Let's be frank. With the dollar as weak as it is, a European vacation this year may not be in the cards for many people. What to do? Well, visit one of the many wonderful places in the U.S.!
Here is my list of "10 Best Places to Visit in the USA"
History, mystery and food. The city made famous with the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is a top destination for those into great architecture, good food and interesting walking tours. Be sure to take in one of the many ghost tours. Top off your visit with a day on Tybee Island.
Sedona is one of my all-time favorite places, not so much for the "New Age" vibe (I do believe that's a bit overdone), but for the red rock and Oak Creek Canyon. You can just bring a chair and a book and sit by Oak Creek all day, or take a creek-side hike. It's just a couple hours to the Grand Canyon, which makes a wonderful day trip. Be sure to explore nearby Flagstaff while you're there.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco really suits all budgets. If you're flush stay in Campton Place or Grand Hyatt on Union Square. If your budget's tight, pick a hotel or motel on Lombard Street going towards the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many moderately-priced hotels and restaurants which give good value for your money. Great shopping on Union Street and Chestnut Streets. Many walking tours in this great city. While you're there, take a ferry to Angel Island for wonderful walking and views of San Francisco.
San Juan Islands
Never been to the San Juan Islands? Then go! When you do you'll be visiting a destination which is consistently ranked high by Conde' Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure. The islands are part of the San Juan Archipelago, which is split into two groups, the San Juan Islands, which are part of the state of Washington, and the Gulf Islands, which are part of British Columbia. While there are a number of named islands, the most popular are Lopez, Orcas, Shaw and San Juan Island. If you're into whale watching, the best time and place to spot Orcas is May through September at Lime Kiln Point State Park on the west side of San Juan Island.
Mount Desert Island, ME
Why is Mount Desert Island so special? Among other things, Mount Desert Island has consistently been voted one of the top islands in North America by Travel and Leisure and Conde' Nast Traveler magazine. There you'll find Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor. There are many different types of accomodations on the Island, from the expensive and ritzy to camping spots with million-dollar views.
Santa Fe, NM
There are many reasons to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I go for the food. But, you might also enjoy the many galleries and the Native American jewelry you'll find. There's also a great deal of history in Santa Fe, as well as ancient ruins nearby. Take a side trip to Bandelier National Monument, 48 miles miles north of Santa Fe, where you can view Anasazi cliff dwellings. There are 70 miles of trails, so bring your hiking shoes.
San Diego, CA
A visit to San Diego provides something for everyone. Families with small children have LEGOLAND close by, and people of all ages will enjoy SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Old Town and, of course, the beaches. Take a side trip to Coronado Island and visit the Hotel del Coronado, a historic resort which has hosted numerous presidents. If you're in the mood to propose to your sweetheart, do it on a gondola in Coronado Bay at sunset.
Asheville, North Carolina is beginning to make it on many a travel-lover's radar. In fact, the Asheville area has been named a must-see destination by Frommer's in 2007. Attractions include the Biltmore Estate, which is not only America's largest home, but has also just been named one of the top 10 architectural wonders by the American Institute of Architects. Outside Magazine has also ranked Asheville as “Best Southern Town” in August, 2007. What makes Asheville a great destination includes its location near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountain National Park, where you can hike, explore waterfalls, bike, fish, and just take in the beauty of the mountains. Asheville has also become quite the artists' community, with numerous art galleries and art events.
I never had a desire to visit Chicago until I did some research and found out all the many different things there are to do there. Stay within the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. Here along North Michigan Avenue (and the streets that intersect) you have a mecca of shopping, dining and cultural experiences, with theaters, museums and galleries. When the weather's right, go relax and get some sun at one of Chicago's many beaches. One of the more popular beaches is Oak Street Beach at 1001 N. Lake Shore Dr. You'll find a wide, sandy beach for sunning, and a lakeside path for biking and running. Just north of Chicago is Illinois Beach State Park which you'll definitely want to visit. The beach features 6 1/2 miles of sandy shore along Lake Michigan.
Don't just take it from me; Boston is one of the most popular cities in America to visit, receiving over 16 million visitors a year. Most tourists visit Boston between May and September, with the best weather in early to mid summer. What's the best way to see Boston? Start with one of the many different tours available, from walking tours to trolley tours to boat tours. My favorites include the Old Town Trolley Chocolate Tour and walking the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail which takes you to 16 historic sites, including the Paul Revere House. The Chocolate Tour? That's pretty self-explanatory. But, you can get more info at trolleytours.com. Sorry to say, but the chocolate tours are only available from January through April.
I'm sure I missed some favorites on my "10 Best Places to Visit in the USA" list. If I missed yours, drop me a comment and let me know some of your favorites.