Top spots for best friend vacations and more

Whether you're looking to scale glaciers in Iceland, explore Ireland's rolling hills, or head to the beaches and cultural sights in Italy and Greece, great vacations abound everywhere you look—even right here in your own backyard. And with vacation home rentals ranging from snug to extravagant, you'll be sure to find the right headquarters for whatever kind of trip you have in mind. Score a modern loft in the heart of Reykjavik, get cozy in a cottage on the Dingle Peninsula, or book a beachfront bungalow on the USA's West Coast—whatever you're after, these great vacation spots have it all.

Vacation trips on the West Coast

All up and down the western coast of the USA, craveworthy locales for great vacations abound. In the Pacific Northwest, you can book cottage rentals and getaway cabins amid the verdant foliage of the Olympic Peninsula, or snag apartments in bustling city centers like Seattle and Portland. In California, meanwhile, you'll find plenty of great summer rentals in places like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara that offer easy access to the sandy beaches hugging the Pacific Ocean. Just a short drive inland, you'll find the rolling fields of the Central Valley and a wealth of winter sports destinations like Bear Mountain, Lake Tahoe, and Mount Shasta.

Great vacations on the East Coast all year round

On the other side of the country, the East Coast has plenty to recommend it, too. Whether you're checking off the bucket-list sights in NYC, hiking the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, or taking in the tropical vibe of the Florida Keys, you'll find plenty of great vacation options. If you're visiting in the winter, you'll find plenty of vacation home rentals near the ski resorts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Upstate New York. Meanwhile, during the sunny summer months, beachfront cottage rentals in places like Myrtle Beach, Rehoboth, and the Outer Banks are all popular spots with sun worshippers of all sorts.

Vacation trips for spectacular scenery in Ireland

With its rolling hillsides, bustling cities, and miles of rugged coastline, Ireland's a stunning vacation destination. Book a cozy cottage rental on the scenic Dingle Peninsula for easy access to whale-watching and kayaking on Dingle Bay, as well as Atlantic Ocean views from the peak of Mount Brandon. Meanwhile, vacation home rentals in Dublin offer access to plenty of dining, museums, and entertainment, as well as major sights like the medieval Dublin Castle and the landmark Guinness Storehouse. On the west coast, the harbor city of Galway features an 18th-century square lined with pubs where you can hear traditional Irish folk music; it's also home to an aquarium and a local history museum.

Top vacations for culture, coastline, and cuisine in Italy

From medieval cathedrals and grand palaces to world-class ski resorts and sandy Mediterranean beaches, Italy offers a wealth of different vacations for visitors of all stripes. Culture vultures can see the museums and grand architecture in cities like Venice, Florence, and Rome, while winter sports enthusiasts can book a chalet-style lodge near the Gruppo del Sella, a massif in northern Italy's Dolomite mountains. If it's beaches you're after, the Italian Riviera is tough to beat—snag a villa rental in Albegna or Riomaggiore for fun in the sun. Or head further east to the broad shoreline of Viareggio, a coastal Tuscan city where you can explore the Villa Puccini Museum, a lakeside villa once owned by the famous opera composer.

Breathtaking beach vacations in Greece

If you're in the mood for an unbeatable beachfront retreat, vacations in Greece are just what the doctor ordered. In historic cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, you can explore ancient ruins before enjoying mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine and plenty of local wine. Vacation rentals in urban centers offer easy access to museums, nightlife, and entertainment destinations, and many have terraces or balconies with city views. Greece also boasts more than a thousand islands, where lodgings in traditional villages are often close to tranquil, sandy beaches along the Aegean Sea. Santorini is a popular destination, as is Mykonos—known for its vibrant nightlife scene. Naxos is a family-friendly island dotted with tranquil beaches, ancient ruins, and charming mountain villages.

The hottest spots for chill, worry-free vacations in Iceland

With its breathtaking natural beauty, active geothermal sites, and plenty of arts and cultural institutions, Iceland draws visitors from the world over. Reykjavik, the country's capital, is a bustling hub with art and culture museums ranging from the grand to the quirky, as well as bars and restaurants serving local specialties like puffin and smoked fish. Sleek, modern vacation rentals here typically offer full kitchens and living rooms, and some have outdoor spaces or ocean views. Outside the city, crank the outdoor adventure up to 11—venture up a glacier or hike along the southern coast's black-sand beaches. The Golden Circle—a 190-mile loop of geysers, waterfalls, and other natural sites—is always a hit, and if worry-free vacations are your thing, many outfitters provide package tours.