It’s vacation season and deciding on where to go and what to do is the hardest part of it all. Luckily, U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the best vacation destinations to visit, including the best places to travel around the world, in the U.S., and in the Caribbean. Factors including sights, culture, food, shopping, and nightlife were taken into account along with the editors’ opinions and votes from readers. You’ll never guess what state made it on the list!
- 30. St. Lucia -The St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival is an attraction for some visitors, as are the Chassin region’s rainforest and the island’s beaches.
- 29. Jackson Hole
This Wyoming city has mountain views and ski resorts, with the added benefit of proximity to Grand Teton National Park.
- 28. Banff
This national park in the Canadian Rockies has more than 80 hiking trails accessible during the summer, which convert to ski slopes in the winter.
- 27. Machu Picchu
The history of the Incas is everywhere at this Peruvian vacation destination, and the four-day hike along the Inca Trail provides a way to experience it all.
- 26. Great Barrier Reef
Whether you are diving, snorkeling, or swimming, the world’s largest coral reef system has plenty of underwater sights to offer. Check out spots along Queensland, Australia’s coast or head to nearby Hamilton Island.
- 25. Park City
This Utah city is home to many ski resorts, luxury hotels and spas. Visitors can experience the annual Sundance Film Festival or hit the slopes.
- 24. British Virgin Islands
The territory’s largest island, Tortola, has popular beaches like Smuggler’s Cove, Brewers Bay and more.
- 23. Costa Rica
Vacationers can find exotic wildlife among volcanic mountains and sprawling rain forests.
- 22. Yosemite
Yosemite National Park is home to landmarks like Glacier Point and the Half Dome. Visitors can hike past waterfalls and ancient Sequoia trees.
- 21. Tahiti
On this island in French Polynesia, visitors can stay in over-water bungalows and experience surrounding views of the ocean and beaches.
- 20. San Sebastian
Though not one of the best known cities in Spain, San Sebastian is home to La Concha beach and cuisine like “pintxos,” the Basque take on Spain’s tapas.
- 19. Phuket
Visit this island in southern Thailand to see limestone cliffs in Phang Nga Bar or beaches on the Phi Phi Islands. To experience Thai culture, check out historical sites like the Wat Chalong Temple and Old Phuket Town.
- 18. Breckenridge
Skiers and snowboarders alike can find a mountain to explore near this Colorado town. During the spring and summer, the city offers hiking. There’s also a craft beer scene.
- 17. Vancouver
With both urban and outdoor experiences to offer, vacationers in this Canadian city can hike Grouse Mountain by day and enjoy the nightlife in Yaletown.
- 16. Serengeti National Park
This national park in Tanzania is best known for the Great Migration — the annual migration of animals across the plains. Lucky travelers can see lions, elephants and zebras in the wild.
- 15. Bali
Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number one place to visit in Asia, vacationers can explore everything from volcanoes to historic temples on this Indonesian island.
- 14. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon stretches an estimated 277 miles across Arizona and provides vacationers with space to hike trails like the Bright Angel or Rim, or whitewater raft the Colorado River.
- 13. Honolulu – Oahu
Hawaii’s capital city is home to both beach views and downtown city attractions. In addition to historical monuments like the USS Arizona Memorial, visitors can see cultural landmarks like ‘Iolani Palace.
- 12. Santorini
Black and red sands mark the beaches of this Greek island, which also offers historical destinations like Ancient Akrotiri or the ancient city of Manolas on satellite island Thirassia.
- 11. Amalfi Coast
This stretch of Italian coastline has 13 seaside towns sitting among the cliffs, which offer authentic Italian cuisine and spectacular views.
- 10. Dubai
Skyscrapers, one of the world’s largest shopping centers and an indoor ski slope can all be found in Dubai. U.S. & World Report has also ranked this city as the best place to visit in Africa and the Middle East.
- 9. Barcelona
This Spanish city is home to beaches and a thriving nightlife, as well as historic churches and cathedrals. Explore both Las Ramblas and the Barri Gòtic.
- 8. Prague
For vacationers interested in scenery and history, Prague has a multitude of sites to see, like the Old Town Square and the Prague Astronomical Clock.
- 7. Florence
Located in the Tuscany region, Florence is known for its food and wine. Renaissance art, historical architecture and shops also attract visitors to this Italian city.
- 6. New York City
Whether it is a walk through Central Park, seeing a show on Broadway, or shopping on Fifth Avenue, New York City offers an activity for every traveler.
- 5. Paris
Vacationers flock to sights like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Cafes, museums, and shopping districts provide endless options to explore.
- 4. London
Landmarks like the historic Tower of London and Buckingham Palace represent London’s past, while many of the city’s restaurants, nightlife, and metropolitan neighborhoods offer a more modern experience.
- 3. Porto
Vacationers in Porto can experience the coastal city’s namesake port wine, as well as beaches and architecture. According to U.S. & World report, this Portuguese destination can be cheaper than European trips.
- 2. Sydney
In addition to the iconic Sydney Opera House, a trip to this Australian city can include a visit to the Sydney Harbor and local beaches like Coogee and Bondi.
- 1. Rome
With the Italian cuisine, views of the Colosseum and trips to the Vatican City, Rome has an attraction for every kind of vacation. Rome also tops U.S. & World Report’s list of best affordable vacations in Europe.
There you have it, the best vacation destinations to visit and explore. No matter what choice you make, just remember not to sweat the small stuff, after all, you’re on vacation!