23 Places to Visit in the USA
By Janet Benoir – October 20, 2023
The United States offers a diverse array of travel options to cater to every interest. From bustling metropolises rich in history and culture, to some of Mother Nature’s most awe-inspiring creations, there is no shortage of destinations to explore. You may find the best places to visit in the United States to be directly aligned with your personal preferences.
On the East Coast, you have the choice of experiencing iconic cities like New York and Washington, D.C., while the West Coast boasts popular destinations like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Venture to the Southwest to bask in the lively atmosphere of Las Vegas or marvel at the majestic Grand Canyon. Beyond the US mainland, the picturesque beaches of Waikiki and the paradise-like Hawaiian Islands, as well as the rugged beauty of Alaska, await you.
The unparalleled atmosphere of New York City is something you must experience firsthand. As you stroll down the streets, you’ll feel like you’re on a movie set with iconic landmarks around every corner. Marvel at architectural wonders such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza, the Chrysler Building, and explore the lush greenery of Central Park and the elevated haven of The High Line.
In the city that never sleeps, you can sightsee during the day, catch a Broadway performance at night, find time for shopping and leisurely walks, and then unwind while savoring an unforgettable meal. With New York City’s multitude of attractions, a single visit is never enough. From Times Square to 5th Avenue, from Broadway to the iconic Statue of Liberty, there’s always more for you to explore and experience, making this a city worth returning to.
At the heart of Southern California lies Los Angeles, a hub of glamour and unique experiences. As you explore the city, you’ll find yourself immersed with famous neighborhoods like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air. While in Los Angeles, countless vacation opportunities are available for all types of travelers.
Movie enthusiasts won’t want to miss Hollywood, while families can venture to Disneyland for excitement and fun. Shopping opportunities in the city of angels won’t disappoint either. For water lovers, numerous sunny beaches in the Los Angeles area will suit your taste for sand and surf. If you’re interested in discovering natural history wonders, pay a visit to La Brea Tar Pits, home to prehistoric animal fossils that date back 40,000 years.
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, is a breathtaking natural wonder visited by countless individuals seeking to experience its seemingly endless horizons and incredible depths. It can be found within the Grand Canyon National Park, and exploring it is an unforgettable memory for many visitors to the United States.
You can visit the Grand Canyon via a day trip from cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, and Flagstaff, or incorporate it into a larger driving expedition through Arizona and nearby states. A distinctive option is a train journey from Williams, Arizona via the Grand Canyon Railway, offering an enjoyable alternative for experiencing this geological marvel. The south rim, which is the most frequented area, welcomes visitors throughout the year.
Yellowstone National Park
At Yellowstone National Park, you can witness the beauty of bubbling mud pots, boiling water pools, and erupting geysers. Established in 1872, this thermal paradise attracts countless visitors who marvel at its natural wonders. Key attractions to check out include Old Faithful, which sends scalding water up to 184 feet into the air, and the vibrant Morning Glory Pool found in the Upper Geyser Basin area. The Minerva Terrace is another must-see location.
Yellowstone is not only about thermal attractions. The Lamar Valley is an ideal spot for hiking and observing wildlife. While there, seize the opportunity to admire the park’s iconic bison herds. The unforgettable nature of Yellowstone National Park awaits your exploration.
Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, boasts an array of renowned landmarks and national treasures, including the White House, Capitol Building, and the various Smithsonian museums. A visit to this city is a must for anyone touring the East Coast.
During spring, you can enjoy the picturesque Cherry Blossom Festival, witnessing the vibrant blooms throughout the city. Summers in Washington, D.C. can be quite warm, making it a good idea to find a nearby beach to cool off. Autumn provides pleasant temperatures for outdoor exploration, and the busy summer season has passed by this time. Winter travels offer an opportunity to experience the city adorned with fresh snow, and with smaller crowds, allowing for more intimate sightseeing experiences.
San Francisco is a delightful destination with a host of attractions for couples, families, and solo travelers. The city boasts captivating streets, stunning vistas, iconic sites, and al fresco dining options. You can hop on a boat and tour the San Francisco Bay, explore the infamous Alcatraz, drive across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, or stroll around the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf. Capture the essence of the city by hopping on a historic streetcar or planning a self-guided walking tour.
The best time to visit San Francisco is during the summer or fall months, though its mild climate means you’ll enjoy pleasant weather year-round. While in California, don’t miss visiting San Diego and marveling at the towering redwoods. To enrich your San Francisco experience, consider popular tourist attractions as well as complimentary activities.
Orlando, often associated with Kissimmee, is a haven for theme park enthusiasts. The major attractions include Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. It’s no wonder this destination is a top pick for family vacations in the US. While children adore the parks, adults can revel in the shopping, dining, golfing, and sunshine that the area offers.
During school breaks, expect Orlando to be bustling, particularly during Christmas and summer holidays. However, the city accommodates tourists well, with a plethora of hotels and home rentals available. Orlando’s inland location allows for easy day trips to both coastal regions and the renowned Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast.
Las Vegas, the dazzling city of lights in the desert, has a unique charm that has captivated visitors for decades. Its massive resort complexes offer a wide variety of attractions and activities for everyone—whether you’re a newlywed couple tying the knot, a family seeking poolside fun, or a single person looking for a memorable getaway.
The entertainment scene in Las Vegas is unparalleled, featuring performances by top music industry stars and the mesmerizing Cirque du Soleil. Each resort also boasts its own unique attractions, such as dancing fountains and an erupting volcano. For a change of pace, there’s no shortage of natural wonders nearby, including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Death Valley National Park, and Valley of Fire State Park—all perfect for day trips.
Chicago is renowned for its outstanding architecture, situated along the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan. As a visitor, you can appreciate the city’s parks, waterfront, and beautiful beaches, making it an ideal destination throughout the year.
Stroll down the famed Magnificent Mile, bordering Michigan Avenue, where you’ll encounter luxurious stores, galleries, and iconic buildings. Don’t miss out on visiting Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier, and taking in the breathtaking cityscape from the Willis Tower SkyDeck.
Miami offers more than just stunning beaches. Experience the Cuban influence along Calle Ocho in Little Havana, admire the Art Deco District in Miami Beach reminiscent of the 1930s, and watch the procession of sports cars cruising down Ocean Drive at night. South Beach’s vibrant beach scene during summertime is another highlight that contributes to Miami’s status as one of the best cities in the US.
For an exceptional experience, consider a day trip from Miami to Everglades National Park. Here, you will encounter alligators, turtles, and various bird species in the unique wetlands. To further enhance your stay, explore top-rated tourist attractions in Miami and the best time to visit. You can also choose from a variety of highly-rated resorts to ensure a comfortable and memorable visit.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is an unmissable destination for nature enthusiasts. In Yosemite Valley, you’ll find some of America’s iconic natural attractions, such as the dramatic waterfalls and the towering cliff faces of El Capitan and Half Dome. The stunning images captured by famous photographer Ansel Adams, the persistent presence of the climbing community, and generations of families visiting the park to enjoy campgrounds, scenic trails, and picturesque views have all become a crucial part of the park’s heritage.
Before being established as a national park, the area was inhabited by the Miwok people. To learn about their history and connection to the land, don’t forget to visit the Yosemite Museum and Indian Village of the Ahwahnee while you’re there.
Utah’s Remarkable National Parks
Zion National Park is renowned for its spectacular hiking trails, soaring cliffs, waterfalls, and a river running through the valley. On the other hand, Arches National Park is located close to Moab and hosts over 2,000 sandstone arches. Apart from arches, this park offers rock spires, petrified dunes, and distant mountain peaks which can be enjoyed while partaking in various adventure activities.
Another remarkable park to consider is Canyonlands National Park, which exhibits enchanting landscapes, some even rivaling the Grand Canyon but without the large crowds. Meanwhile, Bryce Canyon National Park presents a contrasting scenery with a massive natural amphitheater filled with vibrant rock pinnacles. Lastly, while slightly off the beaten path, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden gem worth visiting if your schedule allows.
Colorado’s Majestic Rocky Mountains
The beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is unparalleled, with their towering peaks, stunning waterfalls, and more than 50 summits soaring above 14,000 feet. The region’s captivating landscapes and cozy mountain towns make it a prime destination for visitors. As you explore the Rockies in the warmer months, you’ll find numerous activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, and rafting. When the snow falls, world-class ski resorts transform the mountains into a winter playground for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.
Renowned towns, including Vail, Aspen, Telluride, and Durango, entice travelers to Colorado’s Rockies. Embark on picturesque drives along the San Juan Scenic Byway or the Million Dollar Highway, originating in Durango, and meander through spectacular mountain vistas and charming old mining towns like Silverton and Ouray. For a leisurely excursion, you can board the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad to experience the Rockies’ splendor.
New Orleans stands out among southern cities due to its unique blend of cultures, displaying strong French and Spanish elements along the lines of the Caribbean rather than the typical United States feel. With its distinct Cajun and Creole cuisine, jazz music, and notable French Quarter architecture, you’ll find this city to be a delightful travel destination for a long weekend escape.
The city’s festive ambiance is most notable during Mardi Gras, showcasing vibrant costumes, elaborate floats, and non-stop music and celebration. If you’re not fond of large crowds, it’s advisable to avoid visiting during this period. The best time to visit New Orleans ranges from December to May, but each season offers something unique.
Located in the northwestern corner of the United States, the charming coastal city of Seattle is both beautiful and inviting. With an abundance of water and snow-capped mountains, it shares many similarities with Vancouver, Canada, boasting a lively and outdoorsy atmosphere.
In Seattle, you will discover numerous attractions, such as the iconic Space Needle, bustling Pike Place Market, and the scenic waterfront. Additionally, it is within a short distance of stunning beaches, the Hoh Rain Forest, and picturesque mountain landscapes, providing ample opportunities for exploration. Seattle’s mild climate makes it enjoyable year-round, even during the rainy winter months.
Houston is an ideal destination for a friends’ getaway, couples’ retreat, or family vacation. With numerous direct flights available from cities throughout the United States and Canada, it’s easy for you to fly in and catch a sports game, explore Houston’s Museum District, unwind by a luxurious pool, and indulge in exceptional meals during your evenings.
The city has established itself as a dining hot spot in the United States, offering remarkable cuisine. For a leisurely, outdoor urban experience, rent a bike and cycle through miles of paved trails in the parks or downtown streets. You can also rent a kayak and paddle along Buffalo Bayou in Buffalo Bayou Park. Within an hour, you can reach nearby beaches or discover Galveston, and don’t forget to visit the remarkable Space Center Houston along the way.
In the heart of the Eastern Seaboard, you’ll find Boston, a city steeped in history. You can easily explore and navigate its remarkable sites by following the renowned Freedom Trail. Marvel at the picturesque oceanfront setting as ferries transport people between the outer suburbs, and appreciate the unique charm of modern skyscrapers standing side by side with centuries-old buildings. You can’t help but notice the quaint, small-town atmosphere throughout open public spaces like picturesque Boston Common.
Despite the legendary winters that bring fierce Nor’easters and blankets of snow, Bostonians continue to appreciate their city at any time of year. With a seemingly endless list of winter activities, a visit to Boston can be enjoyable even when the weather turns frosty. You might also want to explore the top-rated tourist attractions in Boston or discover the city’s top-rated beaches in the local area.
Savannah captures the essence of a charming small southern city, adorned with vast parks filled with moss-draped trees, stately southern mansions, and a picturesque waterfront area featuring unique shops and delightful candy stores housed in historic buildings. As you stroll through the city, you’ll notice the relaxed pace and friendly locals, giving you the sense that Savannah is a place where people truly live and relish their lives.
Despite its modest size, which allows you to traverse the city center by foot, Savannah entices you to stay and explore for longer than anticipated. In close proximity to the city await the stunning beaches of Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island, both accessible within an hour’s drive.
San Antonio, a hidden gem in Texas, offers a unique blend of historic and modern experiences. This charming city is known for its gorgeous Spanish colonial churches, missions, the renowned Riverwalk area, and The Alamo. Its compact size and layout make it easy to explore, taking in all the sights it has to offer.
Apart from its rich history, San Antonio boasts a thriving culinary scene. Home to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the city is a haven for food enthusiasts. Make sure to visit the Pearl district for some of the finest dining options. In addition, luxurious resorts and high-end hotels await your stay, providing a perfect opportunity to be indulged and pampered.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks
The Outer Banks of North Carolina offers exceptional beaches for visitors to enjoy. Spanning over 100 miles, these breathtaking sand islands have attracted beachgoers from across the United States since the 1830s. As a summer destination for generations, families have often spent time at campgrounds or beautiful resorts on these barrier islands.
Not only are the beaches captivating, but historical towns such as Nags Head, Kitty Hawk (home to the Wright Brothers Memorial), Duck, Waves, and those on Hatteras Island are well worth visiting. The Outer Banks is also home to some of America’s iconic lighthouses, many of which offer tours to the top. Beach resorts are the ideal accommodation if you plan on spending your time on the sandy shores.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a diverse blend of Spanish, Native American, Mexican, and Anglo-American influences that create a truly unique atmosphere. Strolling along the city’s picturesque streets, you’ll find Spanish colonial churches, adobe houses, and lush trees that effortlessly capture its fascinating history.
As you explore, be sure to stop by the Plaza, which serves as the lively epicenter of the city. Here, charming cafés and patio seating offer an ideal spot for people watching. Afterward, you can peruse the nearby eclectic stores for truly distinctive finds. Santa Fe’s prime location near the mountains also provides access to some of New Mexico’s finest skiing destinations, such as Taos, Pajarito, and Siapu.
Located in the core of the Southwest region of the United States, Phoenix is a vast city known for attracting northern visitors during winter to escape the chilly weather. As a visitor, you will find that Phoenix is an ideal destination for golfing, shopping, unwinding, and enjoying various activities.
Within the greater Phoenix area, you will discover some of the finest resorts in Arizona. These range from large, family-friendly establishments with beaches and waterslides to smaller, more intimate retreats that cater to your every desire. Golf enthusiasts should bring their clubs, as Phoenix and its surrounding areas such as Scottsdale, Mesa, and other townships are recognized for their world-class golf resorts – important stops on both the men’s and women’s PGA Tour.
Alaska, located in the far northwest above Canada, is known for its stunning snow-capped peaks, glaciers, wild rivers, and vast open spaces. The state’s frontier attitude can still be felt in cities such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. One of the most popular ways to experience Alaska’s beauty is by cruising along the Inside Passage, where majestic mountains meet the sea, or relaxing by a cozy fireplace in a luxury resort.
Aside from breathtaking landscapes, Alaska is a haven for outdoor activities and sports. You can choose from camping, mountaineering, canoeing, or fishing to immerse yourself in the Alaskan wilderness. If visiting in winter, consider skiing at one of the state’s resorts, or even catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing northern lights. Don’t forget that Alaska is also home to the magnificent Glacier Bay National Park, a must-see for anyone exploring this unique and captivating destination.