Top 10 Tourist Destinations in the United States

A traveler looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, California.
A traveler looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, California.

Planning a trip to the United States can be a daunting task due to its vast size and numerous offerings. From the hot temperature of the Chihuahuan Desert to the freezing temperature in Alaska, the wildness of Yellowstone to the bustling cities, the United States offers some of the best tourism experience in the world. Below are the ten best places to visit in the US.

10. New York City

The skyline of New York.

In the year 2015, the city of New York was the most visited city in the country attracting approximately 58.3 million people, 12.3 million of who were international visitors. The city boasts of various tourist attractions including the city’s landmark, the Statue of Liberty. The statue is 152 feet tall and was built in 1886 to symbolize freedom. Just like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building is another city landmark. Tourists can also visit the Brooklyn Bridge and marvel at the architectural wonder. Tourists also visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the footprints of where the twin towers once stood. Central Park offers visitors a natural environment away from the concrete and steel.

9. Yosemite

Waterfall in Yosemite National Park.

In 2016, slightly over five million people visited Yosemite National Park. The park in Northern California spans an area of 1,168.681 square meters and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The park is renowned for its wildness, granite cliffs, waterfalls and giant sequoia groves of which some are more than 3000 years old. The park is home to North America’s highest waterfall at 2,424 ft. and is a popular attraction during late spring when the snowmelt is at its peak.

8. Florida Keys

Florida Keys, Florida.

The Florida Keys are a set of islands off the southern coast of Florida. The islands make an ideal tourism destination for tourists seeking a tropical vacation. Apart from the sandy beaches, visitors engage in marine activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and many more activities. Visitors visit the local museum to view historical artifacts, and the galleries and shops sell unique collections that tourists buy to remember the visit. The local restaurants serve fresh seafood, and the lodges offer world class facilities.

7. Tennessee Smoky Mountains

Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is the busiest park in the US, having recorded approximately 11 million visitors in 2016. The 800-square mile park consists of mountainous terrain, deciduous forest, and a variety of animal and plant species. The black bear is the park’s iconic animal and is found in all elevations around the park. Hikers in the mountain are active all year round although summer records the highest number of visitors. The Alum Cave Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Andrew's Bald Trail are the most used by hikers. For those seeking outdoor adventure, the park is the place to visit.

6. Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a geological wonder shaped by millions of years of geological activities and carved by the Colorado River. The 277-mile long canyon is a major tourist site attracting approximately five million visitors annually. The north and the more popular south rims of the canyon are open to the public. The north rim is more wild and less explored by humans due to its remoteness. It offers the best experience offered nowhere else in the world as proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt; “In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind unparalleled throughout the rest of the world."

5. Michigan's Northern Peninsula

A serene lake on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The northern part of Michigan often referred to as the Northern Peninsula, consist of wilderness and natural environment with only three percent of the Michigan population inhabiting the area. Due to its wilderness, it is a major tourist attraction with tourists visiting Lake Superior, Michigan, and Huron. Visitors get to see sandy dunes and rocky outcroppings. Those with raging adrenaline can find shipwrecks and visit lighthouses and hike through forests and peaks before kayaking in rivers flowing to the Great Lakes. Some of the animals found in the Northern Peninsula include wolves, coyotes, various species of snakes and rodents. Visitors can also explore mines and experience the working conditions of those who worked in them.

4. Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, United States.

In 2016, 54.1 million local and foreign visitors toured the city of Chicago, a 1.5 million increase from the previous year. Tourists to the city must visit the Art Institute of Chicago which houses hundreds of thousands of artworks that date back to hundreds of years ago. Millennium Park in downtown Chicago presents architecture at its best with state-of-the-art landscape designs and buildings. Visitors also visit the Navy Pier, a shipping facility which was opened in 1916 and serves as one of the city’s main attractions. The Museum of Science and Industry offers one of the best experience - the museum allows tourists to interact physically with the tools and collections including learning how the tools work.

3. New Orleans

The French Quarter of New Orleans, USA.

New Orleans, Louisiana, is popular for the Jazz music and Mardi Gras celebrations. It is a city with a unique culture represented in food, music, and architecture. The French Quarter of New Orleans is among the major tourist attraction - the quartet offers French food and architecture. For those who seek festivals, the Mardi Gras offers a once in a lifetime event that spans two weeks. The festival is marked by parades, decorated floats, and dances. The National WWII Museum is a must visit for all tourists, as the museum highlights how the war was fought as well as the weapons used.

2. Drive down California Coast

The famous Highway 1, California.

Driving along California's Pacific coastline is one of the most memorable drives a tourist will ever have. Starting from the Golden Gate in San Francisco through San Jose, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and finally to San Diego, the tourist gets to experience scenic views that can only be seen in California. Making the trip with family and friends makes it a better experience, and you can also make stopovers for photo sessions and breaks. Drivers along the famous Highway One are advised to be careful, drive slowly and prepare adequately before embarking on the journey.

1. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, Maine.

Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine offers tourists with a memorable natural experience. Tourists engage in hiking and camping and experiencing scenic views of a jagged coastline and granite-domed mountains. Most tourists participate in hiking and biking with more than 120 miles of hiking trails. Tourists can rent tents or set up their own in designated areas and experience outdoor nights with their families and friends. The night sky fills up with stars that provide stunning views. In 2015 the park received an estimated 2.81 million people.


More in Travel