The Best Beach Destinations in USA, America

By Molly Feltner

The United States contains some of the most beautiful tourist places, travel destinations and diverse beaches in the world, and experiences can range from quirky amusements and raucous parties to formidable volcanoes and desolate acres of sand and shoreline, depending on where you travel. Whatever your tastes, we've gathered some of the most well-reviewed and widely adored beach destinations in the United States.

Anna Maria Island, Florida
The hidden beach destination Floridians escape to, Anna Maria Island has somehow managed to keep condo towers, all-fast-food chains, amusement parks, and glitzy mega-resorts off its shores. In fact, no construction on the this seven-mile long barrier island on Florida's Gulf Coast is more than three stories tall, Subway is the only franchise, and 60% of its land is open beach. And, it's affordable, especially in the summer. You can rent vacation homes with water views and pools for well under $1,000 per week and get seafood entrees at beachfront restaurants for under $15.

"My trip to Anna Maria made me feel in a nostalgic sense what beach vacations must have been like 20 or 30 years ago," says Tim Leffel, author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune, who visited the island with his family in 2006. "It has something other destinations have lost. It's an old-fashioned place where you can just relax and hang out on the beach with your kids, without arcades and other distractions."

While doing nothing is the island's prime pastime, there are plenty of options when you want something to do. You can snorkel, kayak, or fish in the Gulf's clear waters, or explore the island's three small communities, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and the town of Anna Maria. A free trolley runs up and down the length of the island, making it easy to check out the island's boutique shops or restaurants. For dining, you can try affordable local favorites such as the Cafe on the Beach, which is known for its all-you-can-eat pancakes for $4.25, and Star Fish Company, whose dockside restaurant serves the local catch with sides from $7 to $15 per meal.

Where to stay: Most accommodations on Anna Maria are vacation rentals or small condo resorts. Vacation Rentals by Owner has pages of Anna Maria Island rentals, some priced as low as $500 per week. A number of rental brokers can also set you up with a vacation house. If you'd prefer to stay at a condo resort, two of the most well-know properties are the Tradewinds Resort and Tortuga Inn Beach Resort, which are both managed by the same company. Nightly rates start $110 and $115, respectively.

Getting there: A pair of bridges connects the island to the mainland. Anna Maria is about an hour's drive from the Tampa airport and 45 minutes from St. Petersburg. To check prices from your city, use's price-comparison tool.

Online resources: Learn more by browsing the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce website and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website, which also covers nearby Longboat Key and the greater Bradenton area on the mainland.

Vaishno Devi Temple - Must Visit Tourist Place in Northern India

Mata Vaishno Devi is known as the mother who fulfills all wishes and one of the must visit tourist place in North India. The steep 12 kilometer (7.4 miles) trek from the base camp at Katra to the cave temple in the mountains is also one of the hardest tests of devotion. Yet, thousands of disciples - both young and old, undertake this trip every year braving the severe cold or even the persistent monsoon rains.
The pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi begins at Katra. Visitors arrive via train, bus or private taxes at Katra and proceed to the Yatra Registration Counter (YRC). Registration slip in hand, you can begin the trek up to the first check post at Bhanganga. Past the first check post, your next stop is the Bhawan, near the top of Trikoot hill. Once there, make your way to the counter and obtain a Group Number. The time between getting a group number and actually gaining entry will depend on the rush at the time. By issuing group numbers, the Shrine Board is able to regulate the number of visitors, especially during peak summer months and Navratras.

The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi itself enshrines the four pillars of Hindu belief: Dham, Arth, Kaam, and Moksh. The many points that mark the journey to the main temple - Katra, Bhanganga, and Trikoot Hiil, mark the spots where the Mother Goddess herself stopped and prayed.

Vaishno Devi is a spiritual experience. You can experience up close the faith and belief of others - old, handicap, and often in pain, who trek up the mountain for Mata’s darshan, crying Jai Mata Di and motivating each other to walk just a little more.

Unlike other temples, Mata Vaishno Devi’s shrine does not contain any idols or pictures. It is a natural formation of rocks that is shaped like a base and has three heads at the top. These three heads are called ‘Holy Pindis’ and are worshipped as the revelation of Mata Vaishno Devi. This representation of the goddess is immersed in water.

Each of these Holy Pindis is unique, yet together the three exemplify the harmony of goddess, nature and disciple. Each Pindi is distinct in color and texture, but together the three radiate positive energy and hope. The black pindi represents Maha Kali, the goddess of dissolution. Next to her, is the yellow pindi of Mata Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity and yellow gold. The last, white pindi is of Mata Saraswati, goddess of creation.

You have to dress conservatively while visiting the shrine. Women will also be required to cover their heads with a dupatta (traditional headscarf).

How to reach :

The base is Katra, which is 3 hours from Jammu town. Jammu is well connected with the rest of the country by train and flight. Night buses from North India, especially from Delhi ply regularly as do tourist buses. It is quite some distance from Delhi, and the traffic can get chaotic in katra, so it can be a pain for those who would wish to drive up. The trip wouldn't be complete if one does not check out Patnitop or Jammu as well. Lastly, time your ascent. Lucky ones may get the 2 hour aarti, while others may get stuck waiting for it to finish - and it does snow there at times in winter.