There's no time like the fall to explore new destinations across the U.S. If you need some help, it's hard to go wrong with including one of these top Forbes vacation spots for 2023 in your itinerary.
Forbes reached out to female experts and influencers in the travel space. They used their responses to determine their annual list of must-visit destinations in the U.S.
1: Phoenix, Arizona
Forbes puts Phoenix first on their list, a city that boasts sunny weather year-round, stunning landscapes, and innovative projects like South Mountain Park and Preserve, which is the biggest urban park in America. Tourists can choose from countless hotels and resorts, with several scheduled to open this year.
2: Central Coast, California
California's Central Coast extends from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo, and it's a have-your-camera-out kind of route. The Central Coast scene is exploding, with chefs preparing unique dishes made with fresh ingredients and local wine. Everyone should visit the "Riviera of America" at least once in their life.
3: San Francisco, California
Put aside any negative feelings about Silicon Valley and let San Francisco seduce you with its newly opened Presidio Tunnel Tops. This 14-acre national park offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay. LINE Hotel also recently opened its door to guests, which is equipped with a landscaped rooftop solarium and gorgeous city vistas.
4: Vail, Colorado
Vail was formerly a mining town. Nowadays, it's a popular place for skiers to cruise through the snow on Vail Mountain. Outdoor lovers will appreciate the many hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and fly fishing that this scenic town offers. Don't miss the chance to try the Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine, the first of its kind in Colorado.
5: Bailey, Colorado
At only a one-hour drive from Denver, Bailey is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Start your explorations at Deer Creek Trail, where mountains tower over travelers, and a rushing creek soothes the soul. History lovers shouldn't miss the chance to visit Memorial Park, which is a historic 1870s homestead.
6: Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Grab your kids and sunscreen; Destin-Fort Walton Beach is a great place to visit almost any time of year. This Gulf of Mexico destination offers snorkeling opportunities at artificial reefs and a rehabilitation center for sea turtles. Destin-Fort Walton Beach prides itself on ecotourism, and its growing hotel scene reflects the interest that travelers are taking in it.
7: St. Petersburg, Florida
Travelers get the best of both worlds in St. Petersburg; a vibrant downtown and beautiful beaches are within a short distance from each other. Art enthusiasts will love scouting out street art murals in downtown. St. Pete's LGBTQ+ parade is the largest of its kind in Florida, and the EDGE District is opening its first lifestyle property in 2023.
8: Savannah, Georgia
You'll encounter southern hospitality at its finest in Savannah, Georgia. As of 2023, Savannah has a new 9,500-seat entertainment venue, making it an up-and-coming destination for live music. This complements Savannah's 17-day Savannah Music Festival, where performers play jazz to folk and global roots music.
9: Portland, Maine
Seafood is one of the first things many tourists think of when they hear the word "Portland," and they won't be disappointed. San Francisco aside, Portland has the most restaurants per capita in the United States. This year is extra special for Portland, as 2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the first steamship traveling from Boston to Portland.
10: Traverse City, Michigan
If you love getting off the beaten path, look no further than Traverse City. Small-town charm, a thriving culinary scene, museums, and outdoor activities make Traverse City an excellent choice for vacationers with varying interests. Grab a bike and explore downtown. When you're ready for a break, grab a beer from one of the city's many incredible craft beer bars.
You read that right — Forbes deems the entire state of Mississippi as worthy of your vacation time. The Magnolia State has numerous noteworthy small towns, parks, and historic sites. Consider walking along the public art trail in Hattiesburg, enjoying commercial building-free beaches in Waveland, and trying out farm-to-table restaurants in historic Ocean Springs.
12: Kansas City, Missouri
Eating handcrafted chocolate, exploring open gallery nights, and watching barbecue competitions are some of the many things you can do during a Kansas City (KC) vacation. In February 2023, KC opened a new $1.5 billion airport terminal, showing its commitment to hosting tourists.
13: Atlantic City, New Jersey
America's Playground is ramping up its tourist offerings in 2023. It's implementing multi-million dollar hotel renovations, opening America's largest indoor waterpark (Island Waterpark), and serving up new dishes at the many restaurants that line this beachside city.
14: Niagara Falls, New York
The American side of Niagara Falls opened a $46 million Welcome Center in 2023. The goal is to increase awareness around indigenous history and ensure visitors have the information they need to enjoy the falls to the fullest. The historic Red Coach Inn turns 100 years old this year, so book your reservation early if you want to snag a room.
15: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City (OKC) proudly shows visitors its quirky side. It's home to the American Banjo and American Pigeon Museums, both must-see attractions that will give you more information than you ever thought you needed about the role banjos and pigeons played in U.S. history. Factory Obscura allows customers to have a psychedelic experience, while Grey Sweater is an award-winning restaurant that will leave you dreaming of returning to OKC.
16: Portland, Oregon
WalletHub named Portland the "best foodie city" in 2022, and the city is maintaining its reputation in 2023. Travelers preferring to stick to domestic trips will appreciate that Portland offers them the option to try authentic cuisine from nearly every corner of the globe. Shop until you drop with no sales tax, and get some exercise at the Portland Japanese Garden and by partaking in local urban hikes.
17: Puerto Rico
Americans can travel to Puerto Rico without a passport, given that it's a U.S. territory. The Caribbean island offers miles of coastlines for visitors to swim, sunbathe, and snorkel. The limestone Camuy Caves recently re-opened to visitors in 2023, and Earthship PR offers new and unique short-term accommodations with their homes built from recycled material.
18: South County, Rhode Island
Just a three-hour train ride from New York City lies South County, a Hampton-like destination popular among some famous people. South County screams laid-back, with surfers taking to the water and oceanfront oyster bars. New hotels are popping up in 2023, with the historical The General Stanton Inn among them.
19: South Dakota
Yes, another entire state made it on Forbes' best U.S. travel destinations list. South Dakota offers tourists 63 parks and recreation areas to explore. The newly opened Buffalo Road Vacation is an excellent choice for visitors who want to stay on the Cheyenne River Reservation and learn about how Native Americans live.
20: Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock welcomes tourists with open arms in 2023, proudly reopening their Saskadena Six Ski Area (Formerly Suicide Six). Downtown Woodstock has a charming main street for shopping and dining. Meanwhile, nature lovers have nearby hiking and fishing opportunities.
Travel is back
According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel spending in 2022 returned to 2019 levels. With that, 8 million Americans had employment in the travel industry, and travel supported another 15 million.