8 Places to Go in 2018

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New year, new travels! 2018 is here and with it comes the excitement of planning new adventures. But deciding on a new destination to visit can be a bit overwhelming. In eight years of solo travel, I’d like to think that I’ve experienced enough of America to confidently share some great locations with you. So, in no particular order, here are 8 places that I have personally visited and feel are worth saying hello to in 2018.

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

As the host city of Super Bowl LII, Minneapolis will be a hot destination in the beginning of February. But if you don’t find yourself in Minneapolis to root for your favorite football team, this beautiful city has plenty to offer any time of year. Surrounded by 13 lakes, the Mississippi River, and Minnehaha Falls, this city is the perfect destination for any water enthusiast. If you prefer a mix of indoor activities, Minneapolis has that too: the Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States and boasts the seven-acre Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, Matt’s Bar is known for the locally famous Jucy Lucy burger (also endorsed by Chrissy Teigen), or you can catch a game at one of the three professional sports stadiums within a 1.3-mile radius.

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San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas | Places to Go in 2018

The first week of May will be one of celebration in San Antonio, as 2018 marks its 300th anniversary. May 1 – 6 is designated as Commemorative Week, to celebrate key milestones exactly 300 years later: on May 1, 1718 the Mission San Antonio de Valero – later known as the Alamo – was established & four days later the Presidio San Antonio de Bejár was formed to protect the new mission. As if a birthday of that magnitude weren’t a good enough reason to visit, you can also meander along the beautiful River Walk, enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city from the Tower of the Americas, fill your belly with delicious Mexican food at El Mercado, and learn San Antonio’s history with a colorful video art installation on the facade of San Fernando Cathedral.

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Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree, California | Places to Go in 2018

Located in the High Desert of Southern California, the town of Joshua Tree and the National Park of the same name, is often overlooked. But in recent years Joshua Tree has become a bit of a mecca for travelers desiring a desert oasis that offers a chance to connect with the beautiful natural world around them. From majestic sunsets, to seeing the Milky Way, and simply soaking in all the good vibes, you will have the opportunity to experience life at its simplest in Joshua Tree.

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Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan | Places to Go in 2018

Much like Chattanooga on last year’s list, Traverse City is a playground for anyone who loves the outdoors. Here, you’ll find 180 miles of beaches, romantic lighthouses, picturesque lakeside villages, and a charming downtown. Nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers stunning Lake Michigan views along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, a chance to get your exercise at the insanely steep Dune Climb, and the charm of the restored Glen Haven village. Celebrate all things cherry at the National Cherry Festival in July (TC is the leading producer of tart cherries in the US), visit one of the many award-winning wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula, take a road trip through the many fish towns along the Leelanau Peninsula’s scenic M-22 highway, explore a historic 1884 state asylum turned into a trendy shopping & dining spot, and check out the open-air craft cocktail bar & food truck lot known as The Little Fleet. Other destinations may come to mind when you first think of Michigan, but Traverse City is making a strong case to rise to the top in 2018!

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Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California | Places to Go in 2018

Regarded as one of the most scenic drives in the United States, the Big Sur portion of the Pacific Coast Highway is fully operational once again. The Pfeiffer Creek Bridge was torn down in early 2017, when heavy winter rains caused its hillside supports to buckle and fail. The loss of the bridge cut Big Sur in half, severely affecting local businesses and many visitors travel plans. With the completion of the new bridge, travelers will no longer be inhibited from enjoying the stunning ocean views, unique beaches, and gorgeous state parks. If you haven’t had the pleasure of driving Big Sur before, 2018 is the year to experience the breathtaking views from atop the Bixby Creek Bridge, the mysterious purple sand and Keyhole Rock at Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean while you dine at Nepenthe.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana | Places to Go in 2018

New Orleans is another city that will be celebrating their tricentennial in 2018. As one of the world’s most unique cities, NOLA will be hosting a plethora of new events and bigger-than-ever annual events to celebrate their rich history, local traditions, and diverse culture. Expect Mardi Gras to be more raucous than ever, tour naval ships during Tricentennial NOLA Navy Week, attend the grand opening of the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District, celebrate with the community at the Citywide Family Reunion in Armstrong Park, and admire the Tricentennial Fireworks Show at the closing of the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest. There’s no better time to plan a trip to New Orleans — come join the year-long party!

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I’ll admit, I underestimated Milwaukee. Like me, you probably hear “Milwaukee” and immediately think of beer and cheese. While those are large components of Milwaukee’s identity, there is so much more to experience in this Midwestern city. To start, the Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the world and boasts nearly 25,000 works of art. The Quadracci Pavilion, a wing-like addition to the museum in 2001, is a stunning work of art itself. The city also features the Harley-Davidson Museum, a beautiful MLB stadium, a few lesser-known Frank Lloyd Wright creations, and the “World’s Largest Music Festival” known as Summerfest. As for the aforementioned beer scene, you can enjoy a free tour of the Miller Brewing Company (including several free samples at the end) or visit any of the many smaller crafters — with Good City Brewing, Milwaukee Brewing Co., and Lakefront as a few of the local favorites. If the Midwest is on your 2018 travel radar, do yourself a favor and head to MKE!

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Page, Arizona

Page, Arizona | Places to Go in 2018

Though Northern Arizona is best known for Grand Canyon National Park, Page is a small town just a few hours north that is home to two of the most incredible natural formations in the entire United States: Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon. A short 1.5-mile round trip hike will take you to breathtaking views of the horseshoe-shaped rock carved out by the Colorado River. Just watch those wind gusts when you’re close to the edge or you’ll have a 1,000 foot drop to the floor below. Antelope Canyon is a natural wonder that was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding. The result over time was a series of passageways that formed beautiful “flowing” shapes in the rock. Just don’t forget to pack a camera, your Instagram account will thank me later!

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There you have it, my top 8 travel recommendations for the new year. Whether you choose one of these destinations, decide to visit all eight, or venture elsewhere — just promise me you’ll make plans to say hello to America in 2018!

Ready to start planning your 2018 travel?

Start with some of the travel resources I recommend.
Check out my lodging reviews and recommendations.
Browse posts by USA region: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West.

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