The 22 Best Places To Travel In The U.S. In 2022


What’s on your travel list for 2022? For the past two years, with borders closed around the globe, Americans have been rediscovering what’s in our own backyard. As a result, domestic travel has never been stronger—or more exciting. According to recent data from Destination Analysts, 87.2% of Americans are excited to plan a vacation in the next 12 months. “While the road to full recovery may be longer than we would like, we are already looking far beyond the pandemic to a brighter, more globally competitive, sustainable, diverse and innovative future for the whole of the U.S. travel industry,” says Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy for the U.S. Travel Association.

Every year, I round up the best places to visit in the U.S. and around the world. This year, in honor of Women’s History Month in March, I tapped into leading women travel experts and influencers to find out the best places to travel in America in 2022. I also opened my own little black book to give a sneak peek at what I’m most excited about. The picks are vast, from buzzing cities to mountain getaways to some up-and-coming locations that you might not know—but that you’ll want to put on your own travel wish list.

For those of you who want to explore beyond the U.S., check out the 23 top places to travel around the world in 2022, where travel experts select the year’s most compelling destinations, from Europe to Africa and beyond.

And a note: Travel in the U.S. is still in a state of flux. So if you’re planning a trip anywhere these days, you should check travel restrictions for the destination you are hoping to visit and consider warnings from the CDC.

The Best Places to Travel in the U.S. in 2022

Where: Alaska

Chosen By: Laura Cole, Top Chef season 15 alum, three-time nominee for a James Beard Best Chef Northwest award and owner of 229 Parks in Denali National Park.

Why: Alaska has always been popular as a cruising destination, but 2022 is the year to get out and explore on land. “Travel throughout the state is allowing people like myself to explore Alaska through the lens of both adventure and food, enjoying fishing, farming and foraging,” says Cole.

Luxury lodges with new year-round experiences include Tordrillo Mountain Lodge on Judd Lake, Eagle’s Nest by Third Edge Heli overlooking the Knik Arm in Wasilla and Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park, as well as luxury tour operators like Pelorus offering experiences to see rare wildlife and wonderful landscapes in remote Alaska.

“I highly recommend visiting Sheldon Chalet in 2022 as they now offer ice cavern exploration in Denali National Park and you can see the aurora from the comfort of your bed from September through April,” says Cole. “It is a truly unique and life-altering place that connects the awe and scope of Denali, the extreme of the range, fosters a connection of natural splendor, amazement of engineering and architecture, while allowing visitors to indulge through food, wine, hospitality and Alaska history.

In other exciting Alaska news: This May will see the release of the new movie Sanctity of Space, which will share the adventures of alpinists Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson as they explore the Moose’s Tooth and the history and wonders of Denali National Park, giving a great perspective on the last frontier.

Where to Go: Santa Ynez Valley, California

Chosen By: A self-described “California girl making her way around the world,” Mia Herman is a writer, traveler, eater, drinker and part-time flight attendant. Follow along on her journey at @travelwithmia or www.travelwithmia.com.

Why: Made famous by the movie Sideways, the Santa Ynez Valley is the buzzing wine region for 2022. It’s best known for the Danish-themed village of Solvang, but there are also plenty of other small towns connected by rural roads, sprawling farms and vineyards—all just two hours north of Los Angeles. “The Santa Ynez Valley feels like classic California wine country, but with a more laid-back, approachable vibe,” says Herman. “It’s less crowded than the other wine regions and still feels like an undiscovered secret, making it the perfect go-to for new wine enthusiasts and devoted wine lovers alike.”

Besides the wine, the food here is spectacular. “Many chefs moved to the area in recent years, and this influx of diverse artistry coupled with the chef-inspired local agriculture allows the Santa Ynez Valley to rival any metropolitan city,” says Herman, who calls the smoked brisket sammie at Industrial Eats in Buellton a “don’t miss.” Other essential stops: Casa Dumetz Wines, Babi’s Beer Emporium and (dim)SAMA in Los Alamos, “which is worth the trip in and of itself.”

Where to go when it’s time to put your feet up? “At Hotel Ynez, you’re in the middle of it all (minutes from Solvang), but you’re tucked away in your own little oasis with a rustic outdoor pavilion, fire pits and your own private patio with a hammock,” says Herman. On the horizon: The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection, opening this spring in an 1880’s stagecoach stop in Los Olivos. The historic site is being reimagined with a modern farmhouse design set amid acres of old-growth palm trees.

Where to Go: Palm Springs, California

Chosen By: Melissa Curtin is a freelance travel and food writer who madly loves California. She is the founder of LaLaScoop.com. Follow her adventures at @lalascoop

Why: Long revered as California’s resort oasis and a hub for arts and design, Greater Palm Springs is the desert hot spot for 2022. “I adore Palm Springs for the peace and quiet, the nonstop fun you can easily seek out and the perpetual sunshine,” says Curtin. “Palm Springs feels like a small community, but has the culture and vibrancy of a large city. There is always something new to discover.”

In 2022, Greater Palm Springs will welcome a number of new hotels and resorts. “I’m super excited about several new properties coming to the desert this year like the 21-room Azure Sky and Hotel ZOSO’s revamped design and refresh, with a new food and beverage program.” Also on the horizon: Sensei Porcupine Creek, Hermann Bungalows and The Paloma Resort, each offering their own unique vibes, from ultra-luxe to wellness-minded.

From Coachella to the BNP Paribas Open, world-renowned events are also coming back on the scene and better than ever. “Modernism Week has expanded to offer more special programming and exclusive tours and events by extending dates to other months like May 12-15 this year,” says Curtin. “Plus, a new Modernism Museum highlighting the best of the modernist era from the 50s to the early 70s is coming soon as an inspirational modernist hub.”

Additionally, in late 2022, the new Coachella Valley Arena will open, serving as the future home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League (AHL), residencies and major concerts. Another exciting arrival: “Soon surfing in the desert will be possible as the Palm Springs Surf Club arrives—designed by surfers for surfers,” says Curtin.

Where to Go: Aspen, Colorado

Chosen By: Katie Jackson has somehow made a living as a fulltime travel writer since 2015 when an African safari turned into seven years of living out of a suitcase. In between trips, she can be found recuperating in Montana. She shares her adventures, and misadventures, on IG @katietalkstravel.

Why: Aspen has always been on the map but, from a celebratory standpoint, 2022 is special as Aspen Snowmass turns 75 years old. New this year is ASPENX—a performance product line by artist and innovator Paula Crown (the Crown family owns Aspen Snowmass). Visitors can rent ASPENX equipment and partake in its unique experiences like a chef’s table, full moon tour, stargazing and even a “snow beach bash.”

“What I love about Aspen is it’s a four-season destination,” says Jackson. “I can visit any time of the year and still feel like I’m experiencing the best it has to offer.” While it’s easy to spend your entire time in Aspen browsing in art galleries and boutiques that attract international shoppers, it seems sacrilegious not to take advantage of the area’s world-class outdoor pursuits. In addition to skiing, this alpine escape offers hiking terrain for all abilities and some of the best leaf peeping west of the Mississippi. Cyclists also flock here to pedal up nearby Independence Pass.

“If I could pull an Eloise and move into any hotel it would be The Little Nell,” says Jackson. “I’ve seen many-a-mini bar and few can top its impressive fridge and cabinet filled specialty drinks and snacks—all included in the nightly rate.” She also enjoys crashing at the historic Hotel Jerome where she camps out at J-Bar and people watches. “You never know which celeb will wander in. Of course, no sighting excites me as much one of the hotel’s resident Bernese Mountain Dog/mascot named Rocky.”

And another option for accommodations in 2022: a new collection of chalets recently unveiled by onefinestay, where guests receive 24/7 support from a dedicated concierge team that can arrange everything from winter warmers and aprés-ski nibbles to grocery delivery and ski lessons for the children, as well as tailored getaways with adrenaline-pumping experiences such as heli-skiing or dog-sledding in Snowmass.

Where to Go: Wilmington, Delaware

Chosen By: A self-proclaimed foodie from Wilmington, Taria Pritchett is a pasta lover and local influencer. Follow her adventures @wilmdegirl.

Why: “Wilmington has the charm of a big city with local favorites that make people feel at home,” says Pritchett. Hometown to President Joe Biden, Greater Wilmington is known for its many gorgeous public gardens; Nemours Gardens & Mansion resembles Versailles in France.

Wilmington’s Riverfront offers breathtaking views, a riverwalk, many restaurants, new hotels, a contemporary art museum, mini golf, a beer garden, and tiki boat cruises along the Christina River. The boat sails past Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, named to honor Harriet Tubman, who traveled along the Underground Railroad in Wilmington, and a local abolitionist named Thomas Garrett, who assisted her multiple times. The Riverfront buzzes with excitement when Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball season is in full swing.

The city’s food scene has emerged as one of the hottest on the East Coast. Bardea and The House of William & Merry’s chefs have been nominated as “Best Chef” semifinalists by the James Bearden Foundation this year. Bardea Steak is one of the most highly anticipated openings. One bustling spot that offers a trifecta of goodness is Miller Road Station, home to Italian favorite La Pizzeria Metro, Wilmington Brewworks, and Sleeping Bird Coffee. Other local favorites that shouldn’t be missed are the comedy lounge, House of Laffs; New Orleans-style dishes and duck-pin bowling at Wilma’s; flat white coffees at Milk & Honey Coffeehouse; and a revived French brasserie at Le Cavalier, housed in the historically iconic Hotel DuPont.

Where to Go: Fort Myers & Sanibel Island, Florida

Chosen By: Chloe Caldwell, senior travel writer for UPROXX, social media coordinator @uproxxlife and freelance copywriter. Follow her on Instagram/Twitter: @chloeicaldwell

Why: “Fort Myers totally surprised me,” says Caldwell. “While it may be lesser known than some other Florida hotspots like Miami or Tampa, there’s still so much to see and do. Aside from the endless sunshine, beautiful beaches (make sure to visit Sanibel Island), and fresh seafood, it’s the unique selection of activities that stood out to me.”

In Downtown Fort Myers, history meets the modern era. A hidden gem along the Gulf Coast, the area is best known for the pristine beaches and wildlife found along its barrier islands, the downtown River District and brick-paved streets lined with Art Deco buildings that preserve the city’s history, while a mix of galleries, micro-breweries and local eateries offer endless opportunities for visitors to explore.

“Sports enthusiasts can catch a spring training game at JetBlue Park, beer lovers can hit up the variety of local breweries, and history buffs can tour Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s old digs,” says Caldwell. “There’s truly something for everyone.” This is especially a great year for west coast travelers to visit the destination, as United Airlines has launched nonstop daily flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). The new service will be running seasonally through May 5, 2022.

Where to Go: Orlando, Florida

Chosen By: Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and author of this column.

Why: It’s an banner year for Orlando, and big credit goes to Walt Disney World Resort. For the past 50 years, The Most Magical Place On Earth has been enchanting generations of travelers with its special brand of happiness. So Disney World’s 50th anniversary event—dubbed the “World’s Most Magical Celebration,”—couldn’t come at a better moment. You’ll find special touches big and small, from 50th anniversary branded Keurig coffee pods in hotel rooms to pop-up parades in the parks to new rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (a reimagining of Paris inspired by the film) and a Guardians of the Galaxy coaster coming to Epcot this summer.

In the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella Castle has never been more dazzling, thanks to a 50th anniversary refresh that includes gold bunting and other enhancements inspired by the art of Disney legend Mary Blair. Cinderella Castle is also the backdrop for the new “Disney Enchantment” fireworks and lighting projection show (just one of many new shows in honor of the big celebration).

There are also exciting new restaurants, from La Crêperie de Paris in Epcot to Steakhouse 71, a sophisticated steak spot at the Contemporary Resort (tip: It’s an ideal place to eat, just a short Monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom). On the hotel front, the big news is Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which welcomes guests for immersive, all-inclusive two-night adventures that include secret missions, character bonding and intergalactic cuisine. It’s like being in a galaxy far, far away.

Beyond Disney World, there’s lots of news in Orlando itself, including the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park at Legoland, Steinmetz Hall (an acoustically perfect theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts), ette Hotel Orlando (a wellness property with culinary experiences in partnership with Michelin Star Chef Akira Back) and Art² (an urban park featuring a two-story shipping container).

Where to Go: The Palm Beaches, Florida

Chosen By: Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Atlanta-based freelance journalist, editor and author. Follow her on her website or on Instagram: @jenniferbfranklin.

Why: “The Palm Beaches surprised me in the best possible way,” says Franklin. “I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice in the last year for assignments, once in Palm Beach and once in Boca Raton. Part of the joy of the destination is that each town within The Palm Beaches has its own flavor and personality, and there are plenty of properties that let you tailor your stay however you want. Plus, it’s hard to complain about the tropical weather and seemingly endless miles of beaches to enjoy.”

“If you’re looking for a resort with so much to explore that you’ll never need to venture off-property, it’s hard to do better than The Boca Raton (in Boca Raton, naturally),” says Franklin. Originally built by architecture visionary Addison Misner in 1926, the resort now comprises five distinct hotels totaling more than 1,000 rooms. “Now under new management, the upgrades are evident, from restoring Cloister back to its original coastal white to bringing on new restaurant partners. Speaking of dining, don’t miss Major Food Group’s The Flamingo Grill (Instagram heaven with waiters in pink dinner jackets and dishes such as Caesar salad and bananas foster prepared tableside) and Sadelle’s, of NYC brunch fame,” says Franklin. Spend the day on the wide beach or in a private cabana in the newly renovated Harborside Pool Club, not to mention miles of golf courses and the 50,000-square-foot Spa Palmera, with 44 treatment rooms designed by Colin Cowie.

“To stay in the thick of things on Palm Beach itself, I wholeheartedly recommend White Elephant Palm Beach,” says Franklin. The new art-filled 13-room, 19-suite Mediterranean revival property was originally the Bradley Park Hotel, built in 1924 but got a top-to-bottom renovation in 2020. “Positioned conveniently downtown, you can be at all of the best Worth Avenue shops in a few minutes. Some of my favorites, aside from every A-list designer you can imagine, include il Sandalo of Capri, Blesk Jewelry, and Coastal Girls,” says Franklin. “The hotel will set you up with chairs, umbrellas and towels at the nearby beach, and they’ll even bring you anything you want from the hotel’s menu—the service is to die for.” Other things not to miss: Have a drink poolside at Swifty’s delightfully retro (and pink!) The Colony hotel, visit the sprawling 75-room Henry Morrison Flagler Museum for a glimpse at the area’s Gilded Age roots, and spring for a meal at HMF (named for Flagler) at The Breakers. “You won’t be disappointed!” says Franklin.

Where to Go: Kauai, Hawaii

Chosen By: A Dallas-based travel blogger, Jasmine Alley is a nature-obsessed wanderer and photographer (she’s a sucker for a great view!). See her travel adventures and recommendations at www.jasminealley.com or @jasminealley.

Why: With Hawaii recently dropping restrictions related to its Safe Travels program, travelers are officially welcomed back to the idyllic island chain, with Kauai rising as a standout destination for those looking for a strong dose of authentic Hawaiian culture while escaping the typical crowds of its sister islands. Affectionately known as The Garden Island, much of Kauai is a pristine emerald escape, and according to Alley, “a lush paradise great for both adventure-seekers and those looking to simply relax.”

The breathtaking landscapes—from mountains and canyons to lapping azure beaches—offer something for everyone. “For those Jurassic Park-esque views that Kauai is known for, you’ll want to see the rugged Napali Coast. There are three main ways to see it: a boat tour, helicopter tour (we loved the Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure with Island Helicopters), or hike,” says Alley. “You’ll need to reserve a day pass to hike the Kalalau Trail, located at Haena State Park at the end of the road up north.”

Craving a beach day? Check out Hanalei Bay. “Located on the North Shore, it offers the perfect mix of dramatic mountain views, lush palm trees and gorgeous sand lining the crescent-shaped bay,” says Alley. “Drive a bit further north and you’ll reach Tunnels Beach, a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.”

As for lodgings, Alley recommends staying in a central location like Kapa’a or Lihue. “If you’re looking for luxury, Timbers Kauai at Hokuala is an incredible oceanfront property. Even if you don’t stay there, their restaurant, Hualani’s, is a must, serving up a fresh menu with local ingredients from their on-site organic farm, Hōkūala. To this day, their Hanalei Bae cocktail is the best cocktail I’ve ever had,” says Alley. “And I highly recommend the Banana Lumpia for dessert.”

In terms of culinary offerings, Alley advises both beloved and under the radar locales along the north shore: “While in Hanalei, don’t miss out on some great North Shore food spots. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Holey Grail donuts (made from Hawaiian-grown taro root), Wishing Well Shave Ice (their organic, housemade coconut flavor pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top) or Nourish Hanalei (a tiny orange hut that serves acai bowls and smoothies with arguably the best views over Hanalei).”

Where to Go: Idaho

Chosen By: Emily Mandagie, a Pacific Northwest-based travel writer and photographer behind the site “The Mandagies.” Follow her on Instagram.

Why: This is a big year for Idaho. “It often gets overshadowed by its epic neighbors to the west, but Idaho is very much worth its own adventure, too,” says Mandagie. “From high desert terrain to ancient cedar groves (yes, these exist outside of just the Redwoods), to epic backpacking and rafting trips, there’s something for everyone.”

For your own private Idaho, you’ll find more options than ever to get off the grid in secluded mountain settings. Sun Valley Trekking wilderness yurts is an amazing way to get into the backcountry but with luxuries like a wood-fired sauna. If that’s too extreme, the Crystal Peak Lookout is a fire lookout tower stay, accessed via a vintage snowcat (as a small add-on to the Airbnb’s winter price). “For an iconic mountain experience, plan a weekend backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley. After 10+ miles on the trail, venture out to one of many natural Idaho hot springs and soak away your sore muscles,” says Mandagie.

Need even more space and privacy? There’s a new option to book an entire ski resort to yourself for a day with Soldier Mountain’s My Mountain package. Speaking of skiing, Schweitzer Mountain Resort (with some of the best powder in the Northwest) has welcomed the modern Humbird Hotel, while independently-owned Tamarack Resort has new snowmaking capabilities and a brand-new spa aimed at helping guests recover from big days on the slopes.

“Looking for warmer weather? Southern Idaho boasts high-desert terrain mixed with roaring waterfalls in every direction,” says Mandagie. “Spend a few days in Twin Falls to explore more than 10 waterfalls right in the vicinity. Shoshone Falls is the most iconic, followed by Perrine Coulee Falls and Pillar Falls, to name a few. The Perrine Memorial Bridge is also a famous spot for base jumping.”

Other developments: Boise has a Basque history and 2022 marks the return of a huge cultural festival, Jaialdi. Outside of the festival, Boise’s Basque scene can be enjoyed at newcomer restaurant Ansots, which is making its own Basque sausages and bacon from family recipes.

Where to Go: Bloomington, Indiana

Chosen By: Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and author of this column.

Why: A must-stop on any Midwest road trip and one of the best small towns in the U.S., this Hoosier city should be on your radar for 2022, thanks to its buzzing cuisine and rich culture.

Turkish, Tibetan, Venezuelan, Burmese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, French, Japanese—if you can find it on a globe, you can find that food in Bloomington. Big culinary news includes The Elm, a new restaurant serving up spice profiles from the Mediterranean and North Africa, plus Small Favors Bar, a new farm-to-fork restaurant with a goal to source ingredients from farmers within a 50-mile radius. The city is also home to one of the Midwest’s best Tibetan restaurants, Anyetsang’s Little Tibet (operated by a Tibetan refugee and former monk) and Oliver Winery, Indiana’s largest and oldest winery, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

On the culture front, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University recently completed a three-year, $30 million renovation that added another permanent gallery to the I.M. Pei designed museum. Explore the country’s only Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center with self-guided walking tours, meditation classes and a stay in an onsite yurt (no TVs or electronics). Other big news: Bloomington’s first park, Cascades Park, and the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater both celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2022.

Where to Go: Louisville, Kentucky

Chosen By: Kay Kingsman, travel writer and blogger at The Awkward Traveller.

Why: “Picture your favorite getaway destination, now subtract the crowds,” says Kingsman. Louisville has plenty of charm and relaxation along with attractions to please a variety of travelers. “Sports fans will enjoy the Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center, history buffs can see the meeting spot of Lewis and Clark (and York) and there are tons of unique boutique shops down on Market Street for those who like to shop and support locals,” says Kingsman.

Other essential new stops include The Black Heritage Tour Collection, which celebrates its second year with programming and exhibits showcasing African American contributions to the city’s history and culture, and the new Roots 101 African American Museum, which calls itself a “healing place” where visitors can come and experience art, music, artifacts and education.

Louisville’s real showstopper is the food, especially the mom and pop establishments. “Definitely check out Yummy Pollo, The Black Italian, SuperChefs and Mack Bros BBQ—you gotta try the BBQ,” says Kingsman. Other new entries include Ashlee Northington’s Happy Belly Bistro, which started as a food truck, and is now serving her rotating menu of fusion foods as a permanent kiosk inside Ten20 Craft Brewery. The Urban Bourbon Trail added Brough Brothers, the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky, along with The Craftery, its first DIY bar.

When it comes to places to stay, downtown’s new Grady Hotel has a décor that pays homage to one of the 1883 building’s original tenants, the Swann-Abram Hat Co., designer of world-famous Kentucky Derby hats. After an $80 million renovation, the city’s only waterfront hotel, the Galt House, is open once again and features Swizzle Dinner & Drinks, a revolving restaurant with spectacular Ohio River views. Kingsman is also a fan of the 21c Museum Hotel: “It’s walking distance to the nearest bourbon tasting room.”

The fun doesn’t have to stop at the city limit. An hour outside of Louisville is Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest known cave system in the world. Over the past year, the National Park Service has implemented an updated tour reservation system for a more organized visit. “The National Park sometimes sells out weeks in advance, so you can also check out a few of the nearby caves like the American Cave Museum that have same-day tours and have also expanded their cave routes to provide visitors with new experiences.”

Where to Go: Lake Charles, Louisiana

Chosen By: Danielle Granger Nava, creator of DanielleNava.com, the Front Porch Series and social media accounts for the Charpentier Historic District in Lake Charles. Follow her on Instagram.

Why: After 18 months of recovery from back-to-back hurricanes, Lake Charles, Louisiana is ready to welcome back visitors and show them what they’ve been missing. Known for its juxtaposition of luxury and the great outdoors, Lake Charles has a blend of cultures, music, cuisine and traditions that make this southwest corner of the state a must-visit when traveling along Interstate 10 between Houston and New Orleans.

The area boasts two side-by-side gaming resorts—L’Auberge Casino Resort and Golden Nugget—each with a wide array of dining selections, entertainment options, lazy rivers with swim-up bars, golf and spa facilities. Along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, you’ll find alligators, nature’s bounty and gorgeous Gulf beaches.

“If you’re looking for the ultimate Louisiana experience, then do not sleep on Lake Charles. You can start your day spotting the wildlife down in Cameron and then come downtown for amazing food—I highly recommend the boudin quesadillas at Tia Juanitas—and end your night with some music, cocktails and a great sunset view at the casinos,” says Nava. “At some point you might want to consider getting a daiquiri to-go just to complete the experience.”

The arts community is strong, too, thanks to all the Cajun and Creole influences and cuisine here is an attraction in and of itself, from the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail to the Crying Eagle Brewing Company (complete with a beer garden and an outdoor stage) to jazz brunches with over-the-top Bloody Marys. “The best part about living downtown is being able to walk to all the festivals we have. One day it’s all the free gumbo your stomach can handle and then the next weekend it’s live music at our open-air theater,” says Nava. “It never stops.”

Where to Go: North Adams, Massachusetts

Chosen By: Melissa Klurman—travel expert and contributor at Reader’s Digest, The Points Guy and Travel Awaits.

Why: “I fell in love with this art-infused town in the Berkshires when I first visited MASS MoCA,” says Klurman. “This contemporary arts center is home to both visual and performing arts and sports massive installations in the roomy former Sprague Electric Company Plant (think an entire building devoted just to wall-size Sol deWitt murals and whole rooms devoted to Jenny Holzer, Louis Bourgeois, and James Turrell).” With 28 buildings spread over 16 acres, there’s an enormous amount to see and experience—and eat, too. On the premises are food trucks, an ice cream and coffee shop and a craft brewery. “And after a long pandemic hiatus, 2022 brings the return of the live summer shows that the museum complex is known for,” says Klueman. “First up: Memorial Day’s Solid Sound Festival headlined by Wilco, featuring multiple stages and several days of live music.”

The best spot to stay in North Adams is Porches Inn, a series of mill worker houses transformed into a boutique hotel bed and breakfast. “Each room is cozy and unique—and yes, there are plenty of porches (with views of MASS MoCA) where you can sit and rock, plus there’s a nicely landscaped pool out back,” says Klurman. New for 2022, Porches’s owners have transformed an old Main Street hotel into the hip and affordable Hotel Downstreet, just around the corner from the arts center. It’s scheduled to open its doors in April.

Where to Go: Jackson, Mississippi

Chosen By: Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and author of this column.

Why: Celebrating 200 years of history, Jackson, Mississippi, has earned a reputation for being the “City with Soul.” As it marks its bicentennial, visitors are making the pilgrimage to this vibrant community to experience its culture, thriving arts scene, annual events and exciting dining destinations.

From its early beginnings where First American settlements dominated the landscape to its social justice initiatives during the Civil Rights Movement, every street has a story waiting to be revealed. History buffs will find they’re in their element as they explore the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Epicureans can tantalize their taste buds at some of the city’s most notable restaurants, including Walker’s Drive-In, Lou’s Full-Serve and the Pig & Pint.

With an array of yearlong events that reflects Jackson’s past while embracing its future, visitors will gain a better understanding of the people and events that have shaped this city. Exhibitions, such as “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration,” showcases the works of 13 renowned African American artists while examining the deep impact of the Great Migration. Jackson’s public art installations add to the city’s streetscape giving passersby a reason to pause and appreciate the works before them.

Where to Go: The Catskills, New York

Chosen By: Tyler Wetherall is a journalist, screenwriter, teacher and author

Why: “The Catskills is stunning. It has waterfalls, forests, the lot, and that’s why tourists have visited in droves—especially artists—for well over a hundred years,” says Wetherall. “Just try to visit in Fall and not feel in awe.” A period of economic decline, however, followed the demise of Borscht Belt-era resorts, leaving Main Streets across the region boarded up. In a familiar story, the last two decades have seen proactive creative folk buying up properties and transforming them into local business ventures across all four counties (Ulster; Sullivan; Delaware and Greene)—going into overdrive these last two years, as city dwellers flocked upstate. Now those once-boarded up Main Streets in towns like Livingston Manor, Kingston and Windham are thriving, dotted with new independent shops, restaurants, breweries and bars, becoming destinations in their own right.

“So much of this change has been driven by people relocating to the Catskills with a vision, as well as the gumption and resources to enact it,” says Wetherall. Just look at the cluster of design-forward hotels that have opened in recent years: Urban Cowboy; Eastwind Hotel & Bar and Hutton Brickyards, with more to come in 2022 like AutoCamp Catskills’ newest airstreams; Wylder Windham, luxurious Chatwal Lodge and Wildflower Farms. A collection of new restaurants, breweries and tasting experiences are found at the sweet Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery; picturesque Hudson House Distillery, Southeast Asian-inspired Good Night; unassuming yet eclectic Hollow and massive TAP New York Craft Beer & Food Festival at Bethel Woods.

The natural beauty, of course, remains—thankfully protected and even more easily accessible with the recently completed Empire State Trail, the ever-evolving fly-fishing scene and updated rail trails like Ashokan. Best of all: You can road trip through the region, hopping from one great town to the next.

Where to Go: Central Oregon

Chosen By: Cathy Carroll, Bend-based journalist and managing editor of Statehood Media’s 1859-Oregon’s Magazine and 1889-Washington’s Magazine. Follow her on Instagram to soak up the best of a broadened horizon (@cathycarroll21).

Why: “Like a mountain man who’s gotten in touch with his feelings, Bend has come of age with trending new microbreweries, hotels, spas and boutiques,” says Carroll. Add in some of America’s best landscapes and this area will make your heart pound year-round. “Mt. Bachelor is known for its powder wow factor with one of the country’s longest ski seasons,” says Carroll. “In summer, it rolls out a green carpet for hiking, downhill mountain biking, paddling impossibly clear lakes, ziplining and a chairlift ride to one of the best dining experiences at nearly 7,000 feet.”

According to Carroll, that’s just the tip of the (dormant) volcano when it comes to adventures. “Climb or meander amid Smith Rock State Park’s towering spires. Paddle through Bend on the Deschutes River and hop out on the banks of the Old Mill District to hit the shops, dine and hear national acts at outdoor concerts. Get up close to magnificent raptors at the nationally acclaimed High Desert Museum,” says Carroll.

Where to stay? “Hop on a snowcat for an idyllic winter’s night at Elk Lake Resort or spend a summer’s day boating and swimming through the reflection of snowcapped mountains,” says Carroll. You can also gather the extended family in a mountain-chic home at Tetherow or Brasada Ranch. “Or soak up vintage camp vibes right in Bend at the new Campfire Hotel,” says Carroll. “Hang at the fire pit, strum a locally made Breedlove guitar and sip local spirits after a swim or soak in the saltwater pool and hot tub.”

Where to Go: Houston, Texas

Chosen By: Mariana Cano is a bilingual lifestyle, travel and parenting blogger at yomariana.com and podcaster at Ciudad H. She was born and raised in Mexico City, has lived in Houston for the past 17 years and travels the world with her family of five. Follow her on Instagram @yomarianablog.

Why: “As one of the most diverse cities in the United States, Houston boasts an exciting mix of cultures, food, art, sport and green space to explore,” says Cano. “The city’s harmonizing diversity is what makes ‘H-town’ truly unique.”

In 2022, foodies from near and far will find paradise in Houston’s vast culinary scene. “The famous culinary show, Top Chef, recently named Houston as one of the top gastronomic cities in the country,” says Cano. “From an intimate Asian dining experience meticulously curated at Hidden Omakase to a majestic food-centric journey through India at Mussafer, or an authentic Oaxaqueñan mole flight at Xochi to a cosmopolitan design escapade with exquisite, reinvented paellas at MAD, Houston transports food lovers to faraway countries with one instantaneous bite.”

For art enthusiasts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building has created a buzz with its masterful architectural design and one of the world’s largest Latin-American art collections. “The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel are also must-visit art destinations,” says Cano. “Compelling social spaces like downtown’s POST, a renovated post office transformed into a multi-use complex, offers Houstonians and visitors a place to co-work, enjoy cultural events, grab a bite from the expansive food hall, or listen to live music at the brand-new 713 Music Hall.”

Where to Go: Virginia Beach

Chosen By: Robin Catalano, a travel writer who specializes in coastal and waterfront experiences.

Why: Stretching for 35 miles along the Atlantic coast, Virginia Beach is easygoing and eclectic, with attractions to satisfy travelers of all ages. “Picturesque beaches, outstanding outdoor recreation, growing arts and food scenes—all within a few hours’ flight from most of the United States,” says Catalano.

Pick up the Get Outdoors Pass for discounted admission to whale watching, dolphin kayaking tours, nature preserves, and more. Watch 17 sailing teams glide for glory in the Worrell 1000, a 1,000-mile catamaran race, which returns to Virginia Beach in May. Or ride the waves in the East Coast Surfing Championship, the world’s longest-running competition, in August.

Back on land, small yet mighty Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art will host a solo exhibition by renowned sculptor and architect Maya Lin. Meanwhile, the flourishing ViBe Creative District is home to vibrant public art, open studios, and shops. In October, nearly 200 artists take over the city’s iconic Boardwalk for the three-day, juried Virginia MOCA Boardwalk Art Show.

In a city with more than 250 restaurants, it’s easy to find a palate-pleasing option. “I’m looking forward to the June debut of Waterman Spirits Distillery, from Waterman’s Surfside Grill, originator of Virginia Beach’s signature drink, the Orange Crush,” says Catalano. Other new food and drink venues include the Shipyard at 17th Street Craft Brewery, and pizza crafter the Mellow Mushroom.

Among the many waterfront hotels, the newly remodeled Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel offers family- and pet-friendly accommodations mere steps from the sand and sea.

Where to Go: Walla Walla, Washington

Chosen By: A self-described “California girl making her way around the world,” Mia Herman is a writer, traveler, eater, drinker and part-time flight attendant. Follow along on her journey at @travelwithmia or www.travelwithmia.com.

Why: When you say “Washington State,” people immediately think of Seattle—but that’s not the only place worth visiting. “On the drier, sunnier side of the Cascades is Walla Walla, the town so nice they named it twice,” says Herman. “The perfect mix of rural-chic and classic Americana, Walla Walla is known as the capital of Washington wine country.” Home to more than 120 wineries, Walla Walla has been named “America’s Best Wine Region” two years in a row by the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

This small town is bursting with historical and cultural sites, art galleries, artisan shops and farm-to-table dining that highlights the region’s agricultural roots including the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. “One of the best places to eat is TMACS, a pioneer of the culinary renaissance in Walla Walla that’s famous for its locally-inspired dishes,” says Herman. And don’t miss a stop at Walla Walla Bread Company, but be sure to bring your appetite. “The portions are large and the flavors are abundant,” says Herman. “Go for traditional bacon and egg breakfast or opt for one of their incredible pastries made by co-owner and recent Food Network Best Baker in America contestant, Michele Pompei.”

When it comes to accommodations, look no further than Eritage Resort with 10 sleek bungalows. “It’s located amidst rolling vineyards just minutes from downtown, but it feels like you’re worlds away,” says Herman. For something grander, try Yellowhawk. “This rustic, luxury resort sits on 84 acres and features farm-style dining, an array of sparkling wines, a pool with cabanas, waterfalls and lush gardens,” says Herman.

Where to Go: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Chosen By: Mary Bergin, whose upcoming book, Small Town Wisconsin: Fun, Surprising and Exceptional Road Trips (Globe Pequot Press), includes Yerkes Observatory. The three-time Lowell Thomas award winner lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Why: The holy grail of astronomy, indoor glamping, a pair of giraffes, French and Hawaiian cuisine, Dungeons and Dragons—there’s a lot going on in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

“Most people visit Geneva Lake for a vacation, but astronomers know of it as an extraordinary place to work. On the lakeshore is Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics, reopening for public tours this year,” says Bergin. “The 50-acre campus is grand, inside and out: Landscape architect pioneer Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds. Inside is the world’s largest refracting telescope.” The grounds of the Observatory are being restored to their original plan as part of the “Olmsted 200” campaign to honor the bicentennial of the birth of Olmsted in 2022.

After a day of seeing stars, check out Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, with award-winning dining, two championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, horseback riding, scooter rentals, hiking trails, a WELL Spa + Salon, state-of-the-art fitness center, award winning dining and an on-site waterpark at sister resort Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark. Another exciting new place to stay: The Main Street Loft by Keefe Vacation Rentals, an indoor glamping experience.

Other big news in Lake Geneva: For Fans of Dungeons and Dragons, The Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum is now open in the original 1976 home of TSR, the founding company of the famous role-playing game. And at the family-owned Safari Lake Geneva, two giraffes have been added to its animal menagerie as a way to highlight the giraffe population decline in Africa.

Where to Go: Wyoming

Chosen By: Katie Jackson has somehow made a living as a fulltime travel writer since 2015 when an African safari turned into seven years of living out of a suitcase. In between trips, she can be found recuperating in Montana. She shares her adventures, and misadventures, on IG @katietalkstravel.

Why: Yellowstone National Park, the Cowboy State’s unofficial crown jewel, turns 150 years old in 2022. This summer visitors can be the first to see the new Teepee Village, courtesy of a partnership with several Tribal Nations, which will be at the Roosevelt Arch July to August. In August, Old Faithful will be the site of the Yellowstone Historic Vehicles Display showcasing all the vehicles people have used to see the park since it was founded in 1872.

Summer is peak season, so book your accommodations ASAP. Yellowstone’s accommodations—some of the most iconic examples of “parkitecture”—include Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, Old Faithful Inn and Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins. Neighboring Grand Teton National Park also belongs on every national park bucket list. To visit both parks on the same trip, make Jackson Hole your home base.

“Last July, my dad and I had a blast staying at Snow King Resort in downtown Jackson,” recalls Jackson. “We rode its popular Cowboy Coaster down the mountain—I’ve never seen my 66-year-old father laugh so hard—and I can’t wait to return in August when Snow King debuts its new 9,000-square-foot spa.”

In addition to national parks, Wyoming has Cheyenne—famous for its Frontier Days (July 22-31) which claims to be the largest outdoor rodeo in the world—and Cody, home to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West which boasts five world-class museums under one roof. In Cody, Jackson recommends staying at the historic Chamberlin Inn. “As a writer, one of my fondest memories is the time I got to spend the night in the Hemingway room—where Ernest Hemingway stayed during his visit to Cody.”

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