5 U.S. Travel Destinations You Can’t Miss in 2019

It seemed like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year and making a resolution to travel more in 2019. Suddenly, the new year isn’t so new anymore. We’re back to working every day, struggling to cut calories, exercise more, pay bills, and deal with all the other mundane things that make 2019 seem just like 2018.

Travel still calls, however, and narrowing down which city or state to visit in 2019 can seem as hard as sticking to that new diet. So many places to see, so many cities to explore!

We consulted the experts to find the top places to travel to in the U.S. for 2019.  Here are our top five, complete with tips on what to see, where to stay, and what to taste. Are you ready to hit “book now,” pack your bags, and be on your way?

top us travel destinations 2019 gulf shores alabama

5. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Sure, the shores of Alabama don’t necessarily conjure thoughts of serene beaches and sunny days for most, but Gulf Shores is a well-kept secret that has music festival lovers and spring breakers ditching the madness of other beach towns in droves. So, what’s stopping you?

What to Do:

In addition to the famous Hang Out Music Fest held May 16-19, 2019, Gulf Shores has miles of sunny beaches, walking trails, and a stunning golf course at Gulf Shores State Park. Get your blood pumping with the Hummingbird Zipline Course as you fly over sand dunes and forests or scout for sea turtles and migratory birds at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Embrace history at the 19th-century Fort Morgan that guards Mobile Bay, and don’t miss the hands-on experiences with kangaroos, sloths, lemurs, and reptiles at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

Music festivals define this funky little beach town, and the city of Gulf Shores just announced the 2019 lineup for the Music at Meyer Park concert series. These free springtime concerts draw excitement from locals and visitors alike.

Where to Stay:

Finding a hotel that fits your budget is easy in this popular getaway city. You can score a room at the Quality Inn if you’re looking for an affordable option or splurge at The Lodge at Gulf State Park or the Palms Beach Resort in nearby Orange Beach.

Getting to Gulf Shores is a breeze no matter where you live. Most major airlines fly into the Mobile Regional and Pensacola International Airports, which are both a short drive away from your final destination. If you live in the southeastern region of the U.S. though, you’re most likely better off driving than flying.

top us travel destinations 2019 grand canyon arizona

4. The Grand Canyon, Arizona

If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, 2019 is the year to do it. One of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Grand Canyon National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. While the canyon itself is roughly five to six million years old, it and the land around it became designated as a national park on February 26, 1919. Read our related post for more details dedicated to this special event.

What to Do:

Hikers can explore the views from miles of trails in the park, and visitors can take an old-fashioned scenic train ride to the South Rim on the Grand Canyon Railway. Discover the geological history of this massive canyon at the Yavapai Museum of Geology or take a wild ride with Western Rivers Expeditions on a whitewater rafting adventure on the Colorado River.

When to Go:

The Grand Canyon National Park is popular with visitors every year, so book early or opt for a winter trip to avoid the crowds. Winter and spring at the Grand Canyon offer spectacular views of snow-covered vistas with far less traffic. Just be sure to check for weather closures!

While thousands of people camp in the park itself, Grand Canyon Village has great hotel options for those who prefer a comfy bed and a full bathroom. Some of our favorites are the Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel or the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Grand Canyon.

top us travel destinations 2019 hawaii

3. Islands of Hawaii

For months, many of the parks in Hawaii were closed after a devastating volcanic eruption of Kilauea in May 2018. But 2019 promises to be the comeback of one of the most beautiful locations in the island chain. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopened in November 2018, and other natural adventures await on land, sea, and in the sky.

What to Do:

Book an unforgettable adventure with Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour for a private sunset and stargazing show on Mauna Kea, complete with dinner and history, culture, and geology talks. Be sure to also check out the new Binchotan Bar & Grill at Fairmont Orchid for locally sourced seafood and Ola Brew Co. to taste local brews like the Watermelon Double IPA or Kona Gold Pineapple Cider.

Where to Stay:

There’s no shortage of beach-side hotels on the island. The Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel or the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort are two of our favorites. To get to the Island of Hawaii, fly into either the Kona International Airport on the western side of the island or the Hilo International Airport to the east. If flying into Honolulu offers you a better deal on flights, you can reach the big island via a short 30- to 40-minute flight from the Honolulu International Airport.

top us travel destinations 2019 gatlinburg tennessee

2. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Named by many experts as one of the top destinations to visit in America, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a wonderland of history, dining, outdoor recreation, and culture. This mountain town in eastern Tennessee is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park.

What to Do:

In addition to hiking, rafting, and zip lining, check out quirky destinations like the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum with its more than 20,000 sets of shakers in all sizes, shapes, and materials. At the Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse, you can get up close to penguins as you crawl through clear underwater tunnels and pop up on penguin beach. Take up the zen art of fly fishing with Fly Fishing the Smokies.

What to Taste:

Sip on good ole’ Tennessee whiskey at Ole Smoky Whiskey Barrelhouse, get a pint of Tuckaleechee Porter at Smoky Mountain Brewery, or take in a wine tasting at Sugarland Cellars. Pick up some homemade apple butter or Applewood smoked country ham at Apple Barn and Cider Mill to take the taste of Tennessee home with you.

Where to Stay:

Located just steps from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park entrance and next door to the Ober Gatlinburg Tramthe Hampton Inn Gatlinburg is a great hotel to call home while exploring the area.

top us travel destinations 2019 anchorage alaska

1. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska has been a top destination on a lot of lists this year, so 2019 is the perfect time to take in sights such as nearby Denali National Park. Be sure to take a day hike on glaciers with Ascending Path, learn about Alaska’s native peoples at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, or visit the Anchorage Museum, the largest museum in the state.

What to Taste:

Try the local Alaskan seafood at Orso or sample French and New American cuisine at the Crow’s Nest before finishing your evening with a Brown Sugar Old Fashioned at Anchorage Distillery.

Where to Stay:

You’ll be hard pressed to fit all the fantastic adventures available in Anchorage into one trip, but a stay at the brand new Aptel Studio Hotel or the Residence Inn Anchorage Midtown, located just five miles from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, will put you within easy access to all the sights.

Inspired yet? Pack your bags and make your “must-see” list, because these destinations are calling your name. Make 2019 the best travel year yet and let us make your booking experience hassle- and gimmick-free.