23
May

Best Places to Visit

Plan your dream vacation to one of these superlative destinations.

The world is full of diverse destinations that are waiting to be explored. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down your bucket list. That’s why U.S. News used a methodology that takes into account expert and editor analysis and reader votes to determine which destinations qualify for a spot on the list of the World’s Best Places to Visit. This year’s ranking includes sprawling European metropolises, picturesque Caribbean islands, quaint mountain towns and exquisite natural wonders that are sure to wow every type of traveler.

St. Lucia

Lush rainforests, majestic mountains and romantic resorts are all reasons to visit this Caribbean island. A haven for honeymooners, St. Lucia offers the perfect mix of seclusion, relaxation and adventure. To take in the spectacular landscape, plan to hike the Piton Mountains or snorkel and scuba dive in the waters of Anse Chastanet.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Tucked away less than 60 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole sees an influx of winter travelers looking to hit the slopes at upscale ski resorts. But you’d be remiss to think that’s all there is to do in this small Wyoming town. Visit the neighboring Grand Teton National Park for awe-inspiring vistas, catch a glimpse of majestic animals at the National Elk Refuge or relax sore muscles in the Granite Hot Springs.

Banff, Alberta

This Canadian destination will bring out the explorer in anyone who visits. From hiking and whitewater rafting to skiing and snowboarding, Banff offers travelers an abundance of year-round outdoor activities. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the largest in North America and the striking photo ops of the Canadian Rockies from Moraine Lake can’t be underestimated.

Machu Picchu

According to travelers, a visit to this Peruvian UNESCO World Heritage site is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Located in the Andes Mountains, the lost city of the Incas features 12 acres of temples, aqueducts and gardens for travelers to discover. Spend a few days acclimating to the altitude in the neighboring city of Cusco, where you can soak up a mix of Incan and Spanish cultures.

Great Barrier Reef

It’s easy to see why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – it stretches nearly 1,500 miles along the eastern coastline of Australia and features 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands and more than 1,600 species of fish. Travelers can see these amazing natural structures from the air or underwater. However, large amounts of coral bleaching (caused by rising ocean temperatures) threaten to destroy this massive marine life habitat, so plan your visit soon to see this awesome sight up close.

Park City, Utah

For a luxury ski vacation, look no further than Park City. Popular upscale mountain resorts, specifically Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, provide some of the best ski conditions in the U.S. Even if you’re not a powder hound, sites like the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway and Utah Olympic Park will keep you entertained. For a dose of culture, plan your visit in January, when celebrities descend on the town for the annual Sundance Film Festival.

The British Virgin Islands

One look at the aquamarine waters that surround the British Virgin Islands and you’ll see why they’re consistently rated a top Caribbean destination. Sure, other islands have white sand beaches too, but the British Virgin Islands aren’t crowded with megaresorts or cruise ports. Instead, the chain of 60 islands values exclusivity and luxury, so you’ll want to bring your credit card along.