National Geographic unveils best travel destinations for 2024

Hiking Breakneck Ridge
Hiking Breakneck Ridge

By Saman Shafiq via USA Today

Looking for exciting locations to explore this year? From diving with sharks on Australia's Coral Coast to rafting the white rapids of West Virginia, National Geographic has some unique ideas for you with its annual Best of the World 2024 list.

The list, released first to USA TODAY on Tuesday, includes top destinations in the world and lesser-known ones. They range from Paris and Niagara Falls to the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and archeological sites on the Spanish island of Menorca.

Unlike previous years, National Geographic is emphasizing must-do experiences at each destination, instead of just listing out locations. And in another step away from previous editions, the publication has added rankings to help readers prioritize their bucket list.

"I'm so excited about this," said National Geographic Editor in Chief Nathan Lump at an exclusive preview in New York last week. "We've really extended it to be bigger than ever before. And we just think that is a really, really great way to serve our travelers who are looking for great ideas all the time."

Lump said the list was being released on Tuesday to coincide with National Vacation Day, the last Tuesday of every January.

Millions of vacation days go waste every year, and Lump said that he hopes that this year's list will inspire readers to to get out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

The list of the top 20 travel experiences is curated by National Geographic explorers, photographers, and editors. It's “a celebration” of “travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another," the magazine said.

What are the best places to visit/experiences in 2024?

National Geographic’s top travel experiences for the year are:

  1. Horseback safari in Kenya
  2. Olympic Marathon in Paris, France
  3. Ski tour through UNESCO sites in Georgia
  4. Bear-watching at Katmai National Park, Alaska
  5. Live music in Kyoto, Japan
  6. Magdalena River Cruise in Colombia
  7. Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico
  8. Explore ancient rock art in Algeria
  9. Dive with sharks on Australia's Coral Coast
  10. Volcano hiking in Panama
  11. Observe the total solar eclipse in Niagara Falls
  12. Trek a glacier in Chile
  13. Step back in time at Menorca's archaeological sites
  14. Ride classic rails through the Scottish Highlands
  15. Indulge your taste buds in Isan, Thailand
  16. Wander the tea trail in Sri Lanka
  17. Gallery hop in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  18. Raft the rapids in West Virginia
  19. Go antiquing in the Hudson Valley, New York
  20. Sleep at a floating lodge on Tofino Island, British Columbia

What U.S. sites made National Geographic's 'Best of the World 2024' list?

The following U.S. destination's made National Geographic's list this year: Katmai National Park in Alaska, Route 66 in New Mexico, Niagara Falls and the Hudson Valley in New York and West Virginia’s New River.

National Geographic recommends bear-watching at the Alaska national park along the Pacific Coast, which has the highest concentration of brown bears in the world. However, the publication suggests ditching the popular Brooks Camp visitor center and taking a trip through areas like Hallo Bay and Geographic Harbor. This activity is among the top five activities suggested by National Geographic.

National Geographic also recommends road-tripping on Route 66 through New Mexico, catching the total solar eclipse on April 8 at Terrapin Point in Niagara Falls State Park, antiquing in New York's Hudson Valley and rafting through the rapids in West Virginia's New River.

For the full article, go to USA Today.

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