The first step in vacation planning is choosing what suits you best. Cancun, for instance, is best known for its beaches, all inclusive vacation resorts, and lively atmosphere. You can enjoy surfing, fishing, kayaking, or sunbathing in the Caribbean Sea, but the most popular activities are typically snorkeling and scuba diving because of the beautiful marine life in the area. Downtown Cancun has a great nightlife scene, with plenty of nightclubs and bars, and plenty of places to stay in the fifteen-mile Hotel Zone. The many resorts in the area also arrange day trips to the Mayan Riviera, a tourism district that boats stunning attractions such as the Mayan ruins, an eco-archaeological theme park, and lagoons.
If you’d like to stay within the US but are still seeking a tropical vacation, then the Hawaiian Islands would be among the best places to go on vacation. Oahu is one of the best-known destinations in Hawaii for its beach activities, ocean views, and tourist amenities. Legendary Waikiki Beach has dozens of resorts and hotels, as well as access to boat charters and entertaining activities such as wind surfing and water trampolines.
Beach vacations may be popular, but they’re not the only option—if you’re looking for the best winter vacations, then a ski trip might be the best choice. Ski vacation hot spots include Colorado, Utah, and Lake Tahoe in California. For instance, Vail and Aspen, both in Colorado are internationally known for their challenging slopes and great resorts, while the Snowbird ski area outside Salt Lake City Utah has terrific skiing and snowboarding opportunities, in addition to being a great family vacation destination. If you’re looking to explore the area otherwise, consider the tours of American Fork Canyon and the Mineral Basin, or go hiking and mountain biking if you’re here on a summer vacation.
Even with great vacation hot spots in North America, many travelers dream of nothing more than an exotic vacation to the Far East. India is an intriguing and beautiful place to visit, boasting stunning natural attractions such as the hill stations near Shimla and plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Sun Temple of Konark and the Red Fort in Delhi. Australia and the South Pacific islands, such as Fiji and Tahiti, are also known for their tropical destinations, and if you’re looking to combine a beach vacation with fascinating cities and more history, then Cambodia and Thailand might be the places for you.
Whether you’re looking for luxury vacations or trying to find deals on cheap vacations, the list of vacation ideas is a lengthy one, and though your budget may limit your choices in some ways, you’ll still find beautiful places to visit around the world, including beaches, rugged mountains, and the great cities of Europe. Grab a few travel guides, take a look at your calendar, and start planning the trip of a lifetime.
Best Ski Vacation Destinations
Aspen Colorado is associated with celebrities, but it is also the number-one choice for advanced skiers searching for varied terrain and thousands of acres to explore. Towering more than 3,200 feet and offering an array of black diamond and double black diamond ski runs, Aspen Snowmass is a steadfast choice for expert skiers and snowboarders. Glades, steeps, and plenty of natural hits are an easy find at any of Aspen’s four dedicated skiing areas. With one lift ticket, riders can access four unconnected mountains, 20 lifts, and more than 80 trails broken down into intermediate, advanced, and expert runs. Multiple terrain parks, freestyle half pipes, and treed slopes provide challenging territory for intrepid skiers. For decades, Aspen Snowmass has been one of the best ski vacation destinations in North America. Aspen village offers dining, lodging, and an array of cultural attractions.
Choosing the best place to ski in the US for intermediate abilities means looking to resorts such as Steamboat, Colorado; Whitefish Ski Resort in Montana; or Park City, Utah. These are some of the best ski vacation destinations for those with mid-range skills. Steamboat encompasses a huge area filled with gentle hills and steep, snow-filled glades. Onsite lodging fills the need for accommodation during ski vacations with plenty of ski vacation packages available. Montana’s Whitefish Ski Resort offers 50 percent intermediate ski runs with the opportunity for free mountain tours. A newly developed beginner area and plenty of advanced terrain means great terrain for all levels. Park City Utah is another of the best ski vacation destinations for moderate skiers and snowboarders. Take the Town Lift straight to the slopes, enjoy endless intermediate possibilities, and rest easy that there’s something for everyone here.
One of the top 10 ski destinations for beginners is at Buttermilk in Colorado. Sure, Colorado attracts experts in droves, but specific areas are considered family ski resorts. For a fun, and easygoing ski experience, Buttermilk is the place to go. There are 470 acres of skiing, two terrain parks with more than 100 special features, 9 lifts, and access to ski equipment and snowboard gear for rent is all available. Another best place to ski in the US for beginners is Bromley Sun Mountain in Vermont, home to world-famous Stowe. Bromley’s excellent intermediate runs gradually slope down into smooth, green runs perfect for novices.
There are dozens of premium ski resorts that are top ski destinations category depending on preferences and ability levels. Some of the most famous ski areas include Jackson Hole, Lake Tahoe, Telluride, and Taos. Europe ski resorts such as Cortina, Italy, and Zermatt, Switzerland, welcome tens of thousands of skiers each year. Canada is another winter hot spot offering renowned alpine ski areas like Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Lake Louise, Banff, and don’t forget electrifying Whistler Blackcomb, one of the top 10 ski destinations in the world.
Best Resort Vacations
If you want to stay local for your vacation, then consider visiting some of the best resort destinations in the US. Florida is easily among the top few, and one of that state’s top resorts is the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort located on Vanderbilt Beach in Naples. The pristine beaches of south Florida are world-famous along with the easy lifestyle and tropical atmosphere, and this part of Naples doesn’t disappoint. Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, LaPlaya offers the epitome in luxury accommodations, dining, and golf at the LaPlaya Golf Course. For guests interested in specific vacation options, the resort offers a variety of vacation packages and offers including spa, golf, girl getaways, and the option to create your own unique vacation package.
The Caribbean and Central America are both popular regions for beach resorts, and Belize is an increasingly popular spot in particular. One of the top all inclusive resorts in this region is the Mopan River Resort in Benque Viejo del Carmen. The rates for guests include round-trip airport transfers to the resort, transportation to and from Belize, luxury rooms, all meals and beverages (including cocktails), scheduled guided tours of nearby attractions, and live musical entertainment. Belize is famous for its scuba diving and snorkeling, and it’s the perfect place to visit if you want to spend a lot of time in the water.
Ski trips are also popular options for resort vacations, and they’re also good vacations for travelers on a budget because they can be done domestically and include both luxury and cheap options for places to stay. When you’re considering the best ski resort in the US for you , things to consider include the type of amenities you want, how close to the slopes you want to be, and whether you plan to spend your entire vacation skiing or get in a few spa treatments, for instance, as well.
Telluride Colorado is considered the top area for ideal snow conditions and Fairmont Heritage Place, located near Telluride, is a consideration when selecting the best ski resort in the US due to its proximity to Telluride and its location in Mountain Village. The Fairmont offers plush, private two and three bedroom residences with in-suite cooking capabilities in a fully equipped kitchen. Residences have a living and dining room, private balcony, and equipped with a washer and dryer for your convenience. Amenities include an on-site spa, game room, hot tubs, heated pool, business, and fitness center. Services at the lodge include booking dining reservations or spa appointments, a grocery service, and complimentary transportation to and from the Montrose airport and Telluride.
Best Disney Vacation Spots
The best Disney vacation spots are the perfect place to go if you’re dreaming of getting away to the happiest place on Earth. Choosing the destination that fits best for you is the first step—of course there is Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, but did you know that Disney is offering its magical experiences in other places at well? Disney cruises sail everywhere from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, so if you need some Disney in your life, you can find it around the globe. Many travelers discover that there is no best time to go to Disneyland—this place retains its magic all year long!
There are a few tips on when to visit Disney World that will make your trip more enjoyable. The summer months of July and August are known for their sweltering heat, so unless you love the heat and humidity, plan your trip at another time of year. During the winter, especially in the months of January through March, Orlando Florida is home to spectacular weather. If you’re wondering when to visit Disney World for the best weather, it is during these months and also in the fall from September through November. In the case of Disneyland, however, the weather in Southern California is so consistently pleasant that there is no bad time to go. Summers aren’t too hot or humid, and winter days rarely dip into the 50s.
The best Disney vacation spots will vary depending on your interests. Some visitors love the hotels that are on the monorail for their convenience, while others don’t mind hotels that are cheaper but a little further from the action. In the theme parks, everyone has their own favorite neighborhood, from Fantasyland to Frontierland to Tomorrowland. The best time to go to Disneyland is when you can’t wait any longer to return. If you allow a little time to go by, odds are there will be new attractions and rides to see as well. For quality family time, there’s no place like Disney.
Best Cruise Vacations
Adventurous travelers or vacationers in search of something new may want to try a cruise which is quite out of the ordinary. Among the top cruise vacations around the world are a variety of chillier destinations, but they’re still fabulous places to visit on a cruise vacation. These include Alaska, Antarctica, Norway, and the Baltic Sea. Travelers may want to pack a few sweaters for these destinations, and even a warm jacket along with hat and gloves, depending on the time of year for which the visit is planned, but what you’ll get to see here more than make up for the cooler temperatures. On the best cruise to Alaska, visitors will sail past a diverse selection of scenery, including glaciers, mountains, and ice canyons, with ports of call in a variety of interesting towns, such as Sitka and Ketchikan, where visitors can do a bit of sightseeing or take shore excursions for heli-skiing or dog-sled tours. Alaska cruises are popular in the long daylight hours of June, around the summer solstice.
Massive walls of ice, large penguin colonies, floating icebergs, and the brisk wintery air are just a few of the attractions featured on a cruise to Antarctica, which can best be enjoyed during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months, December to February. Norway, specifically the Norwegian fjords, offer an enchanting look at some of the most awe inspiring landscapes that approach the sea., while cruising through the Baltic Sea can include an assortment of interesting destinations, including such cities as St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. These cruises in Northern Europe are also best experienced during the warmer months of the year.
With a wide range of some of the most desirable ports in the world, a trip to the Mediterranean Sea is also among the top cruise vacations. This is a unique way to take European vacations, and with stops in such places as the French Riviera, the Costa del Sol of Spain, the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and the Greek Isles, it’s also a romantic option for honeymoon cruises.
Nearest to the US mainland, the Caribbean Sea and Mexico are both two of the most popular cruise vacations for American travelers. These feature white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, and while it’s possible to book luxury cruises to these destinations, they’re well-known as being great for cheap cruise vacations as well. Travelers in the mood for a bit of cultural excitement will certainly enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Mexican coastal cities, such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Caribbean destinations such as the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and the US Virgin Islands, among others, also have their own beautiful scenery and unique cultural draws for visitors.
Best European Vacations
Best Europe vacations can be in places that range from the borders of Africa and the shores of Turkey to the Arctic tundra and the vast steppes that bridge Europe and Asia in remote Russia. The top European vacation spots are numerous as this is one of the best and most popular places to travel in the world. You can even get a Europe connection in several Western Hemisphere locations on some of the islands that are still part of Europe, notably the Netherlands Antilles Islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao; the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina that belong to the UK; and the Pitcairn Islands (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) in the South Pacific.
To choose the best Europe vacations by region, you might begin with the relatively isolated regions of the British Isles and Scandinavia. In Scandinavia, one of the best places to go in Europe is a cruise ship that plies the western coast of Norway with its magnificent fjords and breathtaking Arctic scenery. You could spend months in the UK and still not experience everything this region has to offer. From the beautiful moors and rugged mountains of Scotland in the north to the dramatic white cliffs of Dover in the south of England and the emerald green fields of Northern Ireland—this region has landscapes to satisfy everyone.
The UK is also one of the top European vacation spots for history and unique culture—a feature shared by every other region of the continent. This area has some of the world’s most magnificent churches and cathedrals, castles and palaces, from Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace in London to Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the ornate Ottoman Palace of Alhambra in Spain and sublime Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Normandy in northern France offers the graceful chateaux of the Loire Valley, and Italy boasts Renaissance structures from Florence and Rome to Pisa and Venice.
Most of these regions are part of what is generally called Western Europe, and some of the best Europe vacations are driving tours through several of them. This kind of tour has been going on since Peter the Great of Russia founded the city St. Petersburg and then set off on a Grand Tour of the continent to bring back the finest art and architecture. Some of this will be found in the Hermitage, one of the most respected museums in the world, and all of Western Europe boasts incredibly rich museums. There is the Louvre in Paris, famous for its Mona Lisa; The Rijlksmuseum in Amsterdam, with its incomparable collection of Rembrandts; the Uffizi Museum in Florence, with a priceless collection of works by Michelangelo; and many other respected collections in virtually every other country. And this is only Western Europe. Add Eastern Europe to the mix, and you have countries with rich history and grand architecture that have only recently been opened to western tourists (since the fall of communism and the Berlin Wall in 1989). The great Habsburg capitals of Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague all have magnificent architecture, fabulous palaces and castles, and great museums.
Another of the top European vacation spots is also the spot for the best Mediterranean vacations. The Italian and French Riviera both draw millions of tourists each year, as do the Greek Islands. These are the best places to go in Europe if you are looking for beautiful beaches. There is also skiing, a popular activity in almost all European countries. The premier regions for skiing will be found in the Alps of Switzerland and France, and northern Italy, where you will find some of the oldest and most famous ski resorts in the world. Look for St Moritz and the Matterhorn in Switzerland; look for Chamonix and Val d’Isere in France. You can do hiking tours or cycling tours; train tours or river cruises that can take you from Amsterdam and the North Sea all the way through Romania and the Black Sea. You can stay in five star hotels, charming bed and breakfast inns, hostels located in ancient castles, or all inclusive resorts on beaches.
Best Hawaii Vacations
It is the best Hawaii beach trips that most people are seeking, although some people are also looking for more active outdoor experiences. There is no more intimate way to experience the essence of Hawaii’s natural beauty than by hiking and camping in the remote wilderness of the Na Pali Coast. Or perhaps trekking up to view the molten lava flowing out of Kilaeua at Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Unless you’d prefer the hiking and trekking experience interspersed with lodging at luxurious hotels. There are numerous of these on all the islands, and all can give you access to some of the best of the Hawaii attractions. Whether you are camping or staying in luxurious properties, the best Hawaiian vacation will reveal at least some of the state’s natural beauty.
Among the top trips to Hawaii that reveal the natural beauty of the state will be any trip that includes the ocean, and virtually every trip will do that. The Big Island, the largest island in the archipelago, is only 93 miles by 76 miles. The little island of Lanai is only 18 miles by 13 miles. The ocean is visible from just about every point on every one of the islands. Even the best Hawaii beach trips give you access to the natural wonders found in the interiors.
The best Hawaiian vacation will combine beaches and ocean as well as other attractions. You will find Hawaii golf courses on all the islands. The largest number are found on Oahu, especially around Honolulu and Ewa Beach. Next is the Big Island, especially around the Kona coast area, followed by Kauai and Maui. Even little Lanai and Molokai have their share of courses.
There are also sacred sites to explore, and they include Buddhist temples like the Byodo In Temple on Oahu, Christian churches like the Hanalei Church on Kauai that dates to 1834 and early settlement by Europeans, and ancient Hawaiian sacred sites. Several of the state’s national parks protect ancient sacred sites, like the Puuhona O Honaunau National Historic Park on the Big Island.
Honeymoons and destination weddings rank in the top trips to Hawaii as do romantic getaways, but this island state is also extremely popular with families, and there are plenty of activities to keep children and adults alike occupied. In addition to hiking, there are horseback trips available throughout the countryside. Large and small Hawaii ranches can be found on all islands except Lanai, and many of these offer horseback trekking. They also give insight into the history of the state, especially on Maui Island around the inland town of Makawao. Here, you can experience the heritage of the Hawaiian cowboys, called paniolos, who were brought to the island in the early 1800s to herd the cattle that would become so important to the islands’ economy. You can also visit one of several working plantations that have always been and still are flourishing here. The rainforests, covering rugged mountains and dramatic gorges provide opportunities for zip-line rides, cycling tours, mountain biking, and canopy tours.
But, always, you come back to the ocean, which is the center of almost all the major activities available. The best Hawaii beach trips have much more to offer than only miles of sand. Hawaii surfing is some of the best found anywhere in the world, and some of the world’s most important surfing events are held here each year. This is one of the best places in the world for whale watching—during the winter when the humpback whales migrate here to breed and give birth. Sailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving are readily accessible. You can even swim with dolphins. Even the famous Hawaii luau is almost always held on the beaches.
Best Las Vegas Vacations
The best Las Vegas vacation spots can be based in opulent luxury hotel casinos in the middle of all the action or in cheap motels off the Strip. Some of the top Vegas vacation spots don’t even feature gaming or slot machines or any of the other glitz for which Sin City is known. Thousands of people show up here each year in order to attend conventions or other corporate events. The state-of-the-art Convention Center boasts more than 3 million square feet of space, and on any given day, there are bound to be throngs of businesspeople from around the world wandering through it. Admittedly, the majority of the convention attendees will sample the delights of the city during their spare time, but there are plenty of things to do that do not involve the famous Las Vegas bars, casinos, or star-studded shows. Just as there are plenty of things that do!
Many of the best trips to Vegas will concentrate of sightseeing tours around the city, including everything from the Grand Canyon, the surrounding desert landscapes (including nearby Death Valley), and even golf. Some of the finest Las Vegas resorts and hotels don’t even have casinos in order to accommodate those people who don’t want to walk through jangling, neon casinos to get to their rooms. Non-gaming properties right in the city include the Embassy Suites Convention Center located only a half mile from the Convention Center, the Vdara Condo Hotel located between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio, the beautiful Mandarin Oriental, and the five-star Four Seasons. If you’re on a tighter budget than these properties allow, you will find several non-gaming motels that can be afforded by just about anyone.
But, the vast majority of visitors are seeking as much of the flash and extravagance as they can get. For them, this is what the best Las Vegas vacation spots are all about. Surely, the top Vegas vacation spots has to begin with the famous Strip, and virtually every visitor to the city is going to stroll down this boisterous boulevard at some point during their stay. Many of the most famous things to see in the city are located along the Strip, and cost nothing at all. A single walk of about a mile will show you the New York New York Hotel, an amazing replica of the Big Apple, complete with its equally amazing roller coaster looping and twisting around skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty; the magnificent Bellagio Fountains dancing gracefully in sync with music; the fantastic Mirage Volcano erupting regularly every night from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.; and the graceful silhouette of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. Down at the end of the Strip is the Fremont Street Experience, another free sound and light extravaganza. The best trips to Vegas will include most of these sights.
Now, if you must spend some money, rest assured that are plenty of outlets for doing this, including casinos everywhere and hundreds of restaurants. Just about any of the top Vegas vacation spots will feature some of the best shopping opportunities to empty your wallet. Most of the major hotels and casinos have numerous boutiques, shops, and galleries. There are huge shopping malls, including factory outlets. There is also entertainment everywhere, including Las Vegas shows like the Cirque de Soleil, which can be found in the Bellagio, New York New York, the Luxor Hotel and Casino, the MGM Grand, the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Aria Las Vegas. Other shows include everything from Blue Man Group, Disney’s The Lion King, and Cher, to adult-themed burlesque and strip shows.