AAA Traveler’s Top 10 Destination Picks

From the Hawaiian islands to the Las Vegas Strip, we’re counting down our member’s top 10 destination picks from 2021! If you’re searching for inspiration for future travel, let your fellow AAA travelers be your guide. Find out what destination went #1 overall last year, and maybe you’ll discover your next great vacation spot along the way.

10. Cancún, MexicoIberostar Cancun Resort

If you’ve ever considered vacationing in Mexico, odds are you’ve heard of Cancún. From 5-star tropical resorts and stunning beaches made of fine white sand to ancient ruins and larger-than-life nightclubs, there’s no shortage of relaxation and adventure in this vibrant Caribbean city.

Destination Highlights:

  • The Hotel Zone,
  • Chichén Itzá
  • El Rey Ruins
  • Cancún Maya Museum
  • Playa Tortugas
  • Interactive Aquarium Cancún
  • The Cancún Underwater Museum of Art
  • Urbano Kabah Park
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Avenida Tulum

9. AlaskaAlaskan cruise near glaciers.

The Last Frontier is home to nine national parks and preserves and two national forests that total a whopping 66 million acres! Hike to your heart’s content in Denali National Park, watch humpback whales breach aboard a cruise and witness the colorful splendor of the Northern Lights. This global destination is perfect for travelers who want to get in touch with their wild side.

Destination Highlights:

  • Northern Lights
  • Denali National Park
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Alaska Railroad
  • Fairbanks
  • Anchorage
  • Alaska Highway
  • Alaska Native Heritage Museum
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Inside Passage

8. Phoenix, ArizonaArizona hot air balloon ride.

If you crave a desert city vacation without the in-your-face glitz and glamour, Phoenix will certainly scratch that itch for you. Enjoy desert-style hiking with picturesque sun-tinged views, uniquely themed museums and art galleries, golf resorts, upscale eateries and a lively professional sports scene. Phoenix is the perfect down-to-earth, desert road trip destination.

Destination Highlights:

  • Camelback Mountain
  • Papago Park
  • Desert Botanical Garden
  • Taliesin West
  • Phoenix Zoo
  • Musical Instrument Museum
  • Heard Museum
  • Roosevelt Row

7. Fort Lauderdale, FloridaFort Lauderdale, FL beachfront.

Nicknamed the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is famous for its vast network of residential waterways and sophisticated coastal culture. Bury your feet in the sand at Fort Lauderdale Beach and stroll down the famous Las Olas Boulevard. Purchase an all-day water taxi or indulge in an Everglades Airboat Tour. If you love water recreation, this global destination will feel like heaven!

Destination Highlights:

  • Fort Lauderdale Beach
  • Las Olas Boulevard
  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
  • Stranahan House
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
  • Museum of Discovery and Science
  • Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
  • Everglades Holiday Park
  • Sun Trolley

6. Fort Myers, FloridaBeachfront view of Fort Myers Beach Pier at sunset.

Thomas Edison once said, “There is only one Fort Myers, and 90 million people are going to find it out.” In addition to touring Edison’s famous winter estate, walk around the lively Fort Myers River District and soak up the sun at Fort Myers Beach. Take a short drive to Sanibel Island for a day trip collecting seashells on North America’s best shelling beaches. Major League Baseball fans can even enjoy watching the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins spring training and exhibitions games at JetBlue Park.

Destination Highlights:

  • Fort Myers Beach
  • Fort Myers Pier
  • Times Square
  • Fort Myers River District
  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates
  • Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
  • Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
  • Lakes Regional Park
  • Lee County Manatee Park
  • JetBlue Park
  • Sanibel Island

5. Tampa, FloridaOverview shot of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Welcome to the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the hospitality is as warm as the weather. Enjoy a family fun-filled day at Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium or ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Drive over the iconic Sunshine Skyway bridge or visit Tampa’s Cuban and cigar manufacturing roots in Ybor City. Tampa provides a retro, multi-cultural beachfront vibe that will appeal to any traveler.

Destination Highlights:

  • Sunshine Skyway Bridge
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Busch Gardens
  • Lettuce Lake Regional Park
  • Big Cat Rescue
  • The Florida Aquarium
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park
  • Glazer Children’s Museum
  • Ybor City

4. HawaiiAerial overview of Hawaain island.

Hawaii has six major islands for you to explore: the island of Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui. From its ocean depths to its volcanic peaks, Hawaii is a treasured land of extremes and tropical relaxation. Ride the coastal cliffside on the “Road to Hana” or lounge in the sun on Waikiki Beach. Dive into history at Pearl Harbor or get an up-close look at marine life in the area at the Maui Ocean Center. You’ll welcome the call of aloha on your island adventure in Hawaii.  

Destination Highlights:

  • Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
  • Diamond Head State Monument
  • Waikiki Beach
  • Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Road to Hana

3. The CaribbeanCaribbean beach hideaway with crystal blue waters.

The Caribbean islands cover a span of 2,000 miles near the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and the northern coast of South America. Tourism is the Caribbean’s lifeblood, with an influx of new travelers visiting from across seas (usually by cruise ship) year-round to experience a taste of paradise. Sunbathe on white sandy beaches, scuba dive in coastal reefs, hike the islands’ natural splendors or delight in luxurious resort accommodations. There’s never a dull moment in this lively tropical oasis. 

Destination Highlights:

  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Antigua
  • Barbados
  • Cayman Islands
  • Curacao
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Bahamas
  • St. Maarten
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico

2. Las Vegas, NevadaLas Vegas strip at dusk

Like the old motto says: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Win big at the slot machines and walk the world-famous Strip – arguably the best place to people-watch in the United States and home to several popular Las Vegas attractions. Take a ride on the tallest observation wheel in the world, the High Roller, or witness the grandeur of the Bellagio’s Fountain Show. This destination moves to its own beat and invites you to reinvent yourself, even if only for a night.

Destination Highlights:

  • The Strip
  • Bellagio Resort and Fountain Show
  • High Roller
  • Stratosphere Tower
  • Shark Reef Aquarium
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • The Mob Museum
  • Paris Hotel and Eiffel Tower

1. Orlando, FloridaView of downtown Orlando at night

Thanks to Disney, Orlando has grown into a world-renowned theme park capital – a sun-touched land of fantasy and family-fun thrills. It’s no wonder it topped AAA traveler’s lists! Visit one of its several theme parks: Universal Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Gatorland and more! Explore the City Beautiful’s natural wonders by taking an airboat ride through the Everglades or ziplining through the trees at the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park. This destination is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

Destination Highlights:

  • Universal Studios
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Discovery Cove
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
  • Gatorland
  • Lake Eola Park
  • Everglades
  • ICON Park
  • Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens

Ready for Your Next Global Adventure?

Start planning your dream vacation by speaking with a AAA travel agent today. Also, check out our AAA TourBook® Guides and AAA Travel Guides for more itinerary inspiration for popular global destinations.

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