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No passport required: Best places to visit in the U.S.

 

From sea to shining sea, there are thousands of destinations to explore that don't require a stamp in your passport. The United States offers something for every kind of traveler, whether you want to see a national landmark, relax on a world-class beach, climb mountains, try new foods or discover an urban gem.

Add these top U.S. destinations to your travel bucket list:

For sightseeing heaven...

Get ready for some jaw-dropping views at the Grand Canyon, one of the country's largest national parks. Along with this gorgeous geological landmark, Washington D.C. should also be a must-see item on everyone's bucket list.You can explore some of the country's most amazing museums in the capital city, while also seeing important monuments. Of course you can't miss the National Mall or the White House, but you'll also want to hang out with Abe at the Lincoln Memorial and pay your respects at the veteran memorials. With so many sights and museums, you'll want to plan your trip to D.C. beforehand, and choose which destinations you're most interested in. Check out this guide from Travel + Leisure to get started.

Another classic way to see the best sights in the U.S. is to hit the road. The great American road trip is a cherished pastime, and is one of the most thrilling ways to truly experience the diverse landscape of the country. Fill up the car with gas, turn the music on and let the wind flow through your hair as you drive from state to state.

For beach paradise...

If you're ready to lounge by the ocean for a week or two, you have a few glorious coastlines to choose from. On the west side, California beaches offer glorious weather and Pacific sunsets year-round. Of course there are differences between the northern and southern beaches, so use this California coast travel guide from Lonely Planet to choose where you want to visit. You also can't really go wrong with a beach vacation in Florida, where the sun is always shining. Eight Florida beaches made TripAdvisor's list of the best beaches in the country, so you've got plenty of stunning options. During the summer months, you can even head to the Northeast for some spectacular beach days. Massachusetts is home to Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, which are all favorite beach destinations for locals and even many celebrities.

For Southern charm…

The top three Southern cities to add to your bucket list? Richmond, Savannah and New Orleans. You'll still find Southern hospitality in Richmond, but it's complemented beautifully by new microbreweries, foodie destinations and vibrant murals. Everyone loves Savannah for its quaint Georgia charm and public gardens, but it also offers a hip modern twist with eclectic dining and artistic influence from the nearby Savannah College of Art and Design. New Orleans is one of the country's best destinations for food lovers, famous for its distinctive Cajun and Creole cuisine. It's also home to some of the world's greatest and most respected parties, including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

For city lights…

If you're ready for an urban adventure, plan a trip to one of America's bustling cities. Of course New York tops the list, as The City That Never Sleeps, but Chicago and Los Angeles are close seconds. Nashville is a favorite city for country music lovers, and you'll have plenty of fabulous nights in the downtown bars. For more inspiration, check out these top U.S. cities to spend the weekend from Thrillist.

Who says you have to choose one destination? You deserve two - or even three - vacations this year. Happy travels!