Here, TripAdvisor's Top 10 U.S. Destinations on the Rise, based on TripAdvisor traveler reviews on accommodations, restaurants and attractions. From the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore to the crystal clear waters of Alabama, these award-winners offer highly-rated options for those planning their vacations for the new year.
Wildwood, New Jersey
77 Hotels, 128 Restaurants, 50 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $155)</br></br>
This classic boardwalk beach town offers wide sandy beaches, retro "Doo-Wop" era motels, Morey's Piers and Beachfront Waterparks, and the popular Wildwood Boardwalk, which one TripAdvisor reviewer referred to 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."
Nags Head, North Carolina
12 Hotels, 72 Restaurants, 47 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $137)</br></br>
Offering 11 miles of shoreline, this summer hotspot is home to Jockey's Ridge State Park, the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern U.S., described by TripAdvisor travelers 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."
22 Hotels, 182 Restaurants, 52 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $115)</br></br>
Prescott offers thrilling outdoor excursions, including 450 miles of trails, rock climbing locations and Watson Lake, the perfect spot for kayaking. In between al fresco adventures, travelers can indulge at Papa's Italian Restaurant, described as "yummy, authentic and accommodating," by a TripAdvisor reviewer.
18 Hotels, 65 Restaurants, 71 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $300)</br></br>
This former gold rush town 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.
Pompano Beach, Florida
36 Hotels, 306 Restaurants, 54 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $138)
Also known as the "Heart of the Gold Coast," Pompano Beach offers fantastic 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."
Traverse City, Michigan
38 Hotels, 255 Restaurants, 113 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $136)</br></br>
Situated along Lake Michigan, this outdoor adventure hub is 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.
Avalon (Catalina Island), California
20 Hotels, 46 Restaurants, 78 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $178)</br></br>
This quaint island community 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.
5 Hotels, 55 Restaurants, 42 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $322)</br></br>
Located on the Big Island, this Hawaiian village is 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."
88 Hotels, 957 Restaurants, 109 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $97)</br></br>
This historic city, located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, 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."
Gulf Shores, Alabama
23 Hotels, 133 Restaurants, 43 Attractions (Average nightly hotel rate: $144)</br></br>
Offering a host of attractions including miles of soft sand and crystal clear water, Gulf Shores is the perfect place to unwind. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented on Gulf State Park, noting, "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."</br></br>
For the complete list of Destinations on the Rise award-winners, please visit: www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-DestinationsontheRise.