Domestic Bucket List New Year’s Travel Ideas and Inspiration

Between severe weather turbulence and a sudden rise in omicron cases, thousands of canceled flights have plagued eager travelers in Seattle during the holiday season.

However, 2022 should be an optimistic year for leisure travel planning as booster vaccines help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Add to this a variety of amazing travel deals from hotels, resorts, cruise lines and airlines, and the new year may finally open more doors for tangible travel.

While international travel can present challenging schedules and uncertainty with pre-travel testing requirements and fluctuating entry guidelines, domestic flights may be a welcome alternative for many. Fortunately for travelers who use the long-haul list, there are amazing destinations to discover here in the United States

Where will you go in 2022? Keep reading to discover three ideas for a local New Year’s trip list.

Holland America in Westerdam Harbor, Juneau, Alaska

Courtesy of CTS Photos

Cruising in Alaska

Now that cruises are back in business, it’s the perfect time to schedule a scenic Alaskan cruise. This is especially true as Holland America prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary in Alaska.


In celebration of this historic event, kids are taking an Alaskan cruise for just $75. Currently, Holland America is also offering the ultimate upgrade event where guests can get a free living room upgrade. Add to that the Have It All savings event, where cruisers of Holland America can receive shore excursions, packaged drinks, private dining and Wi-Fi with reduced deposits until January 20th.

Alaska cruises in Holland America start at $799. Round trip itineraries in Seattle include port visits to Juneau, Ice Strait Point, Sitka, and Ketchikan in Alaska, with an additional day in Victoria, British Columbia.

Elements of scenic sailing also include a full-day Glacier Bay sail, where guests see up close the glacial ice formations, as well as wildlife such as eagles and whales. In Juneau, adventurous travelers can hike glaciers while city explorers can tour the Alaskan capital.

In Ketchikan, guests can choose to explore the Tongass Forest or visit the Totem Heritage Centre. However, Ketchikan’s fresh salmon and seafood is also a must in downtown or while exploring historic Creek Street. Then in Sitka, guests will find a wonderful mixture of indigenous and Russian history.

Holland America requires that guests be fully vaccinated and submit a negative test result two days prior to sailing. Review Holland America Travel Guidelines before booking.

San Juan Puerto Rico

San Juan Puerto Rico

Martin Wheeler / IM / Getty Images / IM

Discover Puerto Rico

Did a trip to Puerto Rico somehow elude your travel plans? Now is the time to plan a visit to this Caribbean American destination – which doesn’t require a passport for American travelers.

Puerto Rico is an established destination thanks to its unique blend of history, culture, cuisine, and stunning landscapes. Here travelers can explore one of the largest dry forests in the world or experience the beauty of a tropical rainforest. Adventurous families will want to navigate underground caves, enjoy gorgeous waterfall hikes or enjoy kayaking in the shimmering Bioluminescent Bay.

For urban explorers, discover Spanish influences and culinary flavors blended with European architecture. For a good overview of the local culture, visit the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico for a broad brushstroke in the area, then wander the grounds of the Museo de las Américas in Old San Juan. This museum contains four permanent exhibits documenting Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage, with additional rotating exhibits always offering new surprises, too.

Of course, another excellent way to discover Puerto Rico is through culinary experiences. Pina Colada was invented here, so be sure to add this popular drink to your food and drink tour. Then eat a variety of local dishes such as slow roasted pork, crunchy plantain and the legendary banana slices. You’ll also want to sample the local specialty pastels, which are similar to tamales but are traditionally made with green bananas and stuffed with delicious pork.

Want a family-friendly hotel within walking distance of Old San Juan and the beaches? Book your stay at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, which offers a secluded beach for waterfront activities but is only a few minutes from Old Town.

See the latest Puerto Rican travel advisories in preparation for your island vacation.

Sunset on the Gulf Coast in Alabama

Sunset on the Gulf Coast in Alabama

Presented by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Gulf Coast

While the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans get legitimate credit for stunning beaches, there is a idyllic stretch of palm paradise along the Lower 48 that you must experience at least once in your life. The Gulf Coast stretches from Florida through Padre Island in Texas, and no matter your travel preferences, you’ll find a seaside town for sunny family vacations.

For bucket-list travelers, Alabama’s Gulf Coast truly is a beach-lover’s destination thanks to 32 miles of white sandy beaches and the great outdoors adventure dotted between the towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Alabama’s Gulf State Park’s 28 miles of trails to explore among 6,500 acres of conservation land. There are miles of biking possibilities among its country trail and butterfly garden, and geocaching opportunities, hiking, and kayaking at Shelby Lake.

Visitors can camp or have fun at Gulf State Park, with a large choice of tents and cabins, or enjoy upscale Hilton accommodations at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. This eco-resort focuses on sustainability while providing instant beach access and delicious local food on site.

Payable in advance, too, The Lodge at Gulf State Park is currently offering a family savings offer with a free fourth night added to stays of three or more nights.

Along this shoreline, travelers will find other recreational outdoor fun with bird trails, hiking through the Bon Secours National Wildlife Refuge or stuffing the Back Bay Blueway. For thrill seekers there is water skiing, diving, parasailing and snorkeling to find stingrays, crabs, octopus and catfish in the salt water. During the summer, the water averages 82 degrees, so a simple swimming session with the family is also a welcome treat.

Dining along the Alabama coast invites travelers to sample catfish, snapper, and Gulf shrimp. Then there are Cajun empanadas, delicious fish and barbecue tacos. Add locally roasted coffee to your menu, then sip on handcrafted beer from the Big Beach Brewing Company. Then follow up on a fun-filled sunny day with stunning sunsets along the coast.

Plan your vacation and review the latest traveler tips at GulfShores.com.



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