The Top Things to See and Do in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe may not be the biggest city in the United States, but it’s certainly one of the most interesting. It is the oldest state capital in the country, and this New Mexico gem consistently ranks as one of the top tourism destinations in the nation. Well-known for the natural beauty of the surrounding area, Santa Fe boasts one of the liveliest and most vibrant arts and culture scenes in the country, and it is also among the most diverse and welcoming cities in the American Southwest.

Get your visit started by checking out these 12 popular attractions:

12. Get Off The Beaten Path

The curious traveler can also take advantage of a long list of unique and lesser-known opportunities, from the pre-Columbian petroglyphs at La Cieneguilla to the De Vargas Street House, a one-of-a-kind building that claims to be the oldest home in the United States. Visitors can also see the stunning spiral staircase at Loretto Chapel, which is said to be held up by a miracle as it appears to defy physics, and the immersive House of Eternal Return, which is co-funded by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin. 

11. Hit the Slopes

Santa Fe isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when you think about great American ski destinations, but the city is surrounded by mountains. Hidden way up in these peaks are some of the best ski slopes in the American Southwest, with elevations reaching a dizzying 10,000 feet. From there, you’ll enjoy stunning vantage points of the city and surrounding area, all while enjoying some healthy outdoor activity. Travel + Leisure magazine is among the Santa Fe skiing scene’s most enthusiastic endorsers.

Photo by: Ski Santa Fe Facebook

10. Go Golfing

Santa Fe is a golf enthusiast’s paradise. While it doesn’t have as high a profile on the recreational golf circuit as neighboring Arizona, this can actually be to your advantage. The courses are world-class, but tend not to attract crowds as thick as those seen in the next state over.

All in all, there are over 10 great golf courses in the area, with the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe generally being considered the best of them. Characterized as a must-play course for golfers, the Marty Sanchez Links course and country club is located eight miles from downtown Santa Fe, and makes for an unforgettable sporting experience.

Photo by: Marty Sanchez Links de Santa fe Golf Course Facebook

9. Go Shopping, Southwest Style

According to readers at the travel rankings website 10best.com, Santa Fe is the top shopping destination in the entire United States. This is largely due to its heavy presence of independent shops, eclectic boutiques, and owner-operated stores that sell hand-crafted goods you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Santa Fe is particularly well-known for its furniture and fashion stores. If you’re looking for a unique piece to tie a room together or fancy a pair of authentic cowboy boots, you could hardly find yourself in a better city.

8. Sample Local Cuisine

Southwestern cuisine is distinctive, flavorful, zesty, and brought to life by tantalizing spice combinations. In Santa Fe, you’ll find plenty of options for all tastes, from locally inspired barbecue to vegetarian and vegan establishments. Locals will be more than happy to suggest places for you to eat if you can’t make up your mind based on your own research, and you’ll find an endless range of options to enjoy during your visit. Santa Fe also has an excellent fine dining scene.

Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

7. Catch a Show at the Santa Fe Opera House

The open-air Santa Fe Opera House has been a local institution since 1957, and is widely considered to be one of the finest such venues not only in the United States, but in the entire world. With enough capacity to hold about 2,200 spectators, the Santa Fe Opera House has hosted some of the greatest operatic talents of recent generations. Its performance season runs during the summer, so if you’re in town then, be sure to book your tickets early.

Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

6. Check Out The Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument is one of the best-preserved Native American historical sites in the continental U.S. For hundreds of years before Europeans arrived in the United States and settled the country, what is now the American Southwest was a loosely aligned group of independent city-states, which were populated by various Native American tribes. The monument houses the remains of one of these settlements, providing a rare glimpse into New Mexico’s ancient past. This is highly recommended if you have young children, as a system of ladders lead into explorable dwellings inside the caves, delighting kids of all ages.

5. Enjoy Local Fare at the Santa Fe Farmers Market

This welcoming and delightful farmers’ market is open year-round, and features dozens of local independent vendors offering perfect fresh produce, amazing cheeses, fresh-cut New Mexico flowers, and local delicacies like spicy salsa. You can also grab coffee and refreshments at a charming snack bar, but there are a couple of hot tips you should follow to enjoy a more relaxing visit. For starters, arrive early. The market tends to get extremely busy, especially in summer. On-site parking is convenient and affordable, but you can also take the free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle service, which stops close to the venue.

BHammond / Shutterstock.com

4. Take Home a Treasure From Liquid Light Glass

This fascinating artsy shopping attraction merits mention in its own separate section. Open since 1986, Liquid Light Glass is a shop and gallery on Baca Street in the Arts District, which features an amazing collection of hand-blown, expertly crafted glass art. Vases, ornaments, sculptures, and trinkets are available for purchase, and the shop’s owner is a local icon who is more than happy to let visitors observe while he plies his trade.

Photo by: Liquid Light Glass Instagram

3. Channel Your Inner Art Lover

No visit to Santa Fe is complete without spending time in the city’s famously engaging museums. The city’s famed Canyon Road arts district is probably the best place to get started, but there’s a dizzying lineup of other options, including the Museum of International Folk Art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Art, among others. These institutions house treasures created by both local and world-renowned heavyweights of the art world, and rival the best museums in the country.

While it isn’t an art museum, we’d also be amiss not to mention the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors, which also dates to the city’s 1610 establishment. The city has one of the most interesting historical stories of any settlement in America, and these venues provide great places to immerse yourself in Santa Fe’s colorful past.

Photo by: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Facebook

2. Head to Santa Fe Plaza for a Blast From the Past

Santa Fe Plaza is a historical treasure, and has been a major part of life in the city since its 1610 founding. The plaza has long served as a central focal point of cultural life in the city, and plays host to a long list of annual festivals and municipal events. Best of all, many of the city’s oldest and most famous architectural treasures either line the square or are located nearby, within easy walking distance.

Must-see architectural sites include the Palace of the Governors, San Miguel Mission, the Loretto Chapel, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, among others. These are some of the oldest and most beautiful churches and missions in the United States.

1. Take a Tour

There are dozens of walking tours available in Santa Fe, and they are an ideal way for first-time visitors to orient themselves after arriving in the city. Central Santa Fe is fairly compact, and is perfect for exploring on foot. Tours highlight themed attractions including the city’s beautiful architecture, fascinating history, artistic treasures, and haunted past.

If you’re interested in a creative alternative to walking tours, various operators also offer guided outings on horseback, Harley Davidson motorcycles, bicycles, and streetcars, among other options.

10 Amazing Historic and Cultural Attractions to See in New Mexico

For over four centuries, New Mexico has been a cultural crossroads, a place where Spanish, Native American, Mexican, and American influences have co-mingled to create a rich and unique society. Fortunately, New Mexico celebrates its long and colorful history with a diverse mix of museums, national monuments, and other carefully preserved historical and cultural sites that are open to the public. From ancient cliff dwellings and the oldest continuously inhabited community in the U.S. to world-renowned art museums and churches where miracles seem to happen, New Mexico’s history and culture are truly amazing.

1. El Santuario de Chimayo

nik wheeler / Getty Images

Tucked away in the little town of Chimayo along the historic Turquoise Trail, the El Santuario de Chimayo is world renown as a place where miracles occur. The tiny chapel, circa 1856, is built on a site associated with a miracle of the crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas. A small room in the complex contains a pit of Holy Dirt that many believe possesses healing powers. A shrine just outside that room is lined with discarded crutches and numerous moving testimonials from people who claim they were cured after rubbing the Holy Dirt on themselves. An annual pilgrimage to El Santuario during Holy Week involves some 30,000 people from around the world. Some people walk from as far away as Albuquerque (about 90 miles away), taking up to a week of walking before they arrive at El Santuario de Chimayo.

2. New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors

Frank Romeo / Shutterstock

Encompassing the oldest continuously occupied public building in the U.S., the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors is a remarkable piece of living history. The sprawling, adobe-style palace was originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s regional seat of government. It chronicles nearly 400 years of New Mexico history involving U.S., Spanish, and Confederate States of America soldiers, Mexican and New Mexican territorial governors, and Pueblo peoples. Included in the palace exhibits are fascinating viewing portals where significant archaeological finds were unearthed. Adjacent to the palace is a dazzling new history museum that opened in 2009 with three floors of displays about the legendary Santa Fe Trail and other eras of the state’s colorful history. Native Americans sell their handmade art and jewelry under the palace portal daily. These artisans must be members of New Mexico tribes and pueblos, and their work is certified for its authenticity.

3. Bandelier National Monument

Daniel A. Leifheit / Getty Images

Walking underneath the towering cliffs framing Frijoles Canyon can be a spiritual experience for visitors to Bandelier National Monument. Stretching for several miles along the canyon are dozens of ancient cave dwellings that were carved into the cliffs by ancestral Puebloan people. While 70 miles of hiking trails wind through the rugged 50-square-mile national monument about 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe, Bandlier’s Main Loop Trail’s 1.2-mile, mostly level loop offers a great overview of the area where evidence of human activity dating back more than 10,000 years has been found. Short ladders provide entrance to some cave dwellings, and petroglyphs and remnants of a two-story, multi-room pueblo that housed 100 people can be seen. A half-mile trail extension leads to Alcove House, a large cave perched 140 feet above the canyon floor where approximately 25 people lived. It can be accessed via a series of stone steps and ladders.

4. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Polina LVT / Shutterstock

Located on picturesque Museum Hill just outside downtown Santa Fe, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture contains an amazing 10 million artifacts from some 12,000 excavated archaeological sites across New Mexico. The Museum’s permanent “Here, Now and Always” exhibit tells the history and present life of the Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and other indigenous cultures in the American Southwest through Native American voices, artifacts, and multimedia. The Buchsbaum Gallery showcases modern and historic pottery from the region’s pueblos, and changing galleries explore other aspects of Native American life in the Southwest such as the history and significance of turquoise in their cultures. A majestic outdoor sculpture garden features rotating exhibits of works by Native American sculptors. Also located on Museum Hill is the Museum of International Folk Art which houses the world’s largest collection of folk art with some 150,000 artifacts from more than 150 nations.

5. Albuquerque Museum of Art and History

Located in the heart of Old Town, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is a treasure trove of Southwestern art, culture, and history. Its impressive art collection includes works by renowned Taos and Santa Fe artists Ernest Blumenschein, John Sloan, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Its permanent collection exhibition, “Common Ground: Art in New Mexico,” explores similarities and innovations in the Southwest among early Native American traditions, colonial Spanish and Mexican settlers, and contemporary regional art. Pieces include Native American jewelry and ceramics as well as Hispanic religious and folk art. The museum’s equally impressive outdoor sculpture garden has over 60 pieces, many created by local sculptors. The history exhibits include a Colonial Period European armor collection that is considered one of the top collections of its kind in the U.S. Museum docents regularly conduct free walking tours of Old Town.

6. Taos Pueblo

Pueblos are scattered throughout New Mexico, but the oldest one is Taos Pueblo. Continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years, the multi-story adobe buildings from the oldest inhabited community in the U.S. Located just a few minutes from the historic Taos Plaza, the pueblo appears much as it did when Spanish explorers first arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540. Many of the structures have walls that are several feet thick, and they were all constructed in the traditional adobe method of mixing earth with water and straw to form sun-dried bricks. Visitors get a glimpse of Native American life and culture from both today and yesterday, and authentic Pueblo pottery and jewelry are sold at shops onsite. The UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site is open daily but it’s best to call before visiting because it closes for about 10 weeks during late winter/early spring and sometimes for tribal ritual ceremonies.

7. Old Town Albuquerque

The area that’s known today as Old Town Albuquerque dates back to 1706 and while much has changed, there is still a strong sense of history there. Consisting of about 10 blocks of historic adobe buildings with a tree-lined plaza in the center, Old Town remains the cultural heart of bustling Albuquerque. Some 150 shops, restaurants, and art galleries fill the old buildings today. San Felipe de Neri Church stands on the north side of the plaza. The present-day church was built in 1793 and has walls several feet thick. Many special events take place at the plaza throughout the year, and live music typically can be heard from its covered gazebo on weekends. Several museums are located in Old Town as well, including the Turquoise Museum and Rattlesnake Museum. Fun ghost tours of Old Tour are conducted nightly, and several other types of tours are also available.

8. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to an internationally-known female artist. The downtown Santa Fe museum documents the groundbreaking life of the 20th-century modernist painter who became world-famous for her stunning interpretations of the spectacular New Mexico landscapes. The museum, the world’s largest repository of O’Keeffe’s work, showcases 1,149 O’Keeffe paintings, drawings, and sculptures from 1901 to 1984, including works from her years in New York before she came to live in New Mexico. It also has exhibited works by over 140 other artists, including Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. Special exhibits often include works by O’Keeffe and some of her modernist contemporaries. It also presents a “Living Artists of Distinction Exhibition Series” that honors artists who have made significant contributions to American art. Recent series have featured notable artists such as Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Anne Truitt, Susan Rothenberg, and Sherrie Levine.

9. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

One of the great things about New Mexico is the ability to “get out in the middle of nowhere” in short order from about any spot in the state. Nowhere is that more evident than Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (formerly called Wild Rivers). Located about an hour outside Taos just off the majestic Enchanted Circle, the remote yet easily accessible landmark is where the Rio Grande and Red Rivers converge in a spectacular, 800-foot-deep gorge. A trailhead at La Junta Overlook descends to the rivers’ confluence in only 1.2 miles. Several other trails lead into the gorge or meander along the rim of the Grand Canyon-like gorge that extends for several miles below a plateau that’s situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Signs of human activity since prehistoric times have been found in the national monument area including ancient dwellings and petroglyphs.

10. Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel in downtown Santa Fe is famous for a miraculous staircase that stands 20 feet tall and has two complete 360-degree turns, yet has no visible means of support. Legend has it that shortly after the chapel was built in 1878, sisters of the chapel prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, for a way to access the choir loft 22 feet above without interfering with the interior space of the tiny chapel. A mysterious and still unknown man appeared on the ninth and final day of prayer who said he could build a spiral staircase and months later, he brought the staircase to the chapel. Some say it was St. Joseph himself. Whoever it was, he produced a spectacular masterpiece of design that has been the subject of movies and TV shows like “Unsolved Mysteries.” The Gothic Revival-style chapel was patterned after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

America’s Most Scenic Road trips

A road trip can be defined as a journey by car, with no restrictions on how long you must travel for or how many stops you must make. Therefore exploring America’s most scenic road trips has led us anywhere from day trips to week-long adventures. In terms of scenery, America is full of crashing coastlines, rain forests, historical architectures and rolling fields of wildflowers. From the lava flows of Hawaii to the quirky roadside signs on Route 66 to the quaint villages of New Mexico; these 15 scenic road trips will have you headed to the car in no time.

15. Route 6, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

When you hear the words Cape Cod, one immediately thinks of quaint villages, historic lighthouses, miles of beaches and picturesque harbors. Route 6 offers over 117 miles throughout the Cape Cod area and road trippers will want to give themselves a few days to complete this trip, in order to truly get the most out of the scenery. Sand dunes, tidal pools, beaches and marshes will all entice you to stop the car and explore the surrounding areas. In the midst of the forests along the side of the road, keep your eyes peeled for wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes.The perfect treat to compliment any trip. Route 6 takes you into Provincetown, where music festivals and art work await. Make sure you rise early to catch the epic sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean while on your trip.

Route 6

14. The High Road, Santa Fe to Taos, New Mexico

This winding scenic road takes travelers along a 52 mile route through an authentic remainder of Old Spain, which is evident in the religion, architecture, topography, history, and people here. This day trip can take anywhere from four to seven hours depending on how many times you stop to admire the breathtaking churches, scenic byways and unique villages. This twisty road takes you up into the mountains, with views of snow-capped peaks, evergreen trees and wildlife. In the autumn this road turns into the “High Road Art Tour” where artists open their studios and galleries to the public. Visitors can meet with the artists and purchase directly from them while taking an incredible road trip through the historic villages, in a season where the trees turn color and the sky is an incredible shade of blue.

High Road

13. Historic Route 66, Chicago to Los Angeles

For three decades Route 66 was known as the “Main Street of America” as it wound its way through small towns across the Midwest and Southwest. This legendary old road passes through the heart of the United States and continues to captivate people from all over the world. To drive the entire route, it is over 2,000 miles and takes you past some of the most outrageous road signs, giant statues and quirky roadside attractions. The scenery along Route 66 is not to be forgotten though. Giant cornfields of Illinois, the streets of St. Louis and the golden sands of California pave the path for an unforgettable road trip through the history of America. Step back in time and discover what was the start of the American love affair with road trips on this iconic route.

Historic Route

12. Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

It provides one of the closest ways to experience the Wild West, as if it were still wild today and the Million Dollar Highway through Colorado takes travelers past old mines, deep gorges, waterfalls and breathtaking views. The actual Million Dollar Highway is only a 24 mile stretch of road but many road trippers choose to extend their trip down to Durango. Along the way travelers are privy to the peaks of Red Mountain, a set of three peaks that get their name from the red iron ore rocks covering their surface. The region’s old mines are here and can be explored by hiking or biking. The spectacular overlook at Molas Pass is not to be missed and it is said that the air here is the cleanest in the USA. In the spring, wildflowers are in full bloom and elk, mountain goats, black bears, and mule deer are often visible from the road.

Million Dollar Highway

11. The 1 Week Grand Circle Road Trip, Southwest Canyons

The dramatic red-rock scenery will absolutely blow your mind as you travel through Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. In Zion visitors will be privy to emerald pools, the Narrows of the Zion Rivers and dramatic orange-red sandstone. Bryce Canyon is known for its colorful hoodoo formations that will awe and inspire you. The drive from here to Capitol Reef will be full of scenic overlooks and breathtaking views. Make sure to get out of your car and explore the Grand Canyon by foot or bicycle as every viewpoint offers something different. This amazing one week popular road trip offers jaw-dropping scenery both on the road and off, and is a must do for every American.

Bryce Canyon

10. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

It is one of America’s most scenic road trips; no matter what time of year you travel it, but many travelers head here in the fall to see the unbelievable display of changing colors on the leaves. This scenic highway connects Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. This highway runs 468 miles with cliff-hugging turns, sweeping views, diverse flora and fauna and over 200 overlooks to take advantage of. Expect lakes, gorges, waterfalls, red oak trees, wildflowers and incredible rock formations. Begin in Virginia and snake your way down this colorful road all the way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking and biking trails lead right off the parkway and the small town’s quirky roadside attractions and great restaurants along the way make for the perfect scenic road trip.

Blue Ridge Highway

9. Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, Oregon

This was the first scenic highway in the United States, a marvel of engineering for its time, a National Historic Landmark and is still considered one of the most scenic drives in all of America. The highway treats travelers to ever-shifting views of the Columbia River Gorge, along with numerous hiking and biking trails that lead to hidden waterfalls. Historic monuments and buildings, fish hatcheries, stunning overlooks and of course the majestic waterfalls await you on this 70 mile journey. The most highly anticipated part of this drive is the five miles of figure eight loops that lead travelers down the river, loaded with waterfalls at every turn. The 620-foot Multnomah Falls, the fourth largest waterfall in the US is the highlight for many on this trip. After the waterfalls comes the impressive geological formations of the gorge and makes way for the dry, eastern Columbia River plateau where native plants and wildflowers make up the view.

Historic Columbia River

8. Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

The Road to Hana is at least a day, if not two day adventure through the beautiful island of Maui. This legendary road winds its way 50 miles through lush rain forests, past waterfalls, plunging pools and by dramatic seaside. The road is full of hairpin turns, one-way bridges and state parks. Taking your time on this road is highly recommended. The best way to see what the Road to Hana really has to offer is to do your research ahead of time. Many of the beaches, waterfalls and dramatic lookout points are hidden just off the road and require you to know which mile marker to pull off at. Black sand beaches, turquoise sea waters, bamboo forests, old wharfs, lava tubes, churches built of lava rocks and so much more await you on this epic drive through a breathtaking island.

Road to Hana

7. Beartooth Highway, Montana

This almost 70 mile stretch of highway from Montana to Wyoming is only open from May until late September and takes travelers throughout some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. This zigzag highway is complete with switchbacks, steep climbs and endless views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, alpine plateaus, lush forests and sparkling lakes. This drive can take you anywhere from two hours to two days, depending on how many times you want to stop and explore. Most choose to start their drive in the town of Red Lodge and head east to Yellowstone National Park, as this route reduces glare and gives you the best views of the twenty plus peaks you pass. Wildlife sightings, countless overlooks and jaw-dropping views await you on one of the most scenic drives in all of America.

Beartooth Highway

6. The Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

This scenic loop takes travelers 329 miles, from the Olympic Mountains to the rain forests and to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. What makes this drive so unique is the diversity of terrain it covers as it circles the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. It is recommended to take at least two to three days to make this scenic road trip because many of its best kept secrets are located off the beaten path. It is therefore important to mention that not all the ‘scenery’ can be seen from the road. Venture off at Sequim and head to the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge and Dungeness Spit where you can visit the world’s longest natural sand spit. Don’t miss Rialto Beach where towering rock formations and sea life provide ample photography opportunity. Other hot spots are Lake Quinault and the Quinault rain forest, Ruby Beach and Hurricane Ridge.

Olympic Park

5. Seward Highway, Alaska

Starting in Anchorage, this 127 mile highway runs from sea to mountains and back to sea, all the way south to the harbor town of Seward. If you are planning on doing this route as a round trip, it is recommend you give yourself at least three to four days because the sights you see will literally be a visual overload. This drive is where you will find majestic waterfalls, blue glaciers, whales, jagged mountains, ponds and ocean fjords. Numerous hiking and biking trails can be caught right off the highway, as well as many overlook points and picnic areas. What makes this drive so special is that it is truly interesting the entire way, with mountains, glaciers, wildlife, trails, lakes and rivers to see throughout the entire 127 miles. Combine that with a wide and easy driving road and you have yourself one of the best road trips in all of America.

Seward Highway

4. Pacific Coast Highway, California

It comes as no surprise that this is one of the best loved drives in all of America with its mind-blowing scenery, quirky stop-offs and exhilarating driving experience. This highway runs a whopping 550 miles along California’s coastline and is the most scenic part of the highway, although most travelers tend to drive the Central Coast which runs about 240 miles. Driving north to south is recommended to have unobstructed ocean views the entire way. Highlights of this trip include upscale villages, state parks which feature hundreds of species of birds and mammals, remote forests and towering sand dunes. Big Sur is often the highlight of the trip, as this coastline is made up of redwood groves stretching high into the sky, jagged cliffs stretching out into the sea and waves crashing onto rigid rocks.

California Highway

3. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

It is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park in Montana and is only open from early spring until late fall. This two-lane paved 50 mile highway gives visitors a look at all terrains within the park including large glacial lakes, alpine tundra’s, cedar forests and dozens of animals. The road twists and turns throughout the park and offers plenty of places to pull over, admire the views and snap photos. Visitors should expect to take at least a few hours to drive this road. This highway was created with the notion of making it barely visible in the landscape, thus creating a minimal impact in the park and leaving visitors with the feeling of driving on the edge of a cliff. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for waterfalls, the Jackson Glacier and the array of beautifully colored lakes.

Going to the Sun Highway

2. Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Highway 101, Oregon

This 363 mile Byway traces the entire coast of Oregon, one of the most photographed regions in the nation. To do the entire coast, you will start in Astoria and head south, all the way to Brookings. The road takes travelers to the sea and away again, as it winds past marshes, seaside cliffs, lush agricultural valleys and wind-sculpted dunes. Expect to see majestic temperate rain forests, a rugged, rocky coastline and resort towns scattered throughout the state. All of the beaches along the coast are open to the public and travelers will want to spend some time exploring them, beachcombing for shells and splashing in the waves. In the winter months it is possible to see the migrating gray whales and colonies of seals and sea lions appear all year round. Make sure to allocate an extra day or two as most travelers find themselves stopping more than expected due to the striking landscapes, beaches and towns to explore.

Highway 101

1. The Hawaii Belt, Big Island, Hawaii

The Big Island was the first Hawaii, the biggest of all the islands and is home to one of the most scenic road trips in all of America. Taking a road trip around this island is perhaps the best way to experience everything the island has to offer, from its lava desert flows to its soaring mountains to the farmlands and sandy beaches. The Hawaii Belt Road is made up of three sections and it fully circles the island, giving travelers a full picture of what Hawaii truly is. Expect to see coffee farms, Eden-like forests, active lava flows, lush rain forests, long stretches of beaches and welcoming villages. It is easy to take this road trip on a whim with plenty of places to stay and eat along the way. Experience the finest of the Big Island and all its beauty it has to offer.

Big Island

The 15 Most Expensive Airbnb’s In America

Private accommodations site Airbnb all started as a way to provide budget-friendly accommodations to fellow travelers and offer a way to experience the world as a local -all while feeling right at home (in someone else’s home). These days just about any type of accommodation can be found on Airbnb, including entire mansion rentals which rival some of the swankiest hotel accommodations you can find. From countryside estates to pimped out luxury homes that have reportedly housed some note-worthy celebrities, America certainly has it’s fair share of luxury Airbnb’s…and they of course come with hefty price tags.  Let’s take a look at 15 of the most expensive Airbnb’s in America:

15. Spectacular Grand Mansion Sleeps 25

-Manchester, Vermont
Price per night: $2,500 USD

The Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont is promoted as the ideal spot for weddings, corporate events and family reunions. The 1902 historic estate sleeps 25 guests in 10 bedrooms and also has ‘8+’ bathrooms, pool, tennis court and a sculpture garden…how fancy! The 30 acre estate also features other rental houses and can accommodate 125 guests for special events. The price tag might be $2,500 per night with a 2 night minimum but hey, there’s always a price for such elegance.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

14. Dream Weddings, Corporate Get Aways

-Gilford, New Hampshire
Price per night: $2,500 USD

Advertised as the perfect retreat for weddings and family reunions, this New Hampshire property is located just minutes from ski hills and lake Winnipesauke. The 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom home can accommodate up to 16 people with 10 beds and also has a hot tub, heated pool, basketball court and even a grass tennis court for non-stop family fun.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

13. Antietam Overlook Farm Scenic B&B

-Keedysville, Maryland
Price per night: $2,995 USD

While the price per night may seem high, this lovely farmstead B&B in Maryland is located right near Antietam National Battlefield making it a perfect rental for your reenactment troops. The 19th century-style property can also be rented for events like weddings and parties with space to accommodate up to 50 guests. Featuring 6 bedrooms suites with 6 bathrooms on 95 acres of beautiful Maryland country-side.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

12. 3 Bedroom Premium View Unit Solaris

-Vail, Colorado
Price per night: $3,000 USD

This next listing is particularly interesting for those foodies out there who have deep pockets. If you’ve ever wanted to attend the Taste of Vail Food and Wine Festival, but weren’t sure where to stay, consider this swanky rental unit which features 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, over 2,000 sq feet of space, spectacular village views and access to all the amenities if this luxury building including room service, pool, spa, valet, housekeeping and a private chef.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

11. Beautiful, Spacious Beach House

-Narrangansett, Rhode Island
Price per night: $3,255 USD

Rhode Island is a favorite summertime vacation destination with beautiful beaches and quaint towns along the beautiful east coast. Staying in this newly built Colonial Narrangansett beach house featuring 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a third floor deck and ocean views. You can also sip the famous Narrangansett beer while actually being in Narrangansett…all for the not so low price of $3,255 per night.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

10. US Open Chambers Bay Mansion

-Tacoma, Washington
Price per night: $3,500 USD

Compared to some of the other luxury accommodations on this list, this 10 bedroom, 10 bathroom Tacoma, Washington mansion is almost a deal at $3,500 per night. The historic home was once owned by the famous Weyerhauser family and sleeps up to 20 guests. It also features 4 kitchens, 4 decks and a media room. The high price tag is due to the fact that the US Open will be in Chambers Bay in June so a 1 week stay is required then. But, they’re throwing in 3 bottles of Chateau St. Michelle wine and a $250 gift card to a local brew pub

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

9. Executive Indianapolis Home

-Indianapolis, Indiana
Price per night: $3,900 USD

This next listing is somewhat puzzling; OK, we get that being only 6 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium is many football fan’s dream but other than that we don’t really see what’s so special about this “executive home”. The photos in the listing are nice enough and the description indicates the home has 2 fireplaces, a steam shower and flat screen televisions but a $3,900 per night price tag and 4 night minimum? Really?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

8. Royal Private Estate

-Santa Fe, New Mexico
Price per night: $4,250 USD

This impressive estate in Santa Fe sits on 14 acres and boasts some seriously spectacular mountain views. The home itself is equally impressive and seems like it could have been featured on MTV’s ‘Cribs’ with features like 3 master suites, a library, theater, gourmet kitchen, “museum quality art collection” and 10-car “auto court”. You know you’ve made it when you don’t just have a garage, but an auto court. It’s no surprise this mega mansion comes with a $4,250 per night price tag.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

7. Alaskan Experience on Luxury Yacht

-Juneau, Alaska
Price per night: $5,000 USD

This next luxury listing proves that not all homes (or accommodations) are stationary. Hop aboard this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom private yacht and set a course for discovery as you explore the wilderness and waters of southeast Alaska. Your luxury yacht comes complete with Captain, crew and your very own private chef. Activities and itineraries are customized and tailor to the preferences of guests. If an Alaskan cruise ship is just too crowded for you (and you have deep pockets) this private option might be just for you.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

6. Sprawling Horse Country Estate

-Southern Pines, North Carolina
Price per night: $5,000 USD

When you’re booking an accommodation that costs $5,000 USD per night, you probably want to know what you’re getting. Unfortunately this listing is lacking in details…and photos, but we do know this North Carolina estate sits on 16 acres of farmland. While there are no photos of the inside of the home, the host does indicate there are 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, a pool, a pond and an indoor fitness room. Those that are curious about this rental will just have to contact the host for themselves.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

5. Hale Ohana

–Kahuku, Hawaii
Price per night: $5,520 USD

Hawaii is known for luxury accommodations in a picture perfect setting and this lavish rental home is no exception. Hale Ohana O Kekai (which means family house by the sea)  is located on the ocean with private beach access and is a 25 minute drive to historic Haleiwa Town on the island of Oahu. The one-acre property features 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, open air living space, 3 dining areas, infinity pool and a guest house. This slice of Hawaiian paradise has hosted such celebrities as Diana Ross and Bobby Brown -who could easily afford the $5,520 per night price tag and 4 night minimum.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

4. English Country Manor

–West Orange, New Jersey
Price per night: $8,000 USD

Located 14 miles from New York City is this elegant country manor –something you might not expect in New Jersey. The 5 bedroom, 7 bathroom home is located in the gated community of Llewellyn Park –the country’s first planned community, and is just down the street from Thomas Edison’s home. There’s also a televisions in each room, a fitness room, country kitchen and a pool table. Sure, there’s no denying this home is lovely…but $8,000 a night?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

3. Film Location

–Brooklyn, New York
Price per night: $8,000 USD

If you’re going to spend $8,000 a night to stay in New York, you’d probably expect to be in Manhattan rather than Brooklyn, but one look at the photos of this classic brownstone and you’ll see why the price tag. The 10,000 square foot home was built in 1887 and combines the vintage details and character with modern furnishings. Owned by interior designer Jessica Warren the home is being offered on Airbnb as a film location (hence the price tag). In addition to the 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms is a green room, hang out space and a kitchen that is “perfect for craft service”. All for the starting price of $8,000 for a 12 hr shoot.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

2. Abode at Red Cloud

–Park City, Utah
Price per night: $10,000 USD

If you’re planning on making a trip to next year’s Sundance Film Festival and have very deep pockets, check out the Abode at Red Cloud in Park City Utah. This mountain mansion features a spectacular great room with massive fireplace, 2 master suites, wine cellar, exercise room, steam room, screening room (for private film festival parties) and a ski room which provides direct access to the Red Cloud chair lifts via a heated walkway. While this place would probably be any skiers dream, the price tag of $10,000 USD per night put it comfortably out of reach for most. Oh, and did we mention there’s a 3 night minimum?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

1. Historical Mansion Garden District

–New Orleans, Louisiana
Price per night: $10,000 USD

This beautiful 4,000 square foot Greek revival style mansion is located in the Garden District of New Orleans. The Airbnb listing claims past guests have been A-list movie stars but doesn’t go as far as to mention any names. The house features 4 large guest rooms each with adjoining bathroom, a kitchen many chefs would be envious of, a pool and gardens. As you can see from the photo, the house is beautiful and decorated in a lavish style that suits the history of the mansion, but at a price tag of $10,000 per night plus cleaning and service fees, this luxury home is reserved for the rich and famous.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb