Top 10 Destinations off the Beaten Path in the USA

The US has plenty of travel destinations that rank amongst the most popular in the world – New York, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Disney World, and many more. But often, these places are tourist traps. Besides, you don’t want to be with a million others always. Once in a while, it’s good to be alone with nature or at a small town that’s unique in some way. Luckily, there are many wonderful destinations off the beaten path in the US too. Here is a top 10 list to enjoy.

1: Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park, Alaska

Often called “the last frontier”, Denali in central Alaska is really remote. You can visit this park only during the summer months. Take the Denali Star train or you can drive from Anchorage. The five hour road trip is going to remain etched in your memory for years. Denali is huge (bigger than Massachusetts), wild, and stunning. You can see grizzly bears, bald eagles and wolves. Try one of the cycling or hiking trails. Stay overnight at campgrounds. There are many of them in the park. And of course, there is Mt McKinley, which is the tallest peak in North America. Denali can be very cold, even during the summer, as it is on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

Address: George Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Website: www.nps.gov

2: Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana
Photo Courtesy: PDPhoto.org

This is another cold and remote offbeat destination. The snow-blanketed, jagged and glacier-sculpted peaks are going to tower dramatically over your head all the time. The meadows are rich in wildflowers. The stunning aquamarine lakes complete the pristine scenery. If you love wilderness and nature at its wild best, then you have got to visit the Glacier National Park at least once. It is a favorite for a lot of people, but you will never have a crowd here.

Address: West Glacier, MT
Website: www.nps.gov

3: Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a mere five miles from Empire in Michigan. This 2,000 year old dune is along Lake Michigan. It was formed by wind coming in from the lake. Standing at more than 234 feet, it’s a huge dune and a prominent natural attraction with the local population. Climbing to the top is challenging and fun, but what’s more enjoyable is the ride down the hill. Views are stunning from the top. You can bike or walk along the Heritage Trail afterwards.

Address: 6748 S Dune Hwy, Empire, MI 49630
Website: www.nps.gov

4: Bastrop, Texas

Bastrop, Texas

This is small town America at its best. It’s nothing flashy like the big cities, but it is beautiful nonetheless. Just park your car at this sleepy little town and walk around to take in all the sights. There are golf clubs, a historic opera house, and a river walk that has been beautified. End the day at one of the many restaurants. Already thinking of a return trip?

Address: 904 Main Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602
Read Further: Texas Top 10 Attractions

5: Rock City, Georgia

Rock City, Georgia

This is a 200 million year rock formation just outside Chattanooga. See the 90 foot waterfall, gardens, and the suspended bridge. There are fairytale caverns for young kids. Don’t miss the 1,000 ton balanced rock and Ruby Falls, which is the deepest and tallest waterfall in the world. Explore the trails winding through these attractions. From the top of Lookout Mountain, you will get a stunning view of seven states. There are many special events throughout the year, such as the Southern Blooms Festival, Summer Music Weekends, and the Enchanted Garden of Lights.

Address: 1400 Patten Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

6: Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana

Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/allaroundthewest

Between May and September, you can visit one of the largest limestone caverns in Northwest USA. This is within the oldest state park of Montana in Jefferson County. There are many stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites to see. It’s one of the most stunning underground areas you can find anywhere. There is a guided tour for two hours. Later, you can enjoy camping, fishing, canoeing and biking in the state park.

Address: 25 Lewis and Clark Caverns Rd, Whitehall, MT 59759

7: The Wave, Arizona

The Wave, Arizona
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Nalan Aeon

Located in the Paria Canyon Wilderness of the North Coyote Buttes region, the Wave is a spectacular sandstone formation. It is close to the Utah and Arizona border. A lottery system restricts the number of visitors. You have to apply online, but it’s worth the trouble. Take a guided tour, as the route through the Wave is confusing. You won’t get lost. See the stunning colored trails as you hike through the rock.

Address: Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

8: Simsbury, Connecticut

Simsbury, Connecticut
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/dougtone

You will rarely find a greener place in the US. This is also home of the world’s largest sycamore trees. It can be so relaxing to spend a few days in this green paradise, surrounded by these beautiful trees and all that greenery. You can easily visit another state from this corner of Connecticut, so Simsbury can be a nice hideaway. It’s a great place for exploring New England cities.

Address: Simsbury, CT

9: The Crooked Road, Virginia

The Crooked Road, Virginia

This is Virginia’s heritage music trail. The trail takes you through hundreds of attractions, both modern and historic. Choose the attractions well because you cannot possibly see all of them in one visit. Many of them are indoors, while others are outdoors. You don’t have to love country music to appreciate the spectacular rural scenery of this part of the United States. And naturally, it’s a must visit if you appreciate good music and melodies.

Address: 1 Heartwood Cir, Abingdon, VA 24210
Website: www.myswva.org

10: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/joelmutate

Perched on top of Lake Superior, the lighthouse was operational between 1910 and 1969. Now, hundreds come here for a tour of the lighthouse and the 25 acre park surrounding it. Walk along the Gitchi-Gami State Trail to catch wonderful lakeside views. There are campgrounds for overnight stays. You can hike, bike or do skiing. There is also the Split Rock River waterfall.

Address: 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN 55616

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