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Summer is here and it's finally time to book that much-deserved vacation. But perhaps you're troubled by the strange news coming out of popular tourist spot the Dominican Republic, or maybe you're just looking for a change.
U.S. News & World Report is here to help with its annual rankings of the best vacation destinations. And a big portion of that report focused on the U.S., including the best places to visit in the USA — which all share a common thread.
“This year we saw an unmistakable travel trend: More people are interested in spending their hard-earned vacation days outdoors,” said Christine Smith, travel editor at U.S. News.
So, which destination topped the list? The Grand Canyon came in at No. 1 as the best place to visit in the USA. Indeed, national parks claimed four of the top five spots on the list with Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier national parks coming in at second, third and fifth, respectively. They all made the cut as an “affordable way to escape the day-to-day grind while reconnecting with yourself or loved ones.”
The island of Maui was the only destination to make the list that isn't a national park, though it is home to one of them, Haleakala National Park.
If you’re looking to expand your journey beyond the U.S., consider Paris, which was ranked the No. 1 best place to visit in the world due to its stellar attractions, world-class cuisine and undeniably charming atmosphere. Another major European city, Rome, took the third spot on the list. But nature took center stage again for the No. 2 destination: New Zealand’s South Island earned its spot for its combination of stunning scenery, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and affordable activities.
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To determine the rankings, U.S. News analyzed more than 700 destinations based on travelers’ opinions, provided by user votes, as well as expert and editor analysis. Each destination was scored in 10 categories that included culture, food, nightlife, adventure, romance and more.
Among the more niche lists, the District of Columbia ranked No. 1 as the best historical city to visit; Telluride, Colorado, was dubbed the best small U.S. town; and Porto, Portugal, was named the top place for a cheap European vacation. U.S. News also ranked the best destinations in Mexico, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Central and South America, as well as cheap vacation options in the U.S. and Europe.
Check out the top 10 rankings below.
Best Places to Visit in the USA
1. Grand Canyon
Best Cheap Vacations in the U.S.
2. Grand Canyon
9. San Antonio
Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA
3. Lake Tahoe (California, Nevada)
10. Moab, Utah
Best Historical Cities to Visit in the USA
World’s Best Places to Visit
9. Grand Canyon