Traverse City, Michigan
Perched next to Lake Michigan, Traverse City has become a not-to-be-missed Midwest destination offering beautiful freshwater beaches, darling boutiques, and local wineries throughout every season. With just around 15,000 residents, Traverse City made a name for itself as the Cherry Capital of the country and continues to excite with its countryside charms. Strolling down Front Street in the city’s historic downtown is the best place to shop antiques and indulge in delicious wine and gourmet cuisine. It’s hard to miss Front Street’s State Theatre with its dazzling marquee and world-class cinematic experience. Outside of downtown in the Old Mission Peninsula lies thoughtfully maintained farmland and hilly terrain, and the region’s microclimate affords ideal conditions for several wineries and growing varietals in the region like chardonnay and pinot noir. After wine country, head west to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to explore miles of dune trails and lush forests, or swim in immaculate beaches like Good Harbor Bay and Glen Haven.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Colorful, vibrant, rich in history — New Mexico’s capital offers some of the nation’s oldest sites and world-renowned art. A culture that emerged from its deep Indigenous roots and significant past has shaped the city into the Southwest hub it is known as today. Best explored by foot, a walk around Santa Fe’s historic downtown will take you back to the Spanish era with a visit to the Palace of the Governors and the Loretto Chapel. While exploring, notice Santa Fe’s flourishing art scene. Head down Canyon Road and find 100 of over 250 art galleries established in the city, or to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum or the famous Meow Wolf for immersive multimedia experiences. Food being a form of art, Santa Fe does not neglect its culinary scene. No trip is complete without a margarita tour or indulging in green chile in its many native and inventive forms. And if for a moment you wish to escape the liveliness of the city, it is a 45-minute drive to the Jemez Mountains and the Santa Fe National Forest. End the day with a brilliant sunset at the Cross of the Martyrs, overlooking the city, that will make you feel like you’re back in the Old West.
Skiers from all over the world flock to Telluride for its world-class skiing, quality snow and small crowds, but the lure of this mountain town extends beyond ski season. Telluride is rich in both heritage and history, with views overlooking the San Juan Mountains and a friendly earth-conscious mentality that locals embody as “The Telluride Way.” All year long visitors can take the free gondola ride stretching over San Sophia Ridge and into the Mountain Village, often buzzing with street performers, art exhibitions and food pop-ups. Walkability in Telluride is one of its main charms. Heading out of the city in any direction, visitors can find miles of hiking trails to scenic views complemented by cascading waterfalls, like one of the town’s most popular — Bridal Veil Falls. Telluride provides endless outdoor activities and adventure for all ready to embrace a frontier spirit.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Nestled in northeastern Maine, Bar Harbor is an attractive coastal town perfect for losing oneself in life’s simple pleasures. Historically known as a summer getaway for the most prestigious social clubs, Bar Harbor has shed the pretentiousness and remains a town brimming with charm and spectacular views from land or sea. Neighboring Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is designed to make exploring the local wildlife inevitable through hiking, boat tours and whale watching. Start with a stroll down Bar Harbor’s famous Shore Path and witness centuries-old lobstering, enchanting cottages, lighthouses and historic landmarks including the Bar Harbor Inn. In the fall, clear skies are celebrated with the Acadia Night Sky Festival, observing one of the last clear and spectacular views of the stars and milky way in the eastern U.S.; in fact, Bar Harbor is known for its efforts in protecting the starlit skies over the Eastern Seaboard.
Charleston, South Carolina
Although Charleston is notoriously known as one of the nation’s most haunted cities, it continues to attract visitors from all over the world for its low country charm. Right on the water, Charleston captivates with its rich architecture, cobblestone streets and landmark sites dating back to the Civil War, including prominent landmarks Fort Sumter, the Angel Oak Tree and Charleston City Market. Get acquainted with the city and its history through food tours; the city is bursting with amazing local James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants that have embraced its port city nature, offering exceptional coastal cuisine and reimagined southern staples like she-crab soup, collard greens and oysters. After a full day of food, there’s nothing quite like relaxing on the beach. Sullivan’s Island provides a bustling beach experience with endless activities and dolphin sightings, but for a more reclusive beach getaway, Botany Bay stuns with seemingly untouched shoreline and views stretching out over the Atlantic.