Get us in your inbox

Lauren Dana

Lauren Dana

USA contributor

Lauren Dana Ellman is a freelance travel writer and editor based in New York. Her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Viator, and Reader's Digest. When she's not daydreaming of her next trip, you can find her playing with her dog or online shopping.

Follow Lauren Dana

Articles (37)

The best Alaska cruises for every type of traveler

The best Alaska cruises for every type of traveler

Alaska is among the most popular summer vacation destinations since it’s (pretty much) the only time of year the state offers warm, sunny weather and hours of extra daylight (on my summer 2022 trip here, I remember looking at my iPhone and being surprised that the sun still hadn’t set by 9pm!). In my opinion, cruising is, by far, the best way to experience the massive state and all the beauty it has to offer since you won’t need to drive or hop on a handful of flights; plus, you’ll only need to unpack once! (The views, of course, are just the icing on the proverbial cake.) As you scroll through our top picks for the best Alaska cruises, it’s worth noting that most options include scenic cruising through Alaska’s Inside Passage, a 500-mile-long coastal route world-renowned for its wildlife, glaciers and postcard-worthy scenery. (I’ll never forget the awe I felt when watching a whale breach from the 11th deck of my cruise ship or the glacier-studded views I ogled from the comfort of my private balcony.) Below, I’ve broken down the best Alaska cruises for every type of traveler, including budget-conscious cruisers, adventure-seekers and luxury lovers alike. RECOMMENDED: The best cruises from the U.S.

The best East Coast beach towns for the perfect summer vacation

The best East Coast beach towns for the perfect summer vacation

With summer fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to start planning your next beach vacation. However, since America is home to over 12,000 miles of shoreline and 5,000-plus public beaches, finding the ideal oceanfront retreat is, well, no easy feat. However, some of the country’s best stretches of sand may be closer than you think—especially if you live near the East Coast. What’s more, the country’s Eastern Seaboard is home to dozens of charming beach towns that rival some of the ones you’d find on the West Coast (sorry, not sorry), each with its own distinct feel. From an arty enclave near Miami to a Maine hideaway that looks like it's been plucked straight from a Nancy Meyers rom-com, we’ve narrowed down the best East Coast beach towns along the Atlantic coast. RECOMMENDED: The 21 coziest cabins on Airbnb near NYC

The 22 best things to do in Memphis

The 22 best things to do in Memphis

Welcome to Memphis, ‘Home of the Blues’, where the live music is great and the BBQ is (arguably) even better. Tennessee cities like Nashville are only getting more popular as destinations, and this historic southwestern Tennessee city has become well-loved for its fascinating history and thriving arts and culture scene. It helps that Memphis is the home of the legendary Sun Studio (where Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley both recorded albums), and the music has been flowing ever since. Simply stroll through Beale Street to get completely absorbed in the culture – jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll sing from every corner. From fascinating museums to vintage train rides, here are the best things to do in Memphis right now.  RECOMMENDED:🍗 The best restaurants in Memphis📍 The best things to do in Memphis🏨 The best hotels in Memphis🌆 Our ultimate guide to Tennessee

The best food and drink trails in America for experiencing local flavors

The best food and drink trails in America for experiencing local flavors

As culinary tourism becomes increasingly popular, it’s safe to say that a destination’s food and drink offerings can easily make or break one’s vacation. However, you don’t necessarily need to travel too far from home to experience unique cuisine and beverage offerings, and that’s because the U.S. boasts a bevy of unique food and drink trails. Whether you prefer to sip margaritas in Santa Fe, slurp oysters in North Carolina, or chow down on barbecue in Alabama, the best food and drink trails across America offer something for every traveler. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorites across the States to inspire your future food-filled adventures. There's never been a better time to hit the road hungry. RECOMMENDED: The best food tours in the USAThe best gas station snacks ranked

The best underrated summer travel destinations in the U.S.

The best underrated summer travel destinations in the U.S.

Why is everyone vacationing in the same place? I often wonder this during travel spikes, scrolling social media to see people with nothing in common having the same experiences. Are we all spring skiers now? Is everyone actually having fun, or are we just yielding to a trend? It’s time we all dig a little deeper, skip the cookie-cutter trip and set off somewhere different. Forget what everyone else is doing! Let’s explore our own interests—and while we’re at it, do it where it’s not so crowded. To help you find the perfect underrated summer travel destination, we tapped our network of writers with plenty of experience discovering cool places. We’re showing new sides to cities and regions you already know and sharing choice spots that might be new to you. From wine tasting your way through Boise, Idaho, and encountering wildlife in Oakland, California, to ferry hopping in Southeast Alaska, these aren’t your typical summer escapes. A little less popular and still very exciting, these underrated U.S. destinations are calling your name this summer.

The best summer camps for adults in the U.S.

The best summer camps for adults in the U.S.

Summer is essentially synonymous with camp if you're a kid—just think back to your childhood and picture warm, sunny afternoons out on the water or in the woods. But that doesn't mean the fun stops when you grow up, and we don't mean taking up a job as a counselor. Feeling nostalgic for the good ol' days? Consider attending an adult summer camp in the U.S., where you can partake in classic outdoor adventures like kayaking and archery, albeit with a grown-up flair (think: mimosas or Bloody Marys at breakfast, cocktails in the evening and that include arts and crafts and spirits tasting). Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best adult summer camps across America—ultra-luxe offerings included.

The 24 best restaurants in Portland, Oregon

The 24 best restaurants in Portland, Oregon

You’re never far from good food in Portland.  A ton of very talented chefs now reside in Portland, cooking up innovative snacks to really put it on the map, and as a diverse city, there’s pretty much every kind of cuisine you can imagine here. And luckily enough, we’ve tasted it all. Every last dish. So on our list, you’ll find everything from small plates and pasta to Peruvian and Southern biscuits. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Portland’s got it. Here are the best restaurants in the city right now. We hope you’re hungry! RECOMMENDED:📍 The best things to do in Portland🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Portland🏨 The best hotels in Portland At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best natural hot springs in the U.S. for a restorative soak

The best natural hot springs in the U.S. for a restorative soak

It’s no secret that America's natural hot springs are renowned for their healing properties. In fact, experts believe these mineral-rich waters can help boost circulation, improve hypertension, alleviate stress, help with pain and reduce inflammation—that is, among a slew of other health benefits. And besides, who doesn’t enjoy a rejuvenating soak, especially following a strenuous hike or high-energy activity? If you need more convincing, we’ve got you covered: From under-the-radar picks in Nevada to ultra-scenic spots in Alaska, to a centuries-old historic haunt in Virginia, we’ve rounded up the best natural hot springs in the U.S. to inspire your future travels. RECOMMENDED: The most Instagrammable pools in the U.S.  

The best spots for whale watching in the USA

The best spots for whale watching in the USA

Spotting a whale in its natural habitat is, in a word, magical—and you may not have to travel too far from home to experience this for yourself. With over 12,000 miles of shoreline, the United States is practically teeming with whale-watching opportunities all year long. However, there are peak times for particular types of whales and places to spot them. For instance, blue whales tend to hang out in southern California during the summer months, while humpbacks are most visible in Alaska from April through November. Ready to plan your USA whale-watching trip? From the idyllic island of Maui to the waters of Cape Cod, here are the top places to go whale-watching all across America, plus the best times to visit. RECOMMENDED: Where to see the most stunning castles in America

The best spring break destinations in the U.S. for every type of traveler

The best spring break destinations in the U.S. for every type of traveler

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s not too late to plan your spring break getaway—and you don’t even have to leave the country to enjoy an epic escape. Nor do you need to be a student to take advantage of a spring trip. But with so many places to choose from across America, planning the perfect vacation to suit your—or your family’s, friends’ or SO’s needs—can feel overwhelming. Whether you prefer an oceanfront retreat, a wellness-centric hideaway or a family-friendly oasis, we’ve got you covered: Read on for the best spring break destinations in the U.S. for every type of traveler. RECOMMENDED: Cheap family vacations in the U.S. for 2024

Time Out’s favorite airport lounges in the U.S.

Time Out’s favorite airport lounges in the U.S.

At Time Out, we’re all about helping you see the world on the cheap and leading you to the best travel deals whenever possible. But sometimes, even the thrifty seek a bit of luxury on vacation, a place to comfortably kick their feet up before it’s time to squeeze into that basic economy seat. I mean, who can turn down a $99 flight to Europe? Not us! For that, we love an airport lounge. These once exclusive domains for the most privileged passengers have dramatically changed since American Airlines opened the first in NY’s LaGuardia Airport in 1939. What started as an invitation-only club for folks to enjoy a pre-board cocktail has evolved into a massive network of areas for travelers to rest, work, refuel and idle before a flight. Today, there are more lounges than ever, offering all kinds of amenities (pickleball, anyone?) and greater access for all. Headed to the airport soon? We asked Time Out editors and frequent contributors to share their favorite lounges in the U.S. Whether you're lounge-curious or a pro looking for a new respite when you fly, you'll find helpful intel for your next trip below. 

The best weekend trips in the U.S. for 2024

The best weekend trips in the U.S. for 2024

We love a European vacation as much as the next person, but perhaps less so these days. Despite the many flash sales luring us abroad, there’s just too much to see and do right here in America. The rise in low-cost airlines expanding their routes throughout the U.S. has also refocused our wanderlust, nudging us toward short escapes closer to home. And with limited time and budgets, a weekend getaway in the U.S. is just the vacation we all need right now. Our picks bypass the obvious choices, say New York or L.A., in favor of smaller cities with booming art scenes, lesser-known towns with incredible restaurants and coastal spots with plenty of room to spread out on the sand. You’ll find fewer crowds and plenty of small-town charm at these unexpected destinations. Looking for someplace to go in 2024? These places should absolutely be on your travel radar this year. RECOMMENDED: The best cities to visit in the U.S.

News (2)

The best last-minute Memorial Day weekend getaways

The best last-minute Memorial Day weekend getaways

Memorial Day weekend may be less than a week away, but it’s not too late to plan a last-minute escape. Fortunately, you don’t need to venture too far from home to experience an epic weekend getaway to ring in the unofficial start of summer. Ahead, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite Memorial Day weekend getaways, each within easy driving distance of major U.S. cities such as Miami, New York and Los Angeles. From a laid-back SoCal beach town where surf and sand reign supreme to a tranquil lakefront retreat in northwest Idaho, keep reading for our favorite last-minute Memorial Day weekend vacation spots for a spontaneous sojourn.  Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Named for the lake on which it lies, Coeur d’Alene is just under five hours from Seattle. The vibrant downtown area—home to over 100 quaint shops, restaurants and local businesses—is within easy walking distance of the lake. Out on the water, travelers can go fishing, rafting, jet-skiing and water skiing; alternatively, stay on land to soak up the sunny weather or enjoy a scenic hike or bike ride at the lakefront City Park, the Canfield Mountain Natural Area or the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. Meanwhile, golfers can perfect their swing at the course at Coeur d’Alene Resort, where you'll find the one and only “Floating Green,” described by the property as “the first and only floating, movable island golf green” that “changes position via an intricate, underwater cable system. Where to stay: Open since 2021, One Lakeside Resort

The best Thanksgiving getaways close to major U.S. cities

The best Thanksgiving getaways close to major U.S. cities

What’s more tempting than a Thanksgiving feast? Skipping the festivities altogether. This Thanksgiving, why not bypass the stress of cooking an entire meal, hosting your family and all the other necessary bits to celebrate a holiday? Instead, enjoy a relaxing Turkey Day escape close to home. We’ve rounded up five incredible Thanksgiving getaways within easy driving distance of major U.S. cities, including Miami, New York and Los Angeles. You’ll find these spots are under a five-hour drive—or a quick flight if holiday road trips are not your thing. Plus, each place has a distinct charm, natural beauty, fantastic food and drink offerings and noteworthy attractions. West Palm Beach, FL Often overlooked in favor of its swankier cousin, Palm Beach, this hip city still feels like a hidden gem (for now, at least). Its arty downtown area is home to The Square, an arts and culture hub that’s also brimming with some of the destination’s best shops, bars and restaurants like Barrio, El Camino and the recently opened Galley, as well as outposts of famed NYC staples Harry’s and Felice. Every Saturday between November and May, the city hosts an antiques and flea market; the GreenMarket also takes place on Saturdays between October and April. To get here from Miami, hop on I-95 (75 minutes, depending on traffic) or ditch the car altogether and hop on the high-speed Brightline train (also 75 minutes).  Where to stay: The Ben, Autograph Collection is a trendy hotel just minutes from the heart