Fodor’s Top 10 Stories of 2013

Hotel Caruso courtesy of Orient Express Hotels & Resorts

At Fodor's, our goal is to write stories that stoke the travel passions of our readers. Based on traffic results, 2013 was a year to celebrate the natural beauty of the world around us. Our most popular stories found us scaling the heights of the Swiss Alps in the surprise hit Top 12 Things to Do in Switzerland, and diving deeper in 10 Great Scuba Diving Locations. We toured America's national landmarks in 20 US Places to See Before You Die and explored the wilds of our own backyards in 10 Best National Parks to Visit this Winter. We also headed indoors from time to time, compiling our essential cultural picks (20 Ultimate Things to Do in Paris) and researching hip new restaurants (13 Best New Chicago Restaurants). For a look at what resonated with you—the Fodors.com community—in 2013, check out our 10 most popular stories of the year.

Courtesy of Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

20 US Places to See Before You Die

Our most popular story of the year revealed 20 of the most important sights in America, from the spectacular coastline of California's Big Sur to the cobblestone streets of New Orleans' pulsing French Quarter. To explore the breathtaking contours of America via its cities and natural wonders, we recommend adding these 20 iconic American destinations to your bucket list.

Read the Article: 20 US Places to See Before You Die

Justin88, Dreamstime
 

10 Best Small Towns in America

Our team of editors put their heads together to produce this readers’ favorite, a road-trip-ready list of the country’s best small towns (with populations of less than 50,000), from Walla Walla, WA to Galena, IL. With great local eats, interesting cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures, these lesser-known destinations deserve space in any stateside travel plans.

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Richard Carey, Dreamstime scuba-red-sea-richard-carey-dreamstime

10 Great Scuba Diving Locations

A compendium of the world's best diving spots, this slideshow regaled the underwater beauty of destinations as far flung as Egypt's Red Sea and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We also covered places closer to home, including shipwreck dives in Cozumel, Mexico, and colorful marine life in the Caribbean. Take a plunge with these top 10 picks. 

Read the Article: 10 Great Scuba Diving Locations

Courtesy of Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St Lucia

Best Caribbean All-Inclusives for 2013

Separately, “Caribbean” and “all-inclusive” are popular topics on Fodors.com. Combining them always yields a blockbuster read. Our 2013 picks for Caribbean all-inclusive resorts offered the most relaxing beach vacations yet, from Michelin-starred meals in Antigua to luxurious lagoon pools in the Dominican Republic. Whether it's family fun or your perfect honeymoon destination, start planning your trip to one of our top picks.

Read the Article: Best Caribbean All-Inclusives for 2013

Hotel Caruso courtesy of Orient Express Hotels & Resorts

20 Best Hotel Pools in the World

There's nothing more daydream-inducing than a pool photo, preferably framed by sun and sand in the distance. This story revealed the 20 best pools for a decadent plunge. From a glass-bottomed pool more than 20 stories above a Shanghai sidewalk to an infinity pool overlooking an elephant watering hole in Tanzania, these are the world's most spectacular places to take a dip.

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Courtesy of DrewTempleton.com

13 Best New Chicago Restaurants

The Windy City boasts one of the most active and interesting food scenes in the US, and 2013 was another banner year for the city’s restaurateurs. Including standouts like Little Goat Diner, Carriage House, and Fat Rice, our list of Chicago’s best new restaurants is a handy guide for any foodie traveling there this year.

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Ross Brinkerhoff, Fodor's

20 Ultimate Things to Do in Paris

The City of Light can overwhelm visitors with its seemingly endless array of museums, shops, restaurants, parks, and cafes, so we boiled the city down to its essential experiences. Whether you’re planning a first trip to Paris or you go there every year, this indispensible guide to the city’s wonders will come in handy for any traveler.

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Idreamphoto, Shutterstock

20 Most Beautiful Beaches in America

While there are beautiful beaches all over the world, few countries have as spectacular a variety of them as the US. Across the country, from Siesta Key Beach in Florida to California’s Stinson Beach—and all the way to Maui's Makena Cove (pictured here), these are 20 beaches worth traveling for.

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Jakub Jirsak, Dreamstime

Top 12 Things to Do in Switzerland

Switzerland? We were surprised too! This popular story unveiled the top 12 reasons to visit Switzerland, from enjoying spectacular mountain vistas via hot air balloon to sipping wine at lakeside vineyards. To make the most country's quaint villages, and savor its delicious foodstuffs (Gruyere cheese, Swiss chocolate, and locally sourced fish), add these 12 activities to your trip itinerary. 

Read the Article: Top 12 Things to Do in Switzerland

coronado/Shutterstock

10 Best National Parks to Visit This Winter

National parks are always popular with Fodors.com readers, even in the winter. This November article climbed the ranks quickly to become one of the year's top stories and it's no surprise why—the photos are truly stunning. We invite you to celebrate America's natural beauty with another spin through the piece. It's one of our favorites.

Read the Article: 10 Best National Parks to Visit this Winter