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10 best U.S. cities for 2015 revealed

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8. Oakland, California -- 8. Cross the Bay Bridge during your visit to San Francisco to see why Oakland is a known haven for adventurous food and fun art (Art Murmur anyone?) to Bay Area residents. Better yet, land at Oakland's sunny airport and stay on this side of the Bay. Bicyclists can also ride the newly opened Bay Bridge trail to enjoy the views on the new span of the Bay Bridge.

(CNN) — Think you need a passport to explore high art, exotic beaches and incredible natural wonders around the world?

Not so.

In a country of nearly 4 million square miles to traverse, there are plenty of new adventures for travelers right here in the United States.

Lonely Planet’s top 10 U.S. destinations for 2015 list includes cities marking important anniversaries, wide open natural spaces and hidden city gems that will soon be popular.

“I hope this list will excite travelers to explore places they hadn’t thought about going, ” said Regis St. Louis, author of Lonely Planet’s USA guide and contributor to the “Best in the U.S.” list. “We have both surprising places on the list and places people have heard buzz about.”

Lonely Planet editors hope the list will encourage people to explore. “There are lots of great things happening all over the country, and you should really come out and see it for yourself,” St. Louis said.

To compile the annual list, Lonely Planet asks its U.S. staff, authors and contributors to nominate urban and natural spots, popular and lesser known sites, and locations that have something significant happening in 2015. The staff whittles the list down to the final 10, and a natural order often emerges, editors say.

Americans don’t get as much vacation as Europeans, and we also don’t use all of our vacation. So why not use what vacation days you have to visit some of Lonely Planet’s top destinations in the United States?

Here are the 10 spots that came out on top for 2015:

1. Queens, New York

2. Western South Dakota

3. New Orleans

4. Colorado River region

5. North Conway, New Hampshire

6. Indianapolis

7. Greenville, South Carolina

8. Oakland, California

9. Duluth, Minnesota

10. Mount Shasta region, California

 

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