Three US Destinations Make Lonely Planet’s “Best Travel Destinations” in 2023: Can You Guess the Picks?

Lonely Planet has published its annual “Best in Travel” list for 2023 – and three US destinations made it.

The travel brand’s selected locations are based on expert predictions that highlight the best places to eat, connect, relax, learn and travel.

The 18th annual collection highlighted “transformative” and “meaningful” travel experiences, Nitya Chambers, Lonely Planet’s senior vice president of content and editor-in-chief, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

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“As travel has rebounded, we’re finding that travelers want more meaningful experiences from their travels,” she said.

“And so we not only leaned towards that categorization and structure, but also [we have] a real focus on local voices and expertise.”

A man skips rocks on a beach walk at Lowell Point in Seward, Alaska.

A man skips rocks on a beach walk at Lowell Point in Seward, Alaska.
(Nathaniel Wilder Lonely Planet)

The list is compiled through nominations from staff, global travel experts and other contributors – and each destination is judged on community, tourism, global appeal and overall excitement.

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Lonely Planet then calls on locals to highlight the best of the best from each destination.

ShanDien LaRance from New Mexico stands near a rocky landscape.

ShanDien LaRance from New Mexico stands near a rocky landscape.
(Lonely Planet Ghost Farm)

That’s why the three American locations — Alaska, New Mexico, and Boise, Idaho — made the 2023 list.

1.Alaska

The Last Frontier features prominently on Lonely Planet’s list in the Connect category.

The state of Alaska is known for its beautiful scenery, unique wildlife and national treasures like Denali National Park.

Alaska's Kenai River is seen from the air in this image.

Alaska’s Kenai River is seen from the air in this image.
(Nathaniel Wilder Lonely Planet)

However, what Lonely Planet loved and appreciated about Alaska is its energy and connection to places and people.

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Chambers explained that Alaska is outstanding for travel in 2023 as the state is a great example of how indigenous groups manage authentic tourism experiences while embracing sustainability.

“You really see that connection that’s woven throughout all of the Alaskan content,” she said

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“It’s a really fascinating framework to think about Alaska, a place so familiar to so many of us – but really uncovers parts of it that you might be experiencing in a new way for the first time.”

2. New Mexico

The entire southwestern state of New Mexico is presented as a place of learning.

Lonely Planet noted that the “Land of Enchantment” is home to 23 indigenous tribes and has much more history to discover.

A man beats a drum as the sun sets over the vast New Mexico countryside.

A man beats a drum as the sun sets over the vast New Mexico countryside.
(Lonely Planet Ghost Farm)

“This is an ideal place to learn about Aboriginal culture, art and music while enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest,” wrote Lonely Planet.

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Chambers added that part of the “souvenir” of visiting New Mexico is “taking home what you’ve learned.”

Native American hoop dancer ShanDien LaRance provided Lonely Planet with a local perspective on the state, noting features such as New Mexico’s “fresh air and open skies.”

ShanDien LaRance from New Mexico is a Native American hoop dancer.

ShanDien LaRance from New Mexico is a Native American hoop dancer.
(Lonely Planet Lightning Boy Foundation)

Chambers said LaRance not only drew attention to the conservation and sustainability aspects of New Mexico, but also to its indigenous art, history, cuisine and Spanish culture.

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“She talks about the art scene, talks about the history, talks about the people, talks about the food that’s really woven through that backdrop,” Chambers said.

Hot air balloons are set up for flight in New Mexico.

Hot air balloons are set up for flight in New Mexico.
(Lonely Planet)

“And I think it’s really impressive to see their heritage in a kind of modern New Mexico setting.”

3. Boise, Idaho

The city of Boise, Idaho has received wide recognition as a place that fosters community and connection.

Lonely Planet mentioned some of Boise’s diverse adventure features, like water rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter.

A couple walks a trail at Camel's Back Park in Boise, Idaho.

A couple walks a trail at Camel’s Back Park in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

Boise offers year-round natural beauty, the brand added, as well as a notable wine and food scene, making it a “great place to connect.”

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Chambers noted Boise’s charming mix of natural beauty and an “unseen” food and arts scene.

Croquetas, tortilla de patatas and grilled peppers at Bar Gernika in Boise, Idaho.

Croquetas, tortilla de patatas and grilled peppers at Bar Gernika in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

“Boise was one of those places you look at [into] — and you have a moment where you’re really looking forward to something unexpected,” she said.

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According to Chambers, Boise has experienced a population boom over the past decade that has drawn more attention to the “charm and local pride of a small farming town.”

A band plays at an amphitheater in Boise, Idaho.

A band plays at an amphitheater in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

“It has that sense of community that you can connect with,” she said.

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“And I think there’s a great story about the community of Boise … how it’s growing and evolving.”

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