The U.S. Destinations Travel Experts Return To Again And Again

There are so many places right in our own backyard that warrant repeat visits.

Avid travelers are often on a mission to check off as many bucket list destinations as possible. But some places are so magical that they call for a return visit ― or many. And a lot of these special spots are right here in the United States.

“There is truly no place like home,” Kareem George, a travel adviser and founder of Culture Traveler, told HuffPost. “It is always wonderful to appreciate and enjoy the many destination gems right in our own backyard.”

The country possesses an incredible diversity of landscapes and attractions across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

“Overall, I think there are certain destinations in the U.S. that have a magnetic pull, whether it’s because of their unique culture, natural beauty, or rich history,” said Claire Summers, the travel blogger behind Claire’s Itchy Feet. “It’s these qualities that draw us back again and again, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and experience these destinations.”

We asked experts in the travel space to share the U.S. destinations they’ve returned to multiple times. Keep scrolling for 23 cities, islands, regions and other types of destinations to inspire your next vacation.

New Orleans
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“There are many reasons why New Orleans keeps me coming back,” said Annette Richmond, creator of Fat Girls Traveling. “The food is the first thing that hooks you! The Cajun cuisine is as great as you’ve heard ― maybe even better.”

In addition to trying classic Cajun dishes like gumbo and jambalaya, she recommended checking out the amazing Middle Eastern food at James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya's restaurant Saba.

Richmond also touted the city's incredible live music and entertainment scene. She recently visited the Big Easy for the sixth time to attend the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, aka "Jazz Fest."

“From ghost tours to the French Quarter, there’s something here for everyone — especially those who like to party, because in NOLA, the party never stops and it’s legal to drink in the streets," she said. "There’s something magical about this historical city and the southern hospitality every time I return I find something new to love.”
Joshua Tree, California
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“Los Angeles can get extremely exhausting with the hustle and bustle and the glitz and glam,” said Alyssa Ramos, the blogger behind My Life’s A Travel Movie. “That’s why I always loved an escape to Joshua Tree, which is located close to Coachella Valley. Joshua Tree is both a town and a National Park, and it’s one of the closest National Parks to LA.”

She’s a fan of the area’s striking rock formations, like “Skull Rock” — which, as the name suggests, resembles a skull. Ramos recommended staying at the many “rustic-chic” accommodations around Joshua Tree and waking up early to enjoy some outdoor time before the extreme desert heat sets in.

“Going there feels like you’re in a completely different world, including a world back in time, when things were very simple,” she said. “The park itself is very peculiar, with the many ‘Joshua Trees’ that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. To further enhance the ‘back in time’ experience, you must visit Pioneertown ― it was actually a movie set decades ago, and you can go inside of some of the structures as they are now converted into shops."
Traverse City, Michigan
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George, the travel adviser, believes Traverse City, Michigan, is a great destination for repeat visits.

“The landscapes of Northern Michigan and Traverse City are breathtaking ― rolling hills, raw coastlines and sparkling waters as far as the eye can see.” he said. “I particularly love Traverse City in the summer for the delicious culinary scene, wine tasting and, of course, cherry pie!”

Indeed, Traverse City has been nicknamed the “Cherry Capital of the World” and is home to the National Cherry Festival. During the springtime, visitors to the area will find a sea of stunning cherry blossoms in bloom. Outdoor enthusiasts will no doubt want to check out the nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as well.
Sedona, Arizona
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“I do not think I will ever get tired of visiting Sedona, Arizona,” said Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer. “I have been there multiple times, and I plan on returning every year or two. It is probably the most beautiful place I have ever visited, and the red rocks never get old.”

Dengler stays at the Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Piñon Pointe, which he recommends as a solid jumping off point to explore the many local restaurants, bars and shops on foot. As an avid hiker, he also enjoys the many trail options in the area.

“Not only does Sedona have a ton of challenging hikes, but it is a great home base for visiting other Arizona hot spots,” he said, noting that Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park and Flagstaff are all an easy drive away to add a variety of new adventures to his visits.

“I’ve spent time in Sedona, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Prescott, and each one offers something unique,” echoed Amina Dearmon, a luxury travel adviser and owner of Perspectives Travel. “I like that there is an emphasis on well-being, spending time outdoors, and great food across all of the cities that I’ve visited it in Arizona.”
Finger Lakes Region, New York
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"Finger Lakes Wine Country is another destination that has made me a repeat visitor," Richmond said. "Some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted is grown here and as a native Northern Californian, that’s saying something!"

She's a fan of the sparkling riesling from Wagner Vineyards and sparkling Baco Noir from Keuka Springs Winery. The farm-to-table food scene is also a draw for Richmond, who recommended having dinner at Graft Wine + Cider Bar.

"One of the things that make Finger Lakes Wine Country a standout destination, aside from the wine, is all of the incredible waterfalls in the region," Richmond added. "Plus the name says it all, the lakes in this area are a huge draw. If you enjoy kayaking, fishing, sailing or boating you’ll love it here. If you like a nice hike or a walk in the woods you should add Finger Lakes Wine Country to your list."
Washington, D.C.
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“Summers in D.C. are pure magic,” said Gabby Beckford, a travel expert and founder of Packs Light. “It’s a city that takes pride in its cleanliness and diversity and is always bustling with activities. From free admission to world-class museums to wine tastings in gardens, you can always find something to do that won’t break the bank.”

Visitors can stroll the charming streets of Georgetown or take in all the monuments, memorials and museums along the National Mall and not even scratch the surface of all there is to explore in our nation’s capital.

“And don’t even get me started on the food scene ― mouthwatering goodness everywhere you turn!” Beckford added. “D.C. knows how to keep me hooked.”
Savannah, Georgia
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“Despite visiting 49 of 50 states and 35+ countries, one place I always return to is Savannah, Georgia,” said Victoria Yore, a travel blogger and co-creator of Southern Trippers. “Savannah is incredibly compact and walkable, but in a beautifully historic way. Cobblestone streets surrounded by beautiful homes and the famous green ‘squares’ provide plenty of ways to escape the hustle and bustle.”

In Yore’s opinion, the very best part of Savannah might just be the food, with a variety of dining options for all types of gastronomes.

“Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and allergen-free options abound at the many restaurants in Savannah,” she said. “Both cocktails and mocktails can be enjoyed while walking around Savannah or in one of the many rooftop bars in the city! If you are looking for a weekend getaway that is filled with historic walkability, incredible food at a reasonable price, and relaxing charm, Savannah is the city for you and I return at least twice a year!”
Napa Valley, California
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"People often hear me say that California is my favorite state and a big reason for this is Napa Valley," said Dr. Nadeen White, who runs the travel blog The Sophisticated Life. "The vineyards and mountains are picturesque, the wine is exquisite, and the food is amazing, from Michelin star to food trucks."

She encouraged visitors to look beyond downtown Napa and explore other parts of the valley, like the ranches in Calistoga and the posh hotels and shops in Yountville.

"My last two visits were for the 12th annual Black Vines Festival and the 20th Anniversary of the Association of African American Vintners," White said. "The diversity of wineries in Napa Valley is increasing including BIPOC and women-owned brands. Even more reason to keep heading back to this beautiful area."
Siesta Key, Florida
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In Dengler’s opinion, one of the best beach destinations in the U.S. is Siesta Key, Florida. He’s visited the barrier island three times and counting.

“The beach’s white and soft sand is a unique experience compared to many of Florida’s other beaches,” Dengler said. “The small town and walkable nature of Siesta Key Village is a huge appeal for those who just want to relax and not have to worry about driving.”

He hailed the laid-back neighborhood feel and variety of conveniently located restaurants like Siesta Key Oyster Bar.

“While it has nightlife, including live music, it is much more laid back than a place like Miami and cheaper than a similar spot like Key West," Dengler said. "Walk, or hop on the trolley, to explore the entire key and watch the sunset at Turtle Beach. Compared to similar destinations, I would say Siesta Key is on the more affordable end."
Denver, Colorado
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"Denver is the kind of place that just feels like home," said travel blogger Esther Susag. "Maybe it's the friendly locals or the laid-back vibe, but every time I visit, I find myself falling in love with the city all over again."

She appreciates the easy access to outdoor adventures, with the Rocky Mountains just a short drive away and plenty of opportunities for hiking and skiing.

"But even if you're not the outdoorsy type, there's plenty to keep you busy in the city itself, from the amazing museums and art galleries to the buzzing nightlife and craft beer scene," Susag added.

Meredith Carey, deputy editor at Tripadvisor, also praised the wide array of exciting things to do in Denver. She's an especially big fan of Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the breweries around the River North Art District (RiNO) -- including Our Mutual Friend, Cervecería Colorado and Blue Moon.
Provincetown, Massachusetts
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"I am absolutely in love with Provincetown, Massachusetts," said Ravi Roth, a travel expert and host of “The Gaycation Travel Show.” "It is a destination for anyone and everyone in the queer community to feel seen, visible, and safe."

The Cape Code favorite boasts great restaurants, art galleries, shops, historic sites and more.

"Provincetown also has beautiful beaches, incredible entertainment, and nature for hiking and biking," Roth added. "It is eclectic and constantly evolving!"
Yellowstone National Park
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"Something about Yellowstone — and national parks in general — pulls me in every time," said travel blogger Sean Lau. "Not only does Yellowstone have an endless amount of activities, but it is one of the places where your experience varies vastly depending on the season you visit."

For summer visits, he recommended exploring the many hiking trails, seeing wildlife and admiring the famed hot springs and geysers.

"In the winter, you can go snowmobiling in the park and see a completely different side of Yellowstone that not many people get to see," Lau added. "No matter how many times I return to Yellowstone, I’m always discovering something new."
Big Sur, California
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"For me, a destination that draws me to return multiple times is one that offers a sense of place," said Brianna Glenn, CEO and travel adviser at Milk + Honey Travels. "As a California native, I may be biased, but there’s truly no place like the West Coast. I love driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, and spending time in Big Sur is a personal favorite I’ve returned to time and time again."

A rugged stretch of coast between Carmel and San Simeon, Big Sur is known for its breathtaking natural landscape.

"I find myself returning to this stunning location again and again, drawn in by its towering redwoods, breathtaking cliffs, and sense of seclusion and tranquility," Glenn added. "The sense of peace and relaxation that I feel when I’m there is truly unmatched. From camping, glamping, historic inns, and luxury hotels, I also love that one can experience the magic of Big Sur in different ways."
New York City
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“There’s something about the energy of New York City that draws me in and keeps me coming back for more,” Summers said. “I love exploring the different neighborhoods and getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the streets.”

She appreciates the opportunity to dive deeper into the local culture and discover something new each time she returns to the Big Apple.

"What makes it magical for me is the density of people, culture, art, entertainment, dining and business — all squished into a tiny island," said Amina Porter, CEO of PS. "There’s a beat to the city that is impossible to escape as soon as you set foot, and while it can be draining, I never really notice it until I leave."

Whether you’re visiting iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty or checking out more modern additions like the High Line and Brooklyn Flea, you’ll never run out of things to do.

“Alicia Keys described it best in 'Empire State of Mind' ― ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of,’” echoed White, who was born to immigrant parents in New York City. “It is a city where you can find anything and everything. Diversity of people, food and neighborhoods. From uptown to downtown, there is something for everyone. It is a city that never sleeps and is constantly evolving. You can go to NYC a thousand times and never see it all.”
Key West, Florida
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For a vacation that feels like a Caribbean getaway without the need for a passport, Yore recommended the historic city of Key West, Florida.

"The weather is never too warm or too cold, and the island breeze will transport you to a place of relaxation instantly," she said. "My favorite local suggestion? Visiting Dry Tortugas National Park. It is pricey but it is one of the coolest things you will ever see. You can take the boat or seaplane directly from Key West and it makes a great day trip."

Yore, who also runs the website Florida Trippers, urged visitors to try the locally caught seafood and world-famous key lime pie.

"Tip: If you have a good cancellation policy, go during the early days of hurricane season — June and July — for prices that are half of high season," she added.
Twin Cities, Minnesota
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Known as the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area is one of Susag's favorite destinations for return visits.

"I’m biased because I’m from here but Minnesota has so much to offer, especially in the summer," she said. "It gets a bad rep for being freezing cold but the other months out of the year are perfect for enjoying breweries or going out on one of thousands and thousands of lakes Minnesota has."

Susag encouraged would-be visitors to try the famous Juicy Lucy burger and sip on some local craft beers. She also recommended taking a day trip to Duluth for hiking trails and "gorgeous views of Lake Superior."

"What keeps me coming back is how kind everyone is and I just never get sick of floating on a lake or biking around one of the many trails," she added. "It’s a very underrated city with so much to offer."
San Diego
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"San Diego is a place I’ll always go back to," Beckford said. "The weather is amazing, and I love how easy it is to explore downtown on foot."

She believes the Torrey Pines area offers the best sunset views in the world.

"San Diego also happens to be one of my favorite places for seafood," Beckford added. "So I wouldn’t be surprised if you catch me eating my way through La Jolla — it’s so delicious!"

Susag is similarly a fan of the city's laid-back SoCal vibes with its breathtaking coastline and surfing culture around La Jolla Cove.

"Even if you’re not a big beach person, San Diego has endless things to do," she added. "The city has a rich history which you’ll see with its many museums and historic sites, like the USS Midway Museum and the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park."
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
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About 25 miles south of Charleston, you'll find Kiawah Island, South Carolina — a barrier island known for its beautiful beaches, natural marshland, and of course, the luxury Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

"This area is the ancestral home of my grandfather and I feel at ease there," George said. "I love the statuesque, mature trees and the endless vistas across the marshland. At Kiawah, I love to play tennis, enjoy long walks and dine at the many restaurants available both in town and at the resort."
San Juan, Puerto Rico
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The Puerto Rican capital is another destination that offers the chance for an exciting getaway without the need for a passport.

"What draws me to return to San Juan again and again is the mix of history, cultures and food," Dearmon said. "It’s also an easy trip from the standpoint of not having to change money, have an international calling plan, or rely heavily on translation apps. The nice thing about returning to a destination is the fact that you’re a bit more comfortable with it the next time around. You may have a favorite restaurant or favorite local shop to visit and it just feels less like you’re a tourist each time you visit."
Austin, Texas
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A native of Texas, Carey visits Austin at least once a year.

"I’m going for two things: incredible -- let me repeat, incredible -- food and shopping," she said, noting that her go-to restaurants are Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Paperboy, Justine’s, and Torchy’s.

As for shops, Carey is a fan of Allens Boots, ByGeorge, and Uncommon Objects.

"There’s plenty to do in the outdoors when the weather is nice (Barton Springs Pool and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center among them), and unless you’re shelling out for sushi at Uchi every night (which you should at least once), it’s a pretty reasonable trip, cost-wise," she added.
West Palm Beach, Florida
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Ramos touted West Palm Beach's downtown atmosphere, tropical vibes and proximity to other South Florida hotspots.

"Boating on the intracoastal to sandbars and the famous Peanut Island (did you know it was JFK’s safety bunker?) are some of my favorite things to do there, and of course spending a fabulous day or night out on the prestigious Palm Beach Island is a must," she said.

For an exciting night in the area, Ramos also recommended checking out the HMF bar at the famous Breakers hotel or Cuccina after dark.

"West Palm is also the furthest north stop for the new Brightline fast train, which can take you down to Miami in just an hour," she added.
Charlotte, North Carolina
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"What keeps me coming back to Charlotte is the city's unique blend of Southern charm, modern amenities, and endless opportunities for fun and adventure," Susag said. "I mean, where else can you explore historic sites and museums, gorge on some of the most delicious Southern comfort food you've ever tasted, and experience some of the best outdoor activities all in one place?"

She enjoys the city's arts and culture scene, with many museums and galleries, as well as theaters, music venues, and festivals.

"But my favorite part about Charlotte is all the things you can do outside," Susag explained. "Whether you're into hiking, biking, kayaking, or just lounging in a park, there’s so many different ways to enjoy being outside. The city's greenways and parks are a great way to explore the city on foot or by bike. You can even whitewater raft, which is one of my favorite water activities."
Los Angeles
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“Los Angeles has a certain allure that keeps me coming back time and again,” said travel blogger Isabel Leong. “Perhaps it’s the endless day trips that you can take, such as hiking in Malibu or exploring the vibrant art scene in downtown. Maybe it’s the accessibility of national parks like Joshua Tree or Yosemite, which offer stunning natural beauty just a few hours’ drive away.”

From the glorious sunny weather to the easy access to beaches to the glamor of Old Hollywood history, there's a lot to draw repeat visitors to LA.

"And who can resist the allure of the gorgeous estates in Beverly Hills or the creativity that permeates every corner of the city?" Leong added. "All of these factors, and more, make Los Angeles a place I always return to with joy and anticipation."
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