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Top U.S. Travel Destinations for 2013
You don’t always have to travel halfway around the globe to find adventure. Lonely Planet suggests these 10 top U.S. travel destinations for 2013:
Louisville, Ky. Sure there is horseracing, capped off by the Kentucky Derby, which is called “the greatest two minutes in sports.” But that’s not all this beautiful city has to offer. Its restaurants, nightlife and shopping have made Louisville “a lively, cultural mecca on the Ohio River,” according to Lonely Planet. While you’re there, be sure to sample bourbon from some of the small-batch microdistilleries, which are putting a modern twist on one of Kentucky’s most famous products.
Fairbanks, Alaska. The aurora borealis, or Northern lights, are always a huge draw in Fairbanks. But sunspots are expected to be extremely active in 2013, which means the light show will be exceptionally magnificent. Just avoid going from May to mid-August, when the long hours of daylight make it tough to catch the lights.
San Juan Islands, Wash. Unlike nearby Seattle, this chain of islands has a whopping 250 days of sunshine a year. It also has been dubbed by Lonely Planet as “the Gourmet Archipelago” because of its many restaurants featuring fresh local food such as artichokes, clams, berries and salmon. You get to the islands by ferry; once there, explore the beaches and paths as well as the dining options.
Philadelphia. In addition to being famous for historical sites such as the Liberty Bell, and of course for its cheesesteak, Philly has become well-known as a destination for art lovers. It has the world-class Philadelphia Museum of Art, but it also has a wide range of other galleries and shops.
American Samoa. Although it is technically American soil, you need a passport to visit this Pacific island paradise. But it is worth the trip to experience gorgeous beaches, waterfalls and mountains. You can even visit the National Park of American Samoa.
Eastern Sierra, California. More remote and less crowded than Yosemite, this little-known section of the Sierra Nevada Mountains has magnificent scenery, including hot springs and weird columns of calcified tufa and basalt made from rivers of lava.
Northern Maine. The beginning (or end) of the Appalachian Trail is here, on Mount Katahdin. In addition to hiking, you can go whitewater rafting and view impressive wildlife, including moose. And of course, there is always the lobster.
Twin Cities, Minn. If you like to bike, you can follow miles and miles of bike paths and bike lanes all over Minneapolis and St. Paul. While you are at it, check out the music scene in Minneapolis, where native son Prince sometimes plays. Or head for St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater, named after author and St. Paul native F. Scott and the site of Garrison Keillor’s broadcasts of “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Verde Valley, Ariz. Sedona has long drawn New Agers and lovers of natural beauty to this area between Phoenix and Flagstaff. But now there is another reason to come: wine. The Verde Valley Wine Trail connects four wineries. There is even one you have to get to by kayak.
Glacier National Park, Mont. There is an urgency if you want to visit this spectacular and remote park and view its magnificent peaks and lakes: The glaciers are melting, and they could be gone altogether by 2030 if global warming continues unabated.