Looking to get away? From domestic to international, budget to luxurious, family-friendly to rugged, we've got dozens of recommendations for 2015, drawn from Los Angeles Times staff, readers and other travel sites.
L.A. Times Recommendations
Kayakers near Cabo San Lucas. (Bruce Herman / Getty Images)
Los Cabos, Mexico
In September, Hurricane Odile tore up huge chunks of Cabos San Lucas and San José del Cabo, closing more than half the area's lodgings, along with scores of restaurants and other businesses and the airport.
But these twin towns at the tip of Baja have too much at stake to lie still. The airport and more than two dozen hotels reopened in October and November.
Palacio de Valle, a restored sugar baron house, in Cienfuegos. (Danita Delimont / Getty Images)
Long known for its beaches and culture, Cuba became mostly forbidden territory for American travelers soon after Fidel Castro seized control in 1959.
But relations have gradually thawed in recent years, leading to a watershed agreement announced Dec. 17 by President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro (who took over from brother Fidel in 2008).
These normalized relations could mean a rush of U.S. tourists to Cuba.
Chester Beach's "The Fountain of Waters" in the Fine Arts Garden at the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Richard Cummins / Getty Images)
In the last five years, the city has added eight hotels (with a ninth, a Kimpton, coming in 2015) and built a convention center, an aquarium and the new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony April 18.
You can expect more prettification around town; the city will host the Republican National Convention in 2016.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. (Jeffrey G. Hammond)
Buildings and food, people. This architecture-rich city, born in the late 17th century, is where the Civil War began (in 1861 when Confederate troops attacked Ft. Sumter at the mouth of Charleston Harbor).
Scores of historically important buildings survived the war, an earthquake (1886) and hurricane (1989) and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1977, the Spoleto Festival USA (May 22-June 7) has been filling the city with opera, dance, theater, jazz and chamber music.
(Julien Fourniol / Getty Images)
This site in Normandy — a tiny island at the mouth of the Couesnon River, subject to dramatic tidal surges and home to a 1,000-year-old abbey and hamlet — has been seducing visitors for generations.
Mont-St.-Michel, with a population of less than 50, ranks as France's third most popular tourist attraction. But over the decades, silt has been accumulating around the island, as have parking spaces and a causeway used by countless tourists.
As a result, it was often surrounded by mud flats instead of water. To bring back the water, French officials have spent years building a dam, moving sand and devising a shuttle system.
Historic geisha and tea houses in Kanazawa. (David Hill / Getty Images)
More trains, more hotels, more visitors and Olympics on the horizon — that's Japan in 2015.
With Tokyo's 2020 Olympics in mind, officials say they want to double foreign tourism in the next six years.
New bullet-train service will shorten travel times from four hours to two hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo to Kanazawa, which is known for its Kenrokuen Garden and Chaya (teahouse) districts.
(Alex Robinson / Getty Images)
Choquequirao Archaeological Park, Peru
As Machu Picchu gets busier and the tourist economy surrounding it gets bigger, people will consider visiting this Inca ruin, about 30 miles away.
To reach Choquequirao, a mountaintop stone complex that dates to the 15th century, travelers drive five hours from Cuzco to the village of Cachora, then trek two days. (If you like, you can continue the trek to Machu Picchu.)
Westminster Abbey. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
In January, mark the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death by going to his family's Blenheim Palace just outside Oxford.
In March, queue up at Leicester Cathedral to see the reburial of the remains of Richard III, which were found in 2012 beneath a parking lot. In June, stop by the British Library to glimpse a copy of the Magna Carta, the foundation of Britain's common law, signed by King John at Runnymede 800 years ago.
Duomo cathedral. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images)
This capital of design and art history has been a fetching destination for years. Besides its vital fashion industry and many iconic buildings (including the 14th century Milan Duomo, the Sforza Castle and the skylighted hall of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II), it is home to Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper."
In 2015, it gains an additional charm: Expo Milano, set to open May 1 and close Oct. 31. Granted, world's fairs aren't the world-shaking spectacles they used to be.
(MasterLu / Getty Images)
For years, the city-state of Singapore has been one of the easiest places in Asia to visit — great street food, sparkling streets, dozens of high-end shops and hotels along Orchard Road.
But 2015 will be especially festive, because it's Singapore's golden jubilee.
Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. (Daniel Chavkin)
A lot has happened in the last year, including the openings of the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage in May and the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center and the Triada Palm Springs hotel in November.
Several more restaurants and hotels are due in 2015, along with the 25th Dinah Shore Weekend (a lesbian-centric celebration that's now officially the Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend) April 1-5.
High Line public park. (Iwan Baan)
Lower Manhattan, N.Y.
On May 1, the Whitney Museum of American Art opens on Gansevoort Street in the old meatpacking district between the High Line (more on that in a minute) and the Hudson River.
The new Whitney building, designed by Renzo Piano, replaces the museum's longtime home (now closed) on Madison Avenue near East 75th Street, which will be taken over by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The northern lights. (Ingolfur Bjargmundsson / Getty Images)
No important anniversaries in Iceland in 2015, no new major museums, no revolutionary tours. But wild, remote, cool Iceland is beckoning.
It would be good to get in and out before the next unpronounceable volcano erupts, and the coming year is as good as any to confront the glaciers and fiords, the expanses of Vatnajokull National Park (which covers 13% of the country), the sleek urban design of Reykjavik, the northern lights and that steaming blue lagoon you've seen in ads.
Torres del Paine National Park. (Marion Faria / Getty Images)
Neither a nation nor a state, Patagonia is the southernmost stretch of South America — a 386,000-square-mile outback of wind-scrubbed mountains, glaciers, lakes and coastline, shared by Chile and Argentina.
On the Argentine side: Los Glaciares National Park and, farther north, San Carlos de Bariloche, the foremost ski resort in South America. On the Chilean side, there's Torres del Paine National Park (which includes a 52-mile trekking circuit with breathtaking views). There's also the Patagonia National Park project led by American activists Doug and Kristine Tompkins, which covers nearly 200,000 acres in rugged Chacabuco Valley, including the Lodge at Valle Chacabuco.
The park (which closes for the South American winter) had its soft opening in October, with a grand opening planned sometime in 2015.
Skeleton Coast. (Buena Vista Images / Getty Images)
Formerly colonized by Germany and ruled by South Africa, this southern African country celebrates 25 years of independence in 2015.
Though its population is just 2.2 million, its territory is epic, with remarkable landscapes, including the Kalahari Desert and the Skeleton Coast. The coast is renowned and feared for its remote, wind-raked shipwrecks, dunes and whale bones. At one edge is Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, opened in 2013 and affiliated with Wilderness Safaris.
Recommendations from other travel sites
(Johannes Eisele / AFP/ Getty Images)
The port city remains affordable despite recent upscale additions, says Lonely Planet.
(Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP / Getty Images)
Da Nang, Vietnam
Da Nang topped TripAdvisor's list of international destinations on the rise for 2015. The travel website compiled its list using an algorithm that measured year-over-year increases in positive reviews.
Plaza de Mayo. (Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images)
Go for the increasingly favorable exchange rate, says Frommer's.
Grand Place. (Olivier Berg)
Mons is tiny, but it offers a wealth of culture, says CNN Travel. Five museums will open in April alone.
Barolo. (Massimo di Nonnon / Getty Images)
Explore Piedmont, a region in northwest Italy, before it gets too crowded, says Fodor's. The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.
Capo di Feno beach. (Pascal Pochard-Casabianca / AFP/Getty Images)
National Geographic Traveler recommends visiting inland Corsica to avoid the crowds.
El Morro fort in Old San Juan. (Ricardo Arduengo / Associated Press)
Expect strong deals for Puerto Rico in 2015, says Travelzoo editors and deal experts.
Avenue of the Baobabs. (Aline Ranaivoson / AFP / Getty Images)
"Under-the-radar, undeveloped and undiscovered, this a go-now destination," says Anisha Shah of the Huffington Post.
Leather tanneries. (Fadel Senna / AFP / Getty Images)
Why go now? Travel + Leisure points to a sophisticated scene emerging and new hotels and restaurants, including Hotel Sahrai.
(U.S. Virgin Islands)
U.S. Virgin Islands
The islands in the Caribbean feel international but offer the comforts of home, says U.S. News Travel. English is the official language and its currency is the U.S. dollar.
Where The Times Travel staff is going
Hanalei Bay. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catharine Hamm, travel editor
We’re planning to join longtime friends to enjoy an Eden that deserves its nickname: the Garden Isle.
Pyramid of the Magician. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Anne Harnagel, assistant travel editor
My son, Andrew, is studying in Oaxaca, Mexico, in the spring, and the Yucatan has been on my list.
"Our Hands" sculpture by Donna Billick. (Robert Durell)
Jan Molen, designer
My daughter’s return to CSU Chico in January is the inspiration for a mini-vacation. The first stop will be a tour of the city’s Sierra Nevada brew house and a meal at its restaurant, which features beef from the university’s farm. Because we have only a long weekend, we’ll limit our explorations to the 3,670-acre Bidwell Park and Bidwell Mansion within the city’s borders, leaving out-of-town trails for future visits.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (upper left). (Francis Vachon / AFP / GettyImages)
Quebec and New England
Christopher Reynolds, staff writer
I’ll be in Quebec in spring and New England in fall – both because of my daughter’s Irish dancing. The rest of the year? There’s no telling.
Where Times readers are going
(Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)
Key West, Fla.
Emily Merkey, Santa Barbara
Each year, Emily Merkey and her family travel to Key West to visit relatives. "The trip there and back is always disastrous, but our time with family in the Keys is indescribable," she said. She has fond memories of boat trips with Uncle Brad to Marvin Key, picnics at Bahia Honda State Park and kayaking under the Overseas Highway.
The forest at the Arenal Volcano. (Kent Gilbert / Associated Press)
Kristi March, Huntington Beach
Her family "wanted to go somewhere new, adventurous and educational for our children, and Costa Rica definitely meets all those requirements," March said.
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo. (Jerry V. Haines)
Jose Carlos and his family are traveling to Morelia in Michoacan to visit relatives and take in the city's colonial sights. The city has magnificently preserved structures, including an aqueduct that runs through much of the city, Carlos said.
Downtown Auckland. (Alexander Efimov)
Russell Kerr, Laguna Niguel
Kerr spent three months in New Zealand in 2013, but he's returning to the islands in 2015. "This time I plan to hike the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island, drive the east coast of the South Island and spend a few days in the beautiful Bay of Islands before returning to the gorgeous 'City of Sails,' Auckland, for a couple of weeks," he said.
Wildebeests migrate across the Serengeti. (Claudia Uribe / Getty Images)
Tanzania and Rwanda
Michael and Joan Allan, La Cañada
For their 50th anniversary, Michael and Joan Allan are traveling to Rwanda to see the gorillas and then to Tanzania to witness the annual wildebeest migration.
Contrayerba glacier, left, in Huascaran National Park. (Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)
Peter Gibson, Cypress
Peter Gibson and his wife want to go to northern Peru to see the glaciers before they melt.
Manarola in the Cinqueterre. (Olivier Morin / AFP/Getty Images)
Italy: Milan, Cinqueterre and Rome
Anne DeVenzio, Encino
DeVenzio is traveling to Italy to explore her roots. "I want to experience live opera, jazz and rock, and feel what it's like to be a local!" she said.
An iceberg off the coast of Norway. (Martin Bureau / AFP/Getty Images)
Sandi Kinton, Newport Beach
Kinton is going on her second trip to the European Arctic with Lindblad-National Geographic expedition. "This is a return trip for us because we enjoyed it so much the last time," she said. "It is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth."
Morning Glory Geyser, near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. national parks and monuments
Marsha and Matthew Philippe, Fred and Donna Pannebaker, Crestline
The Philippes and the Pannebakers are visiting national parks and monuments on a four-to-five-week RV trip. Destinations include Great Basin, Craters of the Moon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Wind Cave, Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, Canyons of the Ancients and the Grand Canyon. Opting out of the guided tour bus experience, they are looking forward to relaxing at their own pace in their own buses and beds.
(Daniel A. Anderson)
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Jacqueline Borja, San Gabriel
Jaqueline Borja says Puerto Vallarta, a three-hour flight from Los Angeles, is her new Hawaii. She plans to stay at a boutique hotel in the Romantica Zone near the arts and dining scene in the old downtown area. “Maybe on this trip I will try and make it out to Sayulita, which is a quaint fishing village 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.”