11 Best One Week East Coast Road Trip Itineraries (Curated by Experts)

Embarking on a road trip along the U.S. East Coast? Get ready for adventure packed with lovely landscapes, tons of history, and some of the country’s best food.

From the historical sites and nature of Virginia to the rugged coastal lobster shacks of Maine and the tropical vibes of the Florida Keys, this stretch of the United States is one of its most diverse.

To create the best possible guide to US East Coast road trips, I reached out to a group of travel bloggers, each with their own unique slant on a particular patch of the vast East Coast.

a harbor in maine with boats and beautiful sky in the summer

They were tasked with quite a challenge: curate the perfect one-week East Coast road trip itinerary chock-full of expert insights.

The responses span the entire coastline, including small towns, national parks, white sand beaches, and virtually every kind of landscape you can think of.

Here are 11 carefully crafted road trip ideas for an East Coast getaway, each perfectly plotted to fill up a week that’s jam-packed with sites to explore.

Coastal Virginia, Maryland, and DC

Contributed by Megan of Virginia Travel Tips

Day 1: Start in Annapolis, Maryland

The state building of Annapolis Maryland on a cloudy day

Annapolis is Maryland’s capital city, but the metropolis feels more like a small town than a capital city.

Start your morning off by exploring Historic Annapolis, where you can visit the William Paca House & Garden.

William Paca was one of the Founding Fathers and ex-Governor of Maryland and his 18th-century Georgian mansion is one of the top landmarks in Annapolis!

Other places worth checking out are the US Naval Academy Museum, the Maryland State House (capitol building), and the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse.

Seafood lovers will be ecstatic because Annapolis boasts some of the freshest fish and shellfish on the East Coast.

Head over to Eastport to Boatyard Bar & Grill for some crab steamed with Old Bay spice.

Day 2 to 3: Continue to Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shore 

After a day exploring Annapolis, hit the road and make your way to the Eastern Shore of Maryland (and further on to Virginia).

Make a stop for lunch in Cambridge and then spend the afternoon checking out this small town, from the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center to the Choptank River Lighthouse (and beyond).

There are a handful of oyster bars and crab shacks in town, but beware—some close during the winter season.

If you’re looking for accommodation, there are plenty of options in Salisbury, or you can continue south toward Chincoteague, Virginia, where you will spend a large portion of the next day.

Chincoteague is a coastal community famous for its pony swim and beautiful Assateague Island National Seashore (shared by Virginia and Maryland).

There are so many things to do in Chincoteague, from relaxing on the beaches of Assateague Island to climbing the Assateague Lighthouse.

Plus, the gorgeous Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge offers 15 miles of immersive trails.

If you have extra time in the day, drive south to Cape Charles, where you’ll find a calm coastal community on the Chesapeake Bay. It is also a great place to stay overnight!

Day 4: Continue to Virginia Beach (or Norfolk)

In the morning, you will make your way over the 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and to Virginia Beach.

Beach-goers can take the day to relax, but if you’re not keen on sunbathing, Virginia’s most populous city has plenty more to offer.

Check out the ViBe Creative District, where you will find independent businesses and the workshops of local artisans (and a lot of street art).

If there is extra time in the day, drive to Norfolk and explore a different part of Hampton Roads.

Norfolk is famous for Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin BB-64.

Freemason Abbey Restaurant is in a repurposed church from 1873 and is a great stop for dinner.

Day 5: Continue to Jamestown and Williamsburg

the boat from the settlement of Jamestown in colonial Williamsburg area

Jamestown is the site of the first English settlement in the US and is located just an hour away from the Hampton Roads area.

It is one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, but you don’t need much time there (2 hours maximum) unless you are traveling with children, as there are several interactive displays and reenactments.

After Jamestown, make your way to Colonial Williamsburg, a place that is said to be the world’s largest living history museum.

Colonial Williamsburg will inevitably surprise you with its size, so do try to get there early enough so that you have the time to see everything!

The Governor’s Palace, King’s Arms Tavern, and Bassett Hall are some iconic places you can visit with your Colonial Williamsburg ticket.

Day 6 to 7: Finish in Washington DC

Complete your trip in the nation’s capital!

Washington DC has countless sites to visit, like the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the National Mall.

Decide on which Smithsonian museums you want to visit and add them to your itinerary for Day 6!

The Natural History and American History Museums are great for kids, while adults will enjoy the Air and Space and African American History Museums.

Note that the African American History Museum requires advance reservations. 

On your second day in DC, hit up some more museums or make your way to historic Georgetown.

You can walk along the C&O Canal and have lunch at one of the many eateries in the neighborhood.

Spend the afternoon checking out the United States Botanic Garden before wrapping up your week-long road trip.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Contributed by Cosette of KarsTravels

Day 1: Shenandoah National Park

Start at the Front Royal Entrance Station of Shenandoah National Park.

You’ll be taking the Skyline Drive, which brings you all the way through the park.

Stop at all the overlooks to enjoy the views on the Shenandoah Valley from all different angles.

There are numerous hikes that you can do in the park, short loops to long day hikes.

Exit the park at the Rockfish Gap Entrance Station to continue on with this road trip. 

Days 2 to 5: Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Start at the North end of the Blue Ridge Parkway; it’s close to where you exited Shenandoah National Park.

You have 4 days to drive the 469 miles of the parkway, so enjoy every moment!

There are numerous overlooks with endless views on the Blue Ridge mountains, like the gorgeous Grandview Overlook below.

Grandview overlook in the blue ridge parkway of North Carolina

Stop at an overlook to watch the sunset, which is mesmerizing. You won’t be the only one watching, so arrive early to secure a good spot.

Along the parkway beautiful hikes start, both short ones of half an hour to longer.

The parkway drive is perfect for waterfall chasers, there are several along the road. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway covers 2 states: Virginia and North Carolina.

Besides the overlooks and hikes there are a lot of attractions at or close to the drive, such as the Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain, Natural Bridge State Park and Mount Mitchell State Park

After 4 days of driving and exploring and feeling like you’re in another world, you’ll exit the Blue Ridge Parkway at the South end. 

Day 6: Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

baskin falls in great smoky mountain national park with waterfalls

At the South end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll be close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Smoky Mountains is the park with the most visitors each year, so don’t expect a secluded park!

Drive to Clingmans Dome; it’s the highest point in the park. There’s 800 miles of hiking trails, so your day is filled no matter which you choose. 

Day 7: Drive back home one of two ways.

You have two options here.

One, you can drive back to Waynesboro (near Shenandoah National Park, about 364 miles on the 81).

Alternately, visit Gatlinburg on the way back, which is totally different from what you’ve done the other days of the week, which is chock full of attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Coastal Carolinas Road Trip 

pink, purple, green and blue house on rainbow row in charleston

Contributed by Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: A Travel Blog

Looking for the perfect summer US east coast road trip?

See the best the Carolinas’ low country and its famous barrier islands on a Coastal Carolinas road trip

Day 1: Arrive Norfolk, VA and drive to Charleston, SC

Pick up your rental car and hit the road for a 6.5 hour drive down to Charleston.

If you’re looking to stretch your legs along the way, swing by one of the Civil War battlefields you pass, such as Averasboro.

If you want an extra day of exploring for this trip, book a one-way car rental and fly into Charleston and out of Norfolk. 

Day 2: Explore Charleston, SC

pineapple fountain in South Carolina

Plan to spend this entire day in Charleston’s historic downtown.

Explore the Historic Charleston City Market, tour the Old Slave Mart Museum, and take a horse carriage tour past popular landmarks such as Rainbow Row and the Pineapple Fountain.

In the afternoon, take the ferry to Fort Sumter, then close out the night with a ghost tour.  

Day 3: Continue to Wilmington, NC via Myrtle Beach

As you depart Charleston, continue up the coast to Myrtle Beach.

After a brief walk on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk and promenade, end your day in Wilmington, NC.

Wilmington is known for its lively bar scene, so plan a pub crawl for the evening.

Day 4 to 6: Continue to the Outer Banks

black and white striped lighthouse in the outer banks

If you want to linger in Wilmington, consider touring the USS Carolina battleship or Bellamy Mansion.

Otherwise, hit the open road and head up to Outer Banks islands.

On the way, check out the town of New Bern, which is known for its Swiss architecture. It’s also birthplace of Pepsi!

On Day 5, spend your day driving through the southern Outer Banks Islands. Visit Bodie, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke lighthouses.

Do a little beachcombing and tour the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras — it’s fascinating.

Then, take the ferry to Ocracoke Island to see the Ocracoke Banker ponies.

On Day 6, head through the more congested northern Outer Bank Islands.

Visit Currituck Lighthouse and book a tour to see the wild horses in Corolla.

Don’t forget to pick up some famous Duck Donuts

Day 7: Finish in Norfolk, VA

Depart the Outer Bank islands and head to Norfolk.

Upon arriving in Norfolk, spend some time exploring the naval city.

Take a boat tour of the naval base and walk along the Elizabeth River Trail.

Finish your road trip with a visit to some of the city’s museums such as the Chrysler Museum of Art or Nauticus.   

Wilmington, NC to Kiawah Island, SC (via Charleston)

landscapes of kiawah island in south carolina with estuary and small riverways

Contributed by Taylor Deer of Brown Eyed Flower Child

One of the best East Coast road trips to enjoy in a week is from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Charleston, South Carolina, followed by Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

Below is the best road trip itinerary to follow — have a great trip!

Day 1: Arrive in Wilmington

Blue waters on a white sand beach with beach umbrellas out and lots of people enjoying the beach on a warm day presumably in summer time

Believe it or not, Wilmington has a lot of incredible things to do, from relaxing at the beach to participating in haunted tours.

It’s a must to enjoy at least 3 days in Wilmington, NC, before continuing south. 

When you first arrive in Wilmington, I suggest heading straight to Wrightsville Beach to enjoy a relaxing day by the ocean.

Oceanic Restaurant is a great place to eat in Wrightsville Beach, which overlooks the aqua-blue sea. 

Afterward, enjoy the Masonboro Island Nature Cruise with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.

It takes you around the Intracoastal Waterway between Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington!

In the evening, make sure you don’t miss the sunset on the Wilmington Riverwalk.

One of the best places to enjoy a drink with sunset views is at Sauce’d. An excellent spot to savor a delicious dinner in downtown Wilmington is Seabird Restaurant

A great hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina is Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center, located on the Riverwalk.

Day 2: Adventure around Wilmington

blue and yellow houses in a historic neighborhood in the spring

On your second day in Wilmington, start the day off by kayaking in Carolina Beach State Park with Paddle NC.

Afterward, head back to Wrightsville Beach for a relaxing beach day!

Ceviche’s is a great place to have lunch near Wrightsville Beach, which specializes in Panamanian dishes.

Later on, enjoy a great Italian dinner at either Tarantelli’s Ristorante Italiano or Floriana.

Later in the evening, enjoy a thrilling ghost tour around historic downtown Wilmington!

Day 3: Drive to Charleston

The famous rainbow row of pink, purple, green and blue houses in the historic downtown center of Charleston South Carolina

Before hitting the road, make sure to explore Airlie Gardens.

It has a whopping 67 acres of formal gardens, oak trees, historical sculptures, and more!

When you’re finished exploring the gardens, head south to Charleston.

The drive from Wilmington to Charleston is around three and a half hours. Along the way, you can stop at Myrtle Beach.

Once you arrive in Charleston, discover the historic downtown area.

The best spots to stroll through are Rainbow Row, The Battery, and along King Street.

A great place to enjoy lunch or dinner is at Husk Restaurant.

The best hotel to stay in Charleston, South Carolina is The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, located in the heart of downtown. 

Day 4: Enjoy everything Charleston offers

folly beach pier in charleston with sunset behind it

On your second day in Charleston, grab breakfast at Poogan’s Porch or High Cotton, which offers a jazz brunch!

Head to one of Charleston’s local beaches in the afternoon to relax in the sun.

Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island are the closest beaches to downtown. 

Later in the day, savor a delicious seafood dinner at The Darling Oyster Bar on King Street.

Later on, get spooked out on another ghost tour throughout the city of Charleston. 

Day 5: Drive to Kiawah Island

an infinity pool overlooking a marsh style landscape with trees and beautiful landscape imagery

After enjoying a lovely couple of days in the charming city of Charleston, head 45 minutes to Kiawah Island.

It’s a renowned golf resort that boasts 10 miles of beautiful beaches, marshlands, luxury resorts, and renowned restaurants. 

When you arrive, walk through the charming Freshfields Village, which offers excellent restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, beach stores, and more.

A great lunch place is either Café Eugenia or Cantina 76.

From there, rent bikes and explore the beautiful area filled with stunning oak trees with Spanish moss.

One of the best spots to relax and cool off is the Marsh House

The best place to stay and have dinner on Kiawah Island is Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary.

Day 6: Relax on Kiawah Island

When you wake up during a vacation on Kiawah Island, one of the top places to fuel up is Java Java in Freshfields Village.

From there, you can enjoy a fun and unique candle-making class at Palmetto Scent Studio.

For lunch and a refreshing drink, check out the The Co-op, and from there, head to Kiawah Island Beach Club.

You can enjoy food and drink service on the beach or by the pool at this beautiful spot.

Hege’s Restaurant or FortyEight Wine Bar & Kitchen are two wonderful spots to have dinner in Freshfields Village.

Day 7: Drive or fly home

Now that you’ve finished this epic East Coast road trip, you can either return your rental car at a nearby airport and fly home (though that will incur a one-way rental fee) or you can drive back to Wilmington where you started.

It’s only about 4 hours from Kiawah Island to Wilmington (without traffic) so unless you are supposed pressed for time it is probably better for the budget to drive home.

Virginia and the Outer Banks, NC

Contributed by Kara of TryingToUnwind.com

Day 1: Start in Abingdon, VA 

A bike trail in Abingdon Virginia, beautiful pathway on a partly cloudy day

Let’s get Day 1 started with some time outdoors.   

The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the nation’s top rated rail trails. So rent a bicycle in Abington — it includes a van shuttle for you and your bike to Whitetop Station at the top. 

If the thought of rental gear makes you cringe, you can also bring your own bike and book a shuttle at one of the main local bike shops on Main Street in Abingdon.

Temperatures are 10-15 degrees cooler at the higher elevation so bring a jacket. 

The ride is mostly downhill so you probably won’t be working up a sweat between Whitetop and Abingdon.  

Remember the trip is about the journey, not the destination!

Don’t miss the numerous beautiful Creekside stops or one of the family-owned trailside cafes — top tip, if it’s open, grab lunch at the Hellbender Café.

After a wander around the cute shops in downtown Abingdon, drive to Winston Salem, NC.

Day 2-3: Continue to Winston Salem, NC

A beautiful remote area of the Virginia and North Carolina countryside with a farm house

The city of Winston Salem is best known for the living history experience known as Old Salem Museum and Gardens

It is an entire historic Moravian village, complete with actors performing work using historical tools and methods.   

 Take a half-day detour to nearby quaint Mount Airy, the inspiration for the 1950s classic, The Andy Griffith TV Show.  

Get a pork chop sandwich and a Cheerwine soda at Snappy Lunch

Wander around and grab a few pictures of the adorable downtown area full of Mayberry memorabilia. 

Nearby Pilot Mountain State Park offers great hiking options as well!

Another thing you can do is explore a Yadkin Valley vineyard or two while you are in the area.   

A few of the most popular NC vineyards are Rafaldini, Childress, and Shelton.

End your second day by driving to your next destination, Chapel Hill

If your timing works out, have a meal at the famed Lexington BBQ en route. 

Day 4: Continue to Chapel Hill

a historic site in chapel hill with flowers in spring

This stop is about city time, so choose your own adventure.  

The NC Triangle area consists of the cities of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham

Accommodations between Chapel Hill and Durham are a great base for exploring the area!

A few highlights of the area are the NC Art Museum in Raleigh, Franklin Street for people watching and shopping in Chapel Hill, and Duke Gardens in Durham for spending time in nature year-round.  

Day 5-7: Finish in the Outer Banks

The coast of the Outer Banks in North Carolina with two people casting shadows while walking on the beach

Start day 5 by leaving Chapel Hill and heading east to the coast.

We’ve saved the best for last: some beautiful NC beaches!  

The destination is Nags Heads, the beginning of the barrier islands known as the North Carolina Outer Banks.   

The Outer Banks are known for gorgeous wide sandy beaches that are home to several herds of wild horses!

If you want more than just some relaxing beach time, don’t worry there are several options in the OBX. 

A few of the most popular Outer Banks highlights are:  Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, hang-gliding at Jockey’s Ridge, or booking a wild horse tour by 4×4 on the beach!

Miami to Key West

view of miami florida from an aerial shot

Contributed by Victoria of Florida Trippers

One of the best one-week East Coast road trips in the USA is the trip from Miami to Key West.

Covering 165 miles, this epic road trip starts in Miami and ends in Key West, and you’ll drive back the same way you came.

Day 1: Explore Miami

Explore downtown Miami where you can walk through Bayfront Park since it sits on Biscayne Bay.

Afterward, get some cool keepsakes at Bayside Marketplace before heading to Wynwood to see some of the area’s famous murals.

Continue to Little Havana and see why this area is so beloved by taking a stroll along Calle Ocho.

End the day at South Beach so that you can catch the sunset at South Pointe Park.

Day 2: Head to Everglades National Park

everglades with an airboat tour

Spend the morning seeing alligators from the Anhinga Trail.

You can also go walking the Mahogany Hammock boardwalk trail, searching for manatees near Flamingo.

Then, in the afternoon, check out Shark Valley before going an an exhilarating airboat ride through the park. 

Day 3: Biscayne National Park

Get in the water and explore Biscayne National Park!

You can do this by joining a tour that will take you to do fun things like visiting Boca Chita Key and paddle boarding through Jones Lagoon.

Just remember that you can only visit this incredible park as part of a tour and not on your own.

Day 4: Continue your drive towards Key West.

Victoria Yore at Bahia Honda along the drive to the Miami to key west area

Begin the day at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and order a giant slice of key lime pie.

Then, check out the birds at Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary before feeding the tarpons at Robbie’s.

You can then enjoy the drive along 7-mile bridge before heading to Bahia Honda State Park where you can explore Loggerhead Beach.

Stroll along the Old Bahia Honda Bridge and end your day learning about a local endangered species at the National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center.

Day 5: Key West

view of one of the streets in key west decorated in a festive way

Experience all that Key West has to offer!

Get out onto the water and see dolphins with a local boat tour.

Then, head back ashore and visit the Hemingway House and the Truman House.

Finally, unwind at Latitudes where the sunset views are epic. 

Day 6: Take a day trip to Dry Tortugas

Victoria Yore in the water in front of a fort while exploring Dry Tortugas National Park

Embark on an epic day trip from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Hop aboard the Yankee Freedom Ferry from Key West and enjoy a 2.5 hour ride to the park that includes breakfast and lunch.

Once on the islands, you can explore historic Fort Jefferson or do a nice walk around Bush Key before going snorkeling.

Day 7: More Key West and drive home

Go on a kayak tour through the area’s many mangroves before visiting the Key West Light House and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in the afternoon.

You’ll then spend the evening watching the sunset at Mallory Square before grabbing drinks at Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street if you’re staying the night.

If you’re planning to head home tonight, forego the drinks and start on your road trip back to Miami!

Acadia National Park to the Canadian border, Maine

looking down on a lake in acadia national park from a rock at the top of a hiking area

Contributed by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

The best way to experience the beauty of the remote Maine coast is an East Coast road trip from Acadia to the Canadian border. 

Best of all? This road trip lacks crowds, plus has gorgeous scenery and outdoor adventures seldom experienced by most visitors to Maine. 

Day 1 to 2: Winter Harbor and Beyond

The trip starts in the vibrant town of Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula.

Enjoy the many galleries and entertainment events as well as the fabulous ocean views — and don’t forget to sample lobster just pulled from the ocean. 

On day two, explore the Schoodic Peninsula, the quiet side of Acadia National Park.

There are hiking and biking trails with panoramic views of Frenchman Bay. Watch the surf crash on huge granite rocks on Schoodic Point

one of the harbor areas in a protected part of maine's rugged coast with boats and still water

Day 3 to 4: Milbridge and Beyond

Day 3 and 4 is based in Milbridge, an authentic Downeast town on the coast.

A visit to the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge is a highlight for nature lovers. 

Catherine Hill Winery nearby has daily wine tastings while relaxing in their beautiful flower covered grounds. Don’t miss their blueberry wine!

Day 5: Jonesport and Cherryfield

a wild and windswept beach on the maine coastline

Drive to Jonesport on day five. On the way, stop at Cherryfield, called the wild blueberry capital of the world!

Grab a slice of the wild blueberry pie at the blue dome of Wild Blueberry Land. You’ll be glad you did. 

Jonesport is a working fishing village that has hiking, biking and paddling adventures nearby.

Any type of adventurer will love Roque Bluffs State Park as its white sand beach is a rarity on the usually rocky Maine coast!

Day 6 and 7: Visit Lubec and drive back

lighthouse with striped candy cane line stripes at sunset on the maine coast

Finish the road trip with two days in Lubec on the Canadian border.

The West Quoddy Head Lighthouse has breathtaking views, including the chance to see whales spouting and feeding!

For something truly incredible, you can marvel at the 20-foot tides in the Bay of Fundy.

The McCurdy Smokehouse Museum tells the story of herring fishing in the area. There’s a brewery and fantastic ocean-side seafood restaurants to try.

After you’ve explored the area, it’s time to drive back to the Acadia area!

Florida’s Gulf Coast

sunrise at the beach in destin florida on the gulf coast of the state

Contributed by Candice of Exploring The Gulf

Road trips are a great way to see the USA, and Florida’s Gulf Coast offers a stellar route.

Follow our one-week itinerary to see the best of what the Sunshine State can offer! 

Day 1-2: Start in Destin

gated boardwalk on the coast in destin florida on the gulf of mexico at sunset

Start your first day in Destin wandering the Harborwalk Village.

It’s one of the most happening areas of the town, with bustling shops and delicious places to eat. It’s also a hub for water sports rentals and tours!

Jump on a boat and spend the afternoon soaking up the rays on Crab Island, or opt for a low-key dolphin tour instead.

Then, wrap up your evening with a dinner to remember at the Airstream Food Truck Park

On day two, begin the day aboard a fishing charter.

Then, spend the afternoon at the Air Force Armament Museum.

A dinner at The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House is the perfect way to end the day. 

Day 3-4: Continue on to Clearwater 

beach chairs in pairs and rows on the beach with blue water

Spend your first day in town at Clearwater Beach.

Enjoy the soft white sand and the mesmerizing emerald-green waters!

Pier 60, also located on the beach, is a great place to fish or let kids play on the beach playground.

At sunset, there are crafts and entertainment for all to enjoy. 

Begin your second day in Clearwater at Honeymoon Island State Park. Enjoy the beach, explore hiking trails, and admire the area’s wildlife.

Then, spend the latter part of the day on a Clearwater sunset cruise.

Day 4-7: Finish in Fort Myers 

six mile cypress slough

On your first day in Fort Myers, visit the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve to enjoy the fascinating wetland ecosystem and catch sight of various reptiles and birds.

Then, swing by the Edison and Ford Winter Estates for a history lesson on the two inventors’ time spent in the city. 

Spend your last day in Fort Myers with a visit to Manatee Park — it’s a fun spot to view the wildlife and kayak.

And for a change of pace from the outdoor adventures, take in a play at the Florida Repertory Theatre to wrap up your Florida road trip.  

Afterwards, begin your drive home: about 8 hours direct, so you may want to break it up with an overnight somewhere along the way.

From Destin to Fort Myers, enjoy your East Coast road trip down Florida’s Gulf Coast!

Myrtle Beach, SC to Miami, FL

view of the beach in miami with palm tree and bench

Contributed by Victoria of Guide Your Travel

This one-week East Coast road trip itinerary is all about beaches, beaches, beaches!

Here’s the best things to do on this road trip from Myrtle Beach to Miami.

Day 1 and 2: Start in Myrtle Beach

sunset in myrtle beach with ferris wheel

Your road trip adventure begins in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Spend the morning lounging on the beautiful sandy shores, soaking up the sun, and taking in the picturesque ocean views!

In the afternoon, head to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk for a stroll, souvenir shopping, and a delightful seafood dinner at a local waterfront restaurant.

As the sun sets, you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Myrtle Beach, known for its lively bars and live music.

For your second day, explore Myrtle Beach’s attractions.

Start your day with a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium, where you can marvel at fascinating marine life.

Later, take a thrilling ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel for breathtaking panoramic views of the coast.

In the evening, dine at one of the city’s renowned seafood spots or try a classic Southern BBQ joint.

Day 3 and 4: Continue to Savannah, Georgia

exterior of a house in savannah in typical steamboat style

Depart from Myrtle Beach and go to Savannah, Georgia.

Once in Savannah, explore the historic district characterized by its cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture.

Take a guided walking tour, immersing yourself in the city’s rich history and charming squares.

For dinner, savor some traditional Southern cuisine at a local eatery.

For your fourth day, spend your morning at Forsyth Park, a lush green space perfect for picnics and relaxation.

Visit the stunning Mercer-Williams House and Bonaventure Cemetery to glimpse Savannah’s historic past.

Enjoy a scenic riverboat cruise on the Savannah River in the evening before dining.

We recommend eating at The Grey restaurant, which is located in a magnificent historic building and offers excellent modern Southern cuisine.

However, remember to book in advance — this place is really popular (and it’s for a reason!)

Day 4 to 7: Finish in Miami via St. Augustine and Orlando

white and black striped lighthouse with red top on the coast with river and water

Continue your journey south to St. Augustine, Florida, for a brief stop in one of America’s most historic cities.

Explore the historic Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.

Walk along St. George Street and enjoy shopping and dining in this charming historic district.

On the next day, depart St. Augustine and make your way to Orlando.

Spend a day exploring the enchanting world of theme parks like Walt Disney World or Universal Studios.

Day 7: Arrive in vibrant Miami.

view of miami florida from an aerial shot

Spend your first day in Miami exploring the Art Deco Historic District in South Beach, then relaxing on the white sandy beach in Miami Beach.

We recommend dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab for fresh seafood in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the evening.

On your second day, visit the iconic Wynwood Walls, Little Havana, and enjoy the nightlife at the famous clubs and bars, savoring the lively atmosphere that Miami is known for.

Fall Foliage in New England

Fall foliage and white church in vermont

Contributed by Sam of New England Wanderlust

New England is considered one of the absolute best regions in the entire world for fall foliage, and for good reason!

The entire area is completely ablaze with color during the month of October.

Throw in idyllic scenery, covered bridges, incredible farm stands, cozy inns, and amazing hiking, it truly makes for an epic road trip that should be on everyone’s bucket list. 

Day 1: Start in Boston

Kickstart your morning with a stop at Tatte Bakery for one of their amazing apple turnovers, and their very cool ambience.

Once you’re fueled up, enjoy a walk through the Public Gardens and the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. 

In the afternoon, book a food tour to appreciate the city’s awesome culinary scene.

End your day with a sunset walk around the Charles Esplanade, and grab a table at either Neptune Oyster or Union Oyster House.

Days 2-3: Drive to the White Mountains with a stop in Salem

A red covered bridge surrounded by yellow and orange trees while road tripping in the White Mountains

Get up bright and early to start your day in the iconic city of Salem!

Visit Witch House, the House of Seven Gables, and grab lunch at Lobster Shanty for an incredible lobster roll.

After lunch, begin your drive to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and if time allows, make a reservation to ride The Cog up Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast.

If you only have time for a quick stop after arrival, head to Cathedral Ledge for an easy-to-access overlook of the mountains at peak foliage. 

The next day, drive the the Kancamagus Highway to Franconia Notch State Park.

This drive is one of the best things to do in New England in the fall, and there are lots of great overlooks to stop at to admire the fall color.

Once at Franconia, visit Flume Gorge, hike the Artist Bluff Trail, and ride the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Days 4-5: Drive to Vermont

A charming fall landscape of the town of Stowe Vermont with a red leaf tree and downtown area

Begin your drive to charming Vermont, and focus all your time on exploring the cute towns of Stowe and Woodstock

While in Stowe, plan to ride the Stowe Gondola, walk around the quaint Main Street, and drive through Smugglers Notch for incredible foliage. 

In Woodstock, definitely plan to visit Sugarbush Farms, visit the village’s shops, and explore Billings Farm

Day 6: Explore the Berkshires

Drive to the lovely Williamstown, and make your way south along Route 7 in the Berkshires region for stunning fall color. 

On your itinerary, be sure to squeeze in a drive up the Mount Greylock auto road to the summit!

Also plan a visit to Hilltop Orchards for amazing cider donuts and a walk through charming Stockbridge.

Finally, end your day just after dark at the very cool Naumkeag Pumpkin Show

Day 7: Drive back to Boston

On your way back to Boston, stop in Sturbridge to visit Old Sturbridge Village.

Here, you can grab a pint (just one if you’re the one driving!) of some of the best craft beer in New England at Tree House Brewing!

Historic South Route

Contributed by Samantha Oppenheimer of Find Love and Travel

A not-to-be-missed East Coast road trip is one that will bring you through the historic south, which includes Charleston, Savannah, Georgia, and St. Augustine.

These charming southern cities are full of history and fun attractions to enjoy while road-tripping through. 

Days 1 to 2: Charleston, South Carolina 

views of the historic downtown area of Charleston with landscape of city and landmarks

Start your first two days in the Holy City of Charleston, South Carolina.

You can expect to find those quintessential southern porched homes, cobblestone streets, and beautiful alleys throughout the city. 

On your first day, you should get acquainted with this walkable city.

Make your way through the French Quarter, stroll by the Pineapple Water Fountain, walk the Battery, and don’t forget to indulge in some great Southern food! 

On the second day of your Charleston itinerary, consider learning Charleston’s darker history as a nexus of the slave trade, like the Old Slave Mart Museum.

Alternately, make your way to Folly Beach if it’s a nice day and enjoy your day in the water.

Days 3 to 4: Savannah, Georgia

the downtown area of Chippewa square in savannah Georgia with its spanish moss dripping everywhere

Your next two days will be spent exploring the “Hostess City of the South,” Savannah.

Known for its beautiful planned squares, historic mansions, and oak trees dripping in Spanish Moss, you have plenty to explore, so pack your walking shoes. 

The city is relatively walkable, but hopping on the trolley is a great way to learn the city’s history while being able to get from one attraction to another, especially if it’s hot out.

Some top attractions you won’t want to miss include Forsyth Park, the Bonaventure Cemetery, walking through the Savannah Historic District, and River Street

You can easily spend two days walking around the historic squares!

But if you’d like another beach day, Savannah also has a lovely beach nearby on Tybee Island.

Here you can enjoy a white sandy beach and see the lighthouse.

Days 5 to 7: St. Augustine, Florida

Dubbed the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is one of the most historic cities to explore in the US.

On your first day, take your time exploring the Historic District.

One of the best ways to do this is by taking the hop-on-hop-off trolley tour that brings you to all the major attractions, including the Fountain of Youth

On your second day, you can explore more of the Historic City or once again enjoy your day at the beach.

St. Augustine has a beautiful coastline from the St. Augustine Fishing Pier and beach to Micklers Landing Beach.

Once you’ve finished, make the 4.5 hour drive back to Charleston where you started this road trip.

Great Smoky Mountains Itinerary: 2 Days in This Epic National Park!

A beautiful colorful sunrise over Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is absolutely a must-see destination for any lover of the great outdoors, and the numbers are there to prove it.

This is the most visited national park in the country, winning by a landslide, pun only slightly intended.

Knowing all this, when I was planning my road trip through the East Coast’s national parks, I didn’t even dare try to fit this all into a single day.

Straddling two states, both Tennessee and North Carolina, trying to do that would be an act of madness.

So, when I say that this two day Great Smoky Mountains itinerary is the absolute best of what the Great Smokies have to offer, I can say it with confidence because it’s been tested and approved. 

A beautiful view of the green landscape of the epic Chimney Tops hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains national park

Of course, to be fair, I left wanting more. But that’s just the sign of a great park, right? 

I’ll just have to add it to a future North Carolina itinerary.

The important thing, though, is that even though I couldn’t wait to go back, I didn’t leave feeling like I missed out on anything and if that isn’t a national park trip success, I don’t know what is! 

What’s that? Success means seeing a bear, you say? Well guess what, chances are high! 

Day One of Your Great Smoky Mountains Itinerary: The East Side

Wake up for sunrise at Look Rock Tower.

The view from Look Rock observation tower, a metal structure in the middle of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, during the day

How else to say it? Look Rock Tower is everything you could want in a sunrise hike and more.

It’s slightly off the beaten path, which means that not many will make this journey… at least, not first thing in the early morning. 

It’s also a relatively short hike (0.8 mi roundtrip) with the only real climb being the tower itself.

Speaking of which, it has a tower which definitely earns it some brownie points. 

Of course, it has one of the most wide-sweeping views of the Smoky Mountains served up on a platter. What more could you ask for? 

Make it dog-friendly, you say? Well, guess what, it’s your lucky day! 

I’ve done this hike a couple of times because it’s one of my personal favorites (as if you couldn’t tell) and I can say with confidence that sunrise is the best time to do it.  

Not only does the morning light and the potential to get some picturesque fog really make a difference, but it also tends to get a bit crowded by midday. 

Take a kayak on Fontana Lake.

A foggy and misty morning view on Lake Fontana on your Great Smoky Mountains National Park itinerary

While the day is still young, make your way over to Fontana Lake for one of the most incredible things to do on this Great Smoky Mountains itinerary.

One of my favorite memories from my time in the park is from my time kayaking on these gorgeous waters. 

The lake is so vast that even with other people paddling around you’ll feel like you have it all to yourself.

Nothing compares to the serene feeling you get from hearing nothing but the sounds of the birds chirping and water breaking with every paddle.

There are a ton of adventure companies that offer kayak rentals but many of them require a few emails back and forth before sealing the deal.

So, just to make sure your trip goes smoothly, I highly recommend that you schedule your kayak rentals as soon as you have your dates worked out. 

The good news is that most companies will even bring your kayaks right to the docking location of your choice so all you have to do is show up and you’ll be all set to paddle away!

Visit a ghost town (part one).

hazel creek running through proctor ghost town
Photo Credit: Brian Stansberry – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

I almost forgot the best part of your kayak adventure…

If paddling on Great Smoky Mountains’ largest lake is somehow not enough to satisfy you, what if I told you that you can paddle out to a literal ghost town?! 

In less than an hour, you can paddle out to Hazel Creek, which is the most remote part of the national park and home to the Proctor Ghost Town

an abandoned building in the proctor ghost town area
Photo Credit: By Brian Stansberry – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Once you arrive, you’ll find the ruins of a once thriving lumber company town and the graves of its founders.

Add a layer of mist on the lake and you’re looking at a very spooky morning!

Walk and eat Around Bryson City.

Cloudy day in Bryson City, looking at a white church in Bryson City, North Carolina

The lively Bryson City is basically the Gatlinburg of North Carolina, but only in the ways that you would hope for.

It has the same rustic charm, plenty of delicious restaurants, and none of the mob-size crowds. 

Upon arriving, I was honestly shocked by how laid-back it was, and I couldn’t have been happier.

The only problem I had while I was here was deciding where to eat, and that’s a great problem to have if you ask me.

After a bit of indecision, I was quickly reassured that I made the right choice when I bit into my Philly cheesesteak and was transported straight to foodie heaven.

So, when you get to town, do yourself a favor and go right to the High Test Deli Filling Station

Just make sure you save room for dessert because Honey Bears Cupcakery is right down the street and you’ll never forgive yourself for skipping out on one of their specialty cupcakes. 

Hike to the Lonesome Pine Overlook or Deep Creek Falls.

One of the 3 waterfalls on the trail, Tom Branch Falls, in the Deep Creek Trail which is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love a hike that gives me options. 

Sometimes I’ll get overly ambitious when planning and then reach the trailhead and find that I just don’t have the motivation to hike for three hours.

Or (and this is my favorite) vice versa, I get to the trailhead feeling like I could conquer the world. 

So instead of having to completely scrap your hiking plans for the day, give yourself some options and make your way over to the Deep Creek Falls Trailhead

There are three waterfalls on this loop so you can decide to stop at the first one (Juney Whank Falls, which is 0.6 mi roundtrip) and turn around, or you can keep going for the full waterfall loop (which is 2.4 mi roundtrip). 

Bench and place to rest at Juney Whank Falls in on the Deep Creek Falls trail, at the first waterfall where you can turn around after if you want to stop

You can also make it a bigger loop by adding in Indian Creek (4.4 mi roundtrip).

Alternately, you can be extra ambitious and decide you want to hike up to the Lonesome Pine Overlook (but we’re talking 6.7 miles plus 2,300 ft of elevation gain).

No matter which route you choose, it’s certain that you’ll have an amazing time, but if you ask me, the best experience is taking the ambitious route. After all, no risk, no reward, right?

Drive the Road to Nowhere.

A hill with fall trees in yellow and green with a stone tunnel in a hill running through a forest on the Road to Nowhere in the Great Smoky Mountains

If you’ve spent an afternoon in Bryson City thinking and raving about how awesome the Proctor ghost town was, then you absolutely have to drive the Road to Nowhere

Why? Well… This road was originally being built for the town of Proctor!

However, only seven miles were completed before the government gave up on the project due to safety concerns. 

In a way, this failed road is the reason that Proctor became a ghost town and ultimately became a ghost itself. 

My favorite part about this slightly eerie (but extremely scenic) drive is the long tunnel at the end that leads to, well, nowhere! 

Enjoy a Clingman Dome sunset.

Viewpoint at Clingman Dome with a view of the sun on the horizon and pale colors lighting up the sky silhouetting against the forest and mountains.

I usually try to find a less-popular place to enjoy the sunset but sometimes the crowds get it right, and nothing even compares to the sunset at Clingman Dome

Sure, it can be a bit busy but it’s busy for a good reason!

Plus, you really don’t need to climb to the top of the observation tower for a good view so there are plenty of places to find a little corner to yourself. 

At the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the views are sure to amaze! 

Day Two of Your Great Smoky Mountains Itinerary: The West Side

Have an epic Cades Cove sunrise.

Fall foliage colors and leaves on ground with a sign that marks the entrance to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Okay, I’ll just admit it. Cades Cove is my favorite place in the Great Smokies.

After I experienced my first sunrise here, I was immediately hooked. 

I canceled all sunrise hikes and viewpoint plans for the rest of my time in the Great Smokies, just so I could have more of it.

If I could spend every morning here, there’d be no such thing as a bad day in my life, I’m sure of it. 

Now I know this sounds a bit dramatic but just trust me and check it out. It won’t take you very long to see where I am coming from. 

sunrise in the cades cove area of the great smokies

I mean, just picture it, driving through Cades Cove… the early morning mist… wildlife everywhere…. plenty of historic cabins to explore… peaceful little trails to get lost on… 

You get it, right? I just can’t recommend this spot enough. 

One thing I have to say up front, though, is that this is definitely not a place to rush through.

A beautifully restored cabin in a log cabin style, in a forest of autumn color trees, part of Cades Cove region of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You’ll want to plan on spending all morning here, so if you can’t bear the thought of not eating breakfast until 10-11 AM, make sure to pack something to hold you over. 

As you make your way through the cove, you’ll notice that it gets a bit (or, okay, a lot) more crowded as the morning goes on. This is when you’ll want to make your escape! 

But fear not, the magical views and peaceful solitude can live on with this handy trick…

Take the Rich Mountain Road. 

Views of horses on the rich mountain road on this great smoky mountains itinerary

Don’t even question it.

When you see the sign pointing you in that direction, go.

I know you may feel a bit of FOMO, but I assure you that you’ve already seen all of the cove’s highlights and you’re about to discover its ultimate hidden gem. 

Stuff your face at Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp.

Cinnamon rolls and other breakfast treats at the famous Crocketts in Gatlinburg
Photo Credit: jpellgen (@1179_jp) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When I first got to Crockett’s, there was a line out the door and a 45-minute wait, and that’s for breakfast! Big yikes. 

But you see… I had been daydreaming about the Aretha Frankenstein Pancakes for weeks and I was feeling pretty determined at this point. So we waited. 

We walked around Gatlinburg and did our souvenir shopping, because two birds, one stone, right?

Within 20 minutes, our table was ready but I was getting increasingly more nervous because this massive place was fully packed, and we didn’t have all day to wait around for our food.

Those nerves went out the window when we were greeted with immediate service and within 10 minutes I had one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had sitting in front of me.

These were the thickest pancakes I have ever set my eyes on, not to mention the most delicious. 

P.S. They now have an online waitlist you can join so you can start the clock before you even get there!

Visit a ghost town (part two).

Ruins of old settlements seen in the Elkmont Historic District in Great Smokey Mountains National Park part of Tennessee and a must on a Great Smoky Mountains itinerary

Another ghost town? Absolutely! Very different from Proctor, the Elkmont was originally a wealthy resort town located at the hub of the national park. 

When the Great Smokies were made into a national park, the people who lived there were allowed to stay for the rest of their lifetime.

When that time ended, the park service was left with more than 70 abandoned cabins to maintain.

Soon those buildings deteriorated and by the 1990s, Elkmont was labeled a ghost town. 

What is really cool about this ghost town is that it’s not that old!

And to top it off, the NPS has preserved 19 buildings so you can experience what they looked like in their prime. 

Walk down an abandoned street, and pop in and out of homes that tell the story of what it was like to live here in the early to mid-1900s.

Drive and hike on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Autumn colors with fallen leaves around the river on Roaring Fork in Great Smoky Mountains NP

One thing I learned from exploring Roaring Fork is to park whenever you can.

This is a busy road that is only 5.5 miles long so if you wait for the “perfect spot”, chances are that you will finish the drive without really seeing much. 

So, park whenever you can and try not to get frustrated by the minimal amount of spots available. 

The nature trail is filled with waterfall hikes, mountain streams, log cabins, gristmills, and more, so I assure you that no matter where you find a spot to park, the trail will lead you to an awesome adventure. 

For example, on my first trip I pulled over into the first available spot I saw and I ended up on the Baskins Creek Falls Trail

A view of the lovely Baskin Falls in The Great Smoky Mountains after a short hike

Apparently, this is one of the less popular hikes on Roaring Fork but I couldn’t tell you why.

The hike is 3.2 miles roundtrip (prepare for an uphill journey) and takes you to my favorite waterfall in the park! 

Not only did we get this waterfall all to ourselves for over an hour, but we also saw a black bear on the trail!

It is easily one of my favorite Great Smoky memories. 

Work for your sunset at Chimney Tops.

Fall view of the Chimney Tops trailhead in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a bridge that goes over a rocky stream

There is no way around it.

At 3.5 miles roundtrip and a hefty elevation gain of 1,400 feet, Chimney Tops is a view you have to work for but the payoff is immediate and incredible. 

This is a really popular hike (which means limited parking) and the ascent will probably take you longer than you think.

Sign for the Chimney Tops trailhead while hiking in   Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Give yourself some wiggle room to ensure that you make it to the top in time for sunset — and pack a headlamp for the way down.

You don’t want to be the person trying to run up slippery rocks, just to spend your time at the top trying to slow your heart rate down.

That’s no fun — it’s much better to be basking in the stunning view that you raced up there for. 

Foggy view of the stone steps leading up to the summit of the chimney tops trail in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park for a great view

Due to a terrible fire that took place in 2016, you can no longer summit to the top of Chimney but a new observation point was finished in 2017 that I think offers an even better view.

From here, you can see the park’s many famous peaks and get a close up view of the rugged Chimney pinnacles themselves. 

All in all, it’s the perfect send off hike that will have you leaving the Great Smokies already planning your next trip. 

Just don’t forget your headlamp!

Have dinner and beers at Smoky Mt. Brewery.

a sample of five different beers at the brewery
Photo Credit: David Limon via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve spent more time in the Smoky Mt. Brewery than I’m proud to admit, but with experience comes wisdom, so, trust me when I say to skip the calzones and go for a burger. 

I know, I know. It’s not everyday that you see a calzone on the menu but seriously…skip it.

I can’t have you questioning my good reputation after having a bad experience following one of my recommendations. 

The burger on the other hand, or the Philly Cheesesteak, or the wings… positively to die for. 

So sit back, stuff your face with pub food and celebrate a perfect ending to your Great Smoky adventure… with a beer in hand of course! 

9 Best Places to Visit in February in the USA (For Sun & Snow!)

One of my favorite times of the year to travel is February.

Typically, at this point, I’m sick and tired of winter weather and in need of something to shake off the winter cobwebs and inspire me again.

… and what’s great is that February often is one of the cheaper times to travel, after the holiday rush subsides and before spring travel picks up.

If you’re planning to stay domestic for your next late-winter trip, here are some of the best destinations to visit in February in the USA, curated by fellow travel bloggers.

I’ve broken it into warm weather vacation spots and cold weather places since people are looking for very different things when they travel in the US in February.

Some want to enjoy the snow for winter sports, others want sunshine and to get away from the cold!

Best Warm Places to Visit in February in the USA

Los Angeles

Recommended by Jenifer from The Evolista

February is a great time to visit Los Angeles!

The weather is mild with daytime highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the 50’s. While there are less than 5 days of rain, there are plenty of fun things to do, rain or shine. 

First up, the annual Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year street festival are a must-see.

The parade dates back over 100 years and features people dressed in traditional Chinese costumes marching down historic Chinatown streets. The festival includes food, music, and dance performances. 

Sports fans won’t want to miss a Lakers or Clippers game, while art lovers should check out the sensational collection at the Broad Museum. Get there early for a shorter line to the Infinity Room.

Another fun thing to do is the Downtown Art Walk where you can see museums, galleries and incredible murals.

In Venice, the Cupid’s Undie Run is a 1-mile fun run (or walk) in your undies to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. How many people can say they ran around LA without their pants?!

Afterwards, take a stroll through the Venice canals, shop along Abbot Kinney or check out the crazy antics at Venice Beach.

If you are looking for romantic things to do with your Valentine, take one of the best scenic drives in LA to a romantic lookout point on Mulholland Drive for breathtaking sunset views of the cityscape below. 

View of Los Angeles from afar while enjoying a hike in the nature outside the city

Or head up Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. You can go wine tasting, take a hike at Solstice Canyon or spend an afternoon sunbathing and swimming at Zuma Beach.

Stop at Malibu Farm or John’s Garden to refuel with a delicious meal!

From sporting events and festivals to hiking and visiting museums are plenty of fun things to do in Los Angeles in February.

Where to Stay

Stay at the Santa Monica Proper with stunning decor and a rooftop pool.

Best of all, it’s perfectly located near the beach, great restaurants, and the LA Metro Expo Line, which will get you Downtown without having to drive in LA traffic!

Miami, FL

A colorful lifeguard tower that says Miami Beach located on white sand with turquoise and blue waters

Contributed by Megan Starr of Megan & Aram

The city of Miami is the perfect place to jet off to if you’re looking to escape the cold for a bit of South Florida sun.

With average highs around 75F and lows in the mid-60s, Miami experiences the dry season in February with only 4 days of rain.

With little rain comes little humidity and fewer mosquitoes, making this time of the year perfect to head on a day trip to the Everglades.

Airboat tours are not legal in the Everglades, but there are plenty of tram tours and hiking trails that will allow you to see the alligators better with lower water levels.

Other popular day trips from the city are Biscayne National Park, Fort Lauderdale, and Bimini in the Bahamas.

Architectural detailing of Miami with palm trees and distinctive Miami style architecture on a clear day

If you’re looking to stick around Miami, be sure to head over to Wynwood and explore the famous Graffiti Walls.

After checking out the colorful murals, you can head for lunch or dinner at Bartaco where you’ll find some of the best tacos in the area.

Other popular things to do in Miami are to take a tour of Little Havana, head out jetskiing from Virginia Key, or explore the art deco buildings along South Beach.

Where to Stay

Esme Hotel is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to stay near South Beach nightlife and some of the best food in this part of town.

The hotel is located on the historic Española Way and offers boutique rooms and a rooftop pool and bungalows — plus, it’s only a 5-minute walk from the beach!

Panama City Beach, FL

View over a traffic circle with views of the beach and pier in Panama City Beach, a popular February in USA destination

Situated on the Northwest coast of the Sunshine State, near Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama, is the Florida Panhandle.

It is one of the most underrated places to visit within the state, and the family friendly destination of Panama City Beach is just one of its must visits! 

February is a great time to explore as the summer and Spring break tourists haven’t arrived yet, meaning you can pack in all the best things to do in Panama City Beach in just a short trip if you want!

Its great weather in February (average of 66 degrees F) means that it’s easy to take advantage of its 27 miles of pristine white beaches, even if it’s not full sunbathing weather!

Highlights include going sailing around the Gulf of Mexico, and visiting the uninhabited but stunning Shell Island.

This barrier island is a haven for bottlenose dolphins, and plenty of birdlife meaning it is protected, but you can still snorkel, swim and relax in this undeveloped slice of paradise.

View of the beach and a pier leading out to the ocean on a sunny day with people enjoying the beach in Panama City Beach FL

Other outdoor activities include visiting the beautiful state parks of Camp Helen and St Andrews, where you can kayak, hike, and paddle board in peace (especially in February).

If the weather takes a turn, you can always head to Pier Park, located just opposite the beach. It is a complex full of rides, shopping, entertainment and restaurants, and can easily keep you busy for a day.

Where to Stay

If you want a beautiful and convenient place to stay, choose Calypso Resort & Towers!

It is located right next to Pier Park, but still has its own private beach, several swimming pools, a gym and is within walking distance to plenty of bars and restaurants.

San Antonio, TX

The view of the san antonio river walk with calm water and a bridge leading you over the river

Contributed by Kim of Traveling Swansons

San Antonio, Texas is the most visited city in all of Texas and there’s no better time to visit San Antonio then February!

Much of the year is very hot and humid in San Antonio, but not in February! 

With an average high of 67°F and an average low of 43°F combined with one of the driest months of the year, February is the perfect month to explore all of San Antonio’s famous outdoor sites.  

Must-see sites in San Antonio include The Alamo, The River Walk, Historic Market Square and Hemisfair Park

Looking for some thrill rides?  San Antonio also has major theme parks like the Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

A cascading manmade waterfall in a san antonio park on a sunny day

Another reason to visit San Antonio in February is for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

This huge event takes place every February for three weeks, so you’re almost certain to overlap if you visit San Antonio in February. 

Enjoy this action packed event which includes bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding and more!

The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is more than just a rodeo though — it also includes a fair and many live concerts with well-known artists.  

Where to Stay

Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk-Downtown is a great hotel to stay at in the heart of San Antonio. 

Not only is it located in the heart of the city, but it’s also located on the River Walk! 

Its rooms are spacious and modern, and they also serve an amazing free breakfast buffet and have a nightly complimentary evening reception with drinks and snacks.

Best Cold Places to Visit in February in the USA

Yellowstone National Park, WY

Contributed by Amber of Amber Anywhere

Yellowstone National Park is an iconic American destination, and February is perhaps the best time to see it because you can escape its notorious crowds.

The park’s natural beauty is on full display in February, and you can see rock formations poking out behind snow drifts and bison nibbling on grass as they slowly traverse the large fields.

Even Old Faithful, typically mobbed with visitors, is a quieter affair; you’ll be able to appreciate the geyser up close. 

To see the park’s highlights, take a van or snowmobile tour that ends at Old Faithful.

The tour drives along roads that are inaccessible to cars during the winter, so you’ll get to see far more of Yellowstone than you would on your own.

One of the famous yellowstone bison on the side of the road in the snow in February in Yellowstone a popular USA destination in February

There are also several snowshoeing/cross country skiing trails accessible by car; make a stop at the Visitor’s Center for a map, advice, and an overview of current conditions before you set off on your adventure.

When visiting Yellowstone, you can car camp in the park, provided you have high quality gear that is designed to keep you warm in harsh winter conditions.

In February, the average high temperature is around 30°F, the average low temperature is 4°F, with average snowfall of about 25 inches.

While you’ll need to reserve a space far in advance when visiting Yellowstone in the summer, everything is more relaxed in February and you’ll have your choice of spots after you arrive. 

Where to Stay

If you’re not camping in the park, stay in the nearby city of Bozeman, Montana for the best food and accommodation options.

The RSVP Motel in Bozeman is a great choice, with consistently wonderful reviews and quirky, eclectic decor.

As a bonus, it’s a short drive from two great spots in Bozeman, the Wild Crumb bakery and Treeline Coffee Roasters.

Park City, UT

View of accommodations in the Park city, utah area with people on the ski slopes behind the houses and resorts

Contributed by JJ Haglund from The Minivan Bucket List 

If you’re looking for a snowy destination, one of the best US places to visit in February is Park City, Utah!

The weather in February is cold and snowy, with average highs in the 30s and frequent snowstorms — but that also means frequent fresh powder!

Park City is a world-class ski town with three different resorts and a vibrant town full of restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

When Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, Park City was one of the main locations for events like the bobsledding, ski jumping, aerials, and snowboard halfpipe.

You can actually still visit the Utah Olympic Park and marvel at the athletes training there or even take a ride down the bobsled track yourself, if you dare!

The main draw for visiting Park City is the skiing and snowboarding, but you can also try tubing, fat biking in the snow, or cross-country skiing. It’s also a popular place to go for a ride in a hot air balloon.  

Where to Stay

There are many luxurious places to stay in Park City and if you can afford it, there’s nothing like the experience of renting a ski-in/ski-out cabin.

Otherwise we recommend staying at Marriott’s Mountainside located at the base of Park City Mountain Resort.

It’s as close as you’ll get to ski-in/ski-out at a hotel and they have villas big enough for the whole family, and the heated outdoor pools right next to the slopes are a fun bonus.

If you haven’t been skiing in Utah, now is the time to add it to your Utah bucket list!   

Boston, MA

View of a snowy street in Boston, a woman walking down the street in the distance, and red brownstones typical of the city

Contributed by Amanda of My Vintage Map

If you want to experience a winter wonderland in February, visit Boston!

Winter lovers will love visiting Boston in February, when there is an average 7 days of snow and temperatures range from 24 to 39 degrees.

If you’re lucky, you may even get to witness a good, old-fashioned Boston snow storm from the warmth of your hotel room.

When you’re ready to brave the Boston cold, take a quick walk past the historic Old City Hall and Benjamin Franklin statue to Clover Food Lab for some delicious fair trade coffee.

Walk to Boston Common and go ice skating on the Frog Pond before heading over to Charles Street to explore the quaint shops of Beacon Hill

While in Beacon Hill, be sure to visit Rouvalis Flowers to see their seasonal floral arrangements and decorations.

View of the Boston city landscape in the winter on a somewhat cloudy, but not too overcast day

And you can’t miss Acorn Street, one of the few streets left in Boston with the original cobblestone. It is one of the most photographed streets in America!

If you’re interested in shopping, stroll down Newbury Street in Back Bay, where you’ll find dozens of stores and cafes in traditional brownstone buildings.

The Prudential Center is also not far away and is home to Eataly Boston, where you can warm up with fresh pizza or pasta. Yum!

While in Boston, consider venturing out to see other hidden gems in Massachusetts as well!

Where to Stay

Stay at the glamorous Omni Parker House, which has been in operation since 1855 and has hosted the likes of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, John F. Kennedy, and more. 

Enjoy a cozy meal at the hotel’s Parker’s Restaurant, the birthplace of the beloved Parker House Rolls and Boston Cream Pie.

Fairbanks, AK

A view of the green and reddish-purple northern lights over Fairbanks Alaska

Contributed by Bradley of Dream Big Travel Far

Famous for its world-class resorts, restaurants, native Alaskan culture, and impressive wilderness, Fairbanks is a hub city in Alaska.

The Golden Heart City, as it’s nicknamed, has an interesting history and generous hospitality.

February is actually the best time to visit if you want to enjoy the quintessential Alaskan winter but in a more comfortable way.

With longer daylight and slightly warmer weather of between -3°F and 12°F, it’s still possible to enjoy their wintery activities.

What comes to mind when someone mentions Alaska? For most people, it would be the northern lights.

Good news! The aurora season lasts until mid-April, which means this is the perfect time to go hunting for some northern lights.

These swaying lights of green, yellow, and red hues are a truly mesmerizing sight that you can easily spot on a clear night from Fairbanks. On average, they’re visible on four of five nights.

With plenty of hot springs to choose from, it’s always great to unwind in a natural rock lake, pools, and hot tubs, while enjoying the chilly breeze.

A woman in the water at Chena hot springs in Fairbanks Alaska enjoying the hot water on a cold winter day

Don’t skip the famous Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs Resort, which houses awesome ice structures and sculptures for you to marvel at. 

It’s a great way to stretch your legs after plunging in the hot springs!

Where to Stay

Another great thing about Fairbanks is that you can find all sorts of accommodation to fit any budget.

From a bed in a hostel or a traditional yurt to something more luxurious, you name it.

A good mid-priced option is the Northern Sky Lodge, a beautiful property with a serene atmosphere and all the facilities you need—a shared lounge, a garden, and even BBQ facilities.

Sun Valley, ID

The slopes of the ski resort at Sun Valley Idaho in the winter with beautiful trees and manicured ski runs on a sunny day

Contributed by Rose of Rose Campau

For lovers of all things snowy and winter, there’s nowhere better to visit in February than Idaho’s Sun Valley.

This little mountain town was originally developed as America’s first ski resort due to its stunning scenery and ideal winter conditions.

There’s nothing better to do here in February than hit the slopes!

By this time in the winter, all of the runs have accumulated a perfect snowpack from earlier in the season, and the crowds aren’t as dense as during the holidays.

Other popular outdoor activities to take advantage of the great conditions include snowmobiling, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat-biking, and paragliding.

To the delight of snow sports enthusiasts everywhere, Sun Valley is renowned for being one of the snowiest places in the United States.

Average snowfall in February is about 12 inches, with highs hovering just around 32F and lows around 10F.

Despite the cold temperatures and heavy snow pack, it still manages to get more than 200 days of sun, guaranteeing plenty of bluebird days out on the slopes!

Where to Stay

While you’re visiting Sun Valley, I recommend staying at Knob Hill Inn, a charming Tyrolian-style hotel located right in the middle of town.

It’s walking distance from dozens of great cafes and restaurants, and with a great breakfast spread included in each stay.

They also offer on-demand shuttle service throughout Sun Valley and Ketchum, making trips to and from the slopes a breeze.

Spring in the USA: 21 Incredible Spring Destinations to Visit!

Not sure where you want to travel in the USA in spring?

Here are 22 incredible spring break destinations in the US, from coast to coast, and Alaska and Hawaii too!

Best Spring Destinations in the USA

Washington, DC

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Contributed by Megan Starr of Virginia Travel Tips

Washington DC is one of the most famous places to visit in the US during spring.  It offers an array of different things to do and one of the most famous flower festivals in the world.

The main reason travelers jaunt off to Washington DC for spring is the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival which is celebrated during spring in honor of the Japanese sakuras that were gifted to the United States by Japan in 1912. 

The blossoms appear on different days annually, but the festival takes place from around March 20 until April 10, so you can be almost guaranteed that they will blossom some time during those dates. 

Throughout the festival, many smaller events will take place in Washington DC to cater to the guests coming in from all over the world.

Hotels from the entire region from Arlington, Virginia to Bethesda, Maryland will offer shuttle services, Cherry Blossom tours, and even blossom-inspired cocktails to guests to celebrate the event.

Another reason to visit Washington DC during spring is that it is the perfect time to take advantage of the incredible museums the city has to offer before summer holidays take place and the museums are crowded with families. 

The Smithsonian Institute’s museums in Washington DC are free and renowned as some of the best museums in the world.  Visiting DC’s museums is an excellent thing to do during the unpredictable spring weather.  

Springtime in Washington DC is a fantastic time to visit the US capital city.

Ojai, CA

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Contributed by Paroma Chakravarty of Yr of the Monkey

The city of Ojai in Ventura County is a mere 1.5 hours drive from Los Angeles and makes for a fabulous day trip from LA.

Located in the valley of the Topatopa Mountains, Ojai is well known for its quirky local stores and a strong art scene, with the Ojai Art Center being the oldest non-profit art center in the state. 

If you’re ever in Ojai, I highly recommend a walk through Libby Park (Ojai’s patch of green in downtown), checking out the many arcade stores, kombucha tasting at the local Revel Kombucha Bar, hanging out at Bart’s Books and enjoying some delicious food at The Nest, The Farmer and the Cook and Lebanese Ojai Rotie. 

Summer can be oppressively hot in this landlocked California city, but spring is the perfect time to visit with not one, but two local festivals to enjoy.

The first is the famous pixie tangerine festival in April when the Ojai tourism board plans several events around the harvesting and sales of these locally grown, highly sweet tangerines favored by Ojai’s unique microclimate. 

The second Ojai spring festival to watch out for happens in late May with the Ojai Art center organizing the very popular Annual Art in the Park festival in Libby Park. This festival is attended by artists from all over the world. The Art in the Park event boasts of live music and food along with an art exhibition by students.

North Texas, TX

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Contributed by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports 

North Texas not only has an incredible climate in spring, with warm temperatures that are perfect for sightseeing and outdoor dining, but this region of Texas also becomes a canvas of color as wildflowers spring up along the sides of the highways and blanket fields and pastures as far as the eye can see. 

The region, which is home to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is also home to the official Bluebonnet City of Texas.

From early-March to early-May, just 30 minutes outside of Dallas, the small town of Ennis draws thousands of people all seeking beautiful fields of vibrant blue flowers known as Texas Bluebonnets.

The town hosts a fun Bluebonnet Festival each spring with live music, food booths, and local vendors selling crafts, but the real draw to the town is the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails.

The 40-miles of trails take you through rural, country roads where fields of bluebonnets span the horizon. Driving along the scenic route, you’ll pass longhorns, picturesque barns, wineries, antique shops, and plenty of idealistic photo opportunities. 

Aside from Ennis, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in North Texas, including the Dallas Arboretum, where half a million tulips bloom each spring.

There is also the town of Grapevine, where you have indoor water parks, and amusement parks that are great if visiting North Texas with kids, even on a rainy day in spring.

With so much to do in North Texas, you could easily spend a full week exploring North Texas and its many towns and cities.

Austin, TX

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Contributed by Gemma Armit of Two Scots Abroad

Are you a music, movie, and tech fan? Or do you own a business and are ready to mingle with industry giants? Add South By Southwest to your bucket list for spring.

In March, key players, thinkers and those who want to be signed attend the 10-day festival in Austin, Texas to learn, swap business cards and have fun.

Since the event is sponsored by huge commercial businesses, many events are catered for which means lots of free drink and music gigs.

Stages, bars, cafes and theatres are packed with some shows being headlined by huge names. However, one of the best things about attending is discovering the ‘next big thing.

Hollywood celebrities attend too. In 2019, David Tennant and John Hamm were part of a panel discussing their new Amazon Original show, Good Omens. For badge holders, there was a massive party with free drink and food.

If you don’t like crowds, then SXSW isn’t for you. This is one of Austin’s busiest times and SXSW hotel prices hit three times the price of an ordinary trip so take that into consideration when budgeting.

However, the amount of free activities can offset hotel and Airbnb prices.

To top off such a fun festival, the skies are blue and it is warm enough for just t-shirts during the day. Bliss.

Phoenix, AZ

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Contributed by Sam of My Flying Leap

Phoenix, Arizona is an amazing city to visit in the spring as you can watch the desert bloom with wildflowers. Boyce Arboretum and the Desert Botanical Garden do a great job showcasing the desert’s beauty.

Outdoor life is celebrated in the springtime. Locals and tourists alike flock to the many restaurants in Phoenix as most have outdoor patios or large glass windows that open to enjoy this glorious time of year. It’s a foodie’s paradise with lots of amazing restaurants.

Hiking is a popular thing to do in and around the city. There are large desert parks in all parts of the city.

Take a day trip to the beautiful red rock buttes of Sedona (lovely if there’s still some winter snow) or visit the 14,000-foot Humphreys Peak in Flagstaff if you’re up for a real challenge. 

If you’re a baseball fan, spring training is a big hit in Phoenix, and 15 teams come to practice here. If golf is more your sport of choice, there are over 200 beautiful courses to choose from, most of which are public. 

The spring is festival time and the Phoenix calendar is filled with cultural and heritage festivals, food and beer, western, and more. Though the fall and winter are also great times to visit Phoenix, the springtime is when this city really comes alive.

South Beach Miami, FL

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Contributed by Talek Nantes of Travels with Talek

South Beach is an area on the southeastern tip of Miami Beach in Southern Florida. The best time of the year in SOBE is springtime when the weather ranges from a high of 70 degrees F to the low 80s. Ahhh…that’s beautiful weather!  Springtime avoids the sweltering summer heat when the temperature can hit the 100s.

One other advantage of visiting South Beach in the spring time is that the hotel prices are lower than the winter rates because the snowbirds have largely left town.

This applies to the higher end hotels that can easily go for upwards of $300 as well as the hostels that sell for about $40 per night. It is easier to get into clubs as they are less crowded and restaurant reservations are also more available for the same reason.

Springtime is also when the city puts on many of its top fairs, festivals, and activities. The Miami Film Festival in March has been gaining popularity and Miami Music Week also continues to grow.

 There is so much to do in SOBE. The restaurants range from high end like the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab to yummy street food.

The nightlife is legendary, there are cute little museums to visit and interesting streets to explore. Finally, the beach is one of the best in the United States.

South Beach is a great option for a springtime break.  

Asheville, NC

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Contributed by Stephanie Woodson from Explore More, Clean Less

Asheville is a bustling mountain town in western North Carolina that is a popular vacation destination year round, but spring is one of the most exciting seasons to visit for hiking!

Temperatures are mild and the foliage is lush; spring wildflowers and mushrooms are exciting to spot while exploring on the trail or driving along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway’s scenic curves.

Tourists will enjoy mountain views at relatively low altitudes so there’s no fear of altitude sickness and special gear isn’t usually necessary to hit the trails.

Spring rain also translates into full, rushing waterfalls; there are hundreds in the area both along hiking trails and roadside so there’s something for everyone.

Folks who prefer to enjoy nature from paved paths and manicured gardens will enjoy the bright tulip blooms at the Biltmore Estate, a grand estate with cares of green space.

Asheville also has an energetic local art district and downtown, and visiting during spring lends itself to walking around exploring artist studios or listening to live music.

Many breweries and restaurants have outdoor seating so you can practically spend your entire visit soaking up the mountain air and sun.

Most of the smaller cities surrounding Asheville have their own spring festivals so it’s simple to pick a hike and evening entertainment in any direction. Check out this top list of most popular, easy trails in Asheville before you go!

Philadelphia, PA

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Contributed by Lance and Laura Longwell of Guide to Philly.

Philadelphia is a magical springtime travel destination. The city’s Fairmount Park is consistently voted the best urban park in America. With miles of trails and rivers to explore, the park comes alive as soon as the weather turns nice.

Inside Fairmount Park, the Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens is a popular spot for locals and visitors. Ensconced among the cherry blossoms, the house is a peaceful space in the midst of one of America’s busiest cities.

Constructed in 1953 in Japan using a style common to the 17th century, the house and gardens are a living museum for Japanese culture.

Every spring, tens of thousands of college and university students descend on Philadelphia for athletic competitions.

The Dad Vail regatta is the most important collegiate rowing event in the U.S. and brings thousands of athletes from over 100 universities to compete. Fans line the river drives on each side of the Schuylkill River banks to watch the races and partake in the festivities.

On land, the Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States with more than 15,000 competitors and is considered a key preview of the Olympics and World Championships. Both events draw locals and visitors alike.

Savannah, GA

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Contributed by Erin Clarkson of Savannah First Timer’s Guide

Spring is easily the most popular time of year to plan a trip to Savannah, and for good reason; the city is blanketed by beautiful pink and white azalea blossoms from late February to early April!

The weather is also fairly mild, with highs in the mid-70s to low-80s and a good number of sunny days.

Spring is also when Savannah hosts some of its largest events of the year. The famous St. Patrick’s Day festival includes activities such as the “greening of the fountain” and a large parade that winds through the beautiful Historic District.

The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is also typically held during the spring season.

Since flowers are the main draw, it only makes sense that the best places to visit during the season are outdoor attractions. Bonaventure Cemetery looks stunning during the month of March.

Thousands of hot pink azalea blossoms cover what is considered by many to be Savannah’s most beautiful cemetery.

Forsyth Park also looks stunning in March, when the outer edges of the park and the area lining the famous fountain are covered in azalea blooms.

A stroll through the Historic District is a great way to enjoy the weather while admiring Savannah’s beautiful architecture, squares, and secret gardens.

A few must-see landmarks include The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Congregation Mickve Israel, Colonial Park Cemetery, and River Street.

The Collins Quarter and Little Duck Diner are two delicious restaurants with outdoor dining. 

North Georgia Mountains, GA

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Contributed by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

Whether it’s the lush greens (and relatively cool temperatures) of summer, the vivid colors of fall, or the snow-flecked wonder of winter, the North Georgia mountains are truly beautiful at pretty much any time of year.

But spring is truly a special time here at the southern tip of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain ranges. 

Surrounded by the Chatthoochee and Oconee National Forests, North Georgia is a haven for nature lovers.

Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail (which starts on Springer Mountain in Blairsville), exploring one of the dozen or so state parks in the area, or making your way to some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, spring is when the mountains shrug off the ice and snow in favor of wildflowers and azalea bushes. 

By May and early June, North Georgia lakes such as Allatoona, Blue Ridge, Nottley, Burton, Rabun, and Chatuge become warm enough to swim and water ski in.

Whitewater rafting the Chattooga and Ocoee Rivers becomes infinitely more pleasant as temperatures rise, while fishing and tubing down the Chattahoochee and Toccoa Rivers are also popular pastimes. 

Dogwood and magnolia trees begin to unveil their beautiful blossoms, and the sweet scent of honeysuckle starts to waft on the warming breeze. Spotting baby Deer or Black Bears is not uncommon, and seasonal birds (include Ruby-throated hummingbirds) start making their way back north.

These are just a few of the reasons spring is a great time to visit the mountains of North Georgia, and also why so many people who visit the region seem to be deciding to call it their permanent home.

Broken Bow, OK

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Contributed by Derek and Mike of Robetrotting

America is a vast country with countless hidden gems as far as travel destinations are concerned.

One of them is a perfect place for a spring visit, and it’s located in southeast Oklahoma, about three hours from Dallas and Tulsa. It can also be a good option for day trips from Oklahoma City.

Broken Bow, OK is nestled in the rolling hills at the convergence of Mountain Fork River and Broken Bow Lake. It’s the gateway to Beaver Bend State Park and the outdoor activities and wilderness living of Broken Bow are fantastic for a spring getaway. 

In the spring, conditions are perfect to be on the lakes with boating, fishing, and swimming popular all season. It’s also a great time to visit the local wineries like Girls Gone Wine on Route 259.

The area is also home to breweries like Beavers Bend Brewery, named for the surrounding state park.

A perfect rainy day activity is visiting the Gardner Mansion, a two-story farmhouse built in 1884 for the chief of the Choctaw tribe. Today it’s a museum housing Pioneer and Native American artifacts.

Most visitors enjoy the chance to live in the wilderness with camping and RV parks dotting the area. For those who prefer glamping or a lodge, there are Broken Bow Airbnb cabin rentals that rival five-star resorts but still give you that wilderness weekend feeling.

Wherever you stay, there’s a lot to do in Broken Bow during the spring!

Outer Banks, NC

Recommended by Neha from Travelmelodies

One of our favorite Spring break destinations in the US is the Outer Banks on the East Coast. OBX (as called in short) are barrier islands spread over 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina. 

Spring is the best time to travel to the islands as temperatures are starting to get warm while hotels are affordable. So you can enjoy the beaches sans the crowd. 

There are many things to do in the Outer Bank, NC. The must-visit is the Wright Brothers Memorial where the brothers created history by taking their first flight that opened the doors to aviation industry. It is inspirational to see and believe that dreams do come true with perseverance. 

There are many beautiful lighthouses: Currituck beach lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and the iconic Cape Hatteras lighthouse are some standing by the beach. Visiting during Spring lets you climb the spiral staircases to the top of these lighthouses for beautiful views of the ocean and around.

For adventure lovers, there are many opportunities for water sports and driving on the sandy beaches. But it is advisable to drive an AWD on the Corolla and Cape Hatteras beach.

Besides driving on Corolla beach, there are wild horses around that region that are chased. There are many wild horse tours also operating who take around the beach area in their jeeps. 

It is best to stay at the beach to enjoy the mesmerizing sunrise and build castles on the beach. Some of the best Outer Banks hotels are on the beach and are great to stay with families.

Bald Head Island, NC

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Contributed by Maria from Maptrekking

Located along the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head Island is a beautiful barrier island that is perfect for slow traveling to relax and unwind. Escape day to day life on the mainland to experience springtime on a tiny but environmentally diverse island

What makes this island so unique is the four different ecological habitats: beach and dunes, a maritime forest, freshwater lagoons, and salt marsh/estuary.

It is a bird watchers haven since there have been over 260 species of birds found on the island. When visiting in the springtime, you will be able to observe certain species that only come to the island for a few spring months.

One of the biggest perks of visiting during the spring is that you will see a whole different side to the island since summer is the high season.

You can still get some warm days during Spring and you will be only sharing the island with the locals, so it will be less crowded and more peaceful.

Bald Head Island is home to ‘Old Baldy’, the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. Without the crowds on the island, climbing up will be a breeze and you will get a great view of the whole island.

Make sure to take advantage of having the salt marsh to yourself and try kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. You might even find some rare shells while beachcombing on the empty beaches at low tide.

Marco Island, FL

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Contributed by Lori Sorrentino of Naples Florida Travel Guide

As the winter chill in the northern US begins to thaw and the summer heat hasn’t yet reached the southern tip of Florida, there are plenty of things to do in Marco Island to satisfy any traveler.

The largest island in the regions’ Ten Thousand Islands, Marco lies south of Naples at the gateway to the Everglades, and spring is an especially good time to visit the Everglades and surrounding landscape.

The cooler winter chill is past and nature lovers will appreciate the lack of rain. Because water in the Glades is low this time of year, hiking is easier and trails more accessible.

Plus, wildlife viewing is much better and Rookery Bay sees a return of migratory wading birds and an abundance of Bald Eagles.

Southwest Florida is known for its beaches, and there are several good ones on Marco Island. Looking for seashells during this time is good and the water temperatures are refreshing in the warm sun (in the low 80s F).

Beach-combers would book a shelling cruise to Keewaydin Island, a nearby island only accessible by boat.

From sunning on the beach to exploring the pristine nature, Marco Island is ideal for nature and outdoor lovers, not to mention the amazing beaches that everyone will love.

One of the island’s biggest events of the year, the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, is held at the end of March — another reason spring is the perfect time of year to visit Marco Island.

La Conner, WA

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Contributed by Nicole of Go Far, Grow Close

La Conner, Washington is a small fishing town on the Skagit River. It is 67 miles north of Seattle or 88 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia

La Conner is a lovely town filled with beautiful and inviting small hotels, Bed & Breakfast Inns, and arts and crafts stores. In fact, one of the best things to do is visit the dozens of antique shops in town and the surrounding area where you can uncover classic antiques, or funky pieces of old time furniture or memorabilia.

Every year, Skagit Valley hosts the annual tulip festival in March or April. It is an absolutely breathtaking event to see. The farmer’s fields surrounding La Conner and beyond are filled with thousands and thousands of tulips.

For a small entrance fee, you can walk the fields and purchase very inexpensive and colorful tulips or bulbs.

Beyond that, one of the most special things that you can do around La Conner is leave the main road and take the Chaukanut Drive.

This drive is approximately 21 miles on the original roadway, and for most of it, you are driving next to the Pacific Ocean with awe-inspiring views of mountains, trees and the water.

There are a few excellent seafood restaurants along the way, so make sure you schedule your drive close to lunch or dinner.

Big Island, HI

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Contributed by Marcie Cheung of Hawaii Travel with Kids

One of the most interesting Hawaiian islands to visit in the Spring is the Big Island of Hawaii. The weather is much milder than summer and it’s usually not as rainy as during the winter. Plus, it’s before Hawaii’s hurricane season, which runs June-November.

One of the most popular things to do on the Big Island is visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the best opportunity to see lava in Hawaii, as long as the volcano is actively erupting.

There’s plenty of other outdoor activities on the Big Island, like hiking, snorkeling, checking out waterfalls, diving, swimming with Manta Rays, fishing, exploring Hawaiian historical sites, kayaking, and more.

You can also visit a coffee plantation where you can taste authentic Kona coffee. The Big Island is also known for its black sand beaches, which are definitely worth a stop. If you travel to Hawaii in April, the Big Island hosts the Merrie Monarch Festival, the largest hula competition in the world.

This is the ultimate time to see authentic hula, hear from cultural experts, and find some incredibly unique and handmade Hawaiian souvenirs.

And if you head to the Big Island in May, you can experience Lei Day (May 1) where you can see a royal pageant, learn how to make a lei, watch hula, and more.

Tucson, AZ

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Contributed by Wendy of AdventurousRetirement.com

Spring is the best time to visit Tucson.  Cool mornings and evenings, and midday can be from the 70s-90F.  Spring offers picture-perfect weather for hiking, swimming, biking, and sightseeing.

When it comes to outdoor experiences, there’s so much to choose from!  Look for flowering cactus, meadows of poppies, lizards and tortoises of the desert while on scenic drives, hikes, mountain biking, visiting wildlife preserves, river walks, botanical gardens, and more.

Spring is a great time to visit the Tucson Botanical Garden, the Japanese Gardens, or hike in a National or State Park, like Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe National Monument, or Coronado National Forest.  We loved the citrus in the air from the lemon and orange trees. 

Enjoy hikes in Picacho Peak, Oracle, and Catalina State Parks or Saguaro National Park where you can see yellow poppies, purple lupine, and giant white cactus blooms in springtime.

There are waterfalls and at least 10 natural pools near Tucson.  A few in Coronado National Forest include Seven Falls, Sabino Canyon Pools, and Tanque Verde Falls.

There are various mineral hot springs in the Safford area, near Tucson.

Don’t miss spectacular hikes just outside of Tucson, such as Chiricahua National Monument for seeing balancing rocks and mother nature’s sculptures, Agua Caliente Hill South Trail for desert tortoises, Sentinel Peak for an easy hike overlooking the city, Saguaro National Park to see the iconic giant cacti, and Tucson Mountain District (west) to view the petroglyphs of the Ancient Hohokam people.

There’s so much more in the Tucson area, like museums, additional mountain areas, Native American lands, lakes, and historic towns like Tombstone, Bisbee, and Tubac.

Top off your Tucson spring trip with an Arizona sunset, an evening campfire, and a meal outdoors.  Happy travels!

Florida Keys, FL

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Contributed by Bryanna Royal of Crazy Family Adventure

Spring is a great time for a Florida Keys road trip! The weather will be warmer than it is in winter but not blazing hot like it can get in the summer.

This means you can comfortably do activities out of the water like visiting Aquarium Encounters where you can feed sharks and pet the stingrays. You can also get into the water for some jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and more.

We highly recommend checking out the Sebago All Day Adventures. They take you out on a catamaran for a day full of water activities and fun. 

The Florida Keys spread out over 100 miles, so you can also spend a day checking out the National Parks found up and down the Florida Keys, drive over the 7-mile bridge and have some Key Lime Pie! If you are up for a real adventure, book a day to visit Dry Tortugas National Park.

It is a national park located 90 miles off of Key West and is a tiny island with Fort Jefferson on it. It is unbelievably beautiful and a unique place to visit. Key West is known for being a spring break destination.

If you are up for that, be sure to head down to Key West for some unforgettable partying. If you would rather avoid the spring breakers, stay north in the Keys somewhere like Hawk’s Cay or in the Marathon area. 

The Keys’ beauty is unbeatable, and we love all the gorgeous blue/green water you see as you cross the bridges going from one key to the next! 

Death Valley National Park, CA/NV

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Contributed by Christine of Live Love Run Travel

Death Valley in the spring is amazing. In the summer, temperatures can soar to over 120 degrees.

In the winter, the desert gets very cold at night. Spring brings in the perfect weather with evenings and mornings cool enough to enjoy camping and just right in the daytime for hiking and exploring the park.

My first visit to Death Valley was in the middle of July when the sand was burning and it was too hot to do much of anything, but visiting again in March was so much better for enjoying all the park has to offer.

If you’re going to do a Spring Break California road trip, spend at least one day in Death Valley. There is plenty to see and do if you want to stay for a few days, but you can also fit the main highlights into one day.

Make sure to hike out on the Mesquite Sand Dunes when the sun is low in the sky to see the shadows play on the dunes.

Next visit the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin. Here the salt flats run for miles, but make sure to walk out to the clean salt. The area right near the parking lot can get quite dirty.

Finally, make sure to drive Artist’s Drive to see the different colors of sand and rock in the mountains thanks to natural minerals.

If you see nothing else in Death Valley, make sure not to miss those three things, but know there is plenty more to see if you have the time.

Yosemite National Park, CA

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DSC_0391-1.jpg

Contributed by Val Pope of VoyagesWithVal

Yosemite National Park is a must-see destination for any nature lover, and if you are planning on visiting the National Park, spring is the best time to do it.

The main draw of Yosemite is its unique granite formations and many stunning waterfalls that flow into the valley. If you want to see the waterfalls in full force, spring is the best season to visit.

The spring snowmelt causes the waterfalls to be stunning, peaking in May and June, but by late summer or fall they can be only a trickle.

More experienced hikers can even hike to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls, taking in the panoramic views of the valley. If you plan on hiking in spring, make sure to check if the higher elevation trails are still snow-covered and plan accordingly.

Spring is also a great time to see the amazing wildflowers in Yosemite, and it is the only time the dogwood trees bloom. Dogwood trees can be found with their signature large white flowers throughout spring from April-June and are truly a sight to behold!

With its many flowers and showstopping waterfalls, its easy to see why Yosemite is one of America’s most popular National Parks, but another perk to a spring visit is that you won’t be at peak times.

Coming before Memorial Day will almost guarantee you fewer crowds than during the summer, and you’ll be enjoying arguably a more beautiful time of year!  

Kenai Fjords National Park, AK

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Kenai-Fjords-National-Park.jpg

Contributed by Megan Starr of Megan & Aram

A fantastic option of a place to visit in the United States during spring is Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska.

This national park flies under the radar when put up against many of the parks in the lower-48, but it definitely has a lot to offer and spring might just be the most underrated time of the year to visit it.

Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the few national parks in the United States that is mostly water.  As a result, a lot of the park remains inaccessible during the winter months due to temperatures, snowfall, and rough seas. 

While getting to Seward is typically not a problem, visiting the park can pose problems for many tourists.

However, Kenai Fjords National Park start to come back to life in spring.  The park is free to visit and travelers start to flock to it for the famous gray whale migrations that take place through Resurrection Bay during the spring months. 

While you can witness humpback and orcas at other times of the year, spring is undoubtedly the best season to see the gray whales migrate through.  The oceans come alive and the boat cruises open back up for passengers to witness the phenomenon themselves.

Another perk of visiting Kenai Fjords National Park in spring is that it is not yet high-season and you will have the opportunity to score waterfront accommodation at the fraction of the price that you would if you were to visit during the summer months. 

Flights to Anchorage and are also significantly cheaper and you will still have a chance to see the Northern Lights if they are powerful enough and the skies are clear.  Summer months offer far too much daylight to see the aurora.

Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most underrated US national parks to visit in spring.

Zion National Park, UT

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Contributed by Jessica of Unearth the Voyage

Zion National Park is one of the best places to visit in the USA in the springtime. Spring is such a wonderful season for this park for many different reasons.

The first reason is the weather is absolutely perfect in the spring. It’s not too hot which means it’s an ideal time for hiking.

During the spring is when all the wildflowers start to bloom in this area as well, so on your hikes, you will be able to view some gorgeous scenery with beautiful spring flowers blooming everywhere.

Some of the famous hikes in Zion National Park feature beautiful waterfalls, and spring is the optimal time to see the waterfalls in full action. Spring is also a great time to view wildlife and possibly even see newborn babies!

During springtime, it might even be a bit chilly at night, so it’s a perfect time to cuddle up by a fire at an amazing Zion National Park Airbnb that’s only minutes from the park and has incredible views.

Overall, spring is the perfect season for visiting Zion National Park, and it definitely won’t disappoint! 

27 Best Places to Visit in the USA in December

Born a California girl, I was spoiled with the beautiful, mild Bay Area winters growing up…

… and then when I was 17, I moved to New York City to attend college and I was promptly educated in the fact that California’s climate was an extraordinary exception.

Let’s face it — in many parts of the United States, December can be a rough month.

Between the freezing weather that can’t seem to make up its mind between snow and rain, the strain and expectations that holidays place on you, and the sense of a year coming together and finishing up… December can be a lot.

So I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to escape for a little bit and get away from it all.

A few palm trees on the rugged coast of Kauai with a lighthouse in the distance as seen at sunset

Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic places to visit in the USA in December that will help you either escape the cold or embrace the winter spirit!

Asking around amongst fellow travel experts, I’ve curated this guide to the best US travel destinations in December.

In this guide, we’ll cover both warm weather getaways as well as snowy escapes that embody the Christmas and holiday festive mood!

Let’s go — here are our favorite US destinations to visit in December! We’ll start off with warm spots, and then we’ll move onto snowy destinations.

Warm Places to Visit in the US in December

Kauai, HI

Beach in Kauai in December with people enjoying the warm weather

Contributed by Sierra of Island + Alpine

If your idea of a magical holiday vacation includes swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, and aqua waters, then Kauai is the perfect place to visit in December.

The mild temperature in Kauai means that low temperatures are in the high 60s and daily highs in the high 70s.

North Shore Kauai is beautifully lush and green but it can also rain more days than not in December, so visitors might consider staying on the south shore and taking day trips to the North Shore when the weather is just right. 

Snorkeling in Kauai offers many opportunities for viewing marine life. The south shore tends to be calmer in the winter months, so Poipu Beach Park and Lawai Beach are both great spots to put on your list. 

Another beach in Kauai with palm trees, a small orange tent up, someone snorkeling in the water and enjoying the marine life you can see

Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail is an excellent choice for a fairly easy hike that is often too hot for summer visitors, but perfect on a mild December day. Hiking along the coastline gives 360° beautiful views.

Watching the humpback whales migrate during the winter months just might be the highlight of your trip.

Shipwreck Beach is a lovely spot for sitting in the sand and watching the water, but a whale watching tour is a great way to see them up close and personal. 

Visitors on Kauai on New Year’s Eve will love the free firework show on Poipu Beach!

The Festival of Lights in downtown Lihue is also a must-do Christmas activity.

Palm trees are decked out with twinkling lights, and Santa’s Hawaiian shirt attire and outrigger canoe in lieu of a sleigh are a delight to see!

The lagoon and beautiful landscaping of Grand Hyatt Kauai with palm trees and hotel grounds

Where to Stay in Kauai

One of the best places to stay is the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

With a saltwater lagoon, beach side swings, beautiful lazy river with waterfalls, activities like nightly entertainment, lei making, and hula lessons, you will certainly enjoy your stay!

Check availability here!

Maui, HI

sunrise in haleakala national park with lots of people enjoying the beautiful sights

Contributed by Marcie of Hawaii Travel Spot

One of the best places to visit in December is the Hawaiian island of Maui.

While any island in Hawaii is lovely during the winter, Maui is especially amazing because of the plentiful whale watching opportunities.

Humpback whales swim right by Maui and it’s hard to miss them!

A Maui whale watching tour is the best way to go, but you can also see them on the Maui-Lanai ferry (which is cheaper than a tour) or even sitting at the beach (if you have binoculars).

The Maui to Lanai ferry before people have boarded which is a great way to spot whales in Maui!

Speaking of beaches, Maui beaches are slightly less crowded in the winter than the summer and it’s the best time of year to see professional surfers in the ocean.

December is also when Maui gets into the holiday spirit with Christmas decorations at hotels and at shopping centers. You’ll even get to hear Hawaiian Christmas music in shops and restaurants.

The weather in Maui in December is quite comfortable. It’s typically 65-82 degrees with a chance of rain. And most of the rain happens on the North Shore, so you can head to the West or South shores for drier weather.

Another bonus of visiting Maui in December is that the sun rises later so you can sleep in a tiny bit if you want to catch the Haleakala Crater sunrise.

Luaus also usually start and end earlier so you’ll be able to stay awake easier! 

Where to Stay in Maui

One of the best Maui resorts worth staying in is the Hyatt Regency Maui.

They have an amazing pool area with a waterfall and swim up bar. Plus, there’s an on-site luau, shave ice, and lots of tasty restaurants!

Check availability here!

Old San Juan, PR

Lit up Christmas decorations in Plaza Colon, a central location in Puerto Rico where people enjoy gathering. You can see this festive light display if you visit San Juan in December.

Contributed by Merry Allison of Virginia Vacation Guide

Also known as Old San Juan, Viejo San Juan in Puerto Rico is a fun and festive US destination in December.

During December, the historic district of Old San Juan is decorated with many colorful displays celebrating the Christmas season. 

You can take a stroll down the Avenida de la Constitución to see brightly decorated Christmas displays and nativity scenes in front of many major buildings in the historic district, including the Antigua Escuela de Medicina Tropical.

The prominent Plaza Colón is festooned with strings of bright lights and Christmas scenes, which are especially dazzling at night when the lights are lit. 

Old San Juan itself features an abundance of historic sites that are within easy walking distance of each other.

View of San Juan in December, with a sign that says "Feliz Dia de Reyes" which means "Happy day of the kings" in Spanish. There is a large fortress-like white structure in the background, as well as palm trees and other plant life, and a Puerto Rican flag icon, and a nativity scene.

There are two fortresses in the old town (Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro).

The latter features sprawling open fields that are popular spots for parties, picnics, dog walking, and even outdoor meditation and yoga classes!

You can easily take advantage of all of these outdoor activities in December due to the warm Caribbean climate.

December temperatures generally range from 73 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, though being a tropical climate, you may experience some periods of rain and clouds. 

Where to Stay in Old San Juan, PR

One excellent place to stay in Viejo San Juan is Casa of Essence. It does not have an official reception area, and so it resembles an actual apartment as opposed to a hotel.

It is conveniently located within a short walk to Plaza Colón, and it is also within walking distance to many restaurants and attractions.

The rooms are very spacious, often including a separate living room and bedroom. Each room is also brimming with colorful, creative decor and personality — just like Old San Juan itself!

Check availability and rates at Casa of Essence here! 

Savannah, GA

Lit up Christmas market stalls on the Savannah waterfront area, all festive for the holiday season

Contributed by Erin of Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

December is an ideal time to visit Savannah, Georgia, for several reasons. 

The temperatures are usually mild during December, with average lows in the mid-40s and highs ranging from the 60s to 70s. 

You won’t need to pack bulky winter coats or heavy sweaters – just toss some gloves and lightweight layers into your suitcase! Snow is practically unheard of and rain almost equally as rare.

The city looks incredibly beautiful during the holidays – especially in the Historic District!

That’s where homeowners decorate historic mansions with traditional holiday décor such as Southern-style magnolia swags and candles in every window.

In fact, Christmas in Savannah is one of the prettiest times of year to visit!

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is a must-see landmark since parishioners fill the sanctuary with hundreds of red poinsettias.

(Please note that it’s an active place of worship and be respectful towards those visiting for that reason.) 

Christmas tree in a cafe with bistro style seating with Parisian looking chairs and round tables for outdoor seating

A few of the most popular events in Savannah during December include the Holiday Tour of Homes, “Christmas for Kids” in City Market, and Christmas caroling throughout the Historic District.

It’s truly a “Hallmark Christmas Special” type of city!

If you need to shop for last minute gifts, head to the Design District along Whitaker Street to shop for home goods or to Broughton Street, which is considered the main shopping zone for the downtown area.

The entire street is draped in twinkle lights during the holiday season and many of the shops decorate their windows with elaborate window displays.

The official city Christmas tree is located at the intersection of Broughton and Bull streets. 

Where to Stay in Savannah

The JW Marriott Plant Riverside makes an excellent place to stay since it’s home to the Savannah Christmas Market.

It’s within easy walking distance to entertainment options, restaurants, and historic landmarks. 

Check availability here!

Virgin Islands National Park, USVI

View of beaches in the distance from a vantage point on a hiking trail in the virgin islands national park in the USA

Contributed by Theresa Fueled by Wanderlust

Located on the Caribbean Island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands National Park is the perfect tropical December getaway without leaving the USA. 

In December, this paradise sees average highs of 79 and lows of 68 degrees Fahreneit, as well as short, intermittent rainfalls averaging 4.3 inches. 

With the backdrop of white sands and turquoise waters, the island of St. John gets into the Christmas spirit with Santa Claus decorations at restaurants and steel drum renditions of familiar Christmas hits on the radio. 

The holiday season also brings mega yachts to the beaches of Virgin Islands National Park, which arrive in time for New Year’s Eve.

In December, visitors can also bask in the gorgeous nature of Virgin Islands National Park, especially on the pristine beaches of North Shore Road

With Kool-Aid blue water, some beaches see winter swells, with seafoam crashing along the shore. 

Idyllic turquoise blue water and white sand with mountainous landscape on the US Virgin Islands in the winter

At the same time, beaches like Maho and Francis have hardly any waves and are a dream for snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding.

December is also a great time for doing one of over twenty hiking trails at Virgin Islands National Park. 

Unlike the stifling heat of summer, December’s cool tropical breezes make hiking much more comfortable so you can focus on the scenery. 

Either hike to a North Shore beach, such as Solomon or Honeymoon on the Lind Point Trail, or climb to sweeping views on the America Hill or Peace Hill trails.

Where to Stay in USVI

The best hotel near Virgin Islands National Park is The Westin in Cruz Bay.

  The hotel is ideally located just 5 minutes by taxi or rental car from Cruz Bay’s shops, restaurants, and ferries. 

It is also very easy to catch a taxi for transporting between The Westin and various beaches and hiking trails, rendering an expensive rental car unnecessary.

Check availability and rates here!

Miami Beach, FL

Colorful Miami beachside building with palm tree, restaurant bar on the beach, and other views

Contributed by Victoria of Culture Travel

Miami Beach is the perfect place to escape the cold while still staying in the United States this December.

The weather reaches a balmy 74° on average in January, and falls to an average low of 63° overnight.

There’s typically no more than 4 rainy days in the month, so rain will rarely ever interrupt your plans!

For the warmer days, there’s nothing nicer than a swim in the Atlantic Ocean followed by a relaxing lounge on a beach chair.

If you’re feeling more active, why not rent a jet ski and ride around the ocean, admiring the South Beach skyline from the water?

If you’re a sports fan, don’t miss a Miami Heat game – a great activity for the rare rainy Miami day in winter.

A quick cab ride down Collins Avenue takes you straight to the nightclubs if you want to dance all night long.

Miami Beach welcomes some of the best DJs in the world each year so check out places like LIV and Story ahead of time to see what the lineup will be!

December and January are great months to visit Miami Beach and escape the cold winter weather much of the rest of the country has to endure! 

Where to Stay in Miami Beach

Pool area in a Miami hotel with palm trees, clouds, lounge chairs on a warm day in the winter in the USA

The Mid-Beach area of Miami Beach is the best place to stay — it keeps you close to all the action of South Beach, yet far enough to not be disturbed by the noise and partying. 

The best mid-range hotel is the AC Miami Beach Hotel which is one block away from the beach and has a rooftop pool with restaurant service.

Beach chairs are included in your stay too! For a more luxury option, go for the swanky Edition Hotel, just across the street.

Check availability here!

Nashville, TN

A horse and carriage riding through the streets of Nashville Tennessee during the winter months

Contributed by Tori of Tori Pines Travel

Nashville might be known for its summer nights listening to country music at a festival, but there is so much more that this city offers in the colder months.

A trip to Nashville is one of the best places to visit in the USA in December. The weather is pleasant, with an average high of 51 degrees and low of 32 at night and the average rainfall of 8 days this month.

This means you can wear all of your cute winter sweaters and leg warmers without freezing while you’re out exploring the city!

You don’t have to spend your whole trip listening to country music on Broadway. In fact, you don’t have to listen to a single country song if you don’t want to!

One of the best Christmas things to do in Nashville includes a visit to the Gaylord Opryland. It’s a massive hotel with large indoor atriums filled with plants, flowers, restaurants, and a river that you can actually ride around!

Colorful lit up Christmas trees and display lights in Nashville TN a wonderful place to visit in the US in December

The place is especially magical in December as every inch is decorated for the holidays. Wander around, hot cocoa in hand as you listen to the holiday music and enjoy the lights.

Spend another evening on the General Jackson Showboat, where you’ll have a 4-course dinner and a show while riding down the Cumberland River.

The river runs through downtown so you’ll get the best views of the city. This is especially fun if you’ll be visiting for New Years Eve, so book tickets and watch the fireworks go off over the city as you count down the new year.

View of the Nashville skyline from the Cumberland river with the buildings all lit up and showing reflections in the dark water of the river

Finally, check out some of the city’s pop-up bars that show up during December!

These temporary holiday themed bars are intricately decorated and have the most fun cocktails. The themes change, but often you’ll see Home Alone, Misfits, and Nightmare Before Christmas to name a few.

Where to Stay in Nashville

With all of these things to do in Nashville during December, you’ll need to find the perfect place to stay to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

Book a few nights at the Bobby Hotel where you will have a comfortable and luxurious room, and will be within walking distance to everything downtown.

The best part? The rooftop of this hotel turns into a winter wonderland this month with igloos and holiday themed drinks. You won’t even want to leave your hotel!

Check availability here!

Key West, FL

House in Key West in the winter time with pretty tropical plant life and lush foliage

Contributed by Megan of Megan & Aram

If you’re after one of the best warm weather spots to visit in the US during December, Key West is a fantastic choice!

The island sits at the end of the Florida Keys archipelago and is a 3-3.5 hour drive from Miami without stops.

Getting to Key West is half the fun so be sure to stop at Islamorada, Key Largo, Marathon (some of the Keys’ best snorkeling), and Bahia Honda State Park on the drive. Alternatively, you can fly there from various parts of the US!

view of people in the water enjoying the nice temperatures in key west florida during the december month

Key West’s average high is 77F (with lows of 70F) during December but what makes the destination particularly attractive is that the tropics have quieted down and the month only averages 3 rainy days.

And in Florida, fewer rainy days means fewer mosquitoes!

During December, you will find plenty of seasonal things to do such as go on a Holiday Historic Inn Tour, check out the annual Lighted Boat Parade, or attend the I Love Stock Island Festival.

New Year’s Eve is a popular time to visit the island and there are events all across Duval Street, including a conch shell lowering at midnight at the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar.

View of the sunset in key west florida with the beautiful water and orange tones of the sunset

No trip to Key West is complete without going on a snorkeling tour or a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Be sure to book the Dry Tortugas trip in advance as it fills up quickly during this time of the year. 

This is also the prime time to go on the search for the best key lime pie in Key West!

Where to Stay in Key West

You’ll find a range of great accommodation options from the luxurious Opal Key Resort & Marina to the budget-friendly Southwinds Motel.

Key West will definitely cure you of the winter blues during December!

Check availability here!

Mount Dora, FL

Two deck chairs on the lawn, looking out onto the lake at sunset, with beautiful pastel colors on the horizon

Contributed by Erin at Super Simple Salty Life

Mount Dora is an adorable lakeside town located in central Florida just 30 minutes from Orlando.

Hosting over 30 festivals a year, this small yet lively town loves to celebrate with events such as wine walks, art strolls, antique shows, and craft beer festivals.

It is no wonder Mount Dora was voted one of the friendliest small towns in Florida!

While a visit to Mount Dora is always a good idea with Florida’s temperate climate year-round, planning a trip in December is truly a treat.

With average highs around 72°F and lows in the mid-50’s and very little rain, winter is the perfect season to escape the colder climates up north.

Christmas lights on Mount Dora city hall in all gold and green lights on the bushes

And this quaint town knows how to go all out for the holidays! Every historic building, local shop, window display, and bed and breakfast gets decked out in thousands of twinkling lights.

City Hall is a masterpiece of holiday cheer, and multiple weekends in December a sledding area is roped off in the downtown square complete with blown-in “snow”… without the cold chill!

Because of the mild weather, and with the town being situated right on the shores of beautiful Lake Dora, a boat tour is another great way to experience the area.

There are also fishing charters, kayak launches, and hiking trails around the lake right outside of downtown.

Where to Stay in Mount Dora

Since Mount Dora dates back to the 1800’s, there are many historical Victorian-style buildings still present and currently operating as unique bed and breakfasts.

The most popular place to stay in town is the Lakeside Inn, the oldest Victorian-era hotel still operating in Florida.

With 90 guest rooms, a lakeside swimming pool, and docks leading out over Lake Dora, it is a spectacular place to watch a famous Florida sunset!

Check availability here!

New Orleans, LA

Festive decorations on a blue house in New Orleans in Louisana, a great warm weather destination in December in the USA

Contributed by Mallory Lindsly from Plaid Shirt Yoga Pants

New Orleans is a great place to visit in December because the weather is cooled off – yet not freezing!

There are so many holiday events in December that your whole week will easily get filled.

Winter in New Orleans is mild. During December, the temperatures range from 46-65 degrees, making it the perfect destination to get out of snow but still feel a chill in the air.

New Orleans is known for throwing parties, and the predominantly Christian area loves to celebrate Christmas and all of the traditions surrounding the holiday. 

Many New Orleans hotels decorate their lobbies with extravagant Christmas and holiday lights.

Multiple bars also create holiday-themed drinks and serve them in adorable cups. You could spend a whole day exploring the French Quarter lobby and bar hopping. 

Of course, you cannot visit New Orleans without thinking about food!

Each December, some of the top restaurants host a Reveillon Dinner to celebrate the season.

Reveillon dinners are typically celebrated the day before Christmas, after midnight mass, but the tradition has evolved with true New Orleans fashion.

Instead of waiting for one day to have a Reveillon Dinner at home, you could go and enjoy an intimate tradition for the whole month of December. 

Where to Stay in New Orleans

The interior of the Roosevelt New Orleans - a statue with ornate christmas trees and other lit up decoration in an ornate building

The best hotel to stay in is the Roosevelt New Orleans – A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Waking up each morning to see the lobby in the dazzling Christmas lights will get you in the spirit!

Not only is The Roosevelt one of New Orleans locals’ favorite hotels, it’s also just a fantastic place to stay with many wonderful amenities.

Check availability here!

Pensacola, FL

The pier leading out into the ocean in Pensacola FL on a cloudy day with a handful of people lounging on the beach at sunset time

Contributed by Roshni from TopTreehouses.com

If you’re looking for a festive warm weather destination then Pensacola in Florida is the perfect spot.

Located along the Panhandle in Northwest FL, Pensacola is relatively quiet during December.

However, since the temperature remains in the mid 60s and hurricane season is well and truly over, it’s perfectly comfortable for enjoying the landscapes and outdoor activities available.

From dolphin watching off the Gulf of Mexico, exploring the US’ most visited National Seashore at Fort Pickens to glow paddle boarding along the bay, there’s plenty to do.

white sand and turquoise water with dark blue water further out at pensacola beach florida

However if you are looking for more of a festive escape, head downtown to the Pensacola Christmas Parade.

Expect bands to be playing, the well known Blue Angels flight team to be soaring in the skies, and all profits from the event go towards local high school bands!

For even more festive fun, head over to Pensacola Winterfest. Here you can meet Santa (or the Grinch!), ride the Polar Express, and go on a tour with Scrooge.

Where to Stay in Pensacola

One of the best places to stay in Pensacola is at the seafront Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach.

Not only will you have a view of the emerald green oceans that make this coastline so popular but it is also within walking distance of the Gulf Pier and plenty of restaurants and bars.

Check availability here!

Orlando, FL

Spring in the Orlando area with beautiful clear water and trees around it

Contributed by Candice of CS Ginger

Orlando, Florida is a great place to visit in the USA during December.

Orlando is a beautiful and fun destination throughout the year, but in December, you get some of the best things it offers. You have the best weather combined with some of the best decorations and experiences. 

The weather is perfect for spending time outdoors, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. 

The average high temperature in December is 75 degrees, and the average low is 55 degrees.

If you’re looking for a festive atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with Orlando’s many Christmas events. 

If you’re craving some sun and sand, the city’s beaches are just a short drive away. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to love about Orlando in December.

There are endless activities, whether you are visiting the theme parks or visiting fun day trips like the Kennedy Space Center of the natural springs where you can see the manatees.

The many theme parks always have great Christmas décor, which really makes you feel the spirit of Christmas. You will love all the great Christmas themes and decorations. 

Where to Stay in Orlando

If you are looking for a luxurious and unique place to stay in Orlando, you should stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The lodge makes it feel as though you are staying on an African safari!

You will see hundreds of different animals like zebras, giraffes, and beautiful birds inside the Safari Park. 

Check availability here!

Naples & Marco Island, FL

the beautiful marco island with foliage in the front and view of sea and lush tropical foliage

Contributed by Lori of Naples Florida Travel Guide

When you want to escape the cold up north, the Paradise Coast in southwest Florida is the perfect place to go. Naples and Marco Island offer everything you could want in a tropical destination without leaving the US!

The winter months of December through March are the dry season so the chances of rain are slim to none, and average daytime temperatures are a pleasant 78 degrees. 

The festive event Christmas Naples, the annual Christmas tree lighting on 5th Avenue heralds the start of the holiday season.

In the following weeks, you’ll enjoy dozens of Christmas boat parades in Naples and Marco Island. Boats of all sizes show-off their festive holiday lights and costumes as they pass by playing holiday music and vying for prizes. 

With clear blue skies there are an endless array of activities centered around the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and beautiful uncrowded white sand beaches.

Rent a boat, jet ski, stand-up paddle board, or kayak to Keewaydin Island, an island between both cities that’s only accessible by boat. There are countless tours to see dolphins and manatees, or go looking at seashells and fishing.

boardwalk exploring swampland areas in naples florida

For a taste of nature, the Everglades are just minutes from both cities where air boating and hiking are great activities in December.

But for many, a relaxing day sunbathing and beach combing at any of the beautiful beaches will be just right for a December US getaway!

Where to Stay in Naples

For accommodations, the Naples Grande Beach Resort is one of the best beachfront hotels in Naples with an elevated boardwalk through the mangroves to the beach.

There are plenty of activities and an insane outdoor pool perfect for families. On Marco Island, the JW Marriott is the premier place for families with every beach amenity you can imagine.

Check availability here!

Disneyland, CA

A large Clydesdale horse (brown and white) going through the street of downtown Disneyland, leading a trolley, with Christmas decorations all around

Contributed by Faith of 3 Tickets Please

While Disneyland is… yes, magical year-round, nothing can put you in the holiday spirit quite like a few days in the park in December!

From holiday inspired treats to special shows and events, December at Disneyland is for the kid in all of us.

Disneyland is decorated for the holidays from Mid-November through the beginning of January.

The halls are decked at both Magic Kingdom and California Adventure.

However, by far the most impressive holiday decoration is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

With over 120,000 LED lights, the castle’s transformation as dusk turns to night is awe inspiring.

Sleeping Beauty's castle all lit up in lavender blue colors like frost and lots of people milling about in front of the display

At California Adventure, mid-November through January also brings the Festival of Holidays.

A celebration of diverse cultural festivities and food, the event offers a unique food marketplace that is only available during the holiday season. 

If Disneyland itself is not enough, the weather is another perk of any December trip to Anaheim.

With average high temperatures of 68 and lows of 48, mornings and evenings at the park are brisk but not chilly, and afternoons with Mickey are truly glorious!

Where to Stay near Disneyland

Those with a bigger budget may want to stay on property at one of the three Disneyland property resorts. But our time at Disneyland is always on a budget. For budget travelers, we recommend the Clementine Hotel.

Less than a mile from the park, but with a full kitchen to make some of those meals that would cost a fortune in the park, the Clementine is a great option for your December trip to Disneyland. 

Check availability here!

San Diego, CA

view of sunny san diego coastline with a view of the ocean, cliffside trail

Contributed by Kristin Lee of Global Travel Escapades

Dreaming of a sunny beach vacation when most everywhere else in the country is battling the cold?

Look no further than sunny San Diego in Southern California!

With an average high temperature of 66°F, an average low of 49°F, and only 4 days of rain, San Diego is the perfect place to escape the winter blues.

And what’s a beach vacation without some surfing? San Diego is globally recognized as one of the best places in the world to surf!

Therefore, be sure to bring your surfboard, rent one, or take some lessons if you’re interested in surfing in San Diego!

view of san diego at sunset with surfers enjoying a last surf before the sun sinks below the horizon. sky is orange and beautiful.

Another popular activity that will undoubtedly take your breath away is whale watching.

December through April is peak season for whale watching in San Diego!

In fact, over 20,000 gray whales migrate along the California coast, so you definitely won’t want to miss the opportunity to see these majestic creatures pass by!

So if you’re ready for a warm holiday getaway, head to gorgeous San Diego!

Where to Stay in San Diego

When you’re ready to relax after a day of exploring, head back to your room at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

This hotel is right next to the harbor, offers guests stunning waterfront views, and has all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.

Check availability here!

San Antonio, TX

The colorful lit up riverwalk at night in san antonio in december

Contributed by Victoria of Texas Travel 365

One of the best places to visit in the USA in December is San Antonio, Texas.

After all, the vibrant Riverwalk comes alive with holiday cheer since it hosts its very own Christmas Parade!

Explore this incredible area and admire twinkling lights as you see boats full of Christmas carolers glide by. 

Additionally, another great place where you can enjoy fun holiday activities are the historic Spanish Missions. In total, San Antonio has five of them, including the famous Alamo.

They all get decorated for the holidays, in addition to hosting a wide array of events that include Holy Day Feasts, Christmas vigils, and mariachi masses!

Just arrive early and be prepared for crowds since the Spanish Missions are quite busy at this time of year. 

Lit up christmas trees and rainbow colors around the riverwalk area

Whatever you do though, don’t leave San Antonio without driving through Elf Acres.

It is easily one of the best ways to enjoy Christmas in San Antonio since you get to drive through 20 acres of vibrant Christmas lights.

There’s even a Santa’s Village and a spot for you to grab some hot cocoa before grabbing a pic with Santa himself. 

You’ll also love that December is pretty mild in San Antonio. In fact, daily highs are around 65 F while daily lows get down to 40 F.

Therefore, all you’ll need is a warm, waterproof jacket since you can also expect four days of rain during the month. 

Where to Stay in San Antonio

When you’re ready to call it a night, spend the evening at the Hyatt Regency on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

It’s a beautiful, 4-star hotel that has a pool and spa on-site for guests to enjoy. The Q Kitchen Bar is also on the premises and serves some great Texas-style BBQ!

Check availability here!

St. Augustine, FL

View of colonial St Augustine architecture at night with palm trees lit up with Christmas lights

Contributed by Kita Roberts of RomanticWeekendGetaways.com

St Augustine, Florida, is a magical US destination to visit in December!

Its celebrated Nights of Lights illuminates the historic city in millions of bedazzling holiday lights, outlining the facade of buildings throughout the city.

It absolutely dazzles, and with temps that average a moderate high of 70  and lows in the high 40s through January, you can walk around without the blazing Florida sun or humidity and far fewer crowds!. 

When you arrive, hop on an Old Town Trolley Tours that point out local attractions and get an overview of St Augustine’s rich history, and if you’re lucky, you can have one hosted by the Grinch or even Santa himself!

Check the local amphitheater for live music and seasonal farmers markets (a great place to pick up hand made gifts) and be sure to check out the top-notch culinary scene all within the incredibly walkable cobblestone streets.

Water fountain with Christmas lights in background and Christmas tree in the holiday season in St Augustine

And if you’re feeling adventurous, a morning out admiring shells on Anastasia Beach (where you may spot a local turtle) or paddle boarding are also an option before you head back into the beautifully manicured historic city.

Highlights we recommend not missing include a tour of the opulent Flagler Museum and doughnuts at Swillerbees Craft Doughnuts

Be sure to stop for a moment to immerse yourself in the history of the Civil Rights trial and walk the steps of Andrew Young.

St. Augustine is a place that is ripe with history, and beauty and perfect for a winter holiday getaway! 

Where to Stay in St. Augustine, FL

We love the charm of St George Inn located right in the historic city. With large rooms nestled overtop shops, daily breakfast, and a wine bar, it’s the perfect spot if you want to be right in the center of it all without a car.

Branson, MO

Tunnel of colorful red yellow and orange lights in Branson Missouri a fun place to get away in December

Contributed by Caitlin of Twin Family Travels

Branson, Missouri is a great December destination in the USA!

Three hours by car from Kansas City (a great place to stop to buy Kansas City food gifts for Christmas), this lovely city is a fun winter stop.

There are an incredible number of things to do in this enchanting small town including light displays, shows, concerts, and more. 

Branson is popular for having top-notch shows and concerts. In December, these shows are filled with holiday spirit and Christmas-themed songs.

Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Sight & Sound Theatres’ Miracle of Christmas, and Showboat Branson Belle’s dinner cruise are all great options.

Other popular attractions include riding the Polar Express train and ice skating near the Branson Ferris Wheel

Train in red and green christmas lights in branson

Silver Dollar City is, without a doubt, a must-see sight in Branson. During the Christmas season, Silver Dollar City goes all out with over 6.5 million lights illuminating the park.

Not only are there special performances to enjoy, but seasonal food and drinks and a holiday light parade as well! These are all in addition to the typical roller coasters, rides, and cave tours offered at the theme park.

There are plenty of Christmas light displays to enjoy in Branson, as well as opportunities for shopping and dining. Head to the Branson Landing to shop, eat, and view their spectacular illuminated Christmas tree.

The temperatures in the winter can vary widely, with average highs in the 50s and average lows in the 20s. Rain or snow commonly happens a few times a week.

Where to Stay in Branson

The most spectacular place to stay in Branson is Chateau on the Lake.

In addition to the luxurious rooms and gorgeous Christmas decorations, Chateau on the Lake creates an entire gingerbread house village in the lobby.

Relax at the spa, take a dip in the indoor pool, and enjoy the variety of fine dining options offered at the resort. 

Check availability here!

Solvang, CA

view of christmas tree with ornaments in front of the clocktower and typical european style architecture in solvang california

Contributed by Janelle of Make the Trip Matter

The quaint little town of Solvang is a treasure trove for any visitor to the West Coast, especially in December when it comes alive for the holiday season!

The village was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish-Americans who wanted somewhere to practice their traditional culture. 

It still feels like you’re walking through an old Danish town, complete with European-style buildings, windmills, and traditional cuisine and flare! 

From November 27th to January 1st, Solvang hosts an annual Julefest Christmas Celebration

Time Magazine has even named Solvang as one of the “Most Christmassy Towns in America,” as the whole town feels like a magical winter wonderland at this time! 


Christmas in Solvang is a must for all families. The Tree Lighting Ceremony and Julefest Parade will keep you entertained, and there is plenty of delicious food available from local restaurants.

Make sure to bring your little ones to meet Santa in his village (open every Saturday up through Christmas Day). 

Beyond the holiday activities, try out some of the famous Danish pastries and shop in the many antique stores.

Solvang is surrounded by beautiful nature to explore, including vineyards where you can enjoy tasty wines. Or, take the kids to OstrichLand USA to feed the big birds.

During December, you can expect the weather to be fair with little rain. The temperature typically ranges from about 40°F to 67°F. 

Where to Stay in Solvang

Solvang offers many adorable boutique hotels and Inns in town, such as the lovely Mirabelle Inn.

Just a five minute walk from downtown and the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, this inn features an upscale restaurant with excellent local cuisine. 

Otherwise, many people visit as a day trip from Santa Barbara, as Solvang is just a one hour drive to the north of Santa Barbara or 2.5 hours north from Los Angeles. 

Check availability here!

Cold & Festive Places to Visit in the USA in December

Woodstock, VT

Slightly sunset colors and white church in Woodstock Vermont in the winter

Contributed by Samantha of New England Wanderlust

One of the most charming towns in all of New England is Woodstock, VT, and it’s especially magical in December!

If you’re looking for a winter getaway in a quaint and cozy town that could be the set of a Hallmark movie, this one’s for you.

Here, you’ll find garlands and wreaths hung on almost every house and storefront, twinkle lights all over town, and plenty of holiday cheer to go around. 

One of the most fun things to do in Woodstock in December is to experience Wassail Weekend, a Christmas celebration that includes the lighting of the community yule log, caroling, sleigh rides, a parade, and of course, wassail punch. 

If you’re looking to get a jump start on your holiday shopping, you’ll want to grab a cup of hot cocoa from Mon Vert Cafe and head to town center.

Spend your afternoon strolling through the charming streets, and pop into shops like Vermont Flannel Company, the Yankee Bookshop and Woody’s Mercantile.

the famou smiddle covered bridge in woodstock vermont with snowy pathways

During your walk through downtown, don’t miss seeing Middle Covered Bridge, which makes for a beautiful photo opportunity. 

Be sure to bundle up for your winter getaway in Woodstock! December weather can sometimes bring snow, so you’ll want to pack some warm boots for your trip.

The average highs can be in the 30-35°F range, and average lows can be between 15-20°F, so bringing a warm parka, a hat and gloves is also a good idea. 

Where to Stay in Woodstock

One of the best places to stay in Woodstock is the Woodstock Inn & Resort, which is located in the heart of town center and walkable to lots of shops and restaurants.

This inn makes for the perfect New England winter getaway in December with amenities like an on-site spa, restaurants, beautiful Christmas decor and luxury accommodation.

Check availability here!

Anchorage, AK

Cabin near Anchorage Alaska with the northern lights on the horizon and a view of a cabin in the distance while watching the northern lgihts

Contributed by Mike Still of LiveTravelTeach

Anchorage is an incredible destination to visit in the US in December.  You’re guaranteed to have a White Christmas and you have a good chance to see the northern lights in Anchorage, Alaska! 

Anchorange also has tons of free Nordic ski trails and multiple resorts for downhill ski or snowboarding. 

You can find backcountry hot spots in nearby Hatcher and Turnagain Passes.  Heli skiing out of Girdwood is widely popular as well.  

Non skiers can enjoy a Nordic spa or find frozen waterfalls at the end of a snowy hike! 

There are lots of frozen falls along the Seward Highway and the Turnagain Arm has beautiful icescapes as the tide rolls sea ice in and out.  

Inside the city limits, you’ll find and large ice skate rinks plowed on Westchester Lagoon and other neighborhood lakes. 

Aerial shot of two people laying down in the middle of circles drawn by ski tracks

Speaking of in town, there are countless miles of groomed trails thanks to the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage. 

From Kincaid to the Tour Trail and Hillside, you can enjoy trails from one neighborhood to the next. 

You should expect the weather to stay below freezing the whole month and it could reach -10F or colder, especially with the wind chill. 

Dress in layers and know that any restaurant or hotel you go in will have a solid heating system. 

An adventurous traveler could ski out to a dry cabins and use the wood stove to heat up your sleeping quarters while you go out looking for the aurora borealis!

Steamboat Springs, CO

night view of the night skiing options in the steamboat springs resort area with open seating in the restaurant area and lit up christmas lights

Contributed by Melissa of Parenthood and Passports

Steamboat Springs in winter is a snowy paradise!

Known as Ski Town USA, the Colorado mountain town is a popular destination for a skiing or snowboarding vacation in December.

Unlike many resorts that lack enough snow coverage in December to fully open the mountain for skiing, Steamboat is one of the rare resorts in the Rockies that tends to open early with an ideal snow pack for winter sports.

With high temperatures right around freezing and averaging about 9-10 inches of fresh snow each week in December, the weather is perfect for a day on the slopes.  

winter gondola in steamboat springs colorado leading up to snow pistes which are already full of snowpack in the december period

At Christmas time, warm white lights, garland, and wreaths drape across the streets and illuminate the walkways at the mountain resort.

If you time your December visit right before the Christmas holiday, you might even see Santa Claus ride through the town on horseback. 

But don’t worry, if you miss his grand arrival, you can often find Ol’ Saint Nick greeting kids in stores around town. And you’ll be sure to spot a Santa hat or two on the slopes, as well!

Where to Stay in Steamboat Springs

For a cozy winter holiday with easy access to the mountain, book a stay at the Steamboat Grand!

This hotel offers both hotel-style rooms, as well as accommodations with a full kitchenette and living area for those who prefer to have amenities of home while on vacation. 

Check availability here!

Leavenworth, WA

Many people gathering in the bavarian styled washington town of leavenworth in december

Contributed by Debbie Fettback from WorldAdventurists.com

Leavenworth, Washington is a small town with a big heart – and an even bigger holiday light display!

Every year, the town comes alive with over half a million lights during the Christmas season.

Visitors can stroll through the picturesque streets, admire the light displays, and enjoy all the German-themed Christmas cheer.

tree lit up with white lights that resemble snow and the bavarian style architecture also lit up with orange, red, and green christmas lights, and a large crowd out after dark enjoying the lights

There are also plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, making it the perfect place to find unique gifts and delicious German holiday treats. 

Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, go for a sleigh ride, visit the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, listen to carolers, and enjoy an authentic German meal at Andreas Keller.

The average temperature in Leavenworth during December has a high of 31°F (-1°C) and a low of 19°F (-7°C).

Usually, you can expect to have snow in town for the light festival, so dress in layers and you will stay warm as you enjoy the festivities.

Where to Stay in Leavenworth

Because the Enzian Inn is situated close to Leavenworth’s center, it is one of the town’s most popular places to stay.

When you stay at this hotel, the hand-painted artwork and wood paneling will make you feel transported to an Austrian film set.

With two swimming pools and large rooms, this property is perfect for families or groups. 

Check availability here!

Helen, GA

Horse pulling a Christmas carriage with festive lights in the background in Helen, Georgia, a popular US December travel destination

Contributed by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

If you’ve never been to Helen, Georgia (a.k.a. Alpine Helen), you may not be familiar with the mountain town’s quirky mixture of Bavarian-inspired architecture, German food (and beer), and down-home Southern hospitality.

But after being named the “Top Christmas Town in America” by MSN.com and listed as one of Southern Living‘s “Best Christmas Towns in the USA,” it’s safe to say the tiny town (population: 546) probably won’t remain a secret much longer. 

It’s easy to see why location scouts for Lifetime and Hallmark holiday films love Helen: Even in early December, the moderate temperatures can reach highs of 70-77ºF and rarely dip below 40º.

And the town is surrounded by the natural beauty of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, with myriad hiking trails (including the Appalachian Trail), waterfalls, wineries, and breathtaking scenic vistas.

While there are countless fun things to do in Helen GA at almost any time of year, December is truly the most magical time to visit.

When the town is all covered in twinkling Christmas lights and festive holiday cheer, it really becomes a whimsical winter wonderland, with all sorts of unique attractions and activities. 

The Helen GA Christmas celebrations begin with the annual Lighting of the Village ceremony, which usually takes place the day after Thanksgiving.

Santa Claus lights and lit-up gazebo with Christmas wreath in Helen, GA in December

Locals and visitors alike show up to hear local choirs perform before the downtown Helen Christmas lights are unveiled, and Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to pose for free photos in the charming Riverside Park.

The Christkindl Traditional German Market also opens on Thanksgiving weekend, offering great holiday shopping opportunities.

Then the annual Helen Christmas Parade comes through the streets of downtown in early December, with families lining the sidewalks to see an array of costumed characters, marching bands, and festive floats. 

You can also shop at Christmas & More and The Christmas Shoppe, experience a Victorian-style holiday celebration at the Hardman Farm State Historic Site, and see more Xmas lights at the picturesque gazebo in Unicoi Hill Park.

Where to Stay in Helen, GA

Many people drive up from Atlanta (or from other parts of the North Georgia mountains) for day trips to explore Helen in December.

But if you want to make a weekend of it and experience even more of the area’s unique offerings, check out the unusual barrel-shaped cabins available for rent at nearby Unicoi State Park. 

Built back in the 1970s, these retro-funky cabins were recently renovated with modern appliances, but still retain an old school charm and offer easy access to hiking trails around Unicoi Lake, along Smith Creek, and to the nearby Anna Ruby Falls

Check out the barrel cabins here!

Washington, DC

Christmas display and Christmas tree in Union Square Terminal in Washington DC in December

Contributed by Julie of Fun in Fairfax VA

The holiday season in Washington DC brings fun festivals and markets to the United States capital.

December is a great time to visit DC, with festive, and mostly free, celebrations throughout the downtown area.

At one end of the National Mall, visitors can see the giant Capitol Christmas Tree which is lit nightly.

Nearby, the United States Botanic Garden hosts a beautiful display of DC’s museums and monuments recreated from natural flora along with a huge model train display.

View of the DC monument of the capital hill in the botanical garden with people wandering around admiring the plants and sculptures

On the Ellipse, the White House Christmas tree is lit nightly, accompanied by the National Menorah and the Pathway of Peace, a display of 56 trees from each U.S. state and territory.

Other festive December events include the Downtown DC Holiday Market, ZooLights at the National Zoo, and ice skating in the Sculpture Garden.

DC weather can be chilly in December, with daytime temperatures in the upper 40s degrees dropping into the mid-30s at night.

Snow is possible, but you’re more likely to encounter a rainy day.

Fortunately, you can always pop into one of the many free Smithsonian museums to warm up!

Where to Stay in DC

There are many hotels to choose from in DC, but we favor one of the Kimpton boutique hotels.

Stay in the Kimpton George Hotel and you’ll be close to the Capitol Building and Union Station (which also hosts a large train display and Christmas tree).

Check availability at the Kimpton George here!

They host an evening wine hour and offer loaner bikes and other amenities.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco is another good choice close to Smithsonian museums and the National Mall.

Mammoth Lakes, CA

View of the landscape of Mammoth Lakes surrounding area of the Eastern Sierras in the winter

Contributed by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

Mammoth Lakes, California is a charming ski town, tucked away in the towering eastern Sierra Nevadas.

Come December, Mammoth has plenty of wintery activities, making this the perfect destination to close out your year.

Mammoth’s weather in December is perfect for exploring its incredible natural scenery, while still feeling quite wintery.

During the day, the temperature usually gets up to around 40 degrees, but the nights are chilly, with temperatures dropping down into the teens.

You also have a pretty good chance of getting a white Christmas here- Mammoth can get a decent amount of snow, especially later in the month as you approach the holidays!

And perhaps that’s no surprise- Mammoth is, in fact, best known for its world-class ski resorts, including Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain.

In December, these resorts will have some of their best snow of the year, with over 200 slopes to shred on while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding Sierras. 

If downhill skiing or snowboarding isn’t your jam, there’s plenty of other ways to enjoy Mammoth’s winter wonderland, including snowshoeing across 140 miles of trails in the neighboring Inyo National Forest or strapping on your Nordic skis and exploring 19 miles of trails at the Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center.

Person in a red bathing suit in a natural hot spring in the snowy countryside

After all that playing in the snow, Mammoth has the perfect way to soothe those aching muscles- by relaxing in one of the many hot springs sprinkled around the area.

One of the best ones is Wild Willy’s Hot Spring, which offers both a heart-shaped natural pool or a thermal river for you to kick back and soak in those steamy waters- and the panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding you!

Where to Stay in Mammoth Lakes

During your stay, consider staying at the Juniper Springs Resort.

It’s one of Mammoth’s only ski-in, ski-out resorts, in-suite fireplaces and a whopping six outdoor hot tubs to warm up from the crisp mountain air.

Check availability here!

Minneapolis, MN

A red and green christmas light tunnel at a light festival in minneapolis a great december destination in the usa for cold weather and festive fun

Contributed by Kassidy of Kassidy’s Journeys

With a layer of freshly fallen snow and holiday lights strung on every building, Minneapolis is a beautiful city, come December.

The holiday cheer is abundant in the city, and there’s no doubt that Minnesotans everywhere will be celebrating with a white Christmas.

From holiday markets to light festivals, there are so many great activities to fill your visit to Minneapolis, Minnesota in December.

When the holiday season rolls around, the state fairgrounds become magical at the GLOW Holiday Festival. Thousands of lights and displays are hung for visitors to enjoy while they stroll through the grounds with a cup of hot cocoa.

Another fun holiday event, called Holidazzle,  is held each year in Loring Park. With games, visits with Santa, light displays, food, and local vendors, there is plenty to do at this event.

Get your holiday shopping done at the European Christmas Market, where you’ll find local vendors selling all of their beautiful crafts and yummy home-baked goods.

Although the weather is chilly, averaging a high of 28 F and a low of 15 F, bundling up will help keep you warm.

And with an average of 50 inches of snowfall each year in Minnesota, winter sports are in abundance, from downhill skiing to snowshoeing to snowmobiling.

All of these fun sports can be done all over Minneapolis!

Where to Stay in Minneapolis

When it’s time to call it a night, head on over to the modern and sleek Aloft Minneapolis.

This beautiful hotel is found right in Downtown, just minutes from some of the city’s best activities and attractions.

It has great views of the city, an on-site bar, and a pool to relax in after a long day of exploring!

Check availability here!

One Day in Savannah: Mini-Itinerary for a Perfect Day Trip

exterior of a house in savannah in typical steamboat style

One of the most interesting and visually stunning places you’ll find is the coastal city of Savannah, GA!

This historical and haunted city is home to Georgian-style architecture, towering green trees adorned with willowy Spanish moss, and one of the premiere art colleges in the USA!

Keep reading to learn about all the places to go and things to do in this gorgeous city — all laid out easily so you can tackle the best of Savannah in a one-day trip!

This post was written by Rachel Elliott, an Atlanta, Georgia local who frequently visits Savannah. 

What to Know Before Visiting Savannah

view of savannah's historic buildings, churches, and bridges from above on a sunny day

Flying into Savannah

The Savannah/Hilton Head Airport is the nearest airport, located a short distance from downtown Savannah, only about 8 miles away.

Over a dozen airlines serve the airport, including Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Depending on your departure city, many flights will have a stopover in Atlanta first.

Renting a Car in Savannah

If you’re using one day in Savannah as a launching pad to travel to other nearby destinations — such as Hilton Head, Tybee Island, and Charleston — you’ll definitely want to rent a car for your road trip.

I always use Discover Cars to find the best price available for my car rental. They search over 500 different agencies in order to find the lowest price possible. Check car rentals in Savannah here!

That said, if you’re just visiting Savannah as a day trip from elsewhere, you won’t need to rent a car, especially for this one day Savannah itinerary — everything on here is walkable!

Where to Stay

Photo Credit: Brent Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you’re only visiting for a day in Savannah, you may not need to spend the night. However, if you do, I suggest picking somewhere centrally located.

Here are a few suggestions:

BUDGET | The Thunderbird Inn is a funky revitalized motel from the 1960s is now a delightful place to stay close to Savannah’s downtown area, just a 5-minute walk away. It has fun vintage features and design that you’ll love the retro feel of!

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

MID-RANGE | The Justine Inn is a charming, historic B&B in a cute French-Renaissance style mansion that dates back to 1877. The rooms are really elegantly designed and it’s an absolute visual delight!

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

LUXURY | Perry Lane Hotel is the best option in town for a bit of that luxe life! Get greeted with complimentary champagne and enjoy the beautiful design of this stunning boutique hotel located right on Chippewa Square. Enjoy the rooftop bar, pool area, and other 5* amenities.

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

Best Time to Visit Savannah

blooming azalea bushes in the springtime in savannah georgia

Savannah has a similar climate to other Deep South destinations, although its position near the coast offers up a bit more breeziness to cut through the heat and humidity.

Summers in Savannah are long, hot, and humid — it may be best to visit during another time of year if you can!

The most pleasant months for a Savannah getaway are the shoulder season months of spring and fall (April-May and October-November).

Winter is also a great time to visit Savannah!

Winter temperatures are mild — typically around 60° F in the daytime and 40° F overnight — making it a great time to do activities that would be unpleasant in the summer, like walking tours.

What This Savannah Itinerary Skips

spanish moss draping from the trees (oak trees) in savannah's cemetery bonaventure cemetery

With only one day in Savannah, we’ve had to make a few cuts in order to make it doable as a day trip… meaning a few important places are not on this itinerary.

One thing we’ve cut is the Wormsloe Historic Site, a plantation that is (unfortunately) better-known for its “Instagrammable” live oak avenue leading up to it than for the horrors that happened here.

You can certainly visit, but I encourage you to do so with a critical eye, and ask what stories are being told and what stories are being erased.

There are also some places that are commonly featured on Savannah travel guides, like Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Savannah.

It’s a beautiful place, but it’s a bit out of the way if you only have one day in Savannah.

Optional Reading

If you’re the type of traveler who likes to read a bit about your destination before your trip, skip the Savannah travel guide book and instead, grab a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

This book enjoyed one of the longest streaks on the NYT bestseller list for a reason! While technically a work of nonfiction, it reads like fiction and is gripping, compelling, and tells Savannah’s story beautifully.

One Day in Savannah Itinerary

Morning: Savannah Historic District & Savannah’s Squares

Wander around the Savannah Historic District.

stairs of old buildings and facades in the savannah historic district - where to stay your one day in savannah itinerary

The perfect way to start off your day in Savannah is exploring the Savannah Historic District!

Various museums, architecturally stunning buildings from the 18th century and 19th century, and historic attractions are situated amongst the tree-lined streets of this section of the city.

For getting around, you can walk, bike, or take a trolley tour. If you’re up for it, walking around the city is perhaps the best way to explore historic Savannah.

Additionally, Savannah has a bike sharing program, which allows you to rent bikes located throughout the city.

Old Town Trolley Tours transports you to 15 set locations throughout the city, and you can get off and back on as you like.

Grab a tasty coffee and breakfast snack.

Photo Credit: Jack Kennard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To start off your day on the right foot, grab a coffee and some breakfast food.

Luckily, Savannah has a fantastic array of local coffee shops to choose from — here are three of our favorite choices.

  • The Foxy Loxy Cafe is a coffee shop and Tex-Mex cafe frequented by the art college students. Try the Horchata, which is Mexican sweetened milk served over ice.
  • Another staple in the city is Savannah Coffee Roasters. In addition to their coffee menu, they also offer brunch dishes like Belgian waffles, quiches, and egg scrambles.
  • The Sentient Bean is an eclectic coffee shop, where you can grab a latte and dishes breakfast burritos. After you’ve ordered, settle in at one of their comfortable tables to savor your food and drink!

Take a stroll through Forsyth Park.

the fountain with a statue in forsyth park with trees, greenery, and spanish moss

A real gem in the Historic District is Forsyth Park. This 30-acre park is full of azalea bushes, tall oak trees, and a spectacular fountain!

You can walk around the park to enjoy the fresh air and surrounding scenery. This is a great photo spot to take some great shots to remember your trip.

Check out some of Savannah’s architectural gems.

cathedral of saint john in savannah with white and royal blue ceiling with stars and wooden pews and a reddish altar with nave

Savannah is home to lots of visually interesting buildings, with one of those being The Gingerbread House.

Head over to this property, which is a prime display of Steamboat Gothic architecture — a unique style of architecture you’ll only find in the American South.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is also one of the most incredible historical site not just in Savannah, but in the USA! Come here for stunning architecture and make sure you have your camera.

Check out the Mercer-Williams House.

reddish brick building with four white pillars and several windows with juliet balconies and decorative black detail on the windows and greenery in front of house

Another interesting place along here is the Mercer-Williams House on Bull Street, done in the Italianate style.

This historic house is where the murder that inspired the true crime nonfiction work, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, took place.

As a result, many fans of the book (and the movie based on the book) opt to take a tour of the house while they’re visiting. You’ll want to make a reservation online ahead of time if so!

Explore the historic Chippewa Square.

sign for chippewa square in front of some plants, with a statue visible in the distance surrounded by trees in the square

One of the most historic squares in Savannah is Chippewa Square. The name comes from The Battle of Chippewa, fought during the War of 1812.

However, Chippewa Square is most famous for its time on the silver screen. Remember in Forrest Gump, when Forrest waited for the bus?

The location for that iconic scene was none other than Chippewa Square!

Come here to stroll under the towering trees and Spanish moss, or sit on one of the benches and take in your incredible surroundings.

This beautifully green and scenic space is the type of atmosphere that Savannah is known for! It feels like you’ve been transported to a magical place, and it’s a really special experience.

Admire the Savannah Theatre.

vertical sign reading savannah in front of the historic theatre
Photo Credit: Brent Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

After visiting Chippewa Square, check out the nearby Savannah Theatre. Look for its trademark vintage marquee and vertical lit-up Savannah sign — another great photo spot!

This historic property opened in 1818 with a performance of the comedy “The Soldier’s Daughter”.

And today, you can still catch a live performance!

Check out the spooky Colonial Park Cemetery.

sign for colonial park cemetery with trees and gravestones in the background

Not far from Chippewa Square, you’ll find the Colonial Park Cemetery which dates back to the late 18th century.

This cemetery is the final resting place of many Revolutionary War soldiers, and it’s said to be one of the more haunted places in Savannah!

Haunted or not, it is a beautiful place to go for a stroll and learn a bit about Savannah’s centuries-old history.

Explore the Savannah College of Art & Design area.

facade at the savannah college of art & design

The city is home to one of the premiere art colleges in the U.S., the Savannah College of Art & Design, otherwise known as SCAD.

A truly unique feature of Savannah is the juxtaposition of having a very contemporary art college nestled amongst the cobblestone streets and Georgian style architecture.

If you enjoy art, check out the SCAD Museum of Art. This modern art museum features a variety of exhibitions from international artists, and they also have film screenings and lectures.

For something a little different, SCADstory is an immersive 4D exhibit about the college, where you can take a trip through SCAD’s history that covers four decades.

For book nerds, the Ex Libris Bookstore is a fun place to scope out.

You can see where the SCAD students shop for their books and art supplies, and the interior of the store has some interesting design elements!

Grab a bite to eat in Savannah’s City Market.

sign that reads city market outside of savannah shops

One of the most bustling areas in Savannah is City Market. This open-air market dates back centuries, and has become one of the most popular destinations in the city!

This is a great place to walk around for a bit, with different kinds of shops to explore and several dining options.

It’s typically buzzing with people strolling the area, and there is a palpable sense of excitement.

This is a great place to grab a bite for lunch, as there are casual and formal options. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Belford’s Savannah is a nice restaurant for delicious seafood, steaks, and a relaxing drink — great if you want a slightly upscale meal.
  • Vinnie Van Go-Go’s is a great spot to pop in for some New York style pizza.

There is a fun and diverse selection of shops and boutiques to browse at City Market. It’s a great place for window shopping, and easy to venture in and out of places that catch your interest.

The City Market stalls sell a wide variety of things, include jewelry, food, clothing, souvenirs, and even toys!

In addition to the shops, there are several art galleries to view pieces on display.

Another cool place to visit here is the American Prohibition Museum, which chronicles the story of Prohibition.

Take a step back in time and explore more than 20 exhibits, and then visit the nearby speakeasy for a perfectly crafted drink!

If no food is piquing your interest here, you may want to grab lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, a famous Savannah diner, open from 11 AM to 2 PM, weekdays only.

Take a narrated riverboat harbor sightseeing cruise.

a white and red riverboat in savannah with a bridge in the distance, docked and ready for people to get on board

One of the best things about Savannah is its location on Georgia’s coast, and therefore its close proximity to water.

Getting out on a riverboat to cruise along the waterfront is a must-do activity in the city!

This riverboat harbor sightseeing cruise is the perfect activity to include on your one day itinerary when visiting Savannah.

Over one and a half hours, you’ll listen to commentary from the captain as they discuss Savannah’s history.

Take in the sights of the waterfront as you slowly make your way along the river!

It’s a cool way to see the Savannah in a different light, and it is also a prime photo opportunity.

The cruise goes all the way to Old Fort Jackson, where you’ll get the unique experience of seeing and hearing the active cannons.

This Savannah riverboat cruise is a perfect activity to take a break from walking all over the city. Relax your feet and enjoy some time on the water, enjoying the cool breezes!

Book your riverboat cruise online here!

Take a stroll down River Street.

sunset scene at river street, with cobblestone, fall trees, american flags in savannah

One of the things Savannah is best known for is its riverfront — and since we just experienced it from the water, let’s go over it by foot next.

River Street overlooks the Savannah River, and was the site of the original port of Savannah.

Today, this electric area is home to shops, restaurants, and events throughout the year.

This is the perfect place to traverse the cobblestone streets and browse all that this area has to offer!

One of the most popular and famous attractions is River Street Sweets.

Pick up some of their world famous pralines, and try not to be tempted by all the incredible treats in the shop.

Pop into True Grits, which has been selling gifts and apparel on River Street since the 1970s. This is a great place to grab some souvenirs for yourself and others!

If you just snacked earlier and now you’re getting hungry, there is a good selection of dining establishments in the area. Here are two suggestions.

  • For an incredible view, head over to the Electric Moon Skytop Lounge + The Moon Deck. Enjoy food and a drink as you gaze out over the waterfront!
  • At Churchill’s Pub, you can dine in their open air terrace, wine cellar, or street level main bar. This is a great place to unwind and rest for a while.

River Street is one of Savannah’s most treasured destinations, so be sure to make your way to this part of town when you’re here!

Learn some of Savannah’s history at the Owens-Thomas House.

exterior of the owens thomas house, now a museum that covers the living conditions of enslaved people as well as the history of this house

A historically significant and educationally important site to visit in Savannah is the Owens-Thomas House, run by Telfair Museums.

This mansion was constructed in 1819, and included a carriage house, gardens, and slave quarters.

The family that built the home, the Richardsons, used the labor of free and enslaved men to erect the property.

A little over a decade later, the mayor of Savannah purchased the residence. He moved in his wife and children, as well as a dozen enslaved people, who lived in the slave quarters.

Here, you can take a guided tour and learn about the people who lived here and were forced to build this property in the nineteenth century.

There are several exhibits to experience, many of which center the experience of the enslaved people who were forced into labor at the Owens-Thomas House.

There are also period rooms with antique items which you can visit to get a sense of what life looked like back in the 1800s.

This is an interesting and informative place to visit, and it will provide insight to a time period that should not be forgotten.

Go on an evening ghost tour.

a dark shot of savannah at night

Despite Savannah’s charming and almost fairytale-like atmosphere, it is actually known as America’s most haunted city.

Perhaps it’s not that surprising, given Savannah’s history, marked by its role in the Atlantic slave trade and its battles during the Civil War.

To learn more of Savannah’s haunted history, the Ghosts & Gravestones Trolleybus Sightseeing Tour is an interesting way to interact with this history!

As you board the fittingly-themed black trolley, you will be greeted by your guide for the evening. Then, you’re off for a tour of haunted destinations onboard the so-called ‘Trolley of the Doomed’!

One of the areas this tour will take you to are River Street’s Perkins and Sons Ship Chandlery.

This nautical establishment is a shipwares shop that has historical items on display — and is supposedly haunted by spirits, with several apparitions sighted.

You will also pass by the Columbia Square and Ellis Square in the Historic District, as well as Madison Square by the Savannah Waterfront Association District.

Sit back and listen to your guide tell creepy tales and Savannah history, all while exploring the dark, shadowy streets of Savannah.

Book your ghost trolley sightseeing tour here!

End your day with delicious Southern fare at the Olde Pink House restaurant.

Photo Credit: Samantha via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of Savannah’s most well known restaurants is The Olde Pink House restaurant. Here, you can feast on elevated Southern dishes, in one of the city’s historic mansions.

As far as the name of the restaurant goes, what does the color pink have to do with it? The origin of the name dates back to when the property was built in the eighteenth century.

Red bricks were used for construction, and then they were enclosed in white plaster.

For some reason, the red bricks would appear through the white plaster, making the visual appearance of the building pink.

After the property changed hands a few times, a new owner purchased the residence in 1920.

They made the decision to just paint the whole mansion pink, hence the name!

Some of the dishes you can order here include jumbo sea scallops, crispy scored flounder, and pecan crusted chicken breast.

The sides include southern staples like collard greens, mac & cheese, and fried green tomatoes.

This is Southern food at its finest!

Grab dessert at Leopold’s Ice Cream afterwards.

pink building with sign that reads leopolds ice cream
Photo Credit: Katarina via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Having dessert at Leopold’s Ice Cream is a Savannah tradition, and it’d be rude to skip it even if you only have one day in Savannah!

This is where you’ll find the best ice cream in the city — and the lines to match!

Luckily, the line moves pretty quickly, so you can spend it making up your mind of which of the dozens of flavors you want to try!

Your Weekend in Boston Itinerary: 2 Days of History & Architecture!

Allison walking around Beacon Hill on Acorn street

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts (and all of New England, for that matter), and at the heart of the region’s cultural scene.

It’s also one of the most important cities when it comes to early American history, sprinkled with historical sights practically everywhere you look.

Luckily, Boston is a compact and walkable city that also has excellent public transportation for exploring other neighborhoods of Boston that are a bit outside the city center area.

If you’re planning a trip to Boston, this Boston weekend itinerary will be your guide!

Your Weekend in Boston Itinerary: 2 Days of History & Culture

Day One of Your Boston Itinerary

Go for a morning stroll in the Boston Public Garden.

The artificial lake at the heart of Boston Public Garden with swan boats in it - where to start your weekend in Boston itinerary

Dating back to the 19th century, Boston Public Garden is one of the greenest spaces in the city center.

It features a large artificial lake at its center where people often rent swan boats to go out for a paddle on the ‘lagoon’.

Another famous site you’ll find is the sculpture called Make Way for Ducklings, named for the children’s book of the same name.

This is a common Boston photo spot, so grab a snap here if you want!

Grab a coffee at Thinking Cup.

sign at Thinking Cup, a Boston cafe near the Boston Common, with hand written menu on a chalkboard

We have a busy day ahead, and you’ll be walking a lot, so I suggest grabbing a cup of coffee at one of the coffee shops along the edge of the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common.

I enjoyed my coffee from Thinking Cup quite a bit — they also had tasty breakfast items like a breakfast burrito that was great to snack on while walking through Boston!

Walk the first portion of the Freedom Trail.

Historic church along Boston's Freedom Trail starting at Boston Common

Starting at Boston Common, the Freedom Trail covers 2.5 miles of ground, visiting 16 different historic sites downtown Boston that you can follow via pathways marked with brick on the ground.

Your first stop will be at Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States of America, which was established in 1634.

You can type “Freedom Trail Starting Point” into Google Maps to find the exact place to start, so you can follow the path from there — no need to look at your phone once you start, as the route is laid ahead of you with bricks!

The first ten stops along the Freedom Trail route will take you to the Massachusetts State House, the Park Street Church, the Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel and Burying Grounds, the Ben Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Boston Massacre Site.

These sites include important historical sites from Boston’s colonial days, the American Revolution, the Boston Massacre, and so on!

Take a gander at Faneuil Hall.

The Faneuil Hall market complex in downtown boston, a historic and touristy place to visit

The next stop on the Freedom Trail is Faneuil Hall, one of the most touristy spots in Boston that’s still worth taking some extra time to peruse.

There are a lot of different eateries here, especially in Quincy Market, but I suggest waiting — we’ll have even better places to eat later on in our Boston itinerary!

Continue your Freedom Trail walk until Copps Hill.

Gravestones sticking out of the green grass at Copps Hill, one of the freedom trail sites

We have just a few more stops on the Freedom Trail walk, so next up, you’ll visit the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church (the oldest church in Boston), and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

There are two more stops on the Freedom Trail — the USS Constitution and Museum and the Bunker Hill Monument — but we’ll skip them in the interest of time unless you really want to go see them, as they’re a bit further afield and take us away from the rest of the itinerary.

Check out the “Spite House”.

Narrow gray house sandwiched between other larger houses in Boston

Right across from Copps Hill, you’ll find the so-called “Spite House”. But where did it get this quirky moniker?

Supposedly, it was built by an angry brother who felt stiffed by his end of a land deal — and then built this tiny house on the remaining land to block his brother’s views!

The house recently sold for $1.25 million — pretty amazing considering it’s only 10 feet wide!

Grab something to eat in the North End.

A sign in Boston's north end

The North End is Boston’s “Little Italy”, full of Italian restaurants and bakeries. You could just grab a cannolo at a local bakery if you just want a snack, but now is probably time for a hearty lunch.

I just wandered around and ate at a random place and found it a bit subpar and overpriced, so I recommend doing some research first — this guide by Eater to where to eat in Boston’s North End looks like a good place to start.

Stroll along the Boston Harbor.

A red building on stilts above the water with a walkway leading to a boat similar to those that would have been used during the Boston tea party

The Boston Harborwalk is a great place to go for beautiful views of Boston’s waterfront.

Walking along the Harborwalk, you’ll pass the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, a museum that hosts reenactments of the famous event!

Cross to the other side of the harbor via one of the bridges for a gorgeous view of downtown Boston!

Have dinner at The Barking Crab.

lobster roll in a bun with salad

Boston is known for its seafood, especially New England clam chowder and its tasty lobster and crab rolls!

There are lots of seafood restaurants along Boston’s waterfront but one of the most famous is The Barking Crab, which is pricy but a Boston classic!

Day Two of Your Boston Itinerary

Start the day either at Fenway Park or at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

green press building at fenway park boston
Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With only two days in Boston, we’ll need to make some sacrifices — and one is deciding between Fenway Park and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

It’s a pretty simple question to figure out — are you more of a sports fan or an arts fan?

Fenway Park is where the Boston Red Sox play, and if you’re a baseball fan, it’s a must to make a pilgrimage here!

interior of the isabella stewart gardner museum with beautiful architecture and lush plant life
Photo Credit: Amoran002, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the premiere arts museums in Boston, with beautiful art housed in a stunning building that combines a palatial and a jungle aesthetic.

It’s located right next to the Museum of Fine Arts, and if you really want to go museum-crazy, you could knock out both museums in one go if you keep a quick pace.

Wander through Back Bay.

ivy covered brick house with american flag in back bay boston

The stunning houses of Back Bay make up one of Boston’s most scenic neighborhoods, and taking a stroll through here — and perhaps stopping for brunch along the way — is simply a must-do.

Don’t miss a stroll down Newbury Street, which has some of the most beautiful houses in Boston!

If you’re getting peckish, grab something at Levain Bakery or local chain Tatte Bakery for a quick bite.

If you want something more substantial, Buttermilk & Bourbon is great for a weekend Southern-themed brunch.

Check out the Boston Public Library.

the stunning courtyard of the boston public library on a sunny summer day

The Boston Public Library is one of the most beautiful places in Boston, and it’s totally free to visit!

Besides visiting the beautiful main reading room and the murals by Sargent, you should also check out the courtyard, which is a really peaceful and tranquil site.

Admire Copley Square and Trinity Church.

flowers in bloom in front of trinity church in copley square in downtown boston

A (very) short walk from Boston Public Library, you’ll arrive at Copley Square, a cute small public park with a beautiful church at its heart.

Trinity Church is another site worth seeing while in Boston, built in 1877 and known for its beautiful stained glass windows and its impressive organs inside.

Wander through the streets of Beacon Hill.

Allison walking around Beacon Hill on Acorn street

The charming neighborhood of Beacon Hill is another one of Boston’s cutest neighborhoods.

The houses here are stunning, shaded by trees in a place that feels a world away from downtown Boston!

Don’t miss the most scenic street of them all, Acorn Street, which runs between W Cedar Street and Willow Street for one short but photogenic block!

Head over to Harvard Square.

sign reading harvard book store established 1932 with books in the window

Technically not part of Boston but rather a neighboring city called Cambridge, the area around Harvard University is effectively a neighborhood of Boston in terms of how you experience it (as it’s connected by metro).

The Harvard Square area is a cute little shopping district — don’t miss the Harvard Book Store and the great coffee shops in this area!

Wander around Harvard University.

the harvard campus with beautiful buildings and green spaces

Centered around Harvard Yard, it’s fun to get to walk around this famed Ivy League school and imagine you go here!

The campus is really beautiful, so take your time to enjoy a walk around Harvard Yard, admiring the university’s halls, quads, and libraries.

Grab dinner in Cambridge.

Before heading back to your Boston hotel, you might as well grab something to eat in Cambridge, since this is a great foodie destination!

Not sure where to eat? This list of great restaurants near Harvard Yard should help you out!

How to Spend One Day in Atlanta: Itinerary to Maximize Your Visit!

view of atlanta as seen from the famous park

If you happen to find yourself in Atlanta for the day, and want to check out the city’s best spots for food and entertainment, this guide has you covered!

The Peach State’s bustling metropolis is home to some of the best dining and things to do in the entire Southeast USA.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide on how to spend one day in Atlanta and make this quick day trip getaway into an epic memory!

What to Know Before Visiting Atlanta

Getting Around

view of atlanta's highways and skyline on a sunny summer day with a few clouds in the sky

Unless you already have your own car because you drove in, we don’t recommend renting a car for just one day in Atlanta, unless you’re starting a road trip here. Between rental fees and parking costs, you’ll be better off using a ride share.

There is also public transportation (MARTA) but with only one day in the city, you’ll want to get around quickly and without any stress, so we recommend using ride share like Uber or Lyft instead.

When to Visit

Atlanta is a great year-round destination, but there are a few things to note!

Summers are hot and humid, with average highs in the 90s, which can make outdoor activities and lots of walking around unpleasant.

Luckily, many of the things on this itinerary are indoor attractions with plenty of A/C!

Winter can be rainy and cool but are typically not too cold, with average daytime temperatures in the 50s and overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s.

The most comfortable times to visit will be in spring and fall, when the humidity isn’t kicked up into high gear like it is in summer, but you’ll still enjoy warm temperatures and mostly sunny days.

Where to Stay

the atlanta skyline as seen at night with all the lights on in buildings around the city

If your one day in Atlanta includes an overnight stay, we suggest staying in the Peachtree Center area.

A few suggestions would be the Hyatt Regency (which has an outdoor pool and restaurant with great views of the city) or the Hotel Indigo (a modern but budget-friendly IHG hotel with all you need for a comfortable one-night stay).

Atlanta CityPass

Is the Atlanta CityPass worth it if you’re only in town for one day?

If you follow this itinerary, you’ll hit three of the five allowed attractions that the CityPass covers: The World of Coca Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Those activities could cost $19, $45, and $20 respectively if you buy the tickets on-site, bringing the total up to $84… not quite as much as the Atlanta CityPass costs, and not worth it if you are following this itinerary.

However, if you add on another activity, such as Zoo Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame, or the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you will be saving money, so keep that in mind when deciding on whether a CityPass is right for you!

Personally, I think it’s too hard to fit in the value of an Atlanta CityPass with just one day in Atlanta, but if you’re a real go-getter, or you’re traveling with kids and want to swap out some of the activities with the zoo or the natural history museum, it may offer more value.

Your One Day in Atlanta Itinerary

Morning: Southern Breakfast & the World of Coca Cola

Indulge in the ultimate Southern comfort food breakfast at the Flying Biscuit Cafe.

breakfast potatoes, a scramble, jam and a biscuit for breakfast
A veggie scramble with a biscuit and home fries | Photo credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A staple in Atlanta for the past 20 years, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is famous for serving Southern-inspired breakfast comfort food.

Fluffy biscuits, creamy grits, and chicken sausage gravy are among the items you will find on the incredibly tempting menu!

For your day in Atlanta, head over to the Flying Biscuit Cafe located in the east Atlanta neighborhood of Candler Park.

The restaurant has expanded to 25 locations over the years, but the Candler Park space has the distinction of being the first and original location.

Tucked away in a small and artsy neighborhood, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is situated in a corner building marked by bright purple awnings.

Inside, the space is bright and colorful, with hand-painted murals and designs covering the walls.

The menu offers a delicious array of breakfast and brunch options, from egg scrambles, to french toast, and even fried chicken and waffles.

Plus, you can add on items from the side menu, like extra biscuits with cranberry apple butter, signature chicken sage sausage patties, and “moon dusted” potatoes!

The menu also offers vegetarian and vegan options, and many of the items are gluten-free friendly — all things which can sometimes be hard to accommodate when it comes to Southern food!

Once you have gotten your fill of fluffy biscuits and you’re ready to move on to your next location, it’s off to The World of Coca Cola.

If you arrived in Atlanta by car as part of a road trip, we suggest driving to the next spot.

Alternately, catching a rideshare like Uber or Lyft is going to be your best option.

MARTA (Atlanta’s public transportation system) can be tough to figure out for first-time visitors, and with only one day in Atlanta, you’ll want to maximize your time!

Next on your one-day Atlanta itinerary is a unique museum — a museum completely dedicated to the city’s beloved drink of choice!

Experience the World of Coca Cola.

various red and white coca cola memorabilia from the 20th century
Various Coca-Cola memorabilia from the 20th century | Photo Credit: Gatorfan252525, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Coca-Cola is more than a refreshing beverage in Atlanta. It’s part of the culture and a point of pride for the city!

The World of Coca-Cola is an ode to the ATL’s favorite soft drink — and the world’s most famous soda.

This museum is located in downtown Atlanta, in a busy area close to other famous Atlanta attractions, perfectly positioning it for more exploration.

Once you get inside, be prepared for a caffeine buzz, as you are going to be tasting lots of samples!

Even if you’re not big on sampling, The World of Coca-Cola has an array of immersive exhibits to explore.

The Taste It! exhibit allows you to sample Coke from different countries, while learning fun tidbits about what you’re sipping.

The Vault of the Secret Formula is a fun exhibit where you’ll learn the backstory about the famously top secret formula for Coca-Cola.

This exhibit has the Virtual Taste Maker, where you can design various flavor combinations, just like the pharmacists from back in the day.

At this point you will have been standing for a while, and the 3-D Theater is a great place to rest for a little bit. Put on the 3-D glasses provided, relax, and take in the movie experience.

There is also the Pop Culture Gallery, which shows pieces from famous Coca-Cola advertising campaigns, and other historic memorabilia.

There’s even the red couch from the fourth season of American Idol, which makes for a fun photo op!

The other exhibits include Scent Discovery, Coca-Cola Polar Bear, The Loft, The Coca-Cola Theater, Milestones of Refreshment, and Bottle Works.

And not to be forgotten, the Coca-Cola Store is perfect to stock up on souvenirs to remember your day in Atlanta!

Tickets can be purchased online before your visit and then shown with a mobile voucher — this is what I recommend doing to avoid waiting in line, as this is one of the most popular attractions for people visiting Atlanta!

Save time – buy your tickets online here!

You can expect to spend about two hours exploring the World of Coca-Cola. Then you’re ready for lunch and the next stop on the itinerary!

  • Address: 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Thursday; 10 AM to 7 PM Friday through Sunday
  • Website: https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com

Spend some time at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (if open).

view of the exterior of the interesting architecture of the national center for civil and human rights
The exterior of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights | Photo Credit: Marco Correa, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Next up on your one day itinerary should be a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Note that this museum is closed Monday through Wednesday, so you won’t be able to visit if your Atlanta trip falls on one of those days.

This important museum chronicles the importance of the city of Atlanta in the Civil Rights Movement, with a particular focus on Atlanta-born Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to the movement.

It also highlights other important activists in the Civil Rights Movement and focuses on some of the human rights struggles occurring around the world to this day.

You can buy tickets online at their website here.

  • Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Pemberton Place)
  • Hours: 12 PM to 5 PM Thursday and Friday; 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday; 12 PM to 5 PM Sunday; closed Monday through Wednesday
  • Website: https://www.civilandhumanrights.org

Afternoon: The Georgia Aquarium, Lunch, & a Walk

Check out the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium.

a whale shark with other tropical fish in an exhibit at the georgia aquarium

Located a short, walkable distance away from The World of Coca Cola and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is the renowned Georgia Aquarium.

So, what makes this aquarium so famous? The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States, and one of the largest in the world!

They have more than 60 different habitats, which house hundreds of species that come from all over the planet.

Some of the species you will find at the aquarium include African penguins, beluga whales, California sea lions, common bottlenose dolphins, green moray eels, manta rays, tiger sharks, and whale sharks.

In particular, there are only a few aquariums in the world where you can see whale sharks. And the only Western aquarium to have whale sharks is… you guessed it, the Georgia Aquarium!

Once you’re inside, there are many different galleries to tour, and each gallery has a distinctive habitat and marine creatures.

At the Aquanaut Adventure gallery, you can see animals that live in harsh habitats, like American alligators, Baja blue rock lizards, and electric eels.

The Cold Water Quest gallery showcases ocean animals that can survive in cold ocean waters, including beluga whales, horned puffins, and weedy sea dragons.

If you love dolphins, you must check out the Dolphin Coast gallery. You will be able to see common bottlenose dolphins, and watch a live training presentation and hear about what is being done to preserve these dolphins.

The Georgia Aquarium also boasts one of the world’s largest single aquatic exhibits, which is the Ocean Voyager gallery. Here, you can gaze at tiger sharks, green moray eels, and manta rays!

If sharks fascinate you, check out the Sharks! Predators of the Deep gallery. This is one of the biggest shark exhibits you’ll find in North America.

The Southern Company River Scout exhibit is the Georgia Aquarium’s sole freshwater gallery. Here, you will find Asian small-clawed otters, black spot piranhas, and razorback musk turtles in this habitat.

The Tropical Diver gallery contains 200 species of coral, and creatures like the big-bellied seahorse and Pacific sea nettle jellyfish are housed in this vibrant exhibit.

The Truist Pier 225 is where to go if you love sea lions! Watch trainers connect with California sea lions, and learn about issues facing this species.

Tickets can be purchased online before your visit, which we also recommend in order to avoid the ticket lines — and it’ll also save you money, as there is an additional charge if you book on-site vs. online!

Book your tickets to the Georgia Aquarium here!

You can easily spend a couple hours at the Georgia Aquarium exploring all the mesmerizing galleries and exhibits!

After the Georgia Aquarium, you’re ready to move on to lunch at The Varsity after a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park.

  • Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Hours: 8 AM to 9 PM Friday through Sunday; 9 AM to 9 PM Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 9 AM to 5 PM on Wednesday
  • Website: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Take a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park.

the ferris wheel of centennial olympic park with buildings and skyline in the background

Before grabbing lunch — don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about that! — take a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park, since it’s located right next to the attractions we’ve just visited.

This historical site of the 1996 Olympics is now a beloved park and landmark in the city, where local families and tourists converge.

The SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel in the park is a favorite with families, and the park’s Fountain of Rings is its centerpiece, although the water feature is temporarily closed due to Covid.

If you want, snap a photo with the historic Olympic Rings before heading on to your next destination!

Note: Centennial Olympic Park is located right next to another famous Atlanta landmark, the CNN Center, but currently, CNN studio tours are closed due to Covid.

Grab a frosted orange shake at The Varsity.

Chili dog and onion rings — a Varsity classic | Photo Credit: Carol VanHook via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A legend in the Atlanta dining scene, The Varsity has earned its place amongst the quintessential eateries in the city.

Since 1928, they have been serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and shakes to residents and visitors of Atlanta.

A factor that distinguishes The Varsity from other ATL restaurants is that it’s not just a meal, but a whole experience!

When you enter the lively eatery, you will see patrons and staff sporting The Varsity’s iconic paper hat.

One of the trademarks of The Varsity is the staff asking you “What’ll ya have?” once you get up to the counter to order.

Once you’ve made your selection, your order will be loudly relayed to the kitchen, using the restaurant’s own special lingo.

Another one of The Varsity’s trademarks is their variations on the classic hot dog!

If chili on a hot dog sounds good to you, try a chili dog. If you like cole slaw, they have a slaw dog. You could even get a chili cheese slaw dog if you’re feeling adventurous, and there’s always a naked dog if you like to keep things simple.

To complete your order, grab a side of crispy onion rings and a cold shake.

The Varsity’s signature shake is called a Frosted Orange, which is their very own Varsity Orange drink blended with vanilla shake mix.

And to really go all out, you can snag a fried peach pie to indulge your sweet tooth — hey, you’ve only got one day in Atlanta, so make it count!

The atmosphere of the restaurant can best be described as buzzing and energetic, so you’re in for a real treat when you’re here.

The downtown location of The Varsity is a quick car ride from the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

After chowing down on hot dogs and onion rings, you’re ready for your next adventure in the city!

  • Address: 61 North Avenue NW, Atlanta, GA 30308
  • Hours: 11 AM to 9 PM Friday through Sunday; 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday
  • Website: https://thevarsity.com

Walk the Atlanta Beltline.

the beltline in atlanta with a few people walking on it

It’s safe to say that almost all of Atlanta’s residents get everywhere in their car, since it’s a very sprawled out city. A change of pace from driving all the time is very welcome!

Enter The Atlanta Beltline, which consists of trails that connect several intown Atlanta neighborhoods.

The Beltline is very popular with Atlanta residents because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and easily access some of Atlanta’s best restaurants.

One of the coolest features of the Beltline is that there are lots of restaurants just off the trail, making it incredibly easy to pop in and grab a drink and a bite!

Best of all, many of them have outdoor patios, which allows you to still be in the thick of the hustle and bustle of the Beltline while you have a drink.

On a beautiful sunny day, you will encounter people walking, biking, and skating on the Beltline.

It’s a very joyful atmosphere, and once you are there it’ll become apparent why this is such a hotspot for locals and tourists alike!

To explore the Beltline, start at Ponce City Market in downtown.

This is a really cool food hall and retail space, and it used to be a Sears, Roebuck & Co facility, and City Hall East for Atlanta.

  • Ponce City Market Address: Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
  • Ponce City Market Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Monday through Saturday; 11 AM to 8 PM on Sunday
  • Ponce City Market Website: https://www.poncecitymarket.com

Within Ponce City Market, you will see signs for the Beltline. Once you’re on the Beltline, head south.

Take it slow, and enjoy your surroundings. You will pass by funky street art, fields where people play intramural sports, and even a skate park.

One standout on this trail is New Realm Brewing Co., which is a local Atlanta watering hole.

This is a great place to quickly stop in for a brew and some snacks if you’re still hungry, and they have a fantastic outdoor seating area.

As you continue on the trail, you will eventually end up at Krog Street Market. This is another fantastic food hall that contains an enticing selection of restaurants, as well as some local retail shops.

To get from Ponce City Market to Krog Street Market walking the Beltline is about two miles one way.

If you’re feeling full from your meals, or looking to work up an appetite, this is a great afternoon activity before moving on to dinner.

  • Krog Street Market Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
  • Krog Street Market Hours: 7 AM to 9 PM Monday through Thursday; 7 AM to 10 PM Friday; 9 AM to 10 PM Saturday; 8 AM to 9 PM Sunday
  • Krog Street Market Website: https://krogstreetmarket.com

Pay homage at the MLK Jr. National Historic Park.

MLK’s tomb in downtown Atlanta | Photo Credit: George Puvvada, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is located in downtown Atlanta just a few blocks from Krog Street Market.

This national park covers several important historic sites, including the home where Martin Luther King was born in and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he began preaching.

The most important and touching site to see is his burial site. It’s located in an above-ground tomb amidst a fountain.

The fountain feature includes one of the most famous quotes from “I Have a Dream,” written on steps that create a waterfall effect: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The King Center is also located here, as well as the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Evening: A Meal with a View

Take in the best view in the city at the Sun Dial Restaurant.

the interior of the revolving restaurant at the westin on the 73rd floor
Inside the Sun Dial restaurant | Photo Credit: Frank Kehren via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To finish off your day in Atlanta, you must have dinner at the Sun Dial Restaurant.

This dining establishment’s claim to fame is that it sits atop the 73-story Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, and has incredible panoramic views of the city.

In addition to the restaurant, there is also a cocktail lounge and a separate level with an observatory.

You’re not just coming here for a meal, but also to experience some of the best views of the city.

For your meal, the restaurant offers several seafood and meat options, and they take pride in using local and seasonal ingredients.

Some of the most beloved dishes include the Fried Green Tomato & Lobster Salad, BBQ Pork Tomahawk, and Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

The observatory level has four telescopes to get close-up visuals of Atlanta, and the tall windows that encompass the restaurant provide you with stellar views of the city skyline.

The observatory level does have a fee of $8 for adults, and $4 for children aged 6-12.

There is a business casual dress code here, so be sure to plan your attire appropriately. Celebrate a successful day in the city by stopping by this iconic Atlanta restaurant!

Once you’ve had a delicious dinner, you can go enjoy the local Atlanta nightlife.

  • Address: 210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Hours: 5 PM to 9:30 PM Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5 PM to 10 PM Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sunday through Tuesday.
  • Website: https://www.sundialrestaurant.com/
  • Alternate Suggestion: If your one day in Atlanta happens to fall on a day when this restaurant is closed, we suggest finding something to eat at Krog Street Market!

Alternate Ideas for Spending One Day in Atlanta

This one day itinerary focused on the most typical Atlanta itinerary, distilling the highlights and keeping things as central and close together as possible — important in a city as spread out as Atlanta!

However, there are some ways you could deviate from this itinerary based on interest — we’ll make a few suggestions below!

Nature & Outdoors Lovers

view of atlanta as seen from the famous park

If you prefer spending time outdoors to spending time at museums and indoors attractions, we suggest swapping out some of the pre-lunch activities with some time at Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.

Piedmont Park is home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden with features a stunning conservatory as well as 30 acres of beautiful gardens and fountains.

The botanical garden is open every day but Monday from 9 AM to 8 PM and costs $25-28 (weekday vs. weekend price) for an adult ticket.

Arts & Culture Lovers

the white exterior of the high museum of art in atlanta georgia with modernist architectural vibes
The architectural beauty of The High | Photo Credit: Josh Hallett, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

If you prefer checking out the local arts scene in any given city, Atlanta won’t disappoint!

Make your way up to Midtown Atlanta (perhaps stopping at the Atlanta Botanical Garden first) to visit the High Museum of Art, one of the best art museums in Atlanta.

The museum features modern and contemporary art in a beautiful building noted for its unique architecture.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Sunday from noon to 5 PM, and is closed on Mondays.
General admission tickets cost $16.50 and children under 6 are free.

The High Museum is part of the Woodruff Arts Center, which is also home to the Atlanta Symphony and the Alliance Theater, two other cultural hubs.

History Lovers

The Tullie Smith farm | Photo Credit: Jim Bowen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

History lovers won’t be disappointed here — there’s plenty to learn in Atlanta!

Be sure to add the Atlanta History Center to your list. This museum is located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, a little out of the way from downtown on the northern edge of Atlanta’s city limits.

There are several permanent exhibits which cover different aspects of Atlanta’s history, including Native Lands: Indians and Georgia and Turning Point: The American Civil War.

The museum is also home to several historic buildings, including antebellum structures like the Smith Farm and the famous Swan House, one of the most photographed spots in all of Atlanta.

The museum is open 9 AM to 4 PM every day but Monday. Tickets cost $23.

Another famous building also administered by the Atlanta History Center is the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author of Gone With the Wind was born.

Finally, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is another place worth a visit for history lovers.