January 26, 2021

Trending Destinations for Travel-Starved Americans Revealed: Tripadvisor Announces 2021 Travelers' Choice Best of the Best Awards

Travelers Favoring Outdoor Destinations and Dreaming of Worldwide Travel

Serengeti Rated World's #1 National Park in Inaugural Category

Tripadvisor® has just released its annual Travelers' Choice® Best of the Best Awards for Destinations, highlighting the Popular, Trending, and Emerging Destinations around the world, as well as a new category for 2021: National Parks. The awards are based on the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings for accommodations, restaurants, and things to do in destinations worldwide on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period.

The awards reveal where travelers ventured in 2020, while travel was still open, as well as where they dreamed of going while the pandemic kept them stuck at home. With travel restrictions in place for much of the year, travelers explored the world very differently -- they took more local trips closer to home and favored outdoor spots, away from crowded cities. According to a recent survey of Tripadvisor travelers, more than half (52%) say they are more likely to take an outdoor or nature trip than they were before the pandemic1. As a result, the Travelers' Choice Trending Destinations for 2021 are almost entirely outdoor destinations. Sun Belt destinations dominated the U.S. list, with Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, taking the top spot in the United States. On the global stage, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is the number one Trending Destination, seeing the biggest spike in top reviews and ratings last year.

While COVID-19 kept travelers from exploring too far from home last year, it couldn't stop them from indulging their wanderlust dreaming of the destinations that would be on their go-to list once travel opens up again. Topping the world's Travelers' Choice Emerging Destinations list — the places travelers are "saving" on Tripadvisor, and that everyone will be talking about next— is Martinique in the Caribbean.

"Alongside the latest vaccine developments, pent-up demand is prompting the world to think more about travel in 2021," said Christine Maguire, vice president and general manager, global media business at Tripadvisor. "But one result of the pandemic may be the destinations they're interested in. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 74% of travelers will spend more time selecting a destination when planning their next trip2. If you're like me and already imagining your first post-vaccine vacation, this list of travelers' favorite destinations can serve as your inspiration."

Top 10 Trending Destinations in the U.S.

Trending Destinations recognize destinations that saw the biggest increase in a combination of positive ratings and reviews over the last year.

  1. Gatlinburg, Tenn.
    Good for:
    hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park, fishing, rafting

  2. St. Augustine, Fla.
    Good for:
    history buffs, beaches, wildlife

  3. Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
    Good for:
    beach lovers, exploring barrier reefs, kayaking

  4. Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
    Good for:
    hiking, camping, rollercoasters and bluegrass at Dollywood

  5. Moab, Utah
    Good for:
    mountain biking, rock-climbing, hiking

  6. Marco Island, Fla.
    Good for:
    beach lovers, seashell hunting, playing golf

  7. Estes Park, Colo.
    Good for:
    wildlife sightings, hiking Rocky Mountain National Park, backcountry skiing

  8. Hilton Head, S.C.
    Good for:
    sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, playing golf

  9. Clearwater, Fla.
    Good for:
    beach lovers, family activities, sailing

  10. Jackson, Wyo.
    Good for:
    skiing, rafting, fly-fishing

Top 10 Emerging Destinations in the World

Emerging Destinations showcase the spots with the greatest year-over-year increase in "saves" on Tripadvisor around the world. Different from the other categories, which highlight where travelers have already visited, the Emerging list identifies where they want to visit. These are the destinations travelers were dreaming of while they were stuck at home all year — and where they may go next.

  1. Martinique
  2. Panama City Beach, Fla., United States
  3. Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil
  4. Holbox Island, Mexico
  5. St Ives, United Kingdom
  6. Mazatlan, Mexico
  7. Colorado Springs, Colo., United States
  8. Shoalhaven, Australia
  9. Wroclaw, Poland
  10. Mudgee, Australia

Top 10 National Parks in the U.S.

When indoor activities shuttered in 2020, travelers headed to the great outdoors. Here are their favorite National Parks in the United States.

  1. Grand Teton National Park. Wyo.
  2. Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.
  3. Zion National Park, Utah
  4. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
  5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
  6. Glacier National Park, Mont.
  7. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, N.C.
  9. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  10. Yosemite National Park, Calif.

Popular Destinations include the locations that travelers raved about most on Tripadvisor in the past year, comprising iconic world cities. Bali is the most popular destination in the world for 2021, rising from #4 last year to dethrone London.

Popular Destinations — World

  1. Bali, Indonesia
  2. London, United Kingdom
  3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. Paris, France
  6. Hanoi, Vietnam
  7. Crete, Greece
  8. Bangkok, Thailand
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. Istanbul, Turkey
  11. Hoi An, Vietnam
  12. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  13. Marrakech, Morocco
  14. Phuket, Thailand
  15. New Delhi, India
  16. Cancun, Mexico
  17. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  18. Florence, Italy
  19. Dominican Republic
  20. Tenerife, Canary Islands
  21. Lisbon, Portugal
  22. New York City, New York
  23. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  24. Jaipur, India
  25. Cusco, Peru

Popular Destinations — United States

  1. New York City, New York
  2. Maui, Hawaii
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. New Orleans, Louisiana
  5. Key West, Florida
  6. Oahu, Hawaii
  7. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Savannah, Georgia
  10. Kauai, Hawaii
  11. Nashville, Tennessee
  12. Sedona, Arizona
  13. Charleston, South Carolina
  14. Orlando, Florida
  15. Chicago, Illinois
  16. Branson, Missouri
  17. Asheville, North Carolina
  18. Miami Beach, Florida
  19. Washington DC, District of Columbia
  20. Austin, Texas
  21. San Francisco, California
  22. Seattle, Washington
  23. Los Angeles, California
  24. Denver, Colorado
  25. Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2021 Tripadvisor. All rights reserved. From https://www.tripadvisor.com.

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