Travel & Leisure

In Focus: Where To Go In 2017: Best Destinations Around The World

In Focus: Where To Go In 2017: Best Destinations Around The World

By Beth J. Harpaz, AP Travel Editor


Where should you travel in 2017? Maybe you want to witness the U.S. solar eclipse, take advantage of great exchange rates abroad or get in on the hoopla for big anniversaries in places like Alaska, Germany, Canada or Finland. Perhaps you're looking for a Zika-free beach or a destination unscathed by terrorism.

The Associated Press looked at events, trends and recommendations from travel agents, magazines, publishers and others, to compile this list of where to go in 2017.


Events and Anniversaries

On Aug. 21, a total eclipse of the sun lasting for more than 2 minutes will darken afternoon skies across a narrow strip of the United States stretching from South Carolina to Oregon. Nashville is one of the cities that will experience the phenomenon along with a number of national parks. Hotels in many eclipse destinations are sold out.

All eyes on Washington, D.C., for Donald Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration. An anti-Trump protest billed as a Women's March is scheduled for Jan. 21. Another D.C. draw: the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Timed passes for the museum are essential.

This Sept. 14, 2016 photo shows the Washington Monument framed by a window at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The new museum is a huge draw for visitors to Washington in 2017, but all eyes will also be on the city for Donald Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20 and an anti-Trump march Jan. 21. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)


Houston hosts the Super Bowl in February.

In June, Bermuda hosts the America's Cup sailing race. Just don't think of Bermuda as the Caribbean. It's nearly 1,000 miles north of Puerto Rico and too chilly for ocean swimming in January. On the plus side, Bermuda is Zika-free, and its famous Hamilton Princess hotel — aka the Pink Palace — is newly renovated.

Alaska celebrates the 150th anniversary of its transfer from Russia to the U.S. in 2017 along with the centennial of Denali National Park. Alaska cruises, which provide an easy introduction to the 49th state, got a shout-out from Travel Leaders travel agents.

This Sept. 2, 2015 file photo shows a Dall sheep lounging on a ridge line in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Denali marks its centennial as a national park in 2017, and Alaska marks 150 years since it was transferred from Russia to the United States. Alaska is on several lists for where to go in the new year. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)


Canada celebrates 150 years since its colonies were united under the Canadian Confederation, and Montreal marks its 375th anniversary. Don't forget the country's national parks and wild places. Frommer's singled out the British Columbia archipelago Haida Gwaii, recently visited by Prince William and Kate.

With exhibits, tours and more, Germany marks 500 years since Martin Luther's "95 Theses" critique of the Catholic Church, which launched the Protestant Reformation.

Finland marks 100 years since independence from Russia in 2017. Go for the Northern Lights, design innovation in cool Helsinki, folk culture and saunas.

In Russia, 2017 marks 100 years since the revolution that toppled the czar and led to the rise of communism. The date was once a major state holiday but today it's a divisive subject, no longer glorified as it once was. With Vladimir Putin's connections to Trump making headlines, some Americans may want to see Putinland firsthand. But visas for Russia can be complicated without help from a travel agency, though there's talk of simplifying the process.


Destination Darlings

As concerns about terrorism cast shadows on destinations like France and Turkey, other destinations are coming into the spotlight. Portugal is having a moment, turning up on lots of go-to lists. It's safe and affordable with great food, wine and soulful fado music. The pope visits in May to mark the centennial of a miracle in the town of Fatima, where three children had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1917.

In this Wednesday, May 13, 2015 file photo, worshipper throw flower petals at the statue of the Our Lady of Fatima as it is carried at the Our Lady of Fatima shrine, in Fatima, central Portugal. The centennial of the miracle will be observed in 2017 with a visit by the pope, and it’s one reason that Portugal has turned up on several lists for where to go in the new year. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)


The value of the British pound has weakened in the wake of Brexit (Britain's vote to leave the European Union), making the United Kingdom more affordable for many international travelers.

Last tango in Cuba? Some folks want to go now, afraid Trump will restrict travel there. Others are postponing booking, waiting to see what happens.

This Nov. 27, 2016 file photo shows the iconic image of Cuba's revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara, at Revolution Square near the Ministry of Interior in Havana, Cuba. Some Americans may rush to see Cuba in 2017, worried that the Trump administration will tighten travel rules. Others may postpone plans until they see what the new administration does. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)


With Rust Belt states getting attention in politics, maybe it's time for travelers to land in "flyover country." Indianapolis and Cincinnati turned up on Travel + Leisure's list. Other great Midwest destinations for art and food include Detroit — don't miss the Motown Museum — and Milwaukee, where the Harley-Davidson Museum draws visitors from around the world.

Mexico remains a top destination for Americans, from cheap spring breaks in Cancun to cultural attractions in places like Oaxaca. But if you're avoiding Latin America and the Caribbean because of Zika, consider Hawaii or Greece.

Tourism to Japan is booming but it's not just Tokyo. Hokkaido, an island known for skiing, turned up on Afar and Lonely Planet lists.

This March 4, 2016 photo shows a skier at the Rusutsu resort in Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, is home to a number of ski resorts known for deep snow. Tourism to Japan is booming and Hokkaido has turned up on several lists of top destinations for 2017. (Dan Sherman via AP, File)

Cape Town, South Africa, is being recommended by Fodor's, Travel + Leisure and Lonely Planet, with a spotlight on the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in September. Exchange rates make it a bargain right now.

This Aug. 24, 2014 file photo shows a child sprayed by a wave on the promenade, a popular tourist hotspot near the city of Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is turning up on some lists for places to go in 2017, partly because exchange rates make it affordable and also because a new contemporary arts museum is opening in the fall. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)


Artsy Asheville, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, landed in top spots for both Lonely Planet and Afar magazine, despite a state law limiting LGBT rights that led some entities to boycott the state.


Theme Parks

Guests visiting Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida can now meet Moana, star of the new Disney film. But the biggest 2017 news from Disney parks is the summer opening of a new land at Animal Kingdom in Florida called Pandora —The World of AVATAR, inspired by the movie "Avatar." Pandora will include a multisensory ride called Flight of Passage and a water ride.

This undated image provided by Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., shows a rendering of a water ride attraction, Na’vi River Journey, that will be part of a new land at Animal Kingdom called Pandora - The World of AVATAR. Pandora is scheduled to open next summer. It’s themed on the movie “Avatar.” (Walt Disney World via AP)


Fans of the classic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure park can stop mourning its Jan. 2 closing. It will be replaced next summer by Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! with freefall and other ride experiences.

Universal Orlando Resort opens Volcano Bay water park early next summer, featuring an innovative water ride called the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. Volcano Bay visitors will also use new wearable technology that allows them to wait in line virtually. In the spring, Universal opens a hilarious new ride themed on a wild race through New York City against Jimmy Fallon.

This undated image provided by Universal Orlando Resort in Orland, Fla., shows a rendering of a new attraction called Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. The new attraction is themed on a wild ride through New York City racing against the TV host. It is scheduled to open at the theme park in 2017. (NBCUniversal via AP)


ALSO READ: Pop Quiz: Where Should You Go for Your Next Adventure?


Banner Image: This Nov. 29, 2016 file photo shows seagulls waiting for tourists to feed them on the South Bank of the River Thames, in London. Currency changes in the wake of Brexit has made the United Kingdom a little more affordable for some international travelers. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)




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