The Half Marathons Worth Traveling For in 2024

Have you been looking to coordinate your schedule for half marathons worth traveling for? Or dreaming about a once-in-a-lifetime runcation without leaving the country?

You don’t have to dust off your passport or download a language learning app to explore natural wonders, hidden gems, and national monuments. With these unique races, you’ll travel and explore the United States while meeting a diverse community of runners from around the world.

If you’re excited to return to traveling (and racing!) in 2024, here are the half marathons we most recommend.

San Diego Beach & Bay coastline a half marathon worth traveling for.

San Diego Beach & Bay

  • Where: San Diego, CA
  • When: April 14, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 2,300

San Diego Beach & Bay was rated one of the Best International Running Events by Runner’s World Magazine. Which, fortunately, you won’t have to travel internationally to get there.

San Diego Beach & Bay’s course is unbeatable. With non-stop water views on every mile either from San Diego’s Mission Bay or the Pacific Ocean, it’s hard to find a more worthwhile California half marathon worth making sure is on your travel schedule. This is one of our favorite half marathons worth traveling for.

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The OC Marathon

  • Where: Costa Mesa, CA
  • When: May 5, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 10,000

We love when a race makes us feel that we’re part of something special. This May in Orange County, the OC Marathon is celebrating their 20th anniversary. When you get big round numbers like that, race directors usually go all out in making the race experience spectacular enough to write home about.

Not to mention, the OC Marathon just has all the bells and whistles of one of the best half marathon courses in the US. It’s coastal, clean, exciting, and you just can’t find a twist or turn that won’t delight you.

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Boulderthon

  • Where: Boulder, CO
  • When: September 22, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 5,000

Boulder is one of the best places to live in the United States. Why? Well, because it looks like the picture above. This also simultaneously makes it a really nice place to travel to to run a half marathon. We find that Boulder is the perfect mix of Colorado half marathon that you’ll get the access to the scenery, the small town vibes, but the expert quality race production that you find in big cities.

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Colorado's Steamboat Springs half marathon

The Steamboat Half Marathon

  • Where: Steamboat Springs, CO
  • When: June 2, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 900

Runner’s World named The Steamboat Half Marathon one of the Top 10 Destination Marathons in North America. Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a small skiing town three hours north of Aspen. 

The race itself is mostly downhill through the iconic Elk River Valley. If you can’t picture exactly what that looks like, it’s very green. After the race, the Old Town Hot Springs are a popular destination for runners to rest their weary legs.

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Napa-to-Sonoma view from Napa a half marathon worth traveling for.

Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

  • Where: Napa, CA
  • When: July 21, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 2,000

A visit to wine country should be on everyone’s bucket list. The best way to experience it? Try a thirteen-mile running tour. 

This race will take you along the route of a preserved wildlife area, the San Pablo Bay, and the wooded hills of Marin County. The Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon was also voted as the race with the “Best Finish,” since you’ll cross the finish line by Sonoma City Hall and enter into a festival replete with tasting booths, food, and live music. 

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The Vegas strip home of the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas

  • Where: Las Vegas, NV
  • When: February 25, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 20,000

Las Vegas is universally known for the entertainment, restaurants, and “The Strip”— the 4-mile stretch known for its iconic resorts and casinos.

The Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon is the only race that shuts down traffic on the Strip as runners drink in everything Las Vegas has to offer, passing by casinos like the Bellagio, the Venetian, Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Wynn Casino. Because the race starts at 4:30 PM, you’ll end up finishing as the sun sets and the hotels and casinos light the sky. One of the best beginner half marathons worth traveling for.

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Red Rock Las Vegas half marathon a half marathon worth traveling for

Twilight Red Rock Half Marathon

  • Where: Las Vegas, NV
  • When: October 19, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 100

Located only twenty minutes outside of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is among the country’s most notable natural treasures.

The race begins at sunset, so you’ll cover your first miles while watching the sun set over the landscape. You’ll complete the run with the starry sky overhead as the sun goes down, and the lights of Las Vegas glow in the distance. Because you’ll be running at night, you’ll want to be adorned with headlamps and reflective gear. 

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The Kaua’i Half Marathon

  • Where: Kaua’i, HI
  • When: September 1, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 1,500

You can’t go wrong with a half marathon in Hawaii, but of all the races, the Kaua’i Half Marathon is unbeatable. 

The Hawaiian island of Kauai offers one of the most beautiful places anywhere on earth for a running event. Take in the pristine sand beaches, lush jungle-like rain forests, and massive green cloud-covered mountains, whose waterfalls bring the heavy rains that collect on the peaks cascading down to the beaches below. 

 You’ll want a picture running through the “Tunnel of Trees,” which were planted more than 150 years old by Scottish immigrant cattle ranchers and remain today as a verdant eucalyptus-tree corridor linking Kalaheo with Poipu. One of the most scenic half marathons worth traveling for!

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Monterey Bay Half Marathon

  • Where: Monterey, CA
  • When: November 10, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 9,000

For sheer natural beauty and dramatic coastal scenery, you can’t top the Monterey Bay Half Marathon—especially if you like steep cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. 

The half marathon is on a flat, fast course that carries you along the coast the entire time. While you’re visiting, Monterey is also home to the country’s best aquarium, which is celebrated for its living three-story-tall kelp forest.

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The Grand Teton National Park of the half marathons worth traveling for.

Grand Teton Half Marathon

  • Where: Grand Teton, Wyoming
  • When: June 1, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 2,000

Picture a snow-capped mountain peak. At its base lies unfettered green and yellow wildflowers and a crystal clear lake reflecting the range above. That’s Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

If you’re not used to altitude, expect to take this one at an easy pace while enjoying the sights. This race takes place at 6,000 feet above sea level, a drastic change from other popular high-altitude races like Sedona (4,500 feet above sea level) and Zion Canyon (5,000 feet above sea level). 

After the race, we recommend taking the boat across Jenny Lake, if your legs can handle it. The National Park half marathons worth traveling for!

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The United Airlines NYC Half

  • Where: New York, NY
  • When: March 19, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 23,000

A big race in the Big Apple! 

This half marathon runs between the two largest parks in New York City. You’ll  start in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and finish in Manhattan’s Central Park. To add to your list of can’t-miss destinations, the race will also take you over the Brooklyn Bridge, past the Empire State Building, and through Times Square. 

Expect to join a jostling pack of runners and to see high-energy spectators along the course. The race itself sees 25,000 runners, and New York is notorious for having some of the best crowds in the world.  

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Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon

  • Where: Anchorage, Alaska
  • When: June 22, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 900

If there’s a state that should be on your traveling bucket list, it’s certainly Alaska. The massive icy wilderness is certainly unlike anything you’ll see in the contiguous US, so why not plan a runcation to the great white north. Anchorage’s premiere half marathon starts in the scenic Kinkaid Park and then traces the coast of the state’s largest city before ending downtown. You’ll get views of the mountains and the Cook Inlet of the Gulf of Alaska. While the state is never quite warm, the weather in June is sunny there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, kayaking and rock climbing once you’ve wrapped up the race. 

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Miami Half Marathon

  • Where: Miami, Florida
  • When: January 28, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 12,000

There’s no better way to recover post-half marathon than lounging by the pool or on the beach. In Miami, your options for pools and beaches are nearly endless. The scenic half marathon island hops around the city’s coast, sending runners over numerous bridges as it sends runners from downtown, out to Miami Beach, and then back downtown in a loop course. Celebrate with a pina colada on the beach or a margarita by the pool. Just make sure to apply your SPF 50 before you start of you could end looking like a lobster.

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Detroit International Half Marathon

  • Where: Detroit, Michigan
  • When: October 20, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 4,000

While Detroit might not be on the top of your “places I’d like to visit” list, I’m here to tell you that its international half marathon is certainly reason enough to book a flight. Their race is one of very few halves in the world that allows runners to cross international borders. Not to be confused Motor City Half, which keeps runners in Detroit, the international option sends runners over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Canada. After a few miles abroad, racers will then return to the US via a tunnel under the Detroit River. The race is a completely unique experience, and the course is one of the most interesting available to runners. 

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Indianapolis home of the Indy Mini 500 a half marathon worth traveling for.

500 Festival Mini-Marathon

  • Where: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • When: May 4, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 35,000

Vroom Vroom! Get ready for the second most exciting race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2024. While the 500 Festival’s half may be a bit slower than the Indy 500 is, you don’t have to be an uber-talented racecar driver to sign up. As far as running locales, you’d be hard pressed to find one more iconic than 2.5-mile-loop that is the site of the premiere Indycar race each year. The “mini-marathon” starts downtown Indianapolis before sending runners onto the racetrack for a lap. You’ll be able to kiss the famous Yard of Bricks per tradition, and once you finish, you can poor milk all over yourself. 

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Shot along the Schuylkill River, with the Philadelphia Art Museum and the center city skyline as the backdrop.

Philadelphia Half Marathon

  • Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • When: November 23, 2024
  • Approximate Finishers: 13,000

Cue the Rocky music. There’s no more famous running scene in cinema history than Rocky Balboa’s training run through Philly (Sorry Tom Cruise!). Now you can recreate the famous scene (gray sweats and all) by signing up for the Philadelphia Half. The race starts and ends near the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum meaning that you can snap plenty of photos with your fists pumping the air once you cross the finish line. And Philadelphia is a city with plenty of other sites to see too. The course sends runners past Independence Hall and along the Schuylkill River, and once you’re finished you can celebrate with a cheesesteak and a trip to the Liberty Bell. 

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