Lonely Planet's top picks
Lonely Planet, named the No. 1 guidebook publisher in the world, announced its top 10 U.S. travel destinations for 2013 — and we couldn't agree more with their choices! Packed with variety and plenty to do, these destinations aren't ones you'll want to miss.
With the release of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013, showcasing the best places to travel all over the world, Lonely Planet's best U.S.-based authors and editors sat down to compile the top 10 U.S. destinations for 2013. Spread all across the U.S., these hot spots need to be moved to the top of your list for best places to travel to within the next year.
The ranked list, starting with No. 10, includes:
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is the perfect place for the outdoorsy, adventurous types. Located in the heart of Montana, the park sits on more than 1 million acres and attracts more than 2 million visitors each year. From backpacking deep within Glacier's intense interior to hiking over 700 miles of trails on two mountain ranges to horseback riding and boating, plan on staying at least a few days to experience as much as you can. The best time to go is June through September.
Verde Valley, Arizona
Verde Valley is located in central Arizona surrounded by popular tourist cities such as Jerome, Sedona and Cottonwood. Surrounded by red rocks and situated on the Verde River, the sites are breathtaking and the exploring is never ending. Hiking, shopping and kayaking are just a few things to do, but the main reason people visit the charming town is for the wineries. There are four vineyards to choose from – one to which you kayak through the beautiful, green canyons.
Twin Cities, Minnesota
Minneapolis and Saint Paul — known as Minnesota's Twin Cities — are two totally different cities with downtown districts sitting just 9 miles apart. Minneapolis draws in the younger crowd, with modern skyscrapers, chic restaurants and bars and high-end shopping. Saint Paul, on the other hand, is full of quaint neighborhoods and Victorian-style architecture, much like a cozy European city. Whichever you prefer, we're certain you'll find something to love about Twin Cities, Minnesota.
Northern Maine, Maine
Northern Maine has cold winters and beautiful summers, making it a fun place to visit anytime of the year. Come during the fall or winter and enjoy apple picking, ice fishing, snowboarding and dog sledding. The summer and spring seasons make for beautiful hiking, golfing, white water rafting, camping and biking. The summer also brings plenty of festivals to attend in the evenings.
Eastern Sierra, California
No matter what your recreational interests are, the Eastern Sierra will meet your needs. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and famous for downhill skiing at Mammoth Mountain, Eastern Sierra is your place for backpacking, hot air ballooning, hot tubbing, golfing, sightseeing and more. Come hungry, because Eastern Sierra has more than enough dining options — from quick burgers to romantic dinners for two and five-star fine dining — to satisfy any craving.
Ranked at No. 5, American Samoa is located in the South Pacific Ocean; in other words, it's a Polynesian Paradise. The island — located between Hawaii and New Zealand — was made for those looking to escape and relax. Drive up to the village to enjoy breathtaking views of Pago Pago Harbor down below, hike down bays that will lead you to secluded beaches, visit a local church or go shopping. Prices are significantly cheaper than anywhere else in the U.S., so bring extra luggage to take your goodies home!
Philadelphia is the fifth most-populous city in the United States. It's the birthplace of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, offering everything from cobblestone streets to culinary and ethnic treasures. Plan on staying at least a few days (preferably a week) so you can experience the remarkable museums, vibrant nightlife, world-class cuisine and historic countryside without feeling rushed.
San Juan Islands, Washington
As a part of Washington, the San Juan Islands are a group of four islands accessible by ferry. Each island offers a variety of things to do for the adventurous, spontaneous traveler or for the organized, relaxed sightseer. From whale watching, kayaking and hiking to art galleries, boutiques and spas, San Juan Islands is not a vacation you'll want to skip.
When we think Alaska, we think cold, dark and snowy! While this is true for the winter months, the summers in Fairbanks are warm, dry and sunny almost all day long. If you plan on visiting in the winter, check out the hot springs, go dog mushing or skiing, experience an outdoor tour or visit the Fairbanks Winter Carnival. If you're planning a stay over the summer, be prepared to paddle boat, fish, hike, float on rafts and lay out on the sandy beaches. With breathtaking views and beautiful scenery year-round, Fairbanks is a trip worth taking any time of year.
Lonely Planet's No. 1 US destination for 2013 is none other than Louisville, Kentucky — home of the Kentucky Derby. In Louisville, if you can't find something to do you're simply not looking. The city features free outdoor concerts, horse racing, theater, dining, music and more. Visit popular attractions such as the Belle of Louisville — which is the oldest river steamboat — or the Louisville parks system featuring more than 120 parks. Go on a Louisville Ghost Tour if you're looking for fright or visit Baxter Avenue Theater to view small, independent films. In Louisville, there's something for everyone, which is what makes it the best travel destination of 2013.
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