Because of its size and its cultural and geographical diversity, the United States has an abundance of great travel destinations. Recently, Tripadvisor set about to determine the current best of the best. To do this, they examined a year’s worth of above-and-beyond hotels, restaurants, and things to do reviews for various destinations. Top scorers received the Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best designation.
Of 8 million listings, under 1% of destinations received this recognition. Following are the top 12 town and city destinations in the U.S.
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1. Juneau, AK
The capital of Alaska is also the best city to visit. It’s a gateway to the mighty Alaskan wilderness of both land and sea. Fish the pristine waters. Hike in the mountains or old-growth forests or on a glacier. Look for whales in Icy Strait and take a cruise to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, where huge icebergs broken off from glaciers float in the frigid sea. In the winter, relive the prospector days by riding a dog sled.
2. Page, AZ
This small city near the Utah border boasts big outdoor recreation. It lies on the shores of Lake Powell, where you can boat and swim and take a boat across the lake to Rainbow Bridge, one of the largest natural bridges in the world. Just downstream along the Colorado River is Marble Canyon, the official start of the Grand Canyon. Close by is Antelope Canyon, a world-famous slot canyon with amazing forms and colors. Scattered all about are arches, canyons, and Native American ruins.
3. Salem, MA
Made famous by the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692, today, Salem casts spells on travelers with its charm, beauty, and rich history. Numerous sites commemorate and interpret the witch trials. Visit the House of the Seven Gables, namesake of the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel.
4. Sonoma, CA
When you think of Sonoma, you probably think of the county or the valley, or maybe more likely, the famous wines. However, it’s also the name of a city, and it can be the perfect base for a vacation of tasting wines, cheeses, and olives and hiking in nearby redwood forests.
5. Philadelphia, PA
The City of Brotherly Love is the biggest one to make this list. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are just two of the many historical attractions in this city so instrumental in
the founding of our nation. Make sure you eat an authentic Philly cheesesteak. And for you Rocky fans, yes, there really is a statue of Rocky Balboa there!
6. Camden, ME
This seaside Maine town calls itself the “Jewel of the Coast,” and it’s got a solid argument for it. Many films have used this colorful, charming town as a setting, and there’s plenty to do on both the land and the water with the ocean, the Camden Snow Bowl, Camden Hills State Park, and more close by. In coastal Maine towns, it’s also practically a law that you have to try a lobster roll.
7. Galena, IL
85% of this town is designated as a national historical district. Before the Civil War, the area was known for lead mining, and it was where General Ulysses S. Grant lived briefly before heading off to lead the Union Army. When he returned after victory, the town gifted a mansion to him. It stands today and is open for tours.
8. Whitefish, MT
Enjoy a taste of old-time Montana here with its historic railroad depot and rustic downtown. Situated at the base of a mountain at the south end of Whitefish Lake, this town offers outdown recreation year-round: hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, biking, skiing, and more. Less than an hour away is Glacier National Park, one of America’s most stunning mountain landscapes.
9. Ketchikan, AK
Near the southeastern end of Alaska, Ketchikan is on the Inside Passage, a series of waterways protected from the open sea that many cruise lines like to use. Numerous Native American totem poles adorn the town, and close by is Misty Fiords National Monument, known as the “Yosemite of the North” for its mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls.
10. Durango, CO
Durango started as a frontier mining town; now it’s a big destination year-round for recreation enthusiasts. Summer is popular for hiking and fishing. In the winter, skiing and ice climbing draw visitors. To the west is Mesa Verde National Park, where you can tour ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings. To the north are the magnificent San Juan Mountains. Durango is also the southern end of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which winds through the mountains between the two old mining towns and which you can ride as a passenger today.
11. Ogunquit, ME
Ogunquit Beach boasts 3.5 miles of white sand and grassy dunes. Marginal Way winds along cliffs to a lighthouse. While in town, enjoy fresh seafood and take an old-fashioned trolley to acquaint yourself with the town center.
12. Paso Robles, CA
Paso Robles doesn’t get near the attention that Napa and Sonoma do, but it’s nonetheless gained a reputation for excellent wines. Unlike those more famous wine-making regions, Paso Robles is in Southern California, where the landscape and climate are a bit different. It’s also in a prime location, with mountains, desert, and the coast all not far away.
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This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.