10 best places to visit in California

Alexis Averbuck

Sep 11, 2023 • 8 min read

travel in california 2022

The best places to visit in California include amazing natural wonders and some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the US © franckreporter / Getty Images

From towering redwood forests in foggy northern California to perfectly sun-kissed surf beaches in the south, the Golden State on the Pacific simply begs to be explored.

Tip back top vintages and dig into world-class cooking. Blow your mind exploring active volcanoes, soaring mountains and grand redwood groves. Roam free at the world's most iconic surfing beaches, craggy coves and austere bluffs. Get your wheels in gear for incredible road trips from desert to dunes. Hoist your pack and delve into truly remote wilderness.

Here are the best places to visit in California.

A smiling woman takes a photo with smartphone while standing at a vista at the Golden Gate Bridge above San Francisco, California

1. San Francisco

Best city for variety, iconic sights and LGBTIQ+ travel

Pushing boundaries with trendsetting food, social movements, art and technology, San Francisco  is as far out as you can get without winding up in the Pacific.

This town is defined by bold moves. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel in a color chosen over the Navy's objections. Nature lovers elbowed aside speculators to establish Golden Gate Park . Alcatraz was occupied by Native American protestors and turned into a museum.

Discover the weirdest tech in the West at the Exploratorium  and find inspiration in new-media installations at supersized SFMOMA . Be moved by poetry by San Francisco’s literary landmarks, starting with City Lights Books .

You don’t need to stay up late to be out and proud in SF. Flag-flying crowds are an absolute joy throughout June Pride month, at Sunday afternoon Castro “tea dances” (a WWII euphemism for LGBTIQ+ parties) and any sunny day at Dolores Park’s “Gay Beach.” 

Local tip: Don’t forget to sample widely some of the state’s most interesting cuisine, from Asian-fusion creations at Benu that look like minimalist sculptures to some of the world’s best burritos at Mission District classics like Taqueria El Farolito  and East Bay treats like Chez Panisse .

Hikers in Redwood National Park, California

2. Redwood National Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Best region for magnificent trees and family travel

Hugging a tree never came so naturally as it does in California's sun-dappled groves of ancient redwoods, the world's tallest trees. The roots of these giants may be shallow, but they hold each other up and reach dizzying heights, some surviving since the days of the Roman Empire. Even a short stroll on the soft forest floor beneath them puts the rest of the world into perspective.

Redwoods thrive along the coast from Big Sur north to the Oregon border, and you'll find massive stands of old-growth groves at Redwood Nationaal Park . Don’t miss the magical drive through Avenue of the Giants and California’s largest redwood park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park , which covers 53,000 acres – 17,000 of which are old growth.

Local tip: Stop for a pizza at  Brick & Fire  in Eureka and soak away any hiking aches at the Finnish Country Sauna and Tubs in the eclectic town of Arcata.

3. Sonoma Wine Country

Best region for wine and food

As winemaking in neighboring  Napa Valley grows ever more upscale, sun-dappled vineyards in Sonoma County are still surrounded by pastoral ranchlands. Wineries range from the Sonoma Valley to the coastal Russian River Valley , and tasting rooms abound in buzzy Healdsburg .

The uniqueness of the terroir is valued in this down-to-earth wine country, where you taste vintages straight from the barrel inside a tin-roofed shed while playing with the winemaker’s pet dog (at Porter Creek , just one of many excellent wineries). In addition to wine tasting, wallow in volcanic bubbling mud in Calistoga or float the river around LGBTIQ-friendly Guerneville.

Local tip: Follow your bliss down the Bohemian Hwy to Occidental and its epic Friday night farmers market, alive with live music. 

4. Highway 1

Best region for road tripping, ocean views and couples

Though in southern California it's known by its more famous name, the  Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), northern Californians have a more succinct label for the 400-mile stretch from San Francisco to Crescent City: Hwy 1. The edges of the highway hug the coast and cradle small communities as it alternates between hairpin switchbacks and straight stretches through the bucolic countryside. 

Start on the PCH at Santa Monica  and cruise north through Malibu , Big Sur, Monterey Bay, and San Francisco and up along Sonoma Coast State Park. In Fort Bragg, stop and admire the "glass beach" and check out its artistic community. 

Visitors enjoy the view from Glacier Point lookout in Yosemite National Park, California

5. Yosemite National Park

Best region for waterfalls, outdoors and family trips

Feeling so small has never felt this grand. Everything is monumental at Yosemite National Park : thunderous waterfalls tumble over sheer cliffs, granite domes tower overhead and the world's biggest trees cluster in mighty groves of giant sequoias.

Conservationist John Muir considered Yosemite a great temple, and awe is a natural reaction to the vast wildflower-strewn meadows and steep valleys carved over millennia by glaciers, avalanches and earthquakes. To achieve maximum wonder, stop at Glacier Point under a full moon, or drive the high country’s Tioga Rd on a cloudless summer day. Unsurprisingly, Yosemite has some of the best hikes in California .

Detour: You can enjoy an extravaganza of incredible parks by combining your visit to Yosemite with stops in Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park .

Friends roller skating on the boardwalk in Venice Beach on the Santa Monica promenade in Los Angeles, California

6. Los Angeles

Best city for celebrity sightings and movie buffs

Bordered by sandy beaches, winding canyons and the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles is a sprawling cityscape of distinct neighborhoods, endless entertainment options and year-round outdoor recreation. Bask in the undulating stainless steel curves of  Walt Disney Concert Hall , commune with world-beating contemporary art at the  Broad or check out modern music history at the  Grammy Museum . 

Stop for a meal at the century-old but gourmet-led  Grand Central Market before browsing the galleries and shops of the Arts District,  Olvera Street and  Chinatown . 

When you're ready for your close-up, there's only one place to go. The stars come out at night for red-carpet premieres at restored movie palaces, and you too can have your Hollywood moment on the pink-starred Walk of Fame . Snap a selfie outside TCL Chinese Theatre (better known as Grauman’s) or duck into Hollywood and Highland’s Babylon Court for a photo op with the iconic Hollywood sign and revel in your 15 minutes of social-media fame. Afterward, visit the fascinating  Academy Museum .

Local tip: How do you beat LA traffic? Hit the beach instead. Sunny  Santa Monica bestows joy upon even the weariest traveler. Learn to surf, get a bird's-eye view from your seat in a solar-powered Ferris wheel, learn more about the secrets of the ocean at the aquarium’s tidal touch pools or paddle in the Pacific and let your troubles float away. Join the parade of New Agers, muscled bodybuilders and goth punks at nearby  Venice Beach , where there's a tribe for everyone. 

The tail of a humpback whale rises above a flock of birds and the Pacific Ocean near Monterey Bay, California

7. Monterey Bay

Best region for wildlife and family fun

Get up close and personal with California marine life in the fishing village of Monterey , where writer John Steinbeck brought colorful local wharf characters to life – and the seals are pretty outrageous too. Hop aboard a whale-watching cruise to explore a national marine sanctuary or walk right into the bay at the aquarium to spot golden sea dragons, shy pink Pacific octopuses and scene-stealing rescued otters at play.

Soak up the authentic maritime atmosphere at the  West Coast’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse in Pacific Grove. Head north to quirky Santa Cruz , stopping off on broad stretches of cream-colored beach to spot gray whales, sea otters, sea lions and seals. Indulge in some playtime on the beach boardwalk with its historic roller coaster and watch surfers shred at Steamer Lane.

Local tip: In the winter, you'll see local Dungeness crab on menus – order it.

8. Death Valley National Park

Best region for desert drama and spring trips

Its daunting name of brings to mind Wild West ghost towns, broken-down pioneer wagon trains and tumbleweed blowing past skulls on desert sand dunes, but Death Valley is actually full of life. 

Spring wildflowers daub the dunes with a painter’s palette of colors, adrenaline-seekers zoom across crackled salt flats, and shy desert wildlife lives by starlight. Twist your way up narrow canyons, zoom across crackled salt flats and past geological oddities, and descend into volcanic craters formed by a massive eruption 2100 years ago.

A paddleboarder goes for a morning cruise around the shore of Tahoe City. Lake Tahoe is a high alpine lake located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

9. Lake Tahoe

Best region for mountains, adventure and skiing

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe , the second-deepest lake in the USA, is a California favorite. In summer, startlingly clear blue waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking and even scuba diving. Meanwhile, mountain bikers careen down epic single-track runs, and hikers stride along trails threading through thick forests. 

After dark, retreat to a cozy lakefront cottage and toast s’mores in the firepit. When the lake turns into a winter wonderland, gold-medal ski resorts keep downhill fanatics, snowboarders and Nordic traditionalists more than satisfied. You'll never be short of  things to do in Lake Tahoe .

Detour: Head to Truckee for the burgeoning local food scene and the area’s best restaurants.

Two cyclists on Highway 1 on the Big Sur Pacific Coast of California.

10. Big Sur

Best region for coastline

Following your bliss inevitably leads to Big Sur . Waterfalls splash down sandy bluffs in rainbow mists, and yurt retreats perch at the edge of redwood forests. Beyond purple-sand beaches and coves lined with California jade, pods of migrating whales dot the sparkling Pacific.

But don't forget to turn around: hiding behind these coastal bluffs are hot springs and Beat literary retreats, with California condors circling over the cliffs. Experience all of the best adventures on a s cenic Big Sur road trip .

Local tip: Time your visit for peak waterfall season in May or after the summer vacation period for maximum meditation.

This article was first published Aug 9, 2019 and updated Sep 11, 2023.

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Presidio Tunnel Tops, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

New York City has its High Line, the famous city park built built atop an elevated rail line, where walking paths mix with performance spaces, gardens and art installations. And San Francisco has the High Line designer for a 14-acre national park expansion set to open atop the Presidio Parkway highway tunnels this spring.

travel in california 2022

While drivers zoom through the tunnels below, heading for — or from — the Golden Gate Bridge, tourists and locals will soon gambol in the green spaces above. The new Presidio Tunnel Tops park, which will connect the Presidio’s historic center with the waterfront’s Chrissy Field, will include walking paths, gardens, gathering spaces, a plaza with food service and vista points with stellar views of the city, bay and that famous orange bridge.

A two-acre “Outpost” will offer kids a wilderness-inspired play area that represents the Presidio’s woodland, coastal bluff and dune ecosystems, complete with climbing walls, “log piles,” a hydro tunnel and a giant fallen tree. The latter is an ancient white oak that has been sanded, carved and hollowed out, so kids can play inside.

Details:  The park is scheduled to open in May, with free admission daily. Watch the progress at www.presidiotunneltops.gov.

Into the Deep, Monterey Bay Aquarium

You’ve seen the jellies, the otters and the kelp forest. Now the Monterey Bay Aquarium is taking a deep dive in its upcoming special exhibit, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean,” which opens this spring. The exhibit explores the darkest reaches of the ocean and the animals — including bloodybelly comb jellies and giant isopods — that live there, using robotic submarines to bring the creatures to the surface where you can see them in displays that re-create those deep-sea conditions.

travel in california 2022

No one’s done that before. It took the aquarium’s applied water science department years to design a system that could pump, chill and change the seawater’s chemistry to mimic the deep sea habitat — and that work, in turn, was based on decades of research.

Details: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily by reservation at 886 Cannery Row in Monterey. The deep sea exhibit is scheduled to open in April. Admission is $35-$50, and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required for all guests, age 12 or older;  www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Comic-Con Museum, San Diego

Balboa Park’s new Comic-Con Museum opened the first of its exhibit spaces over Thanksgiving weekend, but the full three-floor, 25,000-square-foot extravaganza is set to celebrate its grand opening in July. The Comic-Con Museum will fill this space — formerly occupied by the sports-themed San Diego Hall of Champions — with rotating exhibits on comics and pop culture, an education center, a 4K video theater, special events and, of course, a gift shop. You can’t go home without a graphic novel and a branded T-shirt or 12, can you?

travel in california 2022

Details: Phase one is complete (tickets $20), but you’ll want to wait till summer for the whole shebang at 2131 Pan American Plaza in San Diego’s Balboa Park; https://museum.comic-con.org.

Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, Palm Springs

This desert mecca will soon be home to the 5.8-acre Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs that explores the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The plaza’s showpiece will be the 48,000-square-foot Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the largest Native American museum in the western U.S. Other attractions will include an outdoor Oasis Trail and the Spa at Séc-he, which honors the tribe’s ancient Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Spring.

Details: The original plans for a fall 2020 opening were put on hold, but it’s back on track for 2022. Learn more at www.visionaguacaliente.com/culturalplaza.

Sesame Place, San Diego

Got tots? San Diego’s new Sesame Place theme park is slated to open this March with   seven “Sesame Street” inspired rides, a musical play area, a daily parade. Cookie Monster, of course, and Hooper’s Store and the 123 Sesame Street front steps. And 11 water attractions, including water slides and a 500,000 gallon wave pool.

Why so much water at a Muppets-centric, Manhattan-inspired amusement park? The theme park is in Chula Vista’s former Aquatica water park. And it’s owned by SeaWorld.

Details: Sesame Place will be located at 2052 Entertainment Circle in Chula Vista;  https://sesameplace.com .

Ferrari Build, LEGOLAND California Resort

If you haven’t been to the Carlsbad theme park since pre-pandemic, you’ll also want to know a new “land” opened there last year: The Lego Movie World, where everything is, of course, awesome. There are several rides, including Emmet’s Flying Adventure: Masters of Flight, a Lego-esque simulated flight through Middle Zealand, Cloud Cuckoo Land, Pirates Cove and other fictional movie locations.

Details: Tickets start at $90, and reservations are required. So are masks for anyone age 2 and older in indoor settings. The park opens at 10 a.m. most days. Find schedules and details at  https://www.legoland.com/california/.

Redwood SkyWalk, Eureka

travel in california 2022

There are no stairs. You scale the SkyWalk’s heights via a long ramp and there’s a wide turnaround spot at one end, making the quarter-mile walk ADA-accessible, save for an optional 369-foot adventure segment with square, open-mesh decking.

Details: Tickets ($13-$25) cover admission to both the zoo and the SkyWalk. Weather permitting, the zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at 3414 W St. in Eureka; https://redwoodskywalk.com .

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California tourism economy grew 32% in 2022, set to pass pre-pandemic peak

As California Tourism Month begins, projections show travel and hospitality sector will surpass 2019 visitor spending levels this year. New data also show Californians value tourism’s economic and social benefits.

  • California tourism economy grew 32% in 2022, set to pass pre-pandemic peak Print
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LOS ANGELES (May 4, 2023) – California’s tourism industry grew by 32% in 2022 and is poised to set new records for visitor spending, employment, and tax generation this year, according to economic impact research released by Visit California today.

New community sentiment research also released today by Visit California shows Californians value the benefits of the tourism economy.

Both reports were released today at the start of California Tourism Month, the state designation adopted by the Legislature in 2016 to recognize the contributions of the United States’ top tourism economy to Californians’ financial livelihoods and personal well-being.

“I’m happy to report California tourism has bounced back from the devastating human and economic toll of the pandemic and continues to provide value for all Californians,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing organization. “California’s iconic destinations are again welcoming visitors from around the world, growing tourism’s economic contributions beyond 2019 levels and putting hundreds of thousands back to work.

The annual report measuring the economic impact of tourism, prepared by Dean Runyan Associates, showed strong growth across the state in 2022 in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Travel spending in 2022 increased to $134.4 billion across California, a 31.7% increase over 2021 that brought spending 93% of the way to pre-pandemic levels. California’s travel sector added 157,000 jobs in 2022 to 1.1 million – 94% of the way back to 2019 levels after devastating losses during the pandemic. Visitor-generated tax revenue for state and local government increased by 21.6% to $11.9 billion.
  • The jagged tourism recovery seen a year ago across California is leveling out. The largest urban destinations – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County – made significant gains in 2022. San Francisco, which was only halfway back to pre-pandemic levels a year ago, saw visitor spending grow by 71% in 2022 and was 86% of the way back by year’s end. Tourism spending in 20 of the state’s 58 counties recovered enough in 2022 to exceed pre-pandemic levels.
  • Projections from Tourism Economics show California this year will surpass the record $144.9 billion in visitor spending achieved in 2019, a year sooner than projected in 2021.
  • International visitors are returning to California in greater numbers, though the $17 billion they spent in 2022 is still just 60% of the pre-pandemic peak of $28 billion. The 2019 level of international visitor spending is unlikely to return until 2025.

Community sentiment research prepared by Destination Analysts and released today by Visit California marks the most extensive look yet at Californians’ view of tourism benefits and challenges. The team conducted focus groups in all 12 tourism regions and surveyed 3,300 residents.

Sixty percent said tourism is important, while 56% said the benefits of tourism in California outweigh the problems. About half statewide said the regional tourism economy improves their quality of life. Residents said benefits of tourism include more business opportunities and jobs, stronger civic pride, and development of attractions and events that can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. They called out traffic, crowds and litter as strains caused by tourism.

“It is especially heartening that California’s most important ambassadors – our neighbors, our fellow Californians – recognize the benefits of this comeback and the value tourism adds to their communities,” Beteta said. “It also is helpful that this research has identified the challenges we face so the tourism industry can work with community leaders to find solutions.”

Visit California has reestablished international offices in 13 markets and has extended initiatives to promote professional meetings and events in California and leisure and business travel to California’s urban hubs. A new family travel television campaign, “Childhood Rules,” launched in domestic United States markets this spring.

Beteta praised the marketing stimulus dollars the Legislature and Gov. Newsom approved in 2021 and 2022 to help jump-start marketing programs as tourism industry assessments dropped during the pandemic. The $95 million in domestic marketing approved by the Legislature returned $36.7 billion in visitor spending.

“The stimulus dollars wisely provided by the Legislature and Governor Newsom was critical to bringing California’s tourism economy back faster than would have otherwise been possible,” Beteta said.

Download the Media Toolkit here, including :

  • Visit California press release
  • 2022 Visit California Economic Impact Report
  • Visit California Community Sentiment Study
  • Los Angeles Tourism press release
  • Los Angeles Tourism economic impact fact sheet

Media Contact:

Dan Smith (916) 802-6708 [email protected]

ABOUT VISIT CALIFORNIA Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor's Guide, go to  visitcalifornia.com . For story ideas, media information, downloadable images, video and more, go to  media.visitcalifornia.com .


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The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2022

From far-flung destinations to hometown favorites, 2022 is the year to get back out there and turn your dream trips into reality.

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

Planning new adventures as a new year approaches is always a thrill, but finding the best places to visit in 2022 is unique. After two years of border closures, cruise cancellations, and travel restrictions galore , 2022 is the year we hope to get back out there, uninhibited (albeit vaccinated and COVID tested ), return to our favorite destinations, and cross new ones off our lists.

Though the hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic, many properties used the forced downtime to renovate rooms, add new amenities, and expand outdoor spaces to offer even more once guests return. 2022 is when many travelers will venture further from home, and even overseas, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, finally reaping the benefits of these valiant efforts.

Although COVID variants remain, regulations are still evolving, and precautions must still be taken, many of the destinations we chose for 2022 offer what we believe travelers are looking for in a post-pandemic world, from hotels with private accommodations to destinations teeming with fresh-air activities . Others, like Las Vegas, are for those who are ready and raring to make up for all the social time they missed — with a few splashy headliners, including Adele and the Raiders, thrown in for good measure.

As cruising makes its comeback , we included unforgettable places to see by water, from Antarctica to the Nile, and as hard-hit destinations like Italy and Asia recover, we found the buzziest reasons to return. Of course we didn't forget about all the stateside gems we got to know while domestic travel was surging, from Alaska and California to Florida and Michigan.

Our 2022 list, organized alphabetically, doesn't hold back, with aspirational trips as far away as India, Mozambique, Qatar, and even space — but we're also including hometown favorites, like Walt Disney World and its new Star Wars hotel ; the wellness retreats of beautiful Sedona; and the simple pleasures of small-town, farm-to-table living in Franklin, Tennessee. Because no matter what type of trip you've been dreaming of, we want to help you turn 2022 into the year you get back out there and make it a reality.

— Edited by Nina Ruggiero and Scott Bay

1. Abruzzo, Italy

Stretching from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea on the peninsula's southeastern side, Abruzzo, Italy has long been one of the country's most overlooked destinations despite its unspoiled villages, picturesque Trabocchi Coast, and stunning natural escapes. Over the past few years, however, it has gone from a sleepy underdog to an ambitious harbinger of slow travel, sustainable gastronomy, and conscious hospitality. Villa Corallo , a 19th-century mansion near Civitella del Tronto was transformed into a five-star hotel in 2019. Dimore Montane , an eco-lodge opened in 2020 in Majella National Park, marries glamping with environmentally-friendly facilities with a zero waste policy. Meanwhile, restaurants like Bottega Culinaria in San Vito Chietino and Materia Prima in Castel di Sangro are redefining the region as one of Italy's most exciting food hotspots for their innovative and sustainable takes on local produce and traditional dishes (in case Niko Romito's three-Michelin-starred Reale wasn't enough). And completing construction this Spring is Via Verde dei Trabocchi: a cycling and pedestrian path along the Adriatic sea that's being built on a disused railway route. — Marianna Cerini

With many international borders closed over the last two years, many eager U.S. travelers' eyes turned to Alaska. The vast state, famous for its towering, snow-capped peaks, pristine wilderness, massive national parks, and colorful locals, made for a dynamic destination with no passport required. But as borders reopen, interest in the 49th state is showing no signs of slowing down. Alaska's tourism board said early forecasts are projecting that more than 1.57 million cruise ship passengers could visit southeast Alaska in summer 2022. That's an 18% jump from 2019, the previous record year. Many perennial favorite cruise lines , like Holland America, will be returning to full strength after a non-existent 2020 and abbreviated 2021. Others, like Windstar Cruises, UnCruise, and Hurtigruten are rolling out fresh itineraries or are launching new ships. On dry land, Alaska is set to see myriad new offerings and events. In Juneau, the Sealaska Heritage Institute will open their Arts Campus (where visitors will be able to learn about Alaska Native art and culture) and will host Celebration , one of the largest gatherings of Indigenous peoples. In Anchorage, Fur Rendezvous , Alaska's oldest and largest winter festival, will be back from Feb. 25 to March 6 (which also happens to be peak aurora season ). The event hosts activities like the Running of the Reindeer and the Outhouse Races, before culminating with the 50th running of the iconic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race . — Bailey Berg

3. Anguilla

This easy-going Caribbean gem is simpler than ever to get to with American Airlines launching the first-ever nonstop, direct flight from Miami on Dec. 11. Private charter flights by Tradewind Aviation have also resumed service to the island. And the just-opened Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club has a fleet of jets to ferry guests from key U.S. cities. The sprawling luxury resort will include a few restaurants overseen by chef Abram Bissell, formerly of Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, and The Modern. Quintessence , a boutique luxury resort with perks like butler service and a 4:1 staff-to-guest ratio, is opening a more affordable annex of suites called Quinn that will debut in 2022 (along with a Champagne cellar tasting room and Art Bar). New Restaurant Uchu at Belmond Cap Juluca is taking inspiration from Belmond's collection of properties in Peru. Named after the Quechuan word for spice, the menu will feature contemporary Peruvian cuisine inspired by three of the country's regions: the coast, the jungle, and the highlands. — Scott Bay

4. Antarctica

The pandemic shutdown created a compelling reason to visit Antarctica in 2022: See how the whales, seals, and penguins react after nearly two years without seeing humans. New polar-class expedition ships and new ways to get to the White Continent are reasons to pack your boots too. Viking Expeditions will be in Antarctica for the first time in 2022 with new, twin 378-passenger expedition ships. Ponant's new 270-passenger Le Commandant Charcot introduces eco-friendlier sailing, as the first hybrid-electric ship fueled by liquified natural gas (rather than heavy fuel). Quark Expeditions' long-awaited 199-passenger Ultramarine delivers exciting heli-hiking adventures via two eight-seat twin-engine helicopters. Hit a craps table in between icy exploration on the luxurious new all-suite 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor . Silversea Cruises' posh, 144-passenger, all-suite Silver Explorer returns with a debut travel option: Skip the notorious (for rough water) Drake Passage and catch a private flight directly from Chile to Antarctica to board the ship. — Fran Golden

American travelers have long loved the Bahamas for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and sunshine just about 50 miles off the coast of Florida, but there are even more reasons to visit the island nation in 2022. Baha Mar on the Island of New Providence has a brand new water park equipped with everything from a lazy river to a surf simulator, and day passes are available for purchase to those who aren't resort guests. For more rest and relaxation, journey to the outer islands of the Bahamas. While charter flights will get you exactly where you need to go, Crystal Cruises is offering a Bahamas-centric cruise that brings guests to some of the quieter and more remote islands. On its mid-July cruise, guests will embark and disembark from Nassau and then be whisked away via "6-star" service to the islands of Bimini, Great Exuma, San Salvador, and Long Island. Beyond the beach, don't forget to indulge in some local food and culture. The Island archipelago is famous for its conch, stew fish, and rock lobster. From late April through early May, Carnival is celebrated in Nassau and back after a pandemic hiatus. Keep an eye out for the famous sound and dance of the junkanoo. — Jamie Aranoff

6. Barbados

Whether you want a relaxing all-inclusive stay or a vibrant vacation filled with dining and nightlife, Barbados has you covered. Nowhere is that more evident than the pedestrian-friendly South Coast, which is teeming with new resorts and restaurants. The O2 Beach Club & Spa is an all-inclusive resort set on the white sands of Dover Beach, with three pools, six dining options, seven bars, and the Acqua spa, featuring the only hammam treatment room on the island. It joins other luxurious South Coast hotels, including Sandals and Sea Breeze Beach House . If you can pull yourself away from the resort pools, head along the coast to Worthing Square Food Garden, an outdoor food hall with 20 vendors serving dishes from around the Caribbean. Or stroll down the mile-long boardwalk for easy access to ocean-front food and drinks at local favorites like Champers, Salt Café, Tiki Bar, and Chill Café & Bar. — Kevin Gray

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

A favorite of adventure travelers for its rainforests and divers who explore the Great Blue Hole and expansive barrier reef, Belize offers an abundance of casual spots and a handful of luxe resorts. The latest arrival is Alaia Belize, an Autograph Collection Hotel , in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, opened mid-2021 with plans to add to its already extensive guest room, suite, and oceanfront villa accommodations. Major airlines are also recognizing the destination's potential with nonstop flights and convenient connections from most U.S. cities. In addition to United and Delta's nonstop flights from Houston and Atlanta, respectively, Alaska Airlines added nonstop service from Los Angeles and Seattle to Belize City in November, and Frontier Airlines will start weekly nonstop flights from Denver and Orlando. — Patricia Doherty

8. Budapest, Hungary

Very few places in the world capture both old-world charm and elegant modernity like Hungary's capital city, and Budapest's latest 130-room luxury hotel, Matild Palace , is a shining example. The neo-baroque palace-turned-hotel, which opened last summer in the city's District V, is a UNESCO-protected site that once housed the city's royalty. The hotel is now home to Wolfgang Punk's famed restaurant, Spago , the first of its kind in central Europe. It also hosts the Duchess bar — a rooftop "liquor library" that mixes craft cocktails using local wines and pálinka, Hungarian fruit brandy, which can be enjoyed alongside panoramic views of the Danube river. Surrounded by 22 wine regions, Budapest is a city for oenophiles. Enjoy a glass of Kékfrankos or Kadarka in the Castle District's newly opened wine bar, Takler Borbár Buda , founded by one of the country's renowned winemaking families. Don't leave the city without visiting Marlou , a biodynamic wine bar near the Hungarian State Opera, and Portobello , an unassuming coffee and natural wine bar around the corner from Matild Palace. — Stephanie Andrews

9. Burgundy, France

The region of Burgundy is known for — you guessed it — its Burgundy wine, but French wine isn't the only reason Burgundy is a must-visit in 2022. In the spring, the region's capital city of Dijon will welcome the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin (International City of Gastronomy and Wine), an expansive complex with a cooking school, a new hotel, a handful of restaurants, and a wine cellar with over 250 by-the-glass offerings. The new project is perfectly situated at the starting point of Burgundy's famed wine route — Route des Grands Crus — which runs from Dijon to Santenay and produces some of the country's most well-regarded wines, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc. — Evie Carrick

10. British Virgin Islands

Within the Caribbean, the 60 islands that comprise the British Virgin Islands have long held the reputation of luxury draped in relaxation. And now it's doubling down on that brand of island spirit with Richard Branson's second private island, the 125-acre Moskito Island that opened in October and sits right across from his first BVI paradise, Necker Island (which received a serious upgrade when it reopened last year after a two-year closure). The new destination will eventually have 10 private estates that can be rented through Virgin Limited Edition , but among the ones already available are Point Estate, starting at $17,500 a night, and Oasis Estate for $19,000. But Moskito isn't the only shiny new reason to visit BVI. Proving the area's resilience following the devastation after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Saba Rock , the private island long known for its diving, went through a complete reconstruction before reopening in October; the Bitter End Yacht Club reopened in December with BVI's first over-the-water bungalows; and Oil Nut Bay will expand in early 2022 with new villas, a watersports center, and spa. Also on tap for 2022, the solar-powered White Bay Villas and new hilltop suites at Long Bay Beach Resort . And with the Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival returning in the spring of 2022 after being canceled for two years, BVI is proving it's truly back and stronger than ever. — Rachel Chang

11. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

You're likely to glimpse Europe's pro athlete and yachting crowds at Marriott's four hotels on the Costa Smeralda, the glitzy Italian destination known for its Caribbean-like beaches and luxury resorts. Its glamorous Hotel Cala di Volpe has gradually been unveiling room renovations alongside new dining options, including its Harrods Suite, with a roof terrace and sea-facing plunge pool, and BeefBar 's first Italian outpost. The entire area is one big " Billionaire Experience ," but Formula One and entertainment mogul Flavio Briatore snagged the term for his new dining and nightlife venue in designer shopping destination Porto Cervo. For more of a low-key, family-friendly escape, the Baglioni Resort Sardinia opened an hour south in San Teodoro in June, overlooking the stunning Tavolara Marine Reserve . — Nina Ruggiero

12. Crete, Greece

The Greek Islands have long been a perennial favorite vacation destination for discerning travelers, and Crete, the largest of the 227 islands in the archipelago, deserves a spot atop your must-see list. Yes, it's a place where you can find the white-washed buildings and blue roofs you've lusted after on Instagram for years, and a spot where you can dive into the cerulean blue waters of the Mediterranean at every turn. And of course you can dig deep into both history and mythology as humans have lived on the island since the 7th millennium B.C ., not to mention the fact that Crete is the birthplace of Zeus . It's little surprise then, with all this beauty and history, that Crete continues to harbor a rich creative community, mostly centered in the neighborhood of Chania. There, visitors can peruse works in museums like the Mediterranean Architecture Center , or seek out unique pieces in galleries like the Municipal Art Gallery or the Redd Gallery . To visit Crete, hop aboard a sailing with Silversea , which takes guests to Crete and several other stellar islands, or book a stay at the Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection Resort , named one of the Top 10 Greece Resort Hotels in Travel + Leisure 's World's Best Awards, 2021. — Stacey Leasca

13. Walt Disney World

The " World's Most Magical Celebration " — Walt Disney World's 18-month-long 50th anniversary event that kicked off on Oct. 1 — continues through 2022 with enchanting touches and highly anticipated ride and hotel openings. Star Wars : Galactic Starcruiser will begin offering its immersive, two-night adventures in a galaxy far, far away on March 1. The interactive, choose-your-own-adventure experience will have guests wielding lightsabers, sleeping on the ship, brushing shoulders with Star Wars characters, eating intergalactic cuisine, and maybe even going on a secret mission, making this a truly unique experience that you can't find anywhere else in the world. Other 2022 openings include the Guardians of the Galaxy : Cosmic Rewind indoor coaster at Epcot, slated for summer. — Elizabeth Rhodes

14. Doha, Qatar

As we ask ourselves what cities of the future should look like, we naturally look around for examples. Places like Shanghai, Tokyo, and New York City seem to fit the description on paper, but I'd argue that no city better encapsulates that definition than Doha, the capital of Qatar. There is so much to discover — from East-West/West-East , a series of four steel monoliths created by sculptor Richard Serra to the Museum of Islamic Art , the massive 560,000-square-foot gallery. Eat at Syrian comfort food spot Damasca One, Em Sherif a rooftop spot that serves up authentic regional dishes, and the lively corner restaurant Nourlaya Contemporary for Sri Lankan cuisine. Stay at the Mandarin Oriental Doha or Banyan Tree Doha . (Read Robinson's full dispatch on Doha in the July 2021 edition of Travel + Leisure) — Whitney Robinson

15. Edinburgh, Scotland

The Auld Reekie is buzzing with new energy. The highly anticipated Hotel W , designed by Jestico and Whiles in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, is opening next winter. And several other hotels have recently opened in and around the city — Marine North Berwick , the Market Street hotel , Rusacks St. Andrews , and ship-turned-luxury-hotel Fingal . Gleneagles Townhouse , a first-ever city outpost from the famed Gleneagles estate, is opening in the spring. St James Quarter, a developing area of the city, and where Hotel W is being built, is opening next year with 85 shops, 30 restaurants, and a cinema. New in whisky is the September christening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street . And promising to shake up the scotch scene in the capital city is Leith Distillery , opening in the summer. — Scott Bay

16. Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes have bolstered their wellness and culinary offerings in recent years, carving out a name for themselves in the luxury travel realm. Inns of Aurora , comprising five historic mansions, debuted a holistic wellness facility in 2021 — set on 350 acres overlooking Cayuga Lake, complete with hydrotherapy pools, meditation areas, and a farm fresh cafe. Forty miles west of Cayuga, The Lakehouse on Canandaigua — situated on, yes, Canandaigua Lake — recently unveiled the Willowbrook Spa, which boasts lakeside barrel sauna sessions among other innovative treatments. Sandwiched between Cayuga and Canandaigua lakes is Seneca Lake, home to the largest of the Finger Lakes wine trails (this might be riesling country, but don't knock the lighter-bodied reds till you try 'em) and foodie draws like the 14-seat F.L.X. Table . Travelers visiting in the coming year will also see the Finger Lakes festival roster return in full force, including Rochester's Lilac Festival in May and International Jazz Festival in July, as well as attractions for the historically inclined road tripper, like Cayuga County's celebration of Harriet Tubman's birth through a number of walking tours and activations rolled out through 2022. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

17. Franklin, Tennessee

Despite its count of more than 80,000 year-round residents, the very walkable Franklin firmly grasps onto its small-town charms , starting with a quintessentially quaint downtown chock-full of shops and restaurants finding shelter in brick storefronts lining the sidewalks. The uninitiated might know this place for its past — Civil War museums, battleground sites, and historical markers telling the stories of a slave market, race riots, and Black soldiers in the U.S. Colored Troop division of the army all offer points of education and reflection. But the southern city has many modern-day draws as well — for starters, an exciting food and drink scene that includes the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and Arrington Vineyards , the largest winery in the region. Musical events and venues abound, too: The Pilgrimage Music Festival is one of the biggest in the state, and the 7,500-seat FirstBank Amphitheater , newly opened inside a former rock quarry, has welcomed the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Santana to its stage. There's also Leiper's Fork , a quirky-cool enclave filled with antique shops and art galleries. Even more brand-new to the scene is Southall , a 325-acre farm and inn with 62 rooms and suites and 16 cottages opening this June. The lush setting amid rolling hills makes active adventures (hiking, biking, kayaking), wellness pursuits (a spa, meditation, yoga, and two outdoor pools), and nourishing food (the restaurant uses ingredients grown, raised, and foraged on the property) easy to find. All of this and more lie just a short, 30-minute drive from bustling Nashville, making it tempting to tack onto a visit to the capital city. — Alisha Prakash

18. Galápagos Islands

The world's largest marine biosphere reserve will expand more than 20,000 square miles next year thanks to a recent presidential decree . The conservation measure seeks to combat illegal fishing by offering increased protection to the thousands of species that populate the archipelago's waters as well as a migration corridor stretching up to Costa Rica used by sharks, whales and other sea life. Come January, travelers can cruise this UNESCO-protected region on new nine-day adventures from Hurtigruten Expeditions and outfitter Metropolitan Touring aboard the 90-guest carbon-neutral MS Santa Cruz II. For a more intimate experience, passengers can book Aqua Expeditions ' seven-suite 164-foot superyacht, Aqua Mare, when it debuts in May. At the end of the year, eco-enthusiasts can sail to lesser-explored islands to spot giant tortoises, sea lions, flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, and marine iguanas on Quasar Expeditions ' new sustainable yacht — the 18-passenger M/Y Conservation featuring biodegradable amenities, renewable energy and a carbon-neutral footprint. Those with timid sea legs should check into the locally owned and run Montemar in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. — Nora Walsh

19. Greater Palm Springs, California

Greater Palm Springs is kicking its signature self-care into high gear in the coming year. Taking a cue from its sister property, Sensei Lanai , the new Sensei Porcupine Creek is converting a 230-acre private estate into a luxury wellness experience in Rancho Mirage in 2022. In Palm Springs proper, Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza will celebrate Indigenous art and history alongside the new Spa at Séc-he , where visitors will soak in approximately 12,000-year-old hot springs. Nearby, Fleur Noire Hotel just opened its adults-only casitas and bungalows, with a speakeasy Champagne bar to follow. Unexpectedly, the desert has a budding surf scene — the former Wet 'n Wild waterpark is becoming Palm Springs Surf Club , with a state-of-the-art wave pool, spa, restaurant, and bar; DSRT Surf is set to open a 5.5-acre wave lagoon in Palm Desert; and Kelly Slater himself is bringing a green energy–powered wave basin to Coral Mountain , a proposed new wellness resort with a hotel and residences, set to open in La Quinta by 2023 pending city approvals. And for entertainment outside the splash zone, the $250-million Coachella Valley Arena will host hockey, concerts, and more live events by the end of the year. — Nina Ruggiero

20. Greenville, South Carolina

Once in the shadow of Charleston and Asheville, Greenville has emerged in recent years as a go-to destination in its own right — and it keeps giving travelers more reasons to visit. In 2022, the city of just over 70,000 people will welcome a luxury boutique hotel, unveil a new public gathering place, and build on its well-earned reputation as a culinary and craft beer hotspot. The long-awaited, 187-room Grand Bohemian hotel is expected to open its doors this spring, complete with a two-story restaurant and bar, art gallery, and spa. The 60-acre Unity Park will feature plenty of greenspace, an observation tower, baseball fields, playgrounds, and walking and biking trails. And recently opened restaurants, including French Laundry alum Drew Erickson's Camp , Urban Wren, Coral, and an outpost of Nashville's famous Prince's Hot Chicken located inside Yee-Haw Brewing will ensure you're well-fed while in town. — Kevin Gray

21. Ilha Caldeira, Mozambique

While South Africa and Uganda grab headlines for African wildlife, Mozambique has been quietly making strides protecting 17 percent of its land — including beaches, coral reefs, and islands — showcasing its dedication to its natural beauty both on land and underwater. Ever since the country's 16-year civil war ended in 1992, the southeastern African nation has been aiming to build back in the right ways. Case in point: the private island of Ilha Caldeira, less than seven miles off the coast as part of the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago, located within the marine-protected area with 20 percent of the country's intact living coral. It's here that the eco-luxury Banyan Tree resort chain has developed one of its most ambitious projects yet, a five-star property — accessible by jetty or helicopter — with 40 private pool villas that will be completely solar powered. Add to that a fish market restaurant with a 270-degree ocean view, the brand's trademark Banyan Tree Spa, and world-class diving, all in a too-pristine-to-believe beach setting, and this island escape is sure to draw attention away from its Indian Ocean neighbors when it opens at the end of 2022. — Rachel Chang

22. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Those wary of traveling internationally in 2022 will find solace in Jackson Hole, a mountain town with endless open space (Wyoming is the least populated state in the U.S.) and plenty to do. In the winter, life revolves around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort , home to some of the nation's best skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, plan your trip around the Jackson Hole Food & Wine Summer Festival (June 23-25) or head to the nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. For easy access to the mountain town, travelers can hop on one of Aero's high-end, seasonal flights and stay at The Cloudveil off the Town Square or the Caldera House at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. — Evie Carrick

23. Kafue National Park, Zambia

Straddling three regions of Zambia, Kafue National Park is the largest (and oldest) in the country, measuring 8,648 miles. In the wildlife-rich Busanga plains — located in the secluded northern side of the park — spend the night at newly opened Chisa Busanga Camp in their bird's nest shaped rooms. Enjoy a silent safari, thanks to e-cruisers or an e-bike safari provided by the property. See wildlife from above with a hot air balloon safari from Shumba Camp or Busanga Bush Camp . Other accommodation offerings in the park include riverfront Ila Safari Lodge and Mukambi Safari Lodge . Both properties offer fishing, walking safaris, boat cruises, and have Instagram worthy pools (perfect for a soak and the traditional safari sundowner: a gin and tonic). — Mazuba Kapambwe

24. Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas, Lithuania has a lofty New Year's resolution. After a century of wars, Soviet rule, and, since the 1990s, independence, this UNESCO Creative City of Design is ready to cultivate a new identity — and it's doing so as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2022 (alongside Novi Sad, Serbia). The festivities commence in January, with thousands of concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and events throughout the year to celebrate Kaunas' history while cementing its path forward . Also this year, Kaunas will welcome the highly anticipated $30 million Science Island, Lithuania's first national science and innovation center designed by UK firm Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). By May, the city's former Magnus Hotel will reopen with sparkly new digs and a posh rooftop under the ibis Styles umbrella . This lively city is also a main stop on the recently unveiled 1,330-mile Forest Trail across the Baltics. And, a host of just-announced Ryanair flight routes, including Madrid to Kaunas, will make visiting this capital of culture a breeze. — Stephanie Vermillion

25. Kyushu, Japan

Kyushu may be less than two hours from Tokyo by plane, but it feels far from Honshū's well-beaten tourist circuit. The southwesternmost Japanese main island is still largely unexplored, providing those willing to venture off the beaten path with a much different Japan than the one they'll find in its cities. As a warm, subtropical island, Kyushu is home to long, golden beaches and some of Japan's best snorkeling and scuba diving. Inland, the country's most active volcano, Mt. Aso, feeds the island's myriad natural hot springs — many of which offer sea views. And while the island has accommodations that include both hot spring resorts and luxury beachfront villas , nothing tops a stay at Hirado Castle , which was recently restored and renovated to welcome visitors overnight . — Evie Carrick

26. Lanai, Hawaii

Wellness opportunities and cultural awareness are showcased along with luxury at Lanai's two Four Seasons resorts. At Sensei Lāna'i, A Four Seasons Resort , guests can now choose the Discover Sensei Experience , offering the ability to enjoy the retreat's amenities without joining the more comprehensive programs. New "Optimal Wellbeing" programs focus on improving performance in tennis and golf along with overall wellness. Four Seasons Resort Lanai is adding an observatory as part of "Love Lanai," featuring cultural experiences designed to share the island's rich heritage. The observatory program will center around the history of Pacific voyaging, native traditions, and astronomy. — Patricia Doherty

27. Las Vegas, Nevada

Never bet against the house: The pandemic may have put a damper on Las Vegas, but the ever-on-the-move city is back in a big way for 2022. A massive new development on the Strip, Resorts World Las Vegas, opened in June, has three distinct Hilton properties under one enormous roof, not to mention more than 40 restaurants and bars, plus pools (plural), and a handful of $15,000-a-night villas . Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the Cromwell , and downtown's Circa Resort & Casino are also giving visitors fresh options on where to stay. The city's pro sports teams — also now plural — are drawing in fans. And off-Strip "immersive experiences," like the Omega Mart by Meow Wolf and the Illuminarium, both at Area15 , are lending an additional layer of things to do beyond the expected. Not that there's anything wrong with splashing out on dinner and a show after the past two years. Live acts — like Adele's just-announced residency at The Colosseum — are once again hot tickets, as is a table at chic new supper club Delilah , at the Wynn Las Vegas. Some things, thankfully, never change. — Paul Brady

28. Louisville, Kentucky

Your cowboy boots were made for walking the streets of Louisville. Nicknamed "The Bourbon City," an official gateway to Kentucky's bourbon trail, the city is expanding its bourbon footprint in 2022. In October, the Urban Bourbon Trail welcomed the first and only African American–owned distillery in the state, Brough Brothers . Meanwhile, its trailmate, Angel's Envy , will wrap its $8.2-million expansion project complete with a new event space and five tasting rooms in the spring. The city is most well known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby every spring at the historic Churchill Downs racetrack, and the Downs will open the first installment of its multi-year expansion plan, the Homestretch Club , just in time for the 2022 Derby. There, attendees will be able to enjoy the race with an all-new trackside lounge experience. — Hannah Streck

29. Malaysia

Malaysia is home to a beautiful medley of cultures (Chinese, Indian, and Malay) and a diverse smattering of terrain: bustling cities with towering buildings, verdant rain forests with incredible wildlife, and idyllic islands with dreamy beaches. But all of this and more has been closed to the world for much of the pandemic. Now that the island of Langkawi is open via a travel bubble, with the rest of the country expected to follow suit in 2022, travelers can once again experience Malaysia's many gifts. Langkawi, a beach lover's paradise, blends unspoiled nature (UNESCO-listed Kilim Karst Geoforest Park ) and unparalleled luxury ( Four Seasons Resort , Datai Langkawi ), while cosmopolitan capital Kuala Lumpur draws visitors with its gleaming Petronas Towers, delicious hawker food stalls, and shopping. Then there's Borneo, complete with wildlife-packed jungles and a rich Indigenous culture, as well as Desaru Coast, a 3,900-acre area that's home to coveted resorts like the One&Only Desaru Coast , a tropical oasis that opened in early September 2020 (the brand's first in Asia). — Alisha Prakash

30. Maldives

The Maldives' 1,000+ islands sit in the Indian Ocean like a string of turquoise pearls. The tropical nirvana has 166 accommodation options, including the new Joali Being nature retreat, which leads guests on a transformative wellness journey. Alila Kothaifaru Maldives debuts in February with 80 beach and overwater villas on the Raa Atoll. Coming to the same atoll in May, also with 80 luxury villas, is Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa on a massive lagoon primed for snorkeling. The ever-innovative Soneva Fushi has a new experience that includes zip-lining to a six-course meal 30 feet about the sand. Along with Soneva Jani, they've debuted Soneva Soul , a new spa complex melding ancient and modern techniques. Other vacation favorites are unveiling new digs like the sleek, contemporary renovation of Naladhu Private Island and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island , debuting in February. — Katie Lockhart

31. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is considered one of the sailing capitals of the world. It is home to the largest fleet of America's Cup 12 Meter yachts , most of which are available for charter. In May, the coastal town is welcoming a Sailing Museum that is sure to solidify that title. Over the past few years, a slew of hotel openings have closed a much-needed gap for luxury accommodations, including Hammett's Hotel , Brenton Hotel , and The Wayfinder Hotel . The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is debuting the property's highly anticipated transformation conceived by Dallas-based design collective Swoon — the lobby, dining room, and shared areas are now complete with guest rooms finishing early next year. Renowned beverage executive Maxwell Britten has joined the team as chief cocktail curator alongside an amazing chef who cooks up a selection of elevated pub-inspired dishes. And don't miss Giusto , at Hammett's Hotel, which serves up excellent Italian with a Rhode Island twist. — Scott Bay

32. Nile Cruise, Egypt

There is no trip that will convert you to a life of river cruising quite like a sail down (well, technically, up) the Nile. In fact, the world's first river cruises sailed in Egypt, a country designed around the central waterway, where it makes sense that the Nile would act as your home base. A typical Egyptian river cruise sets sail from Cairo to Luxor and then Aswan, with the occasional stop to visit an island temple along the way — complete with sights like the Pyramids, Valley of Kings and Queens, Nefertari's tomb, and the Temple of Kom Ombo. In 2022, there's more than one new river cruise to choose from, between Uniworld's newly launched S.S. Sphinx and AmaWaterways' Amadahlia , both of which sailed their inaugural voyages in fall 2021. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

In late 2021, Panama launched a tourism platform along with the coolest tagline in travel: " Live for More ." With a booming coffee scene and a renewed focus on its culture, history, and biodiversity , the Central American nation is ready for its moment in the spotlight. It's an attractive place for those looking to get out of resort mode and into a world open for exploration and adventure. Immersive environmental experiences abound here, including trekking through the rainforest on its suspended hanging bridges and walking to the top of the Volcán Barú, an active volcano with both Pacific and Atlantic Ocean views from the top. There is also abundant opportunity to learn from Panama's seven Indigenous communities, each of whom offer their own personalized experiences and are happy to share their craftsmanship and traditions. Panama offers plenty of luxury, too. In its capital city, check into the American Trade Hotel , centrally located in Panama's Casco Viejo district, a historic neighborhood which happens to also be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. — Stacey Leasca

34. Phuket, Thailand

Before the pandemic, Phuket was beautiful but crowded, full of beach bars and tourists chasing all-nighters. It's still full of energy and surrounded by the same pristine sea glass–colored water, but its luxurious side is finally getting the attention it deserves, from its high-end coffee shops to its cocktail bars. Hide from the world in paradise with a stay in one of the private pool residences at Trisara , featuring kitchens, a private chef, butler service, and breathtaking views over the sea, as well as access to the resort's PRU restaurant , which has earned both a Michelin star and a Michelin green star. Or book a stay at the brand-new V Villas Phuket , which offers a curated selection of 19 private-pool, 1-, 3-, and 4-bedroom villas. Later, party the night away in Phuket Old Town with inventive cocktails at Club No. 43 (think: rum with grilled pineapple juice and espuma), or settle in for a great dinner and a night of daring performances at the Junkyard Theatre , which just launched a weekly Saturday night show. — Alison Fox

35. Pico, Portugal

The islands of the Azores — a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean some 900 miles west of Lisbon — are more popular than ever, and for 2022, travelers will want to fix their eyes firmly on the second-largest isle: Pico, an alluring, otherworldly locale covered with black, volcanic rocks. Conquering Portugal's highest peak, the cloud-shrouded, 7,713-foot-high Mount Pico, used to be the island's main draw, but a recent uptick in hospitality infrastructure has allowed for more opportunity to partake of Pico's most important agricultural output: wine. Renowned Portuguese winemaker Antonio Maçanita just opened a new winery that comes with bookable design-forward apartments adjacent to the island's unique vineyards. On Pico, grapes are planted on volcanic terroir that are then protected from Atlantic winds with rock walls. Maçanita's ​​ Azores Wine Company 's mineral, sometimes slightly salty wines could be the perfect celebratory drink after a grueling hike.The crashing waves around Pico are beginning to seduce surfers, too. And there are also ample opportunities to watch for marine life thanks to 20 species of dolphins and whales (including humpbacks and orcas) that can be spotted in these waters. But if you'd rather eat what's in the water: Try lapas, a local shellfish delicacy best served grilled with butter and garlic and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Thankfully, getting to experience all of this has never been easier: Starting July 1, United Airlines will for the first time connect Newark to the island of São Miguel (the Azores' largest island), and from there, it's a quick hop over to Pico. Or you could always get there via direct flights from Lisbon or Porto with Tap Air Portugal's stopover program. — Chadner Navarro

36. Quebec, Canada

After over a year of tight pandemic restrictions, Canada reopened to American tourists in 2021, so now might finally be time to plan that trip to the Great White North, starting with the province of Quebec. From the charming, French-influenced cities of Montreal and Quebec City to the region's snow-capped mountains, there's something new to explore every season. In December 2021, the first Club Med mountain resort in Canada, Club Med Quebec Charlevoix , opened, offering all-inclusive ski vacations just a short flight from several major U.S. cities. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a foliage-packed autumn cruise from New York to Montreal in October. No matter what time of year you visit, Le Capitole Hotel in Quebec City and Humaniti Hotel Montreal are top picks for places to stay in the major cities. — Elizabeth Rhodes

37. Queensland, Australia

Australia's highly anticipated international border reopening will be well worth the wait, especially as more travelers seek nuanced cultural experiences and sustainable stays. The northeastern state has long been the gateway for visits to the rightly beloved Great Barrier Reef, and beginning in 2022, visitors can learn about conservation efforts and the ecosystem directly from the area's Traditional Land Owners and Indigenous guides during day trips from Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel . Aboriginal elders and Traditional Land Owners are also working with local operator Gudjuda Tours on a daylong excursion to tag and rescue one of the reef's most beloved creatures: sea turtles. Those who want to take a more extended trip to the Whitsunday Islands can look to Elysian Retreat , recently certified as the area's first fully solar-powered resort, or its carbon-negative sister property Pumpkin Island . Back on the mainland, within the verdant Daintree Rainforest UNESCO World Heritage Site, eco-luxury hideaway Silky Oaks Lodge will finally welcome guests back after its $15-million overhaul. — Sarah Bruning

38. Santa Ynez Valley, California

Two hours from L.A., the Santa Ynez Valley is rural, unassuming, and coming into its own. The region has grown grapes for decades and has even made a Hollywood cameo in the movie Sideways. The arrival of newer tasting rooms, restaurants, and hotels in recent years has firmly put the area on oenophiles' and travelers' radars. Start with a private olive oil tasting at Global Gardens and hard cider at Tin City Cider in Los Olivos. Follow with pizza pies at Full of Life Flatbread and vino at nearby female-owned A Tribute to Grace and Casa Dumetz . Detour to Firestone Walker 's outpost in Buellton for a few limited edition craft brews and finish with dishes such as roasted tomato and fennel risotto at the Ballard Inn's Gathering Table . Though it's technically just beyond the boundaries of the valley in Lompoc, The Hilt Estate , is too good to miss. And once it opens this year as an Auberge property, The Inn at Mattei's Tavern will make for the perfect base from which to explore it all. — Tanvi Chheda

39. São Paulo, Brazil

Known for its dynamic combination of luxury, design, and fashion influence, São Paulo is an international metropolitan hub of arts and culture. It's the largest city in South America, hosting an array of entertainment opportunities such as fabulous hotels, decadent restaurants, high-class museums, and iconic mid-century architecture. With airlines including American adding flights throughout Brazil in 2022 and a flourishing hospitality renaissance throughout the city, São Paulo is well prepared for its anticipated influx of new travelers. A must-visit destination for 2022 is the Rosewood São Paulo , located in the heart of São Paulo's Cidade Matarazzo and housed in a historic landmark building. Here, visitors will encounter 200-plus luxurious guest rooms, suites, and residences, plus six restaurants and bars and two pools. — Molly O'Brien

40. Savannah, Georgia

This coastal Georgia city is rightly famous for its atmospheric, moss-draped streets and squares, not to mention its hundreds of years of history. But lately Savannah has been boosted by creativity and innovation outside the sometimes frozen-in-amber Old Town, which means now is a particularly compelling time to visit. Make home base the brand-new Thompson Savannah , a slick 13-story tower with interiors by Studio 11 Design that anchors the still-developing Eastern Wharf neighborhood. Phase one of the 54-acre development, which aims to turn a once-industrial waterfront into a contemporary mixed-use destination, includes hundreds of apartments, fitness trails, access to the Savannah River, and multiple bars and restaurants, including Fleeting , a seasonally driven spot inside the Thompson. At the same time, Savannah's other major waterfront destination has also come into its own. The Plant Riverside District, a stone's throw from Old Town, marked its official grand opening in November 2021, putting a bow on a bustling JW Marriott hotel , countless restaurants and bars, and multiple live performance venues all along a rebuilt waterfront. Not that all the action is along the river: The ever-evolving Starland District, a short drive from Johnson Square, has its share of hangouts including Starland Yard , a food truck park that's also home to the excellent Pizzeria Vittoria Napoletana ; Two Tides Brewing Company , which pours hazy ales and delicious sours in a super-cool taproom; and Troupial , a Venezuelan cafe. You'll also want to pack Wildsam Savannah , a newly released field guide that helps visitors understand the layers of history (and the contemporary politics) that are fueling the latest renaissance in Savannah. — Paul Brady

41. Seattle, Washington

Few places offer both an urban and a natural escape in one destination — and the Emerald City might be one of the best. The city center is world-class with top hotel accommodations ( Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and Thompson Seattle ), locally focused fine dining, and countless cultural sites. Then, just minutes away from all of that is some of the most stunning outdoor recreation out there. Adding to the city's luster is the newly opened Lotte Hotel Seattle . The 189-room tower is bringing high design and refined service to the area. Charlotte , the hotel's restaurant on the 18th floor, serves up an inventive menu that is sure to become an all-time favorite dining experience. The landmark Fairmont Olympic Hotel recently completed a $25-million historic restoration of its public spaces, quickly becoming one of the most Instagrammable spots in town. Plus, its buzzy new culinary showpiece will debut in the months to come. Before leaving Seattle, don't miss a meal at celebrated pasta specialist Brian Clevenger's new restaurant, Autumn . — Scott Bay

42. Sedona, Arizona

Makito Umekita/Travel + Leisure

With tourism already surging thanks to the Instagram fame of attractions like Devil's Bridge, Sedona garnered even more of a following during the pandemic among cooped-up city dwellers enthralled by the destination's red rocks and energy vortexes. In 2022, set your sights on North America's first landscape hotel, Ambiente , home to 40 standalone accommodations (called "atriums"), most with private rooftop decks perfect for stargazing. Opening in May, the sustainability-focused retreat will offer on-site trailhead access — further immersing guests in the Sedona landscape while combating traffic along the city's main highway — and reactivate an ancient waterway to populate a stream running throughout the hotel. Experience Sedona's culinary clout right on property at Ambiente's restaurant, Forty1, housed in a refurbished airstream, or venture next door to Mariposa , the city's must-visit restaurant by chef Lisa Dahl, who pioneered fine dining in this town. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

43. Singapore

Singapore reopened to vaccinated American travelers in October 2021 with the introduction of the country's Vaccinated Travel Lane . Travelers can fly from the U.S. on Singapore Airlines' vaccine-mandatory flights ; the World's Best airline 26 years running launched Vaccinated Travel Lane flights this fall, and United Airlines plans to follow suit by January 2022. Even in the early stages of reopening to foreign travelers, the city-state is already unveiling new culinary ventures. Recently, chef Julien Royer, behind three-Michelin-star Odette, opened Claudine , and Raffles Singapore unveiled Osteria BBR by Alain Ducasse, while Marina Bay Sands plans to debut chef Tetsuya Wakuda's second restaurant within the hotel in the new year. Of course, there's just as much flavor to be found at Singapore's famed hawker centers, now on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. As tourists return to Singapore, new cultural attractions follow — from the return of Singapore Art Week, beginning Jan. 14, to the recent unveiling of SkyHelix Sentosa , an open-air ride towering 300 feet above sea level, for anyone still in need of thrills after a 17-hour flight over the Pacific. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

44. Southwest Michigan

Beaches with ocean-like views were once the main draw to Michigan's southwest coast, but new high-style accommodations and hyper-local experiences are giving us more reasons to go. Where to stay with so many options? Consider the cool new motel-turned-boutique Lake Shore Resort in Saugatuck; The Fields glamping retreat with new spa tents in South Haven; the revamped, modern Harbor Grand Hotel in New Buffalo; or anywhere along the coast with high-touch Bluefish Vacation Rentals , which has killer lakefront homes now stocked with handmade local goods. Hop on the new pedestrian/bike trail in Union Pier, and definitely shop two new woman-owned standouts: the beautifully curated Haven and Ariane Prewitt's AP Cottage, scheduled to open this spring. Women are showing off the culinary scene, too, with everything from a special saison ale — winner of the 2021 Great American Beer Festival — at woman-owned Waypost Brewing Co. , to new herb-inspired cocktails at James Beard-winning chef Melissa Corey's Penny Royal Café & Provisions , to James Beard nominee Abra Beherns' Granor Farm , where dinners return this year in a new glass-enclosed barn. — Nina Kokotas Hahn

45. St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you're on the hunt for glitz, glamour, and powder for days, look no further than St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Alpine ski town has long been considered the birthplace of winter vacationing. Tourists first flocked to the mountain town in 1864 , when hotelier Johannes Badrutt took a few British travelers to the community, promising them bluebird days all winter. It wasn't long until others learned about this hidden winter oasis. Skiers and winter sports enthusiasts flocked to the mountain, which has now hosted the Winter Olympic Games not once, but twice. It's an ideal place for ski bunnies too, thanks to its luxury shopping, and its numerous Michelin-starred restaurants . This winter, head to St. Moritz for its fantastic events like White Surf (Feb. 6, 13, and 20, 2022), an international horse race that takes place across the frozen Lake St. Moritz, and the Snow Polo World Cup (Jan. 28-30, 2022), which happens to be the world's only high-goal tournament on snow. Book a stay at the Badrutt's Palace Hotel , which officially reopened on Dec. 3 for the 2021/2022 season and offers guests the chance to try their hand at high-octane winter sports like skijöring, snowkiting, tobogganing, and even private helicopter tours to the peaks of Piz Bernina and Piz Palü. — Stacey Leasca

46. St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida

The beaches of St. Petersburg and nearby Clearwater are consistently ranked among the best in the U.S. and even the world , but there's more to this destination than white sand, pristine waters, and 361 days of sunshine per year. St. Pete/Clearwater offers more than 30 museums and galleries featuring world-renowned artists like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, as well as the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's work outside of Spain. One could say brewing the perfect beer is also an artform that St. Pete/Clearwater has mastered, with its trail of 35+ locally owned craft breweries. Playfully nicknamed the " Gulp Coast ," complete your experience with a digital passport that tracks your beer-sampling progress. These year-round offerings mean you can visit any time, but head over in June 2022 to revel in the 20th anniversary of St. Pete Pride , the largest Pride event in Florida, hosting events for everyone from friends and families to couples and solo travelers. — Jessica Poitevien

47. Todos Santos, Mexico

Todos Santos is one of Mexico's pueblo mágicos, or "magic towns," and locals are working to retain its history and culture while embracing the steady stream of travelers who have begun venturing an hour north of Cabo San Lucas to discover its charm. The area saw a handful of new boutique resorts pop up in 2021 that provide luxury amenities while keeping the rugged land and local flora the centerpiece. Wellness-focused Paradero describes itself as a "landscaping project" that just so happens to have luxurious suites, and El Perdido , an all-villa resort less than five miles south, provides all-terrain vehicles so visitors can get to Los Cerritos beach, the local surf break of choice. Oceanfront Rancho Pescadero 's multimillion-dollar transformation will be complete in the spring. Bookings for its oceanfront villas and penthouse rooms — some with private rooftops and plunge pools — open in January. Todos Santos has fully embraced farm-to-table dining, with Javier Plascencia's orchard-adjacent Jazamango leading the way, and Santa Terra , a cosmopolitan oyster bar meets arts and entertainment venue concept, is in the process of adding multiple bars and restaurants, plus a glamping site and amphitheater, according to its developer, "without chopping down a single tree." — Nina Ruggiero

48. Udaipur, India

After an extremely challenging 20-month closure, India reopened to vaccinated travelers on Nov. 15, 2021. Those looking toward South Asia in the new year, perhaps to see the Taj Mahal in Agra or hit the Goan beaches, should make sure Udaipur is on the itinerary. The city of lakes in southern Rajasthan is thought of as the most romantic Indian destination (even called the "Venice of the East") — but it's not just for honeymooners. From the vibrance of Hathi Pol bazaar and Shilpgram , an artisanal compound on the outskirts of the city with a festival set to return on Jan. 22, to the serenity of Lake Pichola, the artificial lake made in the 14th century, Udaipur is a city where you can fully immerse in Rajasthani culture. A hub of Indian luxury, Udaipur is now home to the country's first Raffles hotel, which opened in October. This private island hotel on Udai Sagar Lake is accessible only by boat — something of a trademark for the over-the-top hotels of Udaipur. Meant to be a flagship hotel in the Raffles portfolio, complete with brand staples (think: bars, both Long and Writers), 101 lavish suites, Rasoi cooking school, and lakeside open-air restaurant Belvedere Point. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

49. Wales, United Kingdom

The only path in the world to follow the whole of a country's coastline, the Wales Coastal Path celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022. Walking its 870 miles would take three months, but its most spectacular stretches can be seen in one visit — and in style. St David's in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, is Britain's smallest city with a mere population of 1,600 and is home to a Medieval cathedral , a luxury hotel inside Roch Castle , some excellent pubs, and the upscale St David's Gin & Kitchen . Hiking paths with unbeatable coastal vistas are within easy reach (try the St David's Head loop ) and pass neolithic tombs and hillforts. — Jamie Carter

50. Yucatán, Mexico

Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán, has emerged as one of Mexico's most popular cities thanks to its lively restaurant scene, a busy calendar of cultural events, and a relaxed tropical atmosphere. Increasingly, however, travelers are venturing beyond the city to explore the state's unspoiled nature reserves, ancient Maya sites, and sprawling haciendas — a number now converted into hotels. Among the destinations that are drawing travelers to Yucatán are El Cuyo, a quiet beach town that was long a closely guarded secret of windsurfers. Now visitors can also enjoy gourmet Mexican fare at the El Chile Gordo restaurant and boho-chic lodgings at the new Casa Mate . In Espita, a charming colonial town near Valladolid, is the Casona los Cedros hotel which opened in summer 2021. Sisal, a historic port in the western part of the state, has attracted new interest since being named a Pueblo Mágico at the end of 2020. A new highway completed in April now connects Sisal to Hunucmá (and then beyond to Mérida) making it easier for beachcombers to visit, and perhaps spend the night at the cool Club de Patos . — John Newton

51. Bonus: Space

This was a monumental year for human spaceflight — not only did NASA and SpaceX achieve a regular cadence of astronaut launches for the first time since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, but space tourism has also lifted off in a major way, making space a top destination to visit in 2022. And it's a realistic trip, too, so long as you have the budget for it. Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic succeeded in taking passengers to space on short suborbital hops this year, and each company plans to ramp up those flights in 2022 — Virgin Galactic already has more than 600 bookings. The price for a quick jaunt to space? A few hundred thousand dollars . If you have an even bigger budget (say, a couple hundred million dollars), you could charter your own orbital flight in a SpaceX Dragon Capsule, as did entrepreneur Jared Issacman with his Inspiration4 mission in September. There are also tourism trips to the International Space Station in the works; Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa launches on his multi-day journey in December, courtesy of space travel agency Space Adventures and Russia's Roscosmos space agency, which plans to take even more " citizen space explorers " to the orbiting laboratory in the near future. Of course, not everyone has pockets deep enough to cover space travel, but more affordable journeys are on the horizon. Startup Space Perspective plans to launch high-altitude balloon rides to the edge of space in 2024 , for the relatively low price of $125,000. Potential dealbreaker, though — the balloons don't actually reach space, maxing out at 100,000 feet in altitude, while space is considered to begin somewhere between 264,000 feet (50 miles) and 327,360 feet ​​(62 miles). But hey, at least there's a bar on board. — Stefanie Waldek

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5 New And Reimagined California Hotels To Visit In 2022

travel in california 2022

  • Activities and Interests
  • Destinations
  • Hotels and Resorts
  • United States

travel in california 2022

Scouting a new or reimagined hotel is one of my favorite “travel writer” things to do. Exploring a new accommodation is a treasure hunt. What new amenities and comforts are waiting to take guests away from their everyday lives? What is the atmosphere, city buzz, or country quiet? What are the rooms like? What about eats and libations? What services are offered? Is the lodging pet-friendly? Is it multi-generational, couples, or solo-friendly? What’s happening in the area? How do you get there?

If you’re planning a trip to California, each of these five hotels invited me for a stay so I can give you a hotel scout’s insider information and tips. These ideally located hotels are places you can build a weekend around. All are no-drive destinations with loads to do close by. You park your car and forget about it until you depart.

Sunrise over the golf course at Westin Rancho Mirage.

1. Check In And Never Leave The Property

The luxurious Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort and Spa has undergone an $18 million, 2-year reimagining. Covering 365 acres of the Coachella Valley floor, the Westin’s renovation touched every aspect of the property, focusing on the resort’s pillars of “Sleep Well, Move Well, Eat Well, Play Well, and Work Well.”

The magnificent property is a lush oasis with greenery and water everywhere you look. As beautiful as the grounds are in the sunshine, they take on an entirely different look with exquisite lighting emphasizing architecture, landscaping, and water features from dusk ‘till dawn. There is so much to do here; you can please any generation and most folk’s interest. 

Family-friendly, pet-friendly, and ADA all are welcome. Golf, tennis, pickleball, swimming, walking, cycling, bowling, game room, sports bar, and more can be enjoyed at the resort. 

All 512 guest rooms have been renovated from ceiling to floor. The Backyard, a new outdoor entertainment venue, will host concerts. The main pool has been enlarged, and a super-slide added. In addition, all golf, tennis, pickleball, and basketball facilities have been completely renewed.

The restful spa has been lovingly revitalized and expanded. Meeting rooms are updated, and onsite amenities, such as a coffee shop and deli, add to guest comfort and experience.

The food and libations scene hasn’t been overlooked. Restaurants and cafes all have new menus with plenty of healthy and indulgent options. Don’t miss the complimentary Gloria’s Renewal Juice offered at breakfast. It is green, energizing, and delicious.

In addition, the mixologists have new cocktails, wine, and beer to sample.

Getting There: Fly into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). It’s 5 miles to the Westin. If you don’t plan on leaving the property, I suggest a taxi to the resort.

Hotel Cerro's Edible Garden at night.

2. An Urban Oasis

Hotel Cerro in downtown San Luis Obispo (SLO) is a sublime escape pod. The urban-chic hotel is located in the heart of downtown SLO. A combination of guest rooms, suites, and apartments is offered. The hotel itself is a work of art. Attention to guest comfort with every amenity is unmatched. Every aspect of the hotel is like no other I’ve visited.

At Cerro, I escaped in a garden suite. The expansive room had a private patio with a fire pit. A gate leads to the edible garden where guests are encouraged to pick and eat the fruit, herbs, and vegetables growing there. A soaking tub was filled from an overhead tap. The spa-like shower was stocked with bath products from the spa. The lighting in the room was outstanding. Every space could be soft and romantic or bright work light.

The staff at Cerro is excellent. Warm and engaging folks in all hotel and restaurant areas go out of their way to make your stay a memorable experience.

Cerro has a bistro, distillery, patio, and rooftop location serving food and beverage. Chef Dereck Brooks works with local farmers and producers to fill the seasonal menu. In addition, the pastry chef fills the pastry case with works of art you won’t be able to resist.

The layout of Cerro’s 65 rooms is genius. While you are in the middle of a buzzy city, the quiet and privacy can make you feel like you are the only guest. Courtyards and gardens are on the hotel interior, surrounded by guest rooms, a rooftop pool, spa, and meeting spaces.

When visiting San Luis Obispo , a stay at Cerro is a must. You will never forget the experience.

Getting There: The closest airport is San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP). Rent a car or take a taxi to Hotel Cerro.

Flamingo Hotel

3. Resort To The Stars

Flamingo Resort — a Santa Rosa , California, resort and spa — has a history with Hollywood. Patterned after the Las Vegas Flamingo in the late ‘50s, producers and starlets lounged by the pool. Then, they danced the night away in the nightclub, free to unwind away from Hollywood paparazzi. Today the Flamingo is still dedicated to helping guests relax and escape their everyday life with a focus on wellness for all generations and interests.

Architect Homer Rissman’s Flamingo was proclaimed a Historic Landmark in 1996. Since then, the resort has been completely reimagined with its Mid-century Modern details renewed. The 10-acre property has 170 rooms, a spa, an all-season heated pool, lap pool, hot tub, fitness center, tennis courts, bicycles, fresh air, and more than 256 days of sunshine each year.

Locally sourced food and beverage are available in the resort restaurant, poolside, or private dining in your guest room.

Sonoma County Wine country surrounds the Flamingo for wine, beer, and spirit tasting. Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square is 2-miles from the resort with museums, parks, galleries, and an abundance of eateries, bars, and shopping.

Getting There: Santa Rosa is 50 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge by car. Closer still, fly into Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS). The Flamingo is about 10 miles from the airport.

The Art House Hotel, Santa Rosa, California.

4. Art In The City’s Heart

Art House is a brand new hotel built in downtown Santa Rosa. Two blocks from Courthouse Square , the Art House is ideally located for a no-drive weekend in this vibrant city’s historic downtown neighborhood.

The Art House has begun its art collection, curated and displayed in rooms and public spaces. The hotel’s exterior reminds me of a Piet Mondrian painting in pastel.

The Art House has hotel-style rooms, suites, and one-bedroom apartments to offer. Each has a city view from floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, suites and apartments have private balconies perfect for morning coffee or sipping the sundown.

The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is a 20-minute walk from the Art House. Also, close at hand are the Sonoma County Art and History Museums. Around Court House Square are restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, and shops.

Family-friendly, pet-friendly, and ADA all are welcome. Limited onsite parking is available, making this a candidate for a no-drive weekend. Park your car and forget about it. Dust off your walking shoes or unpack the bike and see the city.

Getting There: Santa Rosa is 50-miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge if you are road tripping. By air, fly into Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. The Art House Hotel is about 8 miles from the airport in downtown Santa Rosa.

Clift Royal Sonesta lobby and check-in.

5. A Reimagined San Francisco Star

Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Francisco has undergone a significant reimagining. Two blocks off Union Square, the historic hotel originally opened in 1915 to accommodate folks attending the Panama–Pacific International Exposition . Since that time, the property has had several owners and renovations.

Sonesta rehabilitated and modernized every square inch of the building, creating spacious guest rooms and luxury baths. The lobby, public spaces, and meeting rooms have been beautifully decorated with a modern theme and a nod to the properties’ Art Deco past. 

The Clift is famous for its Redwood Room. The paneling on the walls was carved from one single redwood tree. In the iconic San Francisco landmark renovation, the Redwood Room was given new furnishings. The original wall paneling was refinished to bring back its original luster. A drink in this lovely lounge will be a highlight of your stay.

The Clift’s location is perfectly situated for exploring San Francisco on foot and via cable car . Union Square has shopping and people-watching opportunities. Nearby Chinatown is the perfect place for lunch. Next, head to Japantown for more authentic eats and the incredible history of Japanese citizens in California. Finally, San Francisco’s Wharf is a thrilling cable car ride downhill to the bay. Seafood, buskers, the marina, and maritime history are part of the wharf scene.

Getting There: San Francisco International (SFO) is the closest airport. However, I never recommend driving in San Francisco; it’s congested and parking fees are astronomical. Instead, take public transit. (Find a “Plan a Trip” guide for Bay Area transit here .) The Clift has valet parking for $60+ per day if driving.

Be A Hotel Scout

You can be your own “hotel scout.” When thinking of trying a new hotel, start with reviews. Go to more than one booking site like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Hotels.com. The reviews can offer insight into the good and bad in service and property amenities.

Find A Good Rate

Booking sites don’t always have the best rates. When looking for a deal, don’t forget to look at the hotel’s website to book directly. Many hotels book directly and offer a better rate than the booking sites, especially in the off-season.

Even when a “book direct” rate is the same or a bit more than a booking site, you may be able to take advantage of special offers that include dinner, a bottle of wine, breakfast, a spa date, or other package deals.

Let Others Know

Still in the vein of being a hotel scout, after your visit, write a review. Your honest and original review can help other travelers make a choice. Positive reviews help the hotel attract more guests. Negative reviews help the hotel see where improvements are needed.

Have fun exploring California and these five new and reimagined hotels.

For more things to do in sunny California , be sure to read up on our recent coverage:

  • 8 Incredible Things To See And Do In Redding, California During Winter
  • 7 Amazing Experiences In This Coastal California State Park
  • 12 Fabulous Restaurants To Try In Torrance, California

Image of Mary Charlebois

Covering 'off-the-beaten path,' 'not well-known,’ and 'in the shadow of' locations is Mary’s passion. She delves into art, music, food, libations, architecture, museums, parks, well-curated tours, history, agriculture, and the unexpected in micro-towns and big cities, both domestic and international.

As a lifelong traveler, her nomadic mother often handed her the map and asked her to choose the destination and route, granting her the nickname, Mary Go.

Today she travels by train, plane, bus, boat, shoe sole, and her Honda, Patty. Mary digs into culture, people, and history wherever she goes, sharing her experiences through words, photos, and video.


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Is California Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

California, United States

  • California : Safety by City
  • Bakersfield
  • Chino Hills
  • Chula Vista
  • Garden Grove
  • Huntington Beach
  • Lake Forest
  • Los Angeles
  • Mission Viejo
  • Moreno Valley
  • Mountain View
  • Newport Beach
  • Palm Springs
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Redondo Beach
  • Redwood City
  • San Bernardino
  • San Francisco
  • San Leandro
  • San Luis Obispo

Santa Barbara

  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Clarita
  • Santa Monica
  • Simi Valley
  • Thousand Oaks
  • Victorville
  • West Covina

California: a state with a rich history, beautiful architecture and landscapes, fantastic weather, and everything from mountains to beaches.

Movie stars, celebrities, and millionaires make their homes here, as do over 38 million people.

In recent years, this state has been a prime location for travel – especially with the rise of social media – which means it’s never been easier to visit California.

Tourists from all over the world flock to see movie stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit Disneyland, hike popular trails like the Willis (formerly known as the Taft) Tower Trail in lovely Bakersfield, and explore famous landmarks like The Golden Gate Bridge.

On paper, this sounds like the perfect dream vacation for any tourist.

However, when traveling in California, there is more than just sunshine and palm trees that tourists need to be aware of.

  • Warnings & Dangers in California


Over 38 million people live in California, which means if you are visiting this state, there is a good chance at some point during your stay you will be close to someone who is considered dangerous. There are many different places throughout California where tourists can feel at risk of being assaulted, mugged, or robbed. The state of California – and Los Angeles has a reputation for glamour among tourists. While there are millionaires and celebrities behind gated communities, there are also gangs, carjackings, and earthquakes. Lately, exclusive neighborhoods have also fallen to home invasions and robberies.


California has a vast network of roads, rail, and airports. The state is constantly upgrading these modes of transport to make them safer for all passengers. However, California ranks high in vehicle-related accidents, especially when it comes to DUI (driving under the influence). There are many taxi services in California that are safe. However, like most taxi services, they can be expensive and not as readily available. While there is a vast network of bus and train routes throughout the state, these services can be unreliable if you are in an emergency situation.


Because California is renowned for its beaches and warm weather, the majority of tourists who come here are not dressed for cooler climates. This can mean that they have a higher risk of being pickpocketed. When going to popular landmarks and tourist attractions, it is recommended that you use a money belt (pouch) to hold your cash and credit cards.


California has a high risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and forest fires. These kinds of disasters can damage property and cost lives, so it is important to protect yourself from them before traveling here or during your visit.


Your risk of mugging can depend on what time of day you visit a place where there are other people. In the morning and early evening, the risk is low. But later in the evening, after the sun has gone down, your risk can be higher. If you are wandering around LA's Skid Row, near the LA River, there is a higher risk of being mugged as this area is notorious for it.


California is one of the most popular states to visit, which means it's also on the list of many terrorist organizations. However, the chances of being the victim of a terrorist attack are low for tourists. Be aware of what is going on in your surroundings, and seek out any credible information on any threats. If you are driving, avoid crowded places on the road, and stay vigilant at all times.


Scams are an unfortunate reality for many tourists who visit California. Some scams are done online, others in person. If you are staying at a hotel, it is recommended that you use a credit card instead of a debit card, as some hotels have been known to steal information from the chips on debit cards.


Similar to other cities and states, if you are going out at night it is recommended that you travel in a group of three or more people. Use caution and common sense to lower your risk.


Water in California has been linked to cancer. If you are in the state it is best to stick with bottled water.

  • Safest Places to Visit in California

San Diego is the safest place to travel in California and also has some of the best weather in the whole state, so it’s a great destination for tourists looking to relax and enjoy beaches and sunny days.

This small city near San Francisco offers relaxing beach days where tourists can enjoy surfing and sunbathing.

The city is also near other attractions, like the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Napa Valley

Tourists who want to avoid busy beaches and large cities will enjoy spending time in the relaxed wine country of Napa Valley.

It offers beautiful views, vineyards, and wonderful dining options.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of the safest places to visit in California, but it’s also a great place for tourists who want to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping during their stay.

It offers some of the most beautiful views in all of California as well as memorable experiences such as climbing Half-Dome.

Santa Barbara is another small city near the ocean, but it is also one of the safest places to visit in California.

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful lake for swimming, boating, and other water activities.

It is surrounded by forests and mountains, so there are plenty of new places to explore during each visit.

  • Places to Avoid in California

Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles

This part of the city is extremely dangerous and tourists should avoid it at all costs.

It has the longest skid row in the United States and gets its name from earlier times when people would “skid” logs down a steep hill there.

Death Valley National Park

This desert park has one of the most extreme climates in all of California with average daily highs above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and average daily lows below freezing in winter.

If you are not prepared for these temperatures, it is best to avoid the park.

Rural Areas of Central California

The city of Visalia was recently named one of America’s most dangerous cities by Forbes Magazine because of high crime rates, so tourists should just avoid these areas in general.

If you are staying in California for more than four days, then you should register at the state’s e-registry website to receive notifications if you become a victim of identity theft while there.

It will also allow you to access other important information about your stay in the state.

  • Safety Tips for Traveling to California
  • Pack an emergency kit. The essentials include food rations, water, clothing, and first aid supplies. Make sure to check the kit every few months to make sure everything is still in good condition. If needed, replace supplies as soon as possible
  • Avoid natural disaster-prone areas. While some regions of California seem relatively safe from natural disasters such as earthquakes and forest fires, it is much safer not to travel into these kinds of places at all.
  • Identify evacuation routes. When an earthquake happens, it is important to know the safest route to take to get away from falling debris or any other dangerous objects.
  • Prepare for aftershocks. These are smaller earthquakes that happen after the main one and can be even more powerful than the initial quake. If you feel a second earthquake, drop to the ground and protect your head from falling objects or debris.
  • Prepare for tsunamis. If you are near a coastline, be aware of any evacuation routes that lead to higher ground in case a tsunami happens. You must follow instructions from local authorities as they know what areas are more at risk.
  • Visit the California Emergency Management Agency website. This site will help you learn more about how to protect yourself if you are in an earthquake or other natural disaster. Protecting your property is important too, so make sure to look into earthquake insurance policies and fire protection systems for homes and offices before visiting California.
  • Avoid gang areas. Most gang violence in California is related more to drug trafficking than border control. However, these gangs can still pose a danger to tourists if they visit their territories or fall victim to the crimes they commit.
  • Pick your hotel wisely. Find a reputable hotel to use as your home base while in California, so you have a safe place to come back to at night, and never venture out alone.
  • Be wary of the sun. The risk for skin cancer is significantly higher in California, which can be attributed to three main factors, such as the lack of ozone layer, abundant sunshine, and a less-than-protective lifestyle. Always wear sunscreen and make sure to cover up when you can.
  • Never use ATMs alone. If you are withdrawing cash from an ATM at night, make sure to go with a friend. If there is no one nearby, call a friend and go with them. It is just too easy for thieves to steal from someone alone at an ATM.
  • So... How Safe Is California Really?

California is one of the most beautiful states in all of America, but it can also be dangerous if tourists are not careful.

That being said, you can avoid becoming a victim of a crime by following some simple safety tips like never using an ATM alone and never leaving your home without sunscreen.

If you want to enjoy nature during your stay, then you should focus on the safest places to travel to in California.

Be aware of locations prone to natural disasters, crime, and harsh weather.

Brush fires are common in summer in California.

Avoid places near rivers and hillsides in case of mudslides or landslides, especially after rainstorms.

They are common even in the summer months.

Smash and grab robberies have increased in stores and malls.

Keep items out of car windows and always keep doors locked.

  • How Does California Compare?
  • Useful Information

If you are a non-US citizen, you are required to get a tourist visa to visit the United States. The length of your Visa will depend on what country you are from. You must apply at the US Consulate in your country.

The United States uses the u.s. dollar as currency. You can pay by cash, credit card, or debit card. Electronic payment such as Google pay and Apple pay is also more and more common at retailers in the country.

Overall, the weather in California is hot and sunny year-round. However, in Northern California, rain is very frequent.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) ....and many others in different cities.

Travel Insurance

It is a good idea to have some type of travel insurance when you visit California. Of course, General Health travel insurance is important in case you get sick.

California Weather Averages (Temperatures)

  • Average High/Low Temperature

California - Safety by City

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2 Reviews on California

California is still a nice place to visit.

I had no idea that tap water from California has been linked to cancer! Why didn’t I know this! I’ve just visited California and had no idea. Not that I would drink tap water but still this should be known information. I feel so bad about the people living there. Visited San Diego which was very safe and I had lots of fun in, then LA which was nice and San Francisco. Honestly I was expecting LA to be my most liked city but it was San Diego.

this was really helpful thank you

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Article Contents

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  • Natural Disasters Risk
  • Mugging Risk
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  • Women Travelers Risk
  • Tap Water Risk
  • Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Economic Impact of Travel in California 2014-2023

Authored by Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.

  • Economic Impact by State, Region & Country Print
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California travel impacts in total and by region and county from 2014 to 2023. These economic impacts are based on "statewide visitor trips," which are defined as trips taken by individuals who stay overnight away from home or travel more than 50 miles one way on a non-routine trip. This definition of a visitor is derived from the California Tourism Marketing Act. Some destinations in California calculate visitation and economic impacts using different definitions of visitors and different data-gathering methods, so figures may not match.


  • In 2023, travel spending grew to $150.4 billion, a 5.6% increase from the prior year. Since the peak of 2019, travel spending has grown by 3.8%.
  • The travel industry supported approximately 1.2 million jobs in 2023, a 5.9% increase from the prior year. As of 2023, California’s travel industry has restored 98% of the jobs compared to 2019.
  • Travel-generated state and local tax revenue increased to $12.7 billion in 2023, an increase of 3.7% from the prior year. Compared to 2019, travel-generated tax revenue has grown by 3.0%.
  • Visitors who stayed in a hotel or motel spent $63.3 billion in 2023, an increase of 5.4% from 2022. Visitors who stayed in a short-term vacation rental (STVR) spent $12.7 billion in 2023, an increase of 1.5% compared to 2022.

California’s travel and tourism industry is represented by accommodations, transportation and rental cars, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, gasoline service stations, and other businesses that serve travelers. Traveler spending benefits tourism providers across all industry segments and across all of California's regions.

Travel-related spending in 2023 supported 1.2 million jobs statewide. Direct travel-generated employment refers to the total number of full and part-time jobs directly attributable to travel spending. A significant share of many industries’ earnings comes from travel-related spending. Part of these earnings are used to pay employees in the form of income and benefits. Based on average salaries for employees in the various travel-related industries in California, a total employment number attributable to travel can be reached.

  • Economic Impact

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2023 travel spending in California fully recovered from pandemic  

News News | May 6, 2024

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s tourism economy generated $150.4 billion in travel spending last year, surpassing the record $144.9 billion spent in 2019 and overcoming the devastating impacts of the pandemic, according to economic impact research Visit California released today.  

The Economic Impact of Travel in California, prepared by Dean Runyan Associates, detailed spending that is 3.8% higher than 2019 and 5.6% higher than 2022.  Spending exceeded 2019 levels in 34 out of 58 counties. Three of California’s four international gateways – San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties – exceeded 2019 travel spending levels, while San Francisco was 97.2% recovered.  

“California tourism is back where it belongs – setting records and providing for the workers, business owners and all Californians who depend on the travel industry as a cornerstone of our state’s economy,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing organization. “The industry has once again proved its ability to recover from any challenge, whether it be economic or environmental. California continues to be the largest, most diverse and most resilient tourism economy in the United States.”  

The report was released today at the start of California Tourism Month, the state designation adopted by the Legislature in 2016 to recognize the contributions of the United States’ top tourism economy to Californians’ financial livelihoods and personal well-being. The economic report can be accessed at this link: http://industry.visitcalifornia.com/tourismimpact  

The $12.7 billion in state and local tax revenue generated by visitors in 2023 marked a 3% increase over 2019. Tax revenue generated by travel in 2023 saved every California household $966.  

travel in california 2022

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Tourism created 64,900 new jobs in 2023, bringing total industry employment to 1,155,000. That’s 98% of 2019 levels, before the pandemic shut down businesses and put more than 500,000 travel and hospitality workers out of work in a matter of days.  

International visitors spent $24.3 billion in California in 2023, a 38% increase over 2022 and 15% below the $28.6 billion peak in 2018. Travelers from China and other parts of Asia have been slow to return after the pandemic, hindering full recovery from the international sector.  

Visit California has reopened offices in 13 international markets, and to accelerate the momentum of international visitation growth, California this week is proudly hosting IPW, the leading international inbound travel industry trade show, in Los Angeles starting May 4.  

News of travel spending’s recovery comes as Visit California launched The Ultimate Playground in March, its first new global brand platform in more than a decade. Grounded in research from the National Institute for Play that says traveling is a proven benefit to one’s physical and mental well-being, the new brand asserts that California’s playful lifestyle, paired with its abundance of experiences, create the ultimate playground. The first commercial under the brand platform can be found here . Take a short quiz to find your play style and get ideas to explore it in California.

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travel in california 2022

Monterey Herald

Monterey County 2023 travel spending changes…

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Suspects in king city mass shooting arrested, latest headlines, subscriber only, monterey county 2023 travel spending changes little from 2022 report says.

Tourism, the number two economic driver in Monterey County and the top driver on the Monterey Peninsula, saw only a small increase in overall visitor spending in 2023, leaving the county 8.6% below the 2019 total of $3.24 billion, according to See Monterey. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

Those figures were part of Visit California’s Economic Impact of Travel report for 2023 prepared by Dean Runyan Associates.

“The Visit California report is great for the state as a whole. Their numbers are driven up by larger destinations like Los Angeles and San Diego and there are a few destinations still lagging 2019 numbers,” said See Monterey President and CEO Rob O’Keefe. “For Monterey County, we rely heavily on group and international visitors and both are still lagging.”

Tourism is the number two economic driver in Monterey County and number one on the Monterey Peninsula. Visitor spending in 2022 was $2.954 billion and in 2023 it was $2.963 billion, placing the county 8.6% below the 2019 total of $3.240 billion.

Monterey County has historically been reliant on two key travel segments – groups and conferences, and international visitors. Compared to 2019, the group and conference segment was down 5.3% last year. It is a lucrative segment as group spending is 158% of what leisure visitors spend.

But O’Keefe said there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic. See Monterey has momentum on its side as more group business is being booked now than was tallied in 2019. Many larger meetings and conferences book further out, he said, so that business will be realized in next year and beyond.

According to See Monterey, International travel has also been slower to recover for the entire state, particularly the China market which prior to the pandemic was the top spending overseas tourism market for California and for Monterey County. Challenges with visitor visa wait times and overall airlift from China remain the largest hurdles for recovery. See Monterey sees great opportunity on the horizon.

O’Keefe pointed out that See Monterey has maintained critical relationships in the market throughout the pandemic. It is sending a small delegation to Shanghai at the end of May to attend several key conferences to heighten Monterey County’s visibility and to position it for future success. See Monterey has also established for the first time a representation office in the United Kingdom to develop the market and begin reaching further into western Europe.

“We have to be more aggressive. Tourism is a business with fierce competitors and we’re all going after the same markets,” said O’Keefe. “The hotel community stepped up this year with our budget providing a new level of firepower and we’re using it. We need that and continued partnership investment from our jurisdictions to be truly competitive.”

O’Keefe stressed that challenges unique to Monterey County include closures along Highway 1 in Big Sur. The coastal highway is a major attraction with global appeal, bringing visitors to California and the county. Highway 1 has been closed at Paul’s Slide since the winter of 2023 and more closures have developed at two other slide points, as well as the recent Rocky Creek slip-out.

The Big Sur experience is an incredibly alluring attraction for the state and our local area, said O’Keefe, but when people realize they may not be able to get that experience, they may very well choose another destination entirely.

The coastal highway is a major attraction with global appeal, bringing visitors to California and the county. But Highway 1 has been closed at Paul's Slide since the winter of 2023, and more closures have developed at two other slide points, as well as the recent Rocky Creek slip-out. The Big Sur experience is an incredibly alluring attraction for the state and the local area, but when people realize they may not be able to get that experience, they may very well choose another destination entirely. (Caltrans)

“Our tourism economy is good and heading towards great,” explained O’Keefe. “I don’t often refer to how we were in 2019 as if getting back to that is the goal. I consider where we would have been if not for the pandemic and, conservatively estimated, that would be about $3.6 billion this year. That is my immediate focus.”

But in most people’s minds, the pandemic is often the time post as recovery has been a long, slow process since that point in time.

O’Keefe said that Monterey County’s 2023 state and local tourism-related tax revenue – $306.9 million – is actually higher than in 2019 when the county’s total tax revenue was $297.8 million.

In 2023, Travel industry employment in Monterey County was 26.8 thousand compared to the 2019 figure of 27.2 thousand.

“Obviously, we have some additional catching up to do and it’s happening. Employment grew by 6.2% between 2023 and 2022,” said O’Keefe.

Current forecasts for 2024 indicate a flat to slightly up trajectory for all California destinations.

“We have the added pull-down of lost business from the situation with Highway 1, but we’re starting to catch our full stride in other areas like the group and international markets,” said O’Keefe. “I think 2024 is a year of continued growth for the state and for Monterey County.”

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Released in September, his third and most recent recording is “Live in London.” Recorded on June 6 in front of a sweaty, sold-out, standing-room-only crowd at the famous UK club, The Garage, “Live in London” is the guitar-driven live album Ingram’s fans around the world have been waiting for since they first watched him perform as a teenager on YouTube. 

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Looking back: War protested in Monterey, 1972

Looking back: War protested in Monterey, 1972

Three bodies found amid search for 2 missing Australians, 1 American in Mexico

Three people were found dead in Santo Tomas, Baja California, as authorities search for two Australians and one American who went missing last weekend in the coastal Mexican state, FBI San Diego said in a statement Friday.

The FBI said it was in contact with the family of the U.S. citizen but declined to provide further details, including identifications of the bodies.

On Thursday, Mexican authorities said they were questioning three people in the disappearance of the three men, but María Elena Andrade Ramírez, the chief prosecutor in Baja California, would not say whether those questioned were suspects or witnesses, only that some were tied to the case directly and others indirectly.

Andrade Ramírez also said at the time that tents and other evidence — including a cell phone that may have belonged to one of the missing men and a white pickup — were found and were somehow connected to the three missing men.

She said a team of investigators was at the site where they were last seen, parsing through the "tents and other evidence" that were found there and could have been connected.

"There is a lot of important information that we can’t make public," Andrade Ramírez said at the time.

She added the conditions of the three men were unknown and acknowledged the presence of active drug cartels in the area, adding "all lines of investigation are open at this time. We cannot rule anything out until we find them."

The three men — identified as Jake Robinson, Callum Robinson and Jack Carter Rhoad — were thought to have been surfing and camping in Baja California along the coast near the city of Ensenada.

mexico surfer victims

They were considered missing Saturday when they did not arrive at their Airbnb in the nearby city of Rosarito, according to a Facebook post from Jake and Callum Robinson's mother, Debra Robinson.

Debra Robinson posted in a local community page Wednesday looking for help finding her sons. She wrote that she had not heard from them since Saturday, which is when they were set to show up in Rosarito.

In the post, she wrote that Callum Robinson is diabetic and mentioned that her sons were with Carter.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico did not immediately confirm at the time that Carter was one of the missing men. The U.S. State Department said at the time it was aware of reports of a missing American in the area but did not provide more information.

A spokesperson for the Ensenada municipality subsequently said a fourth body was discovered where the other three were found and was also unidentified so far. Possible links between the deceased remained a mystery Saturday.

Andrade Ramírez on Thursday said her office was in touch with officials from both the U.S. and Australia on the case, but also said the time that had passed between when they went missing and when they were reported missing could make it harder to locate the three men.

The peninsula's Pacific coast has been a staple destination for United States surfers for 60 years — breakout documentary "The Endless Summer" sampled its waves in '64 — but the U.S. State Department has more recently urged Americans to avoid Baja travel as murderous drug cartel violence has gripped Tijuana and points south.

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press

Fox Weather App on an iPhone, Fox Weather logo overlapping

'Extreme' solar storm arrives, triggers Northern Lights as far south as Florida

The SWPC says satellites observed conditions that reached level 5 on their 5-point scale of geomagnetic activity on Friday evening.

Space weather experts say the aurora is being spotted further south in Northern Hemisphere than is typical with many chances to see stunning displays of lights over the weekend.

Powerful solar storms impact globe

Space weather experts say the aurora is being spotted further south in Northern Hemisphere than is typical with many chances to see stunning displays of lights over the weekend.

The first of what could be several geomagnetic storms impacted the globe on Friday, creating a dazzling display of the Northern Lights, while also putting infrastructure operators on guard for potential electrical effects from the solar event.

Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations, the SWPC says.

"We have notified all of our infrastructure operators that we coordinate with, such as satellite operators, communication folks, and of course, the power grid here in North America," said SWPC coordinator Shawn Dahl. "So they are able and prepared to take mitigation efforts as much as possible throughout this event if it should unfold to the levels that we currently are anticipating."

NOAA space weather forecasters have observed at least seven coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun, with the first impacts arriving early Friday afternoon ET. Heightened solar conditions are expected to persist perhaps as long as Sunday.

travel in california 2022

But most notable from strong geomagnetic events are brilliant displays of the Northern Lights that may reach much farther south than typical displays. The SWPC originally said that residents as far south as Alabama and Northern California, would have a front row seat to the light show, but the visibility line dipped as far to the south as Key West, Florida and El Paso, Texas on Friday.

"This is an unusual and potentially historic event," the SPWC stated.


Skywatchers in New Zealand were some of the first to see skies light up in incredible hues of bright red, pink and purple.

Aurora borealis

10 May 2024, Brandenburg, Sieversdorf: Light green and violet-reddish auroras glow in the night sky in the Oder-Spree district of East Brandenburg. The northern lights (aurora borealis) are produced by a cloud of electrically charged particles from a solar storm in the earth's atmosphere. (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Aurora borealis

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, glow on the horizon over Basingstoke in Hampshire. Picture date: Friday May 10, 2024. (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Aurora Australis over New Zealand

A brilliant display of the Aurora Australis (aka the "Southern Lights") over New Zealand as a severe geomagnetic storm reaches Earth on May 10, 2024.  (@AndrewDickson13 via X)

Aurora borealis

10 May 2024, Baden-Württemberg, Freiburg: Northern lights appear over the Dreisamtal valley in the Black Forest near Freiburg. (Photo by Valentin Gensch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Aurora Australis over New Zealand

Clear skies led the Northern Lights to be visible in Texas and New Mexico (@NWSElPaso)

FOX Weather Storm Tracker Mark Sudduth caught a stunning view of the aurora over South Carolina while in a plane.

FOX Weather Storm Tracker Mark Sudduth caught a stunning view of the aurora over South Carolina while in a plane. (Mark Sudduth)

View from Concord, N.C.

View from Concord, N.C. (Jay Caceres)

Outside of the NWS office in Caribou, Maine.

Outside of the NWS office in Caribou, Maine. ( )

Forecasters at the NWS office in Calera, AL saw the aurora and the space station.

Forecasters at the NWS office in Calera, AL saw the aurora and the space station. (@NWSBirmingham)

The event triggered the to SPWC issue its first "severe" Geomagnetic Storm Watch since January 2005 and said the event was the most powerful since Halloween 2003. The solar event led to power outages in Sweden and electrical grid damage in South Africa. 

Sunspots merged

Two massive sunspots have recently merged and spit out at least two X-class (largest) and several M-class (second-largest) solar flares . According to NOAA, the explosive acceleration of charged and superheated plasma, known as a coronal mass ejection or CME, speeds through space and expands. 

The new sunspot is 16 times the diameter of the Earth.


NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured these images of the solar flares — as seen in the bright flashes in the left image (May 8 flare) and the right image (May 7 flare). The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is colorized in orange.


Another sunspot also released strong CMEs this week and continues to be active. According to NOAA, the bulk of five CMEs will collide with Earth in a glancing blow as early as midday Friday through Sunday.

"These two sunspot clusters are magnetically complex and much larger than Earth. Together they have been the source of frequent M-class flares (minor to moderate)," stated the Space Weather Prediction Center. "RGN 3664 (the combined sunspot region) continues to grow and increase in magnetic complexity and has evolved into a higher threat of increased solar flare risk."

How flares can set off geomagnetic storms

"Flares are when the sun brightens, and we see the radiation, and that's kind of the muzzle flash," explained Professor Peter Becker of George Mason University in an earlier interview. "And then the cannon shot is the coronal mass ejection (CME) . So, we can see the flash, but then the coronal mass ejection can go off in some random direction in space, but we can tell when they're actually going to head towards Earth. And that gives us about 18 hours of warning, maybe 24 hours of warning, before those particles actually get to Earth and start messing with Earth's magnetic field." 


Geomagnetic Storm Illustration

An illustration of Earth's magnetic field shielding our planet from solar particles.


NOAA warns of a wide area blackout of high frequency radio communications for hours. The geomagnetic storm could also cause widespread voltage irregularities in power systems which trigger false alarms on security devices, cause drag on low earth orbit satellites preventing them from orienting and cause range errors and a loss-of-lock for GPS systems.

X-class solar flares are the largest explosions in the solar system. According to NASA, the biggest X-class flares can produce as much energy as 1 billion atomic bombs. M-class are the second-strongest flares that can cause minor radiation storms and can harm astronauts.

The solar cycle is peaking making solar storms more plentiful

Tree rings and ice cores are evidence of much larger solar superstorms in the past. 

In 1859, the great Carrington Event, generally regarded as Earth's greatest solar storm in recent history, covered nearly the entire planet in aurora.  About 14,000 years ago, a solar flare, possibly hundreds of times stronger than the Carrington flare, impacted Earth. 

NOAA forecasts the current 11-year solar cycle to peak sometime in 2024 or early 2025 and solar activity is likely to remain active for the next several months or even few years. 


Friday's aurora was visible across much of Europe. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center classified the event as a G5, the highest level on its geomagnetic storm scale.  

Northern lights visible from Europe

Friday's aurora was visible across much of Europe. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center classified the event as a G5, the highest level on its geomagnetic storm scale.  

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    Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in California. The bustling Lake Tahoe mountain town is complete with bike rental shops, hiking trails, and wood cabin businesses. Most tourists stay in a high-rated mountain resort or one of many Tahoe RV parks. There are activities for the whole family at Lake Tahoe.

  5. The 15 Best Resorts in California in 2022

    1. San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara. Courtesy of San Ysidro Ranch. "Truly one of the most spectacular hotels in the world" is how one reader described this year's winner, which has hosted such ...

  6. 23 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in California

    Santa Monica Pier. The entire city of Santa Monica is worth a visit, but don't miss the iconic Santa Monica Pier while there. The 1,600-foot pier comes with a little amusement park featuring a ...

  7. 2022 California Travel Guide

    by Janeen Christoff. Last updated: 4:00 AM ET, Wed February 2, 2022. California is open and ready for visitors in 2022. The state's size and population make it similar to visiting a medium-sized country, and visitors should consider a visit to the Golden State along the same lines. For those traveling to the state for a week or so, it's hard to ...

  8. 10 best places to visit in California

    4. Highway 1. Best region for road tripping, ocean views and couples. Though in southern California it's known by its more famous name, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), northern Californians have a more succinct label for the 400-mile stretch from San Francisco to Crescent City: Hwy 1.

  9. Travel Alerts

    Road ClosuresHeavy storms in California have left isolated road closures in the Sierra and the Central Coast. There are multiple closures on Highway 1 between Monterey and northern San Luis Obispo County, including both north and south of Big Sur. Travelers to California should check specific road conditions and alternate routes with Caltrans Quick Map.

  10. California Welcomes Major New Attractions Experiences in 2022

    California Welcomes Major New Attractions, Experiences in 2022. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Dec. 15, 2021) -Travelers are invited to rediscover all that California has to offer in the new year, from iconic attractions to a wealth of new offerings. Throughout 2022, the Golden State will celebrate the opening of several new luxury hotels, thrilling ...

  11. Visit California Travel Guides

    Travel Videos. Travel Guides. Newsletter. Podcast. Welcome Centers. Regional Map. The California Visitor's Guide, Road Trips Guide, and official state map are invaluable print resources packed with inspiration for planning your next trip to the Golden State. Order them (for free) to get sent directly to your house.

  12. California Report: Here's What's New in 2022

    A new year brings new beginnings, and in California, a destination constantly reinventing itself, that means you should expect plenty of innovation. Step into the new year with a resolution to explore more of the Golden State with this list of openings to look forward to in 2022. Museums & Exhibits Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco

  13. Top 7 Cities To Visit In California For 2022

    1. Los Angeles. Los Angeles is arguably one of the most well-loved cities to visit in California. Best known as being the home of Hollywood, as well as several iconic spots such as Venice Beach or Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles is also home to a number of off-the-path adventures. Thanks to its southern location, it's also a great place to ...

  14. 7 new California attractions to visit in 2022

    Details: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily by reservation at 886 Cannery Row in Monterey. The deep sea exhibit is scheduled to open in April. Admission is $35-$50, and ...

  15. California Travel-Related Spend and Visitation Forecast (January update

    Total visitor travel spending reached $149 billion in 2023, an increase of 6% over 2022 visitor spending. Total spending for California is forecast to grow 7% year over year, to $160 billion in 2024. Tourism Economics. Total visits to California increased 4% in 2023 nearing 270 million visitors. Visitation volume is expected to grow 4% and ...

  16. California tourism economy grew in 2022

    Projections from Tourism Economics show California this year will surpass the record $144.9 billion in visitor spending achieved in 2019, a year sooner than projected in 2021. International visitors are returning to California in greater numbers, though the $17 billion they spent in 2022 is still just 60% of the pre-pandemic peak of $28 billion.

  17. California Travel Guide 2022

    California Travel Guide 2022 - Best Places to Visit in California United States in 2022California, a western U.S. state, stretches from the Mexican border al...

  18. 50 World's Best Places to Travel in 2022

    Here are the best places to travel right now and in 2022 for summer, spring, winter, or fall vacations. Our list of best vacation spots includes destinations in Hawaii, California, Italy, the UK ...

  19. 5 New And Reimagined California Hotels To Visit In 2022

    3. Resort To The Stars. Flamingo Resort — a Santa Rosa, California, resort and spa — has a history with Hollywood. Patterned after the Las Vegas Flamingo in the late '50s, producers and starlets lounged by the pool. Then, they danced the night away in the nightclub, free to unwind away from Hollywood paparazzi.

  20. 2023 Economic Impact of Travel in California

    Compared to 2019, travel-generated tax revenue has grown by 3.0%. Visitors who stayed in a hotel or motel spent $63.3 billion in 2023, an increase of 5.4% from 2022. Visitors who stayed in a short-term vacation rental (STVR) spent $12.7 billion in 2023, an increase of 1.5% compared to 2022. California's travel and tourism industry is ...

  21. Is California Safe for Travel RIGHT NOW? (2024 Safety Rating)

    San Diego is the safest place to travel in California and also has some of the best weather in the whole state, so it's a great destination for tourists looking to relax and enjoy beaches and sunny days. Santa Cruz. ... Fairfield February 18, 2022 Fairfield, California, is a perfect central location to the best parts of Northern California ...

  22. 2022 Economic Impact of Travel in California

    Visitor air travel on domestic flights to California destinations increased by 66% in 2022, from 21.4 million to 35.5 million arrivals. Visitors who stayed in a hotel, motel, or short-term vacation rental (STVR) spent a combined $67.6 billion in 2022, an increase of 25.7% compared to 2021. California's travel and tourism industry is ...

  23. 2023 travel spending in California fully recovered from pandemic

    The Economic Impact of Travel in California, prepared by Dean Runyan Associates, detailed spending that is 3.8% higher than 2019 and 5.6% higher than 2022. Spending exceeded 2019 levels in 34 out ...

  24. Monterey County 2023 travel spending changes little from 2022 report

    MONTEREY - Travel spending in California was up 5.6% in 2023 over the previous year, but in Monterey County it remained relatively unchanged in 2023 from 2022 levels. Statewide that increase ...

  25. Home

    Show colleges you're ready. Learn about the SAT Suite of Assessments, which includes the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9.

  26. Three bodies found amid search for 2 missing Australians, 1 American in

    Three people were found dead in Santo Tomas, Baja California, as authorities search for two Australians and one American who went missing last weekend in the coastal Mexican state, FBI San Diego ...

  27. 'Extreme' solar storm triggers Northern Lights as far south as Florida

    The SWPC originally said that residents as far south as Alabama and Northern California, would have a front row seat to the light show, but the visibility line dipped as far to the south as Key West, Florida and El Paso, Texas on Friday. "This is an unusual and potentially historic event," the SPWC stated. THE HISTORY OF EARTH'S GREATEST SOLAR ...

  28. 2024 AP Exam Dates

    Week 1. Morning 8 a.m. Local Time. Afternoon 12 p.m. Local Time. Monday, May 6, 2024. United States Government and Politics. Art History. Chemistry. Tuesday, May 7, 2024