We’ve entered a new year, and travel lovers are already making plans to explore new places and revel in new experiences.
However, not all U.S. travelers are headed to faraway lands. Some are sticking close to home and visiting the many beautiful corners of the U.S.A.
The travel booking website Hopper has pinpointed some of the top trending U.S. destinations for 2024. These cities have seen a significant increase in popularity this year and include mountainous territories, sunny beaches, and quaint cities.
Here’s a look at why these seven sought-after U.S. destinations are top picks this year for travelers. You might want to pack a bag and join the trend!
Spokane is the second-largest city in Washington. Although not as bustling as Seattle, this city is popular for its natural beauty.
There are plenty of green spaces in Spokane including a 100‑acre downtown park, an arboretum, and formal gardens. It even has the largest urban waterfall in the United States running through the center of its downtown.
Outside of the city, you can access Mount Spokane State Park or Riverside State Park to hike the mountains and explore the rivers.
For urban fun, head to the downtown area full of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and museums. You may even catch a festival while you’re in town!
Portland, Maine has that small-town feel with a cozy red brick downtown area and plenty of art galleries, restaurants, and shops.
The oldest brick structure on the Portland peninsula is the childhood home of the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In the summer months, you can visit this historic home and see where he got his inspiration.
Portland, Maine is also known for its delicious seafood, restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries. This city has been known to have more breweries per capita than any other city in the U.S. and there are even more coffee shops and restaurants set to open this year!
Maine seems to be drawing the attention this year, with two trending cities.
Bangor, Maine is second to Portland, Maine in size and has been affectionately known as the “Queen City of the East” since the 1800s. No one knows exactly why it got its name.
However, many believe it is due to the city’s original trading industry and its beauty.
This city is also famous for being a central location in Stephen King’s stories. You can even drive by Stephen King’s house while you’re in the neighborhood.
Although it is not a big city, Bangor is full of culture with many art galleries, live theater shows, and summer festivals.
Outdoorsy folks can head to the outskirts of the city to enjoy the gorgeous views from Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park.
Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska and gets the award for being the coldest city in the U.S.
The Aurora Season lasts from August to April so you have plenty of time to catch the Northern Lights. There are also fun activities you can join such as dog mushing and night tours to the hot springs.
Although Fairbanks can reach -17 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, this city is not always covered in snow. In the summer months, Fairbanks gets over 20 hours of sun a day, and visitors can enjoy 80 to 90-degree weather.
The extreme temperatures are also responsible for the intense beauty you can find in Alaskan flowers and plants. Visit Fairbank’s Georgeson Botanical Gardens to see pansy flowers as large as your head.
Fairbanks is full of relics from the ancient Denali civilization and the visitors and locals can bask in this city's natural beauty all year.
Orange County, California
It may not come as a surprise that travelers are searching for a vacation spot in Orange County. This warm region has long been a popular spot with tourists and residents. In 2023, it ranked as one of the top 10 counties in California in 2023.
Orange County is famous for its attractions, such as Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm. Also, there are plenty of beaches to surf and nearby mountains to climb.
Whether you are looking for adventure or just want a warm, bustling atmosphere to catch some sun, Orange County may be a place to put on your itinerary.
Valparaiso is the smallest city on this list with less than 5,000 residents, but it is full of small-town charm. This friendly town is a great spot to find a quiet corner of the beach or shop at quaint boutiques.
Or, you can also join the local diving school and get a scuba certification.
Valparaiso is a sweet spot to catch sun rays any time of year and enjoy the slow, relaxing pace of small-town life.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island has been ranked as one of the top islands to visit in the U.S. more than once. And it is easy to see why! It combines the charm of a Southern town with exotic beaches.
You can fish, kayak, or jet-ski on the water. Or if you prefer to keep your feet on land there are bike trails, parks, historic sites, and a world-class golf course to visit.
Luckily, you won’t need a passport to put your toes in the sand and enjoy the gorgeous sights on this U.S. island in the Atlantic Ocean.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.