5 Surprising Top US Travel Destinations


PittsburghWe all love traveling to those big name cities outside the United States (London, Paris, Beijing, Moscow), but there are plenty of top vacation locations right here in the ole US of A. But some of these top American cities and destinations may just surprise you.

Top US Destinations

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is no longer the dirty, steel town your parents or grandparents might describe. Over the past few decades, Pittsburgh has undergone a renaissance and now ranks as one of the most livable cities in the world. Today, Pittsburgh is a clean, thriving metropolis with a gorgeous skyline and something for everyone. The city is home to dozens of world-class museums, including the Carnegie Museums of Art and National History and the Warhol Museum.

Pittsburgh is also a city bursting with unique culinary experiences, ranging from gourmet grilled cheese at Avenue B to homebrewed beer in an old church at Church Brew Works. And let’s not forget the heart and soul of this booming city: the sports teams. Be sure to pack your black and gold to support the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins year round!

2. Louisville, Kentucky

Who would’ve thought Kentucky would have produced such a hub of hipster culture and attractions? New Louisville (a.k.a ‘NuLu’ or Market District) is the new center for the city’s trendiest restaurants, along with converted warehouse serving as local breweries and unique antique shops. But new-age culture can’t overshadow Louisville’s historic roots. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy a trip down the Ohio River on the Belle of Louisville, the oldest river steamboat in continuous use today. Or, for the sports history lovers, Louisville houses the Kentucky Derby and the Louisville Slugger Museums.

And don’t be afraid to get out of city to explore attractions such as the Louisville Mega Cavern or any of the Civil War sites nearby. Louisville is surrounded by gorgeous countryside covered in rolling hills and horse farms. Do some research and arrange your own horseback riding lesson.

3. Glacier National Park, Montana

Established in 1910, the Glacier National Park encompasses approximately one million acres of land and 25 active glaciers. The “active” glaciers move around the park due to melting and thawing. Glacier houses miles of backpacking trails, as well as 13 separate campgrounds. Visitors are also encouraged to participate in a ranger-led walk, talk, or hike and enjoy any of Glacier’s amphitheater programs that run from June through September.

While Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Roadis easily the most popular pilgrimage in the park, you can easily lose the crowd with a little off-roading. But head out to Montana quick, because unlike attractions at other national parks, the glaciers at Glacier may be completely melted by 2030!

4. Twin Cities, Minnesota

The Twin Cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul. Although officially separate cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis deliver quite the 1-2-punch for vacations. Whether you prefer the museum life, live music, or exploring, the Twin Cities area offers it all. Visitors looking to stretch their legs and enjoy some beautiful art should start their day at the side-by-side Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The Twin Cities are also home to the most visited in the world: Mall of America. But the shopping options don’t stop there; Grand Avenue is a favorite location for locals and visitors, alike. Stretching for 30 blocks, Grand Avenue offers everything a shopper could possibly want, along with plenty of extras.

5. San Juan Islands, Washington

Together, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island, present a triple threat for tourists and visitors to the region. Located on the coast north of Seattle, experience an uncharacteristic amount of sunshine for the region.  The islands offer visitors with beaches, bike trails, hiking, whale watching, vineyards, and more.

But don’t forget about the food! For years, residents on the San Juan Islands have cultivated their own crops and local cuisine, leading Lonely Planet author, Brendan Sainsbury, to dub the islands the “Gourmet Archipelago.” Restaurants such as The Bay Café serve up locally grown fruits and veggies, as well as meat. Plus weekly farmer markets offer plates of fresh seafood and colorful crops and flowers for anyone looking to prepare a gourmet meal!

How to Save on Super Travels

Even when you’re not traveling to the ends of the world, there’s still opportunity to save major dollars on domestic trips. Check out the host of hotel, rental car, and vacation package savings on SmartBizSavings before you hit the road!

Anna Albi is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received a B.A. in Creative Writing with an additional major on Professional Writing. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Professional Writing, also at CMU. Feel free to reach out to her through Google+.

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