Every year, Travel + Leisure compiles a list of the best places to travel that typically identifies far-flung, international destinations. But their most recent list took a more domestic approach. The 2020 publication has listed 50 “dynamic, of-the-moment destinations” located right here in the United States. Each of these places has something amazing to offer that can’t be experienced anywhere else in the world.
Even better, many of them are destinations we will be returning to on upcoming Christian cruise and tour itineraries! There’s nothing we love more than introducing travelers to these incredible destinations as we foster fellowship and lifelong memories on rejuvenating Christian getaways. Here are a few of the familiar places, along with their ranking, from Travel + Leisure’s list that we can’t wait to see again:
#1 Alaska’s Coast
Number-one on the list is a place we know extremely well: the majestic coastline of Alaska. A cruise is the absolute best way for travelers to explore the waterfalls, glaciers, temperate rainforests and wildlife of Alaska. There is absolutely no place on earth that compares to its breathtaking beauty.
#2 Astoria, OR
A lesser-known cruise stop, Astoria may be familiar to many families as the idyllic setting of the 1985 film The Goonies. But this scenic coastal city—the oldest American settlement in the West—offers more to visitors than beloved film locations. From the colorful Victorian homes and fresh seafood to the prominent Haystack Rock off Cannon Beach, Astoria has long been one of the West Coast’s hidden gems.
#11 Cincinnati, OH
This Rust Belt city plays a significant role in many of our tours through America’s heartland, and for good reason. The urban energy of its Riverfront district balances with lovely walking paths and spectacular views across the Ohio River. The Cincinnati Zoo is legendary and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center offers an immersive experience celebrating historic and contemporary heroes. Then, just outside the city, the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, with a life-size Noah’s Ark model, offer captivating biblical insights for Christian travelers of all ages.
#22 Lexington, KY
This gateway to Kentucky’s fabled horse country is famous for thoroughbreds and baseball. Travelers enjoy strolling through the Kentucky Derby Museum and Old Louisville, a historic neighborhood known for its stunning Victorian mansions. Filled with history and authentic American charm—and surrounded by endless, rolling bluegrass pastures—Lexington offers the perfect combination of culture and scenery as a stop on our domestic tour itineraries.
#27 Nashville, TN
The heart of Nashville is found right there in its nickname: Music City, USA. From the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry itself, our travelers enjoy every music-filled moment. A concert from one of the leading Christian artists is often on the itinerary. This legendary destination serves as the beating heart of the country music industry as well as a home base for Southern Gospel and contemporary Christian music.
#28 New Orleans, LA
Travel + Leisure calls attention to the “irrepressible” spirit of this legendary American city where jazz, food and fun are always on the menu. The entire region is a feast for the senses, from the soulful Cajun and Creole cuisine to the constant stream of live music spilling out into its vibrant neighborhoods. It’s obvious why New Orleans retains a place in so many travelers’ hearts.
#30 North Carolina’s Triangle
The so-called Research Triangle is a reference to the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, home to some of the country’s most storied universities and innovative tech companies. But there’s more to this region than research. Elegant hotels and much-heralded restaurants beckon travelers. So does the scenery. Leaf season in particular makes coastal North Carolina a spectacular place to visit.
#33 Oahu, HI
The 50th state is the very definition of a tropical paradise. While most travelers used to think of Honolulu, Oahu, as a stopover point en route to Maui or Kauai, Travel + Leisure’s mention of Waikiki begs them to reconsider. Oahu has much to offer, even beyond its famous Waikiki Beach. This international island is home to a burgeoning food scene and popular arts district, located just steps from dramatic South Pacific views and lush greenery.
#48 Washington, D.C.
From the stately halls of the U.S. government and the history of the Smithsonian to the cutting-edge amenities of newer attractions like the Museum of the Bible, few places offer more opportunities for understanding ourselves, our nation, and our faith like the District. We’ve found every travel experience in Washington to be both educational and spiritually uplifting.
We can’t wait to return to these unforgettable destinations in 2021 and beyond. How many of them have you visited and what was your favorite?