Travel | January 24, 2018 9:00 am

The 25 Places Our Editors Think You Should Visit in 2018

Some near. Some far. Some spendy. Some threadbare.

By The Editors

This year, most of us will at some point spend an ungodly sum of money to board a flying bus, have our picture taken in front of a building and sleep in someone else’s bed for a week.

Talking about your vacation.

To help you spend it wisely (and sans the bland building photo), we put together a compendium of the 25 best destiantions our editors reported on over the last 12 months.

Some near (Jeeping over slick rock in Utah). Some far (Sipping rare whisky in … Taiwan?). Some spendthrift (hello, hotel literally built for a king). Some threadbare (just you, a tent, and the best sunrise in the Lower 48).

And zero pictures in front of bland buildings. Scout’s honor.


For Kayaking Through the Middle of Nowhere: Devil’s River, TX

“Because it’s buttressed by private land, you can only exit the river at certain locations or in an emergency — we passed one sign that said, ‘Keep paddling, we’re tuning our banjos.’”

For the Exhilaration of Nearly Rolling a Jeep Off a Cliff: Moab, UT

“Here, off-roading is life. And unlike those stock car commercials, that’s not an overstatement.”

For Giving Florida a Chance: Fort Myers and Sanibel, FL

“Beyond the ‘Florida Man’ reputation, there are pockets of paradise to be found in the Sunshine State. The well-trod Florida Keys were consummate tastemaker Ernest Hemingway’s favored sub-tropical hideaway, after all.”

For the Best Sunrise in the Lower 48: Badlands, SD

“There comes a time when you can comfortably admit wrongdoing in your past. And a sunrise over Badlands National Park — held against the time I couldn’t be forced out of the car on a family road trip — is one of them.”

For People Who Are Sick of the Hamptons: Catskills, NY

“It’s between these creeks and peaks that many an enterprising urbanite — from brilliant hoteliers in Hunter to apple warlocks in Andes — have flexed their creativity in recent years, giving the rest of us a very necessary opportunity to stretch our legs a few clicks north.”

For Enjoying a Bona Fide Southern Revival: El Dorado, AR

“The first thing to know about El Dorado is the locals pronounce it ‘Al Doraydo.’ The second thing is before the new $100m Murphy Arts District, there was no real reason to visit.’’

For, Uh, Your Health: The Bourbon Trail, KY

“There are more bourbon barrels than people in Kentucky, and, depending on the distillery, barrel aging accounts for between 40 and 80% of what bourbon tastes like. It’s the charred new white oak that gives the spirit its vanilla and caramel flavors. Checking out how those barrels are fashioned for aging bourbon is a must-see for any whiskey diehard.”


For a Guys Weekend: Washington, DC

Providing amenities like in-room cocktail cart service, free gin drinks in the lobby each evening and access to an onsite haberdashery from menswear company Read Wall, the 226-room hotel offers real perks despite its fictional roots.

For the Best Brunch in America: Indianapolis, IN

“The city of the corn. Home of the plain-speak prose of Kurt Vonnegut. The land of auto racing and sugar cream pie.”

For Cultivating Mass: Portland, ME

“Make sure you pop into Novare Res, a 33-tap, 400+ bottle taproom roundly regarded as one of the country’s best beer halls.”

For Getting Your Hands Dirty: Charleston, SC

“The real MVP here is Restoration’s Open Road project, wherein you’ll be working side-by-side with local wrenchman Ivan Remus to design a custom vintage motorcycle all your own.”


For Anyone With a Food-Themed Bucket List: Mexico City

“Each avenue offers some anecdote, mural or statue for curious passersby to admire. But between them stand monuments to another history: that of Mexico’s rich culinary heritage, in the form of restaurants and cantinas at every price point that will defy your every notion of what the words ‘Mexican food’ connote.”

For Traditionalists: Guadalajara

“The nation’s second biggest metropolis and the home of tequila, mariachi music and charrería (Mexican rodeo), Guadalajara is the most traditional of Mexican cities.”

For French Riviera-Level Digs Without the French People: Los Cabos

“The Resort at Pedregal is a sprawling resort that is somehow right in the heart of Cabo San Lucas (the access road sits adjacent the city’s Cultural Pavilion) and yet delightfully clandestine — you have to drive under a mountain via a massive stone tunnel to arrive at check-in.

For the Ultimate All-Inclusive Experience: Playa del Carmen

“In three days, I encountered the best steak I’ve ever had outside of New York, a three-hour Italian feast that left me breathless and some elevated street tacos.”

For Some Damn Peace and Quiet, on a Beach: Antigua

“There’s little in the way of glitz or flash: this is beachfront comfort, a place to relax with a fascinating history and now, a nascent interest in becoming more than just a secretly great place to visit.”

For Drinking Under the Guise of Education: The Caribbean Rum Tour

“No spirit evokes a sense of time and place quite like rum. Forget that it’s the world’s most varied spirit category. Rum is escapism: sun and sand, a stiff island cocktail in hand and steelpan exotica playing somewhere in earshot.”


For Whisky and Golf: Scotland

“For breakfast, we eat butter freshly squeezed off the teat of one of those ubiquitous, Alf-doppelganger cows. The first night, a bluegrass band plays American Civil War songs. I learn that Scottish bluegrass is nearly identical. Also, unfortunately, that underwear beneath kilts is frowned upon.”

For Romance, Minus the Clichés (We Swear): Paris

“Paris is never better than in August: the weather is bang-perfect (average high: 77°F), and the locals are away on les grandes vacances (their long summer vacation) until September — meaning the city is deserted: a rare, good thing.”

For Escaping the Heat: Reykjavik

“The temps tend to be cold, but the hospitality is anything but: the locals are warm and welcoming, and the city itself is extremely walkable and easy to navigate.”

For Experiencing a Hotel With No Staff: London

“It’s a loose definition of ‘welcome’: there isn’t actually anyone here to offer one, just a PDF with a code to a key box and, inside the front door, a rack of keys, one of which will correspond to your room. Follow the directions to the room on the diagram provided in the aforementioned PDF. Open the door. Close the door. You’ve arrived, without talking to anyone. I stayed for three nights and only saw one other person, briefly: a maid.”


For the Most Underrated Spirits Scene on Earth: Taiwan

“Over four days in Taipei, I noticed a wonderful trend: most people drink their (high-end) whisky neat, pouring from mini-pitchers or carafes. Toasts were common. And so was friendly, drunken revelry.”

For Culture Shock: Saigon

“From hostels to five-star hotels, street food to fine dining, roadside beer stalls to award-winning microbreweries, Saigon rewards those who are able to scratch beneath its lively surface.”


For Staying in a Hotel Built for a King: Marrakesh

“If the many-layered security at the hotel’s entrance doesn’t tip you off to the wealth hidden behind the tall exterior walls — well, everything inside it will, from the opulent mosaics in the reception area (hand-laid by 1,200 craftsmen) to the Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the rooms. Commissioned by King Mohammed VI, this is certainly the most luxurious city hotel in the country — if not on the entire continent.”

For Ethical Safari-ing: South Africa

“What did we learn there? A) It’s the trip of a lifetime, and every traveler should have one on their to-do list, and B) You should go out of your way to book through a company that makes big contributions to the community it inhabits.”