The best places to go on vacation? Well, to be honest, there are more great vacation spots than any one article can show off. However, some of them- particularly United States-based vacation spots- are terrific attractions, relaxing and invigorating experiences that promise a fabulous set of the greatest vacation memories. When it comes to United States-based vacation spots, you can't beat Old Faithful, with the bears, the moose, the mud pots and the geysers, as well as mile upon mile of volcanic wonders, a spectacular lake and astounding acres of forest greenery. Yellowstone Park cannot be topped for nature lovers, with its steaming hot springs, its roiling and boiling lava baths (not for anyone to clean up in, though), grizzlies and wolves (which keep their distance, so visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center to learn about them), a splendid and amazing natural canyon (with two points at which to view it- Artist's Point is by far the better one, but it's a longer hike) and all the scenery, lake sports, fishing, camping, hiking and trail-blazing an adventurous spirit could seek.
Want an adventure without the bears? Second on most people's lists of great vacation spots to visit is the Big Apple, New York City. It handled 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, and it can handle the most discriminating, demanding and culturally needy tourist. There's remarkable museum-hopping (or bar-hopping if you're not into arts and mummies), operas and symphonies, film festivals, movies and movie stars shooting scenes on every street corner, and the most invigorating night life around. It's the city that never sleeps, and it's got the biggest and most spectacular cultural melting pot anywhere, from the city center to the skyscrapers, from Central Park to the 9/11 memorial. It shouldn't be missed by anyone; it's one of those places you must see before you die.
Third on the list of most vacationers- speaking of places you must see before you die- is our nation's capital, Washington D.C., an eye-popping place filled with iconic national sites, historic landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument (the most titanic obelisk in the world), and days of sightseeing marvels, from the White House tour to the no-charge Smithsonian museums. DC has an amazing night life as well, with a splendid bar and restaurant scene, so bring the money, the appetites and the thirst for wonders and adventure, in this most historic of all the great vacation spots to visit.
Speaking of the greatest vacation memories, you can't possibly get more memorable, or find a more varied capital of the bohemian lifestyle than San Francisco. It's one of the few cities that can boast several distinctive townships all in one, from Chinatown to Castro district to the Mission, from the Wharf (including Pier 39, the most elegant fish-catching tourist trap in the world) to Coit Tower, and it features the most enormous gourmet restaurant and bar scene anywhere in the world, with eateries from every culture, all just a few blocks apart. Bring walking shoes or a car with a good transmission; you'll need them to conquer those steep, witty streets of the City.
We saved the most exotic U.S. vacation of all for last- Hawaii, with its picture-postcard island settings, its tropical breezes and white-diamond beaches, its warm turquoise waters and its gorgeous night life. Honolulu, Oahu or Maui all feature distinctive sea, sun and surf activities, including scenery-watching, golf, fishing, snorkeling, deep sea diving, surfing and gourmet dining at its most distinctive and cultural. The only downer? Lots of other tourists are there to greet you.
There are five of the best places to go on vacation. You'd better book early to get to any of them, but all are spectacular vacation experiences.