When it comes to making travel plans, sometimes it’s hard to pick the perfect spot. The Grand Canyon? Disney World? Or maybe you go abroad and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Italy?!

 

Well, let’s see… your son is terrified of heights which puts a big ixnay on the Grand Canyon idea. Your husband fractured his femur two weeks ago, and you don’t really want to wheel him around Disney World in the summer sun, do you? Italy doesn’t sound too bad, though. Except, well… your father still isn’t allowed to get a passport because of that one little incident with the IRS a few years ago and you promised to include him on this trip.

 

So where do you go when the most popular vacation spots don’t fit your priorities? Well, there are actually a lot of hidden gems around the world. No matter your situation, you’re sure to find the perfect vacation spot thanks to Forbes Advisor’s list of the 50 best places to travel in 2024! And you might just find yourself in Hot Springs, Arkansas if you take their advice. 🙂

 

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Kodiak, Alaska

Best Places to Travel in the Western Region of the U.S.

  • Aptos, California
    • “Finding a quiet slice of the California coast isn’t always easy. Aptos offers the peace and amenities laid-back travelers seek, with quick access to Santa Cruz’s buzzier food and drink scene.” – Emily Jane Moore, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah
    • “The U.S. Southwest is smattered with national parks, but a handful always get overlooked—Canyonlands being one of them. If you want to avoid the crowds and get off the beaten track (like, you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle remote), consider a trip to Canyonlands.” – Toni Perkins-Southam, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Kodiak, Alaska
    • “Kodiak is so many things at once: gritty fishing town, lush oasis of land in the middle of the sea and home to the biggest land predators on Earth. But don’t overlook its beaches—they’re starkly beautiful.” – Lisa Maloney, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • “The list of activities to enjoy in Willamette Valley is long, but the area is a must-visit for oenophiles. The region, which encompasses Eugene and Salem, is home to 11 distinct wine growing regions and over 700 wineries. If the great outdoors are more your speed, try whitewater rafting on the Santiam River, gold-level mountain biking in the West Cascades or soaking in the Breitenbush Hot Springs.” – Sarah Brady, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Wyoming
    • “Top-tier destinations include Cody, a base for wildlife watching outside of Yellowstone itself, Saratoga for skiing and hot springs and the tiny town of Ten Sleep which is a mecca for rock climbing. Backcountry campers would need months to explore all of the Wind River Range, an area with epic scenery that requires sweat equity to reach.” – Becky Pokora, Forbes Advisor Staff

 

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Hot Springs, Arkansas

Best Places to Travel in the Southern Region of the U.S.

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    • “Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and is just a short drive (or a $20 bus ride) away from New Orleans. The city has grown quite a bit since Hurricane Katrina pushed many people to move farther up the Mississippi River and packs a surprising amount of attractions.” – Andrew D’Amours, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Fredricksburg, Texas
    • “Located just one hour from San Antonio and 90 minutes from Austin, Fredericksburg is a burgeoning wine region in Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg has more than 60 wineries, vineyards and wine-tasting rooms where you can learn about and sample Texas-produced wines . . . Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Fredericksburg can enjoy a quick, but moderately challenging, 425-foot climb up the summit trail to the top of Enchanted Rock. From the top of this giant pink granite dome, you’ll see scenic views of the Hill Country.” – Senitra Horbrook, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas
    • “You can still relax in the healing thermal waters in downtown Hot Springs. When you’re done, there are dozens of restaurants within walking distance serving everything from Mexican food to pizza joints to old-fashioned Southern fare, including shrimp and grits, black-eyed peas and cornbread with a glass of ice-cold sweet tea to stay cool. Visit in fall if you can—the leaves changing color on the Ouachita Mountains are a gorgeous sight.” – Harlan Vaughn, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Hutchinson Island, Florida
    • “The area is one of the largest loggerhead turtle nesting areas and the development on the island is minimal, with the oceanfront housing mostly low-rise condos or undeveloped nature set way back from the shoreline. It’s also one of the only places in the state of Florida where you can horseback ride on the beach, making it a unique don’t-miss activity.” – Adam Frankel, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • New Braunfels/Gruene, Texas
    • “Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy time on either of the two rivers that flow through New Braunfels. Towering cypress trees line the river banks creating a perfect canopy to rent a tube and float down the Guadalupe River or the more gentle Comal River during the spring and summer months. The latter is fed by the Comal Springs, the largest natural freshwater spring in Texas, making the water crystal clear and cool.” – Jerod Morales, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Pine Mountain, Georgia
    • “Pine Mountain is a picturesque town in southwest Georgia that can provide a literal breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta which is just over an hour away. It’s best known as the location of Callaway Resort & Gardens which offers a variety of attractions and experiences year-round to enjoy the area’s natural beauty.” – Clint Proctor, Forbes Advisor Staff

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Virginia Wine Country

Best Places to Travel in the Eastern Region of the U.S.

  • Buffalo, New York
    • “The arts and culture scene in Buffalo has also expanded. To get a lay of the land, check out The Buffalo History Museum, a National Historic Landmark dating back to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. The interactive exhibits show where this remarkable city has been—and where it’s heading next. Then there’s the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. After a nearly $200 million expansion, it has now become one of the top centers for contemporary art in the world.” – Barry Choi, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Rangeley, Maine
    • “Venture deep into Maine’s interior to reach Rangeley, where you can get your fill of outdoor adventure and escape the coastal crowds of summer. The mountains, lakes and ponds of Appalachian Maine were formed by slowly shifting ice sheets in the Pleistocene Epoch. Curious observers can find evidence of glacial migrations along the trails that summit Saddleback Mountain, a ski resort by winter and classic hiking destination in the summer and fall.” – Emily Jane Moore, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Virginia Wine Country
    • “If you’re looking for a getaway in the Mid-Atlantic or to add on a couple of days to a Washington, D.C. vacation, Virginia Wine Country might be just the place. Loudoun County boasts over three-dozen wineries just an hour from the Capitol, but you’ll find 300 wineries and vineyards all over the state.” – Dia Adams, Forbes Advisor Staff

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Yellow Springs, Ohio

Best Places to Travel in the Midwest Region of the U.S.

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • “Beyond its cultural and educational landmarks, Ann Arbor is also a haven for foodies. The city’s culinary scene is a delightful surprise, featuring an array of dining options that range from gourmet restaurants to quirky food trucks . . . Nature mixes perfectly with urban life in Ann Arbor. The Huron River running through the city offers kayaking and canoeing opportunities, while numerous parks and gardens provide serene escapes for picnics, jogs and leisurely strolls.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Cleveland, Ohio
    • “You’ll get more than just an education in the history of rock-n-roll in Cleveland. Admire memorabilia like handwritten song drafts and instruments played by some of the most legendary rock musicians . . . If you’re a foodie or have simply worked up an appetite, spend some time taking in the sights, smells and flavors of the West Side Market. It’s Cleveland’s oldest public market, with origins dating back to 1840.” – Jerod Morales, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • “The compact downtown is dotted with eclectic restaurants, bars and shops—and there are many family-friendly destinations in the area . . . Tulsa has 135 parks around the city. If you can, visit when the weather’s nice to take full advantage of these outdoor urban spaces. They’re especially worthwhile for kids and families.” – Harlan Vaughn, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Yellow Springs, Ohio
    • “The charming village of Yellow Springs, Ohio is just 30 minutes outside of Dayton but feels like another planet—a colorful, inclusive, artistic planet, where barefoot buskers and crystal enthusiasts share the sidewalks of the vibrant downtown (in the small town sense of the word) and seemingly everyone’s smiling. With a rich history of activism and a supportive arts scene, the village embraces the eclectic and welcomes all things indie.” – Tamara Aydinyan, Forbes Advisor Contributor

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Saba

Best Vacation Islands to Travel

  • Dominica
    • “Water enthusiasts will certainly find paradise here. Dominica is home to the unique Champagne Reef, which garnered its name due to the rising bubbles from the nearby volcanic thermal springs. For water viewing you can’t quite flip your fins in, check out the Boiling Lake, which, as the name suggests, is a ferociously bubbling lake located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park. For one of the most unique wellness experiences, head to Ti Kwen Glo Cho, a hot spring in Wotten Waven that has a bathtub in the midst of nature, with nonstop flowing thermal water.” – Kaitlyn Rosati, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Saba
    • “Upon arrival, you’ll be treated to unspoiled scenery that won’t resemble any cliche Caribbean imagery. You won’t be sipping a piña colada on a white sand beach here because, in Saba, they don’t exist. However, you could find yourself hiking to the Netherlands’ highest point, Mount Scenery, an 887-meter summit. For a less strenuous trek, go for Mas’Cohones. After about twenty minutes uphill, you’ll be treated to the many colors of Saba, from the green terrain to the signature white houses with red shutters and the deep vibrant blues of the Caribbean.” – Kaitlyn Rosati, Forbes Advisor Contributor

 

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Lucca, Italy

Best Places to Travel in Europe

  • Basel, Switzerland
    • “From the world’s oldest publicly owned art collection at the Kunstmuseum to the Basler Munster cathedral that’s been in place for over a millennium, you’ll have plenty to see. If your interests don’t lean quite so cultural, in the summer you can also don your bathing suit and float along the Rhine with stops for beer and brats as you wish.” – Dia Adams, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Dorset, England
    • “The Southwestern corner of England isn’t a secret to most Europeans, but Americans tend to head straight to London and, by doing so, miss this gem of a region. Jurassic fossils along a pristine coast? Check. Fish and chips with a view of today’s catch? Check. A high street featuring the original Lush store that winds down to the Quay? Check.” – Dia Adams, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Durbuy, Belgium
    • “Durbuy’s history is palpable in every alleyway and square, with the grand Castle of Durbuy overlooking the town, adding an air of timeless majesty. Despite its small size, Durbuy is bursting with character, offering a unique blend of historical richness, gastronomic delights and natural beauty.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Lucca, Italy
    • “If you want to experience Tuscany at a slower pace, this city is an ideal stop. Unlike many places in the region, Lucca is relatively flat so it’s easy to explore by bike or on foot. The walled city, dating back to the mid-16th century, offers charming narrow streets with nearly no vehicles. You can also walk the tree-lined path around the top of the city walls.” – Jenn Underwood, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Luxembourg
    • “Luxembourg, a small but dynamic country—sandwiched between Belgium, France and Germany—stands out for its medieval old town perched on high cliffs. It’s not just about its past, though; it’s also a prominent financial center. Luxembourg City is a UNESCO World Heritage site with old fortresses and cobblestone streets sharing space with a bustling business district.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Maribor, Slovenia
    • “Slovenia’s charming second-largest city, Maribor is a hidden gem nestled along the banks of the River Drava. The city is famous for its wine culture, epitomized by the oldest vine in the world—Žametovka or modra kavčina (Bleu de Cologne)—which still produces grapes. The Old Vine House not only showcases the ancient vine but serves as a museum of wine.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Pogobie Tylne, Poland
    • “For a few nights’ staycation, Pogobie Tylne, Poland is the piece of peace you didn’t know you needed. It’s nestled in the forested district of Gmina Pisz, within Pisz County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. In other words, it’s somewhere north in the idyllic Polish countryside you’ve never heard of–which is precisely why it’s worth a visit.” – AnnaMarie Houlis, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Tallinn, Estonia
    • “In Tallinn’s Old Town, visitors can explore the Toompea Castle, a historic fortress that now houses the Estonian Parliament and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an example of Russian Revival architecture. The Town Hall Square with its markets and outdoor cafes is a perfect spot to soak in the medieval atmosphere, especially during the Christmas market season.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Theth National Park, Albania
    • “Theth National Park was the place I never knew I needed in my life. The mountains took my breath away (both figuratively and literally). If you’re on the fence with hiking the Theth-Valbona trail, don’t let the numbers scare you; while it’s a bit steep at the beginning, it quickly eases up and the rest of the hike is delightful.” – Toni Perkins-Southam, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Timisoara, Romania
    • “Timisoara’s charming center is quite walkable and has everything one would expect from a European town of 250,000 inhabitants: gelato shops, umbrella-lined streets and several car-free squares in the city. It also has more parks and green spaces than one could see in a month, even if you visited a new one every day.” – Anya Kartashova, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
    • “Vilnius is a hub of cultural richness and artistic expression. The city’s thriving contemporary art scene is evident in its numerous galleries and street art, particularly in the Užupis district, which declared itself an independent republic on April 1, 1997. If you visit on Užupis Independence Day, you can even get your passport stamped.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff

 

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Puerto Natales, Chile

Best Places to Travel in North, Central & South America

  • Barranquilla, Colombia
    • “You can discover an authentic Colombian experience in Barranquilla. There are tasty arepas, carimañolas and empanadas to sample. You can enjoy the Caribbean influence on all aspects of life in ‘Colombia’s Golden Gate.’ The city has a lovely riverfront boardwalk and is close enough to the coast for day trips to beautiful and quiet small beach towns.” – Andrew D’Amours, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Jardín, Colombia
    • “If Colombia is known for anything, it’s coffee, and the lush green hills where it’s produced. Jardín puts both of these things front and center. This quiet, colonial town is just three hours from Medellín, but the vibe could not be more different. While Medellín is a bustling Andean metropolis, Jardín is laid-back. So be sure to slow down while you’re there.” – Dylan Pearl, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Loreto, Mexico
    • “Loreto makes an excellent long weekend getaway, with easy day trips by boat to reefs and islands in Loreto Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or, stay landside and explore the Sierra de la Giganta mountains with their saguaros, canyons and elusive wildlife.” – Becky Pokora, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Mendoza, Argentina
    • “Mendoza is the quintessential Argentinian wine country, and most of its economy revolves around wineries. If you’re thinking you’ll enjoy an experience like those in Napa or Sonoma, you’d be flat-out wrong. Wine tastings in Mendoza are a serious, hours-long commitment, and you will have to book a reservation in advance of your trip for some of the most desirable wineries. But once you get there you can enjoy gourmet meals to go with your wine tasting, along with the most gorgeous landscapes while you imbibe and partake of local delicacies.” – Ben Nickel-D’Andrea, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Montevideo, Uruguay
    • “Montevideo gets overlooked compared to other South American capitals, perhaps because it’s small and doesn’t have a hundred must-do activities. The city is built more for laidback travelers who fit right into the local easy-going lifestyle. Allow twice as long as you think you need to swim in the river, sample excellent Tannat wines and eat every cut of beef imaginable.” – Becky Pokora, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Puerto Natales, Chile
    • “Down at the bottom of the world sits Puerto Natales, a charming town in the south of Chile. The real appeal of this place, though, is its proximity to Torres Del Paine National Park, known worldwide for its beautiful Patagonian scenery, massive caves and glaciers.” – Dylan Pearl, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Quebec City, Canada
    • “Quebec City, a slice of European charm in North America, offers a magical experience, especially during the holiday season. The city, with its cobbled streets, historic architecture and the unmissable Château Frontenac, transforms into a winter wonderland, making it a perfect backdrop for the Quebec Christmas Market. Inspired by the grand Christmas markets of Europe, it’s full of twinkling lights, charming wooden kiosks and the aroma of spiced mulled wine and sweet treats. You can even ice skate on the nearby rink.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • El Zonte, El Salvador
    • “Casually known as ‘Bitcoin Beach’ due to the number of businesses accepting Bitcoin for payment, you might get the idea that El Zonte is a modern, happening place. That couldn’t be further from the truth. On the Pacific coast, El Zonte is a chilled-out town of a few square blocks appealing to surfers and travelers looking for a few days of stress-free sunshine.” – Becky Pokora, Forbes Advisor Staff

 

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Shikoku, Japan

Best Places to Travel in Asia

  • Bhutan
    • “Known as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon,’ Bhutan is a place where traditional Buddhist culture intertwines with modern life. This unique country, which measures its success in terms of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross Domestic Product, prioritizes the well-being of its people and the preservation of its natural environment and culture over material wealth.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Mongolia
    • “Mongolia, a land of sprawling steppes and traditions, is one of the last places on Earth where nomadic life is still a tradition. The Mongolian landscape is a montage of mountains, grasslands and the beauty of the Gobi Desert with a touch of bustling life at its capital, Ulaanbaatar.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Rishikesh, India
    • “Rishikesh is a smaller city in Northern India at the foot of the Himalayas on the famous Ganges River. It is considered the yoga capital of the world and hosts an annual yoga festival. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a spiritual haven, notably for meditation. There are many temples and ashrams, including the Beatles Ashram (where the band wrote their self-titled album, also known as the ‘White Album’).” – Andrew D’Amours, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Shikoku, Japan
    • “Matsuyama’s impressive namesake castle with its original tenshu tower rises above the island’s largest city. Nearby Dogo Onsen is one of the oldest and most iconic bathhouses in Japan. At the heart of Shikoku is secluded Iya Valley, featuring lush, dramatic gorges, creaky vine bridges, hot springs and mist-filled valleys.” – Barbara King, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Timor-Leste
    • “The coastline of Timor-Leste is filled with golden sandy beaches, lapped by turquoise waters. The beauty here coupled with the hospitality of the Timorese people and lack of Wi-Fi and cell reception in much of the country makes for an idyllic break from reality.” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff

 

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Darwin, Australia

Best Places to Travel in Australia

  • Darwin, Australia
    • “For nature enthusiasts, Darwin is a gateway to some of Australia’s most inspiring natural wonders. Litchfield National Park (not far from the city), with its stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear swimming holes, provides a refreshing escape from the tropical heat—unless you visit during the rainy season when the swimming holes are filled with crocs (but the waterfalls are even more powerful).” – Caroline Lupini, Forbes Advisor Staff
  • Tasmania
    • “There are more than just devils in Australia’s island state. South of the Australian mainland—just a short flight away from both Sydney and Melbourne—lies Tasmania, a land of around 600,000 people. This island is a paradise for nature lovers, foodies and adventure seekers alike. To the north you’ll find Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, home to an incredibly diverse landscape.” – Jon Nickel-D’Andrea, Forbes Advisor Contributor

 

Namibia

Namibia

Best Places to Travel in Africa

  • Namibia
    • “Besides wildlife viewing, Namibia offers plenty of adventure. Hiking Dune 45 at sunrise, riding ATVs Mad Max-style up and down the dunes of Swakopmund and exploring the Skeleton Coast make this country on the southwestern edge of Africa hard to forget.” – Anya Kartashova, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • N’gor Island, Senegal
    • “Because the island is so small, visitors can explore the narrow, sandy walking paths from one end to the other in mere minutes. But N’gor Island is nonetheless replete with beachside shacks to snack on seafood and sip some refreshing drinks under the Senegalese sun.” – AnnaMarie Houlis, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Stellenbosch, South Africa
    • “Situated less than an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, Stellenbosch is one of the many wine-producing regions in South Africa. Wine lovers and foodies alike will find a haven here, with some of the top restaurants in the country nestled next to some of the best wineries.” – Jon Nickel-D’Andrea, Forbes Advisor Contributor
  • Tunisia
    • “Looking for a budget destination with few tourists, well-preserved Roman ruins and beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean Sea? Tunisia is just the place. Located in North Africa, Tunisia has many historical sites from the time it spent as part of the Roman Empire.” – Senitra Horbrook, Forbes Advisor Contributor

 

Make sure to check out the official Forbes Advisor article to learn even more details about each destination, including tips on where to stay and how you can earn rewards.

 

Feature Photo: Hot Springs National Park/Facebook
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