Do you need some travel planning inspiration? We surveyed our readers about their 2022 travel plans and over 83 percent of those aged 50+ years plan to travel at least once within the United States. The results showed that the outdoor and adventure travel trends of 2021 will continue, but people are also looking forward to reuniting in some larger, more populated places. These are the top states they’re most looking forward to visiting in 2022.
It’s no surprise that Florida, yet again, is the top state that our readers are planning to travel to in 2022. Florida also ranked #1 as the top destination for hopeful retirement transplants! The Sunshine State offers plenty to do for all ages, including amusement parks, fabulous beaches, exciting nightlife, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation.
For those looking for a memorable family vacation with younger grandchildren, Orlando is home to Disney World and Orlando Studios. If you love exploring culture, eating authentic Cuban food, and enjoying the island life, Miami or the Keys are perfect. For those wanting a nice refreshing getaway spent on sandy white beaches, you cannot go wrong in the panhandle or further south on the gulf side, especially Siesta Key or Anna Maria Island. If you know Florida is on your list, but are still not sure of the best part to visit, here is a great guide based on your interests.
California is another state we’re not surprised to see on the list. This west coast destination offers everything including national parks, big bustling cities, deserts, vineyards, amusement parks, and a stunning coastline. If you haven’t had the pleasure of exploring this huge state, what are you waiting for?
For those into pop culture, shopping, and Hollywood, the Los Angeles area offers more than enough entertainment. Check all the touristy activities off your list, like taking a tour of celebrity homes, viewing the famous Hollywood sign, or taking a stroll down the shops of Rodeo Drive. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Mickey and Minnie at nearby Disneyland! California is also an explorers’ paradise, boasting nine national parks including Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Sequoia, home to the largest living tree in the world. Those wanting a more relaxing vacation will absolutely love Southern California, known for being one of the safest areas in the country, perfect year-round weather, and beautiful beaches.
The great state of Texas rounds out the top three states our readers are most looking forward to visiting. Like California, this giant state offers plenty to do for all ages and interests. Although the rolling fields of bluebonnets and vast countryside may seem like a stark contrast to the giant cities of Houston and Dallas, all Texans share one thing in common: a unique sense of pride for their state.
Thanks to the southern location, Texas has a warmer climate that makes it a popular destination for both retirees and year-round travel. South Padre Island and Galveston are excellent choices for beach lovers. The quirky capital of Austin lives up to its motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” with plenty of fashion-forward shops, unique outdoor bars and eateries, and large tech and music festivals. For those wanting to experience the Texas cowboy lifestyle, be sure to book a stay at one of the many operational ranches. Finally, don’t miss the charming Texas hill country, offering stunning views and flavorful wine.
Unlike last year, people are looking forward to exploring the big cities again. New York City is starting to come back to life and we know all you extroverts out there have missed the energy! Don’t sleep on the rest of New York state, though; it has plenty of places for the introverts to enjoy as well.
New York City came to a screeching halt in 2020, but the hustle and bustle of the city has since resumed. Visitors need to experience all the typical tourist activities at least once in their lives, like visiting the Empire State Building, strolling through Central Park, exploring Times Square, and eating a folded piece of New York-style pizza. See a Broadway show, enjoy the eclectic mix of food, and reflect at the 9/11 Memorial. Once you’ve had enough of the crowds, we recommend escaping to explore some of the quaint towns in upstate New York or beach towns along the Atlantic coast.
Arizona is another readers’ warm weather favorite for both retirement and vacationing. From the larger cities like Phoenix and Scottsdale to the national parks, this state offers plenty of activities to please anyone.
Arizona is home to three national parks, the Grand Canyon, Saguaro, and the Petrified Forest. Additionally, the state has over 20 other national monuments and sites. The Grand Canyon should be a bucket list destination for all Americans and if you need some inspiration before your trip, read about how one of our writers hiked from rim to rim in a day. For baseball lovers, spring training is a thrilling preseason trip and Arizona is home to 15 Major League Baseball teams’ sites. Phoenix is a literal hot spot for culture, unique bars and restaurants, and museums to delight the city travelers.
Nevada is most famous for Las Vegas, the unofficial party capital of the country, but offers plenty to do for the outdoorsman as well. The state boasts two national parks, along with 24 state parks, and plenty of adventure along the way.
Many will start their trip in Sin City before breaking off the explore the rest of the state. Our readers are anxious to get back to the bright lights and over-the-top shows that Las Vegas is famous for. It’s hard to walk through one of the famous casino floors without playing at least one hand of Blackjack, but don’t get lost inside. Make sure to check out the spectacular dining options along the strip, like Le Cirque at Bellagio, overlooking the celebrated fountain show. To break away from the crowds, set off on one of the many day trips available to see Death Valley, a land of extremes, or the Hoover Dam, an industrial marvel over the Colorado River.
The breathtakingly beautiful state of Colorado may come to mind first for winter travel and skiing, but some may argue summer is actually a better time to visit. No matter which opinion you have, the state offers ample opportunity for a memorable vacation.
Colorado, home to the Rocky Mountains, has some of the best ski towns and resorts in the country. From the charming quaint towns of Winter Park and Crested Butte to the glitzy towns of Aspen and Vail, skiers and snowboarders will find their happiness atop a mountain. On the flip side, summer is the best season to visit Estes Park, home to the famous Stanley Hotel, and providing easy access to the sprawling Rocky Mountain National Park. Another national park, Mesa Verde, is known for being the best stargazing spot in the states and earned a coveted inclusion as an International Dark Sky Park.
It’s no surprise to find Hawaii on any top United States destinations list. This tropical state is comprised of many islands, but visitors typically land on one of the six main islands: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii (Big Island).
Each Hawaiian island offers different activities and types of terrain to explore or relax on. Oahu is the most commercialized and the capital city of Honolulu is home to world-class shopping, huge sandy beaches with incredible views of Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor, a can’t-miss historical site. It’s easy to island hop from here! Maui is a top destination for couples, offering luxury beach resorts and luscious green views offset by the pure aqua ocean water. The other islands may appeal more to the adventure traveler; don’t miss seeing the volcanoes up-close and personal on the Big Island and hiking through the lush landscapes and waterfalls of Kauai.
South Carolina embodies Southern hospitality, charm, and food. Visitors are immediately welcomed to this east coast state and will find plenty of entertainment along the way. The sub-tropical climate makes it a great destination any time of year.
South Carolina is home to some of the best golf courses in the country and the weather is mild enough to provide year-round access to many of the greens. Charming small towns are speckled throughout the state, many with historical buildings and town squares preserved and functional. Although a larger city, Charleston has managed to hold on to the small-town feel and history dating back to the 17th century. Don’t miss taking a horse-drawn carriage tour through the cobblestone streets of downtown! Folly Beach is another city-favorite, a quick escape from downtown, to relax on the sand.
Michigan has long been a popular destination for multi-generational travel. It is in the Great Lakes region, with miles and miles of lakefront beaches, giving off coastal town vibes without traveling all the way to an ocean.
Michigan has many small towns along the Great Lakes and is the only state to border four lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie. Due to the northern location and cooler climate, the ideal time to visit Michigan for time on the water is summer. Tulips sprout in abundance, and spring travelers should not miss the Tulip Time 8-day festival in Holland. For those looking for larger cities, Detroit and Grand Rapids top the list. The Motor City offers plenty of history to enjoy, along with a growing art scene, and is within many driveable favorites for nature lovers.
Okay, of course, national parks aren’t a “state,” but we had to throw them in as a bonus. So many readers stated they are most excited about exploring our country’s natural gems in 2022! Thanks to the pandemic, people were forced to get outside and explore the beauty around them — and remembered how much they loved it. Attendance at national parks reached record-breaking numbers for the past 2 years and it doesn’t seem like the trend is slowing for 2022. Make sure to book your entry and camping spot early!