All News

50 Best Places To Travel In 2024

Published Thursday, February 1, 2024 12:00am

The urge to travel is ubiquitous and easy to catch, but choosing where to go can be a much more complex task. Do you want beaches? Big cities? Maybe delicious food is your top priority; or maybe you’re looking for specific activities like surfing or yoga retreats. With a nearly inexhaustible list of places to visit, how do you begin to narrow down the choices and find that perfect spot?

Worry not, because the experts at Forbes Advisor have compiled our list of the 50 best places to travel in 2024. This list is designed to highlight a large variety of destinations which will, hopefully, appeal to many types of travelers. So no matter what you want out of your next vacation, you can likely find it on this list. Or maybe, you’ll find a hidden gem that you’d never considered—sometimes that’s the best kind of trip to take.

The experts at Forbes Advisor have compiled our list of the 50 best places to travel in 2024—and the best credit cards and rewards you can use to make your travels even more unforgettable.

Top 18 Places To Travel in the U.S.

There’s a bit of everything in the U.S., from mountains and deserts to world-class cities and hidden gems—and so much more.

Top Places To Travel in the West

Aptos, California

Aptos, CaliforniaPhoto By Daniel Donnelly

Finding a quiet slice of the California coast isn’t always easy. Aptos offers the peace and amenities laid-back travelers seek, with quick access to Santa Cruz’s buzzier food and drink scene.

Enjoy the famous drive along California’s Highway One to reach Aptos. Then, pack a cooler, chair and umbrella for a day at Seacliff State Beach, where a nearly two-mile long, commercial-free promenade beckons for scenic walks or bike rides. Escape the sun for the comforting shade of old-growth redwoods in the nearby Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.

For a morning latte fix, coffee lovers will make a habit of local roaster Cat & Cloud. After a day at the beach, freshen up for a visit to BAD ANIMAL in Santa Cruz, where you can enjoy a creative Thai menu, a natural wine selection and browse for rare books. Or, keep it casual with the area’s best fish tacos at Steamer Lane. Take a short walk to the overlook, where you might catch a glimpse of the famous otter 841, who gained her notoriety for repeatedly stealing surfboards.

Rewards spotlight: Hilton Honors members and Hilton cardholders can cash in their hotel points at the Seacliff Inn Aptos, a Tapestry Collection property.

By Emily Jane Moore, Forbes Advisor Contributor

Canyonlands National Park, UtahCanyonlands National Park, Utah

Photo By Toni Perkins-Southam

The U.S. Southwest is smattered with national parks, but a handful always get overlooked—Canyonlands being one of them. If you want to avoid the crowds and get off the beaten track (like, you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle remote), consider a trip to Canyonlands. The park is Utah’s largest at 527 square miles and includes three districts, each with unique geography. To beat the heat, head down to the confluence where two major rivers, the Green River and the Colorado River, meet and see the landscape from below. Not only does it provide a unique perspective, but you’ll also gain access to monuments that are close to impossible to reach by land.

Rewards spotlight: Fortunately, Canyonlands is located just a short distance from Moab, Utah, so you can rough it all day but relax and enjoy a cozy bed and delicious meal in the evening. Check out the Hyatt Place, Moab. You’ll have to fork over the points for an award night, as the property is a Category 5, but the outdoor pool, free breakfast and amazing location make up for it.

By Toni Perkins-Southam, Forbes Advisor Staff

Kodiak, Alaska

Kodiak, AlaskaPhoto By Lisa Maloney

When you think of Kodiak, Alaska, you might picture commercial fishing boats or giant brown bears. And you’re not wrong. But, did you know that Kodiak also has dramatic beaches right off the road, mountains carpeted in the sumptuous green of tundra and trees, some of the best seafood you can buy and lovely waterside walks? If you want a taste of small-town Alaska without entirely giving up big city comforts, this is the place for an unforgettable vacation.

Rewards spotlight: You can’t fly directly to Kodiak from the continental U.S., and the cash fare for tickets within Alaska is often surprisingly high. But if you plan ahead you can get a flight to Kodiak from Anchorage for as few as 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles each way, or book award travel through Alaska’s partnership in the Oneworld alliance. Once on Kodiak the chain hotel options tend toward the rustic end of the scale, but you can book an award stay with the Quality Inn (Choice Privileges Rewards) near the airport or at the Best Western in downtown Kodiak.

By Lisa Maloney, Forbes Advisor Contributor

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Willamette Valley, OregonGetty

If you’re an avid domestic traveler, chances are you’ve visited Portland, Oregon at least once. But, even the most well-traveled may not be familiar with the surrounding area. Just under an hour outside of the beloved foodie destination is the sprawling Willamette (emphasis on the “am”) Valley.

The list of activities to enjoy in Willamette Valley is long, but the area is a must-visit for oenophiles. The region, which encompasses Eugene and Salem, is home to 11 distinct wine growing regions and over 700 wineries. If the great outdoors are more your speed, try whitewater rafting on the Santiam River, gold-level mountain biking in the West Cascades or soaking in the Breitenbush Hot Springs.

Rewards spotlight: Willamette’s wineries are spread out, so you’ll need to plan ahead for transportation. Sip safely by using a rideshare service in between wineries. As an added bonus, you can earn big if you use a credit card with Lyft rewards. Wine lovers may also want to book their airfare with Alaska Airlines, since they can check a box of wine for free at Portland International Airport (PDX).

By Sarah Brady, Forbes Advisor Contributor



Photo By Becky Pokora

Yellowstone and the Tetons need no introduction, but few visitors spend time in the rest of the state. Outdoor enthusiasts should make the effort to explore deeper, with options for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling and so much more easily accessible—and without the crowds of neighboring states.

Top-tier destinations include Cody, a base for wildlife watching outside of Yellowstone itself, Saratoga for skiing and hot springs and the tiny town of Ten Sleep which is a mecca for rock climbing. Backcountry campers would need months to explore all of the Wind River Range, an area with epic scenery that requires sweat equity to reach. As you road trip through the state, leave space in your itinerary for unexpected finds. Panoramic views and scenic drives are everywhere, even when they’re not officially designated as such.

Rewards spotlight: Half the appeal of a Wyoming vacation is leaving its cities behind. In small towns, the vast majority of properties are independently owned and operated. Flexible points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards® or Capital One Rewards, can help you cover the cost of hotels without worrying about sticking to a brand or hotel chain.

By Becky Pokora, Forbes Advisor Staff

Top Travel Places in the South

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LouisianaGetty

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and is just a short drive (or a $20 bus ride) away from New Orleans. The city has grown quite a bit since Hurricane Katrina pushed many people to move farther up the Mississippi River and packs a surprising amount of attractions. There’s a walkable downtown area along the riverfront and the stunning Louisiana State University campus area nearby.

You can admire the tallest capitol building in the U.S. or visit the USS Kidd museum. There’s also great Southern food: Go to Louie’s Cafe for a classic breakfast diner experience or Coffee Call for beignet fingers. Two restaurants that are now popular nationwide hail from Baton Rouge: Raising Cane’s (some of the best fast-food chicken fingers you’ll find) and Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux (the fried alligator is a must-try).

Rewards spotlight: The WATERMARK Baton Rouge, Autograph Collection is a historic luxury hotel with a unique theme: banks and money. The iconic downtown property has beautiful Art Deco architecture and delightful murals and marble touches. It occupies one of Baton Rouge’s first skyscrapers, which was originally a bank. You can even visit the restored 1920s vault that is now a unique events space. On many dates, the cash rates are very reasonable and a better deal than redemptions, but 35,000-point certificates can be used with a slight top-off when needed.

By Andrew D’Amours, Forbes Advisor Contributor

Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas Photo By Senitra Horbrook

Located just one hour from San Antonio and 90 minutes from Austin, Fredericksburg is a burgeoning wine region in Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg has more than 60 wineries, vineyards and wine-tasting rooms where you can learn about and sample Texas-produced wines. You can drive a personal vehicle along what’s known as the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 (don’t forget a designated driver), go from winery to winery using rideshare apps, sign up for any number of wine-tasting tours or take the hop-on, hop-off 290 Wine Shuttle to choose-your-own stops on its designated route.

Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Fredericksburg can enjoy a quick, but moderately challenging, 425-foot climb up the summit trail to the top of Enchanted Rock. From the top of this giant pink granite dome, you’ll see scenic views of the Hill Country. Be warned that there’s no shade on the climb, so if you’re visiting during the warmer months, complete your climb early in the day to limit your exposure to the hot sun. Or, head out at night to one of the stargazing events at this International Dark Sky Park. On April 8, 2024, Enchanted Rock will be in the path of totality for the total eclipse, so make your day pass or camping reservations if interested in this event.

Rewards spotlight: You can redeem 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per bedroom, per night for a Vacasa home rental in Fredericksburg. Many are located in the historic downtown area within walking distance from shops, restaurants and wineries. Alternatively, you can stay slightly outside of downtown at a cozy cabin or cottage with Hill Country views—and maybe even see some deer roaming about in the woods. For hotels, you can redeem Hilton Honors points at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Marriott Bonvoy points at the Fairfield Inn & Suites or IHG One Rewards points at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

By Senitra Horbrook, Forbes Advisor Contributor

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, ArkansasGetty

It’s a little out of the way, but that’s part of the charm. Bring your walking shoes, swimsuit and appetite: Hot Springs will keep you moving, relaxing and eating. You can do any (or all) of these to your heart’s content.

Downtown Hot Springs is actually surrounded by Hot Springs National Park, which has 26 miles of hiking among mountain views, forests, interesting geology and creeks that flow throughout the area. The centerpiece is Bathhouse Row—nine historic Victorian-style bathhouses constructed over Hot Springs Creek in the late 1880s, which is part of the national park.

You can still relax in the healing thermal waters in downtown Hot Springs. When you’re done, there are dozens of restaurants within walking distance serving everything from Mexican food to pizza joints to old-fashioned Southern fare, including shrimp and grits, black-eyed peas and cornbread with a glass of ice-cold sweet tea to stay cool. Visit in fall if you can—the leaves changing color on the Ouachita Mountains are a gorgeous sight.

Rewards spotlight: Hot Springs is well-served by nearly all popular hotel chains. If you have Hilton Honors points, you can stay at The Waters Hot Springs, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, which is directly across from Bathhouse Row on the main downtown strip. Even better, get your fifth night free on an award stay to take advantage of all the hiking and dining in the area.

By Harlan Vaughn, Forbes Advisor Staff

Hutchinson Island, Florida

Hutchinson Island, FloridaGetty

Hutchinson Island is a trip back in time to old Florida, before the coastline was filled with mega-mansions and upscale beach clubs. This laid-back barrier island about an hour north of West Palm Beach is the kind of place where you can come with sandy feet and flip-flops to dinner and every menu has a catch of the day.

The area is one of the largest loggerhead turtle nesting areas and the development on the island is minimal, with the oceanfront housing mostly low-rise condos or undeveloped nature set way back from the shoreline. It’s also one of the only places in the state of Florida where you can horseback ride on the beach, making it a unique don’t-miss activity.

Rewards spotlight: Hutchinson Island generally doesn’t have a lot of chain-anything, which is part of its charm. At the southernmost tip of the island, however, is the sprawling Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf & Marina, where rooms start at 32,000 Marriott Bonvoy points a night. You can also use flexible rewards like those found with cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points or American Express Membership Rewards to book a small handful of boutique properties on the island.

By Adam Frankel, Forbes Advisor Contributor

New Braunfels/Gruene, Texas

NB & GruenePhoto Courtesy Of Gruene Hall

Deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country just north of San Antonio, Texas, German immigrants settled the area and left an impression still prevalent today. Gruene (pronounced Green) is a historical district within the city of New Braunfels, but it’s famous on its own, partly for being home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall. Pack your boots and grab a partner to join the lively dance floor where live music acts play daily. Music legends like George Strait, Willie Nelson and Garth Brooks have graced the stage at Gruene Hall, and you never know if you might be listening to the next up-and-coming star.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy time on either of the two rivers that flow through New Braunfels. Towering cypress trees line the river banks creating a perfect canopy to rent a tube and float down the Guadalupe River or the more gentle Comal River during the spring and summer months. The latter is fed by the Comal Springs, the largest natural freshwater spring in Texas, making the water crystal clear and cool. With a temperate climate for much of the year, anglers can try their luck fly fishing along the Guadalupe River. Also situated along the Comal River is Schlitterbahn (or “slippery road” in German)—voted Best Waterpark in the World for a staggering 25 years in a row.

An homage to its German roots, the city hosts Wurstfest every year, a celebration of German culture with a touch of Texas flair. Partake in Alpine and Bavarian entertainment, dance to polka music and enjoy German and Texas beer along with other themed food and events at this 10-day festival held near the headwaters of the Comal River.

Rewards spotlight: If you can’t make it to Europe for Oktoberfest or are simply looking for an encore, getting to New Braunfels shouldn’t be too difficult, with major airports in both San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Vacation rentals are available right on the river and can be booked using Wyndham Rewards points via Vacasa. Get Wyndham points with one of its co-branded cards or through a transfer partner like Capital One or Citi.

By Jerod Morales, Forbes Advisor Staff

Pine Mountain, Georgia

Pine Mountain, GeorgiaGetty

Pine Mountain is a picturesque town in southwest Georgia that can provide a literal breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta which is just over an hour away. It’s best known as the location of Callaway Resort & Gardens which offers a variety of attractions and experiences year-round to enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

In summer, Callaway Gardens guests can relax at Robin Lake Beach or jump and climb around on Aqua Island, its giant floating obstacle course. Winter visitors, meanwhile, flock to see Fantasy in Lights—a seven-mile drive-through experience that’s oft-named as one of the best holiday light displays in the U.S.

Outside of Callaway Gardens, visitors can hike miles of trails at F.D. Roosevelt State Park or stop by Roosevelt Stables at FDR State Park to ride them on horseback. History buffs can venture to Roosevelt’s Little White House. And families can take a Wild Animal Safari tour or pay a visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in nearby LaGrange which offers a bevy of kid-friendly attractions such as an indoor water park, MagiQuest, mini golf, a ropes course and more.

Rewards spotlight: While Callaway doesn’t have a rewards program, you may still be able to use your credit card points to book a room there by using a travel portal such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Travel. The neighboring city of LaGrange also has a variety of hotels that can be reserved with points including the stylish Courtyard Lagrange located in historic downtown. Rooms start at 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

By Clint Proctor, Forbes Advisor Staff