The United States is packed with tourist hotspots and travel destinations for any type of adventurer. From mountains to beaches, cities to small towns, national parks to historical monuments, there is something for everyone within its borders. But what about the places overlooked by most tourists and travel magazines? The underrated places, where tourism has yet to stake its claims yet the place itself is so enchanting that adventurers in-the-know flock there anyway.
These are the top ten most underrated vacation spots in the U.S. You won’t want to miss even one of them.
- St. Augustine, Florida. This small town has everything needed to make a history-loving traveler happy. Haunted jail cells, stone fortresses, and a long history unmatched by most places in America. Founded in 1565, this one-time Spanish settlement is the oldest European-established city inside the United States. If your ideal vacation spot is one that will take you back in time, this is it!
- Death Valley National Park, California. With a name like Death Valley, you’d think this would be the last place on Earth you should ever visit. But the rock formations alone are worth the trip. Nowhere else will you find a hotter, drier climate… or more natural beauty. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and not afraid of a little sun, there are unlimited opportunities for you to explore and hike. Just make sure to plan ahead!
- Hill Country, Texas. Wine lovers of the world unite here in Hill Country. You don’t have to go to Spain or Italy to find Cabernets and Tempranillos. This vast region of Texas, covering over nine million acres, has distinguished itself as the preeminent home for high-profile wines. Though tourists are finally starting to catch on, you can still get in while it’s undercrowded and affordable.
- Indianapolis, Indiana.This Midwest city offers something for every type of adventurer. Science fiction fans will enjoy visiting the birthplace of Kurt Vonnegut. See the library that commemorates his name, then go spend your afternoon at the Indy 500. Racing fans will make the memory of a lifetime taking a ride on the Motor Speedway. Finish your day at White River State Park relaxing with your family.
- La Push, Washington. Nestled along the Quillayute River which carries into the Pacific Ocean, this seaside town is a perfect couples retreat. The river takes its name from the nearby Quileute tribe, who your dollars will be helping to support. Olympic National Park is right on hand, and you can spend your days walking the beach, swimming, hiking, or watching for dolphins and whales.
- Asheville, North Carolina. Beautiful, charming, and just adventurous enough for those travelers looking for something outside the ordinary. This artistic town is home to the Biltmore Estate, the country’s largest home. Take a tour and then peruse the independent book shops and eateries while heading to the drum circle, where all are welcome to dance, play, and have the time of their life!
- Galena, Illinois. With a population of just under four thousand people, this small town will charm the hearts of new and seasoned travelers everywhere. Sitting on one of the many tributaries of the Mississippi River, this tiny town was one of the largest steamboat hubs on the Mississippi. See remnants of the past mixed with modern art, boutiques, and hot air balloon rides.
- Kansas City, Missouri. Also known as the “City of Fountains,” this beautiful and historic city claims to have the most fountains in the world. Jazz enthusiasts will have fun exploring the American Jazz Museum. Afterwards stop off for some barbeque and late-night music at one of the city’s many pubs and breweries. It’s the perfect blend of big city and small-town culture all in one place.
- Solvang, California. This amazing Danish village is nestled in the heart of Solvang’s downtown area. Here you’ll be transported to a real Danish town, complete with Danish waffles, windmills, and glass-blowers. Take a trolley tour or stop to sample treats at one of Solvang’s many bakeries. Don’t leave without getting your aebleskiver! Don’t know what that is? You will be the time you leave.
- Charlottesville, Virginia. Hidden in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is as artsy as it is beautiful. Explore the many shops, restaurants, and art exhibits all while walking through a piece of history. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home is just a short drive from town center, and the view alone is worth the trip. If outdoor adventures are more your thing, hiking, boating, and fishing are within easy reach.
No matter where your travels take you, always remember to reach for new adventures. Explore the world around you, both big and small. Sometimes the best gems are the most hidden ones. Make sure you stop and look around so you don’t miss them. And when you find them, mark your memory in a special way so you’ll never forget. Take a picture, make a sketch, or mark your journey on a Newverest scratch-off map, that way you’ll always be able to see the path behind you… and the one still waiting to be explored.