Best US Luxury Destinations

Best US Luxury Destinations


Maui Travel Tips

Maui is an attraction-filled destination that seems like a compilation of Hawaii’s best qualities. Surfing beaches? Check. Volcanoes? Several. Family-friendly? Definitely. Posh resorts? Absolutely. The legions of vacationers that come back home teary-eyed and hypnotized can’t be wrong — this is where you learn Hawaii is more than a series of islands, it’s also a spiritual experience. Step off the plane, take one whiff of the plumeria blooms and you’ll be hooked.

You should note that every Hawaiian island offers something different. With Maui, you can expect one of the most tourist-friendly experiences. The island is easily covered by car, and the diverse terrain keeps photos interesting. If you’re looking for adventure, you’re better off on the Big Island. Should you want luxurious isolation, head to exclusive Lanai. For most visitors, Maui excels at providing the envisioned Hawaiian vacation and is the perfect introduction to the archipelago.

Hawaii – The Big Island

In Hawaii, the Big Island is like the sometimes awkward older sibling. Forgotten in favor of adorable little brothers and sisters — her attributes are often glossed over. Maui is for fun and families. Oahu attracts surfers, partiers and outdoor adventurers. Kauai is for romance and luxury. And the Big Island is just … big.

Majestic is more accurate. Geographically unique, the Big Island boasts everything from black sand beaches to snow-covered peaks, from hardened lava deserts to steamy and lush rainforests. And it’s still growing. The Big Island’s trump card — the active, fire-spitting Kilauea volcano — has been increasing the island’s land mass since 1983. It’s true that if you arrived here hoping for a stereotypical Hawaiian getaway that’s full of Tiki, luaus and a honeymoon-esque atmosphere, you’ve probably missed the mark. But the hiking trails and state parks that are here hold sights that no other Hawaiian island can boast of. And the beaches are colors you’ve probably never seen.

New York City Travel Guide

The buzzing Big Apple allures people today just as it always has. Not only is NYC the most populous city in the U.S. — filled with everyone from bohemian artists to investment bankers — it’s also at the forefront of food, fashion, the arts and nightlife (it is, after all, the city that never sleeps).

If you’re turned off by the city’s clogged streets, cacophonous cabs, and the chaotic (at best) Times Square, have no fear. NYC also brims with charmingly mellow neighborhoods and boroughs. Greenwich Village and Brooklyn house indie boutiques, iconic bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants galore. The refined Upper West Side dazzles with state of the art performances at the Lincoln Center. And the lush, sprawling Central Park offers some peace and serenity tucked between towering skyscrapers.

There’s also the option of focusing your trip by theme: For shopping, you’ll find sleek storefronts along Fifth Avenue (Madison Ave., too) and über-trendy boutiques in SoHo and East Village. If it’s museums you want, the Met, the MoMA, the Guggenheim and more are at your service. At nighttime, the opportunities for entertainment are virtually endless — a long leisurely dinner at an “it" restaurant (there are lots of “its" in New York), rooftop drinks at a meatpacking district club, a Broadway show along Times Square. One of the New York’s myriad of nicknames is “The City." Maybe that says it all.

San Francisco Travel Guide

A jumbled collage of colorful neighborhoods and picturesque views, hill-sloped and breezy San Francisco draws those free-spirited types who have an eye for edgy art, a taste for imaginative cuisine, and a zeal for adventure. Often described as Los Angeles’ more refined northern cousin, cool and compact San Francisco combines the big-city buzz exuded by its southern counterpart and melds it with a sense of small-town charm. Here, you’ll discover a mish-mash of culture flourishing throughout San Francisco’s many vibrant quarters. Follow the crowds to the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area (which offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz), but don’t forget to save time for the Mission district, The Haight, and The Castro, where much of the city’s history and culture can be explored.

It’s really not surprising that songwriter Tony Bennett left his heart here: The city boasts jaw-dropping sights, world-class cuisine, cozy cafés and plenty of booming nightlife venues — there’s no shortage of ways to stay busy here. Spend an hour or two sunning yourself alongside sea lions on the bay, admiring the views of Coit Tower from Russian Hill, or strolling along the Marina. For an authentic tour, enjoy a ride on a cable car.

Kauai Travel Guide

Honey-dipped sunsets, chocolate-sand beaches, aquamarine skies—Kauai has mastered seduction. But the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain doesn’t have to resort to over-the-top luxury or tourist traps to entice; instead, it appeals to a no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. You prefer rural to resplendent? Kauai’s your island—there are only two major highways, and some regions can only be explored on foot. Resorts are no taller than a coconut tree (literally).

Some would say that you need little more than a good pair of hiking boots, an umbrella, and an adventurous spirit to visit. But we should warn you: You might also need a little cash. Kauai has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trails, and room rates during the winter can reach $500 a night. To get the most and save the most, consider visiting in fall.

Honolulu – Oahu

Oahu blends cosmopolitan luxury and breathtaking scenery more than any other Hawaiian island. Its capital city, Honolulu, showcases the island’s urban appeal. Nearby you’ll find a host of cultural and historical sites, from the austere USS Arizona Memorial to ornate ‘Iolani Palace. In the nearby Waikiki neighborhood, a skyline of high-rises and resort hotels contrasts with sprawling white-sand beaches. For a taste of rural Hawaii, visit the North Shore. Here, you’ll find the most brilliant blue waters and meandering hikes. But those three spots aren’t all Oahu offers. Its high-class restaurants, vibrant cultural events, and wild nightlife further showcase this island as a “Gathering Place" of Hawaiian culture.

Naples Travel Guide

Named after the coastal Italian city, Naples is known for its laid-back ambience, quiet luxury and world-class golf. Though Florida’s version doesn’t have the history, the sights, or the artwork of its namesake, its extravagance mimics that of European waterholes along the Mediterranean. With gently lapping waves on the white sand beaches of southern Florida’s Gulf Coast, America’s Napoli qualifies as one of the most relaxing and romantic beach destinations in the States. High-end restaurants and first-class hotels await those who retreat from the shore. Party animals and young families will probably want to seek another beach because Naples doesn’t have the distractions (Oops, we mean, attractions) you are looking for. Relaxation is the name of the game here, so leave the tots with your parents or the keg at the frat house, pick up your special someone and venture down to Florida’s city of love.

West Palm Beach

Home to America’s millionaires and billionaires (Donald Trump, Jimmy Buffet, Tiger Woods and Mark Zuckerberg — to name a few) for nearly a century, West Palm Beach provides the most luxurious version of the relaxing Floridian lifestyle. Or so people think. Its actually Palm Beach — the coastal neighborhood adjacent to West Palm — that serves as the spot where these moguls and celebrities choose to build their waterfront winter homes. Its younger sister, West Palm, was originally an off-shoot. Now the latter is a vacation spot in its own right, offering travelers an array of away-from-the-shore attractions and hotels options for all budgets. You might only be able to distinguish between the two areas by crossing the Intercoastal Waterway and looking at the housing prices.

While the rest of the country battles snowstorms, residents of West Palm sip on piña coladas and watch the tide roll in. And despite the area’s tradition of catering to glamorous, designer-decorated clientele, Palm Beach’s shores and West Palm’s historical neighborhoods appeal to many types; in fact, the famous clientele is part of the allure.

Miami Beach

Will Smith once rapped, “Ain’t no city in the world like this," and thousands continue to travel to Miami Beach to confirm his words. Why else would MTV have relocated its tumultuous party crew, the cast of Jersey Shore, away from their northern abode? But don’t let Snooki and her friends fool you: A wide variety of people — including waifish models, amateur architecture critics, distinguished seniors, and sun-seeking families — enjoy the renowned shores of “America’s Riviera." North Miami Beach is where you’ll find the kid-friendliest beaches, the most interesting Art Deco architecture, and the most affordable restaurants and hotels. Less than 10 miles away are the galleries, museums and theaters of Greater Miami.

And then there’s “SoBe," or South Beach. This popular southernmost neighborhood proves that Miami Beach is more like two cities — a family-friendly vacation when the sun is shining and a super-chic hotspot once the evening arrives. If want to keep up with the Joneses (or Snooki, for that matter), you’ll have to flash your AmEx black card at the high-end stores, schmooze at the cutting-edge fusion restaurants, dance at the energetic nightclubs and relax poolside at the Art Deco hotels. For a little less pretense, window shop at the Lincoln Road Mall, chow-down at a low-key Floribbean joint and toss back a (decidedly cheaper) cocktail at a lower key watering hole.

Washington D.C. Travel Guide

Washington, D.C. may call to mind presidents, monuments, memorials, Republicans, Democrats and the Supreme Court, but you might be surprised to find that the city isn’t the stuffy political town it once was. Trendier than ever, the District is becoming an exciting East Coast vacation destination — and not just for patriots. Although government is still the sun around which this city orbits, D.C. also offers a host of renowned museums and interesting neighborhoods. And last but not least, D.C. has a very respectable dining scene. Plus, it’s easy to get by on a budget because many of the top attractions are free.

You should definitely spend a day visiting the more traditional sites like the Washington Monument or the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Allot another day for the National Mall’s free Smithsonian museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among a host of others. In the evenings, unwind as Washingtonians do at one of the city’s many trendy bars before dancing in Adams Morgan or a catching a live performance at the Kennedy Center.

Santa Fe Travel Guide

Chop up one history lesson — one part Mexican, one part American — pour in a large cup of artistic talent, then stir in some spicy chile peppers and whisk it all together in a mixing bowl, and let your creation bake for 400 years. What have you just made? Most likely, something similar to the delectable city of Santa Fe. With a culture based on a variety of unusual ingredients, including Gothic cathedrals, a love for the great outdoors, chili-infused cuisine and a profound emphasis on the arts, this truly is the “City Different." This town also preserves a historic feel — with Spanish-influenced architecture and buildings that date back to the 16th century — still, the main reason people visit is for its art. The works artists like Georgia O’ Keeffe, Peter Hurd and Miro Kenarov fill the galleries, works that were largely inspired by the city’s dramatic, evolving landscape. Anytime you visit Santa Fe, you can find many of these renowned pieces along gallery-lined Canyon Road. For a taste of up-and-coming talent, swing by one of the artisan markets or one of the many craft festivals that the city hosts.

The same landscapes that spoke to O’Keeffe also call to adventurous types. Active travelers hike the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and test the powder at Ski Santa Fe. Need a way to round out your day? Santa Fe is also a great place to taste something different: Take your pick of one of the gourmet establishments clustered downtown.

Chicago Travel Guide

Whether you refer to it as the Windy City, Chi-town or Chicagoland, America’s third largest city has a long history of contradictions. Once a haven for organized crime and crooked politicians, it later served as a gateway to westward expansion, attracting businessmen, architects and engineers. Today, you can find a swanky restaurant alongside a deep-dish pizza dive or a hot dog stand. And it’s these contrasting identities, top-notch attractions and a mouth-watering foodie scene.

Chicago’s neighborhoods still hold fast to their industrial roots, but they have also welcomed a more diverse array of identities. Start in the Loop, where some of Chicago’s most famous buildings are clustered. From here, art buffs can head to Grant Park, home to the Art Institute of Chicago, while shopaholics can stroll north past the boutiques on the Magnificent Mile. For a worldly culinary experience, head west to Greektown or south to Chinatown. Or head north for more family-oriented activities.

Website:http://travel.usnews.com/Rankings/Best_USA_Luxury_Destinations/

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