So you’re keen on getting to the US. But you’re not quite sure where is best for you. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a US newbie, learn more about some of the top vacation spots in the US – especially if you’re travelling solo.
Getting away for a few days
This article focuses on short trips or vacations. For longer trips or holidays, check out the rest of the section “Places to visit in the USA“.
If you’ve only got a few days, you’ll want to squeeze in as much as possible, especially if you’re coming from far away. If you’re coming from Europe, the east coast will naturally give you the quickest flights and some fantastic places to see. Flight time from London to New York and Boston is around 6 1/2 to 7 hours. Similar for Washington DC and Baltimore. Or you can fly in further down the coast into Florida. These are usually the cheapest cities to fly into as they have the most direct flights.
If you’re coming from the other way, you’ll find equally good options on the west coast if you want to keep your flight times to an absolute minimum. And if you’re already in the US or a bit further north or south, then you’ll have a huge amount of choice with the large array of relatively inexpensive internal/international flights.
What’s most important for you?
Next you’ll need to decide what kind of trip-taker you are. Do you like the beach or prefer the hub-bub of a downtown city? Prefer to walk, take public transport or drive to get around? Will you be travelling solo, with family or with friends? Defining what type of trip you prefer up front will really help you to narrow your choices into a more manageable list.
Browse some top vacation spots in the us!
Covering all the best short-break vacation spots is impossible in one article. So I’ve summarised 3 great options below covering 3 different types of break with additional choices towards the end. Under each place I’ve given my opinion on who I think that city is best suited for, or what type of interests it may work for. You’ll also find a specific comment on the suitability for solo travellers. So sit back and browse away!
Miami: the beach break
If it’s relaxation and glorious views you’re after, you’ll get them and then some down in Miami. With plenty of soft, sandy beaches and a big Latino influence, Miami has that great mix of different cultures that’ll give you a unique city break experience. Head out for some local Cuban cuisine, or opt for tapas and dancing in one of the many bars and nightclubs up and down Miami Beach.
Do be conscious of the weather though. Miami can be susceptible to hurricanes with the season generally running from Jun-Nov. Temperatures can also be uncomfortably muggy. Mar-Apr is usually a good time to go. Less rain, good temperatures and if you’re lucky, you should miss the peak prices of the winter season.
Best for: beach goers, nightlife enthusiasts, dancing, cuisine, couples, friends
Miami can still be a great place to venture by yourself but if you’re not feeling too confident about going out, then you might not feel so at home. If on the other hand you just want to top up your tan, head up to North Miami Beach – there are lots of great places to stay and it’s slightly less touristy. Plus – lots of shopping!
Chicago: the sightseeing break
Love to get out and stroll around while exploring a city? You can’t go far wrong with Chicago. Lots of open parks and spaces and some of the widest sidewalks I’ve ever seen! Not to mention some great variety of things to see which definitely makes it one of the top vacation spots in the US.
Whether you’re into art or science or shopping, you’ll find everything here. For the best views across the city, head up to the Skydeck at Willis tower or to the 360 observation deck of the John Hancock Building. If you’re with the family, wander through the Millennium Park area and admire the art, including the famous “Cloud Gate” (nicknamed the Bean). And if you’ve got kids, they’ll love it up at the Aquarium – another place to get fabulous views back across the city.
When you’re a fan of a boat ride as I am, it’s also worth taking a trip out onto Lake Michigan. A thoroughly relaxing and interesting way to spend an afternoon – you’ll come away knowing a whole lot more about Chicago history!
Best for: everyone and everything! Chicago public transport is good but if you can catch the weather right, it’s an amazing city to walk around.
Chicago is a great place to travel on your own. You can while away the days just wandering about and seeing the sights but it’s also fairly easy to just head out in the evening for a drink or something to eat. I thoroughly recommend going to a(n ice) hockey game to see the Chicago Blackhawks. If you’re from outside the US and haven’t been to a hockey game before, it’s a thoroughly worthwhile experience! Chicago also has some of the best National Rail links. Find out more about traveling the US by train here.
Nashville: the music city break
Nashville can definitely count itself as one of this girl’s top vacation spots in the US, if not the top. Though it does have a little competition, you won’t find much better for vacationing or travelling solo. It’s certainly not only suitable for solo travellers though, couples and groups of friends will also enjoy.
If you’re not the biggest fan of country music, don’t let that put you off! You’ll find a great mix of different music types and venues. But you still can’t go without visiting the institution that is the Grand Ole Opry. Whether you’ve never heard of any of the acts or not, it doesn’t matter. The atmosphere alone is worth the admission.
The other thing that makes Nashville a stand-out is the incredible friendliness of the people there. A nicer, more welcoming lot you could not wish to meet!
Best for: solo travellers, couples, friends, live music, meeting people
There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about visiting Nashville. If you’re on your own, stay around East Nashville rather than downtown. It’s cheaper and the Five Points area is a great place to go out and mingle with the (more-likely-than-downtown-to-be) locals. Nashville has a booming Airbnb trade so you’ll be able to find a deal somewhere. Downtown hotels can be very expensive if you’re going on your own. It’s worth a trip out for an evening but then try and get to some of the places a little further out. You won’t regret visiting!
More top vacation spots in the us for a Short break:
San francisco, ca