Plan your dream vacation to one of these superlative destinations.
The world is full of diverse destinations that are waiting to be explored. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down your bucket list.
Lush rainforests, majestic mountains and romantic resorts are all reasons to visit this Caribbean island. A haven for honeymooners, St. Lucia offers the perfect mix of seclusion, relaxation and adventure. To take in the spectacular landscape, plan to hike the Piton Mountains or snorkel and scuba dive in the waters of Anse Chastanet.
2Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Tucked away less than 60 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole sees an influx of winter travelers looking to hit the slopes at upscale ski resorts. But you’d be remiss to think that’s all there is to do in this small Wyoming town. Visit the neighboring Grand Teton National Park for awe-inspiring vistas, catch a glimpse of majestic animals at the National Elk Refuge or relax sore muscles in the Granite Hot Springs.
This Canadian destination will bring out the explorer in anyone who visits. From hiking and whitewater rafting to skiing and snowboarding, Banff offers travelers an abundance of year-round outdoor activities. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the largest in North America and the striking photo ops of the Canadian Rockies from Moraine Lake can’t be underestimated.
According to travelers, a visit to this Peruvian UNESCO World Heritage site is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Located in the Andes Mountains, the lost city of the Incas features 12 acres of temples, aqueducts and gardens for travelers to discover. Spend a few days acclimating to the altitude in the neighboring city of Cusco, where you can soak up a mix of Incan and Spanish cultures.
5Great Barrier Reef
It’s easy to see why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – it stretches nearly 1,500 miles along the eastern coastline of Australia and features 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands and more than 1,600 species of fish. Travelers can see these amazing natural structures from the air or underwater. However, large amounts of coral bleaching (caused by rising ocean temperatures) threaten to destroy this massive marine life habitat, so plan your visit soon to see this awesome sight up close.
6Park City, Utah
For a luxury ski vacation, look no further than Park City. Popular upscale mountain resorts, specifically Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, provide some of the best ski conditions in the U.S. Even if you’re not a powder hound, sites like the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway and Utah Olympic Park will keep you entertained. For a dose of culture, plan your visit in January, when celebrities descend on the town for the annual Sundance Film Festival.
7The British Virgin Islands
One look at the aquamarine waters that surround the British Virgin Islands and you’ll see why they’re consistently rated a top Caribbean destination. Sure, other islands have white sand beaches too, but the British Virgin Islands aren’t crowded with megaresorts or cruise ports. Instead, the chain of 60 islands values exclusivity and luxury, so you’ll want to bring your credit card along.
Nature enthusiasts looking to go off the grid should travel to Costa Rica. Home to a diverse landscape of tropical rainforests, volcanic mountains, pristine beaches and wildlife reserves, this Central American country draws adventure seekers and animal lovers alike. Explore the Nicoya Peninsula before heading to the remote Tortuguero National Park to spot exotic wildlife.
9Yosemite National Park
There’s no shortage of magnificent photo ops in this California national park, but you’ll have to climb to reach the best vantage points. Famous hiking trails include the daunting Half Dome and the high altitude (but more accessible) Glacier Point lookout. Never fear – if heights aren’t your thing, there are plenty of less strenuous options found along Mist Trail and Tuolumne Meadows.
10Tahiti, French Polynesia
From luxurious bungalows suspended over clear turquoise waters to lush vegetation and stunning waterfalls, Tahiti is all about basking in the colorful landscape. The largest island in French Polynesia is ideal for those seeking solitude, but areas like La Plage de Maui and Plage du Taharuu are also popular with tourists.
11San Sebastian, Spain
You’re probably familiar with Spanish hot spots like Madrid and Barcelona, but the northern coastal town of San Sebastian deserves a spot on your bucket list, too. Known for its gorgeous beaches and unique culture, San Sebastian offers a small-town atmosphere influenced by Basque Country. Foodies are also in for a treat as the region is famous for its pintxos – the Basque version of tapas. Explore the city’s pintxos bars on your own or with an organized tour group.
The largest island in Thailand boasts enough marvels to impress any traveler. You’ll find wide sandy beaches, limestone caves and distinctive rock formations. If the scenery doesn’t amaze you, then the lavish spas, upscale dining, fine art galleries and swanky hotels just might. Visit during the dry season (November to April) to experience both indoor and outdoor attractions at their best.
This Colorado town is home to fewer than 5,000 people, but its small size hasn’t kept it from becoming one of the best winter sports destinations in America. Travelers love schussing the slopes at local ski resorts in the winter, and hopping in the car for a scenic mountain drive along Boreas Pass Road in the warmer months. Visitors should also explore the quaint Main Street, which is full of boutique shops and restaurants. Plus, its location only 80 miles southwest of Denver makes Breckenridge one of the most accessible skiing and snowboarding spots in Colorado.
14Vancouver, British Columbia
An easy hop over the border from Seattle, this Canadian city embraces the great outdoors. Hiking, skiing and whitewater rafting are just a few activities visitors can enjoy. What’s more, attractions such as Stanley Park (home to a water park and the Vancouver Aquarium) and Granville Island make Vancouver a great choice for families. Pop culture aficionados will also appreciate the city’s connection to Hollywood movies (it’s a popular filming location) and its lively arts scene.
15Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park offers an unparalleled experience for travelers. Located in northern Tanzania, the 5,700-square-mile wildlife park is home to The Great Migration – the annual movement of millions of animals in search of food and breeding grounds. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of zebras, gazelles, baboons and spotted hyenas, just to name a few. Increase your chances of catching a glimpse of wildlife by visiting the southern part of the park during the wet season (December to June) or staying along the northern Seregenti during the dry season (July to November).
Ancient temples, imposing landscapes and legendary sunsets are enough for any traveler to daydream of Bali. This Indonesian island offers some of the best beaches in the world, along with volcanic mountains, elephant sanctuaries and a wealth of five-star resorts. Getting here isn’t cheap, but travelers seeking seclusion in an exotic locale agree it’s worth the trek for the photo ops alone.
No photos of the Grand Canyon can convey the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder, which measures 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep. Nearly 6 million people visited the national park in 2016 to take in the grandeur of the red and orange formation. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage site: Travelers can hike the North Rim, horseback ride on the Bright Angel Trail or raft down the Colorado River, among other pursuits.
Thanks to its idyllic scenery, historic sites and multitude of oceanfront resorts along Waikiki Beach, this Hawaiian island – and its capital, Honolulu – has long been considered a premier vacation destination. As such, it’s got something for every type of traveler. Adventure seekers can surf along the North Shore, history buffs and culture hounds can visit Pearl Harbor and ‘Iolani Palace, and honeymooners can pamper themselves with luxury spa treatments and high-end dining.
The white and pastel-hued villages dotting the coastline of this Greek island seem to be straight out of a postcard. Shorelines are sprinkled with colorful beaches, including black sands at Kamari Beach, a crimson-hued shoreline at the aptly named Red Beach and cobalt waters everywhere. A visit here is also sure to include an abundance of fresh Mediterranean fare and locally made vino.
20Amalfi Coast, Italy
Five million people can’t be wrong. That’s how many tourists travel to this Italian coastal region annually. They come for the breathtaking views from seaside towns, where stacks of brightly colored houses are perched on the cliffs. While the Amalfi Coast’s topography is what initially draws travelers, its old-world charms, rich cultural history and fresh Italian cuisine convince them to come back year after year. For a posh getaway, stay along the coast in the town of Positano.
21Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is home to a bevy of superlatives, including the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet), the world’s largest indoor theme park (IMG Worlds of Adventure), the largest man-made marina in the world and the world’s first rotating skyscraper, set to open in 2020. If those aren’t enough reasons to visit, the city is also home to an indoor ski center, one of the globe’s largest shopping malls and multiple public beaches – not to mention a handful of man-made islands. A trip here won’t be cheap, but it’s worth it.
This city’s diverse and distinguished architecture differentiates Barcelona from other European destinations. The influence of Antoni Gaudí can be seen throughout the city in places like Güell Park, La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. Other spectacular structures include the Palace of Catalan Music, the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the Barri Gótic neighborhood. Plus, one of the most important buildings to Barcelona residents (and fútbol fans), the Camp Nou Stadium, is home to one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, FC Barcelona.
Visit the capital of the Czech Republic to step back in time. Gothic structures stretching from the Old Town Square to Prague Castle (the largest coherent castle complex in the world) will make you feel as if you’re in a fairy tale. You’ll also want to walk across the Charles Bridge (don’t forget to rub one of the 30 saint statues for luck) and make time to marvel at the Prague Astronomical Clock. What’s more, you’re more likely to score better discounts and travel deals in Prague than neighboring European hot spots.
With roots that can be dated back to 59 B.C., this ancient city is home to a number of attractions that belong on your bucket list. The oldest building in the city, the Battistero, dates back to the 11th century, and the skyline has been dominated by the Duomo since the 14th century. But a visit here isn’t all about touring historical sites – you’ll want to save time for wandering the many piazze (plazas) and sampling the delectable regional fare.
25New York City
From Frank Sinatra to Jay Z, countless musicians have tried to capture the essence of New York City in song, but to get a real impression of the concrete jungle you’ve got to experience it for yourself. You’ll want to cross landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty off your bucket list, but you’ll find more cultural pastimes just as exciting. Take in a Broadway show, people-watch in Central Park or pull out your credit card to shop on Fifth Avenue. There are so many options, you’ll need more than one trip to see it all.
Poet Allen Ginsberg once wrote, “You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden.” First-time visitors can spend their days soaking up historical sites, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Château de Versailles and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. But you’ll need more than one visit to fully enjoy the city’s chic arrondissements (districts), world-famous cuisine and unforgettable atmosphere.
Although the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was created as a morale booster for the city in 1939, it still encompasses the London way of life. The dizzying array of sights, sounds and smells mingle with the antique and the contemporary in London. Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace will captivate visitors who are intrigued by the royal family, while more modern highlights, including the West End Theatre District and Portobello Road Market, will appeal to culture hounds. No matter which side of London captures your heart, the culture and decorum of this diverse city is timeless.
This coastal Portuguese city has all the elements of a world-class travel destination: a striking shoreline, charming architecture and historic sites, plus a one-of-a-kind export – port wine. Nicknamed the City of Bridges, Porto is home to numerous iron bridges including the Dom Luís I Bridge designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel (the mastermind behind the Eiffel Tower). When not admiring the stunning structures, travelers can relax along intimate beaches or sample port wine at historic cellars like Sandeman or Offley.
There’s more to this Australian city than iconic attractions like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Part laid-back beach town, part sprawling metropolis and part cultural retreat, Sydney has many facets that please a variety of travelers. Surfers and landlubbers can play along Bondi Beach, amateur photographers can snap pictures of the harbor from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and history buffs can get lost in the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. No matter your interests, you’re sure to leave with unique memories you can only get in Sydney.
Rome is the world’s best place to visit in 2017-18. Though its mystic roots are debated by historians, travelers agree that there’s something mysterious about the Eternal City, be it the ghosts of the Colosseum or the ruins of the Roman Forum. Since the days of the Roman Empire, Italy’s capital city has influenced art, government and architecture. Today it’s a modern, cosmopolitan city where fashion, business and award-winning cuisine complement the ancient historic sites the city is known for.