Seven of the top 10 trending destinations stateside are in the South.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
February 03, 2021
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People can't get enough of the Smoky Mountains, especially the so-called gateway to it all: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. And now the east Tennessee town has been crowned number one in Tripadvisor's trending destinations in the U.S. list for 2021. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic kept many folks at home this year so far and last, but it certainly hasn't stopped people from daydreaming about their next, spectacular getaway, whenever the time is right.

"Alongside the latest vaccine developments, pent-up demand is prompting the world to think more about travel in 2021," said Christine Maguire, vice president and general manager, global media business at Tripadvisor, in the company press release on the trending destinations, which are part of the company's annual Travelers' Choice Best of the Best Awards. "But one result of the pandemic may be the destinations they're interested in. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 74% of travelers will spend more time selecting a destination when planning their next trip. If you're like me and already imagining your first post-vaccine vacation, this list of travelers' favorite destinations can serve as your inspiration." In addition to trending destinations in the U.S., Tripadvisor also shared Travelers' Choice awards for trending destinations around the world, popular destinations globally and in the U.S., and National Parks awards for the world and the United States.

For this year's rankings, TripAdvisor looked at destinations that saw the biggest increase in a combination of positive ratings and reviews in the past year. Per the press release, the company's findings also apparently took into consideration where travelers "dreamed of going while the pandemic kept them stuck at home." Impressively, four of the top five U.S. trending destinations are in our portion of the country, and seven out of the top 10 are in the South as well. Rounding out the top five is St. Augustine, Florida, in second; Fort Myers Beach, Florida, in third, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in fourth. Marco Island, Florida (#6); Hilton Head, South Carolina (#8), and Clearwater, Florida (#9), also appear on the top 10. Check out the full list here.

What Southern travel destination are you bookmarking for once quarantine life ends and the wide open path to exploration and fun blossoms once again? We think a little elk-venture to the Smokies sounds quite delightful.