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USA Travel


hiddenIf you’re a regular reader, you probably already know about the nigh iconic tourist spots in the US. You may even know about the hidden gems in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. But what about the hidden gems in the US? To help you answer that question, here are 25 beautiful hidden gems in the USA.

25 Beautiful Hidden Gems In The USA

1.  Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada

If you’re in the Las Vegas area, be sure to visit the Valley of Fire State Park in Overton. This park covers 40,000 acres of red Aztec sandstone, and travel journalists often say this is one of America’s “best hidden vacation spots.”You can camp here year-round although veteran visitors suggest avoiding the summer heat. Stop in at the visitor center and discover the petrified trees and the petroglyphs there. 

2.  Fort Bragg, California

The town of Fort Bragg is situated on the coast in Mendocino County. During the early 1900s, residents threw their trash off the oceanside cliffs. When the environmental movement began in the 1960s, the coast was cleaned up. Ah, but the decades of dumping glass into the ocean resulted in the shoreline eventually being covered with smooth glass pebbles. Visit this “Glass Beach” and see how nature created beauty from the debris dumped into the sea.

3.  Devils Tower, Wyoming

This is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the nation and just a brief stop on a trip on Interstate 90 too. This natural rock tower towers 1,267 feet above Wyoming’s Belle Fourche River. It was created by the intrusion of magma into underground sedimentary rock. It is a sacred site to over 25 Native American tribes. You might recognize Devils Tower from the famous film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  

4.  Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

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Blackwater Falls State Park is nestled in Tucker County in the Allegheny Mountain Range. Oddly, it is both “one of the best hidden vacation spots” and “most photographed attractions” in the state. The namesake 57-foot waterfall is undoubtedly the main attraction here. The water actually has an amber tint from the tannic acid from the red spruce and hemlock leaves. You can also go biking, camping, fishing, geocaching, hiking, and swimming.

5.  Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park is a town situated at the east entrance to popular Rocky Mountain National Park. The outdoor opportunities available here are many and varied. Here you can go biking, birdwatching, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, or take a nature walk. To make the most of your stay, sign on for a trip with one of the local guides. The town reportedly thrives on the adventures offered by the outfitters there.  

6.  Ludington State Park, Michigan

Lovely Ludington State Park is located between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake just two miles north of Ludington. It includes miles of memorable shoreline property along both of them. There is an extensive hiking trail system here, great wildlife viewing, 53,000 acres of scenic sand dunes, beautiful beaches, and the well-known and historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse as well. Various interpretive programs and classes are offered here all year long. 

7.  Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

Summer is the best time to visit this cool natural swimming hole and nature preserve. Just 20 miles west of Austin, this pretty pool was once underground ‘til the limestone roof above it fell. It’s fed by a rushing 50-foot waterfall.  

The preserve is managed by the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan. The pool itself has become more popular recently, so make reservations in advance. Visitors are limited in order to protect the entire canyon.

8.  Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania

The Ohiopyle State Park spans 19,052 acres in Fayette County, Stewart, Dunbar, and Henry Clay Townships. Also known as a convenient gateway to the lovely Laurel Highlands, some travelers say the big attraction here is the mighty Youghiogheny River Gorge. Thrillseekers enjoy riding one of two natural water slides at Meadow Run. If you need more excitement, sign on for a wet and wild whitewater boating trip down the “Yough.”

9.  Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tennessee

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a hidden gem nestled in the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains. Take a slow, scenic drive through the old-growth forest found here. This road is named after the rushing Roaring Fork, which is a mountain stream impacted by heavy rain.

You’ll drive along a one-way loop for a total of 5.5 miles past well-preserved grist mills, log cabins, and other historic structures. Feeling athletic? Hike to Rainbow Falls. 

10.  Hammondsport, New York

Found in the Finger Lakes region, this noteworthy small town has a lot to offer visitors. Stop by beautiful Keuka Lake where you can enjoy a number of different water sports. Rent jet skis or kayaks from a local business or sign on for a day-long fishing trip. If the weather gets a tad too chilly for your taste, explore the local museums. You can also check out the local breweries. 

11.  Cache River State Natural Area, Illinois

Located in the southernmost part of the state, this place is an official “Wetland of International Importance”. It is separated into three individual sections: Glass Hill, Little Black Slough, and the Lower Cache River Swamps. They each feature different habitats, be it migrant birds or some rare species. Here you’ll also find cypress trees that are more than 200 years old with buttresses of more than 40 feet in circumference. 

12.  Meow Wolf, New Mexico

Artsy types will love Meow Wolf! It’s an exceptional interactive all-ages art exhibit in Santa Fe. Here you can venture into the mysterious House of Eternal Return, brought to you with the aid of American author George R. R. Martin. This exhibit located on Rufina Circle spins a non-linear yarn of an unusual family. Bravely step through hidden portals and secret doors into other dimensions thanks to the work of more than 100 local artists.

13.  Supai, Arizona

As previously reported, Supai is one of the country’s most unspoiled places. This remote little village of Supai in the great Grand Canyon is accessible only by foot or the rare helicopter. It’s an eight-mile hike to the village and another two-mile hike to the camping area. It’s a great place for stargazing and the home to members of the Havasupai Tribe since 1300. Highlights include the Navajo Falls, Beaver Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Navajo Falls. 

14.  Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

The chain of 21 islands known as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is off Lake Superior’s shore. Here you can go hiking, kayaking, and island camping. History buffs will want to see the six historic lighthouses here.

Sailing charters and boat tours between the mainland and the islands are also available. If you’re traveling in your car, you can take the ferry. Veteran visitors suggest taking the popular guided kayak tour of the islands.

15.  The International Car Forest of the Last Church, Nevada

Here is an odd outdoor art display smack dab in the middle of the barren Nevada desert just outside of the former boomtown of Goldfield on Highway 95. This free exhibit features 40 cars sunk nose-first into the earth or effectively stacked atop another. Each auto is decorated or painted by a different artist. This outdoor gallery affords endless Instagramable opportunities. It is always open.   

16.  Thor’s Well, Oregon

Thor’s Well is located in Yachats near Cape Perpetua. It fills with water during high tide. It is then that it appears to endlessly draw water down from the Pacific Ocean.  

The water powerfully sprays out and then drains back once more in what we have previously called “a nearly-mesmerizing natural water show.” While it’s seemingly bottomless, it’s actually just a bit over 20 feet deep. The best time to visit is at high tide or during a storm when the ocean water is high. 

17.  Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

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The Mendenhall Glacier in Tongass National Forest in Juneau is a glacier that is 13.6 miles in length. Explore the hiking trails here. Who knows?

You might even spot bald eagles, beavers, black bears, migrant birds, mountain goats, or porcupines. Learn more at the visitor center. The best time to visit is in the summer although the hiking trails are open all year, the visitor center has limited hours in the winter.  

18.  Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

The Chiricahua National Monument’s landscape consists of a number of unique compacted ash rock pinnacles. This park in Wilcox can be explored via a paved 8-mile scenic drive or by the 17 miles of day-use hiking trails. If you’re into ornithology, Chiricahua is said to be a prime birding spot. Learn more by signing up for a tour at the Faraway Ranch Historic District. See an ancient volcano just south of here.

19.  Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Deemed one of the “Top 10 Places” in the state, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is situated in Munising on the rugged coast of Lake Superior. Veteran visitors say you can visit this place year-round. As previously reported, you can snowmobile during the winter and hike the 100 miles of trails in the summer. Pictured Rocks features deep, verdant forests, historic lighthouses, lovely lakes, sandstone cliffs, hilly sand dunes, and waterfalls.

20.  Block Island, Rhode Island

This unassuming island is just off the coast of Rhode Island. This is a perfect place for a quiet getaway. Still, if you need help, the local taxi drivers will give you a tour and suggestions of what to see and where to eat.  

Visit in early fall and take a self-guided bicycle tour. In the summer, take a kayak tour. Highlights include the Block Island Wildlife Refuge, the North Light, and Mohegan Bluffs.

21.  Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is ensconced 70-miles off the shore of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s just 100 square miles in size and mostly water with seven small islands and coral reefs. Thus, it’s accessible only via boat or seaplane. Visitors can partake in boating, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, stargazing, and camping. Perhaps the most popular attraction is Fort Jackson which was built in the 1800s.

22.  Fayetteville, West Virginia

Fayetteville is reportedly a “small-town getaway” with added adventure. Less athletic travelers will love the shops, town park, and assorted eateries available downtown. Outdoor lovers can go floating and fishing down the popular New River Gorge National Waterway, stroll across the New River Gorge Bridge, go hiking, rock climbing, or even mountain biking.  

23.  Katy Trail State Park, Missouri

This state park is “one of the best unknown places to visit” in the US. It is, however, known to hikers. Almost 240 miles in length, The popular Katy Trail is officially “the longest rail trail” in the nation.  

This trail is also becoming popular with people interested in other outdoor activities. Here visitors of all ages enjoy bicycling, bird watching, horseback riding, and walking in the wild. It is also known to hardcore fans of rail history.    

24.  Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota

Those in the know consider this to be the state’s top hidden vacation destination. Some travel writers say that Brainerd Lakes is what makes this state “the land of 10,000 lakes.” The area includes 450 shining lakes.  

This is a great place to try water skiing, go boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, or sign on for a guided fishing trip. Those who don’t like the water can go biking and hiking. Artsy types should head downtown for the Lakes Area Music Festival.

25.  Fly Geyser, Nevada

Fly Geyser’s in the striking Black Rock Desert roughly two hours out of Reno. The geyser stands almost 6 feet tall over a field of grass and reeds. This colorful, hidden gem was born back in 1964 when a geothermal energy company was test drilling in search of a power source. The power company employees did not cap the well site correctly, or perhaps didn’t bother to cap it at all. Thus, the six-foot geyser has been spewing steam and water to this very day.    



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