“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an influx of travelers looking to escape to the slow pace of nature, researching destinations like well-known national parks, scenic beaches and small mountain towns. The trend continues this year, especially as tourists continue to adhere to CDC travel guidelines and seek vacation spots with space to spread out,” said Christine Smith, senior travel editor at U.S. News. “The U.S. News Best Vacations lists highlight a wide variety of destinations both close to home and abroad, helping tourists find the best spot to match their interests and wallet.”
New Zealand’s South Island, with its breathtaking mountain views, wide range of extreme sports and stunning golden beaches, takes the top spot on the World’s Best Places to Visit. Paris, known for top tourist attractions, legendary cuisine and unique charm, comes in at No. 2. Bora Bora at No. 3, Maui, Hawaii, at No. 4 and Tahiti at No. 5 round out the top five destinations. As more countries reopen to Americans and domestic locales are ready to welcome visitors, the rankings can guide consumers toward planning their next much-anticipated vacation.
Once again, the calming appeal of forests, canyons and mountain ranges lands national parks at the top of the Best Places to Visit in the USA list. Grand Canyon National Park tops the ranking, followed by Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Maui, Hawaii, and Glacier National Park. The unmatched views at each destination provide a quiet escape from the chaos of the home office. The new list of the Best Mountain Towns to Visit in the USA also offers the best of both worlds to travelers looking to hike or bike while still enjoying the comforts of small-town life. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, leads that list, followed by Bar Harbor, Maine, and Telluride, Colorado, rounding out the top three.
For those who wish to stay close to home or just want a quick escape, the lists of the Best Weekend Getaways in the South and the Best Weekend Getaways in the Midwest offer spots known for their welcoming locals and ample activities, including Asheville, North Carolina, and Chicago. Adventurers with a bit more time on their hands can explore a spot on the Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA. Bar Harbor, Maine, leads this list, boasting lots of East Coast charm, superb whale watching opportunities and easy access to Acadia National Park.
U.S. News analyzed more than 1,100 destinations using a methodology that combines travelers’ opinions, as provided by user votes, with expert and editor analysis. Each destination is scored in 10 categories, from sights, culture and food to nightlife, adventure and romance, offering a comprehensive evaluation of each destination.
2021-22 U.S. News & World Report Best Vacations Rankings
See the full rankings here.
- South Island, New Zealand
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Maui, Hawaii
- Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Maui, Hawaii
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Washington, D.C.
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Williamsburg, Virginia
- Bar Harbor, Maine
- Telluride, Colorado
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
- Sedona, Arizona
- Playa del Carmen
- St. Lucia
- British Virgin Islands
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- St. Vincent and The Grenadines
About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower citizens, consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.