Pack your bags, load up the cooler with caffeine and beef jerky, grab your Juul vaporizer, and create a wicked Spotify playlist, because it’s road trip time! The new year brings new opportunities to travel, and one of the best ways to get a break from everyday life without breaking the bank is with a good old-fashioned car ride to a new destination.
A mini vacation to a stateside city may not sound as thrilling as an adventure abroad, but the truth is that the continental US offers enormous variety and countless hidden gems that can often best be experienced on the road. If you’re feeling road trip ready, make sure to put these US cities on your travel itinerary in 2018.
- New York City. It’s probably not surprising that New York City attracted well over 47 million domestic tourists in 2016, considering all the Big Apple has to offer. New York boasts epic architecture and statuaries, with its glittering skyline, the Empire State building, the 9/11 Tribute Center, and the iconic Statue of Liberty. You can take in the sights and sounds of the city without spending a dime on guided tours, or you can upgrade to one of many more exclusive and behind-the-scenes experiences to explore the hotspots. Of course, New York is perhaps best known for being an arts and culture hub, so take time to drop in on a Broadway musical or check out some of the most famous artwork in the world at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Los Angeles. Way over on the west side of the country lies LA, a city that’s drawing record-setting numbers of international tourists. In fact, LA became the first US city to draw more than 1 million annual visitors from China in 2016. While LA offers the same big-city appeal of New York in terms of diversity, culinary experiences, arts and culture, and gorgeous city architecture, it’s definitely an experience all on its own. The city is best known for its connections to Hollywood and the film and television industries, so be sure to tour some studios, remember the celebrities of yesteryear at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and catch a new flick at one of LA’s unbelievable historic movie theatres.
- Situated in America’s heartland, Chicago is a big city that is majorly underrated in the United States. Not only does Chicago offer fantastic shopping and dining, family-friendly attractions like museums and aquariums, and stand as the home of one of the most historic baseball stadiums in the country, but it also has 15 miles of bathing beaches on the lake. It’s a perfect Midwestern pit stop on a cross-country road trip.
- Washington, D.C. The country’s capital is another family-friendly destination, with its rich historical and cultural value and many of the best national monuments, landmarks, and museums in the country all within walking distance of one another. With or without kids, there are countless attractions to explore in the city and lots of options for guided tours or independent adventuring. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event with international appeal, so if you have a chance to line your trip to D.C. with the event (it’s tentatively scheduled to run from March 20-April 15 in 2018), definitely take advantage of the chance to see the stunning blooms.
- If you’re trying to take a road trip someplace where the weather is warm, it doesn’t get much better than Miami beach. Known for hot beaches and even hotter nightlife, Miami has bars, clubs, and restaurants that appeal to a range of tastes. If you love to soak up the sun, there are miles of beaches, plenty of pools and waterparks, and even a historic Venetian pool built from a rock quarry in 1924. Gables’ Venetian Pool is a public freshwater pool that holds 820,000 gallons of fresh water from an underground aquifer and features coral rock formations, waterfalls, and caves for swimmers to explore.
Whether you’re committed to driving nonstop until you reach a national treasure like Yellowstone Park or you’re the kind of person who wants to stop to check out the world’s largest gumball and other roadside oddities, there’s nothing quite like the memories made on a road trip. These major cities are perfect places to stop for a couple of days on your way across the country, but they are also prime destinations for the end of your journey with plenty to do to fill an entire vacation all on their own.
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