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20 best places to visit in the USA

By Astead Herndon, Special to CNN
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Maui reigns supreme in this year's list of "Top Places to Visit in the USA," and with its serenity and pristine beaches, it's no surprise. Water activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding and snorkeling remain extremely popular, but lesser known are the island's artisan communities, friendly locals and famous organic cuisine. Maui reigns supreme in this year's list of "Top Places to Visit in the USA," and with its serenity and pristine beaches, it's no surprise. Water activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding and snorkeling remain extremely popular, but lesser known are the island's artisan communities, friendly locals and famous organic cuisine.
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1. Maui, Hawaii
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
3. Washington D.C.
4. San Francisco, California
5. New York City
6. San Diego, California
7. Yosemite National Park, California
8. Honolulu, Hawaii
9. Orlando, Florida
10. United States Virgin Islands
11. Anchorage, Alaska
12. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
13. Chicago, Illinois
14. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
15. Grand Canyon, Arizona
16. Charleston, South Carolina
17. Las Vegas, Nevada
18. New Orleans, Louisiana
19. Seattle, Washington
20. Aspen, Colorado
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. News picked its top spots in the USA
  • There's a new number one at the top of the list
  • Beaches, national parks, big cities and culture fill out the top 20

(CNN) -- America has beaches, too.

That's the message from the 2014 U.S. News and World Report "World's Best Places to Visit" rankings for the United States.

On the U.S. list, Maui jumped six places from last year's rankings to steal the top spot from Yellowstone National Park, which fell to second place.

"When we think about American vacations, people are less inclined to think of beach cities per se, at least before big cities like New York, Chicago or our National Parks," said Allison Michaels, the site's travel editor. "So it's interesting to see a beach destination rise to the top. "

Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York City rounded out the top five vacation destinations, whose rankings are based on a formula combining online reader votes with the opinion of reputable travel writers.

Click through the gallery to see what you think of all 20 top spots.

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