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Whether your heart’s set on a dreamy beach vacay or an exciting urban getaway, you don’t have to break the bank—or leave the country—to enjoy an amazing spring vacation. We’re highlighting destinations across America that will fit within your budget. And when it comes to deciding on an affordable accommodation option, opt for a rental home or apartment from FlipKey. You’ll get more bang for your buck, with extra living space, full kitchen, laundry, or even an outdoor patio with BBQ grill!
From the shores of Cape Cod to the desert landscape of Palm Springs, here are some great places to celebrate the arrival of spring.
With the majestic Rocky Mountains looming beyond the city limits and over 190 miles of trails to explore, Boise packs lots of punch for the nature-loving traveler. Climb the hill at Camel’s Back Park for great views of Southern Boise or take it easy on a stroll through the Idaho Botanical Garden. Had your fill of the outdoors? Boise’s varied museums and plentiful attractions will captivate all interests. However you choose to spend your time, Spring is the perfect season to enjoy all the city has to offer—before the dry summer heat sets in!
There are few places to experience the authentic Southwest quite like Albuquerque. With its fiery desert landscape, mouthwatering New Mexican cuisine, and unique multicultural heritage, this city is a magical escape for travelers of all ages. The city’s streets are lined with historic adobe homes and brick paths, while its clear, blue skies are dotted with colorful hot air balloons. Plentiful sunshine and mild temperatures add to this city’s appeal, making it one of the best affordable spring vacation spots on our list.
Chincoteague Island’s resident wild ponies have helped put this small Virginia town on the map. During the summer, they can be seen thundering down the golden beaches. But horses aren’t the only wildlife to be admired—the unspoiled beaches and lack of high-rises on Chincoteague Island make it a great place for bird watching, too. Escape to this affordable spring vacation destination for a breath of fresh air and a slower pace of life.
Situated in the Puget Sound area and easily accessible from Seattle, Tacoma is ideal for travelers who like to have lots of options. Ready to explore? Hop in the car and head to Mount Rainier National Park just a short drive away. Want to see what the downtown area has to offer? Tacoma is home to a vibrant community of artists and boasts many world-renowned museums and exhibits. Still, you might prefer to take in the scenic landscape from the comfort of your FlipKey rental like one reviewer who raved “being able to sit on the decking while you watch the sunset over the Olympic Mountain was beautiful.”
Whether you decide to book a modern condo downtown or a beach home nearby, Tampa is a popular spring vacation spot that won’t break the bank. Traveling with the entire family? Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay offer something exciting for every person in your group. Sports enthusiasts can catch a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game at the start of the season, while art lovers will be impressed by the city’s world-class museums. No matter what you do though, soak up some sun and enjoy Tampa’s waterfront location.
Thanks to its year-round pleasant climate and abundance of golf courses, a spring vacation in Palm Springs never disappoints. Soak up sun by the pool at your FlipKey rental, hop on a bike to explore, or discover the beauty of the surrounding desert on foot. Rather stay cool? Relax at one of the many award-winning spas in Palm Springs or hit some of the nearby museums. Whatever you decide to do, don’t miss out on the chance to spend a week here during the spring months.
Visit Dennis Port during the spring before tourists flock here for the peak summer season. This charming Cape Cod town oozes charm with its cozy cottages, wooden boardwalks, and photographic beach views. From skipping stones on the glassy waters to shopping at the local general store, Dennis Port has everything you need (and more!) for a delightful vacation, without the stress of going over-budget.
Tucked away in the Pocono Mountains, Lake Harmony is the perfect spot to welcome spring. The season brings the arrival of blooming daffodils and laurel blossoms, along with endless possibilities for outdoor recreation. Book a lakefront vacation home and wake up to sunrise over the water, or rent a cabin in the middle of the woods and truly escape it all. Whether you’re a hiker, biker, boater or botanist, we bet you’ll love this budget-friendly destination!
In Scottsdale, you can be touring the beautiful desert one minute, and wrapped in a cozy bathrobe at one of the many spas the next. Explore the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which offers trails for hikers of all skill levels. If it’s been a rainy spring, you might even get lucky and see the desert in bloom! Head to Old Town Scottsdale for shopping or skip straight to the downtown area where you’ll find a buzzing restaurant and party scene. This spirited Southwest city is full of possibilities, especially during the spring!
Nestled in the heart of Missouri, Lake Ozark is a premier lake town offering world-class boating, fishing, and shopping. Cast your line from the shore and hook a fish, hike the surrounding landscape, or take the boat over to Party Cove during your stay. Whether you’re planning a family getaway or booking a couple’s retreat, choose a FlipKey rental for an affordable spring vacation you’ll always remember.
A new year means opportunities to make new, unforgettable travel memories. This year, consider a visit to a US destination you may not have thought of before (or alternatively, see if the hype for some of America’s up-and-coming hotspots is justified). Each location on our list of where to travel in 2019 is growing in popularity for its own unique reasons. Many have annual events and festivals well worth the trip, and some are experiencing (or have already experienced) a resurgence of culture and entertainment. Whether you’re seeking a new culinary adventure, thriving art scenes, historic architecture, or sandy beaches, this year is the perfect time to plan a visit to one of these trending destinations.
Your trip will be busy with plenty of fun activities, so you’ll want a comfortable place to relax and unwind during your downtime. Booking a vacation rental from FlipKey offers exactly that, along with many of the amenities you’re used to at home—total privacy, a full kitchen, laundry, and more.
It’s time to make a New Year’s resolution: get out and explore! Here’s our list of the top places to visit in the US in 2019.
Asheville’s vibrant art scene, unique food culture, historic architecture, and gorgeous mountain scenery have earned it a spot on our list of the best places to travel in 2019—that is, if you haven’t already been! Craft beer in Asheville isn’t hard to find, and this Small-Group Downtown Brewery Walking Tour will give you an inside look at three breweries. Visit the sprawling 250-room Biltmore chateau, once home of the Vanderbilt family, for a fascinating look at Asheville’s past. For a nighttime thrill,embark on an Asheville Ghost Walking Tour for a unique evening of haunted history followed by exclusive access to the Asheville Mystery Museum.
Baltimore makes our list of best US destinations for all the history lovers and foodies among you! Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood is a culinary utopia, and booking a Fells Point Food Tour will take all of the guesswork out of choosing where to eat. Check out some of Baltimore’s oldest and most historic sights, as well as several television show locations, on a History & Culture Tour. Embark on a Baltimore Inner Harbor Sightseeing Tour to see this impressive city from a whole new perspective.
A quintessential New England city by the sea, Portland is chalk full of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. New Englanders are serious about their beer, and Portland has no shortage of breweries. Try a Friday Evening Brewery Tour or a Portland Brewery Brunch Tour to sample some of the city’s local beer. Gorgeous natural gems are plentiful in Portland, like Diamond Cove or the Casco Bay Islands, just a brief ferry ride away. Restaurant Week runs during the first two weeks of March, so plan your visit then for awesome deals and special menus at the mouth-watering restaurants all over the city.
Smooth sounds of jazz fill the air in Kansas City. In a city with such a musical legacy, it’s a great idea to visit during the annual Blues and Jazz Festival held every July. A visit to the famous jazz club the Blue Room is a must-do during your stay. Kansas City is equally famous for its world-renowned barbecue, which you can sample on an Original KC Barbecue Tour. Interestingly, Kansas City has been nicknamed “The City of Fountains,” boasting over 40 public fountains that will make for some awesome photo-ops during your visit.
Columbus is a trendy destination that earned a spot on our list of the best places to travel in 2019 for its vibrant downtown, lush gardens, and beautiful parks. Head to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or the Topiary Garden for a relaxing and beautiful stroll among flowers and lush plant life. Explore downtown with a local expert on a Columbus Short North Walking Tour, learning history, touring art galleries, and stopping by other local hotspots. If you can, catch a show at the historic and elegant Ohio Theater, where you can see anything from Broadway shows to live concerts.
Louisville, home of the world famous Kentucky Derby, is a colorful Southern city that’s only growing better with time, earning its place as one of the top places to travel in the US this year. If you can’t make it here to see the historic horse race in person, the Kentucky Derby Museum is the next best thing. Plan a visit to the Louisville Mega Cavern, the world’s only underground zipline tour, for a super fun and unique experience. This city’s booming craft beer scene is not to be missed, and you can sample a wide range of local beers from several breweries on a Derby City Beer Tour.
Beautiful Bend is the ideal destination for travelers looking to get outdoors and explore one of the US’s natural gems. Because there is so much beauty to behold here, photography tours are popular attractions. Explore and photograph some of the most stunning spots in the Oregon high desert by day or night with a local guide from the Cascade Center of Photography in tow. Visit Newberry National Volcanic Monument to gaze in awe at perfectly preserved volcanic material and an enormous lava cave you can trek through. If you can make it to Bend in mid-July, you’ll get to experience the annual Bend Summer Festival, a city-wide celebration with artists, live performers, craftsmen, and an enormous international marketplace.
Buffalo is evolving into an exciting hotspot for art, cuisine, history, and culture. During your visit, try a Greatest Hits Bike Tour to see some of the city’s most fascinating architecture and learn some of Buffalo’s underground history. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time upon entering the Ellicott Square Building, another incredible architectural attraction. Buffalo is just under a half hour drive from Niagara Falls, and well worth the trip. On a Niagara Falls USA Fireworks Tour, you’ll get to experience the beauty of the falls at night and watch as a fireworks display explodes overhead.
A thriving city flanked by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is a worthy addition to our list of the top places to visit in the US this year. It boasts a colorful art scene, diverse cuisine, great shopping, and dozens of museums and landmarks. The heart of the city was named one of America’s Best Downtowns by Forbes Magazine, and for good reason. Be sure to visit Liberty Bridge, an incredible pedestrian suspension bridge with an unparalleled view of the Reedy River Falls, a waterfall that flows right through the center of town. Visit Greenville in mid-July to experience the Hot Air Balloon Festival, just minutes from downtown!
Nicknamed the “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg is a warm and pleasant beach town on Florida’s Gulf Coast with much to see and do. Springtime visitors won’t want to miss the St. Petersburg Mainsail Arts Festival, a joyful celebration with artists, food, live music, and entertainment. There’s a lot to do out on the water in St. Petersburg, like this Mangrove Kayak Tour, or a Stand up Pedalboard Tour where you’re likely to spot dolphins and manatees. On a St. Petersburg Speedboat Adventure, you’ll take the wheel of your very own speedboat, exploring the coastline in style.
A staple of the South full of history, music, culture, and soul food, Birmingham is a charming Southern escape. Birmingham played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement and is home to several sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail including the 16th Street Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park. Regardless of when you visit, you won’t want to miss out on Birmingham’s incredible cuisine, and a Best of Bham Food and Drink Tour will take the guesswork out of finding the city’s greatest eats. On a Historical Highlights Tour, you’ll spend a memorable afternoon learning about Birmingham’s rich history, including local secrets you won’t find in the guidebooks.
Flagstaff is the ideal getaway for those seeking stunning natural surroundings and fascinating cultural attractions. Visit the Wupatki National Monument, an ancient pueblo located near the San Francisco Peaks that is a must-see for history lovers. Embark on an unforgettable hike through Flagstaff’s Lava River Cave; just be sure to bring a flashlight! Book a Monument Valley Tour and spend the day marveling at stunning red rock formations like the Painted Desert Cliffs or the Elephant Feet rock pillars.
Surrounded by picturesque mountain peaks, Fort Collins is a charming town full of local pubs and dining spots, boutiques, and endless natural beauty. Visit Cache La Poudre River for a simple photo-op, a hike, or even a whitewater rafting adventure! Fort Collins has been affectionately nicknamed “the Napa Valley of beer,” and for good reason. Head out on a Fort Collins Bike and Brewery Tour to explore the town as locals do and sample some of Colorado’s best beers at three breweries. Or, if you plan to visit in June, you could attend the Colorado Brewers’ Festival, AKA the craft beer lover’s paradise!
Much of the historic farm town of Lancaster looks like it may have been plucked right out of the 1800s. It’s the home of 15th President James Buchanan’s mansion, Wheatland, which you can explore during your visit. Attend the Lancaster Central Market for a colorful display of fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more from local farmers. Try to catch a show at the Fulton Theatre during your stay—this 165-year-old premier theater produces can’t-miss Broadway plays and musicals.
Albuquerque is a truly unique destination with a wide range of attractions, from its rich history and culture to its gorgeous red rock surroundings. Every October, the International Balloon Fiesta sees over 500 hot air balloons rising up at dawn, with spectators watching below and attending fun evening celebrations like the “glowdeo.” To get in on your own hot air balloon experience, book a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight to watch the sun rise along the Rio Grande from high above, making for a special and totally unforgettable outing. Back on solid ground, don’t miss the mind-blowing Petroglyph National Monument, where you can view up to 15,000 prehistoric rock art images preserved along a canyon just outside the city.
Madison has earned its place on our list of the top places to visit in the US for its charming downtown full of cafes, bookstores, pubs, and restaurants. In fact, this college town has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the US! Visiting foodies will enjoy a Capital City Food Tour, where you’ll explore the city through its food while learning about its history and culture. One of Madison’s most popular attractions is the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, an oasis of lush plant life, herbs, perennials, and roses. During the summer months, you can join in a Historic Architecture Tour, a very popular attraction for locals and visitors alike, to learn some of the rich history of Madison’s neighborhoods.
When you hear the words “best family beach vacations,” what do you picture? For some families, it might be a tranquil spot of sand without any crowds. For others, it might be an action-packed destination with rides and never-ending entertainment. No matter what you decide, these 25 top family beach getaways will please everyone in your group, from the young to the young at heart.
When it comes to comfortably accommodating the whole family, a vacation rental is tough to beat. You’ll have extra space to fit everyone, plus handy amenities such as a full kitchen, laundry, and perhaps even a private pool! Whether you prefer a spacious luxury rental or a cozy beachfront cottage, you’ll find that the destinations below offer all types of properties available to book right on FlipKey.
From the rugged coast of Maine to the sandy shores of San Diego, here are the 25 best family beach vacations in America!
The peaceful and rugged seashore of Marconi Beach is a kid-friendly staple for a family beach vacation in Wellfleet. Bring your own entertainment, too—and no, that doesn’t include anything with a screen. Sand-castle building and shallow-water swimming will keep everyone happily occupied on this beautiful stretch of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Ocean City is an ideal spot for a family beach vacation. Famous for its salt water taffy, three-mile boardwalk, and seemingly endless opportunities for kid-friendly fun, Ocean City Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches to spend your time with the kids. The large, local beach and action-packed Jolly Roger Amusement Park give you and your family plenty to enjoy.
Stretching for five miles across New Jersey’s calming shores is the city of Wildwood—and its great namesake: Wildwood Beach. This family-friendly seaside destination is one of the best spots to vacation with kids in the United States. With miles and miles of boardwalk fun, a huge stretch of sand, and a lively family-owned amusement park, you can never get bored! There really is something for everyone in Wildwood, no matter your age.
Great beaches, family-friendly dining, and lots of oceanfront rentals make Myrtle Beach a hotspot for beach vacations with kids. When the little ones grow tired of playing in the sand, there are plenty of amusement parks and water sports to keep them entertained. Just don’t forget to make a stop on the promenade for an added dose of family fun!
If you’re looking for a slow-paced family beach vacation, look no further than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This beautiful, charming stretch of peaceful sand is ideal for relaxing by the sea with the kids. Currituck Beach is one spot where the whole family will love to get some peace and quiet, and maybe even watch wild horses roaming. Of course, there are still plenty of other ways to keep busy with surfing, jet ski rentals, and other water sport activities readily available.
If you like long walks on the beach, look no further than Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable. At six miles long, it’s the longest beach on Cape Cod—and one of the most peaceful, too. As you pass by the shoreline, all you’ll see is a snack bar, sea birds, and tide pools, making it the perfect place for a tranquil beach vacation with the kids.
Seaside Beach is an idyllic spot for a fun family beach vacation in Florida. It’s situated away from the crowds, with beautiful blue waters and plenty of shops and dining. Put the kids in surf school or lounge around together in the ocean all day for the perfect family vacation.
Palace Playland is top kid-friendly draw on Old Orchard Beach, the only beach in all of New England with an oceanfront amusement park. While your kids aren’t laughing with delight on the merry-go-rounds and thrill rides, they can check out games and sample snacks on the 500-foot pier, take easy hikes through the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, or play in the gentle surf and sand that make Old Orchard Beach a long-standing family favorite.
Virginia Beach is an iconic and classic seaside getaway with stunning beaches, a vibrant boardwalk, and lots of amusement rides that will tire the kids out by sundown. If you want to get away from the crowds for a bit, head to the quaint Sandbridge Beach for some untouched sand. Or, you can try out some exciting water sports together as a family. Whatever it is that you choose, Virginia Beach is one of the best family beach vacations out there.
At Rockaway Beach, crabbing is the name of the game. Come during peak crabbing season (starting in mid-December) to enjoy the full bounty of Dungeness crab that the area is known for—Kelly’s Brighton Marina is a top pick for freshly-prepared catch. If you’re not into crabbing, you can still enjoy long walks and beautiful views at Rockaway Beach Wayside.
Located just 18 miles north of Seattle, Edmonds is the perfect family weekend getaway for a taste of coastal Washington charm. Stroll past locally-owned boutiques and scrumptious restaurants and cafes in the picturesque downtown—grown-ups will especially love the grain-to-glass pours at Scratch Distillery. Don’t miss the views at Stamm Overlook Park, or any of the half-dozen beaches lining the shores (Marina Beach Park is a favorite). If you’re visiting on a rainy day, the kids will love the small-but-mighty exhibits at the Cascadia Art Museum.
Captiva Island is tiny and idyllic, and sometimes it seems too good to be true. It’s the perfect place for a family beach vacation—no stress, no worries, and plenty to do. Families with kids of all ages can take to the seas after attending Offshore Sailing School, then regain your land-legs while shelling on Captiva Pass.
Honolulu has everything, from boogie boarding and surfing to swimming, sunbathing and diving. Bring the kids along for a walk down Waikiki Beach and dip your toes into the crystal clear waters after they have a taste of Oahu’s watersports—try snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Between the perfect weather, beautiful views, and all that there is to experience, Honolulu makes for one dreamy family beach vacation.
Hollywood is regularly rated as one of the best family beach vacation destinations not just in Florida, but in the whole country. It makes the most of its prime real estate between Fort Lauderdale and Miami with its Broadwalk, a 2½-mile-long stretch of wide, brick-paved, multi-purpose path filled with cyclers, joggers, skaters, and even Segwayers. You and the kids can join in on the fun, or sit back and watch from one of the many restaurants, shops, and breweries lining the way. And don’t forget to visit Hollywood Beach, too!
Drive down the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge from San Diego to reach this idyllic island, just minutes from downtown San Diego. Coronado makes a great San Diego day trip—or even a jumping off point for a more adventurous option such as a deep-sea fishing charter. When it comes to beaches, Coronado takes the crown. From dog-friendly North Beach to the views and picnic tables that make Silver Strand State Beach a popular option to hang out, Coronado Island has some of the best family beach spots in Southern California.
Hampton, Virginia—with its pint-sized-but-stunning Buckroe Beach—is an ideal location for a beach vacation with kids. At only ¾ of a mile long, the beach is small enough for you to easily keep an eye on the little ones while enjoying the waves. Look out for special events like live music and movie nights during warm months, or take advantage of its prime location in historic Hampton to enjoy all sorts of family-friendly attractions like the Virginia Air and Space Center and Fort Monroe National Monument.
Rehoboth Beach can be summed up in one word: Funland. This iconic amusement park has been providing beachfront thrills for generations—head to the boardwalk to enjoy a wide variety of games, rides, and kid-friendly amusements that are fun for the whole family. Afterward, stroll down the boardwalk to pick up Dolle’s famous salt water taffy or jump into the waves.
For families looking for a calming beachside retreat, Tybee Island has everything you could think of. The kids will have a blast, from paddleboarding and surf lessons to exploring along the pier that stretches out into the Atlantic. Wander around North Beach or swim along the beautiful South Beach, a local favorite. No matter what you choose to do, it’s one of the best family beach vacations to take with kids in all of the USA.
Santa Monica is a vibrant California hotspot for families in search of a kid-friendly beach. With more than three miles of white sand, a 26-mile bike path and the iconic Santa Monica Pier, there is endless fun to be had. Take the kids on an electric bike tour along the beach or spend the day sunbathing and snacking at one of the many beachside food shacks.
For a family beach vacation with a twist, try Empire. It’s the only spot on our list that sits on a lake—Lake Michigan—rather than an ocean. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a fun family destination. Be sure to check out Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, where the kids can tire themselves out climbing over the dunes and you can take in the stunning natural beauty.. Take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive for a quick overview of the area’s gorgeous sights and views, or bring your teens along for an overnight camping trip on the shores of the Great Lakes.
If you want a family beach vacation on the Gulf of Mexico, look no further than Alabama’s Orange Beach. This picturesque destination has everything you’d expect of a gorgeous Gulf Shore destination, from sugary-white sand to sunset cruises and fishing charters. You might even see a gator in the wild if you brave the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.
For an unforgettable family beach vacation with the kids, Port Saint Lucie won’t disappoint. This thriving community on Florida’s Treasure Coast is not only a bona fide beach destination – it’s also a go-to destination for hiking (try Savanna Preserves State Park or Paleo Hammock Preserve), as well as catching professional-level baseball games at First Data Field. Nearby Jensen Beach is always a hit with families, especially when you go to check out the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast.
South Carolina’s Surfside Beach is a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path beach destination that’s ideal for family vacations. Whether the kids want to spend the afternoon in the sparkling ocean, sliding around at the local waterpark, or walking along the beachside pier—there is something for every mood. They can even have some fun with their very own Mermaid Lesson! With the well-earned nickname of “Family Beach,” you and your tribe will adore how kid-friendly this vacation destination truly is.
Lining the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi is a terrific family beach vacation. Go camping on the beautiful Malaquite Beach, bike riding along White Beach, or bodysurfing at Whitecap Beach. There’s tons to do and plenty to keep everyone satisfied. It’s the ultimate kid-friendly spot, perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying some old-fashioned family fun!
Romance. They say you can find it anywhere if you’re with the right person. But to see it truly flourish, it helps to be in the right place—whether near or far, celebrating a special occasion, or simply escaping the bustle of everyday life. Enter the world’s most romantic island getaways. You can thank us later…
Best Islands For Romance
We’ve rounded up 15 islands we think are just right for a romantic vacation, and there are some pretty dreamy destinations to choose from! Some offer a slower pace of life ideal for tranquility and relaxation, others are exciting playgrounds abuzz with adventurous activities. All of them have the benefits of good weather, pristine water views, and the warm, warm welcome that islanders are famous for.
When it comes to finding a great place to stay, FlipKey has you covered with an array of bookable rental properties. A Palawan bamboo cabin on the beach, a luxury villa in St. Lucia, or a historic house on Mackinac Island, perhaps? With a private rental, you have the luxury of extra space (always a plus, even when it’s just the two of you). You’ll be able to come and go as you please, enjoy amenities such as a pool or a patio, and even prepare candlelit meals if that’s your thing—all in the blissful seclusion of your own rental. Rental homes can offer great value for money, even in the more upscale destinations mentioned below, so a taste of the high life might be closer to your budget than you think. That could leave you more to spend on that sunset cruise, waterfall tour, or a soak in the hot springs.
Ready to dive in? Here are some of the most romantic islands in the world for a perfect couples getaway.
The unspoiled archipelago of Palawan is a real treat, with its white beaches, karst outcrops, and pristine waters waiting to be explored. Try this underground tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River and marvel at its stalactites on an unhurried, small-group excursion. And what could be more romantic than an evening gliding by boat while fireflies light the way? The area is famed for its food, although you may have to step outside your comfort zone for certain dishes—minced crocodile, anyone?
Capri is all about the good life, with stunning views, lovely coves, and decidedly upscale shopping all making it worthy among the world’s most romantic island getaways. Don’t miss the Blue Grotto and a taste of the local limoncello. For a special treat for your significant other, you could book a private couples’ boat tour of the island, including lunch, wine, and time to stop and snorkel. The best part: it’s reserved for just the two of you and your guide.
With its gorgeous rainforest, volcanic beaches, and fine dining, St. Lucia is an obvious choice for a romantic island getaway. You can spend a day exploring your surroundings by catamaran, stopping for a romantic walk through the tropical greenery of the Diamond Botanical Gardens. Or you could opt for champagne and hors d’oeuvres on a sunset cruise. Get closer to some of St. Lucia’s most fascinating residents, such as the jacquot parrot, on this small-group aerial tram tour.
Tahiti’s gorgeous landscape—made up of two joined islands—has beaches of black sand, volcanoes, lagoons, and homes perfectly perched above the blue waters. Get your bearings, along with some awesome views, on a Tahiti island tour, which includes the lovely waterfalls and tropical flowers of the Vaipahi Gardens. There’s even an excursion for watching the huge waves break at Teahupoo—maybe with a glimpse a surfer or two taking on the challenge.
West of Tahiti is the smaller island of Moorea, with its lovely lagoon and white-sand beaches. There’s plenty to see here: follow hiking trails up into the lush hillsides for views across the water, try a twin jet ski tour with a guide, including the chance to swim with sharks and stingrays, or take a tour on a transparent kayak over the warm waters of the Moorea lagoon.
It’s easy to dial up the romance when you’re visiting beautiful Virgin Gorda. Book a sunset catamaran cruise, including some leisurely snorkelling, or for bigger budgets there’s this private sunset sail. Don’t miss The Baths, the island’s most famous natural landmark, made up of smoothed granite boulders forming pools, arches, and atmospheric tunnels.
Santorini, famous for its bright white and blue houses stacked up into the hillsides, is another incredible (albeit quite well-known!) spot for a romantic island getaway. You can combine a volcanic hike and romantic dip in the hot springs on this three-hour tour. The hot springs are also on the agenda as part of this sunset catamaran cruise, which sets aside time for swimming or snorkelling along the coastline, a Greek barbecue, and breathtaking views at sunset. For something a little different, escape the beaten track on this tour of the locality’s hidden gems.
This world-class romantic island getaway attracts the rich and famous to its soft sands, cliffs and coves, and fragrant gardens. You’ll see more than a few exclusive yachts bobbing in Gustavia’s harbor and maybe a few famous faces, too. You’ll undoubtedly be drawn to the island’s beaches (22 in all)—keep an eye out for humpback whales and sea turtles. Shell Beach is recommended for romantic wanderings and beachcombing for sea-polished treasures.
We round out our most romantic island getaways with arguably the biggest “hidden gem” destination on the list. But don’t sleep on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, a true American treasure. This blissfully car-free zone on Lake Huron is best explored on two wheels, so hire a couple of bikes or electric scooters and get pedaling. Or why not increase the romance factor with a horse-drawn carriage tour? There are plenty of activities to enjoy: take advantage of the boat tours and water sports, or stay inland for a few peaceful rounds of golf.
From sugar-white sands and cerulean seas to thrilling adventures and fruity rum punches, the Caribbean is a tried-and-tested destination for relaxation. It’s a perfect place to treat your family to the ultimate island getaway.
To make your trip even more enjoyable, consider staying in a FlipKey vacation rental. It’s no surprise that vacation homes are ideal for families—the extra living space, a full kitchen, and private outdoor area, plus amenities like laundry or a grill.
We’ve rounded up nine Caribbean destinations your family will love, each boasting great vacation rental options and stellar guest reviews. From the mountains of St. Lucia to the sun-kissed shores of Turks & Caicos, choose a rental in one of these tropical hot spots and enjoy an authentic island experience.
“Peace and tranquility by the sea. Everything you need, and some things you didn’t know you needed, are available in this cottage.” – FlipKey Traveler
Ringed by silky sands and blue-green waters, Cayman Brac is an island paradise situated in the Caribbean Sea. Here, you can slip into relaxation mode while lounging along the 12 miles of golden beaches, or explore the rocky bluffs and pockets of caves lining the shore. Venture off the beaten path to discover the island’s natural beauty, or plunge into the surrounding sea for spectacular diving. Known for its stunning scenery and laid-back beach vibes, one thing’s certain: chilling with your family in Cayman Brac will never get old.
“Perfect place in Marigot Bay. We kept pinching ourselves as we stayed in this clean, light, beautiful apartment overlooking the bay.” – FlipKey Traveler
Home to the legendary Pitons and lush Pigeon Island National Park, St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful and mountainous islands in the Caribbean. Wake to the sound of birds chirping outside your window and ease into your day on the balcony of your Marigot Bay rental. When you’re ready for an adventure, drive into the depths of the La Soufrière volcano past steaming hot springs and therapeutic mud baths, or hop in a water taxi to explore the island’s secrets. Marigot Bay is perfect for families looking to add an unforgettable excursion (or two!) to their Caribbean getaway.
“Everything was perfect! We are beach sloths and seafood piggies and this was the best condo for our family at an unbelievably affordable price.” – FlipKey Traveler
Dig your toes into the sand and let your worries wash away while on vacation in St. Thomas’s picturesque East End. This part of the island is where you’ll find Red Hook—a delightful community characterized by its red-tiled roof homes—as well as a bustling port that makes island hopping a cinch. Prefer to relax? Unfurl your towel at Sapphire Beach and enjoy a day of sunbathing and snorkeling with your family. No matter how you choose to spend your time, East End is a top-rated Caribbean destination that won’t disappoint!
“The lovely environment of the villa with its lovely pool and outdoor areas provided a welcome respite and gathering place for our family.” – FlipKey Traveler
Wide, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and dazzling coral reefs grace the shores of Bequia, a lush island in the Grenadines. At only seven square miles, everyone knows everyone here, and it’s the perfect destination for travelers searching for a friendly atmosphere and inviting, small-town feel. Lounge in the sun at Princess Margaret Beach or Lower Bay Beach, or go for a stroll around the village of Port Elizabeth—just don’t be startled by friendly chickens strutting at your feet. As the sun starts to fade on the horizon, head home to your waterfront rental, and pass the time guessing which celebrities are aboard the massive yachts anchored out your window in Admiralty Bay.
“Perfect piece of paradise on Chalk Sound. Our 3-generation family was so happy… Every night was perfect in its own way.” – FlipKey Traveler
In Providenciales (“Provo” to the locals), enjoy a breathtaking panorama of blue skies and turquoise surf, right from your seat in the sand. This sun-drenched destination is home to the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award-winning beach, Grace Bay, and is the ultimate place to escape the day-to-day. Dive into the crystal clear waters and explore the miles of coral reef just offshore, or start happy hour early and indulge in some of the island’s signature Rum Punch.
“Loved it!!!!! The whole trip was awesome. Right from the booking to the day we went home!” – FlipKey Traveler
The capital of Curaçao, Willemstad boasts a lively downtown that bursts with colorful colonial architecture, Dutch-inspired landmarks, and a vast array of beach attractions. Float down the city’s winding waterways or stroll down the streets of the Punda and Otrobanda neighborhoods, taking in all that makes Willemstad a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you’re not browsing the packed art galleries or sampling cocktails mixed with the island’s famed Blue Curaçao, retreat to your pastel-colored condo to relax on your balcony. From its historic charm and beautiful beaches to its year-round flawless weather, it’s no surprise that Willemstad ranks on our list of top-rated Caribbean destinations.
“Sooo AMAZING that we requested to book a second stay <24 hours after returning home!!!” – FlipKey Traveler
As soon as you set foot in Punta Cana, you’ll be on island time. Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the jungle, discover the hidden lagoons of Hoyo Azul, or dive into a colorful new world under the water. Up for a challenge? Punta Cana has several world-class golf courses with rolling fairways and contoured greens that are sure to provide a golf outing unlike any other. Whether you spend your days rocking in the hammock at your rental or playing in the surf, you’ll leave Punta Cana absolutely rejuvenated.
“The best time ever!!! Maurice (the caretaker) had that reggae music pumping for us and we loved it…dancing and singing around the villa! Yea Mon!” – FlipKey Traveler
Leaping from Blue Hole waterfall, floating down the White River, and swimming at Bamboo Beach… there are so many ways to make a splash in Ocho Rios. From thrilling adventures to laid-back happy hours, this island oasis will keep you busy for days on end. After a day of fun in the sun, let your mind wander as the breeze carries the rhythmic sound of steel drums through the air. Book a sprawling beach villa right on the water and start counting down the days until your blissful beach getaway.
“Our experience was A+! We absolutely LOVED the property, the town and the people we worked with.” – FlipKey Traveler
Among the top beach spots in the world, Nassau is the picture of tranquility. Here you’ll find calm, turquoise waters lapping the pristine shores, refreshing Sky Juice (a local favorite) flowing freely, and delectable conch fritters always available. In other words, Nassau offers the ultimate recipe for vacation perfection. Cut through the waves in a catamaran, snorkel with a school of fish, or laze under the sun—the possibilities are endless at this top-rated Caribbean destination!
The key to planning a worry-free vacation with toddlers is choosing the right destination. Whether it’s an exciting city brimming with hands-on activities, a peaceful beach, or a rural setting where kids can explore, it has to be a place where both the young and getting older can have fun (after all, it’s your vacation, too!). And as January is the start of peak booking season, now’s the time to choose a rental in one of these top destinations.
To help you choose, we’ve hand-picked 10 of the best vacations for toddlers from coast to coast. From the action-packed streets of Washington, DC to the picturesque shores of San Diego, the places on our list make every curious toddler’s favorite question—”Why?”—easy to answer. We’ve even included our top pick for a kid-friendly attraction your little ones will love.
Captiva Island rests just off the coast of southwest Florida in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its shallow waters and gentle waves, which make it an ideal beach vacation spot for families with toddlers. With your little ones at your side, chase waves retreating into the ocean, build an enormous sandcastle, or comb the beach for colorful seashells—the possibilities are endless! Choose a beachfront condo with kid-friendly activities (think kite-making and coconut-painting) or book a vacation home with tons of space for a stress-free getaway in Captiva Island.
With its small-town vibe and inviting atmosphere, one thing’s certain: you’re sure to feel at ease in Pigeon Forge (at least, while the kids aren’t testing your patience!). Situated in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, this outdoorsy destination is all about experiencing the Appalachian wilderness hands-on. In other words, it’s a toddler’s dream-come-true. Explore the dense forests on foot, bike along nature paths, or take a dip in the local swimming holes. If that’s not your thing, downtown Pigeon Forge boasts family-friendly theme parks, unique attractions, and the sounds of country music on almost every street corner, ensuring a good time is had by all.
Located just miles from Smugglers Notch, one of Vermont’s largest state parks, Stowe boasts countless kid-friendly hikes, scenic byways, and undiscovered attractions. Translation: Stowe is the ultimate natural playground for toddlers. Let your children run free, climbing over twisted roots, playing hide-and-go-seek among the trees, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Once everyone’s all tired out, retreat to your spacious cabin rental, and spend the evening cuddled on the couch watching movies and reading bedtime stories. Sometimes the best vacation for toddlers is one that involves minimal plans and a place to let loose.
It goes without saying that Orlando is one of the best vacations for toddlers. Home to the world-famous Disney theme parks, happiness fills the air here. Explore a lush, African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, stay cool at the Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, or watch your children’s eyes light up while hugging Mickey Mouse. The fun doesn’t have to end when you exit the park’s gates, though! Many Orlando vacation rentals bring the magic home with Disney-themed rooms, fabulous pools, and lots of space to play. Visit Orlando and even adults will feel like kids again!
With miles of scenic lakefront, world-class boating, and a convenient location in the center of Missouri, Lake Ozark is a fabulous vacation spot for families, especially those with toddlers. Let the hours slip by swimming, strolling, or simply relaxing on the picturesque shores. For toddlers, there are endless things to do and no shortage of hiding spots for your inquisitive little one(s) to discover. At the end of the day, kick up your feet at your cabin rental, and watch the sunset over the water. Indoors and outdoors, your whole family will have fun in Lake Ozark!
Washington, DC is loaded with captivating attractions your toddlers will love: the park-like National Zoo, several museums with interactive exhibits, and plenty of sprawling parks perfect for playing and picnicking, to name a few. Rent an apartment downtown or stay along the city’s outskirts—it’s easy to get around Washington, DC, even with toddlers in tow. Hop on the metro and breeze from destination to destination, or climb into a pedicab for an open-air ride through the city’s unique neighborhoods. Your wee ones will be awe-struck by the city’s massive monuments, historic buildings, and iconic landmarks looming in the skyline.
San Diego is a laid-back beach town that’s fun to visit, with or without kids! When you arrive, make your first stop Balboa Park. It’s home to a large playground, nearly 20 museums, the San Diego Zoo, and so much more that will keep your little ones entertained for hours. Along the coast, soak up sun at Mission Beach or visit La Jolla Cove where seals and sea lions perch on the rocks all day long (cuteness overload!). FlipKey has plenty of San Diego rentals just steps from the beach, so you won’t have to tote your toddlers and beach toys too far for fun in the sun.
Travelers describe a vacation to Lake Placid as “a true Adirondack experience” and an “unbeatable, peaceful retreat.” Although it’s famous for being the site of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and a hub for snow sports, this quiet city nestled in the mountains offers year-round activities the whole family will enjoy. During the summer, splash in the lake or sit by the fire pit as frogs croak and fireflies flit by. When winter rolls around, try skiing and ice skating, or climb Whiteface Mountain in the Cloudsplitter Gondola for sweeping views of Lake Placid. You’ll find this fabulous destination is as breathtakingly beautiful and full of adventure as it is toddler-friendly.
If you’ve never been to Philadelphia, you’ll quickly see why it’s a fabulous city and one of the best vacations for toddlers. From the massive Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse to the Philadelphia Zoo, there’s plenty to keep your children amused for hours on end. With little ones constantly on the go, try not to miss the centuries of American history on display throughout the city—the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Reading Terminal Market to name a few. Need another reason to visit Philadelphia? Sesame Place is just across the city line in Langhorne!
Fill your days in Port Aransas searching for seashells, fishing from the pier, and exploring the local nature reserves. The 18 miles of soft-sand beaches here provide a cushiony landing spot for toddlers still getting the hang of walking. Overhead, colorful Roseate Spoonbills and Reddish Egrets fly through the sky, while the sound of whooping cranes carries through the air delighting both young and young at heart. Make it easy on yourself by booking a rental right on the water so you won’t have to lug your beach gear too far. If you’re seeking an island retreat without a hefty price tag (you can rent a home for under $100 per night!) Port Aransas is the perfect place for you and your family.
It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe for you, beauty is the bright lights of a cityscape at night or a stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Maybe it’s a meadow of wildflowers, a roaring waterfall, or an historic neighborhood in a famous city. For many, it’s a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser, or Hawaii’s Mauna Key volcano. Beauty can be found anywhere, in anything, so we’ve gathered this list of some of America’s most beautiful places to travel—the landmarks, attractions, and breathtaking views to see before you die.
But we aren’t stopping there. It’s one thing to tell you about America’s most beautiful places, and another to help you plan the perfect itinerary to see them. In our list below, you’ll gain 35 adventures to add to your bucket list and specific ways to experience them, from guided hiking tours, helicopter rides, and sailing expeditions, to recommended hotels and alternative lodging options in each spot.
The best part? When you’re visiting these places, you can book an affordable, comfortable accommodation right on FlipKey! We offer hundreds of thousands of great rental properties—from cozy mountainside cabins to breezy beach homes to downtown apartments and lofts. Find the perfect place to stay during your scenic getaway.
Without further ado, here are some of the most beautiful places, landmarks, and attractions to visit in the USA.
Island of Kauai, Hawaii: Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and Poipu’s Beaches
There’s a reason big-budget films like Tropic Thunder and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides feature this lush location as a backdrop. This tropical paradise is home to some of the most gorgeous scenery on the planet, from the spectacular Mt. Waialeale crater, which gets more rainfall than anywhere else on earth, to the stunning Mana Waiapuna falls featured in Jurassic Park, the towering spires of the Nā Pali Coast, and the resorts of Princeville. A great way to see it all is via this helicopter tour taking you over the island of Kauai, as well as the Nā Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and Poipu’s gorgeous beaches. Pro tip: Make time to check out the snorkeling, rafting, and kayaking experiences around the Nā Pali Coast and its famous sea caves, too.
It’s not hard to see why this six-hour excursion in Kenai Fjords National Park is one of Alaska’s most popular wildlife and glacier cruises. Glide past alpine and tidewater glaciers, spot abundant marine wildlife, and visit seabird rookeries at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Drifting past the jagged icy cliffs along the Kenai Peninsula, you might catch breath-taking glimpses of humpback, minke, and orca whales, among other creatures that flock to the plankton-rich waters. No matter your adventure style, there are plenty of tours available for exploring Kenai Fjords National Park.
There are so many ways to take in the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Bus trip, helicopter tour from nearby Las Vegas, or travel the way visitors did in the early 20th century: by train! This iconic American destination is celebrated for its Colorado River views and awe-inspiring red rock formations stretching as far as the eye can see. Also worth exploring are Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, both of which are about two hours away from the popular South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The Blue Lakes Hiking Trail near Telluride, situated above the tree line at about 12,400 feet, offers a gorgeous hike past alpine lakes and the peaks of Yankee Boy Basin. Hikers often tackle it as a day-long excursion, taking in the sight of colorful wildflowers and everything from marmots to mountain goats or sheep. If you’re staying in Denver and want to try something similar, you can take this private day tour of Mount Evans, which includes spectacular views from the top of the famous ‘14er’, as well sightings of wildlife like bighorn sheep, elk, and bison.
New York City is truly an incredible metropolis, worthy of many superlatives. While Central Park or the Statue of Liberty could certainly be considered beautiful, our pick here is the Brooklyn Bridge thanks to its stunning architecture (one reviewer claims it’s an “iconic engineering marvel“) and unique skyline views. Opened in 1883 and spanning nearly 6,000 feet, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world’s most recognizable suspension bridges and a classic New York sight. Travelers rave about waking across the bridge at sunrise or sunset, or alternatively taking the view in at nighttime on a boat cruise—which also includes views of One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, and the Chrysler Building.
Anyone planning a getaway who loves history, New England, mountains, and dazzling fall colors, should put Bretton Woods in autumn on their travel wish list. It’s actually a point within the town of Carroll, New Hampshire. In fall, this place is simply spectacular. Hike up West Mountain for amazing views or ride The Cog, a cog railway carrying tourists up Mount Washington.
The thirty-acre site of Forsyth Park, dating from the 1840s, is one of the most iconic spots in the city of Savannah. The park’s fountain is probably its most recognizable landmark, and the benches and Spanish moss-covered oaks that surround it have helped make it a romantic focal point for photography. Outside the park, TripAdvisor reviewers particularly love Savannah’s historic churches and cathedrals, this museumdedicated to the history of Prohibition, and sites like Bonaventure Cemetery, nestled on the bluff of the Wilmington River and famous for its old tree-lined roadways and historic architecture.
Maui’s Honokohau Falls and the Sea Cliffs of Molokai from the air
Taking a flight across Hawaii’s most dramatic landscapes will really make you sit up and appreciate the world around you. On this helicopter tour over Molokai and Maui you’ll see a panorama of cliffs, jungle, ocean, and volcanoes, perhaps interrupted by a majestic whale or two. Take in those massive sea cliffs and that serene North Shore bathed in sunlight—you simply won’t want to leave.
Amateur shutterbugs flock to Driftwood Beach, a distinctive spot on the north end of Georgia’s Jekyll Island that looks, quite simply, like a graveyard for trees. Trust us, it’s a lot more beautiful than it sounds. It often shows up on lists rounding up the most romantic beaches in the country, due to its landscape of sun-scarred driftwood that makes you feel like you’re in another world. Catch it early in the morning or at sunset for a view that will take your breath away.
Views from Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The views at Lookout Mountain are nothing less than breathtaking, looking over the city of Chattanooga, as well as parts of neighboring states. There’s a powerful sense of history here, as several TripAdvisor reviewers note, as you stand on ground where Civil War soldiers fought and died. Also seek out Ruby Falls (which includes a cave and waterfall underneath the mountain), the rock formations and gardens in Rock City, and Point Park, memorializing the 1863 Civil War Battle Above the Clouds. Visit in the fall for the added bonus of colorful foliage!
Views from the Stratosphere Observation Tower in Las Vegas
When people talk about the Stratosphere in Vegas, they could be referring to the hotel or the casino, but there’s a better chance that they really mean the roughly 1,150-foot-tall freestanding observation tower. This distinctive Sin City landmark includes two observation decks, the revolving Top of the World restaurant, and several bookable rides and attractions, such as this open-air leap from the tower via the SkyJump experience. This unlimited ride pass also lets you experience the thrills of rides like the Big Shot.
As the Beach Boys crooned, Big Sur is a place of crimson sunsets and golden dawns. Pfeiffer Beach is an especially picturesque stretch where the waves roar as they hit the white sand of the beach. One TripAdvisor reviewer was particularly taken with the sight of the rocks perforated with holes, allowing water to splash through making for some spectacular camera shots. McWay Falls and Bixby Bridge get tons of deserved Big Sur hype, but Pfeiffer Beach is more of a hidden gem—check out its purple sand and amazing rock formations.
This St. Louis cathedral, the mother church of the St. Louis archdiocese, is home to one of the largest collections of mosaics in the Western hemisphere. This beautiful structure turned 100 years old in 2014 and is perhaps best known for its interior mosaics, which took almost 80 years to complete, using more than 41 million pieces of glass tesserae. The interiors are stunning, for sure, but its incredible exterior architecture also gives it a nod on our list of beautiful sights in America.
If it’s a dizzying height with an epic Chicago view you want, head straight to the Ledge at Skydeck Chicago, housed in the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. A quintessentially Chicagoan and perfectly Instagrammable moment can be captured 103 floors up the Willis Tower, where you step out onto the glass balconies of the ledge, extending more than four feet outside the building. Enjoy those 360-degree views then turn your gaze down to your feet to see the slightly stomach-churning sight of everything 1,353 feet below you. Skydeck admission is listed at $22, and you can also enjoy dinner on the 103rd floor, bookable here.
It doesn’t get much more storybook perfect than this: a two-hour excursion into Casco Bay aboard a vintage lobster boat, offering sublime views of the Maine coastline dotted with lighthouses. Each charter includes a captain and deckhand to guide you, regale you with local color, and tend to your needs, but it’s the lighthouses that are the stars of this show. You’ll see four in total, including the Ram Island Light, the Spring Point Ledge Light, Bug Light, and the iconic Portland Head Light, which was commissioned in 1791 by none other than George Washington himself.
Mauna Key Summit, Hawaii’s Big Island—from the air
Once-in-a-lifetime moments don’t get much more epic than watching the sun rise from the top of a volcano. In this case, it’s the Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, which is what this sunrise excursion is built around. Watching the purple, blue, orange, and red rays of the sun peek out over the horizon is the culmination of this six-hour trip to the volcano’s peak. For a perfect bookend to this experience, take this small-group sunset and stargazing tour of Mauna Kea, during which you’ll use powerful telescopes to observe constellations from the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station.
William F. Buckley once quipped he’d be happy to entrust the entirety of the United States government to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone book. It was a rumination on the one-of-a-kind nature of the people here in Beantown, a truly iconic American city. Here, history and modernity coexist beautifully, and you feel it everywhere you go. In neighborhoods from Southie to Beacon Hill, with its cobblestone streets; in the foodie paradise of the North End; from the tree-lined streets of Back Bay to the pubs, taverns, and institutions such as Boston and Harvard universities; in beautiful public spaces like Boston Common and historic landmarks like Faneuil Hall and the Old State House.
Saint Augustine is a city that stands alone. Sure, it’s got all the trappings the average vacationer would want: charming hotels, intimate restaurants, pristine beaches. But it’s the history that gives this city its unique feel—it’s the oldest European settlement in the US. If you’re so inclined, you could pull a Ponce de Leon and taste the waters in the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park (let us know if it makes you feel any younger). Beyond that, there are tons of ways to explore the city, from ghost and trolley tours to sunset cruises and craft beer tastings.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a distinctive, almost otherworldly-looking edifice built into the red rock formations of Sedona. It’s been featured in architecture magazines, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and it’s just one of many memorable spots in this desert oasis, where you’ll also find resorts, spas, and canyons. The beauty of the desert scenery is only surpassed by the grandeur of the night sky. Once the sun dips, you’ll see it in all its glory, free of the illumination of city lights. If you want to explore the area, there are tons of experiences to choose from, like this small-group tour of Sedona and a tour of the chapel itself.
An awe-inspiring collection of artwork can be found in the German-made stained glass windows of the Cathedral of St. Helena, a Gothic-inspired structure with distinctive twin spires and a pipe organ. This must-see landmark gathers high praise from TripAdvisor reviewers for the beauty of the church and the sense of serenity within. Elsewhere in the city, there’s a museum of art, Reader’s Alley (a restored miners’ village complete with restaurant and shops), and the Gates of the Mountains wilderness area.
The Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, while not home to the famous Old Faithful Geyser, is still arguably Yellowstone’s best area to explore, particularly for photographers. One reviewer states: “This is a must-see location within the park. The area is simply beautiful and very unique. The colors are truly magnificent.” Due to those stunning colors, the Midway Geyser Basin is one of the most photographed walks in Yellowstone. It includes the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Excelsior Geyser, plus the Turquoise Pool and the Opal Pool. This tour is a good way to experience all these sites and more—led by an expert guide, you’ll be able to see several impressive geysers, along with the natural beauty of canyons, cascades and more.
One guaranteed way to feel the awesome power of nature is to visit the inimitable Niagara Falls. There are three magnificent falls here, two American and one Canadian. On this tour of the American side of the falls you’ll get aerial views from the observation deck at Skylon Tower, get up close to Horseshoe Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat ride, and also reach the closest accessible point of the falls at Cave of the Winds.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic drive offering world-famous, breath-taking views. The road links the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you can explore the scenery here a number of different ways. There’s this photo tour and hike led by a local guide along the parkway, or you could try an alternative guided hike that also passes by three lovely waterfalls.
Wild Horses Grazing On the Beaches of Corolla, North Carolina
Now here’s a sight that’s unique to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Ancestors of the wild Spanish Mustangs who wander free here were brought over in the 1500s on Spanish vessels. The horses you see today make up the last remaining wild herd. This two-hour tour of the Outer Banks transports you through the sand dunes in open-air four-wheel drive vehicles to see the wild horses in all their splendor. You’ll also visit a maritime forest and a historic Coast Guard station.
There’s an old Native American story that says Multnomah Falls was created for a young princess who wanted a secret place to bathe. This is certainly a place of beauty, with a roaring cascade of over 600 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in the US. If you’re feeling particularly gutsy, walk up the trail to Benson Bridge, which spans the falls and gives you an unobstructed view up to the top—and a stomach-churning view down the roughly 70-foot drop. Tours like this show you around Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge as part of a half-day excursion from Portland.
New England oozes an irresistible storybook charm, and there’s no better place to experience it than in Newport, Rhode Island, with its yacht-lined harbor and Gilded Age mansions. You can take a guided trolley tour or simply admire these castles of wealth from the water on a harbor sightseeing cruise. Most tours include a stop at The Breakers, a mansion that housed the Vanderbilts and is among the most impressive of the city’s historic abodes. Alternatively, walk along the famous Cliff Walk and see the mansions from a unique, picturesque perspective.
Utah’s National Parks: Arches, Zion, Bryce and More
The Beehive State is home to so many beautiful parks and other stunning natural wonders that it can be a little tricky to narrow down your itinerary. One way to check off several points on your list in one go is this epic seven-day tour of some of the top protected wilderness areas in the country. Along the way, you’ll see Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park, as part of a thrilling week of hiking and exploring the rock pillars, rivers, and cliffs this area has to offer.
Ruby Beach is one of the most visited beaches along the coastline of Olympic National Park in Washington, and is well-known for its reddish sand and little islands of rock, known as ‘sea stacks’. The rugged shoreline, peppered with rocks and driftwood, makes for a memorable afternoon of beachcombing accompanied by gorgeous views.
One of the most iconic, easily recognizable landmarks in the US is the Golden Gate Bridge, stretching 4,200 feet and towering as high as a 65-story building. It’s an imposing monument and a marvel of engineering skill, as well as a gateway into San Francisco, but you don’t have to just admire it from afar. You could try this cruise departing from Fisherman’s Wharf and gliding close to the bridge, or a guided bike tour from San Fran to Sausalito, taking you right across the bridge itself.
Kiva Beach is a little bit of a hidden gem, and it’s totally worth the trip. Here you’ll get great views of the mountains around it, including Mount Tallac, and it’s also one of the few truly pet-friendly beaches in the area, making it a great place to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand with a furry four-legged companion.
Views From the Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles, California
This public observatory is set on Mount Hollywood within Griffith Park, housing a planetarium, exhibits, public telescopes, and a bookstore. Walk around the back to get sweeping, unobstructed views of the Los Angeles skyline—especially breathtaking at night, when you can see the bright lights of the city sparkling in the distance. There’s a bust of actor James Dean on one side that’s positioned so you can capture it and the famous Hollywood sign in the same shot. The observatory is packaged in multiple tours that take in a variety of Los Angeles landmarks.
Tucked into the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Yosemite National Park is known for the natural beauty of its granite cliffs, waterfalls, and ancient sequoia trees. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the granite cliffs made famous by photographer Ansel Adams. Especially worth a visit are the 317-foot Vernal Fall, beautiful Mirror Lake, and Yosemite Falls, the fifth tallest waterfall in the world. The shops and restaurants of Yosemite Village are also popular.
Bluebonnet Blooms: Spicewood, Texas (Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area)
Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area has plenty of active fun in store for visitors, including a 6.5-mile mountain bike trail. But if you’re after a beautiful display of nature at its best, come in the spring to see the ground blanketed in gorgeous bluebonnet wildflowers. There’s nothing quite like it to make you appreciate the dazzling colors of nature.
From the Adirondacks to the Rockies, these charming mountain towns deserve a moment in the sun. If you’re planning a visit, consider a vacation rental from FlipKey—like a cozy cabin right on the hiking trails or a modern ski condo.
In a land with hundreds of individual mountain ranges and endless acres of national forests, some of the most exciting vacation destinations in the US boast skylines that haven’t changed in centuries. Home to craggy peaks with steep trails, twisting singletracks and swirling whitewater, this country’s beautiful little mountain towns deserve their own moment in the sun. That’s why we’re featuring 24 scenic communities—each home to less than 10,000 residents—with serious four-season appeal and tons of small-town charm.
What Bryson City lacks in size, it makes up for in towering peaks, panoramic views and big natural attractions (namely, the Great Smoky Mountains). For hiking and biking enthusiasts, the Appalachian Trail and Tsali Mountain Biking Recreation Area are both nearby, but the city itself is better known for another outdoor activity: epic whitewater rafting. Don’t miss the opportunity to face some huge drops and rapids on the Nantahala River. Of course, if you prefer to stay on dry land, you can always browse the handcrafted items on display in the area’s artisan-run shops.
Ely is a small town that’s easy to overlook: northern Minnesota, population 3,460, set against the stunning backdrop of the Shagawa Lake. So how did it end up on this list of stunning mountain vacations? We’ve got a few good reasons, starting with the town’s recent renaissance and an upswing in tourism. From ice fishing and dogsledding in the winter to late summer canoeing and early autumn hiking, this hidden-gem outdoors hub has a lot to offer, and travelers are taking note.
For cliffside Victorian homes, quaint galleries and boutiques, meandering mountain roads and 25 miles of backwoods trails, rent a historic home in Eureka Springs and start exploring the Ozarks. This popular mountain vacation destination is surrounded by natural attractions including three lakes, two rivers and a number of public caves, so canoeing, kayaking, fishing and hiking abound. But the fun doesn’t stop after summer ends; nearby spas and outstanding exhibits at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art make Eureka Springs an enchanting winter escape.
In 2015, two local spots merged to create Park City Mountain Resort, now the largest ski resort in the country. Add 7,300 skiable acres to the 400+ miles of trails accessible to hikers and bikers during the summer, and you’ll understand why this city is a buzzworthy destination year-round. (Of course, if you’re looking to save a little money, steer clear mid-winter when the Sundance Film Festival comes to town.) If hitting the slopes—or trails—isn’t your definition of a good time, the restaurants, galleries and luxe boutiques on Main Street won’t disappoint.
Given West Virginia’s nickname (“The Mountain State”) and motto (“Mountaineers are Always Free”), the state’s rugged peaks are an essential part of its heritage—just as much as the small towns nestled in the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountain ranges. Fayetteville is one of those charming destinations, home to the oldest river on the continent and the world’s second-longest single arch bridge. Aside from the region’s legendary whitewater rafting, Fayetteville is also known for rock climbing, llama treks(!) and Bridge Day, an annual October festival and sporting event centered around BASE jumping.
Gatlinburg is practically synonymous with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and those iconic misty mountain ridges. It’s a regional hub for whitewater rafting, horseback riding, ziplining and a long list of other popular outdoor activities; visit in the winter, and you can even fly down the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s only ski resort. Beyond the scenery, though, this entertaining mountain vacation town is known for its boutiques, live bluegrass and a surprising number of distilleries. Ever wondered what apple pie moonshine tastes like? You can sample it here. Make a day trip of it and book yourself a moonshine and wine tasting tour.
Homer has its fair share of nicknames: “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.” “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.” “The End of the Road.” But make no mistake about that last one: this destination is not a dead end. Hemmed in by the mountains and the sea, Homer boasts the best of both worlds, so you can go hiking on Kenai Peninsula trails in the morning and sea kayaking on the Kachemak Bay in the afternoon. Well on its way to becoming the state’s adventure tourism capital, the quaint and quirky mountain town lures Alaskans and out-of-state travelers alike with its mild climate, jaw-dropping scenery, excellent fishing and prime bear viewing opportunities. You can even book a six-hour grizzly bear-spotting tour, including a thrilling plane ride and a hike to get a closer look at these fascinating creatures.
Hood River has been called both “a recreational boomtown” and “an agricultural powerhouse,” because the Columbia River port city is equally famous for its strong winds (a windsurfer’s dream) and good fruit. Located an hour east of Portland, where the Columbia River Gorge meets the Cascade Mountain Range, the area boasts some of the best windsurfing in the world and 15,000 acres of orchards—plus microbreweries, top-notch cycling, scenic gorges and balmy temperatures nearly year-round. Pair a leisurely cycle with some first-rate wine tasting on the Oregon Wine Country Experience, a guided cycle stopping at three wineries and offering some of the area’s best views.
Whether you’re a daredevil biker, skier or mountaineer, it’s about time you (ahem) caught up with Ketchum—the self-described home of “one of the lowest resting heart rates anywhere.” Once a Wild West mining center, this central Idaho town is just one mile from Sun Valley, the first American ski resort. Naturally, skiing is an essential part of the fabric of the community (and with 250 days of sunshine each year, it’s not a bad place to visit if you’re craving a little fresh air). Reserve a cabin rental or luxury lodge and prepare for an epic outdoor adventure.
Best known for its namesake resort, Killington boasts 6 peaks, 22 lifts, 155 trails and 3,000 skiable acres, making it the largest ski area in the eastern US. Eleven miles away, the Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Center offers more than 35 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails. And while we’re crunching the numbers, here are five reasons—music festivals, mountain climbing, biking, hiking and golf—to visit after the snow melts. Oh, and one more thing: Killington has played host to three Spartan World Championship events. (We think that about sums it up.)
In northeastern California, where the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas meet, Lake Almanor offers swimming, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and 52 miles of forested shoreline. If lazy summer lake days aren’t your style, the region’s great trails and beautiful meadows are also perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing when colder weather sets in. No matter when you visit, thanks to the number of smallmouth bass, giant rainbow trout and kokanee salmon, the fishing is great year-round.
For a feel-good comeback story, look no further than the tale of Leavenworth. After the decline of the area’s railway and timber industries in the 1960s, the former logging town remodeled its buildings to create a Bavarian-style alpine village. In the decades since, Leavenworth has become a bustling tourist destination known for its Cascade Mountain scenery and a packed calendar of festivals and performances. If you visit during the summer, don’t leave without catching an outdoor show at the Leavenworth Summer Theater; during the winter, backcountry skiing and snowmobiling are two exciting ways to explore the surrounding region.
If you don’t know about Red Lodge’s skiing and snowboarding scene, here’s what you’ve been missing: affordable prices, heart-stopping vistas and plenty of fresh powder (around 250 inches of snow each year). Avoid the crowds at big-name resorts and opt in for a cabin rental with stunning views of the Beartooth Mountains. When warmer weather arrives, this desirable mountain towns town becomes a hot spot for climbing, fishing, rafting and horseback riding. What’s more? In Red Lodge’s historic downtown, you’ll find plenty of unique local spots to shop, eat and enjoy a pint.
Perhaps best known for Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community to be declared both a National Historic Landmark (1965) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1992), Taos is a desert town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Here, galleries, museums and landmark sites are not difficult to come by—but neither are legendary hikes and unforgettable mountain vistas. For a great introduction to Taos, book a guided driving tour, which includes Taos Pueblo and the Rio Grande Gorge. Craving cold-weather activities? Seventeen miles northeast of the town, Taos Ski Valley offers skiing and snowboarding during the winter.
Welcome to Rocky Mountain High Country. If the skyline is giving you a case of déjà vu, it might be because you’ve seen it before—on a can of Coors beer. Telluride is an iconic spot, home to cabin rentals with soaring mountain views and the dazzling slopes skiers dream of all year. We’re partial to the excellent hikes (don’t miss the trek to 365-foot Bridal Veil Falls), thriving restaurant scene (try the buffalo, venison or elk) and buzzy annual events like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
At FlipKey, we value the importance of travel and cultural immersion as a way to learn about the world firsthand, which is why we held a contest for one student to win a $1,000 study abroad scholarship. We asked entrants to tell us, in essay form, why travel is important to him or her, and we want to send a big thank you to everyone who entered and helped make the contest a success!
A special congratulations to Grace Inkala of the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, the winner of FlipKey’s 2018 Study Abroad Scholarship! From tuition costs to plane tickets and spontaneous excursions in between, we hope you use the $1,000 to create lots of memories during your semester abroad in Winchester, England.
Grace’s winning essay is printed in full below.
Grace and her friend George, during a mission trip in Panama.
There are certain moments in a person’s life that stay ingrained in their mind forever. For me, this moment happened in April 2011 when I went on my first mission’s trip. Once the plane landed in Honduras my excitement was uncontrollable; I couldn’t wait to see what the upcoming week would have in store. What I failed to realize as I took my first steps on Honduran soil, was that my world—or my preconceived notions of the world—would be forever changed.
The first days in Honduras were filled with fun activities and getting settled in, but it wasn’t until I traveled to a small impoverished village that I began to see the unfortunate realities of poverty. My team and I were building a latrine for a family who recently lost the little they had in a flood. While in the village, I met a young girl named Genesis. She was sitting in the mud playing with a broken, dirty Barbie doll. Watching her play happily with a toy I considered garbage shook me beyond belief, because up until this point I couldn’t picture happiness without nice possessions. As the week progressed, Genesis was continuously on my mind. Her joy is initially what gave me the desire to travel more frequently. To this day, even 7 years later, I still think of Genesis and hope that someday I may develop her same type of joy. The kind that is built upon counting blessings.
My second “forever moment” happened in January 2016 while I was in Panama serving at a men’s nursing home. I had been on the tail end of a 6-month-long program through an organization called Youth with a Mission (YWAM). At the nursing home, I had the privilege of serving the elderly men in the most humbling way possible; washing their feet. There I met an elderly blind man named George. He had a rough past, but he spoke great English and we became fast friends. What I will never forget about George were his joy and smile. It was on this day, through this initially uncomfortable situation that I served people not out of obligation, but through genuine compassion and desire. It wasn’t until I got completely out of my comfort zone that I experienced something so beautiful.
Coming back home after my previous mission trips was when I realized I will never think the same. Too often I have fallen into the trap of believing my way is best or my ideas are superior to others. However, when I have traveled abroad I begin to see the world in a new light. For lack of a better phrase, traveling wrecks me. It deconstructs all of my previous approaches, mentalities, and notions that I once found familiar. It shakes me from my inner core. These profound, unexplainable, undeniable emotions are why I think traveling is important. When I travel, I encounter fresh realizations that pave the way for a newfound joy and appreciation for life.
Living in the United States, work-life stress and daily obligations are at the forefront of my mind. But whenever I get the opportunity to go abroad, I see how other cultures are centered on joy. This joy is why I am inspired to travel. It’s the infectious smiles, laughter, and contagious zest for life that I so crave. My inspiration for travel isn’t solely based on sightseeing, but my overwhelming passion for people and culture. I believe learning doesn’t just take place from going to a museum or reading a textbook, but through witnessing diverse ways of life. Sure, I am beyond thrilled for the chance to see famous cities I have only ever read about in books, but there is more to studying abroad—even for a history buff like me—than just exploring foreign cities. My reasons for studying abroad stem from my desire to expand my knowledge by surrounding myself with those who may have differing opinions, beliefs, and experiences. Integrating myself into another culture for an extended stay provides a chance to observe these ideals firsthand and learn a multitude of things that wouldn’t be possible if I stayed in the United States.
Studying abroad opens the door to ample possibilities in academia as well. I will be attending the University of Winchester in Winchester, England where I will be enrolled in multiple business courses. I aspire to someday own a nonprofit international organization, so having the opportunity to learn from business professionals and gain new outlooks on business from a global standpoint will be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, by acquiring a broadened worldview, I’ll be able to appreciate another culture while also developing the skills needed to own an international organization.
I firmly believe that studying abroad in Winchester, England is one of the best decisions I have made. I want to be able to look back on my time abroad and have not just one “forever moment,” but many. I read the question, “Why is travel important?” and I believe the answer is joy. Joy filled from diving into an unfamiliar culture, so I may grow as an individual by experiencing new facets of the world and the people who live in it.
Did you know the United States accounts for around 45 percent of the golf courses in the world? Whether you’re looking for championship golf courses or small-but-mighty nine-hole courses, don’t pack your clubs before you’ve checked out our list of the best golf vacations in America.
Planning A Great Golf Getaway
When you’ve decided which town to tee off in, consider a vacation rental as your home base. You’ll enjoy amenities like a full kitchen, laundry, extra space to store your golf gear, and maybe even a patio or pool! Choose to stay in the heart of town for post-round entertainment or steps from the first hole to maximize time on the course. A spacious rental is ideal for your group golf getaway—and you can find the perfect one right on FlipKey.
If you’re looking for activities off the course, our friends at TripAdvisor can help with that! Below, you’ll also find great excursions, tours, and experiences in each destination—which you can book on TripAdvisor.
Home of TPC Scottsdale and the PGA Tour’s annual Phoenix Open, this desert city tops our list as one of the best golf destinations in the American Southwest. Try out a day in the life of a tour pro on the 36-hole Stadium Course, with its upscale amenities and panoramic views of the McDowell Mountains. For a classic desert golf experience, Troon North Golf Club offers two 18-hole courses stretching through the natural ravines and foothills overlooked by Pinnacle Peak. Book a Sun State Helicopter Tour over the Sonoran desert hills and finish your trip on a (literal) high.
Boasting around one hundred golf courses, Myrtle Beach has more than earned its title of “Golf Capital of the World.” The Arnold Palmer-designed championship course at the Arrowhead Country Club spreads across 360 acres of verdant terrain, with 63 bunkers, 12 scenic lakes and an abundance of natural flora and fauna. Want to brush up your backswing before hitting the first tee? Look no further than the Classic Swing Golf School. One of the best golf trips for anyone who enjoys the ocean, you can explore Myrtle Beach’s coastal waters on a Guided Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour, where you’ll spot brown pelicans, dolphins, and even loggerhead sea turtles if you’re lucky.
Swing into the world’s only floating, movable golf greens at Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course. The gorgeous Lake Coeur d’Alene views on nearly every hole make CDA one of the best golf destinations for anyone who enjoys life on the water. Away from the greens, ROW Adventure Center offers daily kayaking and rafting tours. For something a little more serene, book a Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruise at dusk and enjoy a gourmet dinner with views of enviable lakeside homes set against a stunning Pacific Northwest sunset.
The Waldorf Astoria Golf Course at Walt Disney World follows the contours of Bonnet Creek nature preserve, offering an 18-hole masterpiece that seems to fold into the natural terrain. With more than 150 golf courses, Orlando is probably the best golf vacation for year-round play, but there’s plenty more to enjoy in “The City Beautiful” too. Cool off snorkeling alongside manatees on a Crystal River Manatee Snorkeling Tour, which includes an airboat ride on the Homosassa River.
You’ll find nine courses to challenge your skill at the Pinehurst Resort, but Course Number 2 remains one of the world’s most celebrated. Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1907, it has served as the site of more single golf championships than any course in America. All that golfing is bound to work up an appetite so indulge yourself on a Culinary Tour of the Pines, where you’ll visit some of the top eateries in Pinehurst Village, along with a craft beer tasting to complement each dish.
One of the best golf destinations in the Midwest, Traverse City is home to the Arnold Palmer-designed Manitou Passage and Jack Nicklaus’s groundbreaking Bear course at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. After dark, explore some of the city’s best breweries, wineries and distilleries on a Traverse City Wine And Beer Tour, where your chariot for the night could be anything from a sleek, black Mercedes Benz van to a tie-dye Funky Bus.
With over 33 world-class championship courses, Hilton Head Island often makes the list of best golf vacations—and for good reason. Harbour Town Golf Links, the brainchild of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, is one of Golf Digest’s top 20 courses in the country. If you can drag yourself away from the greens, a Soo Locks Boat Tour is a wonderful way to explore the island’s historic Soo Locks, where freighters, barges, and tugboats traverse the 21-foot drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron every day and night.
Tee off against a backdrop of red rock vistas at the Johnny Miller signature Entrada at Snow Canyon Golf Course. The 18-hole course will excite even the most seasoned golfer, and boasts an award-winning clubhouse as well. Dixie Red Hills is a short nine-hole par-34 course built on a natural spring, but don’t let looks deceive you—it’s more challenging than it seems. Make the most of Utah’s annual 300 days of sunshine and explore Zion National Park while you’re at it with a Half Day ATV Tour of the Major Sand Dunes.
One of the best golf destinations in Texas, TPC San Antonio at the Marriott Hill Country Resort hosts both the Valero Texas Open and San Antonio Championship. Two golf courses, designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman, offer two very different playing experiences to accommodate golfers of all levels. The Palmer Course at La Cantera, set over 250 acres, is another favorite thanks to its breathtaking views. A Birdie Wine Tour in Fredericksburg is the ideal way to relax after a day on the greens.
Dubbed “the Palm Springs of the North,” Bend’s sunny, dry climate means it’s one of the best golf vacations you can take. Pronghorn Golf Club and Tetherow Golf Club were each ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, according to Golf Digest magazine. For a change of scenery, book a Beginner’s Fly-Fishing Tour on Bend’s pristine lakes and rivers, where you’ll get all the guidance you need to catch beautiful alpine trout and finish the day with an authentic fish fry.
There’s nothing like golfing on Gulf Shores, under a blue Alabama sky with the warm ocean breeze on your face. Kiva Dunes Golf Course, meandering 7,092 yards through natural sand dunes and lake, is rated the top public golf course in Alabama by Golf Digest. The Gulf Shores Golf Club is also popular with visitors who come to enjoy the challenging course and traditional plantation-style clubhouse. Explore the surrounding waterways by kayak on a WildNative Tour for a chance to see alligators, bald eagles, ospreys, herons, cormorants, and pelicans up close.
Okay, so the Jack Kidwell-designed Wilson Road Golf Course is Columbus’s only executive nine-hole golf course (and well-worth a round or two), but this great city makes our list of best golf destinations for a different reason. Jack Nicklaus, the man with 18 career major championship victories, was born and raised in Columbus. You can all about his achievements at the Jack Nicklaus Museum, what reviewers call an “interesting museum, even for non-golfer [people] who are ambivalent about sports.” Discover more of Columbus’ charm and history on a thrilling Segway tour which takes in the Scioto River, the thriving Short North arts district, the vibrant Arena District and historic downtown.
For panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, strategically placed bunkers and challenging green complexes, look no further than the Sandia Golf Club. This 7,750-yard championship course cuts through the rugged high desert landscape and will challenge and delight golfers of all levels. See the Sandias from a different angle on an Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise, the perfect way to finish an unforgettable golf vacation.
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