Top 10 US Luxury Destinations
Memorial Day Weekend has always marked the start of plans, trips and dreams coming to life as we crisscross the country (and the World) with our suitcase in hand. Let’s not have 2020 be remembered as the Summer of Going Nowhere. Here’s our top 10 picks for packing up and heading out to see our continent in luxurious splendor— no matter how we define it. #LoveTheJourney
#10 – Slow Down with some Southern Comfort
Everything is better in the Low Country, and the hospitality you’ll encounter in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, will keep you coming back.
#9 – California Dreamin’ as you cruise down the coast
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve dreamed of taking two long drives— letting the wind blow through my hair. One is a cross country trek following Route 66. Having grown up near a state highway 66, as well as a Natalie Cole fan, anytime I heard her crooning “It winds, from Chicago to L.A . . .” my mind would see scenery pass by as she mentioned all the small towns and cities along the way. Fast forward to my college years and falling in love with the sounds of the Mamas & the Papas with their “California dreaming, on such a winter’s day” harmonies, and today’s top picks gives me the best of my musical memories. Starting in San Francisco, winding south on US 101 (spoiler alert: this is my other dream drive) through Monterey, Ventura, Los Angeles, and ending in San Diego, could summer get any better than riding off into the sun in the Golden State?
#8 – Canyons, Lakes and Sin City
Is it going to be hot? Probably. Is it going to be dry? Mostly. Is it going to be bucket list worthy? Definitely. Take some time to experience the great Southwest’s Queen of Canyons, Grand Canyon National Park. June is great, dry weather to experience the North or South Rim, giving you perfect temperatures to not fuss about getting a little (or a lot) wet while white water rafting down the Colorado River. And the water sports don’t end there. Take in Lake Powell on your way to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
#7 – Wine Country in the Pacific Northwest
Who would think anything good could come from a volcanic eruption? Some of the best Pinot Noir is found in the Pacific Northwest along with crisp Pinot Gris— but don’t just think your options stop there. Between Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley, and Columbia Gorge your tastebuds will need a vacation from this vacation. And it’s not just about wine, as there are craft breweries throughout the states of Washington and Oregon that will serve as any beer lover’s nirvana.
#6 – Heat things up in Wyoming’s National Parks
No worries about social distancing in a state where there’s plenty of space to roam. Wyoming tops the list at number six due to the six best sites in the state: American Bison, Northwestern Gray Wolf, Rocky Mountain Elk, Grizzly Bears, Bighorn Sheep, and last, but not least, Old Faithful. Take your time to tour the national parks at Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and get lost in the feel of the great outdoors under an endless sky. There are luxury lodges in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Parks that will take your breathe away, and we’re not just talking about their views.
#5 – Alaska just feels like another country
Even if you’re not “outdoorsy”, the 49th State will keep you spellbound with its scenery. From majestic mountains, like Denali, to coast glaciers, you’ll find yourself in a part of the world that feels like Central Europe, Scandinavia, and South America all rolled into one. You could spend a week, a month or a year and still not see all that Alaska has to offer by land and sea. We suggest you plan at least 10-12 days (if not longer) for this adventure, and this summer just might be the right time (fewer tourists).
#4 – Nature abounds in Northern California
The Sierra Nevada Mountains, nestled between Fresno, California and Reno, Nevada, are home to majestic, soaring cliffs and rock formations carved out by glaciers from millennia gone by. You may know some of these iconic wonders by name: El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall— probably due to the breathtaking views shared with us by the works of Ansel Adams. In the Yosemite National Park you’ll find his works displayed at the Gallery named for him, and he’s not the only name to put Yosemite on the bucket list of travelers. The Life and Letters of John Muir allows readers to see Yosemite’s natural grandeur through the eyes of a botanist, explorer, and activist. No journey to Yosemite is complete without a stay at The Ahwahnee Hotel (formerly The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), and what better a place to take in some R&R from the activities that can fill your day while you’re at the park: horseback riding, white water rafting, and 800 miles of hiking trails— just to name a few.
#3 – Mayan Legends with Mole
Even though it’s not a US destination, it is close enough by flight and its borders are open for visitors— and we need a way to use our passports this summer. What better way to understand our new world than to explore past civilizations, like the Mayans. Journey to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campeche, or archaeological sites of Edzna, Santa Rosa Extampak, Uxmal, and Cichen Itza. You can even take in how the future might look at the Celestun Biosphere Reserve. There will be opportunities for wandering through old city centers, new city quarters, and quiet, secluded beaches.
#2 – Islands Escape in New England
The end of Summer in New England— what could be better than a beach side clam bake, quiet time on Martha’s Vineyard, and experiencing the quintessential elegance of Newport, Rhode Island? Need we say more?
#1 – Culinary Northern California
Home to some of the best wines in the world, Napa and Sonoma Valleys will not only tempt your tastebuds with vino, but you’ll experience a culinary journey from farm to table as well. And, it’s not just about tasting the wines and food, as you’ll have a chance to learn more about viticulture in addition to a hand-on cooking lesson using fresh picked (by you) herbs and vegetables. Why did this journey rank #1 for us? Why else—- to have food, fun, wine and travel all rolled into one so you can #LoveTheJourney.