PHOTOS: 25 best (and best affordable) places to visit in the US

WASHINGTON — Living in a nation that spans an entire continent has its perks, such as a diverse selection of domestic vacation spots.

It’s evident in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of best vacation destinations in the country: Whether it’s mountains, beaches, forests or vibrant cityscapes, the good ol’ U.S. of A. probably has what you’re looking for in a vacation.

U.S. News ranked the top 25 using a set of criteria that included travelers’ votes, expert analysis and a given spot’s cultural, dining and night life selection.

D.C., of course, made the list — moving up one spot to No. 7 from last year’s No. 8.

“D.C. has been a really up-and-coming kind of vacation destination,” said Erin Shields, the assistant managing editor of travel for U.S. News.

See the rest of 2018’s best U.S. travel destinations in the gallery below.

Best affordable U.S. destinations

The nation has an abundance of affordable travel options from which to choose, too. Area residents will find that many destinations on 2018’s list aren’t that far from home.

“A lot of national parks are on this list for obvious reasons,” Shields said. “Camping is a pretty budget-friendly way to do a vacation.”

Criteria for such affordable destinations, Shields said, include lodging that had to average $150 a night or less. In addition, she said, “there are a lot of free things to do, and the things that do cost money aren’t terribly expensive.”

The best affordable U.S. destinations include:

  1. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
  2. Glacier National Park (Montana)
  3. Anchorage, Alaska
  4. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  5. Williamsburg, Virginia
  6. Olympic National Park (Washington state)
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. San Antonio
  9. Memphis, Tennessee
  10. Sequoia National Park (California)
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  13. Salt Lake City
  14. Nags Head, North Carolina
  15. Greenville, South Carolina
  16. Killington, Vermont
  17. Finger Lakes region (New York state)
  18. Raleigh, North Carolina

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