Top Ten Stateside Travel Destinations for 2013
The amazing San Juan Islands of Washington State are among the top travel spots for the U.S. however this year I plan to take my wife on a European vacation. It's more for her than me, trust me! But... If you're dreaming of your vacation and don't want the hassle of international travel, you can have fun adventures in the good ol' U.S.A.--from seeing the northern lights to tracking moose to enjoying a Polynesian paradise. Choose from Lonely Planet's annual list of the top 10 U.S. vacation destinations: (Netscape)
1. Louisville, Kentucky
Why? It's a lively, offbeat cultural spot with converted warehouses used as local breweries, antique shops and the city's coolest restaurants. Be sure to try the bourbon brewed by Louisville's local microdistilleries, including Angel's Envy.
2. Fairbanks, Alaska
Why? The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, light up the skies 240 nights a year in Fairbanks. Due to feisty sunspot activity, 2013 promises to be a big one for this spectacular light show. You just have to time your trip right. Avoid May to mid-August when the daylight is too strong to view the northern lights properly.
3. San Juan Islands, Washington
Why? Lonely Planet dubs these islands north of Seattle the "Gourmet Archipelago." In addition to being sunny 250 days a year, unlike most of the Pacific Northwest, you'll find fresh, local food--from artichokes to oysters.
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Why? Philly is rapidly becoming the nation's art capital. In addition to the world-renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, you can explore the Barnes Foundation, a once private collection of Matisse, Renoir and Cezanne. Also, the gallery scene is exploding.
5. American Samoa
Why? It is further away than Hawaii and you'll need a U.S. passport, but American Somoa offers some of the world's most stunning, untouched beauty. It has it all, from white sand beaches to shark-tooth-shaped mountains.
6. Eastern Sierra, California
Why? Lonely Planet calls this overlooked flank of the Sierra Nevada range the "secret California dream." Follow the scenic US Route 395 to see a natural hot spring, a Gold Rush ghost town, bizarre calcified tufa towers and more.
7. Northern Maine
Why? It's more than lobster rolls and lighthouses. Venture into the woodsy Maine interior to see moose, go white water rafting and enjoy epic hiking. The Appalachian Trail begins/ends atop Mt. Katahdin.
8. Twin Cities, Minnesota
Why? If you love to bicycle, head to Minneapolis. Not only are there multiple bike trails, but also a web of new bike lanes. Bike over to St. Paul where you can enjoy amazing food and theatre. Be sure to check out the Fitzgerald Theater, where Garrison Keillor tapes his "Prairie Home Companion."
9. Verde Valley, Arizona
Why? Nestled between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon is the Verde Valley, a beautiful region of green canyons rimmed by red rocks and the towns of Cottonwood, Jerome and Sedona. The real attraction is wine with four new vineyards clustered around Cornville, near Sedona.
10. Glacier National Park, Montana
Why? This is one of the wildest and most remote national parks, but also one of the most pristine. It features jagged, snow-blanketed ridges and glacier-sculpted horns that tower dramatically over aquamarine lakes and meadows blanketed in wildflowers, says Lonely Planet