Looking for ideas on where to go for vacation this year? People may have different ideas of what makes a destination one of the best places to travel right now, but here’s a sampling to get your wheels turning. (That’s not a reference to road trips, but many of these locations are also well-suited for families who want to skip the airport and enjoy getting there by car!)
From east to west, north to south, mountain to ocean, this selection of eight of the best places to visit should give you a great head-start on your vacation plans in 2022.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod certainly qualifies as a cool place to visit, and not just because it’s the farthest north of any destination on the list. In fact, this coastal haven has a surprisingly mild climate that allows for award-winning golf and beachside scenery that’s not restricted to the summer season.
With hiking, biking, boating, birdwatching, and more, there’s plenty of outdoor fun for the whole family here. And if you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, try a brewery or winery tasting and a visit to a museum or art gallery—or even an evening at the symphony!
Charleston, South Carolina
If you like the idea a city that’s a little less touristy but beloved by visitors and residents alike, add Charleston to your list. It’s right on the southeast coast of the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s not just another beach and golf mecca. Steeped in history and culture, the area features exquisitely preserved architecture and fascinating museums and tours.
In addition, Charleston has a well-earned reputation as a top destination when it comes to culinary delights. There’s nothing like spending a day breathing in the fresh sea air and topping it off with a delicious dinner, drinks, and music. Ask a friendly local for a recommendation!
The Great Smoky Mountains are, well, great when it comes to outdoor fun and spectacular scenery, and Gatlinburg is right in the heart of it all. Nestled at the foot of the most visited national park in the country, it offers superb hiking (with options for all ages and abilities) as well as great views that can also be accessed by chairlift.
Together with neighboring Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg also offers a host of attractions, from Dollywood to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and more. This is a place where you can create just the right mix of the great outdoors and fun family entertainment.
San Antonio, Texas
Did you know San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States? Even so, it’s managed to blend big city bragging rights (like its hometown NBA team) with eclectic cultural offerings, beautiful outdoor spaces, and immersive history. One stroll along its famous downtown River Walk will let you know you’ve found one of the best places to vacation.
No trip here would be complete without seeing the Alamo and hearing its story, but that’s just one of the city’s fascinating historical spots. Be sure to check out San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for 18th-century buildings and beautiful recreational trails.
If your group is into skiing but you’d like to find someplace less expensive than Vail, try about an hour’s drive to the southeast. Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, Breckenridge is a quaint, charming town with postcard-perfect views, unique shops, and friendly locals.
Of course, Breckenridge is mainly known for its world-class ski resort. Explore five stunning peaks offering a variety of adventures and challenges, with lessons available for every age. You’ll also discover a host of great ways to warm up and relax after a day on the slopes.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Farther west, you’ll find another award-winning ski destination. Lake Tahoe spans the border of Nevada and California and is well-known for its slopes, but that’s only one reason it’s a hot vacation spot. The size and beauty of the lake make this an incredible place to be outdoors at any time of year.
From boating on the water to hiking or biking through the trees, this is a chance to admire natural scenery, catch glimpses of wildlife, and get away from those screens for a while. But you’ll also have casino gaming, entertainment, dining, shopping, and spas within easy reach.
From rugged outdoor activities and picturesque landscapes to inspiring art galleries, tasty vineyards, and soothing spas, it’s no wonder Sedona is one of the best places to vacation. If you’re looking for an escape to refresh your mind and spirit, head for the land of red rocks and open skies.
In addition to the activities and attractions around Sedona, it’s also a great home base for exploring the wonder of Grand Canyon National Park, the Painted Desert, and other Northern Arizona sites. It’s easy to plan your days for an idyllic mix of recreation and relaxation.
San Diego, California
With beautiful year-round sunny weather and a gorgeous Pacific coast locale, San Diego isn’t just an enviable place to live. It’s a great place to visit on vacation too. From breathtaking beaches and scenic drives to inspiring sea life and natural wonders, there’s plenty to see and do all around the city.
For a treat, be sure to check out La Jolla (Spanish for “The Jewel”), a lovely upscale seaside community that features a delightful array of art and culture, golf courses, restaurants, shops, and attractions to discover. Spend a day here and you’ll see why it’s such a desirable travel destination.
Looking for More Trip Ideas?
Be sure to check out stories on other great travel destinations to dream about and discover.