America! They say it takes leaving home to appreciate the beauty of your own backyard, and in my evolution as a traveler, I’ve found that to be true. There was a time when not a single one of the fifty states seemed adventurous enough to quench my thirst for all things exotic, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the breadth, diversity and awe of all the places I can visit without ever having to crack open a passport. In honor of the USA’s big day, here are my thirteen favorite domestic travel destinations, in no particular order.

1. Martha’s Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

Image Credit : Google

I’ve yet to find a more charming domestic destination than this one. Taking the ferry over to this quaint, chain-store-free island is like stepping back in time. Each of the island’s five towns has a distinct character, and there are endless hidden beaches and backroads to explore. I grew up making annual summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard and now that my family owns a home there we fall more and more in love all the time.

A morning bike ride from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, an afternoon at State Beach, and an evening at Red Kat Kitchen followed by ice cream on Circuit Avenue.

2. New York City

New York City

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My last permanent American address was in Brooklyn, and it’s hard for me to truly imagine ever settling back down anywhere else in the US. New York City is the measuring stick from which I size up every other city in the world, and there are very few places on the planet in which I feel so alive. How else can one sum up the city that never sleeps?

The best part about New York is that every day can be different, but for fun let’s say – a crazy fitness class, brunch somewhere painfully hip, a few hours strolling across a bridge and amongst some skyscrapers, and sunset on the roof of an apartment building before setting off for a warehouse party in Brooklyn.

3. New Orleans

New Orleans

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I’ve got big love for the Big Easy. The live music seeping from every bar, the flavors wafting from every restaurant, the joy of Mardi Gras that lingers throughout the year, the sense of resilience that sits with every resident… damn if this city doesn’t just have soul. Though my sister relocated to Boston and so I no longer have an in-town crash pad to land in, I have a feeling New Orleans hasn’t seen the last of either of us.

 A morning wandering the Garden District, a twenty-five cent martini lunch at Commander’s Palace, an afternoon taking in the French Quarter and the evening dancing to a big brass band at The Maple Leaf.

4. Miami


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A city on the sea, what more could a girl ask for? With its stunning beaches, bustling art scene, pristine art deco architecture, amazing nightlife, outdoor-loving community and infusion of Latin culture and flavor, Miami is one of my favorite cities in America. Don’t get me started on the low cost of living and the strategic location for flights to Latin America and the Caribbean. I’ve entertained many a daydream about moving here!

Paddleboard yoga on South Beach, an afternoon stroll along the art deco wonders of Ocean Drive, and dinner and drinks in Little Havana, Wynwood Arts District or South Beach, depending on the vibe of the day.

5. Nashville


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How could this country music lover not list Music City among her must-visit vacation destinations? Nashville hits all marks on the travel trinity of music, food, and Southern hospitality. And yes – I’m addicted to the TV show of the same name.

Whatever my dear friend and Queen of Nashville Kristin Luna tells you to do.

6. The Hawaiian Islands


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Naming a whole state is a bit of a cop out, but I just couldn’t choose! Oahu and Maui are the islands I’ve spent the most time on and the likely candidates for ones I’d chose to set up camp if I ever made good on my promise to someday live aloha full time. Hawaii is so much more than honeymooners sipping overpriced drinks aside an exclusive pool. It’s the beauty of the land, the spirit of the ocean, the strength of the culture, and the way you feel when the islanders treat you like ohana.

Maui perfect day: A morning surfing off the Honoappiilani Highway, kalua pig lunch in Paia and an afternoon driving around the upcountry farms.

A morning kayaking in Kailua, shave ice for lunch, an afternoon at the Honolulu Museum of Art and a night checking out the hip bars and clubs in Chinatown.

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