Things should be starting to get back to normal by the summer. That will mean for the past 15 months or so many of us did not travel anywhere or didn’t go to the places we wanted to go. Soon we should be able to start traveling again but where do we go?
There are so many great places in the US to visit. From major cities to small towns. Huge national parks to state parks. The possibles are endless in the United States. We are hear to give you a hand on some of the best places to visit in 2021.
The places we choose below were either hit hard in 2020, celebrating a milestone in 2021, or just a place you should visit. These are some of the top 15 places in the US you will want to visit in 2021. Places you can get to by car, plane, or boat. I prefer to drive but many people can’t stand the idea of sitting in a car all day.
So let’s get to it. Below you will find the top 15 places to visit in the US in 2021. A couple might surprise you. Don’t worry if your go to destination isn’t on our list. I am sure it will still be a wonderful time. Heck, anytime you can get out and travel and explore is a good time. By no means is this list in any kind of order from 1 to 15. It’s just 15 places you should visit in 2021.
List after list say that the Grand Canyon is the number one place to visit in the United States. Once you visit you will understand why. There is a couple of important things to note however.
The Grand Canyon is huge. If it wasn’t would it still be called grand? There is Grand Canyon North and South Rim as well as Grand Canyon East and West. Not all are created equal. But no matter which part you can visit you will still be left breathless with the insane scenic views.
Many people who start off in Las Vegas will end up visiting Grand Canyon West. Here you will find the famous Skywalk. This horseshoe shaped bridge goes 70 feet out into the canyon and is 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. At Grand Canyon West you will also be able to see how the Native Americans would have lived in this authentic village at Eagle Point.
At both the North and South rims you can find lodging and camping locations. Just remember that the North rim closes for winter each year.
The Desert Watch Tower can be found at Grand Canyon East. This tower is 7 stories tall and offers a unique subject in your Grand Canyon photos. Navajo Point is the highest vista in the area, leaving you with some amazing views.
Pack the car or take a helicopter ride to this amazing natural wonder of the world. Spend the day hiking, enjoying a light picnic on the canyon floor, or just standing breathless as you take in the stunning views.
On October 1st, 2021 the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World will be celebrating it’s 50th birthday. Can you think of a better reason to visit than that? Things are already starting to change in preparation for the big event.
The castle at the center of the park has already gotten a new paint job. New rides are coming and you can be sure they will have more special things that will be announced once things start getting back to normal.
Any year is a great time to visit this popular Orlando theme park. Just don’t skip out on the 3 other theme parks at Walt Disney World. Hollywood Studios just opened up Galaxy’s edge in late 2019.
New rides are coming to EPCOT along with a how new feel and look. Plus who doesn’t want to fly over Pandora when they are visiting Animal Kingdom? You can be sure that all the parks and resorts will be celebrating the 50th birthday of the Magic Kingdom. The only question is will you?
Bar Harbor, Maine
Considered to be the gateway to Acadia National Park in Maine. Bar Harbor is the perfect place to sample local fresh seafood. Lay your head at one of the many bed and breakfast in the area. Plus you can do plenty of shopping and some great locally owned stores.
You know after the year we just had that supporting local businesses is very important. Skip the big box stores and get something at one of the local shops in Bar Harbor. Trust me you will feel better about yourself when you do.
Acadia National Park might just be the best national park east of the Mississippi. From Oct 7th to March 6th it is the first place on the east coast to catch the rising sun. There are miles of trials to hike or bike. Plus many of the stunning views can be reached by car.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park in Utah gets around 4.49 million visitors a year so you won’t be the only one there. It is the 4th most visited National Park in the United States. After one visit you will understand why and will start planning your next trip.
The views around the park will leave you stunned and speechless. From the deep canyons to colorful cliffs. At each bend and turn there will be something that will make your head turn.
Don’t worry you don’t have to be physically fit to enjoy this spectacular national park. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through the park’s main section leaving you with plenty of viewing opportunities.
Every year is a good year to visit the Capital of the United States of America. But why should you visit in 2021? You should visit for no other reason then why not.
DC is packed full of FREE, yes free things to do. From visiting National Museums to walking around the city and seeing the numerous monuments dedicated to famous moments and people in history.
Washington, DC is a beautiful place to visit anytime of year. However, the spring might just be the best time to visit. The Cherry Blossom Festival is going on from late March to early April. While you might still have to skip it for 2021. Summer, Fall, and Winter of 2021 will still be a fantastic time to plan your visit.
Another reason to visit this year is to remember 9/11/01. September will mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks on DC, New York, and Shanksville, PA (check out our post on the Flight 93 Memorial). Never Forget what happened that day and remember to visit the sites of those tragic attacks.
Some people thing the Florida Keys are overrated. Those people wouldn’t be wrong depending on what you are looking to do. If you are planning on hitting the beaches than skip the Florida Keys. Florida is packed with great beaches to visit. However, if you are looking for an epic drive, epic sunrise and sunset photos, fishing, boating, and more. The Keys are for you.
The drive from to Key West (Southern Most Point) is around 120 miles long and will take you around 3 hours to complete if you only stop for gas. However, you should make a couple more stops along the way. The first one being at Key Largo.
Other notable stops along the Overseas Highway on your way to Key West would be Long Key State Park, Big Pine Key, Islamorada (halfway point), Grassy Key, and many more. Just make note that you will be traveling over many bridges. One is called seven mile bridge that in the middle you won’t be able to see land. If you don’t like traveling on bridges. A visit to the Florida Keys might not be for you.
However, if you can with stand the water surrounding you on all sides. The beautiful tropical feel and a couple hours in the car. You will be rewarded with some amazing views that are hard to find anywhere else in the US.
Why should you put Jackson, Wyoming on your list of places to visit in 2021. For starters it’s close to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
In the colder months of the year you will find plenty of ski slopes to enjoy. While the rest of the year is a great time to enjoy mountain biking, fly fishing, or hiking.
Grand Teton National Parks makes many travelers top ten list of the most beautiful National Parks to visit. Many travelers even have it listed at number one. This vast National Park will take your breath away with its epic scenery. From reflective lakes, towering mountains, and amazing wildlife.
Yellowstone was the first national park not only in the United States but in the entire world. For that reason only should make you want to visit in 2021. However, there are plenty of other reasons to visit this massive national park. It is home to some of the most interesting and unique natural features found on earth.
Yellowstone is not only home to one of the world’s most well known and predictable geysers (Old Faithful). It is also home to one of the worlds KNOWN super volcanoes. Many hot springs can also be found within this national park.
A road trip to Yellowstone National Park is a must for any outdoor and nature lover. In some areas of the park you would almost think you are on a completely different planet. One that no one could possible live on. It is just stunning.
Incorporated as a city on March 19, 1822 Boston turns 199 in 2021. While it is still a year away from turning 200, that shouldn’t prevent you from visiting in 2021. Boston is eagerly awaiting visitors and ready with open arms. The city is just not the same without the streets teeming with visitors and you.
The Freedom Trail is a must for anyone who loves American History. Fans of TV flock to Cheers. Foodies will love Alma Gaucha Prime Brazilian Steakhouse and one of the many craft breweries.
Get to the streets and walk around town. Beauty, history, and amazing people await you at every turn. Even if you are not a fan of baseball a stop at Fenway Park is a must. It is one of America’s most historic baseball parks.
Sin City hasn’t been very sinful lately. The city has really changed it’s image in the last couple of years. What was once an adults playground has become a little more family friendly. But don’t worry those who are looking for a sinful weekend. You can still find plenty of that to do in 2021.
The Vegas Strip is packed full of wonderful casinos with a host of things to do with the 21 and older crowd. From gamble to burlesque shows. The possibles are endless.
For families Vegas is still a great place to visit. The Strip has plenty of family friendly offerings. Tournament of Kings at Excalibur, Madame Tussauds, and Shark Reef aquarium are just some of the many places that are great for the whole family. A 2021 trip to Las Vegas doesn’t just have to be able drinking and gambling. It can be an adventure for the whole family.
Great Smoky Mountains
While I love the Eastern United States. After all, that’s where I call home. Let’s face it there just isn’t that many truly epic places to visit. Places that just take your breath away.
Well that is if you don’t visit the Great Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee offers some truly unique views east of the Mississippi River. It will leave you feeling like you are on top of the world.
So why should you pay this scenic landscape a visit in 2021. If you are like most people and will still feel a little uneasy being indoors with a lot of other people this place will be the spot for you. With miles upon miles of hiking trails and roads. In some places you might be the only one there.
Glacier National Park
If things don’t change we don’t know how much longer we can enjoy this National Park for. Originally due to warming it was expect that the glaciers would all be gone by 2020. However, they now estimate that they will be gone by 2030.
So that gives us 9 more years to enjoy the glaciers at this National Park before they are all gone. Now that’s a reason to visit in 2021 since as the years go on the glaciers will get smaller and smaller before they disappear.
Besides seeing glaciers you have plenty of other wonderful sights to see. The park is full of amazing lakes, spectacular waterfalls, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife. Glacier National Park is also a Dark Sky Park. You have very little to no light pollution making it a great place to view the night sky.
If you didn’t hit the road in 2020 by doing an epic road trip during the covid pandemic. 2021 is the year for you. Everything should be getting back to normal but you still might want to avoid the crowds.To me there is nothing better than packing up the car and hitting the road for a road trip. Route 66 is the ultimate road trip.
This historic road covers over 2,400 miles starting in Chicago and ending in Santa Monica crossing through a total of 8 states. This trip won’t take you a day or even 3. To fully enjoy and experience it you should take a week.
Notable stops along the way include St. Louis, Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Winslow, numerous roadside dinners, and retro signs. Stop at only one or all of them. It’s up to you which is what makes a road trip on Route 66 such a fun and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Might also be a great way to found it if your partner is worth holding on to for the long haul.
Pacific Coast Highway
While the Pacific Coast Highway isn’t as well known as Route 66. This route in California will keep on having you come back time and time again. Starting in San Diego and ending in San Fransisco. This road trip would take you 10 hours to drive without stopping. It covers over 600 miles and hugs the coastline of California.
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic routes in the world and is meant to be tackled slowly. There is no need to rush. If you rush you will miss many of the wonderful sights that make this road so iconic.
Places to stop along the way include Disneyland, Santa Barbara, Solvang, wineries, Morro Bay, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz to name a few. Be in awe of the redwood trees, mountains, seaside cliffs, and epic sunsets. Just sit back, kick your feet up on the dash, and relax as you travel one of the most iconic and scenic roads in America. After the year California has had you know they can’t wait to see what will happen in 2021.
Small Town USA
2021 is the year to visit small towns all across America. After all, they were the ones hit the hardest during the pandemic and could really use our help. Places like Gatlinburg, TN, Beaufort, SC, Hood River, OR, Gettysburg, PA, Taos, NM, anywhere in Montana, and many, many more.
America is full of beautiful small towns that are going to need help to recover from 2020. Instead of staying in one of the major cities when you are traveling this year. Look for a smaller town outside of the major tourist hubs.
You will be amazed at all the wonderful activity’s, museums, parks, trails, and food you will find. Just because it might be considered a small town doesn’t mean there is nothing for you to do there. Just look at your own home town. While you might not think there is a lot to do since you live there. I assure you there is more to do than you realize.
For me I have the beautiful shore towns of Jersey. A world class mystery at Ringing Rocks. Amazing homemade food from the Amish in Lancaster and that is to name just a few. Each of these places can be reached for me within an hour. So what are you waiting for? Grab a map and see what is around you to explore.
Together we can all have a great 2021. Can it really be worse than 2020? I really hope not. America has some of the best places to visit in the world. You just read about 15 of them. While this is by no means it. There are so many more places that can be added. This is just a starting point for you when planning you 2021 vacations and road trips.
Have a place in mind that you think should be on our list? Planning on visiting a couple of small towns this coming year? Let us know in the comments below.
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