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13 Off the Beaten Path Wonders in the USA

When we think of traveling to destinations within the United States, our minds jump to popular tourist destinations like the Grand Canyon, the Las Vegas Strip, and New York City. 

The drawback of these, however, is that they’re bustling and hectic tourist spots where you might miss out on the authentic culture and magic of these different places.

But stepping off the beaten path can open up your travels to many amazing places and experiences. Below are 13 beautiful, off-the-beaten-path destinations to add to your travel itinerary.

1. Mackinac Island, Michigan

This little-known island is unlike the rest of the United States. It’s a place where no cars are used, and the only transportation options are bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.

In some ways, it’s as if this island is a trip back in time, which is ironic considering this is in a state that has embraced modern technology like new online casinos accepting USA players.

Beyond the novelty of being car-free, this island offers restaurants, nature adventures, drool-worthy fudge, and anything else you might desire in a getaway.

2. Page, Arizona

This city in Arizona is home to natural rock formations that rival the Grand Canyon. While there, you can take in Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and the Glen Canyon Dam.

Horseshoe Bend is a highlight attraction that offers a beautiful vista of a natural rock formation with bold colors and striations surrounded by a u-bend body of water that will leave you in awe of the natural world. 

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Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

3. Kanab, Utah

Another red rock-filled destination, Kanab is a city that has drawn filmmakers to it as an ideal filming location for well-known and loved films like “The Lone Ranger.”

Even though it’s a hub for creating iconic films, it’s not a highly visited tourist destination, making it a beautiful place to appreciate the natural wonders of the US without the crowds and chaos of other destinations.

4. Midway Geyser Basin, Wyoming

There are many sights and adventures to take in when visiting Yellowstone National Park, but the Midway Geyser Basin is a lesser-known sight and well worth the trek. It offers a vivid display of colors, with the National Parks Service describing it as “spectacular.” 

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

5. Leavenworth, Washington

This village, inspired by Bavaria, features colorful buildings that can be found within the Cascade Mountains. It’s known for its Christmas wonderland but offers year-round activities, so you can drink in this European-inspired place without all the hustle and bustle of peak tourist times. You can camp, hike, bike, golf, and even horseback ride during your stay.

6. White Sands National Park, New Mexico

This national park delivers a stunning landscape of white gypsum sand, the world’s largest gypsum dune field. While you’re there, you can wander along trails and boardwalks, take part in guided tours, see fossilized footprints from the ice age, and generally marvel at the natural wonder of the white dunes.

7. Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

This stunning remnant of an ice age come and gone is an amazing destination just beyond Juneau, Alaska. While the glacier is steadily melting, it still offers 12 miles of what some refer to as “an ice river.” As the glacier is receding, more glimpses of the past are coming through, like an ancient forest frozen within the ice.

Mendenhall Glacier Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier Alaska

8. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is a Georgia State Park with stunning driftwood beaches and historic buildings (some you can even stay in during your visit). Among these historic buildings was the Jekyll Island Club Clubhouse, which was only used by the wealthiest Americans, including the Rockefellers. However, the club shuttered its doors and ended its operations around World War II, but led to the island becoming the state park it is today.

9. St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest European settlement city in the USA, St. Augustine invites you into a romantic destination where you can explore historic monuments, wildlife reserves, and beautiful beaches. It’s an enjoyable, little-known getaway.

10. Molokai, Hawaii

Hawaii is often associated with beaches and luxury resorts, but for those looking to engage with Hawaii beyond the tourist traps, Molokai is the place to go. While it has all the beautiful and picturesque beaches you could dream of, the biggest draw is that Molokai aims to stay true to its roots. It avoids creating tourist attractions and aims to maintain the lifestyle of Native Hawaiians.

Molokai, Hawaii
Molokai, Hawaii

11. Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle State Park is home to four scenic waterfalls, hiking trails, and many different outdoor adventures for those who love to be out in nature. For architecture enthusiasts, you can also see one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous buildings, the Fallingwater House, which was built to feel intimately connected to the natural landscape with all the comforts of home.

12. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

This state park is the oldest in Nevada, and it’s filled with history ranging from ancient, petrified trees to 2000-year-old petroglyphs. It’s a place where you can unwind, set up camp in their campgrounds and RV grounds, and drink in the beautiful Aztec sandstone landscape. The park was also a filming location for the movie “Total Recall.”

13. Half Moon Bay, California

Close to San Fransico, Half Moon Bay is a luxurious and relaxing escape and, at the same time, a place to connect with nature. It offers beautiful views and beaches, and for outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of adventures to embark on.

Get Out and Enjoy America’s Hidden Gems

There’s so much to see, learn, and enjoy when you take a step away from the popular destinations and attractions and seek out the hidden gems instead. Happy travels!

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