Americans don’t need to look far for an amazing vacation spot — the United States is home to many under-the-radar locations and hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. From breathtaking natural wonders and outdoor activities, to unique cultural experiences and unexpected attractions, there are plenty of incredible places in America that often don’t make it onto tourist’s radar.
Here are ten underrated vacation spots within the USA that truly deserve more attention.
1. The Finger Lakes, New York
New York doesn’t just mean the city and Central Park!
This picturesque region in central New York State boasts 11 long slender lakes connected by cascading waterfalls and lush rolling hills. Visitors can explore the area’s award-winning wineries, take part in thrilling outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing and hiking, or simply enjoy its quiet beauty from the comfort of a nearby cottage or inn.
It’s ideal for nature lovers while still being close to all amenities, including flower delivery for any occasion – just in case you want to combine this vacation with an anniversary or other special occasion.
2. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Located in south-central Colorado, this unique park offers 30 square miles of golden sand dunes that are among some of the tallest on earth.
The often shifting sands create a surreal landscape that is perfect for exploring by foot or on horseback — while those looking to relax can enjoy camping under starry night skies and admiring beautiful sunsets over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
3. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Nestled right along the border between Georgia and Tennessee, Chattanooga offers a mix of stunning mountain backdrops and beautiful riverside vistas.
It has become a popular destination for its hiking trails, rock climbing crags, and the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. One of the city’s gems is its Lookout Mountain, which provides spectacular views from atop a stunning rock formation and is home to a variety of wildlife.
Nature lovers can explore nearby national parks, including Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park and Prentice Cooper State Forest.
4. Portland, Oregon
As one of America’s most livable cities, Portland often flies under the radar when it comes to vacation spots.
But this Pacific Northwest destination has plenty to offer visitors who are looking for an unforgettable experience: the city’s unique culture, its vibrant food scene, plentiful green spaces, and proximity to nature make it a great place to escape from everyday life.
While exploring the city, you’ll find a variety of attractions and activities, from visiting world-class museums and galleries to taking in stunning views from atop nearby mountains.
5. Key West, Florida
As one of the southernmost cities in the US, Key West boasts plenty of sunshine and beautiful beaches that are perfect for relaxation. The vibrant downtown area is filled with colorful colonial architecture, giving visitors a unique glimpse into its past.
Nature lovers can explore Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park where they’ll find breathtaking coral reefs just offshore and an abundance of wildlife; or take a boat out to Dry Tortugas National Park to discover more spectacular reef systems and crystal clear waters.
6. Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blowing Rock offers stunning mountain views and a peaceful escape from everyday life.
Visitors can explore its quaint downtown area filled with unique shops and cafes, as well as nearby attractions such as Tweetsie Railroad and Grandfather Mountain. Nature lovers will appreciate its incredible outdoor activities — including hiking, biking, fishing and hunting — all surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.
7. Sedona, Arizona
Surrounded by red-rock mountains and buttes, Sedona is an idyllic mountain town located in central Arizona.
It is renowned for its dramatic desert landscapes that are perfect for exploring on foot or bike; or you can take to the air on one of numerous hot air balloon rides and get an unforgettable view of the area from above. In addition to its stunning scenery, Sedona is also home to several spiritual and cultural sites, such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Palatki Ruins.
8. Baxter State Park, Maine
Located in the heart of Maine’s North Woods, this idyllic wilderness area is home to Mount Katahdin (the highest mountain in the state) and several other peaks that offer breathtaking views.
Visitors can explore miles of nature trails, camp on its tranquil lakes, or take a boat ride along one of its many rivers. Baxter State Park also has an impressive variety of wildlife and there are plenty of opportunities for spotting eagles, moose, beavers and more.
9. Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
Nestled only 12 miles away from Juneau, this spectacular glacier is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. Visitors have the opportunity to witness firsthand the beauty of an Alaskan glacier while they can also take a guided hike or go kayaking through its icy waters for a closer view.
The nearby trails offer stunning panoramic views of Mendenhall Glacier and with luck, you might even spot eagles, moose or beavers in their natural habitat! Whether you’re seeking adventure or just want to admire this incredible landscape, visiting Mendenhall Glacier is sure to be a memorable experience.
10. Devils Tower, Wyoming
This unique geological formation rises more than 1,200 feet above the Belle Fourche River in northeastern Wyoming.
The site has been sacred to several Native American tribes and is also home to excellent rock-climbing opportunities for thrill seekers looking for a challenge.
Nature lovers can witness incredible vistas from atop this impressive tower and star gazers will be amazed by its spectacular night sky views.
The United States has so much more to offer beyond its most popular tourist destinations. From Tennessee’s beautiful mountain backdrops and Oregon’s vibrant cityscapes to Florida’s colorful colonial architecture and North Carolina’s outdoor activities, these ten underrated vacation spots in the USA are true hidden gems that will provide a memorable experience for all who visit.
Not only do they offer spectacular views and unique cultures, but many have plenty of natural beauty to explore — making them perfect for anyone looking for a truly unforgettable adventure.
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