Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Lonely Planet, the #1 travel guidebook publisher in the world, has released its annual list of the top places to visit in the US in the coming year. Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2014 was selected and ranked by the company’s team of US-based editors (Oakland, CA) and expert authors. It features locations all over the map that are either quietly emerging and up-and-coming, or are perennial favorites that have a new and timely angle making them prime for visitors in 2014. Fantastic art scenes, epic scenic drives, lively summer boardwalks, small-island charm and major anniversary celebrations are some of the elements that make these destinations amongst the top 10 places Lonely Planet thinks travelers should add to their wish lists for the year ahead.
Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2014:
1. Grand Rapids & the Gold Coast, Michigan Beach bums, beer lovers, and art enthusiasts agree: there’s a lot to love about western Michigan this year. Grand Rapids beer-tourism revolution rages on and the secret about its fabulous art scene is getting out. A mere 30 miles away sprawls the USA’s most unexpected beach getaway. The 300-miles of seemingly endless beaches include sugar-white dunes, wineries, antiquing, U-pick orchards and berry farms, cider houses, and Hemingway haunts.
2.Yosemite National Park, California Through summer 2014, the park and gateway communities of Yosemite will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, signed by President Lincoln and a precursor to the modern National Park System. Let’s rejoice! This beloved park has something for everyone, from road-tripping families to adventure enthusiasts.
3.Boston, Massachusetts In January 2014 Boston is hosting the 100th annual US Figure Skating Championships, and come spring, the gaze of the world will turn to the Boston Marathon. This will be the second-biggest Boston Marathon ever, with 36,000 runners flooding the course. And once summer hits, the city’s usual festivities are in full swing: festivals, beer gardens and restaurant patios, and a thriving arts and entertainment scene.
4.Central Coast, California This surreally scenic stretch of the Pacific coast is California at its best. Laid-back beach towns, sea-hugging Hwy 1 (one of the USA’s most iconic roadways), wildlife, pleasant weather (even if it’s foggy) and no crowds. Dip inland to the up-and-coming Paso Robles wine country for scenery rivaling Napa and Sonoma. Plus, the eco-conscious Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrates their 30th birthday this year.
5.Jersey Shore, New Jersey Perhaps the most famous and revered part of New Jersey is its sparkling shore. Stretching from Sandy Hook to Cape May, the coastline is studded with resort towns ranging from tacky to classy. Hurricane Sandy in 2013 and the more recent fire on the Seaside Heights boardwalk devastated the Shore; as the recovery efforts continue, the 2014 summer season will be an important one for local communities.
6.Kansas City, Missouri Wide open and inviting Kansas City is famed for its 200 fountains, 100 barbecue joints, walkable neighborhoods and renowned jazz and blues scenes. As 2014 marks the centennial of WWI, major celebrations and events will ensue at and around the city’s National WWI Museum. The museum’s adjacent Liberty Memorial is even getting a $5 million renovation for the festivities.
7.Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia One of the most underdeveloped places in the US, Cumberland Island is magical. Picture virgin beaches, windswept dunes, feral horses, wild turkeys, tiny fiddler crabs, beautiful butterflies, skittering armadillos, mossy old oaks, breathtaking sunrises… that’s Cumberland. Most of this unspoiled paradise, the largest of the Sea Islands in terms of continuously exposed land, is national seashore.
8.Las Vegas, Nevada This year there’s more to discover, especially as this dazzling city attempts to draw more lower-rolling tourists in 2014 (per-person gaming revenue has dropped by 30% since 2006). Fremont East and the Arts District near downtown are blossoming into vibrant neighborhoods in their own right. Lots of hip new bars, cafes and galleries – not to mention the Burlesque Hall of Fame – give revelers excellent reason to venture off the Strip.
9.Sun Valley, Idaho Sun Valley is the perfect alternative to ritzy resort areas: world-class skiing can be had and you can ride the lifts with swanky Hollywoodsters in a refined and pretty place, without the crowds, fast-food joints or condo sprawl. In summer, camping, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, cultural events, and great food abound.
10.Lana‘i, Hawaii Lana‘i’s unique speck of paradise boasts empty beaches, snorkeling and diving, shipwrecks, petroglyphs (!), otherworldly rock formations, red-dirt roads, rugged hiking (or 4WD) trails, and one of our favorite poke (raw fish salad) markets in the state. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison purchased the smallest of the visitable Hawaiian Islands and his plans for Lana‘i are reputedly going to honor its distinctions and promote sustainability while opening more high-end resorts and doubling the population. Many feel this is all good, some not so much – it remains to be seen, but either way, see it now before it morphs.
Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2014 goes beyond the locations featured in its annual Best in Travel book, which includes the company’s picks for where to visit in the coming year, all over the globe. Best in Travel 2014 features Chicago and Texas among the global picks for next year.
More information on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Destinations for 2014 is available at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/top-us-destinations-2014.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 is in stores now. Read about the picks here: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations.
About Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet started in 1973 and is now the world's leading travel media company. Lonely Planet covers the must-see spots, but also encourages travelers to get off the beaten track and understand more of the nature, culture and environment in each destination. For more information, visit lonelyplanet.com or join its engaged travel community on Facebook (facebook.com/lonelyplanet) and Twitter (@lonelyplanet).