Lonely Planet Names Top 10 U.S. Places To Visit

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Lonely Planet Names Top 10 U.S. Places To Visit

Asheville, NC. Photo: pulaw.

Lonely Planet announced its annual list of the top 10 United States destinations it feels are the “most exciting places to go” in 2017. 

Lonely Planet said its U.S. destination editors, writers and the travel community helped it chose “10 destinations poised to shine next year, whether they're up-and-coming, overlooked or offer new reasons to visit.” 

"This year's list is incredibly diverse, spanning from coast to coast, giving a panoramic tour of America," said Lonely Planet magazine managing editor Rebecca Warren. "Whether travelers want to escape to the mountains, get transported back in time or relax by the beach, these are the destinations to be excited about. Some of them are on the public's radar, while others are recently emerging." 

The top 10 are: 

1. Asheville, NC
Lonely Planet calls the “quietly emerging” city “eclectic” and “innovative,” based on the River Arts District, “the astonishing number of craft beers and spirits produced locally,” and an abundance of restaurants inspired by James Beard-nominated chefs.

2. Western Washington
The region’s “misty mountains and evergreen forests” inspired David Lynch’s dark TV drama “Twin Peaks,” which is making a comeback. Travelers can visit filming locations Snoqualmie and North Bend on the way to Seattle, Mt. Rainier National Park or San Juan Island’s farm-to-table restaurants.

3. Lincoln, NE
Yes. The state capital is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year. Lonely Planet describes the city’s “unexpected polish,” which includes 130 miles of trails, downtown's Haymarket District art galleries, specialty shops and Vietnamese and Sudanese accented restaurants and districts.

4. California’s Low Desert
The Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park and the eponymous Coachella music festival, make this region cooler than it has ever been.

5. Montana’s Flathead Valley
Lonely Planet describes this part of northwestern Montana as embodying the West “in all its glory.” The 67,000-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness area, glacial peaks and aquamarine lakes make the region a “backcountry paradise.”

6. Atlanta, GA
Lonely Planet’s editors liken Atlanta’s BeltLine to NYC's High Line, adding “a much-needed walkability factor to the traffic-snarled metropolis.” A rising local art scene, slew of brew pubs and new restaurants and the creative energy from television production companies filming hits like “The Walking Dead,” make Atlanta the “Hollywood of the South.”

7. The Adirondacks, NY 
With 42 mountains topping over 4,000 feet, “streams and lakes teeming with fish,” and the great camps of a bygone era, rustic towns like Saranac and Tupper Lake, as well as the modern Lake Placid, 1980 home of the Winter Olympics, the Adirondacks hold a special appeal.

8. Texas Hill Country’s wine region
Fredericksburg is the epicenter of a region producing a range of Malbecs, Cabernets and Tempranillos. The region’s biggest annual events, Including the Dripping Springs’ Wine and Food Festival, “combine great wine with rockabilly beats and a side of brisket,” Lonely Planet says.

9. Denver, CO
“The secret is out,” Lonely Planet writers say. “Ample sunshine, a brewery on every corner and an endless supply of adrenaline-firing fun,” combine with “artsy districts” like RiNo (River North) and LoHi (Lower Highlands).

10. Florida’s Emerald Coast
Old-timers might remember this northern gulf coast stretch of beaches as “The Redneck Riviera.” Encompassing towns like Seaside, seen in the movie “The Truman Show,” the 100-mile beachfront is drawing investors building restaurants, resorts and condos.

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