NEEDHAM, Mass.—TripAdvisor announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice awards for destinations on the rise. Ishigaki, Japan earned the top spot while the small Hawaiian town of Kapaa on the island of Kauai ranked as the top rising destination in the United States.
Now in its sixth year, the awards recognize 44 destinations around the world selected by measuring year-over-year increases in positive TripAdvisor traveler review ratings for accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, as well as increases in search and booking interest.
“The Travelers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise award winners are a great source of inspiration for travelers interested in going somewhere exciting that’s emerging in popularity,” said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “These winners were based on destination feedback and interest from the TripAdvisor community, and a common thread is that they all have outstanding accommodations, wonderful restaurants, and exceptional attractions for every travel budget.”
Travelers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise — United States
1. Kapaa, Hawaii
Nestled at the base of Nounou (the Sleeping Giant) Mountain on Kauai, Kapaa is a tourist-friendly spot with a diverse array of hotels, shopping centers, and restaurants. The Kinipopo Shopping Village is a favorite among travelers for its eateries and small keepsake shops. Fans of water sports have plenty to do with options for snorkeling, kayaking, and water skiing. The average annual Kapaa hotel rate is $251 per night.
2. Waco, Texas
Located in central Texas, Waco is home to major attractions such as the Dr. Pepper Museum, which pays homage to the locally invented soft drink, as well as the Waco Mammoth National Monument, a fossil site that is home to the bones of Columbian mammoths. Travelers can also explore the Brazos River, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and may even catch a glimpse of local home remodeling stars Chip and Joanna Gaines around town. The average annual Waco hotel rate is $117 per night.
3. Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington is a riverfront city with the pedestrian-friendly Riverwalk winding along the Cape Fear River, connecting many of the city’s shops, cafés, and nightlife with waterfront hotels, parks, and the Port City Marina. Annual festivals, such as Riverfest, Wilmington Beer Week, and the world-famous North Carolina Azalea Festival, attract crowds year-round. The average annual Wilmington hotel rate is $141 per night.
4. Bend, Oregon
Bend is a natural playground where travelers can enjoy hiking and fishing along the Deschutes River, mountain biking and skiing at Mt. Bachelor, and after building up their appetite, eating at local restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Bend is a family-friendly location with no-fee museums and ski areas for children under 12. The average annual Bend hotel rate is $170 per night.
5. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder draws travelers who love the great outdoors to its 30,000 acres of unspoiled land, 200 miles of trails, and city-center paths and rivers. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is also just a stone’s throw from exceptional skiing and snowshoeing. The average annual Boulder hotel rate is $227 per night.
6. Paso Robles, California
Located in central California, Paso Robles, or “Pass of the Oaks,” is close to mountains, beaches, and deserts. This region is renowned for wine-making, and is home to more than 170 wineries, 26,000 vineyard acres, and 40 varietals of wine. In addition to touring the popular vineyards, travelers can visit the thermal springs or one of the more modern spring resorts in the area. The average annual Paso Robles hotel rate is $233 per night.
7. Richmond, Virginia
Travelers can discover an essential chapter of America’s history in the cobblestone streets, river walks, and monuments of Richmond. Originally a colonial settlement, Virginia’s capital is now a thriving hub for culture, shopping, and outdoor experiences. Travelers can learn about Civil War history, walk on the canal downtown, or take up whitewater rafting on the James River. The average annual Richmond hotel rate is $129 per night
8. Greenville, South Carolina
This Southern city boasts a thriving arts scene, hundreds of restaurants, shops and boutiques, popular annual festivals, and numerous historic sites and museums. Greenville also has a “floating” suspension bridge and is set against the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The average annual Greenville hotel rate is $144 per night.
9. Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha has a wealth of local breweries and a thriving music and art scene. History buffs can visit local museums to learn about the city’s pioneer history along the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. The average annual Omaha hotel rate is $129 per night.
10. Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is known as Bluegrass Country and as the Horse Capital of the World, but it also offers natural beauty, culture, and history. There are many hiking trails through forests, meadows, creeks, and historic landmarks, such as the Ashland estate of Henry Clay. The average annual Lexington hotel rate is $136 per night
Travelers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise — World
1. Ishigaki, Japan
2. Kapaa, Hawaii
3. Nairobi, Kenya
4. Halifax, Canada
5. Gdansk, Poland
6. San Jose, Costa Rica
7. Riga, Latvia
8. Rovinj, Croatia
9. Nerja, Spain
10. Casablanca, Morocco