Saturday, June 15, 2024

41 Best Unknown Vacation Spots in the United States You’ll Love


Ready to ditch the crowds, go off the beaten track, and explore some of the best unknown vacation spots in the United States? Then you’ve hit the jackpot! From oddly shaped rocks and mysterious ice caves to rugged shores and quaint villages, these least-visited places in the US are certainly worth a visit. 

Unlike the most visited places in the United States, these hidden gems offer you a chance to escape the snaking long queues at attractions and astronomical hotel prices. You’ll also get to uncover underrated state parks, towns, and alpine lakes that you never knew existed in the US.

In this guide, I unpack some of the best-hidden vacation spots in the US and why you should visit them. So stick around if secret small towns, unspoiled beaches, and otherworldly landscapes are your idea of a great vacation.

1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash

Popularly known as the gateway to one of the best national parks on the East Coast, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a quaint mountain town waiting to be explored. This city may have a famous neighbor, but there’s much about it that’s been relatively hidden.

For starters, Gatlinburg is one of the most romantic getaways in the southeast, and it’s easy to see why. An aerial cable car ride from downtown gives you sweeping views of the national park, and at the top, you arrive at an all-season recreational and amusement park with lots to do.

Gatlinburg offers some quirky activities you’d love doing with your spouse too, like Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, a treasure trove of over-the-top displays. While you’re here, take on some of the town’s many hiking trails, zip line rides, and whitewater rafting opportunities. 

You can then top it all off with a walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

2. Stowe, Vermont

Photo by Jeffrey Clayton on Unsplash

When you think of Vermont, what comes to mind first? Is it the world-class ski slopes blanketed with powdery white snow or the scenic rolling mountains dotted with vibrant fall foliage? Well, in Stowe, you get the best of both worlds.

As one of the snowiest cities in the US, Stowe is undeniably a haven for ski lovers, but the town also offers a laid-back countryside experience that you might not be aware of. Smugglers’ Notch State Park offers several hiking trails that lead to serene waterfalls like Bingham Falls, while the Stowe Scenic Auto Road takes you through fascinating dense forests. 

Stowe is also a great vacation destination if you appreciate the mastery of craft beverages. The Alchemist Brewery offers guided tours of its brewing facilities and taproom, and the seasonal beer garden is an excellent place to have a cold pint.

3. Door County, Wisconsin

Door County-Wisconsin
Image by chopstyx on Pixabay

Tucked in a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, one of the largest lakes in the United States, Door County is one of Wisconsin’s best-kept secrets. 

Its lengthy shoreline, white-washed lighthouses, and a myriad of state parks have earned Door County the title of “Cape Cod of the Midwest”, and I couldn’t agree more.

You’ll have plenty to explore in Door County. From local shops selling artisanal goods to fruit picking at the orchards and going on sea kayaking tours in the caves along the craggy shores, you certainly won’t be bored here.

If you’re in search of tranquillity, look no further than Peninsula State Park, where you’ll find the white-sand Nicolet Beach to swim, bask in the sun, or kayak surrounded by a lush forest. 

4. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine-Florida
Image by Arvid Olson on Pixabay

Located on the northeast coast of Florida, about 45 minutes south of Jacksonville, St. Augustine is the self-declared “oldest city in the United States”, but it’s perhaps one you’ve never heard of. The coastal city is best known for its colonial Spanish architecture, spooky ghost tours, and stunning Atlantic Ocean beaches.

You can easily explore St. Augustine’s top attractions with a hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Along the way, you’ll get a chance to marvel at one of the most historical places in Florida, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the fortified Castillo de San Marcos, and so much more.

St. Augustine is also where you’ll find one of the best castles in Florida, Casa Monica, where you can marvel at the Spanish Revival and Moorish architecture that set this city apart. If you’re a history buff, consider exploring Potter’s Wax Museum and the gruesome Medieval Torture Museum. 

You might enjoy reading my article on the best zoos in the United States.

5. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island-Georgia
Photo by Philip Arambula on Unsplash

Here’s a question for you: What do Native Americans, English and French settlers, Spanish Missionaries, and wealthy individuals like J.P. Morgan all have in common? They’ve all been residents of Jekyll Island. 

Today, this gorgeous island prides itself on being one of the most preserved areas in the United States. Jekyll Island is characterised by white-sand beaches and bare trees on the shores of Driftwood Beach – a stop worth adding to your itinerary when driving from New York to Florida.

Other exciting things you can get up to in Jekyll Island include taking a dolphin spotting tour and meeting adorable aquatic critters at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. If you’d like to learn more about the island’s heritage, visit the Jekyll Island Historic District to admire local attractions like the Faith Chapel.

6. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

A beautiful arch – looks like Utah!

If rugged landscapes with red and pink slot canyons, natural arches, and swirling, stripped rock formations are your idea of a perfect vacation, the Valley of Fire State Park is just up your alley.

Located about a 47-minute drive from Sin City, this recreation area is one of the most recommended day tours from Las Vegas.

So, what’s in store for you at Valley of Fire State Park? Numerous hiking trails take you around the Aztec Sandstone formations, scenic drives give you the best vantage points, and ancient petroglyphs take you back in time. I loved my visit to this beautiful national park.

Another must-see in Valley of Fire State Park is the area’s most notable residents – bighorn sheep. Other species of wildlife can be spotted here as well, like coyotes, white-tailed antelope squirrels, and desert tortoises.

7. The Finger Lakes, New York


Photo by Ty Finck on Unsplash

Speckled with breathtaking scenery, tumbling waterfalls, charming wineries, and craft breweries, the Finger Lakes Region of New York is an excellent place for a secluded vacation. Made up of a collection of long, narrow-sized lakes, this region boasts some fascinating gorges, natural pools, and state parks nearby.

The Finger Lakes are among the most beautiful lakes in the United States. They offer you a plethora of outdoor activities along their tributaries, like hiking in the Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls state parks. 

For a bit of indoor fun, head down to the Finger Lakes’ one-of-a-kind museums, like the Corning Museum of Glass, for a lesson in the world of historical glass. If you’re dying for a drink, you’ll be happy to know that the Finger Lakes is home to over 80 breweries to grab a cold pint.

8. Moloka‘i, Hawaii


Photo by Troy Squillaci on Pexels

It’s hard to think that there are any unknown vacation spots in Hawaii, but trust me, there are, and one of them is the lush island of Moloka’i. Located about 76 nautical kilometres from Honolulu, the island is home to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, a formerly isolated community with a dark history. 

You’ll have tons of outdoor adventures below the towering cliff of Moloka’i, from taking leisurely strolls along the vast white-sand beaches to cooling off at waterfalls like the Moa’ula Falls. 

Scenic helicopter tours and sunset cruises are also great activities to do, and if you’d like to learn more about the leper colony that existed here, visit the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center.

9. Smith Rock State Park, Oregon


Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash

Are you into sports climbing? Then look no further than Smith Rock State Park. Sitting at the heart of Oregon’s High Desert, this state park is a hotspot for climbing enthusiasts and nature photographers looking for something out-of-this-world.

At Smith Rock State Park, you’ll be inundated with over 2,000 climbing routes, hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and crater-face mountains that will leave you awestruck. If you’re up for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, try kayaking along the Crooked River. 

10. Solvang, California


Photo by Soly Moses on Pexels

Known for its Danish-style architecture, fabulous wineries, and museums, Solvang is one of the prettiest places in California that’s worth adding to your LA to San Francisco road trip.

Solvang is a hub for everything Danish, from museums that pay homage to legendary authors like Hans Christian Andersen to quaint pâtisseries like Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery. 

While you’re here, go birdwatching at Ostrichland USA, and don’t miss out on tasting some of the best wines in the region by taking a Santa Ynez Valley wine tour nearby.

11. Moab, Utah


Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

Moab is an extraordinary little town often used as a base camp for some of the most popular national parks in the US. The city’s red, jagged landscapes are a big draw for avid off-roaders, hikers, and mountain bikers.

You can spend your time here exploring eccentric shops like the Moab Rock Shop, visiting art galleries, and exploring nearby attractions like the dinosaur tracks at Bull Canyon Overlook. And when night comes, you can enjoy a relaxing Colorado River cruise with a fantastic light show. 

Moab also has a thriving food truck scene, so when your stomach starts growling, head over to the Moab Food Truck Park for some local delicacies. 

12. Leavenworth, Washington


Photo by Rosalie Barley on Unsplash

Have you ever been to Germany? If not, you may not need to after hearing about Leavenworth. This Bavarian-styled town lies at the base of the Cascade Mountains, offering you everything Deutsch, from alpine-style buildings to eateries serving German food and craft beer.

Leavenworth isn’t just reminiscent of a stunning German town like Nuremberg, but the village is also a skiing destination with magical slopes at Ski Hill. 

The town has a reindeer farm where you can meet Santa’s deer and an amusement park with thrilling rides. Wine is also a big deal here, with the Silvara Cellars offering tasty hand-crafted blends.

13. Plymouth, Massachusetts


Photo by Lindsay on Unsplash

While it may not be for everyone, visiting the Plimoth Plantation is one of the best things to do in Massachusetts. The coastal town sits about an hour’s drive south of Boston and offers exceptional insights into the first Pilgrim settlement.

You can spend time wandering around Plimoth Patuxet. It’s a complex of living museums that replicate the original settlement of English colonists who arrived in the 17th century. 

Outside of the museums, Plymouth offers a classic Cape Cod experience with lighthouses along its shores and an array of white houses lining the streets. You’ll also find great attractions like The Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that transported the Pilgrims to the New World.

14. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot-Springs-Arkansas best unknown vacation sports in the united states

Photo by Yash Mannepalli on Unsplash

Tucked between the green Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Hot Springs is a town that leaves nothing to the imagination. As the name suggests, the city is home to over 40 naturally heated pools and fancy bathhouses from the 19th and 20th centuries.

If you’re worried that there’s nothing else to do in Hot Springs, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. About 10 kilometres away, Garvan Woodland Gardens is a stunning botanical garden speckled with native shrubs, wildflowers, and artistically built geometric tree houses you must see. 

Hot Springs also offers fantastic ziplining tours through its densely forested surroundings. 

15. Anna Maria Island, Florida


Photo by Paul Crook on Unsplash

Spending a day at Anna Maria Island is one of the most unique things to do in Florida. The barrier island offers one of the most secluded beach vacations in the US and owes its popularity to its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. 

But there is more to this island than what meets the eye. You’ll find a tiny resort city of the same name offering a series of restaurants, shops, and galleries on Pine Avenue. If you’d like to have your meal with ocean views, the Rod and Reel Pier serves up some of the best seafood on the island paired with breathtaking vistas.

Don’t hesitate to explore the big blue ocean. After all, Anna Maria Island is a hub for dolphin spotting and Tiki cruises. And if you’d like a different view of the island, take to the skies with an exhilarating parasailing adventure.

16. Chincoteague, Virginia

Chincoteague-Virginia best unknown vacation spots in the united states

Image by Karen on Pixabay

Located along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is an unknown vacation spot in the US that many hippophiles (people who love horses) will be sad they didn’t know of sooner. 

This region is home to hundreds of Chincoteague ponies, believed to be descendants of horses that survived the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon. While it’s often regarded as just a gateway to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, this sleepy coastal town has much more to offer.

Seeing Chincoteague wild ponies is not the only thing you can look forward to when visiting Chincoteague. The town offers many hiking trails, kayaking tours, and sunset cruises.

17. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota


Photo by Elias Tigiser on Pexels

Although it’s the most visited wilderness in the United States, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is not that popular outside the community of avid hikers, sport fishermen, and campers. This is quite a shame, considering this area has so much to offer.

Apart from being the homeland of the Ojibwe people, the wilderness area is also home to various wildlife like deer, bears, moose, and lynx. During your visit, you can explore the area’s over 1,100 lakes, rivers, and streams via canoe. 

18. North Cascades National Park, Washington


Photo by Ashley on Unsplash

Characterised by jagged snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and forested mountainscapes, North Cascades National Park is a hidden gem tucked along the border of the US and Canada. 

You’ll be blown away by its vast wilderness dotted with cascading waterfalls, glaciers, and fjords that easily compete with those in the most beautiful countries in Europe, like Norway. Spend your time here hiking, backpacking, and taking scenic drives, and if you visit in winter, you’ll love skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing down the powdery slopes.

19. Pinnacles National Park, California


Photo by Cyrus Crossan on Unsplash

California has many beautiful national parks. Some of its most famous ones, like the mighty Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon, all surround the relatively unknown Pinnacles – talk about pressure! 

But there’s a lot going for this park, and the spire-like rocks are just the tip of the iceberg. 

In Pinnacles National Park, you’ll enjoy hectares of uncrowded landscapes formed by many years of volcanic eruptions. The park offers many hiking trails, wildlife spotting opportunities, and intricate talus caves perfect for boulder scrambling and exploration.

20. Crystal River, Florida


Photo by Blue Spring State Park on Facebook

If you’re looking for a vacation spot where you can go swimming or snorkelling in crystal-clear waters while spotting a couple of manatees, then Crystal River is the perfect fit for you.

This city in the Kings Bay region of Florida hosts about a thousand manatees every year as they escape temperature drops in the Gulf of Mexico. Crystal River is one of the only places in the world where you can spend the day swimming with manatees, snorkelling, or kayaking.

If you’re up for a non-water-related outdoor adventure, Crystal River Archaeological State Park is great for strolling and learning more about the Native American burial mounds and temples. 

21. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho


Photo by Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve on Facebook

Studded with black-rock lava fields, wild caves, tunnels, and oddly-shaped rock formations, the Craters of the Moon is perhaps the most otherworldly national monument in the United States.

You can easily see most of the national preserve by hiking on the 7-mile Loop Road or opting for a scenic drive if you’re limited on time. The Inferno and Spatter Cones overlooks are among the most beautiful attractions in the park. 

For a fully immersive experience of the Craters of the Moon, take on the Devil’s Orchard Nature Trail. This hike takes you through a sea of craggy rocks and deformed trees. Be sure to stop at the information boards along the way to learn more about this volcanic landscape.

22. North Shore, Minnesota


Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

Minnesota’s North Shore is a scenic neighborhood in Duluth that runs along the edgy shores of Lake Superior, one of the clearest lakes in the United States. This relatively quiet vacation spot offers you a range of things to do, like surfing on world-class waves and hiking along the shores.

Other activities here include birdwatching and visiting the Great Lakes Aquarium – the nation’s only all-freshwater aquarium. You also catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Hawk Ridge nearby. 

23. Ausable Chasm, New York


Photo by Add to Bucketlist on Facebook

Hugging the banks of the Ausable River, this gorge is one of New York’s greatest off-the-beaten-path destinations. This unique chasm is characterized by towering, rugged Potsdam Sandstone cliffs and tumbling waterfalls.

Outside of gazing at the incredible scenery, the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks” is a great place to hike, climb, and float down the river.

24. Sedona, Arizona

airport view seonda sunset

Boasting magnificent red-rock formations, steep canyons, and patches of evergreen vegetation, Sedona is one of the most underrated vacation destinations in the US. The town is often used as a gateway to the mighty Grand Canyon National Park. But there is much more to do in this magical town. I loved it when I visited.

Apart from the magical Sedona sunsets, this desert town offers you several adventures, like hiking to Cathedral Rock, one of the best landmarks in Arizona. Sedona is also a popular destination for spiritual awakening through yoga, meditation, and psychic guidance sessions.

Top Tip: Consider taking a sightseeing highlights tour of Sedona to explore the city’s best attractions in one sweep. If you’re seeking a mystic experience, go on a vortex tour.

25. Mackinac Island, Michigan


Photo by Selena Parker on Unsplash

Tucked between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, this car-free historical island is best known for its white-washed Victorian buildings, world-famous fudge, and charming shops. 

Mackinac Island is an excellent place for a tranquil vacation. The island boasts a fascinating history and economic prowess as the former center of the fur trade. Today, Mackinac Island State Park offers various activities, like hunting for the park’s stunning natural arches.

26. Big Sky, Montana


Photo by Andrew Meehan on Unsplash

Surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains of southern Montana, Big Sky is a popular winter destination thanks to its amazing ski slopes and breathtaking alpine scenery. 

Outside of skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, Big Sky is also a great place to spot some wildlife; deer, elk, and bighorn sheep are often spotted here. 

You can also spend your time here, hiking the trails at the Gallatin National Forest. If you have some time to spare, take a day trip to Yellowstone National Park to experience the most amazing kaleidoscopic geysers. 

27. Camden, Maine


Image by Wayne Gungl on Pixabay

Located on Penobscot Bay, along Maine’s Midcoast Region, Camden is one of the most beautiful towns in America, and it’s not hard to see why. The coastal town is famous for its boating community, but state parks like Camden Hills also make it a hiking hotspot.

Head down to The High Street Historic District for a short historical introduction to Camden. Here, you’ll find many 19th-century homes and the amphitheater. And if you’re in the mood for a sugar rush, visit Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe for some tasty treats.

28. San Juan Islands, Washington


Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Known for its rural Pacific Northwest landscapes and abundant wildlife, this archipelago is famous for its sea kayaking and orca whale-watching opportunities. The islands have a rich maritime history, but it’s the uncrowded shores and boat-filled harbor that attracts visitors.

Spend your time here watching orca whales diving in and out of the Salish Sea, meeting a herd of alpacas in the valleys, picnicking in lush lavender fields, or visiting the coastal lighthouses.

29. Stanley, Idaho


Photo by Fudo Jahic on Unsplash

Stanley is a small mountain town in the heart of Idaho. The quaint city offers numerous hiking trails and charming restaurants, plus it’s home to some of the best hot springs in Idaho. Its backdrop is dominated by the snowy Sawtooth Mountains, giving you stunning views all around the city.

You’ll find plenty of things to do in Stanley. From white river rafting and sports fishing in the Salmon River to hiking some out-of-this-world trails that lead to pristine alpine lakes and icy glaciers, Stanley offers an amazing retreat.

30. Kanab, Utah


Photo by Leo on Unsplash

With so many famous neighbors like three of the Mighty Five – Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon, Kanab is often just a pit stop on a Utah national parks road trip. But if you don’t spend at least a day here, you’ll be missing out.

Kanab is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Think of zebra-striped red rocks, slot canyons, caves, tunnels, and spooky hoodoos. It’s simply an incredible photo-op. 

Spend the day hiking the Peekaboo slot canyon, off-roading, or meeting friendly critters at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

31. White Sands National Park, New Mexico


Photo by Carrie Borden on Unsplash

Home to the world’s largest gypsum dune field and hearth mounds found nowhere else in the world, the White Sands National Park is one of the most unknown vacation spots in the US.

Sitting in the heart of the Tularosa Basin, this national park boasts incredible white sand dunes that seem to be unending. There’s tons of outdoor fun to be had here. 

You can trek the hiking trails, where you may spot some fossilised footprints from the Ice Age. Or visit the White Sands Historic District to admire its Pueblo Revival architecture. 

32. Lone Pine, California


Photo by Clarisse Meyer on Unsplash

Lone Pine is popularly known as the gateway to the Death Valley National Park and the snow-capped Mount Whitney. But there are so many cool and unusual things to do here, like hiking to Mobius Arch or soaking in the Saline Valley Hot Springs.

Lone Pine is also a hot spot for sport fishermen who can’t resist the area’s early trout season. Backpackers, campers, and long-distance hikers also enjoy the tranquillity found among the rocky hills and desert plains.

33. Carmel-by-the-Sea California


Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

Drawing its architectural inspiration from Europe, this sunny seaside town is dotted with unique hobbit houses, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Carmel-by-the-Sea is in the Monterey Peninsula of California, making it an ideal weekend getaway from San Francisco.

You’ll find an abundance of things to do here, from marvelling at the historic Carmel Missions to spotting fairytale castles and visiting art galleries. The China Cove, Lone Cypress, and 

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is also a fantastic place to see during your visit.

34. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin


Photo by Gary Fultz on Unsplash

Regarded as the “Jewels of Lake Superior,” the Apostle Islands offer fantastic outdoor adventures. This chain of 22 islands is known for its scenic kayaking spots along the craggy shores, which boast marvelous rock caves.

The Apostle Islands offer lush forests you can hike through and historic sites to explore. You can also walk along the shoreline to admire the beautiful lighthouses and red-sand beaches. 

On Madeline Island, one of the largest of the 22, you’ll find Tom’s Burned Down Cafe, a great spot to enjoy some grub and meet the locals.

35. Badlands National Park, South Dakota


Photo by Rich Martello on Unsplash

Known for its colorful rock formations, towering spires, and steep canyons, the Badlands National Park is home to one of America’s most dramatic landscapes. The park has some of the world’s oldest fossil beds, making it a hub for science and geology enthusiasts.

You’ll find plenty of hiking trails here, each presenting you with a totally different perception of the park. The Pinnacles and Big Badlands overlook are the park’s most mesmerizing viewpoints. You’ll also get a chance to spot herds of bison and bighorn sheep.

36. Texas Hill Country, Texas


Photo by Texas Farm Bureau on Facebook

At first glance, you might think there’s nothing worth seeing in Texas Hill Country, but I politely disagree. This town boasts some of the oldest rocks in Texas, and they’re not just rock but fascinating cave systems. 

You’ll also find some of the most beautiful waterfalls and swimming coves here. In addition to the scenic landscapes, Texas Hill is a prime spot for wine tasting. It also hosts a number of natural springs and steep canyons you’d love to explore. Plus you can explore the nearby wineries of Fredericksburg. I loved my visit to Texas Hill Country.

37. Hudson Valley, New York


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

New York’s Hudson Valley is known for many things. Its spectacular natural beauty, dotted with vineyards, orchards, and farms, makes Hudson Valley one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the United States. But that’s not all you have to look forward to when visiting this lush valley.

The region is popular for its vibrant fall foliage. It’s also a good place to visit if you’re a history enthusiast. Hudson Valley is home to many museums, like the Dia Beacon and historical landmarks, as well as forest and wilderness areas waiting to be explored.

38. Frederick, Maryland


Photo by Kay Main Oliver on Facebook

Spotting mountainous views and a skyline full of towering spires, Frederick is one of the most historically rich towns in the US. The city is known for its Civil War sites and 1750s German colonial houses that immediately make you feel like you’re in Europe.

Some interesting things you can do in Frederick include the Baker and Carroll Creek parks, where you can take leisurely strolls, walk across footbridges, and spot beautiful flowers. The city also has a number of museums to explore, and the distilleries are another favourable hangout spot.

39. Big Bend National Park, Texas


Image by 12019 on Pixabay

If canoeing along a sleepy rover surrounded by towering rugged cliffs is your thing, then Big Bend National Park is the perfect place for your next vacation. 

Situated in southern Texas, this national park boasts several hiking trails and scenic drives like the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which takes you to the historical ruins of Sam Nail Ranch. 

You can spend your day hiking to Emory Peak, visiting the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, or floating along the canyons of Rio Grande

40. Goblin Valley State Park, Utah


Photo by Veronika Bykovich on Pexels

Goblin Valley State Park sets itself apart from other Utah national parks with its gigantic hoodoos and red and white landscapes. The sunny valley puts one a night showcase of geological history, spotting oddly-formed sandstone cliffs caused by years of erosion.

You can spend your time hiking through the mushroom-head rock formations, exploring the rugged slot canyons, and taking plenty of photos.

41. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan


Photo by Charlie Wollborg on Unsplash

Last but certainly not least, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of the most underrated vacation spots in the United States. Hugging the southern shore of Lake Michigan, this national park offers dramatic multicolored peaks ideal for cliff diving.

During your visit, you can explore unusual sandstone formations like Miners Castle and Chapel Rock, two of the most notable sights within the park. If you’re visiting in summer, Pictured Rocks has several waterfalls, like the Munising Falls, where you can cool off from the heat.

Best Unknown Vacation Spots in the United States: FAQs

Before you start packing your bags, here are a few commonly asked questions about the most unknown vacation spots in the United States that will help you plan a better trip.

What Is the Most Underrated US State?

Known as the “Gem State”, Idaho is the most underrated destination in the United States.

What Is the Most Common Last State to Visit?

A recent poll of citizens who have visited all 50 states shows that most Americans tend to go to North Dakota last.

What State Is the Least Visited State By Tourists?

Alaska is the least visited state in the US by both tourists and Americans.

Best Unknown Vacation Spots in the United States | Wrapped Up

From rugged volcanic landscapes and glacial lakes to red-rock spires, buttes, and mesas – there are many places to visit in the United States that are relatively unknown to the masses. 

These least visited holiday destinations in America offer many of the attractions found in popular getaways, but they generally attract less crowds. Why do you think that is?

In my opinion, I believe that all destinations deserve to be explored at least once. From there, you can decide whether these hidden gems, secret towns, and unknown state parks are worth recommending to others for their bucket list ideas.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in the article and end up marking a purchasing I may receive a small commission.

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