USA Travel Routes for Hostel Backpackers

Zack Garhart
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Whether you’re new to the United States, or a local looking to see new cities and towns, there are a few sections of this country we recommend for extended travel. From the east coast to the west coast, and the midwest to the south east, there are many fun cities to check out! For your travels, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite hostels throughout the country.

First off: welcome back to traveling in the United States without any limitations or restrictions! Now that the CDC has officially lifted restrictions and vaccine requirements for travelers entering the United States, the doors are open to explore all that the country has to offer!

The North East Circuit

Starting in the north east, where there are cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, this part of the country is known for its fast pace and awesome eats. One great way to enjoy the north east is to arrive in Boston, Massachusetts and then make your way down to New York City, Washington DC, and then finish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For both Boston and New York City, we recommend the Hostel International (HI) group. In Boston, their downtown location is in Chinatown, which offers travelers a unique, authentic way to experience Asian culture and food. Another great thing about this location is how close it is to many iconic attractions and historical sights!

Down to the Big Apple, HI has a location that is smack dab in Manhattan, which means it is not far from the iconic Central Park. With all that there is to do, see, and eat in New York City, we recommend this particular hostel due to its proximity to not only attractions, but also its accessibility to public transportation.

Once you make it down to DC, where there is an abundance of museums and historic attractions, we recommend staying at Duo Nomad. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from the Navy Yard, this hostel is a short walk from the US Capitol building. As most of the museums in the city are free, we recommend spending at least a few days touring DC and soaking up all the history.

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Finally, the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia is known for its decadent food and deep ties to the foundation of the US. With food halls and local coffee shops being highlights for travelers, the city has so much to offer in terms of sight-seeing. The best part about Philadelphia is how walkable and accessible it is by most modes of transportation. For your accommodations, check out Apple Hostels of Philadelphia.

The South East

From Miami to New Orleans, and then over to Austin, we recommend bouncing around the south eastern part of the US for a one-of-a-kind travel experience.

Starting in Miami, look no further than South Beach. While the cost of everyday items, such as groceries and coffee, can be more expensive in this part of the city, it has a close proximity to a lot of quirky, fun parts of the city – like the Wynwood Art District – and boasts one of the best beaches in the country. For hostels, we highly recommend Freehand. This hostel doubles as a hotel, which means the amenities and services are higher than you might find in most hostels. Our favorite feature of the hostel is the pool and deck area, which features a bar and lounge that resembles what you might find at a nearby club.

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On over to New Orleans, you’ll find a city unlike any other! Known for its easy, southern living and comfort food, plus its live music and exciting night life, New Orleans is not to be missed! With a handful of options to choose from for accommodations, we especially like Madame Isabelle’s House, which features a hot tub and great courtyard. Otherwise, if you’re in the party mood, head to India House. No matter which hostel you pick, you’re in for a good time in New Orleans!

Once you’ve eaten your way through New Orleans, head on over to Austin, Texas, another city that’s known for its vibrant night life and incredible food scene. From breakfast tacos and local brews to smoked brisket and high-end sushi, the capital city of Texas offers something for everyone. Hang out on the river, or go for a dip at Barton Springs Pool. Once you’re done, spend the night at Firehouse Hostel, in downtown Austin. This hostel is also a speakeasy, so you’re just steps away from a good time!

Up to the Midwest we go

The best time to travel the Midwest is from May – October, simply because the winters can be long and often gray. But, the autumn and spring are magical, and nothing beats spending a summer day on a boat or on by a lake in states like Michigan and Wisconsin!

Known as the Second City, Chicago is not to be missed! This thriving Midwest city is home to an incredible amount of culinary options, from all different cultures, plus great walks along Lake Michigan, endless shopping, and an exciting nightlife. For many reasons, Chicago has become an epicenter for entertainment, from music shows and festivals to live professional sports games. If you decide to go in winter, we suggest December so you can walk down Michigan Avenue and enjoy all the colorful Christmas lights. With a great central location, we love Getaway Hostel in Lincoln Park.

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The West is the Best

Finally, we have the west coast. With cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle spread along the west coast, there are tons of great options for travelers both domestic and international.

Starting in San Diego, we recommend surf towns like Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, where you can find two of our excellent hostels for a great night’s stay and a lot of fun. If you’re in the mood for more city life, head over to our Adventure Hostel in downtown San Diego. San Diego is known for its laid-back vibe, exciting night life and eclectic cuisines.

Heading up to Los Angeles, you can find more great beach areas like Hermosa and Venice Beach. Our Surf City Hostel in Hermosa Beach is a great place to unwind and take in all that the Southern California coastline has to offer. With bars, restaurants and shops all within walking distance, this hostel provides a great taste of the city and is a great place to relax by the water.

On up to San Francisco, look no further than our Pacific Tradewinds Hostel, which features an excellent central location. Close to Chinatown and many other attractions, staying here gives you an opportunity to explore San Francisco and see all the city has to offer, via public transit or walking. From the Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is not short on things to do or landmarks to see.

Thinking about traveling to the Pacific Northwest by car? Check out this video for recommendations on the road!

Once you’ve checked out Southern and Central California, head on up to the Pacific Northwest for a real treat. Known for its lush, green terrain, great thrifting and proximity to the Pacific ocean, the PNW is a truly special place. In Portland, we love KEX Hostel, which is another hostel that doubles as a hotel, which means they have great amenities and a clean aesthetic. In Seattle, we also like Green Tortoise Hostel, which is located not far from Pike Place Market, and many other amazing attractions.

Now that you have an inside look at some of the hostels that are spread around the country, hit the road! Either by train, car, or plane, these areas in the USA are definitely worth a visit. We hope you like our USA travel routes for hostel backpackers!

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