Underrated Adventure Destinations in North America from Underrated Adventure Destinations in North America
Underrated Adventure Destinations in North America
Hot spot tourist destinations have earned this distinction; they certainly deserve to be on a person’s bucket list but certain off the grid places are worthy as well. Be different and plan a trip to a place where you can truly enjoy yourself because crowds won’t be a problem and you’ll get to experience authentic adventures as well as serenity.
This is one of the least visited national park in the country several years in a row. The park is not too far from Seattle and it has everything any person living in a big city can want – serenity, alpine lakes, more than 300 glaciers and a lavish forest. Camping and backpacking are some of the favorite activities. Visitors also like it because it’s not crowded at any time of the year. Conditions from October to May can close roads and facilities.
Canada is arguably one of the most beautifully rugged countries in the world. Begin your adventure by flying into Vancouver, rent a car, and check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park on your drive to Whistler, Becky van Dijk and Vanessa Rivers, founder of WeAreTravelGirls.com, suggest. “BC is gorgeous so I suggest spending at least 2 days in Whistler to hike the beautiful mountain trails, relax at the Scandinave Spa, and enjoy some great meals,” Rivers says. After Whistler, make your way to the mountain town of Banff, located in the province of Alberta, stopping for one night in Naramata Bench wine country. “The Bench” is a pretty lake area surrounded by wineries and worth visiting for good wine tasting with amazing views. Banff is a cute little town and the perfect place to end your road trip. The Fairmont Banff Springs offers a good hotel option, close to two of the most beautiful lakes you’ll ever see – Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
Camden is a classic seaside town at the foot of Camden Hills. Its slogan is “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” and is considered by many visitors to be one of the most beautiful places in New England, according to a travel guide. It has a small town sensibility with friendly people, gorgeous views, preserved buildings and historic structures. Camden and its surroundings are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, sailing, and paddle boarding.
Hike along the Savage Gulf Loop near Chattanooga for about 9 miles and you’ll be compensated with views of tall and unspoiled waterfalls, otherworldly swimming holes, sandstone craters, and more than 50 miles of trails. Climbers love it for the sandstone cliffs; bikers like it for the 120 miles of tracks; and thrill seekers enjoy rafting in the Class IV–V rapids on the nearby Ocoee. Chattanooga is also a great off the beaten path Spring Break destination.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Enjoy the beach this fall. The Alabama Gulf Coast offers something for everyone. Tourists and locals enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing and skim boarding on the beaches. Fishing is big there, too. Charter fleets leave every day. The Gulf Shores has a lot of wildlife and nature trails. When you need a break from those sugar-white clear sandy beaches, go on a zip line course over the waters of Lake Shelby.
The Ozarks, Arkansas
The Ozarks are the place to be if you can’t decide what summer adventure you want to go on this season. The highland regions offers it all – fly across the sky on a zip line tour, catch your own fish for dinner, go waterskiing, canoeing or hiking to see stunning waterfalls.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
You can go back in time in this beautiful island. Voted a "Top 10 U.S. Island" by Trip Advisor, this Island is a trip back in time. For one, there are no cars; they are not allowed. So trek this Victorian treasure on bike, horseback and carriage. You will never run out of quests to explore. The island has little development land because it’s working hard to preserve its natural treasures. That’s why hiking, fishing and hunting are exhilarating.
Some of the best hiking and backpacking trails in North America are on this large Canadian island. The Long Range Traverse, an unmarked and rugged backcountry route, is among them. It starts from Western Brook Pond and leads towards Gros Morne Mountain, which alone is a reason to visit Canada. Gros Morne’s ancient landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recent glacial action has resulted in some spectacular scenery, with coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and many pristine lakes. Make time for Fogo Island, the largest offshore island in Newfoundland.
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
This far-out mountain town is unlike any other place on earth. Bordered on three sides by the towering red peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is one of the few places that retain its native culture, thriving art scene and connection to the great outdoors. It is proud that it’s not “manufactured for the masses.” People skipping out on skiing and riding can visit local art galleries, soak in the Ojo Caliente mineral hot springs or embark on a guided snowshoe tour.
Stinson Beach, California
Stinson Beach, one of the most underrated cities in the country, is a place to walk for miles on white sand, take a dip, have a barbecue, jog, or play games. The oceanfront makes it one of the best swimming beaches in northern California—not to mention a favorite surfing, picnicking, and volleyball spot. The best times of the year for surfing there are in the winter and spring. The adjacent town offers several restaurants and a handful of shops.
Drive from California to Montana
“Every summer when I was little my family would drive from our farm on the Central Coast of California to my grandfather's ranch in the small town of Ennis, Montana,” Rivers says. The drive is diverse, taking about 3 days and will bring you across four beautiful states – California, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana. There is a lot to do and see in Montana and also a lot to see along the drive, including Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. “So I suggest you leave at least a week to do the drive and explore Montana, aka ‘Big Sky Country,’” she adds.
As is the case with most places in Colorado, Breckenridge gets most of its visitors in the winter during the ski season. However, the city is an ideal adventure destination during other seasons as well. Go to the mountain for challenging biking up and down rocky hills, or head to the Breck Summer Fun Park for alpine sliding. Rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking and trail running in the woods are some of the locals’ favorite outdoor activities.
Perdido Key, Florida
Perdido means lost. The aptly named community in Escambia County, near Pensacola, is a one of Florida’s hidden gems. Everything you love about the state in general – nice weather, pristine beaches and water, wildlife preserve, unspoiled parks, etc. – you will find in Perdido Key, minus the crowds. People have a laid-back attitude, traffic is minimal and everything is just a short drive away.
Squamish, British Columbia
Locals call their city “where the oceans meet the mountains.” It is an epic outdoor adventure destination as you are able to go from sea to sky – all within 10 minutes of one another with the Sea to Sky Gondola that takes visitors up 3,000 feet. You can find everything; Squamish is recognized internationally as a mecca for windsurfing, kayaking, white water rafting, rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking, according to Explore Squamish.
The Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Go in the winter to see amazing ice caves. They are located at the western end of the Mainland Unit of the park, in far northern Bayfield County. By February, an ice bridge may have formed to connect Sand Island to the mainland, according to the NPS. The lake surface is usually a frozen white expanse, which is a stunning view in itself. A dreamland of needlelike ice columns forms inside and they change every day.