lifestyle writer who has contributed to Fodor’s, USA Today, Travel + Leisure and more. She also appears as an on-air expert for the Today Show, Nate Berkus Show and WEtv. Patrice can be found sharing style advice on her blog, Looking Fly on a Dime, or dishing on travel and lifestyle hacks on Instagram (@PatriceJWill).

Why: Nashville tends to get all of the love, but Memphis is bubbling over with soul and style. This year marked the bicentennial and 2020 enters a New Century of Soul, so the city is sure to have tons to check out for new and returning visitors. 

It’s hard to say “Memphis” without thinking of music—the Stax Museum pays homage to the artists who created the sounds that continue to influence current artists. Continuing into 2020 is the “Run This Town” exhibit which tells the story of a dozen Memphian women, including Estelle Axton who co-founded legendary Stax Records, home to Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. Also in 2020, Hattiloo Theater, the only freestanding Black repertory theater in five surrounding states, is set to open its 15th season. 

Eating well in Memphis isn’t hard to do and the food ranges from offerings from nationally recognized chefs to down home southern cooking that was a staple for Civil Rights activists. Memphis natives Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman have several James Beard nominations, most recently in 2019, for their string of restaurants including Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy. There are also some touristy spots that are well worth the hype and the wait, like historic The Four Way where Dr. Martin Luther King was a regular. A bustling area like Beale Street is even worth a trip if only for the she crab soup at Itta Benna, which is tucked away upstairs from B.B. King’s Blues Club

As far as highlights within certain neighborhoods, the formerly industrial Broad Ave Arts District is a hub for shopping and dining, Orange Mound art gallery, The CMPLX, celebrates its one-year anniversary in 2020 and Hu Hotel in downtown has a renovated rooftop bar with views overlooking the Mississippi River. 

Greenville, South Carolina

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina.


Where: Greenville, South Carolina

Chosen by: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel + Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.

Why: Residents are so proud of being #YeahThatGreenville (the US has 35 Greenvilles), it’s the region’s most used hashtag. I don’t blame the locals for bursting with hometown pride. What sets Greenville apart from other Southern cities is its backdrop: the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 22-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail and waterfalls cascading through downtown don’t hurt either. Falls Park on the Reedy is to Greenville what Central Park is to New York. Except Central Park doesn’t boast an awe-inspiring suspension bridge floating above landscaped gardens below. Greenville also has also award-winning performance venues, North America’s only BMW museum and the most dog-friendly downtown I’ve ever seen.

Why visit now? Greenville is one of the country’s fastest growing cities, so flights are plentiful and cheap (discount airline Frontier Airlines just added service in September). Don’t leave town without trying an acai bowl at Southern Pressed Juicery or the homemade sourdough bread at the newly opened farm-to-table standout, Topsoil. My favorite place to stay is in the foothills at Hotel Domestique—a French chateau-inspired boutique hotel owned by Tour de France legend, George Hincapie.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Orlando

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is just one of the many reasons that Orlando is a top spot to visit in … [+] 2020.

Photo courtesy of Megan DuBois

Where: Orlando, Florida

Chosen by: Megan DuBois is a theme park expert and frequent traveler to magical places. She frequently covers breaking theme park news, food, drinks and trending destinations. Her work can be seen on Popsugar, Insider, Family Vacation Critic, TravelPulse and more. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

Why: Orlando always has something new and interesting, but in 2020 there’s so much to do you might need to visit two or three times to see it all. For the theme park fan, Walt Disney World is the spot to be with quite a few new attractions coming or that recently debuted. Disney’s Hollywood Studios just opened Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in December 2019, following Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which opened earlier this year; and on March 4, an all new attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, will start taking guests into the cartoon world. Epcot is also undergoing a huge transformation and in summer 2020, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will begin taking guests on an adventure through Gusteau’s restaurant. There’s also a brand-new stunt show coming to Universal Orlando—the Bourne Stuntacular, which will debut spring 2020. Stay at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa, opening February 2020 for easy access to both Disney and Universal, and enjoy the modern elegance of the sprawling resort.

Outside of the theme parks, there are dozens of small neighborhoods to explore, each with their own individual flair. Winter Park is a hot spot for dining, and new in 2020 is Sixty Vines, which is going to be the spot to see and be seen. The wine bar will feature more than 60 wines on tap along with Napa Valley seasonally inspired cuisine. For those looking for variety, A.G.’s Market, a new 22,000 square foot food hall is coming to Orlando and will feature local vendors and nightly views of the Disney fireworks. Knife and Spoon, opening spring 2020, is a concept from chef John Tesar, who is a James Beard Award semifinalist and Top Chef contestant.

Sun Valley, Idaho

The snow-covered mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho.


Where: Sun Valley, Idaho

Chosen by: Teddy Minford spent her childhood in Europe before moving to Sun Valley, Idaho. She now lives in New York, where she’s always planning her next trip. When she’s not writing and editing for Fodor’s, you can usually find her reading a book.

Why: Way back in 1936, Sun Valley became America’s first ski resort, catering almost exclusively to a clientele of celebrities, financiers and international athletes. Today, it’s still the coolest ski town in the United States, with hip restaurants, cozy hotels, legendary nightlife and an astounding number of art galleries and music festivals that would rival a city 100 times its size. The year-round community of local artists, writers, small business owners, philanthropists and—yes, they’re still around—celebrities who call this place home are dedicated to the natural beauty, outdoor adventures and the fact that there’s not a single high-rise building or chain restaurant in town. Plus, the skiing’s not bad either. The word “authentic” is constantly overused in travel writing, but this place is truly one-of-a-kind and for that reason, it’s one of our favorite places in 2020.

Indiana Dunes State Park

The Caribbean? No Indiana Dunes State Park, overlooking Lake Michigan.


Where: Indiana

Chosen by: Pauline Frommer is the co-president of Frommer Media LLC, which publishes the Frommer’s guidebooks and Frommers.com. She co-hosts two radio shows on travel (for WABC and Radio America), pens a syndicated newspaper column for King Features, and is the author of the best selling Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City 2020. 

Why: In 2020, Indiana is celebrating two important birthdays. The first is America’s newest national park, Indiana Dunes National Park, on the shores of Lake Michigan. There, visitors will discover Mount Baldy, a sand dune mountain that’s always changing shape, as well as gorgeous beaches and freshwater swimming. And then Indianapolis is coming into its own, right in time for its 200th birthday. Indianapolis is blossoming right now with a rich cultural scene and some of the most interesting museums in the United States.

Be sure to check out the Children’s Museum if you’re traveling with kids (don’t miss the dinosaur section!) and Newfields, a sprawling museum of art geared toward people who don’t typically go to art museums. The Madam Walker Legacy Center, which will complete renovations in 2020, honors the entrepreneur—and first female African-American millionaire—Madam Walker. There, visitors can engage in programming and view artifacts from her life and business. And then there’s Bottleworks, which is home to an old Coca-Cola factory that’s being turned into the newest neighborhood. It’s going to be filled with cute boutiques, nice restaurants and even a hotel. For more ideas of where to go in Indianapolis, check out Frommer’s list of the top places to go in 2020 here.

Martha's Vineyard

Walking along a beach trail in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard.


Where: Martha’s Vineyard

Chosen by: Tiffany Dowd is a global luxury hotel expert and luxury travel influencer known as “Luxe Tiffany” and founder of Luxe Social Media. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Why: Just a 30-minute ferry from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, picturesque Edgartown is the hideaway for celebs and A-listers alike including the Obamas, who recently purchased a spectacular home in the area. A former whaling town, the streets are lined with impressive Greek revival homes, former whaling captains’ homes, upscale shops, art galleries and top restaurants.

Stay at the historic Harbor View Hotel, which recently underwent a $15 million renovation keeping its seaside chic flair and adding Bettini Restaurant under the helm of chef Patrice Martineau—a protégé of Chef Daniel Boulud. Soak up the sun on Lighthouse Beach or take the Chappy Ferry to Norton Point Beach for a day of fishing and swimming. Sail at sunset through Katama Bay aboard a restored antique traditional Cape Cod Catboat with Catboat Charters past the iconic Edgartown Lighthouse.

key west street

A colorful street in Key West, Florida.


Where: Key West, Florida

Chosen by: Olivia Balsinger has utilized her global perspective to manifest a career as a travel expert. She ditched NYC corporate life for adventure (and lust over a Danish boy!) in Copenhagen and hasn’t looked back. Olivia has visited 103 countries and was honored as InterContinental Group’s Latin America “Journalist of the Year.” She is the co-host of the upcoming immersive travel series Journey’s Beyond and is the co-producer of Fly Brother, coming to PBS in 2020. Follow her adventures on Instagram.  

Why: A haven for fishers, foodies and beach bums alike, the Florida Keys is the 2020 U.S. destination spot that encompasses it all. Often referred to as “America’s Caribbean,” the archipelago is home to more than 1,700 islands. Key West, by far the most developed and largest city in the Keys, is a melting pot of San Francisco temperament and Caribbean temperature. It is sprinkled with fruity Key Lime pies, the flair of neighboring Cuba and a generally laid-back attitude.

No trip to Key West is complete without a visit to The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum where the prolific author lived and wrote for 10 years. And 2020 brings a new way for Hemingway aficionados to gain insight into his life—Key West Food Tours is launching a 3.5-hour walking tour that retraces the author’s steps around Old Town. The tour includes two food tastings, two cocktails, a rum sampling and a plethora of anecdotes of Hemmingway’s storied life.

For an all-day activity, FuryWatersports has an experience that begins with a 90-minute sail to the Great Florida Reef, the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world, where participants can borrow snorkeling gear and jump right in. A tour of Key West’s First Legal Rum Distillery will surely add spice to any itinerary. The first for the Florida Keys, the distillery is located in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant and then converted into a pre-Prohibition Era bar called Jack’s Saloon.

Next year brings new accommodations perfect for a range of budgets. The 101-room Hampton Inn Key West has just completed a 14-month renovation, while the 5.5-acre Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort, is set to reopen in spring with 15 redesigned thatched-roof bungalow suites. And 2020 also brings exciting tech news: The Florida Keys & Key West Travel App is your key to the Keys. This new digital tool encourages safe driving and sightseeing on the famed Highway 1, using geographic locations to trigger and alert drivers of upcoming scenic, iconic and historical points—including diving spots. Plus, there are more ways to travel to this captivating frontier: On February 15, American Airlines will launch seasonal nonstop weekly service between Massachusetts’ Boston Logan International Airport and Key West International Airport, jetting visitors to this little pinpoint of paradise.

St. Louis downtown city skyline

St. Louis downtown city skyline at twilight.


Where: St. Louis, Missouri

Chosen by: Marcia DeSanctis writes for Vogue, Departures, Travel + Leisure and Air Mail, and is the author of a New York Times best-selling book about France. 

Why: Why doesn’t everyone visit St. Louis, Missouri? And frankly, move there? As American cities go, it’s as vibrant, diverse and hip as it gets, and if that’s surprising, stop in next time you’re flying from New York to LA. Though the city endured some rough economic times in postindustrial years, start-up culture is redefining its economy in big, positive ways. That, on top of a legacy of architectural masterpieces from its moneyed past make the city the rarest of paradoxes: a cool city with class. 

Name another steal-your-breath experience like the moment the 630-foot arch comes into view above the Mississippi River. The Gateway Arch National Park recently reopened after $380 million renovation, and the results are stunning. On Christmas day 2019, The 120,000 square-foot St. Louis Aquarium will open in the 125-year-old Union Station. In September, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the campus of Washington University unveiled its striking new expansion with an exhibit by Ai Weiwei. And of course, the St. Louis Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup, so catch the champs at the Enterprise Center. In spring, it’s worth diverting for the cherry blossoms at the Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the country.

Downtown St. Louis has come alive in recent years. Rooster is great for a stick-to-your-bones brunch, while Blood and Sand, formerly a members-only supper club, is now open to the public for innovative American cuisine. Around Victorian-elegant Lafayette Park, try Polite Society for a romantic, locally sourced dinner, then head to Clementine’s Creamery for handcrafted ice cream, some of it spiked. In the trendy Botanical Heights district, try Nixta for cutting-edge Mexican, and across the way, in a repurposed gas station, Olio for fresh Mediterranean small plates. 

Navy Beach St. Thomas

The new Navy Beach in St. Thomas.

Photo courtesy of Navy Beach

Where: U.S. Virgin Islands

Chosen by: As The Points Guy’s travel editor, Melanie Lieberman manages destination coverage and other travel features. Before joining the TPG team, Melanie was an editor at Travel + Leisure magazine, and her work has appeared in Bloomberg Pursuits, Yahoo Travel, Jetsetter and Saveur magazine, among others.

Why: More than two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria, the U.S. Virgin Islands are truly making a comeback—and not just in the way of superficial repairs. Beloved properties like The Westin St. John and The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas were completely reborn in 2019. And a new resort, Noni Beach (the first Autograph Collection hotel in the U.S. Virgin Islands) will debut in the new year.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are also closer to the mainland than ever now, with American and Delta expanding their Caribbean networks through new codeshare partnerships with Silver Airways. St. Croix, for example, is now on Delta’s flight map, and American is even launching new flights to St. Thomas from Chicago (ORD) and Dallas (DFW) on Dec. 21.

Once you’ve arrived, visit the new swim-up taco bar off the coast of St. John that opened in March, or check out Navy Beach St. Thomas—an outpost of the iconic Montauk restaurant that will welcome guests at the Yacht Haven Grande before the end of the year. From here, you can watch the yacht-filled harbor from the outdoor lounge while plotting the rest of your 2020 adventures. For more ideas of where to go in the USVI, check out The Points Guy’s list of the top places to go in 2020.

Scottsdale at Dawn

The skyline of Scottsdale, Arizona, in evening light


Where: Scottsdale, Arizona 

Chosen by: Dylan Essertier is a writer, speaker and the founder and CEO of Dylan Grace. Dylan’s travel expertise has been featured in WSJ Magazine, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Departures and more. Sign up for free weekly travel tips via her website and follow her around the world on Instagram

Why: Scottsdale has always been best known for its rugged beauty—most notably, the saguaro-dotted desert. But these days, it’s the city’s rich cultural traditions that are taking a spot in the limelight. In 2020, in addition to touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s legendary home and studio, getting a glimpse at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and enjoying the city’s free ArtWalk, visitors can experience unique works from around the globe at the recently-opened immersive art hub, Wonderspaces. Hotels and resorts have also been upgraded in recent months. The W Scottsdale unveiled six new Penthouse suites in June, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess refreshed its 458 rooms and pool area and the Royal Palms Resort and Spa just rolled out a new 11,000-square-foot spa. Culture, cacti and chic hotels—what’s not to love?  

Mt. Shasta Reflection

Northern California’s Cascade Range.


Where: Redding and the Shasta Cascades, California 

Chosen by: Melissa Klurman is a travel expert, writer and editor and contributor at Reader’s Digest, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Parents, among other publications.

Why: Beautiful and remote, the Northern California city of Redding and the Shasta Cascade region are about as under-the-radar as it gets in the lower 48. Considered to be a hidden gem in the west, it’s often referred to as “California’s Last Frontier,” and it’s also one of the best bargains anywhere in the United States. The region is scattered with 50 waterfalls, dozens of lakes, rivers, mountains, historic mining towns, two national monuments, six national forests, seven state parks and even active volcanoes—most of which are free or very inexpensive, so you’ll never break the vacation bank. For example, snowshoeing at Lassen Volcanic National Park costs just $1 per person. Plus, hotels, including the iconic Thunderbird Motel, rarely go above $100, making this a bargain vacation you’ll want to return to in every season in 2020.

Denver and the Flatirons

Cityscape of downtown Denver with the Flatirons and Longs Peak in the background.


Where: Denver, Colorado

Chosen by: Olivia Balsinger has utilized her global perspective to manifest a career as a travel expert. She ditched NYC corporate life for adventure (and lust over a Danish boy!) in Copenhagen and hasn’t looked back. Olivia has visited 103 countries and was honored as InterContinental Group’s Latin America “Journalist of the Year.” She is the co-host of the upcoming immersive travel series Journey’s Beyond and is the co-producer of Fly Brother, coming to PBS in 2020. Follow her adventures on Instagram.  

Why: Denver has grown exponentially within the last half-decade, emphasized by the development of neighborhoods such as “RiNo” –River District North—a creative mélange of some of the country’s most unique natural phenomenon, music and culinary creations. This state capital is now a destination in and of itself—in fact, 2019 welcomed a record 32 million visitors to Denver alone. In addition to its innovations in food truck culture, elaborate street art visions and its ever-growing cannabis tourism industry, Denver is also a mecca for live music: The Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which produces arguably the most exceptional natural sound in the state, is only 20 minutes outside of the city. After rocking out at a live show, spend the night at the newly debuted Origin Hotel Red Rocks.

Of course, Denver’s proximity to nature is an enormous draw for tourists. Just minutes outside the city center are trails for hiking and running, opportunities for kayaking and even 85 miles of bike paths to test out Denver B-cycle, the city’s pioneering bike-sharing program. The craft beer scene in Denver is unparalleled—with almost 200 breweries and more popping up each day, there is always a reason to cheers for a drink with friends. The Mile High City’s chef-driven cuisine is also continually expanding—momentarily transport yourself to the south with a brunch at Julep, a sophisticated restaurant that honors the history and traditions of southern hospitality through fresh ingredients and innovative recipes. For a multi-sensory experience, book a dinner at Il Posto, a restaurant that harmoniously pairs Italian wines and dishes. 

Denver combines historic Victorian brick buildings in Larimer Square and LoDo (Lower Downtown) with the bold architecture of today, all within a laid-back, walkable city center. And as tourism continues to skyrocket, hotels are opening and expanding. The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel is in the midst of an $80 million renovation, which will change the face of the mall and the 16th Street hotel. The Four Seasons Hotel Denver is, true to brand, a luxurious urban escape just steps from the buzzing and historic Larimer Square. And for a boutique hotel experience in the trendy Cherry Creek neighborhood, check out the hospitable service (and rooftop pool views!) at The Halcyon. Denver serves as the ultimate metropolitan home base for exploring the rugged interior of the United States.

Zion National park in Utah

Looking at the view on the trail to Angel’s Landing in Zion National park in Utah.


Where: Southern Utah 

Chosen by: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by Travel + Leisure, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Every trip she takes is an investment, and she likes to pay the rewards forward by helping other travelers. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram.

Why: Southern Utah’s crown jewel, Zion National Park, recently turned 100 years old and the National Park Service is hosting special events to celebrate. New Zion-area lodging for 2020 will include the rural Open Sky glamping resort and in St. George, The Advenire which is just as luxurious but conveniently located downtown. Now is also a great time to visit Utah’s second oldest national park, Bryce Canyon National Park. As of August, it currently allows visitors to explore its vast red rock landscape by e-bike.

While I dig unique rock formations, it’s actually snowsports and unparalleled powder that draw me most to this beautiful corner of the Beehive State. Boasting a base elevation of 9,600 feet, Brian Head Resort claims to have “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” This season the resort is even better than ever after investing $6 million in upgrades. Getting to Southern Utah is as easy as finding reasons to extend your stay by an extra day or two. It’s just a few hours by car from Salt Lake City and is even closer to Las Vegas. You can even add it on to a Grand Canyon trip. 

Lake Tahoe

A beautiful day at the Sand Harbor area of Lake Tahoe


Where: Lake Tahoe, California

Chosen By: At the age of 21, Lexie Alford became the youngest person to travel to every country on earth and broke the Guinness World Record. Follow her on Instagram (@LexieLimitless) and read more about her accomplishment here.

Why: When people imagine traveling to California, they most often visualize driving down the PCH in a convertible mustang and encountering celebrities below the Hollywood sign. As a native to one of the most visited states in the US, I can say from experience that travelers who only visit Southern California are missing out on the best part. A few hundred miles north lies Lake Tahoe, a crystal clear, alpine paradise hidden in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Lake Tahoe is best known for its eight top-rated ski resorts and laid-back mountain culture. A powder day in Lake Tahoe wouldn’t be complete without indulging in the après ski nightlife by the fire pit with a locally brewed craft beer.

Although Lake Tahoe is a winter wonderland, this place offers something for everyone all year-round, especially if you are a nature lover or an adventure enthusiast. From lakeside casinos and luxury resorts to golfing, camping and fishing during the summer months. You can even take a cruise around the 22 mile-long lake to get the most panoramic view of the snowy peaks. I also can’t forget to mention the countless hiking and biking trails surrounding the lake that are available to the whole family. If escaping from the city is in your 2020 travel plans, look no further than Lake Tahoe.

Milwaukee Saint Kate hotel

Milwaukee’s Saint Kate hotel.

Photo courtesy of the Saint Kate

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Chosen by: Foodie/travel journalist Mary Bergin is a two-time Lowell Thomas Award winner who explores the world but pays closest attention to her home turf, the Midwest U.S. Her patchwork of writing outlets includes the Chicago TribuneMilwaukee Journal Sentinel and longtime Roads Traveled columns. Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook, her fifth book, salutes a long-loved Badger State way of dining.

Why: The 2020 Democratic National Convention is bringing global attention to water-loving Milwaukee, and it’s also trending as Airbnb’s top destination to visit in the world. The city that turned beer brewing into a major industry by 1900—thanks to barons Blatz, Pabst, Schlitz and Miller—excels today because of multiple personalities. Kayak on downtown rivers, book an Edelweiss cruise along Lake Michigan’s shore or simply stroll Bradford Beach. The city’s biggest parties happen on 75 acres of lakefront: That includes Summerfest (the world’s largest music festival) and many ethnic celebrations.

No waterfront view beats Harbor House, whose Bartolotta roots are a mark of dining and cocktail excellence elsewhere, too. For uber local fare, check out Braise, whose chef-owner occasionally cooks at farms that he favors. Or go old-school cool at Five O’Clock Steakhouse and Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge. Edgy architecture? Milwaukee’s got it, from the graceful Calatrava-designed “wings” at the Milwaukee Art Museum to the chic industrial Harley-Davidson Museum. Add the magnificent Basilica at St. Josaphat to the new and roomy Fiserv Forum, ground zero for the Dems.

For lodging, immerse yourself in visual to performing arts at the Saint Kate, where each room is a masterpiece, or book boutique digs at The Brewhouse Inn, on the former Pabst campus. Best city quirks: a museum devoted to bobbleheads, and a factory tour to see the birth of Cheeseheads.

Falling snow on a ski trail in the Idaho mountains

Cross Country skiier in winter forest snow storm


Where: McCall, Idaho

Chosen by: Olivia Balsinger has utilized her global perspective to manifest a career as a travel expert. She ditched NYC corporate life for adventure (and lust over a Danish boy!) in Copenhagen and hasn’t looked back. Olivia has visited 103 countries and was honored as InterContinental Group’s Latin America “Journalist of the Year.” She is the co-host of the upcoming immersive travel series Journey’s Beyond and is the co-producer of Fly Brother, coming to PBS in 2020. Follow her adventures on Instagram.  

Why: Mother Nature had something up her sleeve when sculpting the intricate, stunning landscape that is southern Idaho. Often an overlooked touristic destination, Idaho is a land of breathtaking nature, adrenaline-pumping adventure, and is a beer lover’s haven. And while Idaho has slowly inched its way onto adventure traveler’s shortlists, there’s a possible chance you haven’t heard of McCall—the quaint and quirky mountain town about an hour from the capital, Boise.

Though McCall only has about 3,200 full-time residents, this former mining and timber community is a Mecca of brewing with three craft breweries. The town also boasts several mouthwatering restaurants, including two with executive chefs who have been honored by the James Beard House. You won’t feel guilty for overindulging, however, as activities are aplenty here—bike the charming city center streets, test out the zip line at Cascade Raft’s new rope challenge, kayak in Ponderosa State Park, horseback ride at Ya-HooCorrals and—finally—relieve your muscles at the famous Burgdorf Hot Springs, nestled in the mountainous valley. McCall hasn’t been saturated by tourists yet. It is still brimming with authentic character and kind locals, excited to show off their paradise in the mountains in the upcoming decade. 

Swann Memorial Fountain With City Hall In The Background

Swann Memorial Fountain With City Hall In The Background Philadelphia


Where: Philadelphia

Chosen By: Amy Alipio is a senior editor at National Geographic Traveler.

Why: Philadelphia is having a moment. As only one of two locations within the United States that was hand-picked for National Geographic’s Best Trips of 2020 list, Philadelphia has a strong history and is making its comeback with incredible restaurants, art, fashion and—above all—a resilient revolutionary spirit.

As one of America’s oldest cities, Philadelphia has reinvented itself for a new generation. A year-round destination, it has vibrant murals and glinting metalworks, authentic Italian food and hip coffee shops and a postindustrial feel that make this one of the top cities in the world to visit in 2020.

Plus, 5 more spots on my personal list:

Miami Beach

Exploring Miami Beach.


Where: Miami, Florida

Why: Miami is always abuzz, but a number of exciting openings will keep the city in conversations as a must-visit destination in the new year. Make a beeline for the Raleigh Gardens, which is hosting an immersive, beachside art experience: the largest-ever outdoor public show of the work of Claude Lalanne and Francois-Xavier Lalanne (together known as Les Lalanne). Expect to see over 40 sculptures and objects by the duo—with free admission—in the dazzling new beachside tropical garden designed by architect Peter Marino and landscape architect Raymond Jungles at the Raleigh Hotel. In other culture news, The Rubell Museum has just opened its doors to a new campus in Allapattah, an emerging neighborhood for arts and culture. Another recent Allapattah debut is El Espacio 23, an art space that features thousands of photographs, paintings, sculptures and videos that billionaire Jorge Perez collected around the globe. In the cool Wynwood area, the Museum of Graffiti just made a splashy debut during Art Basel. The first museum of its kind, it celebrates the pioneers of this edgy art form and chronicles its history.

In January, look for a new eco-friendly Art Deco boutique hotel called Greystone Miami Beach, which will be the adults-only property in Miami Beach. And finally, Gitano Miami, the third outpost to the Tulum-based restaurant, is now open at boutique hotel Casa Faena. Take your cocktail to the sprawling rooftop garden for Instagram-worthy views.

The old town of the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico, United States.

The old town of the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico, United States.


Where: Puerto Rico

Why: What hurricane? It’s been more than two years since Irma slammed into Puerto Rico, and now the island is back and better than ever. In 2019, Puerto Rico began celebrations for the 500th anniversary of its capital, San Juan, and the revelry will continue throughout 2020 and culminate at the end of 2021. In early 2020, the much-anticipated El Distrito will open in San Juan as an immersive and multi-sensorial experience. You’ll discover a central plaza with a hotel, urban zipline, restaurants, bars, lounges, disco, movie theaters and more.

Puerto Rico is heaven for foodies. A fun way to see the island is on a culinary tour with Spoon Food Tours, which takes visitors on tasting trips through Old San Juan or around the countryside on a chinchorreo (a party bus). Another must-see: the new Ron de Barrillito Visitor Center in Bayamón, where you can sample the island’s oldest rum.

On the hotel front, iconic properties have recently reopened including the El San Juan Hotel (the first property from Fairmont on the island), the Caribe Hilton and the Condado Plaza Hilton. There’s also a new spot in Ponce called The Fox Hotel. In 2020, expect an Aloft Hotel in San Juan, the new Zafira St. Clair in Vieques, as well as the reopening of the InterContinental San Juan, the Ritz Carlton San Juan and the El Conquistador, among others.

The island of Puerto Rico is also easier to reach, with air access at a 10-year high, including new airline routes from Allegiant and Frontier. And the best part? You’ll get a Caribbean vacation experience with no passport required—plus no fees for changing currency or international cell phone plans.

Pilgrims Settlement Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plimoth Plantation, a living museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is one of the top places to … [+] visit in 2020.


Where: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Why: Next year will mark 400 years since the Mayflower landed at the Wampanoag homeland of Patuxet—now known as Plymouth—so it’s the perfect time to explore this historic destination’s captivating, if not complex, background. The Massachusetts town will be hosting events and festivals throughout 2020 to commemorate the anniversary. Travelers can tour iconic landmarks and explore Plimoth Plantation, which brings the past to life with recreations of a Wampanoag homesite (staffed by Native People who wear historically accurate clothing and teach visitors about the traditions of their people) and the original pilgrim village (complete with actors in period costume reenacting life as it was 400 years ago). You can also see a full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the colonists here in 1620.

You’ll also want to check out modern day Plymouth: The town’s historic district is now sprinkled with charming boutiques and cool restaurants and has stunning views of the harbor where the first pilgrims settled.

Los Angeles, California

Taking in the views of Los Angeles.


Where: Los Angeles, California

Why: Tinsel Town is known for many iconic landmarks, such as the Hollywood sign and the Santa Monica Pier, but 2020 brings with it a slew of news around the greater Los Angeles area. Scope out the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum when it opens next year for an opportunity to “go inside the movies” at a museum dedicated to exploring the art, science and history of the film industry.

Several new hotels will be dotting the city’s map, including Downtown LA Proper Hotel, the Park Hyatt at Oceanwide Plaza, Pendry West Hollywood (part of a cool new brand from the Montage group), the Tommie Hotel in Hollywood, the Godfrey Hotel Hollywood (a new art-centric, luxury lifestyle hotel just off Sunset Boulevard), plus a project from the hip, Mexico-based hotel company Grupo Habita.

Don’t underestimate Los Angeles’ culinary scene: Michelin doled out to awards to 12 restaurants in West Hollywood alone this year. Major players on the restaurant scene in Hollywood that are opening or have just recently opened in the neighborhood include L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (the first US location for the Neapolitan pizza concept made famous in Eat Pray Love) and APL Restaurant (Adam Perry Lang’s steakhouse concept). In Beverly Hills, Gilles @ Montage Beverly Hills is a new solo venture with the youngest chef to ever be awarded with a Michelin star. Chef Gilles Epié pays homage to the famed Parisian restaurant Cirtus Etoile with dishes like a $100 baked potato topped with Loz Keluga caviar.

Spa lovers are in for a treat in 2020 when milk + honey opens a Los Angeles day spa, the brand’s first location outside of Texas, featuring hyper-clean bath, body and skincare treatments. There’s news for sports fans, too, with the debut of SoFi Stadium in 2020. SoFi Stadium is the anticipated home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and is scheduled to host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022. Universal Studio Hollywood will thrill guests with a new ride based on Illumination’s blockbuster movie: “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” The year 2020 is also going to be a banner one for the LGBTQ community with the 50th anniversary of LA Pride.

Branson, Missouri Ozarks

A nighttime aerial view of downtown Branson, Missouri in the Ozarks.


Where: The Ozarks

Why: Generally considered an unassuming and often overlooked piece of America’s heartland, the Ozarks are becoming one of the fastest-growing vacation areas in the country. When Vrbo examined destinations based on average annual travel demand growth over the past three years, one of the top picks was Bella Vista, Arkansas, situated near the majestic lakes of the Ozarks; travel demand was up 70%.

In the Missouri section of the Ozarks, golf lovers will be flocking to Tiger Woods’ first public golf course, Payne’s Valley, when it opens in spring 2020 at Big Cedar Lodge, a wilderness resort that sprawls across 4,600 acres just eight miles south of Branson. Inspired by a commitment to conservation, Big Cedar Lodge was created by Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, as a way for travelers to connect in the great outdoors. 

Thrillseekers will love Silver Dollar City, a theme park that is celebrating its 60th anniversary season in 2020. Silver Dollar got its start with Marvel Cave, one of Missouri’s famous caves. Locals and travelers enjoyed it so much that its owners added rides, entertainment and food to keep crowds happy when they weren’t underground. The cave is still open to this day, and the park’s newest attraction, Mystic River Falls—with the tallest drop in the Western Hemisphere—will wow guests when it opens in summer 2020.

In other news, there’s the new Aquarium at the Boardwalk, featuring a jellyfish infinity room, a magical underwater mermaid palace and more; WonderWorks, a new science-focused indoor amusement park with over 100 hands-on interactive exhibits; the Big Air Trampoline Park, with 57 attractions including a Ninja Warrior Course; and Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park, which will be adding plenty of thrills in 2020.


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