• Franny the Traveler

15 MUST-SEE U.S.A. Destinations this Summer

Updated: Jun 26

All USA states are reopening in phases. People are getting restless. The weather is getting warmer. Summer is near. What does all of this mean? According to numerous news articles, ROAD TRIPS WILL INCREASE THIS SUMMER! 



According to a new survey, almost 1 in 3 Americans are planning to take a #USAroadtrip this summer. This rate can rise considering that ”51% of those surveyed said they still haven’t made a decision about their summer travel plans, while only 18% said they had definitively ruled out a road trip,” according to this article. However, that is still a significant drop, 44% lower than last year. 


Let’s look at some stats around road trips: 

  • Thirty-six percent of people planning trips said that low gas prices impacted their decision. Currently, gas prices are under $2 per gallon in 40 states.

  •  The national average for gas price is $1.87 per gallon, about a dollar lower than a year ago. It is expected to rise this summer as states reopen and demand gas increases. 

  • Motorhome and travel trailer rental site RVshare reported a 1,000 percent increase in nationwide bookings since April 1.

  • In a recent survey commissioned by the US Travel Association, 47 percent of respondents said that they were more likely to travel by car after the pandemic subsides, and 42 percent would likely choose destinations closer to home.

Because of the pandemic, I believe that domestic travel will become the new wave for a long time both as a result of people exercising caution and wanting to travel in their car or RV OR because flights will probably surge as airlines try to make their money back.


Will you be one of those people on the road or will you be staycationing from your home this summer? You may not be considering road trips just yet this summer, but open your mind to domestic travel as a new priority in the coming months. 


I decided to ask some of my favorite expert USA travelers to share their thoughts on taking a road trip this summer as well as their favorite USA spots!

  • What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

  • What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

BONUS: I will include COVID-19 traveler resources from the tourism boards of these states AND share related blog posts on these locations from these specific travelers.


IMPORTANT NOTE: It is important to stress that you should travel based on your level of comfort. When traveling, make sure to adhere to the rules of social distancing, wear proper protective equipment (such as a mask), wash your hands frequently, and pack hand sanitizer and wipes to keep hands & surfaces clean.

Resources for Traveling amidst this Pandemic

TOP 15 MUST-SEE U.SA. Destinations from

12 Expert USA Travelers!



Destination 1: Memphis, TN



Recommended by Niqua from  @Travelingwithniqua

23 States & Counting! 

Connect with Travel with Niqua: InstagramYouTube  | Facebook


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

Mmmmm favorites. I do not think I have only one favorite city or state, but I did love visiting Memphis, TN. I learned a lot about black culture and our history. My favorite place to eat was at Charlie Vergos Rendezvous.


What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

No road trips planned as of yet, but I do plan to explore more in my backyard, within the state of Florida during this summer, especially the Miami and Greater Orlando area.


Recommended by Raquel -- One-Half of @2women50states40years 

27 States & Counting!

Connect with 2 Women 50 States 40 Years:  Instagram


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? Why? What’s one recommendation while there?

My favorite state so far is Tennessee. Memphis, Tennessee has been somewhat frozen in time. I felt very welcomed. The history is felt in every brick. The national Civil Rights Museum is a must see! 



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer? To where?

My next trip this summer will be to explore the Rio Grande Valley area in Texas, that includes South Padre Island Beach, Big bend state park & America/Mexico border parks.

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Memphis, TN

Destination 2: Alaska



Recommended by Megan from @Adventuresbecause

Set foot in 39 States but 7 States Entirely! 

Connect with Adventures Because: Instagram


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

I could answer this question for every state I've been to so far. At one point, they've all been my favorite. Except for North Dakota, sorry bud. My favorite state overall is currently Alaska. The expansive and diverse areas of nature from Denali National Park mountains and their moose and bear to Kenai Fjords National Park glaciers and whales. It's perfect everywhere you go!  While visiting,  you must go on a hike. Whether you head to Girdwood for the best-enchanted forest, feel hikes, or Anchorage to hike a glacier or Fairbanks to hike and see the Aurora Borealis lights. or Seward to hike the beaches. Hike out on a boat to see Orcas (OK, that was a bit of a stretch!). Everyone needs to experience Alaska’s nature. I'm not a big foodie, but I did learn that Alaska is actually the worst place to eat Alaskan Crab!



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

I currently live in NYC, so we are still pretty locked down due to COVID-19. I think I'm going to take some of this time to explore some of the more touristy areas of my city before we open back up. However,  I am starting to explore a trip at the end of June potentially to Tennessee. I also need to start planning my annual end of August grand trip. I'm debating between Montana, Hawaii, or Maine. Lots of exciting road trip adventures hopefully to come still this summer!

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Alaska

Destination 3: Los Angeles, California



Recommended by Alieshia from @Alieshiaadventures

 23 States & Counting!  Lived in 5 different states. 

Connect with Alieshia Adventures: Instagram | Blog | YouTube | Facebook


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

Los Angeles, California! I love the weather and the city. I feel free when I am there and my favorite thing to do there is walk around and sightsee the city. I also love to eat an In-and-Out Burger, LOL.


What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

Well honestly, I don’t have anything planned this summer because of Corona, LOL. I was supposed to be in Asia this year, but that fell through. 

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Alieshia Adventures

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Los Angeles, CA

Destination 4: California (beyond L.A.)



Recommended by Vanessa from @LatinoWorldTravelers

23 States & Counting! #50by50

Connect with Latino Word Travelers:  Instagram | Facebook | YouTube


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

My favorite state to visit is California because of the beautiful sunsets, the warmer weather, and the wine! Five years ago, I spent an entire month by myself road-tripping all the way from San Diego to Santa Rosa. It was a fabulous experience and I would love to do it again!  My favorite things to do there are camping and hiking at Yosemite National Park, and exploring all that Sonoma and Napa Valley has to offer. There are incredible Michelin Star restaurants north of the Bay Area such as French Laundry, SingleThread, and the Restaurant at Meadowood. I do a lot of research and plan in advance so that I can indulge in the tasting menu of the states I visit! 



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

I want to do a cross-country road trip through the northern states. Definitely going to Wyoming! I cannot wait.

Recommended by Halle from @halleswanderingsoul

Visited 49 States! Almost there!

Connect with Halles Wandering Soul: Instagram | Blog


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? Why? What’s one recommendation while there?

California is by far my favorite state! Lots of people say that I’m biased since I grew up there, but the truth is, I didn’t really discover its beauty until I started my National Parks adventures! You can see so much without crossing a state line: desert, mountains, forests, cities, beaches... it truly has everything! I actually don’t love visiting cities when I travel domestically because I almost exclusively travel in my 17-foot long camper van! But in California, I have to give some love to my home city of Los Angeles. My favorite restaurant is a little hole in the wall - al vegan Chinese food place in the Valley called Garden Wok! I’m also super partial to LA’s beaches and the Santa Monica Mountains for exploring! My other favorite place in CA is Redwoods National and State Parks just for the beauty that it holds!



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer? To where?

If Canada feels that it’s safe enough to let Americans cross the border, we’re planning on making the epic road trip journey to my 50th state: Alaska! If not, we’ll be staying in the lower 48 visiting National Parks and I’ll get to finally meet my boyfriend’s family in Kentucky!

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Halle's Wandering Soul

Franny the Traveler

COVID-19 Traveler Information for California

Destination 5: Las Vegas, NV



Recommended by Chanice from @Flywithqueenie

About 20 States!

Connect with Fly with Queenie:  Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

Honestly, as cliché as this sounds my favorite city is Las Vegas. The reason why is because you get everything in one: you get to watch amazing shows, enjoy so many different rooftop pools, they have amazing night live shows and you meet many different people on the strip. Off the strip is so gorgeous and there are tons to do and see like ATVing in the dunes surrounded by the beautiful mountains. My most memorable restaurant was actually in the stratosphere hotel called “Top of the World”. Located all the way at the very top on the 106th floor, I loved it because it rotated in a circle. So while we were there, we got to see different views of Vegas at night.



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

The number one state that I want to visit is Utah! it is breathtakingly beautiful. I have a thing for national state parks and I really believe Utah has one of the most beautiful state parks in the country. I plan to either get an RV and stay at Zion national park overnight or Glamp at Zion National Park overnight. I plan to disconnect from technology and just really enjoy my time there as it will be my first time renting an RV or Glamping. Another place that I plan to go to this summer is upstate New York where they also have a really beautiful national park. You can hike, kayak, head to the waterfall, and it’s such a contrast from the big city. I love the outdoors and I love nature -  so that’s what I will be doing this summer!

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Fly with Queenie

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Las Vegas, NV

Destination 6: Vermont


Recommended by Sandra from  @sj_torres

35 States & Counting!

Connect with SJ Torres:  Instagram | Twitter


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

This is like asking parents to pick a favorite child. I'll try-I'll pick my top 3 and exclude my own home state because I'd obviously be biased :) In no order of importance: 


#1 Vermont: I started my New England fall foliage road trip last year in this state. There is so much natural beauty, delicious food, and cultural/historic sites. I could write 1,000 words for this state alone. Stowe, Lake Champlain, Burlington...Vermont has hiking/biking/walking trails for the most beginner levels to the most hardcore. If the arts/museums/theaters are more your thing, there's plenty of options, including a tourist pass that lets you see several shows (theater and art gallery shows) for a bargain. Fav food spots: Cold Hollow Cider Mill (Waterbury Center/Stowe), The Skinny Pancake (Burlington), and Harvest Moon Dinner Cruise (Sprit of Ethan Allen on Lake Champlain) 



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer? 

None yet. Before the pandemic, I had an Iceland trip planned this coming week (RIP) and a trip to Spain in October. I've canceled both. My job is very involved in supplying scientists with services and tools for research, so I've obviously been going 150% since the pandemic hit. I feel a personal responsibility to make sure that I'm doing everything I can at work given our current situation. So even as travel restrictions ease, I don't plan on flying through any airports this year (even for domestic travel!), at minimum. But my wanderlusty soul aches, so I've been looking at day trips I can make from where I live (southern Chicago suburbs), tor state/national parks, and/or national forests), where I can sleep/camp overnight at. I still wouldn't stay in any hotels/cabins, so sleeping in my car/tent are the least risky options for me (especially because I have family members who are immunocompromised and/or have underlying health conditions). 


For now, I'm looking at: Shawnee National Forest (really, to see Garden of the Gods, but it's still closed as of now), Indiana Dunes National Parks, Iroquois County State Wildlife Area, Spitler Woods State Natural Area, Walnut Point State Park, Starved Rock State Park, Galena IL, Springfield IL, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, St Charles/Geneva IL, Lake Geneva WI

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Vermont

Destination 7: Colorado


Recommended b ySandra from  @sj_torres

35 States & Counting!

Connect with SJ Torres:  Instagram | Twitter

What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

Colorado: There is lots of natural beauty (mile high city! all those mountains!), lots of outdoorsy options (botanical gardens, biking, hiking, walks, climbing, etc.), and some very good modern Mexican food. Also, there are just multiple mid-sized cities, with unique elements for each. Fav food spots: Hive Garden Bistro (Denver Botanic Gardens), Otra Vez Cantina (Denver), Piglatin Cocina (Colorado Springs) 


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Franny the Traveler

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Colorado

Destination 8: Minnesota



Recommended by Sandra from  @sj_torres

35 States & Counting!

Connect with SJ Torres:  Instagram | Twitter


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

Minnesota: There’s so much natural beauty (land of 10,000 lakes!), multiple good mid-sized cities (offer lots of big-city amenities without the crazy high costs & high population densities), and decent cultural diversities in their larger cities (though still segregated, thanks America!)  Minnesota also has my #2 favorite USA airport (Miami is my #1, their food spots are *chef's kiss*). Fav food spots: French Meadow Cafe (Minneapolis), Hola Arepa (Minneapolis), Pho Chau (Rochester), and Meritage (St. Paul).

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Minnesota

Destination 9: Louisiana


Recommended by Elise from @Elise_explores

22 States & Counting! 

Connect with Elise Explores: Instagram | Blog


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation? 

Louisiana: New Orleans, Lake Charles & Lafayette. There’s just something about Louisiana! The Creole and Cajun cultures are amazing and unique! And the food is amazing! I really enjoyed the experience of getting a drive-thru daiquiri lol what an experience haha. The drive-thru daiquiri was in Lafayette, LA...Check out Frankie’s Daiquiris!😁


What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

I will stick to my area of Bay Area/Central Valley CA. Mostly things outdoors for now. So yea, things like fruit picking, hiking possibly, beach if I can find a nice unpopular one lol, farms, parks, drive-thru movies, and looking for art/murals. I heard there’s going to be a drive-thru County Fair food event, so I may check that out too!

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Elise Explores

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Louisiana

Destination 10: Chicago, IL



Recommended by Franny from @Frannythetraveler

35 States & Counting!

Connect with Franny the Traveler:  Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? Why? What’s one recommendation while there?

It’s funny that I am asking this question to other travelers because I have a hard time answering this question myself. Personally, I am a lover of the Midwest. I think the Midwest is underrated as a USA travel region, and it helps that it is super convenient to travel from NYC. Most flights are somewhere between 2-4 hours, so I can arrive Friday evening after work, leave mid-afternoon after brunch on a Sunday or Monday and be back home before bedtime. I find it hard to name favorite states since I feel I have not explored enough of a state (except my home state) so I will choose a favorite city.


My all-time favorite city is Chicago: This is a city I have always said I could move to easily. It feels like the spacier, calmer version of NYC. There is a Midwest charm.  I appreciate Chicago because it has so much to do there -- I would not get bored. It also has a convenient public transportation system. Personally, I prefer Chicago’s architecture over NYC  -- hear me out! Adding to Chicago’s architecture downtown is the Chicago River running through the center. Water + beautiful buildings = heaven especially when you can take a cruise in the middle of it. My top recommendations are Architecture Cruise | Deep Dish Pizza from Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s  | Art Institute of Chicago | Millenium Park. I look forward to returning to exploring more of the hidden gems of Chicago.



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer? To where?

Right now, I am just paying close attention to the pandemic. I am hoping that by some point in July or August, I feel comfortable enough to either take a road trip with a friend who has a car to explore more of Upstate NY (since I cannot drive) OR be able to take an LIRR to explore Long Island --go the beach, visit a vineyard or my absolute hope - visit a sunflower farm. Until then, I will be staycationing with social distancing with the hope of exploring some parks in Brooklyn, NY where I live with my fiance. I need some nature in my life right now! 

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Franny the Traveler

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Chicago, IL

Destination 11: St. Louis, MO



Recommended by Franny from @Frannythetraveler

35 States & Counting!

Connect with Franny the Traveler:  Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest

What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? Why? What’s one recommendation while there?

St. Louis is another hidden gem with so much American history! St. Louis has managed to remain a low key city, which means that it still has an authentic feel and is not overrun by tourists. The city also has more free major tourist attractions than any other city in the United States, aside from DC. Since it was part of the Midwest Jazz Movement, you will find great live music and delicious food to eat. My top recommendations are the: Missouri History Museum | Museum of Westward Expansion underneath Gateway Arch | Gateway Arch National Park | National Blues Museum | Char-grilled oysters & lives Blues music at Broadway Oyster Bar | Eat St. Louis BBQ at Pappy’s Smokehouse


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Franny the Traveler

COVID-19 Traveler Information for St. Louis, MO

Destination 12: Detroit, MI



Recommended by Franny from @Frannythetraveler

35 States & Counting!

Connect with Franny the Traveler:  Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? Why? What’s one recommendation while there?

I love Detroit because it is such a true idden gem, an underrated city. It does not get enough love because of people’s fears and stereotypes that it is dangerous and/or in shambles. However, Detroit is currently experiencing a BIG revival. I encourage everyone to come to Detroit and spend money here; a place that has a rich history, great food, and even better music. Detroit is literally the second Blackest city in the USA with 78.8% of the population being Black! This is a perfect place to support Black-owned businesses and show support for the Black Lives movement. There is a LOT to do here and its convenient location allows you to squeeze in a mini-trip to Chicago (only a 4-hour drive) or to Windsor, Ontario, Canada (literally across the water with a 10-15 minute drive). My top recommendations are the: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History | Detroit Historical Society | Detroit Institute of Art | Brunch at Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles | Music from Raven's Lounge & Restaurant | Trying a Coney Island Hot Dog from both Lafayette Coney Island & American Coney Island


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Franny the Traveler

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Detroit, MI

Destination 13: Des Moines, Iowa



Recommended by Robin of @50StatesbyFifty

30 States & Counting! 

Connect with Robin: Instagram | Blog


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there? 

My two favorite places have been Little Rock, Arkansas, and Des Moines, Iowa. I feel like they are totally hidden gems and not usually the first place someone would have on their list to visit. We ate at South on Main in Little Rock and Bubbas in Des Moines. Both served local cuisine and had a great ambiance. The cities were both clean and very easy to walk and navigate. They had great attractions to visit as well such as museums and zoos.



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer? 

I was supposed to go to San Diego in June, but that is postponed. I don’t have any specific plans yet. I think it will depend on when restrictions are lifted and more places are able to open up. I do plan on going out locally to explore nature in New Jersey. I’ve been really wanting to explore Storm King in Orange County, NY as well as just local trails where it is easy to social distance.

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50 by 50 Travel Blog

COVID-19 Traveler Information for Des Moines, Iowa

Destination 14: Little Rock, Arkansas



Recommended by Robin of @50StatesbyFifty

30 States & Counting! 

Connect with Robin: Instagram | Blog


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there? 

My two favorite places have been Little Rock, Arkansas, and Des Moines, Iowa. I feel like they are totally hidden gems and not usually the first place someone would have on their list to visit. We ate at South on Main in Little Rock and Bubbas in Des Moines. Both served local cuisine and had a great ambiance. The cities were both clean and very easy to walk and navigate. They had great attractions to visit as well such as museums and zoos.


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50 by 50 Travel Blog


COVID-19 Traveler Information for Little Rock, Arkansas

Destination 15: New York City


Recommended by Dacia from @continentcountess

Visited All 50 States!

Connect with Continent Countess: Instagram | Blog | YouTube | Pinterest


What has been your favorite state or city to visit so far? What’s one recommendation while there?

 I’m from just north of New York City so of course, that’s my favorite state. NYC has something for everyone. I don’t necessarily have a favorite thing to do, but I do enjoy just taking in all the hustle of the city. Last time I visited a few years ago I went to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum; it is a must-see. As far as food, 2 slices of NY pizza 😋



What road trips or domestic trips have you planned this summer?

With the pandemic still prevalent, I will visit my family in Virginia and Atlanta by plane for sure. I may drive up to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

COVID-19 Traveler Information for New York City

Next Steps to Engage with Domestic Travel


If you are interested in travel guides & itineraries for USA travel, check out my blog! I am constantly creating new free guides to help you plan your next trip. I sort it by region under the "Travel Blog" menu section: Franny the Traveler Blog


If you are looking for USA Domestic Travel inspiration, check out

  • Franny the Traveler Instagram: I have lots of photos of my USA domestic travels and bite-sized tips. I have also been posting a USA Throwback series where I share Top Places Visited, A Vivd Memory, My Black Experience, and Coronavirus rates of each state I have been to!

  • Franny the Traveler Pinterest: I have lots of pins that contain lots of blog posts from others and myself ranging from USA Domestic Travel to Road Trips, Travel for Foodies, Street Art Graffiti and Travel Guides!


If you are interested in connecting with other USA Domestic Travel lovers, check out these Facebook groups and pages


If you are interested in chasing the 50 State Bucket-list, check out being a member of the All Fifty Club. This was formed to recognize those individuals who have achieved visiting all fifty states. There are three levels of membership:

  • Full membership is awarded to travelers that have visited all 50 states.

  • Continental membership is issued to those that have visited all 48 contiguous U.S. states.

  • Associate membership is issued to travelers that have visited 35 or more states and intend to complete all 50. 

Why does USA Domestic Travel Matter to you?

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About Me

Part-time traveler and full-time nationally award-winning educator. My passion for travel led me to start my travel blog so I could share the stories of my adventures and tips I have learned along the way as I conquer at least two new countries and two new states a year to reach 50 states & 50 countries by age 50.

 

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