While most travel and tourism websites provide recommendations on things to do, places to eat, and where to stay, only the best tourism websites offer additional features, interactive tools, and other experiences that surprise and delight travelers who are filling their bucket lists and planning adventures.
Organized by region, these are the best tourism websites in the US. Whether you’re actively planning your next adventure or need a cure for your wanderlust while you’re stuck at home, escape your current place for a bit by checking them out!
Visit Abilene, Kansas
Located roughly halfway between Kansas City and Hays, this little town on the Kansas prairie is packed with history and full of amazing architecture. Crowned by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the best small towns to visit, this city tourism website is one of the best because it’s easy to plan your trip based on your interests. Journey to the Old West, ride the rails, or explore President Eisenhower’s legacy when you plan your visit to Abilene.
And, as a travel writer, I greatly appreciate the way Visit Abilene features the work of some of my favorite travel bloggers — like Sara Broers and Melody Pittman — on par with coverage in Fodor’s Travel, The Oprah Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Visit Bloomington, Indiana
In America’s heartland, the Midwestern college town of Bloomington has one of the best tourism websites in the US. About an hour southwest of Indianapolis, Bloomington is tightly linked to Indiana University. What makes Visit Bloomington one of the best city tourism websites is its trip ideas section with plans for three-day getaways by season as well as itineraries for families, budget-conscious travelers, and Hoosier fans.
Visit Hamilton County, Indiana
Encompassing the cities of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Westfield, Hamilton County is just north of the capital city of Indianapolis. Some of the unique experiences in this part of the Hoosier State include attending the Indianapolis Colts Training Camp, biking the Monon Trail, and sipping more than 10 varieties of warm beverages from the gluhwein pyramid (yes, please!).
Pro Tip: Hamilton County is coming together in a time of crisis by detailing ways folks can support local businesses, donate to their community, and stay safe as the world battles COVID-19. #LoveHC
Like the Wizard of Oz and my home state, Michigan is inextricably linked to stereotypes about Detroit. But just as Kansas is so much more than Dorothy and Toto, the Great Lake State has more to offer than Motown (which is still a great place to visit). One feature that makes Pure Michigan one of the best travel and tourism websites is its destination finder. First, select your interest the options provided include unique experiences like stargazing and small towns). Then, scroll down to learn about the recommended destinations like Marquette, Frankenmuth, and Ypsilanti (in my case).
West Michigan Tourist Association
The West Michigan Tourist Association virtually divides the mitten-shaped state in half vertically and focuses on the destinations that stretch from Sault Ste. Marie near the Canadian border to Battle Creek near the Indiana border. In addition to providing recommendations of things to do, places to stay, and where to eat and drink, this travel and tourism website also features a page of live camera feeds. Watch the critters at the Binder Park Zoo, gaze at the water surrounding Mackinac Island from Chippewa Hotel, or ascend Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville.
The Best Tourism Websites in the Northeast
Visit Concord, New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s capital city is located roughly halfway between Boston and Portland, Maine. What makes Concord’s tourism website one of the best is that it’s designed as a magazine (rather than a city guide). Use it to fill your travel bucket list with helpful articles about things to do, what to eat, and where to shop when you visit Concord. And art lovers won’t want to miss the public art map in this town of about 45,000 people.
Positioned horizontally along the Atlantic Ocean between New York and Rhode Island, Connecticut is home to 3.5 million people. And if you plan to visit, you’ll want to check out the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s interactive planning tool. By selecting when you’d like to visit (winter, spring, summer, or fall) and the type of trip you’re planning (family fun, foodie trip, couples escape, etc.) the tourism website will create a custom itinerary just for you.
Great Northern Catskills of Greene County, New York
Roughly halfway between Poughkeepsie and the capital city of Albany, about a two-hour drive north of New York City, the Northern Catskill Mountains of Greene County are an outdoor lover’s dream destination year-round. From snow sports to summer hikes, this travel and tourism site provides trip ideas by season. It also offers several pre-planned driving tours that allow you to explore upstate New York’s scenic byways by car, motorcycle, or bicycle.
NYC, The Official Guide
With more than 65 million visitors each year, the Big Apple is America’s number one tourist destination. The official guide to New York City lets you plan your visit by season (winter, spring, summer, or fall), by experience (museums, Broadway, shopping, sports, and more), and by borough.
I Love New York
Covering the Big Apple, Greene County, and the rest of the Empire State, I Love New York is a one-stop resource for planning a trip around New York State. Travel experts from around the state have lovingly crafted easy-to-follow itineraries for weekend getaways that will delight art-lovers, baseball fans, foodies, shopaholics, and more. Additionally, they offer special planning guides for LGBTQ visitors and senior travelers. I Love New York also offers a mobile app that helps you identify the things to do and places to visit based on your preferences and even experience virtual reality events like a hot air balloon ride in Chittenango or surfing on Long Island.
Lastly, I love the way New York State has gone above and beyond to ensure accessibility for site visitors as they fill their bucket list and make their plans to visit.
See Plymouth, Massachusetts
Steeped in history, this town of 60,000 on Cape Cod Bay is home to a full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower ship that carried the pilgrims to the “new world” in 1620. And while this 400-year-old town’s tourism website is full of recommendations for history lovers, it also offers virtual tours, informs visitors where to find free public parking, and details seasonal activities and events.
The Best Tourism Websites in the South
Visit Charlottesville, Virginia
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is both a college town and the location of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. One of the features that makes this one of the best tourism websites in the US is its nickel tours. These visually engaging teaser videos provide a taste of all that Charlottesville and Albemarle County have to offer. (I just added the Glass House Winery to my travel bucket list thanks to a nickel tour!)
Visit Dallas, Texas
Easy to use, updated regularly, and packed with helpful information, Visit Dallas makes it easy to plan an adventure in the Big D. In addition to expected advice about attractions, restaurants, and accommodations, Visit Dallas breaks it down further by neighborhood. The site also offers tips on how to navigate the city, from DART public transportation to the free trolley to an eco-friendly efrog.
Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida
On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Destin-Fort Walton Beach created this tourism website to encourage kids to get out on the water and develop their sense of adventure. One of the experiences that makes this website one of the best for tourism is its interactive adventure builder.
Expertly curated by local residents, the Little Adventurers tool makes it easy for families to plan outdoor itineraries based on their children’s ages, skill sets, and interests. Toddlers can enjoy an afternoon splashing and discovering wildlife in crystal clear tide pools, aspiring marine biologists can find themselves an arm’s reach away from marine life, and teens can explore Spectre Island via kayak. And the whole family can enjoy a dolphin excursion.
Pro Tip: If the Destin-Fort Walton Beach website makes you wish you were at the beach right now, you’re in luck. This city tourism website also offers live beach cams that bring the lulling waves and spectacular sunsets of several area beaches right to you.
As a Pisces living in the most landlocked state in the Union, you can bet your barbeque sauce that I love visiting Florida (even though I don’t do Disney). One of the features that make this tourism website one of the best in the country is its Florida Beach Finder. This interactive tool makes it a snap to find beaches that are hidden gems, family friendly, romantic, dog friendly, or whatever it is that you’re seeking!
I also love that the travel ideas section goes above and beyond most travel and tourism websites. In addition to the usual categories, like day trips and family vacations, Visit Florida offers extensive resources for visitors with special needs, black heritage travel, Hispanic heritage travel, and LGBTQ travel. But what’s really near and dear to my heart as a military brat is the list of destinations and attractions that offer military discounts.
Visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
With a 60-mile string of beaches, world-class golf courses, and other outdoor activities, Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation spot in the Palmetto State. And while the Atlantic Ocean and a round of golf are quite popular, this travel and tourism website makes it easy to add other experiences to your itinerary.
When you choose your Myrtle Beach experience, you can get recommendations for an art lover, history buff, and even an all-about-you day! There’s even a page full of recommendations for a rainy day. (And if I pick Myrtle Beach for spring break, you can be sure it will rain the entire time.)
The Best Tourism Websites in the West
In addition to providing recommendations on things to do and places to stay, the Gem State’s tourism website includes a feature called My Backpack that lets visitors create a more personal experience. Visit Idaho also offers several 360-degree virtual tours to help you imagine what it’s like to soar over the landscape on a zipline, race down white water rapids, or paddle past waterfalls in a kayak.
Visit Las Vegas, Nevada
As one of the most visited cities in North America, Las Vegas doesn’t need to wrestle for mindshare or vacation dollars like the lesser-known destinations on this list. But what if you’re seeking a family-friendly experience or things to do beyond The Strip? That’s where this travel and tourism site shines.
The Things to Do page lets you quickly sort through hundreds of activities in and around Las Vegas. Simply select your desired location (on-strip, downtown, greater Las Vegas, etc.) and interest (free attractions, family-friendly experiences, casinos, etc.) and the results will dynamically update.
Visit Longmont, Colorado
With amazing mountain views and stunning sunsets, this town of 90,000, about an hour north of Denver, is the perfect destination for outdoor adventurers, history buffs, and other travelers. But what makes it one of the best city tourism websites in the US is its focus for foodies. Not only is there an entire section dedicated to Longmont’s breweries, cideries, and distilleries (and the Brewhop Trolley that will shuttle you between establishments), but the website also shines a big spotlight on its agritourism experiences. Get recommendations for touring local farms and orchards, purchasing the best locally sourced ingredients, or where to enjoy a farm-to-table feast that’s out of this world. And if that’s not enough, these are the Longmont eateries that have been featured on television!
Experience Scottsdale, Arizona
Located in the Sonoran Desert northeast of Phoenix, Scottsdale delights visitors with everything from boozy brunches to rejuvenating spas to outdoor adventures. But the feature that makes Experience Scottsdale one of the best city tourism websites in the land is its live chat option. No matter how small (or outlandish) a request, website visitors can immediately connect with a real-life Scottsdale expert who can make recommendations.
Discover Siskiyou County, California
At the very top of California, where the Golden State kisses Oregon, what makes Siskiyou County’s tourism website unique is that it’s helped draw visitors to this gorgeous, lesser-known area. Travelers can enjoy unique adventures that are largely under the radar and don’t include the crowds of San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego to the south. If you enjoy winter sports, plan to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled, or ice skate in the Mount Shasta area. If you prefer the outdoors in warmer temperatures, then check out Siskiyou’s agritourism, fishing, golfing, or biking opportunities.
Visit Yakima Valley, Washington
When you think of Washington State’s Yakima Valley, the first thing that may come to mind is its wine region. And while this travel and tourism website definitely provides plenty of details about wine country, it also delivers beer lovers, foodies, and outdoor enthusiasts everything they need to know to fill their travel bucket list and plan a trip.
What Destinations Have the Best Travel and Tourism Websites?
Is there a US destination or city tourism website that you feel is missing from this list? What website would you add and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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