As 2023 winds down, it’s never too early to start planning trips for next year. If you’ve been thinking about going somewhere new in 2024, we’ve got a great list of places recommended by a range of travel experts, writers, and tour guides. Some entries on the list include a laid-back beach town in Central America, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the smallest state in the U.S. Whether you’re in search of adventure, a weekend of museum hopping, or a relaxing getaway, here are 10 places you should visit in 2024.
For a laid-back beach town
Christane Njatcha, the content creator behind Journey with Kris, first visited La Libertad, El Salvador in 2021 and fell in love with the affordable beach town. “From the black sand beaches to the delicious pupusas and active volcanoes, El Salvador delivers a true taste of Latin America,” she says. La Libertad is just under an hour from the capital San Salvador, and if you decide to spend a few nights in San Salvador, Njatcha recommends hiking Santa Ana. It’s an active volcano just west of the capital. You can also head to the Instagram-famous rainbow slide located at the Picnic Steakhouse.
For little-known Black History
If you’re not sure what to expect from a visit to the smallest state in the U.S., Keith Stokes, a Black 9th generation Newporter and the director of business and economic development for the city of Providence says that along with 400 miles of coastline, wineries, and boutique shopping, Rhode Island is home to lots of little-known Black history. “On November 10, 1780, a group of free Africans chartered the Free African Union Society, the first African heritage civic institution in America,” Stokes says. “Later, Newport influenced the creation of African societies in Boston, Philadelphia, and Providence, Rhode Island, which evolved into America’s earliest Black churches.” To learn more about Rhode Island’s Black history during your visit, schedule a tour through the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society.
For adventures on the water
Want to venture into East Africa next year? Consider Jinja, Uganda, located in Uganda’s eastern region near Lake Victoria. Travel journalist Julie Olum first visited Jinja in 2010 with her family and has returned several times, attending the city’s famous Nyege Nyege festival. Located three hours from Uganda’s capital Entebbe, Jinja is the source of the Nile River and offers white water rafting and gorgeous sunset cruises. “Overall, Uganda is a must-visit place for 2024 because of its vibrant underground music and art scenes and new indigenous-led initiatives to build up tourism in lesser-visited areas,” Olum says. The travel journalist also recommends including gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest as part of your visit.
For an exciting food scene
Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is great for travelers seeking a city with nightlife, art museums, parks, and unique food offerings. Travel content creator Amoy Anderson fell in love with the city during a recent visit and recommends Helsinki for its unique culinary culture. “Visit Cafe Regatta, a cozy little cafe by the sea that serves traditional Finnish pastries and hot drinks,” Anderson says. “Travelers should also try Finnish delicacies like lohikeitto (salmon soup) and reindeer meat. For sweet treats, head to Karl Fazer Cafe for heavenly pastries. Finally, end your trip on a high note by dining at the restaurant Ravintola Savotta, which offers traditional Finnish cuisine with a modern twist.”
For beer, BBQ, and baseball
Missouri has a lot to offer travelers looking for a weekend of music, culture, art, and sports. Freelance travel writer Ronny Maye visited Kansas City, Missouri for the first time this year and says that when you go, you’ll wish you would have visited sooner. “If you want a taste for the best Kansas City has to offer, spend the day exploring the 18th and Vine District,” she says. “You also shouldn’t leave without stopping by The Negro League Baseball Museum or The American Jazz Museum. Other noteworthy stops are Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque and Vine Street Brewing Co, the state’s first Black-owned brewery.
For decadent food and beaches
One of Florida’s most lively cities, Jacksonville is a great place to spend a long weekend eating, shopping, and learning about the city’s 200-plus-year-old history. Yolanda Copeland, founder of the tour company Explore Jax Core says, “Jacksonville is an emerging city with vibrant historic districts that offer exciting things to do from arts, movies, and parks to a HUGE food truck scene. There’s also a ton of great restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.” Copeland says besides visiting Jacksonville’s beautiful beaches, visitors should also get a taste of Jacksonville at Holy Smoke BBQ, Malachi’s Ice Cream Bar, or Mixed Fillings Pie Shop. Another way to explore the city is to book a boat charter with McCoy Waterways, a tour company that specializes in sharing the hidden and best spots in Jacksonville by water.
For a bucket list goal
For many travelers, a visit to the top of Machu Picchu is a bucket list travel experience, and travel television host Dayvee Sutton says that 2024 should be the year to go for it. “For adventurers, I’m sure a visit to Machu Picchu will top your list as the Andes are some of the tallest peaks in the world with some of the most unique landscapes,” she says. “For history lovers, your jaw will drop when you take in the scale, the architecture, the power, and the energy of roaming through the ancient Inca city.” Sutton says that when you arrive at the summit, be sure to take a few photos and then find a quiet place to sit to take it all in.
For fresh air and mountains
If your ideal vacation includes ski lodges and snow-covered mountains, make plans to visit Montana’s Paradise Valley next year. “Montana had to be one of the most welcoming places I’ve been,” says travel content creator Sierra Redmond. “I feel sometimes that ski and mountain destinations typically have the reputation that they aren’t quite welcoming to people of color but I firsthand experienced the opposite. Everyone was welcoming, happy to see us, and happy to help make our stay incredible.” Located in southwest Montana, Paradise Valley offers mild summers and snowy winters, and Redmond recommends visits to Chico Hot Springs and nearby Yellowstone National Park as part of your stay.
For luxury travel for less
Laos is perfect for budget travelers or those who are looking to enjoy luxury for less,” says travel blogger Amina Mamaty. “The food scene is pretty amazing, and it’s not overcrowded by tourists like some of its neighboring countries.” Laos shares a border with China, Vietnam, and Thailand, and though the country is landlocked, visitors will find an abundance of rivers and waterfalls. Mamaty said the best times to visit Laos are October and November when the rainy season is over, and while you’re there, you should take a sunset cruise on the Mekong River or visit the town of Vang Vieng and enjoy the view from a hot air balloon.
For nautical adventures and self-care
Just 45 minutes away from Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Calif. is a laid-back beach town full of charming restaurants and stores. The area is also known for surfing and fishing and for the hiking trails that wind along the coastline. “Newport Beach is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can casually go whale watching and dolphin watching year-round, go cliff diving and surfing, and still be surrounded by bustling waterfront entertainment, fresh seafood, and vibrant nightlife,” says Taliya Maya, founder of luxury travel agency T World Tours. Maya also says that travelers should indulge in one of the many local day spas that offer massage services, oxygen therapy, and sound healing experiences.