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FIRST ON FOX: National Geographic released its annual list of “Best of the World” travel destinations, this time with a twist.

The 2024 list arrived with a new addition. The “Worth A Trip” series features hotels, restaurants, cultural spots and wellness experiences around the globe.

Nathan Lump, National Geographic editor-in-chief, said the expansion of the “Best of the World” enhances the brand’s decade-long tradition.

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“I have this real belief that sometimes you just need one great thing to get inspired to go somewhere,” he told Fox News Digital in an interview.

“The promise of a really incredible meal or a museum that’s going to knock your socks off … that was really the inspiration. Not full-on destinations, but very specific places and experiences that we think are really exciting and worth noting.”

Each selection was made by “tapping into” the knowledge of National Geographic’s global team of editors, photographers, videographers and other contributors, all of whom are on the lookout for new, trendy and exciting offerings for travelers at all times, Lump said.

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Of the plethora of worldwide picks, 11 selections are found in the U.S.

“You don’t have to travel around the world to experience something extraordinary.”

“It’s always so important to me to be able to emphasize all the great stuff we have that’s closer to home,” Lump said. 

nathan lump natgeo editor in chief

“You don’t have to travel around the world to experience something extraordinary.”

With that in mind, here are Nat Geo’s 2024 picks for the most “Worth A Trip” stops in America.

Best hotels

Heart Song Lodge – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dolly Parton’s new lodge, located in Dollywood, has been designated one of Nat Geo’s best hotels.

The Smoky Mountain-based accommodation offers such amenities as in-room balconies and pink Jeep tours of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nat Geo reported.

Visitors also have access to free trolley rides from the hotel to Dollywood’s roller coasters and live music.

dolyywood sign in pigeon forge

Hacienda at Armendaris – Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 

New Mexico got a shoutout for its Hacienda at Armendaris Hotel, located at the Ted Turner Reserves in the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern New Mexico.

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The four-bedroom hacienda is set on the 360,000-acre Armendaris preserve, which is also home to conservation programs that help restore the populations of bighorn sheep, Bolson tortoises, aplomado falcon and other species, according to Nat Geo.

Under Canvas North Yellowstone-Paradise Valley – Livingston, Montana

Under Canvas is a “glamping” resort set in scenic Yellowstone National Park.

yellowstone under canvas resort

Montana’s Crazy and Absaroka Mountains surround the resort, which is set in a valley that touches 50 riverfront acres at Yellowstone’s less crowded north entrance.

“These tented accommodations are quite luxurious and very comfortable,” Lump told Fox News Digital. “So you’re not roughing it … [but it] really brings you close to nature.”

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The Under Canvas tents can fit two to seven people, according to Nat Geo. Additional hiking and horseback riding outings in neighboring regions are available for booking.

Rosewood Kona Village – Big Island, Hawaii 

Rosewood Kona Village is making a comeback after a 2011 tsunami devastated the original resort, Nat Geo reported.

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“People were really quite devastated when the resort was destroyed because it was so popular. It was a beloved place where people had gone for generations,” Lump said.

kona village rosewood resort

During the restoration, the property was rebuilt on Big Island’s east coast, where families can learn to paddle outrigger canoes, make leis, watch movies under the stars and attend luau ceremonies.

Best cultural gems

Folger Shakespeare Library – Washington, D.C.

The world’s largest collection of “Shakespeareana” is officially reopening this year as a newly renovated and expanded museum and library.

The Folger, located on Capitol Hill, has more First Folios of William Shakespeare’s work than any other global destination, as well as an Elizabethan-style stage.

The library also features an interactive exhibit and a garden scattered with plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, such as rosemary and lavender.

National WWII Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana 

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has added its new Liberation Pavilion, which is focused on the “somber costs and global developments that were the result of the war,” according to Nat Geo.

National WWII Museum new orleans

The museum includes a recreation of Anne Frank’s secret annex in Amsterdam and a salt mine where treasured works of art hidden by the Nazis were uncovered.

Best wellness spots

Wellness might seem like a surprising addition to a list of this kind, Lump said, but the category is of great interest in today’s culture.

“Travel is a good way for people to open minds, open eyes and open hearts, and it’s also a great way to give back to yourself.”

“We all want to live better lives, live healthier and be more mindful, and travel is a really great way to think about that or experience something that might help you improve your life,” he said.

“I think that’s been a very important trend in consumer preferences and habits as well as the travel industry.”

woman sits in sauna

Kosa Spa – Madison, Wisconsin 

Kosa Spa, located in Madison’s historic Garver Feed Mill, offers its signature abhyanga full-body massage, which uses two bowls of “fragrant, warmed oil from Kosa’s own line of skin care products,” according to Nat Geo.

The spa serves post-treatment food and detoxifying tea as part of the 5,000-year-old Indian wellness tradition of Ayurveda.

QC NY Spa – Governors Island, New York City 

Governors Island’s QC NY Spa offers relaxation right outside the concrete jungle.

The wellness center features indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and steam baths with views of the New York City skyline.

qc ny governors island spa

The day spa, carved out of 1930s Army barracks, according to Nat Geo, is accessible by ferry from Manhattan, since the island is car-free.

“I think it’s a wonderful, different kind of way to experience New York City and to bring a little bit of zen to your day in what can often be a busy and hectic place,” Lump said.

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“It’s not necessarily the kind of thing people would always think of when they think of their trip to New York,” he added. 

Best restaurants

“Food is such an incredible motivator,” said Lump. “And people do plan entire trips around getting a hard-to-get restaurant reservation, or a place they may have seen or heard about.”

Okta – Willamette Valley, Oregon

Okta is the newest restaurant by two-star Michelin chef Matthew Lightner, who opened the eatery inside the Tributary Hotel in historic downtown McMinnville.

The chef explores Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country in his dishes, which feature locally foraged ingredients, regional fish and game, and produce grown on Okta’s 70-acre farm, Nat Geo noted. 

okta chef oregon

Carriqui – San Antonio, Texas 

Barbecue is in focus at San Antonio’s riverside Pearl District restaurant, Carriqui.

The restaurant has been built into an 1890s wooden saloon, which was rehabbed, expanded and moved 500 yards to serve South Texans their local cuisine.

The menu showcases Tex-Mex-style options, from cauliflower in mole sauce to kolaches filled with barbecue brisket.

Market 57 – New York City 

Pier 57’s new food hall, Market 57, has been built inside a converted 1954 historic dock house on the west side of Manhattan.

The space features food from 15 minority- and women-owned vendors that embody the city’s “global food culture,” Nat Geo said, with one rotating chef or restaurant that swaps out every six months.

market 57 food in manhattan

Pier 57 also has an expansive roof deck with a two-acre park and views overlooking the Hudson River.

“We always want to remind people of how many great, exciting, new and unexpected things there are out there to discover,” Lump told Fox News Digital.

“Travel is a good way for people to open minds, open eyes and open hearts, and it’s also a great way to give back to yourself.”

Nat Geo’s hotel, restaurant, cultural spot and wellness retreat recommendations can be found at natgeo.com/bestoftheworld.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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