If you’ve so much as looked at a newspaper for the last two years or so, you know that America the Beautiful isn’t always living up to its name, figuratively (and often literally) speaking.
But not all stateside places are giving the U.S. of A. a bad rep—and certain under-the-radar destinations definitely deserve some championing. In other words: If you’re looking for some patriotic travel inspiration this month, we’ve got you covered. See below for the American cities and regions our editors are dreaming about—and where they’ve actually booked flights to.
Best Places in America to Visit Right Now
The Pacific Northwest is my pick. No American region I’ve been to has topped it, and I’m beginning to think none ever will. Though I’m a traitor and have lived on the East Coast for almost seven years, Washington State is in my blood, and it’ll call me home someday. Our keys to happiness: the climate and nature. Make Olympia, the state’s capital, your home base, and you’ll have easy access to the best Washington and Oregon have to offer. Both states are temperate most of the time—I’m talking zero humidity in summer and cute snowfall in winter, rarely the city-shutdown kind. While you’re not sweating or freezing to excess, venture to all the lakes, beaches, evergreen forests, rainforest, mountain ranges, deserts, and plains you can manage. You can even trek out to the most northwesterly point of the United States. (Be careful, it’s existential out there.) —Chloe Scheffe; Senior Editorial Designer
I know it’s got its problems (don’t we all?) but I’m just so fond of the South. Not only is it one of the most racially diverse regions in the country, it’s teeming with inventive cuisine and music, two of my favorite things to travel for. This summer, I’m looking into a visit to the Texas/Mexico border to do some work with Raices Texas—which provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. —Emma Glassman-Hughes; Senior Editorial Associate, Print
For reasons beyond my understanding, Boston remains an underrated getaway. I always call it New York’s laid-back cousin: it’s a big, old city with youthful, small town vibes. It’s easy to get around; the food scene (and especially the seafood) is impressive; there’s endless art, history, and culture to enjoy. And in my opinion, there’s no better time to visit Boston than during the summer. I never get tired of picking up a snack from Faneuil Hall, picnicking in Christopher Columbus Park, and letting the breeze from the harbor cool me off while musicians play by the water. —Tiana Attride; Editorial Assistant
I lived in Columbus between the ages of two and seven. And while most of my memories consist of Graeter’s ice cream and COSI, the science museum, I’ve heard that the city has lots to offer to adults, too. Mainly in the form of eating and drinking. On my hit list, should I ever make it back, is the tasting menu at Veritas and the veggie-forward Comune, which also serves up organic wines. —Ally Betker; Editorial Director
The small, southeastern-most settlement of Alaska has a relatively mild climate given its latitude, especially in the summer, but the reason I’ve had this city on my list for so long goes beyond its unique geography, rich wildlife, and remoteness—I’ve heard that anyone who travels to Ketchikan will have some of the most wildly vivid dreams of their life during and prior to their visit. Known for hosting the largest collection of Native American totem poles—a practice the local community has preserved for centuries—there’s something mystically appealing about this small fishing city. And as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” I’m sure they have super fresh seafood. —Annie Werner; Managing Editor, Digital
The last time I was in D.C., I was wearing an obnoxiously bright tie-dye shirt and walking around in large groups with my fellow eighth grade classmates. July feels like an inspired time to repay a visit to the capital and actually take in all the history and culture (not just the photo ops). At the top of my list would be the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian. Plus, it’s a nice jumping off point to a variety of outdoor activities like hiking in Great States Park (read: stunning views of the Potomac). —Eunice Cancino; Associate Manager, Social Media
Where the Editors Are Going
I used to hoard travel destinations like gold, and one of my most coveted goals was to visit all 50 states, like, immediately. This meant that I was constantly scheming up trip ideas to neighboring states (not so easy when you live in Southern California), impossibly frustrated when my parents refused to take spontaneous 15-hour drives up the coast to the Oregon state line. And while these habits are (mostly) behind me, I am thrilled to say that I’m finally visiting Oregon this month, which at this point feels like a real dream come true. I’ll be spending a few days at The Nines in Portland, exploring what “luxury” travel looks like in a city so dedicated to sustainability and community. Bookstores, musicians, and rooftop gardens are all on the list. But really I’m just excited to savor a touch of that PNW summer magic that I’ve heard so much about. —EG-H
The City of Brotherly Love is exactly where I want to soak in an urban summer weekend—luckily I have some friends based there for the next few months, so they’re just as excited to explore Philly’s amazing art museums and delicious food—my list includes Vedge, South Philly Barbacoa, and Middle Child. I love that Philly’s shopping, restaurant, and bar scenes seem to be imbued in the natural architecture of the place—hip eateries and shops in row houses next to actual residences. It’s easy to feel like a local there. —AW
Connecticut and Upstate New York
I’m staying close to home for the July 4th weekend, heading up to Connecticut to finally check out Philip Johnson’s Glass House. I’ll be staying overnight at Graybarns, which looks like just the sort of peaceful city escape I’m craving. From there, I’ll be heading to Kingston, New York, which I’ve heard is the new Hudson. I’m planning to eat at Lis Bar and drink lots of natural wine. —AB