The United States is home to a vast array of breathtaking destinations that attract millions of visitors each year. However, some of the country’s most beautiful and unique destinations are often overlooked in favor of more popular tourist hotspots. If you’re looking for an adventure off the beaten path, then this list is for you. In this guide, we’ll explore 20 of the most incredible off-the-beaten-path destinations in the US that you won’t want to miss.
2. Channel Islands National Park, California
Accessible only by boat, Channel Islands National Park is a remote archipelago off the coast of California. Here, you can explore pristine beaches, hike scenic trails, and spot rare wildlife, such as the island fox and the Channel Island spotted skunk.
3. Hoh Rainforest, Washington
The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is one of the wettest places in the United States, receiving an average of over 12 feet of precipitation per year. Elk, black bears, and other wildlife can be spotted while hiking through the mossy forests here.
4. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park is a collection of islands 70 miles west of Key West, and the only way to get there is by seaplane or boat. Visit the 19th-century fort, go snorkeling in the clear waters, and relax on the beautiful beaches.
5. Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico
The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a large volcanic crater in northern New Mexico. It was formed over a million years ago. Hikers can explore lush meadows, look for elusive animals like elk and black bears, and take in breathtaking vistas in this region.
6. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Isle Royale National Park is a wilderness area in the middle of Lake Superior that can only be reached by boat or seaplane. In this area, you can take in the sights and sounds of nature while hiking along beautiful trails and keeping an eye out for wildlife like wolves and moose.
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7. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Home to the world’s longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park is a fascinating destination for spelunkers and nature lovers alike. Here, you can explore underground rivers, crawl through narrow passageways, and marvel at stunning rock formations.
8. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Located on Navajo land in northern Arizona, Antelope Canyon is a breathtaking slot canyon that is renowned for its stunning colors and unique formations. Here, you can take a guided tour through the narrow passages and admire the intricate patterns carved by water and wind.
9. The Florida Keys, Florida
Stretching over 120 miles from Key Largo to Key West, the Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands that are perfect for snorkeling, fishing, and sunbathing. Here, you can explore colorful coral reefs, spot rare wildlife, such as sea turtles and dolphins, and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.
10. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Taos Pueblo, located in northern New Mexico, is a Native American community that has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. You can explore traditional adobe buildings, watch traditional dances and ceremonies, and learn about the Pueblo people’s rich history and culture.
11. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a rugged wilderness area that is home to a variety of wildlife, including wild horses, elk, and bison. The park is located in the western part of North Dakota. You can go on hikes through the park’s breathtaking badlands, camp out under the stars, and learn about the park’s rich history here.
12. The Grand Tetons, Wyoming
The Grand Tetons are a breathtaking mountain range in Wyoming’s northwest, and they offer some of the best hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing in the country. You can go rafting on the Snake River, mountain biking through the meadows, and wildlife watching for grizzly bears and elk.
13. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
The tallest sand dunes in North America, measuring up to 750 feet tall, can be found in Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is situated in southern Colorado. Here, you can go on dune hikes, sandboard down the slopes, and take in the breathtaking views of the mountains nearby.
14. The Oregon Coast, Oregon
Stretching over 360 miles along the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Coast is a scenic destination that is perfect for beachcombing, hiking, and whale watching. Here, you can explore rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and charming coastal towns.
15. Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
The Black Hills National Forest, which is in western South Dakota, is a stunning place with Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and scenic drives through the wild terrain. You can go on hikes through pine forests, see wildlife, and learn about the region’s fascinating history here.
16. Arches National Park, Utah
Over 2,000 genuine sandstone arches can be found in the stunning Arches National Park, which is situated in eastern Utah. Here, you can go on scenic hikes through canyons, take in breathtaking views, and see some of the most breathtaking sunsets on earth.
17. The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
Stretching over 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Here, you can explore charming mountain towns, hike scenic trails, and admire the colorful fall foliage.
18. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, a breathtaking wilderness area with over a million acres of pristine forests, lakes, and mountains, is situated in northern Montana. Hiking through alpine meadows, spotting wildlife like grizzly bears and mountain goats, and admiring the park’s glaciers and waterfalls are all possible here.
19. The Badlands, South Dakota
The Badlands, a distinctive landscape of eroded rock formations, canyons, and prairies, are situated in southwestern South Dakota. You can go on beautiful trail hikes, see animals like bison and bighorn sheep, and discover the region’s fascinating geology and history.
20. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park, which is situated on the rough coast of Maine, is a stunning place with a rocky coastline, granite mountains, and clear lakes. You can go on beautiful hikes, bike on the park’s carriage roads, and take in the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean here.
Where to next?
With these off-the-beaten-path destinations, you can explore some of the hidden gems of the US and experience some of the most breathtaking landscapes, cultures, and histories that the country has to offer.