Top 6 2016 travel destinations
Scouting out a new vacation destination?
We’ve partnered with TripAdvisor to find the up-and-coming hot spots on the vacation map. From quaint mountain towns to beach getaways, we have some some great picks for your vacation considerations in 2016.
TripAdvisor has gauged top spots that are growing in popularity by using an algorithm that measured year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveler feedback and interest in accommodations, restaurants and attractions.
Once you’ve found your travel inspiration, use TripAdvisor for planning your whole trip! You can book flights and reservations directly, find travel itineraries, ask questions in forums and utilize their app on the go.
Here are the top 6 travel destinations for 2016, according to reviewers at TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site.
This Tennessee city is nestled in The Great Smoky Mountains, which happens to be the most-visited National Park in the United States. From downtown Gatlinburg alone, there are three entry points into the mountains — and, once there, dozens of fun ways to experience the scenery.
Zip down the mountain on skis or a rollercoaster at Ober Gatlinburg, a ski resort and amusement park. The coaster debuted in August 2015 and is 5.5-minutes long, covering approximately 3,750 feet of mountain terrain with turns, drops and corkscrews.
Or, take a scenic hike to the many waterfalls. The Grotto waterfall is just minutes away off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and you can walk behind the cascading falls. TripAdvisor reviewers rate it as a moderate hike, with great photo ops along the trail (some spotted llamas!) and at the waterfall. “Not only is this a great hike, but the falls are a beautiful prize at the end,” one reviewer says. Don’t forget to toast to the Appalachians at Doc Colliers Moonshine Distillery, where TripAdvisor reviewers have a sweet spot for the apple pie moonshine.
Check in to The Lodge at Buckberry Creek, which one reviewer described as a “unique escape” and another rates as the place to be for “anyone wanting the true view of the mountains.”
Enjoy white sand beaches, deep sea fishing in turquoise waters and championship golf courses in this Alabama beach town perched on the Gulf of Mexico.
Soak up the sun and surf by renting a condo at the beachside Caribe Resort. “Our views were amazing. We could see the dolphins from our veranda,” one TripAdvisor reviewer writes about the stay. Resort amenities also include 40,000-square feet of pools, slides, and lazy rivers.
Get up close and personal with dolphins on a boat tour with Barefoot Family Dolphin Tours and Boating Safaris. TripAdvisor reviewers especially love the Wave Runner Tours, a two-hour tour that takes you to the Wolf Bay Estuary where the Gray Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins are playing with their pups.
This Colorado mountain town is cradled by the Rocky Mountains and a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. While it’s a charming mountain escape year-round, a fall visit to Estes Park is especially phenomenal.
Mother Nature choreographs a beautiful show with the leaves. Rent a car and go leaf peeping along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. You’ll see more than just the golden Aspens. “The views of the Rockies are absolutely stunning, it is worth the time and effort,” a TripAdvisor reviewer writes. “You will likely see elk along the road, too, and possibly some moose.”
For a thrill, stay at the historic Stanley Hotel and take a ghost tour. One TripAdvisor reviewer vows the that the “ghost presence is palpable and fun” and that, during a November stay, a beautiful blanket of snow only added to the hotel’s charm and mystery.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love South Lake Tahoe, also dubbed “Tahoe South.” Hit the snow at Tahoe in the winter — with skiing, snowboarding, tubing, sledding and ice skating. Come summer, there’s plenty of recreation options on the menu from hiking and biking on trails to paddleboarding and kayaking in the lake’s south shore.
Take in the idyllic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountain range aboard The Gondola at Heavenly that a Trip Advisor reviewer described as “simply breathtaking.”
TripAdvisor reviewers offer up rave reviews for the stone gas fireplaces, lakeside views and marbled bathrooms with heated floors at The Landing Resort and Spa. One reviewer wrote “The rooms facing the lake are to die for with gorgeous sunsets every evening.”
5. Jackson, Wyoming:
This northwestern Wyoming city is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
While Jackson is well-known for skiing, snowshoeing and dogsledding, the summer months offer hot air ballooning and rafting.
Year-round, there’s plenty of wildlife to see on eco-tours. Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris offer summer and winter expeditions and photography tours in Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. One TripAdvisor reviewer was wowed after spotting grizzly bears, a black bear, bison, a bald eagle as well as Old Faithful and other geothermal features, concluding that a day-long safari “is a great way to see all the highlights and not have to do all the driving” in Yellowstone.
To get the entire Jackson experience, book a luxury cabin at The Rustic Inn Creekside Resort and Spa at Jackson Hole. A TripAdvisor reviewer gave the hotel five stars, saying “The setting is magical, with a beautiful stream nearby and Aspen-lined walkways.”
The emerald waters of this beach destination is a paradise for fishers. (The city is dubbed the world’s luckiest fishing village).
Hop on a deep sea fishing charter. Huntress Charter Fishing is loved by TripAdvisor travelers. “By the end of the trip we were both exhausted from reeling in the fish. Our captain definitely knew where the fish were,” one TripAdvisor reviewer writes. But, there’s plenty to do even if you won’t be casting a line.
Learn how to build state-of-the-art sand castles with lessons from Beach Sand Sculptures at Henderson Beach State Park or relax with a deep-tissue massage at the Surfside Spa.
Enjoy dinner at Caribbean Joe’s, where TripAdvisor reviewers give five-star ratings to the Cuban Sandwich. “The smoked meat on the Cuban was out of this world!” one reviewer says.
TripAdvisor reviewers applaud The Sea Oats Motel for its affordable, oceanside lodging. One calls it a “favorite hideaway.”
* This blog post was sponsored by TripAdvisor