TripAdvisor recently announced the winners of its Travelers' Choice awards for U.S. destinations on the rise for 2015.
The awards highlight locations around the country that have seen the greatest increase in positive feedback and interest from the TripAdvisor community, year-over-year. Awards were determined using traveler review ratings on accommodations, restaurants and attractions.
From the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore to the Telluride mountains in Colorado, take a look at some of the can't-miss cities to visit in 2015.
Wildwood, New Jersey
Wildwood, New Jersey, a classic boardwalk beach town, offers wide sandy beaches, retro “Doo-Wop” era motels, Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks, as well as the popular Wildwood Boardwalk. One TripAdvisor reviewer referred to the boardwalk as, “A great time, whether walking, shopping or relaxing.” After fun in the sun, travelers can head to the Crab and Seafood Shack, where the portions are “huge, fresh and outstandingly delicious.”
Stats: 77 hotels, 128 restaurants, 50 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate1: $155)
Nags Head, North Carolina
Offering 11 miles of shoreline, Nags Head, North Carolina, a summer hot spot, is home to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. A TripAdvisor traveler describes it as a “must see.” Visitors can satisfy their appetites at the consistently top-rated Kill Devil Grill, summed up accordingly by a TripAdvisor reviewer: “Great food, friendly efficient service and a fun experience.”
Stats: 12 hotels, 72 restaurants, 47 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $137)
Prescott, Arizona, offers many outdoor excursions, including 450 miles of trails, rock-climbing locations and Watson Lake, the perfect spot for kayaking. In between alfresco adventures, travelers can indulge at Papa’s Italian Restaurant, described as “yummy, authentic and accommodating” by a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Stats: 22 hotels, 182 restaurants, 52 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $115)
Telluride, Colorado, is a former gold rush town that is now known for its picturesque snow-covered peaks and year-round recreation. Travelers recommend the scenic Telluride/Mountain Village Gondola, which offers a “distractingly beautiful view,” and Cosmopolitan Telluride, which has the “best happy hour in town,” according to a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Stats: 18 hotels, 65 restaurants, 71 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $300)
Pompano Beach, Florida
Also known as the “Heart of the Gold Coast,” Pompano Beach, Florida, offers boating, fishing, snorkeling and shopping. Travelers can marvel at the “beautiful views” from the Municipal Pier and later enjoy a meal at Cypress Nook Bavaria Haus Restaurant, which one TripAdvisor reviewer said has “the best German food in Broward County.”
Stats: 36 hotels, 306 restaurants, 54 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $138)
Avalon (Catalina Island), California
The quaint island community of Avalon (Catalina Island), California, offers endless fun and adventure. TripAdvisor travelers enjoy hiking in the Catalina hills and taking in the sights at Descanso Beach, “a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the seaside.” Guests can also peruse the shops and restaurants, including Steve’s Steakhouse, where the “service, food and drinks are amazing,” noted one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Stats: 20 hotels, 46 restaurants, 78 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $178)
Waikoloa, Hawaii, on the Big Island, is a village rich in history and culture. Travelers can experience an authentic luau or explore the cerulean shoreline and its abundant wildlife with AdventureXRafting. TripAdvisor reviewers recommend “a quick lunch on the beach” at Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club, which serves fresh seafood and coconut cake that is “to-die-for.”
Stats: 5 hotels, 55 restaurants, 42 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $322)
The historic city of Knoxville, Tennessee, is at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounds its guests with Southern hospitality. Travelers can discover the charming shops and eateries in Market Square and later indulge in mouthwatering comfort fare at Connors Steak & Seafood. One TripAdvisor reviewer noted the lobster crab bisque at Connors is “the best they ever had.”
Stats: 88 hotels, 957 restaurants, 109 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $97)
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Offering a host of attractions, including miles of soft sand and crystal clear water, Gulf Shores, Alabama, is the perfect place to unwind. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented on Gulf State Park: “The sand was so sugary white, it was absolutely beautiful.” Travelers suggest having dinner at the Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill, “a fun place with a band and lively atmosphere."
Stats: 23 hotels, 133 restaurants, 43 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $144)
Traverse City, MIchigan
Situated along Lake Michigan, Traverse City, Michigan, is an outdoor adventure hub known for its cuisine and culture. Described as “a fun and pretty spot for families,” Clinch Park has impressed TripAdvisor travelers with its beach and stunning views. Visitors also rave about the Asian-inspired fare at Red Ginger, “one of the leaders in fine cuisine for Traverse City,” according to a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Stats:38 hotels, 255 restaurants, 113 attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $136)