If you occasionally suffer from extreme bouts of wanderlust, then you might want to grab some rope to strap yourself to something before you hastily pack a suitcase and run out the door: Travel and Leisure recently released their list of the 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018.
The list includes surprising and interesting destinations around the globe, many of which are making concerted efforts to appeal to leisure travelers in the coming year.
Since many of us (*cough* ME) maybe can’t afford international airfare on a whim, we’ve picked out some of the top travel destinations which won’t even require leaving the country — and may not even require getting on a plane, for that matter. (Road trip!)
Here are the 9 travel spots in the United States that are supposedly going to be all the rage in the coming year (so book your Airbnbs, stat!):
1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Sante Fe might get all the New Mexico travel love, but Albuquerque is gunning to become a top destination. While the town was previously only associated with the infamous hot-air-balloon festival, new developments are making the place more desirable for tourists. “The Sawmill District, just north of the historic Old Town, is being revived as a creative center, anchored by the arrival of the Hotel Chaco,” writes Travel and Leisure.
2. San Antonio, Texas
According to Travel and Leisure, “this year is San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, and the city is marking the occasion with events, activities, and new infrastructure.” 2018 will be an especially exciting time to visit the historic city and take part in the fun and festivals. “A commemorative week is planned for early May, with celebrations at each of San Antonio’s five missions and the dedication of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, a once-unremarkable drainage ditch that’s been transformed into a waterfront promenade with public art and performance spaces.”
3. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Art-lovers, look no further! The Berkshires are your next vacation destination. According to Travel and Leisure, “the arts have long been (the Berkshires) own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.”
4. Big Sur, California
If enjoying the outdoors in slightly upscale accommodations is your bag, then Big Sur is a match made in heaven. “After an elaborate renovation, the 160-acre Ventana Big Sur has reopened as the first Alila property in the U.S. — and is a luxurious rival to Post Ranch,” reports Travel and Leisure. “In addition to the plush ocean-view suites, clad in weathered wood, there are now glamping tents nearby that marry rusticity and comfort, with amenities like luxury linens and fire pits.”
5. Boise, Idaho
I know, I know: Boise isn’t exactly your first thought when choosing exciting travel destinations. However, it seems that the Idaho city is bursting with up-and-coming additions. “With an exciting influx of new and revamped hotels, an up-and-coming restaurant scene, and a blossoming wine industry, Idaho’s capital city — traditionally known as a convention destination — has started to attract the attention of leisure travelers,” says Travel and Leisure. “Boise’s invigorated downtown is evidence of the trend, with the newly opened Inn at 500, a 110-room boutique property whose perks include balconies overlooking the capitol, and its on-site restaurant, Richard’s, owned by James Beard Award-nominated chef Richard Langston, leading the way. (Meanwhile, Hotel 43 and The Grove both recently unveiled swank renovations.)”
6. New Orleans
New Orleans is perhaps the least surprising addition to this list. After all, the city’s music and food scenes have been infamous for decades. However, Travel and Leisure gauges that New Orleans is experiencing a cultural rebirth of sorts — not to mention the fact that the city is turning 300 years old in 2018, which has prompted new festivals and pop-ups. “Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina, there is much to celebrate: The Central Business District, once a dead zone after dark, now crackles at all hours thanks to four new hotels (the Ace, Troubadour, Catahoula, and NOPSI), each with its own rooftop bar.”
7. Washington, D.C.
If you’ve always assumed a deep-seated interest in politics was a necessity for visiting the capital city, then think again. “The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city,” says Travel and Leisure. “That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall.” Apparently, the new district will be home to “new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants.” There’s also the Kennedy Center, which will continue “its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip.”
8. Greenville, South Carolina
Forget Charlottesville — this Southern town is the new locale for exploration, particularly if you’re a foodie. As Travel and Leisure reports,”The town will soon be home to an outpost of Sean Brock’s heirloom-crop-focused Husk and a food-centric market hall called the Commons. Other recent additions include modern Italian spot Jianna from Michael Kramer (the opening executive chef of McCrady’s in Charleston, pre-Brock) and the moody speakeasy lounge Vault & Vator.”
9. Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Apart from being downright fun to say, Walla Walla Valley is an idyllic spot for those looking to relax with outdoor leisure and plenty of wine. “In recent years Walla Walla has come into its own as the next must-visit destination for oenophiles, golfers, and cyclists alike,” writes Travel and Leisure. “With more than 140 wineries producing European-style Syrahs, Cabernets, and Merlots, there’s no shortage of tasting rooms in the valley, which hosts four weekend-long wine events each year.”