Bar Harbor, Maine was among TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Destinations on the Rise in the US, a list that highlighted spots around the country and the world that have seen the greatest increase in positive traveler feedback over the past year.
“For travelers looking for inspiration for their 2014 travel planning, TripAdvisor travelers have helped us put a spotlight on some amazing destinations that caught the eye of travelers this past year,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Between large cities gathering steam and off-the-beaten-path spots surfaced by our community, travelers can discover wonderful accommodations, attractions and restaurants in all of these award-winning destinations.”
The No. 1 destination on the rise globally was Havana, Cuba. Also making the list were La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica Kathmandu, Nepal, Jerusalem, Cusco, Peru, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Sapporo, Japan, Hanoi, Vietnam, Corralejo, Spain, and Fortaleza, Brazil.
Following are the top 10 domestic destinations on the rise.
1. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
From TripAdvisor: “Kailua-Kona was once the residence of kings. Hulihe’e Palace, once a royal vacation retreat, is now a fascinating museum that offers a taste of turn-of-the-century Hawaii. Coffee drinkers know Kona as the source of some favorite brews. A fragrant visit to a coffee plantation is a must, as is communing with the tropical nature. Water sports, hiking, exploring the sacred volcanic summit of Mauna Kea or standing in the spray of a waterfall are all part of the Kailua-Kona experience.”
2. Anchorage, Alaska
From TripAdvisor: “Set amid the coastal Chugach Mountains, Anchorage defies popular visions of polar ice caps and frozen tundra. It’s also warmer than you think (averaging 65 degrees in summer), making conditions ideal for sight-seeing or taking on uniquely Alaskan opportunities like arctic biking or touring the fjords of Prince William Sound. In the winter, you can ski, dogsled or do both simultaneously by “skijoring,” which is cross-country skiing while being towed by a dog. Hey, it’s no crazier a winter sport than the biathlon.”
3. Destin, Florida
From TripAdvisor: “Destin is located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, which gets its name from its beautiful, clear green water. Beaches here have extremely fine, soft sand, so if you’re a beach-walker or your kids enjoy building sand castles, this could be a great destination for you.”
4. Bar Harbor, Maine
From TripAdvisor: “Mansions and majestic hotels serve as reminders of Bar Harbor’s past (in the 19th century, it was a favorite vacation spot of society’s upper crust). Today, visitors kayak, explore Acadia National Park, go bird- or whale-watching, and enjoy salty sea air and sandy beaches.”
5. Santa Fe, New Mexico
From TripAdvisor: “Venture into the unspoiled beauty of 7,000-foot Rocky Mountain vistas, marvel at the contrast of ancient native culture mixed with modern arts, feast on legendary cuisine and relax in rustic sophistication. A visit to Santa Fe, Travel & Leisure’s #1 Cultural Getaway, feels a lot like a visit to Europe. The Spanish Colonial charm of this historic destination has been enchanting travelers for over 400 years. And Santa Fe shows no signs of slowing down.”
6. Jackson, Wyoming
From TripAdvisor:: “What outdoor activity can’t you do here? In the winter, there’s skiing (regular, cross-country, snowcat and heli-), snowshoeing and dogsledding. In summer, there’s fly-fishing, rafting (white-water or scenic) and hot-air balloon rides.”
7. Galveston, Texas
From TripAdvisor: “More than 30 miles of beaches plus a wealth of cultural and historic institutions make this island a Gulf of Mexico vacation hot spot. If you go, don’t forget your walking shoes: With 14 museums and 20 art galleries, plus several historic homes and mansions, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Armchair pilots will love the Lone Star Flight Museum and those with more of a nautical interest can check out the Texas Seaport Museum. Families will enjoy the many child-friendly attractions, including Moody Gardens, with its replica of a tropical rain forest. It’s easy to get caught up in all the activities, but don’t forget to spend some downtime in the sun and on the beach.”
8. Brooklyn, New York
From TripAdvisor: “It seems like most folks have a grandmother, great-uncle or some other distant relative that used to live in Brooklyn, or perhaps a friend that lives there now. In the early 1900s, it was a mecca for immigrants arriving via Ellis Island. A hundred years later, young professionals and artists left pricey Manhattan digs for Brooklyn’s cheaper and more expansive space. Neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, which had fallen into disrepair over the years, were restored and reborn as funky enclaves. Walk or bike over the historic Brooklyn Bridge (or ride the subway) to Brooklyn Heights for a stroll along the Promenade and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Meander through Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for a taste of nature in the urban wilds. Catch a performance at the world-famous Brooklyn Academy of Music. From the delicious Italian restaurants of Bensonhurst to the Irish bars that line the avenues of Bay Ridge, from the hotdogs and rollercoasters of Coney Island to the bagels and handball courts of Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a state of mind as well as a dynamic community. Discover why, no matter where people move on to, they remain Brooklynites at heart.”
9. Moab, Utah
From TripAdvisor: “In Moab, it’s all about the otherworldly landscapes, especially in Arches National Park, where a hike among the red rocks feels a bit like an expedition to Mars. Just south of where the Colorado River slices through the Colorado Plateau, Moab is a magnet for hikers, bikers, climbers and rafters. Downtown Moab thrives with a flurry of year-round festivals and special events, all surrounded by boutiques, funky restaurants and lively bars full of happily exhausted adventurers.”
10. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
From TripAdvisor: “Recently hailed by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top small towns in America, Gettysburg has gotten a makeover. A favorite destination for Civil War buffs, the town spruced up for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln’s stirring, soaring address. Dine in 18th-century taverns after a day spent sipping at a local winery or touring the area on horseback or its modern counterpart: a Segway.”