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While millions of Americans will fly to the warm Caribbean to escape the biting weather, others will prefer to travel domestically this year. 

TripAdvisor just named a small town in the southern United States the most popular travel destination this season.

The well-known travel site TripAdvisor has finally published a list of the hottest winter vacation spots in the United States for late 2022-early 2023, and they have come to an unexpected conclusion. In fact, the specialists have studied the data of a group of places that are rapidly expanding, namely those that are searched for the most and clicked on the most.

Contrary to common assumption, booking trends this year are not being driven by traditional favorites Orlando and Miami (at least on TripAdvisor). As a result of rising hotel prices and over-tourism, they have officially ceded the title to Chattanooga, the lesser-known “Scenic City” in Tennessee, a designation that is entirely appropriate.

In addition to learning about the city’s history, visitors can take a 13-mile scenic walk along the river, practice wildlife spotting at the zoo, visit the Tennessee Aquarium, one of the best in the nation, and stroll through the charming North Shore neighborhood, home to many regional establishments such as family-run restaurants and boutiques.

Visitors can also take day trips to Rock City, a notable natural landmark in Lookout Mountain. The tour includes a ride on the now-famous funicular that travels from its base in the St. Elmo Historic District to the top of the mountain. Once at the top, explore the Battles for Chattanooga Museum and admire the view from the lookout.

TripAdvisor lists Lookout Mountain as a must-see attraction, primarily because of its convenient location. From the top of the hill, you can see seven states: Tennessee, of course, neighboring Georgia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Alabama.

See Seven States Point
See Seven States Point

Nooga also rivals New York for Christmas lights:

Many landmarks in Nooga are decorated with “millions of lights” as part of the Holiday Trail of Lights initiative, similar to the East Coast metropolis where the annual decorations have become an attraction. Plus, there are Santa sightings, ice skating rinks, outdoor Christmas celebrations, and a Walnut Street Bridge with “snowflake strings.”

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Finally, TripAdvisor editors note that a Chattanooga winter vacation is not complete without a ride in a vintage rail car at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. There are options like the Holiday Christmas Lights Train and the North Pole Limited Christmas Train, both of which offer “majestic mountain vistas.”

Other U.S. trending destinations this winter include: 

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Jekyll Island, GA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Myrtle Beach, SC

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