The Best Destinations in the United States Right Now – Where to Travel in the USA
With more and more travel destinations safely opening up stateside (and international travel still seeming a bit dicey), 2020 is the perfect time to explore your own beautiful backyard. These USA getaways are some of the best travel destinations in the world, and they’re a lot easier to get to than flying across the globe to Bali, or across the Atlantic to Europe.
And, if you’re still wary of flying on an airplane at all, and not excited about the idea of braving the airport in the age of coronavirus, you can even drive to many of these destinations! So whether you’re gearing up for a fall road trip, or want to fly somewhere exciting to feel a little bit normal again, but not go too far away, this list is for you.
The best USA destinations to travel to right now in 2020:
Spending a weekend in Joshua Tree National Park is an ideal California getaway. Joshua Tree is a vast, idyllic desert area of Southern California known for its gorgeous desert landscape, as well as its trendy villas and cozy secluded cabins that make for the perfect desert vacay.
Located in the Coachella Valley, there are so many things to do in a weekend in Joshua Tree – from hiking in the National Park, to exploring the village to even heading to nearby Palm Springs. Or just relax and completely disconnect at an awesome villa. Joshua Tree’s beautiful rugged natural offerings are balanced by the best beautiful and unique places to stay that will make for the perfect romantic weekend and post-quarantine vacation destination.
The Florida Keys and Key West are the perfect getaway with friends, family, or your loved one. There’s something for everyone, and road tripping down to the Florida Keys is SUCH a fun trip. Once you get down there, you’ll feel a million miles away from “the mainland” and really feel more like you’re in the Caribbean than the USA, and the Keys are only a short rental-car drive away from Miami, or a direct flight into Key West.
As of June, beaches are open, and bars and restaurants are reopened at 50 percent of their indoor capacity including seated service. Outdoor seating is allowed with appropriate social distancing.
Beautiful waterfront hotel with romantic views and chic, island decor and a delicious restaurant called Hot Tin Roof.
Charleston is the perfect getaway with friends or your loved one. With (I’m gonna go ahead and put this out there) the best food scene in the US (you can read up on my Foodie Guide to Charleston here), gorgeous architecture, and of course, the quintessential Southern hospitality, there’s nowhere quite like this charming Southern gem.
If you’re with a group, I love getting an airbnb in the beach towns outside of Charleston, Isle of Palms, or Sullivan’s Island.
Or something downtown so you’re in easy walking distance to everything:
If you’re looking for a hotel, The Hotel Bennett is my go to. Zero George for relaxed luxury, Belmond if you want to be in the heart of the action, Kiawah Island if you’re looking for a little more remote getaway outside of town.
Half Moon Bay, California
Spreading out with jagged cliffs and rolling green hills along picturesque highway 1, about 40 miles North of Santa Cruz and just 28 miles South of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay feels like a million miles away. This beautiful town may boast big-time draws like coastal hikes, stunning golf courses, long stretches of majestic NorCal beaches, and a 5-star Ritz Carlton, but, make no mistake, this is still very much a small town. With a population of only 11,000, and an 1800’s-built Main Street of only a few blocks, Half Moon Bay is a super cute, quaint getaway, and is one of my favorite romantic weekend getaways near San Francisco.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay – a stunning property nestled between 2 coastal golf courses.
Big Sur is on most people’s bucket list, and it makes for the perfect summer or fall getaway for anyone looking for a great mix of nature, activity and relaxation. Surround yourself with breathtaking redwoods and the majestic cliffsides of the Pacific Coast Highway, and spend your days hiking and taking in the world-famous views.
Ventana Resort (it just opened back up again! You can also glamp through the resort! So fun)
Desert travel is having a major moment lately. There’s something amazing about a destination you know is always warm, never rains, and embraces a lifestyle of poolside chilling, golfing, and relaxing with a margarita in hand. If you’re looking for a relaxing, HOT, easy getaway with friends or family anytime of year, a desert escape to Palm Springs is always a good idea.
Ok you guys know Napa and Sonoma may just be my favorite places not just stateside but in the world. And, the best news is that they just opened up for tourists again!! Restaurants, wineries, hotels, everything… Making Napa Valley is the perfect post-COVID vacation – and late summer and fall happens to be harvest season – which is the best time of year to go to wine country and the absolute BEST weather.
Carneros Resort & Spa (gorgeous pool surrounded by vineyards!), Auberge Du Soleil (my absolute favorite, but very much a splurge), Villagio (dreamy! located in the best area of Napa), Alcobas Napa Valley (luxe, great ambiance, surrounded by vineyards). Or rent a chic airbnb in Napa (here are all my favorites for groups here!)
Check out Kenwood Inn & Spa! Or one of these airbnb’s:
Some of my favorites are Del Dotto, HALL, Artesa, Castello di Amarosa, Duckhorn, Grgich Hills, Far Niente, & Promontory. But you can read all about where to wine taste in Napa Valley on this blog post here.
Later this year, if you’re not yet ready for an international trip and looking for a stateside getaway, there’s no place like the Rocky Mountains for a luxurious winter getaway. Spend your days on the slopes, and your nights cozying by the fire. This is also one of my favorite mini-moon destinations – so romantic!
SEE MORE: JETSET’S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ASPEN
Is Aspen open right now for summer travel?
Here is direct from their tourism board:
Aspen Snowmass opened for summer season June 12 and Snowmass will be opening June 21. All access and activities will take place with strict adherence to state and county guidelines and employee and guest health and welfare will be given top priority.
Aspen Mountain will open Friday, June 12 with the Silver Queen Gondola scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for sightseeing, disc golf, hiking, nature programs with Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and a kid’s play area. There will also be food and beverage services available. Daily operations on Aspen Mountain will officially begin June 12 and run until Sept. 7 with operations continuing on weekends, Friday – Sunday, through Oct. 4.
Where to stay:
Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resort
This destination recommendation goes along with Big Sur, but California’s highway one would be the PERFECT post-COVID road trip! You can start in LA, grab lunch in Malibu, stay overnight in wine country in Paso Robles, explore Santa Barbara, make your way through Big Sur (highly recommend the Ventana Big Sur, which just opened back up again!), or do the reverse and start in San Francisco. For my full road trip guide to California’s highway one, click here.
I love visiting Austin in the summer or fall time – it’s their best season, and you can get out on the lake!
Where to stay in Austin:
A super cute boutique hotel located in the chic South Congress district of Austin. If you’re a smaller bachelorette party, or looking for a chic hotel for your group, this is your spot. I love their hotel bar and patio any day of the week and their prime location makes for an ideal base for a fun weekend in Austin.
Photo courtesy of South Congress Hotel
Or in an Airbnb:
If you have a big group in Austin, or are heading on an Austin bachelorette, these are the best airbnb’s in Austin:
The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe was ranked Travel & Leisure’s best rated hotel in the US last year, and it is not hard to see why. This gorgeous lakeside lodge is modern mountain luxury – from its 154 luxury rooms & suites (each with its own cozy gas fireplace and private terrace), to three delicious restaurants and a jaw-dropping lobby set amongst the pines, a beautiful outdoor pool & incredible spa, Edgewood‘s to-die-for combo of luxury, serenity and fun is what sets it apart in South Lake Tahoe.
Or in an airbnb!
San Diego is where I’ve been quarantining and let me tell you – it is HEAVEN on earth. The perfect escape for when you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway with nearly perfect weather year round.
Where to stay in San Diego:
Hotel Del Coronado for a chic beachfront getaway and one of my favorite hotels in California.
Andaz Hotel if you want the downtown hustle and bustle, and an epic rooftop pool.
How gorgeous is this house? Probably more for a San Diego vacation than an extended stay, but hey, if budget is no object – go for it!
Thinking of going with a group of friends? Check out The Ultimate San Diego Bachelorette Party Guide
Located less than 100 miles from Los Angeles up the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway One, Santa Barbara has long been a favorite for escapes from Hollywood and romantic California getaways. But, in recent years, the So Cal gem has also become a serious wine tasting destination as well – with the Santa Maria, Los Alamos, and Santa Ynez Valleys, and Santa Rita Hills all offering beautiful microclimates and distinctive grape varietals that produce some of California’s best wine. AND with all the new farm-to-table restaurants, luxury beachside resorts, and, of course, the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara is hard to beat for a fun weekend getaway, a vacation, a bachelorette party, or even a great place to base for a couple months while working remote.
Whether you’re road-tripping highway one, spending the weekend in Southern California, or taking a girls trip to Los Angeles, Malibu is a great trip to put at the top of your California travel list. This beachy, hip, laid-back Southern California surf-town staple is one of my favorite places to travel in California, and one of the best places to spend the day in LA.
Where to stay:
A luxury hideaway located right off the Pacific Coast Highway. Directly across from legendary Surfrider Beach, there’s nothing better than watching the sunrise with coffee (or soaking in the sunset with a cocktail) on the rooftop deck. *Small boutique hotel, limited to 20 rooms; rooftop access is for guests only
When it comes to fun USA destinations for travel this year, nothing screams quite as ideal as a Miami getaway for a good post-COVID vacation destination. With a ton of open-air activities, spacious resorts and beaches, outdoor dining, and a retro-chic, art-deco, colorful, uniquely-Miami vibe everywhere you look, a few days in Miami will be just what the doctor ordered to get out of the house and onto the beach.
My #1 pick of where to stay in Miami would be 1 Hotel South Beach! It’s super chic, and has the best rooftop in all of Miami. Perfect for a girls’ getaway, a couples trip, or anyone, really.
I love this boutique luxury hotel in Miami Beach. A bowling alley, an ice rink, a nightclub, and fitness center are all onsite at The EDITION. Bars and cabanas are offered poolside, and there’s even an outdoor movie theater!
Or in a big airbnb on the water:
Check out these other blog posts:
The best cocktails from around the world – from the perfect Italian bellini, to the original cuban mojito, to a Maui mai tai, a Brazilian caipirinha, an Irish Coffee, the best Manhattan, a Pisco Sour and more