What are your travel plans for 2022? With many borders closed around the world in the last two years, Americans have been rediscovering destinations in their own backyard. Domestic travel has never been stronger—or more exciting—as a result. According to Destination Analysts, 87.2% of Americans plan to take a vacation in the next 12 months. Every year, I compile a list of the best places to visit in the United States and around the world. In honor of Women’s History Month in March, I consulted with leading female travel experts and influencers to determine the best places to visit in America in 2022. I also opened my own little black book to give you a sneak peek at the places I’m most excited to visit. The options range from buzzing cities to mountain retreats to some up-and-coming destinations you might not know about but will want to add to your own travel wish list.
The Best Places to Travel in the U.S. in 2022
Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park is one of the best places to visit in the United States for nature lovers. Mt. Denali, North America’s highest peak, is located there (also known as Mount McKinley). You’ll also come across untouched Alaskan wilderness at every turn, as well as a plethora of unique animal species. Grizzly bears, moose, wolves, and caribou, among other exotic animals and plants, can be found in the park. Because there is no light pollution here, stargazing is a must. The Northern Lights can also be seen during the winter months. Many other visitors come to experience the arctic tundra landscapes by dog sledding. It’s truly fantastic! If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind national park to add to your bucket list, Denali won’t disappoint. It is without a doubt one of the most unusual travel destinations in the United States.
Nā Pali Coast, Hawaii
The Npali Coast, located on the island of Kauai, is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. It’s a holy place with some of the world’s most iconic sea arches and waterfalls. Consider taking a boat or helicopter tour to get a closer look at these magnificent landscapes. While you’re here, consider going snorkeling or hiking! Add the Npali Coast to your bucket list for an unforgettable sightseeing experience. It’s one of those places in the United States that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Our journey begins in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, north of the Lower 48. This cold-weather national park in southern Alaska contains 38 glaciers and numerous fjords. It also has one of the largest icefields in the United States, the Harding Icefield, which was named after former United States President Warren G. Harding, who visited there in the 1920s. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, sea lions, and black bears in Kenai Fjords National Park.
Cool places to visit in the United States come in all shapes and sizes, and this one is truly one-of-a-kind. It’s also one of the most beautiful islands in the world. This is why: Molokai is completely different from the other Hawaiian islands. Despite being tropical and inviting, this rustic location has not drawn the crowds that the other islands have. That is precisely what distinguishes it as unique, special, and one of the best-hidden gems in the United States. There are no resorts or beach clubs on Molokai (though there are plenty of beautiful beaches). There are no buildings taller than a palm tree. Instead, you’ll find untouched nature and a remarkably well-preserved authentic culture. Look no further than the shores of Molokai to see what the rest of Hawaii looked like 100 years ago. Consider staying in a one-of-a-kind beachfront vacation home for an authentic, immersive experience. This incredible hidden gem is waiting for you.
Big Sur, California
The Big Sur, located just south of San Francisco, offers an epic road trip adventure.
Driving along the Big Sur coast is an unforgettable experience. The winding, serpentine roads of Highway 1 can be intimidating at times, but the breathtaking views more than compensate. This route follows the Pacific Coast Highway from Southern California to Washington State. You won’t want to miss this if you’re planning a trip to the West Coast! This rugged stretch of coastline in Central California stretches from Carmel to San Simeon. You’ll see scenic cliffs, beautiful beaches, state parks, and bridges along your Big Sur road trip adventure. As a result, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful bucket-list destinations in the United States. If you have time, you should definitely visit Muir Woods, which is located just north of San Francisco on Highway 1. It’s a must-see attraction for anyone visiting California.
Mount Rainier, Washington
Mount Rainier is both massive and stunning. It is one of the Pacific Northwest’s tallest mountains, towering 14,410 feet (4,392 m) above the Washington landscape. This magnificent mountain serves as an epic backdrop to the nearby Seattle skyline and Puget Sound. This iconic mountain is also an active volcano, with the most recent eruption occurring in 1894. Mount Rainier’s volcanic cone is hidden behind the glaciated peaks. Mount Rainier can be seen from Victoria, British Columbia, over 114 miles away, on a clear day. With such beautiful scenery, it’s no surprise that this is one of the best places to visit in the United States.
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
When you have Lake Tahoe, who needs the Alps? Of course, I’m joking, but you should definitely check out this place. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States, located in the Sierra Nevada region between California and Nevada. It is surrounded by rocky mountains and lush forests, making it one of the most distinctive year-round travel destinations in the United States. With its beautiful scenery and ideal weather, it’s also a popular location for wellness retreats. Lake Tahoe is a popular summer and winter destination for swimming and water sports. It’s also a popular Sacramento day trip. Because of its versatility, it is one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in the United States.
The Palouse, Washington, and Idaho
The Palouse region is characterized by gently rolling hills and prairies. The Palouse, formed by wind-blown sediments, is a one-of-a-kind spectacle that winds through Washington and Idaho. Due to the lack of continuous valleys or ridges, geologists believe that these hills were formed by wind-blown silt rather than rivers or streams. Its agricultural landscape is often compared to Tuscany, though instead of vineyards, it has wheat fields.
Yosemite National Park, California
California has nine national parks, with Yosemite being one of the best. Yosemite National Park, located four hours east of San Francisco, is a natural sanctuary teeming with deep valleys, gushing waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. The granite cliffs and giant sequoia trees of Yosemite National Park are also well-known. Yosemite Valley, a massive glacial valley surrounded by granite peaks, is the park’s most famous sight. Its depths are home to a variety of pine trees and streams. I recently visited Yosemite as part of a Globus organized tour and would recommend it to anyone.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Looking for a cool hiking trail in the Pacific Northwest to chase waterfalls? Wait till you see Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Falls, a year-round waterfall with a 611-foot drop, is fed by underground springs and runoff from a nearby mountain. It is one of the most unique sights and natural treasures in the United States. Multnomah Falls is accessible via two hiking trails connected by a charming bridge. This magnificent waterfall is located in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, just 30 minutes from Portland. Not only is it a must-see in Oregon, but it’s also one of the coolest places to visit in the United States.