Summer’s approaching and now it’s time to decide where to head next. Whether you’re planning a getaway with your family or looking for a new destination for your company’s annual meeting, the new year brings a fresh outlook on travel destinations. We’ve compiled a list of top domestic spots to visit – whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.Domestic Top Spots
- Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast -
According to CNN Travel, Grand Rapids is an undeservingly overlooked part of the Midwest and boasts a beautiful art scene, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The city also holds frequent beer and food festivals, making it a perfect destination for foodies. From Grand Rapids, it’s an easy 30-mile drive to Michigan’s Gold Coast, called one of the United States’ most unexpected beach getaways. Travelers can enjoy sugar-white sand beaches, orchards, cider houses and wineries.
- Kansas City, Missouri –
If you’re looking for an out-of-the box destination look no further than Kansas City. The city has more than 100 spots to celebrate its culinary accomplishments in barbecue, so finding a restaurant won’t be hard. Kansas City is also known for its jazz and beautiful fountains (there are more than 200 of them throughout the city!). History buffs will also enjoy visiting this city in 2014, when it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. The city’s National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is getting a $5 million makeover and will definitely be a place to stop in the next year.
- Central Coast, California –
While you may have experienced the beauty of the area from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara, the Central Coast can often be ignored as flyover country between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This weather in this region is generally gorgeous year-round, and you’ll love the drive along Highway 1 with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. There are plenty of quaint restaurants and inns to visit along the coast. Stay on the Monterey Peninsula and enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium during its 30th anniversary year. Honeymooners and connoisseurs alike can explore Paso Robles wine country, which is said to rival Sonoma and Napa.
- Cleveland, Ohio –
If you’re in need of a night on the town after a busy day, explore the East 4th Street district, which is home to over a dozen unique restaurants and entertainment venues. Venture to one of Cleveland’s many ethnic neighborhoods such as Little Italy or Slavic Village and you’ll find no shortage of delicious restaurants. Stroll down Euclid Avenue, which was known for its prestige and elegance and has been called one of the most beautiful streets in the world. Other spots to see include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.
- Houston, Texas –
Houston promises a lot more than hot pavement and barbecue. This may come as a surprise, but the city is actually home to the United States’ second-largest theater district. Houston’s new restaurants go beyond BBQ to compete at a national level, and the new 30,000-square-foot paleontology wing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science makes the city the perfect spot for traveling with kids. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a visit to the Space Center Houston, where you’ll be whisked into outer space through simulations and films. Houston also ranks as one of the country’s most thriving business centers, as the city has become increasingly cosmopolitan. Outside of New York City and Chicago, there are more Fortune 500 companies based in Houston than in any other city in the US. Hotels in the four- and five-star range average less than $300 per night (compared to $500 or so per night in other major US cities). There are also two airports with plenty of airline competition, helping to keep most airfares in check.