Top 10 Domestic Destinations for 2020
You don't have to wander the world to stay on trend in 2020. See a world-class horse race in Kentucky, sip craft brews on an urban ale trail or dine in a historic tavern at these trending US destinations.
Photo By: Shutterstock/Chad Zuber
Photo By: Bob Mayberger/Breeders' Cup Classic
Photo By: Shutterstock/HannaTor
Photo By: Shutterstock/Hayk Shalunts
Photo By: Shutterstock/Vacclav
Photo By: Shutterstock/n4 PhotoVideo
Photo By: Raul Rodriguez
Photo By: Shutterstock/Don Landwehrle
Photo By: Shutterstock/Keith Homan
Where are you going in 2020? Check out our list of hot tourist spots. Some are rich in history while others are making history, and some are rebuilding after storms while others are still growing. All of them are unmissables.
While Puerto Rico continues to recover from the 2017 hurricanes, almost all the island's hotels have reopened, along with some trails and facilities in El Yunque, its incredible tropical rainforest. This unincorporated U.S. territory will keep drawing tourists in 2020, especially budget-minded travelers who appreciate finding prices lower than they usually are on the mainland. Go for spectacular beaches like Flamenco, sip a Pina Colada made with Puerto Rican rum and feast on local delights like mofongo (a plantain dish with seafood or pork). You'll be helping the local economy recover, and if you want to combine sightseeing with volunteer work, contact a nonprofit agency like Para la Naturaleza.
Thousands of equine fans will be off to the races in 2020. They'll head to Keeneland, in Lexington, for one of thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international events, the Breeder’s Cup World Championships. New hotels have opened to accommodate the crowds, including the luxurious Origin and The Sire Hotel. Beyond the racetrack, there's RuntheBluegrass, a half-marathon that takes place in March, and the popular Festival of the Bluegrass in June. Don't leave with sampling the craft Kentucky bourbon whiskey at Bluegrass Distillers or visiting the award-winning Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company.
San Diego, California
Once again, San Diego is expected to top the list of US tourist destinations in 2020, thanks to its fantastic weather, family-friendly attractions like the San Diego Zoo, beautiful beaches, vibrant downtown area and access to Mexican border cities like Tijuana and Ensenada. (The city's iconic fish tacos and craft beers don't hurt, either.) Look for 180 of the city's best restaurants to offer prix fixe menus during San Diego Restaurant Week, Jan. 19-26, 2020. And stay tuned for new hotel openings like Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton. Baseball season will bring a return to the much-beloved brown and gold color scheme of the San Diego Padres's uniforms.
Long Beach, California
Think of Long Beach, outside Los Angeles in the heart of Southern California, as one big playground. A perennial favorite for beach lovers, it’s expected to keep trending as a top 2020 destination. At the Aquarium of the Pacific, visitors can see and even interact with marine life ranging from frogs and sea otters to jellyfish and sharks. (Okay — you might interact with a sea otter, not a shark.) If that’s not enough wildlife for you, take a quick ferry ride to Catalina Island and look for whales and dolphins in the waves. Save time to tour the retired RMS Queen Mary, dine on seafood delights with Beach City Food Tours or chow down on fresh shrimp, oysters and more at the annual Long Beach Seafood Festival in May.
If past election year trends continue, many of us will visit the nation's capital in 2020. Washington, D.C. is always a great destination, especially for families who want to show their kids the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian museums — which can take days to explore — and other iconic sites. Take a break from all that sightseeing at The Wharf, a new waterfront neighborhood developed at a cost of $2.5 billion. Just four blocks from the National Mall, this one-mile stretch along the Potomac River features restaurants, shops, a buzzy bar and nightlife scene, parks and piers and lots of fun activities for kids. Ride the free ferry while you're there or catch a shuttle bus to the National Mall.
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
Greater Williamsburg, an ever-popular destination that includes Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg as well as Yorktown and Jamestown, has new experiences slated for 2020. Pantheon, billed as North America’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster, is set to debut at Williamsburg’s Busch Gardens; check the website for the opening date. From now until March 22, 2020, history buffs can immerse themselves in a special “Forgotten Soldier” exhibit at Yorktown’s American Revolution Museum. It shares the stories of free and enslaved African Americans on both sides of the war through artifacts, art and interactive and hands-on activities. In Yorktown, a new schooner, Denouement, sets sail for sightseeing cruises and pirate adventure trips that let kids get tattooed and fire a cannon. Check the website for Denouement’s launch date; pirate trips will run from March 30 to Oct. 31. Shown here: a demonstration at Colonial Williamsburg.
Key West, Florida
Even Hurricane Irma, which damaged Key West in 2017, couldn't keep this free-spirited destination down. Most tourist spots in the Conch Republic have reopened, and visitors are flocking back for the sunny beaches, margaritas and laid-back vibes. Grab your flip flops and do the “Duvall crawl” along Duvall Street, home to fun bars, live music, cool shops and art galleries, and pucker up for a piece of tart Key Lime pie at an outdoor café. Later, snap pix of the six-toed cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum or join the crowds celebrating the sunset at Mallory Square.
Stowe is the place for a quintessential New England getaway, and it typically ranks high on the list of trending ski destinations in the US. Millions of dollars of improvements to the area’s ski slopes —not to mention the appeal of year-round sports like fly-fishing, mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing — make it a hot destination no matter what time of year you travel. Check out the beautifully renovated Topnotch Resort and Spa, which frequently ranks as one of the top ten resorts in the US, and save plenty of time to enjoy Stowe’s thriving craft breweries and tasting rooms.
A recent Airbnb survey ranked Milwaukee, site of the next Democratic National Convention, at the top of its list of trending destinations for 2020. Conventions aside, the city boasts a lively bar and restaurant scene, a Harley Davidson Museum for hog fans, the elegantly designed Milwaukee Art Museum and a bustling Public Market that’s nipping at the heels of Seattle’s popular market. Don’t miss a Milwaukee Bar and Brewery tour; join the water sports scene on Lake Michigan or pedal the city’s 100-plus miles of scenic bike trails.
The Buckeye State’s capital is seeing an uptick in tourism thanks to a growing reputation as a foodie destination (try Katalina's, a Latin- and Southern-influenced cafe that serves unique pancake balls) and a kind of cultural renaissance. According to the 2018 US Census, it's now our fourth fastest-growing city. Columbus appeals to families, millennials and many other visitors with its museums and art centers, like the Wexner Center, King Arts Complex, Columbus Museum of Art and COSI, a cool science and industry center for kids. Don't overlook the city's great zoo, legendary football team and the thriving breweries on the Ale Trail.