While the coronavirus is not completely in the rear-view mirror, the lifting of restrictions across the U.S. makes it easier for people to hit the open road and relieve some of the pent-up stress that has accumulated. Travel + Leisure (T&L) magazine has just published a list of the top destinations in the country for those that are ready to take a little trip, ranking the locations based on feedback provided by the magazine’s readers. If a little summer travel is going to be in the plans, these destinations might make good targets, but it has to be mentioned that some states have implemented travel restrictions for those coming from other states. Reviewing travel policies before setting out on a journey is advised.
The annual list was prepared based on a survey conducted through March 3, which was ahead of the massive appearance of COVID-19 in the U.S. The magazine adds, “Travel + Leisure readers have a soft spot for Southern cities. Sure, they enjoy high-octane New York and amiable Chicago, but when it comes to naming the U.S. cities they most adored this year, travelers turned to smaller — though no less vibrant — towns on the lower half of the map.”
Coming in first is Charleston, South Carolina, which was awarded its position because of its “history, architecture, culture, pleasant weather, gracious locals, and even proximity to the beach.” The food there was also a factor, with one reader stating, “I’ve never had a bad meal in Charleston.”
The Big Easy – also known as New Orleans, Louisiana – came in second. With its eclectic lifestyle and famous Bourbon Street, there is always something new to see. However, T&L advises visitors to make sure they step off Bourbon Street, as well, in order to appreciate the city’s numerous parks, statues and residential quarters.
In what may be a surprise to some, Santa Fe, New Mexico earned the third spot on the list. T&L explains of the city’s attraction, “Earthy, arty Santa Fe continues to enchant readers with ‘the views of the mountains, the culture, the shopping, the restaurants, the wineries,’ as one reader put it. You can admire centuries-old adobe architecture, browse dozens of galleries, and indulge in outdoor adventure — all in one visit.”
Savannah, Georgia came in just behind Santa Fe and picked up its honors for the plethora of historic architectural designs that combine well with the contemporary galleries and “quirky” cafés. Readers appreciate the fusion of old and new, with many Savannah visitors admiring how there is always something “new and different” to see.
Chicago, Illinois made the last of the top five. Among the innovative dining options, the famous museums and an array of skyscrapers, visitors will appreciate the visual diversity the Windy City has to offer. One reader opined, “You could spend a week just around downtown and still want more.”
Others to make it to the top ten (in no particular order) include New York City, Honolulu, two in Texas – Austin and San Antonio – and Asheville, North Carolina. For those travelers with ample time on their hands, perhaps a journey to hit all of the cities could be a great way to fill the summer days and break away from the monotony caused by COVID-19.