The Most Underrated Tourist Spot in Every State from The Most Underrated Tourist Spot in Every State
The Most Underrated Tourist Spot in Every State
Traveling to spots that have not yet been valued for their full potential has a few other advantages, including cheaper prices and the bragging rights of discovering new places. Adventurers are all about finding and following the path less traveled, so it’s only fitting that you're always looking for the best destinations that most people don’t know about.
Alabama – Mobile Bay
The gorgeous inlet on Alabama's Gulf coast is the fourth largest bay in the U.S. You can stay at a numerous charming and quaint shoreline towns along the eastern shore. The sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. Visit in the summer to witness the natural phenomenon known as a “jubilee.” This is when fish and crabs crowd the shore in huge groups. It’s actually very easy to catch them then. Mobile Bay Basin is known for diverse ecosystems; it includes more than 200 wetlands and waterways.
Alaska – Anan Bear Observatory
This is where you go for an exceptional Alaskan wildlife viewing experience where a variety of wildlife, including brown and black bears, can be seen. The Anan estuary and Observatory is only accessible by boat or plane, which only makes it more adventurous. Take the half-mile trail leading to the observation deck along which you can see bears. The observation platform and photo blind overlook cascading falls where the salmon jump up river and the bears catch their meal.
Arizona – Sunset Crater
Arizona's Sunset Crater Volcano offers hiking, scenery of flora like Ponderosa Pines, and an array of wildlife. People had been living here for several hundred years, at least, before the volcano erupted between 1040 and 1100, according to National Parks. Sunset Crater is still the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau. Its red rim and the dark lava flows have cooled and hardened. As plants return, so do the animals that use them for food. People are coming back, too, intrigued by the opportunity to see nature’s response to a volcanic eruption.
Arkansas – Whitaker Point
The gorgeous trail is about 3 miles long round trip. It crosses over streams to take you to a crag, which is a rock formation that overhangs from the bluff's face looking like a hawk's beak, overlooking Whitaker Creek and the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, according to Arkansas Tourism. Several waterfalls are located around the trail. The moderate trail is accessible year-round.
California – Stinson Beach
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.
Colorado – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
While millions of people make their way to the Grand Canyon, you should ditch the crowd and take in the indescribable rugged beauty of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. No, it’s not the same as the Grand Canyon, but in a lot of ways it’s better. The 2,000-foot-deep canyon sees a mere fraction of the foot traffic and extreme outdoor adventure is just waiting. Intense rock climbing, extraordinary canyoneering and whitewater paddling are just a small sampling of the many things that will get your heart pumping in this epic Colorado park.
Connecticut – Gillette Castle
This is one of the most unbelievable castles you can actually stay in. It is overlooking the Connecticut River. It looks like a classic fortress, but the interior is quite different. Ordered and partially designed by William Hooker Gillette, who played Sherlock Holmes onstage, the 24-room castle includes strange features – original doorknobs and locks, hidden surveillance mirrors, and about 60 images that pay tribute to his 17 cats. No two doors are the same in this castle. Gillette's own walking paths were constructed with near-vertical steps, stone-arch bridges, and wooded trestles. Activities include river camping, hiking and picnicking.
Delaware – Fort Delaware
This harbor defense facility is now a museum that is said to be one of the state’s most haunted places. The spirits of former Confederate soldiers who were prisoners there during the Civil War are believed to “still occupy” the facility. The soldier's ghosts have been seen by visitors on tours, and they have also inexplicably appeared in photos. The fort has even been featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters.
Florida – Perdido Key
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.
Georgia – Providence Canyon
This is Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, making what is today some of the prettiest photographs within the state, according to GA State Parks. The rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues will take your breath away. Visitors can enjoy views of the canyons from the rim trail.
Hawaii – Waipio Valley
The gorgeous valley is one of the most incredible places on the Big Island. It was once home to Hawaiian royalty who oversaw the cultivation of taro root in the valley's fertile earth. Many still consider the place sacred. The trifocal beauty is 1 mile across and over 5 miles deep. It is surrounded by cliffs up to 2,000 feet high. Hawaii Island's tallest waterfall, Hiilawe Falls cascades down 1,300 feet in the back of Waipio, according to GoHawaii.
Idaho – Bruneau Canyon Overlook
This is the Grand Canyon of Southwest Idaho. It was shaped by an astounding combination of volcanism, glacial melt and regional drainage patterns. The Bruneau Overlook is the only readily accessible spot to view this spectacular canyon carved through basalt and rhyolite by the Bruneau River, according to Bureau of Land Management. The opposite rim is 1,300 feet away and the distance from rim to riverbed is 800 feet. This is where you can see the wild and picturesque Bruneau River tumbling out of the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness.
Illinois – Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
This is a magnificent place for people who are interested in history and don’t like to just stare at stuff. The museum is very interactive. ALPLM is the largest presidential museum in the country. Building this world-class center devoted to Abraham Lincoln took almost four times as long as the Civil War. It features many inspiring exhibits on Lincoln’s life and a rotating exhibit of the most precious of artifacts related to him.
Indiana – Indianapolis Zoo
It’s the first zoo in the U.S. that is certified as a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden. You get a chance to connect with animals and plants in the "biome": Deserts, Encounters, Forests, Oceans and Plains. These distinct areas present about 1,400 animals and 31,000 plants together in simulated natural habitats. Don’t miss the interactive dolphin experience. The gondola ride across the zoo is a must. You can see Downtown Indianapolis, the zoo, and the orangutans.
Iowa – Effigy Mounds National Monument
"If I had to choose one I would probably pick the view of the Mississippi River bluffs in the fall from Effigy Mounds National Monument. If your in the Midwest, save that trip to New England. There is all the color you would want on the Mississippi River Bluffs," Jerry Ruttenburg, an an Iowan most of his life, says.
Kansas – Cosmosphere & Space Center
The kids will absolutely love this place and ask to come back again and again. Curiosity and excitement here know no restrictions. The Justice Planetarium, a state-of-the-art, digital dual projector, is a favorite. The museum features the largest combined collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world. Visitors come face-to-face with American heroes and Soviet secrets.
Kentucky – The National Corvette Museum
The fact that the museum raffles Corvettes, “America's true sports car,” and you could be the lucky winner is a reason enough to visit. See over 80 Corvettes in periodic settings, including mint classics, one-of-a-kind prototypes and modern-day wonders of engineering and design. Test your knowledge at interactive trivia kiosks, and don’t miss the chance to try a Corvette on. Displays continually rotate so no two visits are the same.
Louisiana – Gardens of the American Rose Center
The official garden season is from April 1st through the end of October. The peak Rose Blooming seasons are Mid-April to Late-May and Mid-September to Mid-October — depending on weather. At the end of the year, the gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights for Christmas in Roseland.
Maine – Camden
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.
Maryland – Cumberland
Once a military outpost manned by George Washington and considered "The Gateway to the West" for early American pioneers, Cumberland is now home to a thriving arts community. The town has also turned into an outdoor recreation destination. Rid the Rail Trails, go on a fossil hunt at the Calvert Cliffs State Park, or hike Maryland's portion of the Appalachian Trail which covers 40 picturesque miles.
Massachusetts – Cape Ann
Not Cape Cod; don’t make that mistake. Cape Ann, located just about 30 miles away from Boston, should get more visitors. It offers all the charm and loveliness you'd find in more popular New England towns, minus the crowds. It’s ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, ocean adventures, and fresh seafood. Go sailing, fishing, kayaking, and whale watching, which is a popular summer activity.
Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes
The Sleeping Bear Dunes which are among some of the largest dunes in the world. Part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located along scenic State Route 22, Sleeping Bear Dunes Point beach boasts clear, turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Reminiscent of the Caribbean, you might actually forget you are in Northern Michigan. Learn about the Legend of the Sleeping Bear while you visit the park and make time for a boat tour over to the Manitou Islands for more pristine beaches and scenic hiking, unreachable by car. Take advantage of all the camping options including the primitive sites on the Manitou Islands.
Minnesota – Voyageurs National Park
Even though the park is not the most famous place for camping because most campsites are quite remote (you will actually need a boat to reach them), it is a great place for an outdoor overnight adventure. So if you’re looking for peace of mind, isolated camping and a copious number of water activities, consider this park. If you don’t have your own vessel, go on a guided boat tour to see the natural beauty of the park. The topography of the park is rugged and varied; rolling hills are interspersed between bogs, beaver ponds, swamps, islands, countless small lakes and four large lakes.
Mississippi – Tunica
You don’t have to move to Las Vegas if you like living the Southern life. Tunica has several casinos, making it a typical gaming city. They don’t just offer slot machines and poker tables. They also schedule a lot of concerts and fun events like horse shows, sporting, stage bars and festivals. Tunica is popular for its golf courses, as well as blues clubs.
Missouri – Leila’s Hair Museum
Leila’s Hair Museum/Yelp
This is a unique destination. It’s the only hair museum in the world. It boasts more than 600 hair wreaths and over 2,000 pieces of jewelry made of human hair. Hair was a token of love in Victorian time as well as a remembrance of someone who passed away. The tradition of giving a lock of hair goes back hundreds, and even thousands of years. People who go there for the first time never know what to expect but leave nicely surprised because they learn a lot.
Montana – Lewis and Clark Caverns
The adventures never end here. Camp, hike and experience amazing geologic wonders at Montana's first and best-known state park showcase of one of the most highly decorated and largest limestone caverns in the Northwest. You can access the caves by guided tours only, May 1 to September 30 and on Holiday Tours in December. The Winter Holiday Candlelight Tour in December is the best way to explore this natural wonder.
Nebraska – Toadstool Geological Park
This is a place for outdoor activities. There are six campgrounds, a 3-mile hiking trail to Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center and a 1-mile interpretive loop trail. The scenery is breathtaking. The "moonscape" of the Badlands is an unusual setting for a picnic but worth every effort. Visit so you can see geography that started forming 45 million years ago and unspoiled nature.
Nevada – The Neon Museum
There is so much more to do in Vegas than gambling and walking along the Strip, which, many say, is highly overrated. The museum collects and preserves all neon signs of Las Vegas. You can see more than 150 signs. So if you want to know more about the Sin City, this is where you go to learn. Find out how the signs were made and what their role was in the rich history of Las Vegas.
New Hampshire – Jericho Mountain State Park
This is one of the newest additions to the state park system, according to NH State Parks. Jericho Mountain State Park provides opportunities for miles of trail riding for ATV (The park is also home to the ever popular Jericho ATV Festival), UTV, trail bike, and snowmobile enthusiasts alike. There are plenty of scenic outlooks to enjoy along the way. Swimming, fishing, canoeing and picnicking at Jericho Lake are favorite activities.
New Jersey – Point Pleasant
The city is the ideal mix of fun for the entire family and parties on the beach. No need to go on Long Island in New York to surf. In the off hours, surfers gather at "The Pocket" area at the inlet, according to Visitors Guide. You’ll see some of the area’s best surfers shredding left and right hand breaks. Nearby Manasquan offers surfers a chance to find waves.
New Mexico – Santa Rosa Blue Hole
Blue Hole, which is 82 feet deep, is a gem in the middle of a desert. Once known as Blue Lake, it is one of seven sister lakes connected underground by a vast system of water. Water always is in a land of little rain. The lake is unsurpassed for its clear, pure water. Scuba divers drive ten hours to get there. Visibility is an astonishing 100’, due to the fact that the water completely renews itself every six hours, and the temperature is a constant 62 degrees.
New York – NY Transit Museum
Want to see every kind of train that has been operating ever since the subway opened more than 100 years ago? NY Transit Museum is the place to be. And not only for that. Learn about the extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology that runs 24 hours a day. Board the vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, and step through a time tunnel of turnstiles.
North Carolina – Nags Head
Asheville usually gets all the attention when people are looking to North Carolina as a vacation destination. But Nags Head is worth a consideration if you’re looking to relax on a secluded beach and hike in a scenic paradise that is the Nags Head Woods Preserve. People interested in American history will find it interesting as well. Visit in time for the annual Seafood Festival in October.
North Dakota – International Peace Garden
The original idea is “to foster and give protection and support to the material expression of a world ideal concerned in the interest of International Peace and its benefits to humanity.” Cyclists will love it. They have been coming for years to condition and to train. A popular attraction is the Carillon Bell Tower. Faintly ringing, throughout the Garden, every 15 minutes and on the hour, are familiar strains of Westminster Chimes.
Ohio – Serpent Mound
Heironymous Rowe/Wikimedia Commons
The effigy mound – a heightened piece of land constructed in the shape of an animal, symbol, religious or other type of figure– was created by Native Ohioans nearly 900 years ago and is considered a significant symbol of the state’s storied past, according to the Ohio History Connection. Now is the time to go before the place joins the ranks of the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal as World Heritage sites and more people learn about it.
Oklahoma – Turner Falls Park
This is a quick getaway for everyone living in Oklahoma and nearby states. People go for the natural swimming areas, wading area, sandy beaches, bath houses, picnic sites, water slides, caves which theyt can explore, and the Rock Castle. The 77-foot waterfall and cold refreshing streams are perfect for relaxing. There are plenty of hiking trails, camp sites and cabin rentals.
Oregon – Vista House
From its surrounding vantage point 733 feet above the Columbia River and overlooking the busy I-84, hundreds of sightseers have enjoyed a step back in time and one of Oregon’s most inspiring views. The Vista House was built as a rest stop observatory for travelers and as a fitting memorial honoring Oregon’s pioneers. The architect, Edgar M. Lazarus, had described it as “a temple to the natural beauty of the Gorge.”
Pennsylvania – Susquehannock State Forest
This protected forest on the rolling hills of the Allegheny Plateau in central Pennsylvania is among the most remote places east of the Mississippi. And how remote would that be, exactly? In Cherry Springs State Park, inside the state forest, there is so little light pollution that the Milky Way actually casts a shadow, which is why it was designated as the second International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. Susquehannock State Forest also contains Pennsylvania’s most remote place, Hammersley Wild Area.
Rhode Island – Block Island
Beautiful and naturally wild, Block Island is an understated destination with tons to offer. Lush green hills meet towering coastal bluffs and 17 miles of beach meet the Block Island Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Great bike culture and 30 miles of hiking trails draw adventurers inland while all kinds of water sports pull visitors into the water. The island is so naturally spectacular that The Nature Conservancy called it one of the “last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”
South Carolina – Edisto Island
Edisto Beach is known as one of the best fishing destinations in the U.S. The options are endless - surf fishing, river fishing, pier fishing, and deep sea fishing are anglers’ favorites. Edisto Island is also for people who prefer to relax on secluded beaches as opposed to crowded shores. Experience its beauty by canoeing; and make sure you stay at a treehouse. The experience is absolutely magical.
South Dakota – Wind Cave National Park
The main attractions in the park, which is one of the oldest in the country, include the world’s longest and most intricate collection of caves and more than 28,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest and its accompanying wildlife. Join in on one of the park’s “Adventures in Nature,” which provides a comprehensive overview of all the park has to offer.
Tennessee – The Lost Sea
It’s the largest underground lake in the U.S. It’s deep inside a mountain near Sweetwater. It is a part of an extensive and historic cave system called Craighead Caverns. They have been known and used since the days of the Cherokee Indians.
Texas – Big Bend Scenic Loop
An underrated road trip, this is the best way to explore the rugged beauty of Texas – 250 miles along the border with Mexico. You can go rafting and kayaking along the way. Conservation fans can have a blast – more than 300 species of birds have been documented at Big Bend Ranch, more than any Texas state park, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife. Set a tent under the stars at the Madera Canyon and Grassy Banks campgrounds for quick river access to mixed desert scrub and riparian zones.
Utah – Springdale
When people go to Utah they usually head straight to any of its five gorgeous national parks. (The soaring canyon walls of Zion are Springdale's postcard background.) Hiking, running, biking are favorite options for the adventure lovers. But people who like to relax also have plenty to do. The music and art scene is thriving. The food is good, too. There are nearly three dozen restaurants in the small town, according to Visit Utah.
Vermont – The Northeast Kingdom
Regularly called the best-kept secret in the northeast by those in-the-know, the Northeast Kingdom (or NEK) is set between the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River in northern Vermont, making for perfect scenery and plenty of adventures. See the area by kayak, bike or on foot—the NEK has 40,000 acres of water for paddling, hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails and 75,000 acres of public forest park lands just waiting to be explored.
Virginia – Luray Caverns
This is where you get to hear the haunting sounds of the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ. One of the most surreal caves in the world, they are located deep beneath Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. They are a U.S. Natural Landmark and the largest, as well as the most popular, caverns in Eastern America, according to Visit Shenandoah. You get to explore cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high, filled with towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools.
Washington – North Cascades National Park
The park is just about three hours from Seattle. You can find everything there – jagged peaks, abundant forest, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and more than 300 glaciers. Whether you prefer backpacking trips or camping, climbing and fishing, this national park will accommodate you. The unique wilderness is worth the trip. The North Cascades is not among the most visited parks, which makes it more appealing to many avid travelers.
West Virginia – Morgantown
Adventure awaits…From riding the mighty roller coaster rapids of the Cheat River to treating yourself to the breathtaking scenery from hiking and biking trails, Morgantown is worth a stop if you are in west Virginia. The town is full of Appalachia history and antiques. It has become metropolis of young people with its bustling nightlife and a cutting-edge art scene.
Wisconsin – The Apostle Islands
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.
Wyoming – Bighorn Canyon
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is a lesser known treasure waiting to be discovered. It boasts breath-taking scenery, countless varieties of wildlife, and abundant recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing, ice fishing, camping, and hiking. Bighorn Canyon offers visitors what few other National Park areas can, that of solitude, serenity, and beauty. In the midst of a chaotic world, this is a truly unique quality.