Asheville, North Carolina
When planning meetings for 2017, make sure you know which destinations are trending, which cities travelers are eager to visit and which locales will guarantee a fantastic event that attendees will be talking about for the rest of the year.
Lonely Planet has compiled a list of 10 U.S. destinations that will be hot in 2017. These places are either up and coming, overlooked or have recently added exciting reasons to visit.
“Whether travelers want to escape to the mountains, get transported back in time or relax by the beach, these are the destinations to be excited about” said Rebecca Warren, managing editor of Lonely Planet magazine. “Some of them are on the public’s radar, while others are recently emerging. They all offer compelling reasons to visit in 2017.”
1. Asheville, North Carolina
One of the country’s most offbeat and innovative small cities is finally receiving the attention it deserves. With its artistic vibe, welcoming atmosphere and close proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has earned the top ranking.
The River Arts District is home to more than 200 artists, while craft beers and spirits complement a modern dining scene that includes numerous world-class chefs. Groups looking for outdoor adventures are also spoiled with all the choices in Asheville, where the French Broad River and nearby mountain ranges provide opportunities for kayaking, hiking and much more.
2. Western Washington
From cosmopolitan yet quirky Seattle to small towns such as North Bend and idyllic natural attractions such as Mount Rainier National Park, Western Washington is making a comeback.
The region has long been a haven for fabulous outdoor exploration amid lush forests and vibrant waters. These days, it’s quickly gaining a reputation for eclectic fun thanks to Seattle’s newest pot shops, micro-distilleries and craft cider manufacturers.
3. Lincoln, Nebraska
When thinking of Nebraska, many travelers imagine corn fields, but they should be imagining the fresh and funky atmosphere of Lincoln. Thanks to University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the city is home to a young, vibrant and diverse community.
The city’s downtown Haymarket District houses unique specialty shops such as Licorice International, the country’s largest licorice retailer, iconic century-old brick warehouses that have been converted into modern art galleries and more. Lincoln also offers 130 miles of trails that are perfect for cycling and hiking. In 2017, the city will be a can’t-miss destination as it celebrates its 150th birthday with parades and parties galore.
4. California’s Low Desert
From fabulous Palm Springs to the ultra-popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Coachella Valley is known to make a splash. New and renovated hotels, lovingly restored celebrity rental homes and a playful midcentury vibe are breathing new life into Palm Springs.
The area is great for groups looking for something different, such as Salvation Mountain, a famously quirky attraction near the Salton Sea. The 100-foot-high hill is made of concrete and adobe that’s been covered in colorful paint and a variety of found objects such as tires and telephone poles.
Outdoor adventurers can also experience Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which takes visitors up a 2.5-mile ascent for a spectacular view, and world-famous Joshua Tree National Park.
5. Montana’s Flathead Valley
For hikers, bikers, skiers and more, this region of northwestern Montana is heaven. As one the largest wilderness areas in the continental United States, it has a lot to discover.
World-famous Glacier National Park is home to vibrant lakes, meadows full of wildflowers and glacial peaks. The park’s glaciers are rapidly melting—some experts estimate they will be gone by 2020—so visit while you still can.
Exciting changes are happening in Atlanta, making it an even more attractive city for groups. In 2017, the metropolis will welcome a state-of-the-art sports stadium, as well as a new Major League Soccer team.
The notoriously gridlocked city is also adding the BeltLine, a 33-mile network of trails meant for walking, jogging and biking. It’s a welcome addition that makes the city much more walkable. Local arts and dining are booming with unique modern installations and innovative brew pubs and restaurants.
7. The Adirondacks, New York
New York City gets most of the headlines, but other parts of New York are winning meeting destinations, as well. The Adirondacks in Upstate New York boast 42 peaks over 4000 feet, as well as streams and lakes that are perfect for fishing, and deep forests meant for exploring. Take a stroll on the Wild Center’s High Line to get fantastic views of the mountains, or try a rail bike ride on converted train tracks.
The region also offers some unique accommodations, including log cabins and former Winter Olympics facilities in Lake Placid.
8. Texas Hill Country’s wine region
Did you know that Texas has its own wine country? The Lone Star State’s Hill Country wine region, centered in Fredericksburg, is dotted with wineries producing world-class wines. Wine Road 290 offers a scenic drive that connects 15 Texas wineries.
Planners looking for immersive local experiences can also take advantage of Dripping Springs Wine and Food Festival and Kerrville Folk Festival.
Denver has been a trending destination for a few years now, but the city known for the Rocky Mountains, snow and quirky fun is adding new developments that will make it an even better place to visit.
Denver’s renovated Union Station is a modern transport hub that continues to evolve. In 2017, the station will add the Ski Train to its schedule to deliver skiers directly to Winter Park Resort, 67 miles northwest of Denver. Eclectic arts districts such as River North and Lower Highlands boast fantastic local dining, shopping and entertainment.
10. Florida’s Emerald Coast
This 100-mile stretch of beautiful beaches and cozy beachfront towns is growing up in a big way. New condos and hotels are popping up all over the place. The city of Destin recently welcomed Henderson Beach Resort, a luxurious property in the Salamander Hotels & Resorts portfolio.