The Top 10 U.S. Cities To Visit for Your First Post-Vaccine Vacation

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater
Image Licensed From Adobe

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It’s been a long, long year, but now there’s a bright ray of hope on the horizon — Americans across the country are getting vaccinated by the millions. Now, after a year of toilet paper shortages, canceled weddings and countless Zoom meetings, life is slowly returning to normal.

With that said, we’re in dire need of a vacation the second we’re fully vaccinated. Because there are still many international travel restrictions on U.S. tourists, we’re planning our first post-vaccine vacation here in the states. Lucky for you, taking a safe yet glamorous post-COVID vacation with friends and family is easier than ever with Marriott’s brand-new home rental service, Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

Below, we’ll share the U.S. vacation spots we can’t wait to visit, plus some info on luxurious accommodations.

How Homes & Villas by Marriott International Works

If you haven’t heard of Homes & Villas by Marriott International before, it’s a new vacation home rental service that launched with a curated collection of stunning homes in May 2019. But unlike other vacation marketplaces, Homes & Villas by Marriott International only works with professional property management companies, and every home is handpicked by the Marriott team. When you search for vacation rentals through Marriott, you don’t have to worry about second-rate accommodations or unprofessional hosts because every listing is backed by the Marriott name. You can choose from a highly curated selection of the best vacation homes in the world as you plan an extremely well-deserved vacation.

Each home in the program offers hotel-quality amenities such as premium linens and towels, in-unit washing machines, high-speed Wi-Fi, televisions, kitchen essentials and bath products. On top of that, every home rental comes guaranteed with a 24/7 support team to meet your needs before, during and after your trip. For your comfort and safety, every property follows strict COVID-specific disinfection procedures and is professionally cleaned before your arrival. Finally, Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points when booking homes through Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

Homes & Villas by Marriott International launched with 2,000 handpicked homes; now, they’ve grown to more than 25,000 international properties with plans to continue. Each property is individually unique and striking, and the Spy team has spent a lot of time lately browsing for vacation rentals we’re dreaming of visiting ourselves.

Where Do You Want To Go?

We know there are hundreds of vacation spots to consider, so we’ve narrowed down the list to some of the most beautiful and exciting destinations in the country. If your Instagram feed has been a little lackluster since the pandemic began, then it’s time to get back into the world and enjoy yourself.

We asked the Spy team where they’re planning to go this summer. From Wyoming to Hawaii to the Caribbean, check out the top 10 places in the United States we’re planning on going after we’re vaccinated, with premium and luxury lodging options from Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

1. Puerto Rico

Aerial view of beach in Isabela Puerto Rico. Image Licensed From Adobe

If you didn’t know already, Puerto Rico is a United States territory, and that means you can plan a Caribbean vacation without leaving the country. There’s so much to see and do in Puerto Rico, which is known for its luxurious, tropical beaches, rich culture and delicious local foods worth drooling over. You can take a tour of Old San Juan or spend your vacation snorkeling and exploring the island’s coral reefs.

“I’ve been dying to leave the country for way too long now, but I know I’m probably not going to feel comfortable doing so in 2021,” says our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber, “that’s why this year, I want to head down to Puerto Rico for an in-country experience that feels out-of-country so I can recharge with friends and see somewhere I’ve never seen.”

If you want to avoid the crowds while you’re on vacation, then check out this rental from Homes & Villas by Marriott International in Isabela, a town on the island’s northwest coast. Spend the day relaxing at your private plunge pool in between trips to the local beaches where you’ll find coral reefs and underwater caves.

Isabela's Shacks Beach 5B Villa Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


2. Austin, Texas

Downtown Austin, Texas during sunset Image Licensed From Adobe

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, from the attitude to the hats to the actual state borders. This state is a high priority on our summer travel bucket list, and it’s a must-visit city for anyone that loves good food. Austin is a city known for its nightlife, barbecue and eclectic art scene, something not many cities in Texas are known for. When staying in Austin, it’s great to have a spot within driving distance to the city center so you can relax after long days of touring. In addition to the prime location, we love that the rental below comes with a massive private pool, hot tub and awesome amenities.

AZURE HORIZON ESTATE Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


3. Charleston, South Carolina

Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight. Image Licensed From Adobe

Charleston is the first place our managing editor Tim Werth is visiting this summer once he’s vaccinated. “I tell everyone they need to visit Charleston. It’s a really unique city, and there’s so much to do. If you’re a foodie, it has one of the best restaurant scenes in the country, if not the best. If you love cheesy fun, the ghost tours are a blast. History nerds can geek out at Fort Sumter and the USS Yorktown. And if you like shopping as much as this e-commerce editor, it’s a great place to do some retail therapy.”

Charleston is clearly a city that has it all, from unique tiny mom and pop shops to scenic Atlantic beaches. Golf lovers also travel from far and wide to play on the city’s courses, and visitors can spend their days doing just about anything. When it comes to staying in Charleston, we suggest staying right where you can access everything. The Homes & Villas by Marriott International hideaway below is just blocks away from Old Village dining and downtown Charleston and can be reserved for as little as $205 a night.

Designer Darby House Courtesy of Marriott Homes & VIllas


4. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona, USA downtown and mountains. Image Licensed From Adobe

Sedona is one of America’s most serene desert escapes, so it comes as no surprise that our editorial director Jamie Miles is itching to head out there as soon as she’s vaccinated. “After being stuck in New York City all of COVID, I’m anxious to get out into nature. I’d head to Sedona, Arizona where I’d book myself a treatment at a luxe spa and spend the day hiking in the desert or doing yoga on a cliff in a spiritual vortex,” says Jamie. “We’ve been disconnected for so long that a trip like this sounds like exactly what I need to recharge, reconnect and digitally detox.”

When visiting Sedona, you want to stay somewhere with an epic view. Lucky for you, Homes & Villas by Marriott International has a slew of amazing view-forward rentals to choose from in Sedona, like this spot with a backyard that’s perfect for lounging in the sun and reconnecting with nature while on vacation.

Spectacular View in Sedona, Arizona Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


5. Maine

Portland Head Light Image Licensed From Adobe

It’s not necessarily easy to jump the border over to Canada right now, but you can and should plan a trip to the most northern U.S. state besides Alaska. Maine is filled with an abundance of nature’s most grand visuals, from east coast cliffs to lush green mountains and deep blue New England waters. It’s the perfect place for a family getaway in the middle of nowhere, with bonus points if someone in your group knows how to drive a boat. Picture this: summer bonfires with your closest friends and family, a couple of drinks in hand and the kids catching fireflies as the sun sets over the most peaceful lake view you’ve ever seen. Does it get any better? That’s what you’ll get and more with this relaxing vacation spot in Winthrop, Maine.

North Shore Escape Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


6. Hawaii

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater including the hotels and buildings in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu island, Hawaii. Waikiki Beach in the center of Honolulu has the largest number of visitors in Hawaii Image Licensed From Adobe

We don’t need to sing the praises of Hawaii. As a vacation destination, Hawaii sells itself. “As an avid surfer, there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than, Hawaii. From Waikiki to Waimea Bay to the other countless classic surf spots, traveling to Hawaii is a post-pandemic dream,” says our California-dwelling assistant managing editor James Schiff, who likely shares his post-COVID Hawaiian dreams with millions of other Americans begging for a vacation. “Aside from all the amazing surf out there, it’s also just a beautiful city within a beautiful state with incredible weather. What’s not to like?”

Blue waters, here we come. If you’re booking a post-vaccine trip to Hawaii, then check out this swoon-worthy getaway on Kauai. While that view looks like something you’d find for a steep price, you can book this home for as little as $335 a night.

PALI KE KUA #233 Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


7. Wyoming

Bison Buffalo herd in early morning light in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoiming USA Image Licensed From Adobe

Yellowstone is one of the most visited parks in the entire country for its immersive nature experiences that feel almost ethereal to those of us living in big cities, like our SEO specialist Vita Savenko. “I love natural beauty and active vacations (where you can hike, bike and animal watch) and Wyoming offers all of it,” she says. Not every vacation has to be about relaxation, and adventure vacations allow for a solid mix of both R&R and exciting excursions. “Yellowstone National Park has been on my list for a while and I can’t wait to see it this summer.”

When visiting Yellowstone and the outlying areas, it’s in your best interest to stay somewhere you can relax after long days out. If you want a mix of wild nature and luxurious amenities, then you’ll want to find lodging with a hot tub, like the one you’ll find at this mountain villa in Jackson Hole.

Mountain-Modern Villa Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


8. Key West, Florida

Pier on the port of Key West, Florida at sunset. Image Licensed From Adobe

It’s safe to say that we’re massive fans of the Florida Keys, and Key West has a special place in our hearts. The southernmost point in the United States, this vacation spot is just 90 miles away from Cuba and has just about everything you could want from a great vacation: great food, delicious drinks, relaxing beaches, fun bars, tons of history and wild chickens on the streets. Yes, you read that right. There are wild chickens all over the place. It’s a kooky, historic vacation spot that allows folks to drink on the streets and have as much fun as they’d like, all to go home afterward and relax at their private beach home rental.

This spot from Homes & Villas by Marriott International is perfect for those who enjoy a party but need their R&R, too. It’s close enough to Duval (the main bar street in Key West) yet far enough to get away from it all when the day’s over.

Barefoot Bungalow in Key West, Florida Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


9. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sunset on the last night of my visit to Santa Fe. What a remarkable landscape! Image Licensed From Adobe

Though the rest of us are looking to travel as soon as possible, our tech editor Adrian Covert is planning a trip this fall to the New Mexican desert. “Santa Fe may have gone from an under-the-radar gem to a must-visit destination in recent years, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile to visit during chile roasting season in the fall.” Not only is Santa Fe special for being the oldest capital in the United States, but it also has a diverse culture spanning back ages. That unique history and culture are clearly seen in the city’s buildings and homes as well as local shops and restaurants. “Anyone who has had New Mexican cuisine knows how crucial roasted green chiles are to nearly every dish, and if you want the best green chiles, you have to go to the source.”

Don’t spend your Santa Fe vacation in anything other than a Pueblo-style ranch home, like the relaxing-yet-affordable getaway pictured below.

Rare and Restored Home in Santa Fe, New Mexico Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas


10. Denver, Colorado

Boulder Colorado Sunrise Image Licensed From Adobe

For those of you looking to fully immerse yourself in nature after spending an entire year inside, look no further than taking a summer vacation in Denver, Colorado. This scenic escape is great for family fun, guy’s or gal’s trips and adventure-seekers. Denver is known for attracting thrill-seekers, art lovers and foodies. Scenically speaking, it really doesn’t get more gorgeous than the Colorado Rockies. You can also take a day trip to Boulder, which is another great American vacation spot everyone should visit at least once.

When staying in a big city like Denver, you’re going to want that “second home” feel, like this quaint little home pictured below, which offers rooftop views of this scenic American city.

Private Denver Oasis in Denver, Colorado Courtesy of Marriott Homes & Villas