Three US destinations make Lonely Planet’s ‘best places to visit’ in 2023: Can you guess the picks?

Lonely Planet has released its annual “Best in Travel” list for 2023 — and three US destinations have made the cut.

The travel brand’s chosen locations are based on expert predictions celebrating the best places for eating, connecting, unwinding, learning and journeying.

The 18th annual collection highlighted “transformative” and “meaningful” travel experiences, Lonely Planet’s senior vice president of content and executive editor Nitya Chambers told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

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“As travel has rebounded, we are noticing that travelers want more meaningful experiences from the trips that they take,” she said.

“And so not only did we lean into that categorization and structure, but also [we have] a real focus on local voices and expertise.”

A man skips rocks on a Lowell Point beach walk in Seward, Alaska.

A man skips rocks on a Lowell Point beach walk in Seward, Alaska.
(Nathaniel Wilder Lonely Planet)

The list comes together through nominations from staff, global travel experts and other contributors — and each destination is judged on community, tourism, global appeal and overall excitement.

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Lonely Planet then calls on locals to spotlight the best of the best from each destination.

New Mexico local ShanDien LaRance stands near a rocky landscape.

New Mexico local ShanDien LaRance stands near a rocky landscape.
(Lonely Planet Ghost Ranch)

Here is why the three American locations — Alaska, New Mexico and Boise, Idaho — have made the list for 2023.

1.Alaska

The Last Frontier has made a prominent appearance on Lonely Planet’s list in the “connect” category.

The state of Alaska is known for its gorgeous landscape, unique wildlife and national treasures, such as Denali National Park.

Alaska's Kenai River is seen from the air in this image.

Alaska’s Kenai River is seen from the air in this image.
(Nathaniel Wilder Lonely Planet)

However, what Lonely Planet says it loved and appreciated about Alaska is its energy and connection to both places and people.

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Chambers explained that Alaska is a standout for 2023 travel, because the state is a great example of how indigenous groups are managing authentic tourism experiences while also embracing sustainability.

“You really see that connection woven through all the Alaska content,” she said

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“It’s a really fascinating frame for thinking about Alaska, which is a place that is so well-known to so many of us — but really uncovering pockets of it that you might be experiencing in a new way for the first time.”

2.New Mexico

The entire southwestern state of New Mexico is featured as a location for learning.

Lonely Planet noted that the “Land of Enchantment” is home to 23 Native tribes and has lots of other history to uncover.

A man bangs a drum as the sun sets on New Mexico's vast landscape.

A man bangs a drum as the sun sets on New Mexico’s vast landscape.
(Lonely Planet Ghost Ranch)

“This is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music while also enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest,” Lonely Planet wrote.

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Chambers added that a part of the “souvenir” of visiting New Mexico is “taking home what you learned.”

Native American hoop dancer ShanDien LaRance offered Lonely Planet a local perspective on the state, mentioning features such as New Mexico’s “fresh air and open skies.”

ShanDien LaRance of New Mexico is a Native American hoop dancer.

ShanDien LaRance of New Mexico is a Native American hoop dancer.
(Lonely Planet Lightning Boy Foundation)

Chambers said LaRance not only called attention to New Mexico’s conservation and sustainability aspects, but also to its indigenous art, history, cuisine and Spanish culture.

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“She talks about the arts community, talks about the history, talks about the people, talks about the food as really woven through that backdrop,” Chambers said.

Hot air balloons are set up for flight in New Mexico.

Hot air balloons are set up for flight in New Mexico.
(Lonely Planet)

“And it’s really powerful, I think, to see her heritage in a kind of modern setting of New Mexico.”

3. Boise, Idaho

The city of Boise, Idaho, got a major shout-out as a place that is fostering community and connection.

Lonely Planet mentioned some of Boise’s versatile adventure features, such as water rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter.

A couple walk a trail at Camel's Back Park in Boise, Idaho.

A couple walk a trail at Camel’s Back Park in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

Boise offers year-round natural beauty, the brand added, as well as a notable wine and culinary scene that makes it a “great place to connect.”

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Chambers mentioned Boise’s charming crossover of natural beauty and an “under-the-radar” food and art scene.

Croquetas, Tortilla de Patatas and grilled peppers at Bar Gernika in Boise, Idaho.

Croquetas, Tortilla de Patatas and grilled peppers at Bar Gernika in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

“Boise was one of those places that you look [into] — and you have a moment of getting really excited about something unexpected,” she said.

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Within the last decade, according to Chambers, Boise has had a “boom” in population, which has brought more attention to the city’s “charm and local pride of a small agricultural town.”

A band plays at an amphitheater in Boise, Idaho.

A band plays at an amphitheater in Boise, Idaho.
(Tamara Kenyon Lonely Planet)

“It has that sense of community that you can connect into,” she said.

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“And I think there is a great story about the community of Boise … as it grows and develops.”

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