Your Ultimate Travel Guide for 2019: Where to Visit in the New Year

This article was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that members in many countries are currently staying close to home, and we look forward to helping people to workout and enjoy wellness experiences around the world once they feel safe and comfortable to resume travel.

As 2018 comes to a close, you’re probably starting to think about all of the things you’ll do in 2019—goals you’ll accomplish, sights you’ll see, places you’ll visit, etc. As you start creating your roadmap for vacation days in the new year, consider some of these trending destinations that are becoming increasingly popular for a myriad of reasons. Whether you’re looking to explore the ins and outs of a new city, post up beach-side with a breathtaking view of pristine waters or marvel at all that nature has to offer, here are the best places to visit in the new year.

Memphis, Tennessee

2019 marks the city’s 200th anniversary, so it’s pulling out all the stops to entertain tourists. More than an anniversary, this is a chance to reach the hearts and minds of people both locally and globally. Experience your fair share of home-cooked barbecue and the blues with a visit to this southern city. Stay at the new Guest House at Graceland, which offers shuttle service to Beale Street (where all the action lies) nightly. It’s, of course, Elvis-inspired, and is situated across the street from the Elvis Museum.

Harbour Island, Bahamas

Harbour Island in the Bahamas has long been more secretly known as a fashion and celebrity hotspot—Elle Macpherson, Cameron Diaz, Diane von Furstenberg, India Hicks and Julia Roitfeld are big-time fans of this exotic locale. But it’s become increasingly popular as the coral-based archipelago has officially been taken off the Zika list. Stay at Coral Sands, a luxury resort with a freshwater infinity pool, access to a private beach and only 38 rooms, so you know it won’t ever be too crowded!  

RiNo (Denver), Colorado

If you’re looking for a cold-weather escape to remember, visit the River North Art District, or RiNo neighborhood, located just north of Downtown Denver, which houses a bit of everything—architecture, art galleries, designers, furniture makers, illustrators, painters, media artists, photographers, sculptors and an array of studio spaces. In just a one-mile radius RiNo boasts 15 craft breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries and is home to the largest concentration of craft beverage manufacturers in the U.S. Stay at The Ramble Hotel, the first hotel in the area. With just 50 rooms, the boutique hotel houses the marquee lobby bar Death & Co Denver; DC/AM, a café bar serving breakfast and lunch; Suite 6A, a reservation-only private bar featuring a cocktail tasting menu experience; The Garden, an outdoor courtyard bar – all operated by Death & Co.; Vauxhall, an intimate music venue, theatre and bar; and Super Mega Bien, an independent pan-Latin restaurant from James Beard-nominated chef, Dana Rodriguez.

Dana Point, California

Nature lovers looking for a mix of adventure and serene sights will love Dana Point, a Californian city founded in 1954 that’s been wooing whale watchers for decades. In fact, it’s known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the West.” In March, the city hosts a two-weekend Festival of Whales to celebrate the migration of the California Gray Whale. Another cool fact about Dana Point is that it’s home to the world’s first retail surf shop, Hobie Surf Shop, and served as the production site of the movie, Endless Summer. Stay at Monarch Beach Resort, which is perched on a hillside overlooking the azure waters of the Pacific.

Tampa, Florida

This bustling city along Florida’s Gulf Coast is a one-stop-shop for travelers of all kinds. Whether you want to be on your feet exploring the ins and outs of city life, experiencing a little wildlife at Busch Gardens animal-themed amusement park or posting up poolside and taking in the sun’s warm rays, Tampa offers a little bit of vacay bliss for everyone. If keeping fit even while on vacay is a top priority to you, book a stay in one of the “Stay Well” rooms at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, which provide guests with better rest, more energy, and reduced stress with special amenities such as Circadian Mood Lighting to help enhance sleep. It’s also centrally located in Tampa’s downtown area, so you can feel smack-dab in the middle of all the action, but you also get the waterside view since it’s located within the Garrison Channel.

Prefer a more beach-focused trip to Tampa? Stay at The Godfrey Hotel Tampa, which offers resort-style amenities and is located right on Tampa Bay and nestled in lush tropical grounds. Kick back and relax by their heated outdoor pool and private dock and treat yourself to some lunch or dinner at their full-service waterfront restaurant, WTR Pool & Grill.

Austin, Texas

As if being the “Live Music Capital” of the world isn’t enough of a reason to visit Austin, Texas, the city is bursting with culture from every corner, specifically gaining recognition for its culinary, cocktail and nightlife scene. But whether you are on the market for a rocking nightlife, a fitness retreat or culinary tour, you can rest assured you’ll find all of that in this Texan city. Stay at W Austin in the vibrant 2nd Street District. Relax and unwind in their AWAY Spa and soak in their outdoor pool which overlooks postcard views of the downtown skyline.

Jenn Sinrich is an editor in New York City, a self-proclaimed foodie always looking for the healthier version of all recipes, a passionate lover of all things cheese, a friendly New Yorker, Bostonian at heart and proud Red Sox fan. Love cats? Cheese? Mac n' Cheese? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.