If you can’t make it to the Grand Canyon, Letchworth State Park is a good alternative. This beautifully scenic park is worth building an entire vacation around! Although you’ve likely never heard of it, it contains some of the United States’ most breathtaking scenery. Hit one of the many trails to discover the canyon’s depths, or stand on the rim to gaze over waterfalls and undulating landscapes.
Address: 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427
Also Read: 10 Best State Parks in the United States
The looming form of Devil’s Tower rises mysteriously out of the flat wilderness of Wyoming. This natural formation is a striking contrast to the scrubby forest that surrounds it! You’ll be drawn closer and closer to the tower, hoping to learn its mysteries. Fortunately, the secrets of the Devil’s Tower are revealed at the park’s information center! Take a tour, or just walk around on your own.
Address: Wyoming 110, Devils Tower, WY 82714
California seems to get all the attention when it comes to the Pacific Coast, but it’s not the only state with shoreline worth seeing. The Oregon Coast is simply beautiful! Here, the verdant forest sweeps down to meet the sea, separated only by a ribbon of beach and sometimes nothing at all. Tour the region’s big cities and small towns while stopping to marvel at the thundering waves and peaceful beaches of Oregon’s coast.
Address: Oregon Coast Hwy, Oregon
Albuquerque doesn’t sound like a dream destination, but it’s actually an incredibly interesting place to explore! Albuquerque is nothing like any other city you’ve ever been to. It has a unique, distinctly Southwestern vibe. You can’t say you know Southwest culture until you experience the history, festivals, and spicy, spicy food of Albuquerque.
Address: Albuquerque, NM
Death Valley occasionally makes the news by claiming the life of a lost tourist, but there’s so much more to this national park than death. In fact, Death Valley National Park offers an exciting getaway for any outdoorsperson! Hiking the wilderness is perhaps the most popular activity in the park, and it’s easy to see why. When you strike off into Death Valley, you’ll feel like you’re trekking the surface of the moon.
Address: Death Valley National Park, CA
Have you ever heard of the San Juan Islands? No, this isn’t a tropical Caribbean destination. Actually, these little-known islands are nestled between Vancouver and Washington State, making them a great destination on their own or a fun stop on the way to British Columbia. Orcas Island, the largest in the archipelago, is a prime destination for anyone who loves water sports and beautiful views. It’s densely forested and surrounded by enticing blue water. If you go, be sure to rent a cozy vacation cabin and spend as much time in nature as possible.
Address: Orcas Island, Washington
The Texas Hill Country is the place where east and west collide. This is where the plains of Texas end and the mountainous wilderness begins. Step away from the big cities, where Southern and Southwestern culture prevails, and into a place that is truly Texas in its culture, cuisine, and community. Close your eyes and you’ll be able to imagine what it must have been like to settle on the frontier.
Address: Hill County, Texas
If you grew up reading classic horse novels like Misty of Chincoteague, then you are likely familiar with Assateague Islands and its surrounding area. Just as you may have read in all the books, these islands are populated with beautiful wild ponies! A visit to the Assateague Island gives you the chance to glimpse the horses for yourself. It also offers a laid- back vacation destination. Spend your time listening to the waves on the seashore, birdwatching, or wandering down any of the many nature trails on the island.
Address: Assateague Island, MD
Lake Superior is a favorite vacation destination for Northerners, but few make their way to Apostle Islands. Visit for yourself to discover this stunning archipelago! There are many ways to get here, from embarking on somewhat elaborate cruises to loading up your own kayak and simply paddling out. Once you are there, you’ll find many things to capture your attention. You can fish, hike, or kayak around these islands with little fuss. You’ll find the untouched coastline to be absolutely gorgeous, especially in summer. If you visit in winter, you can tour the ice caves. Scuba divers can also explore the depths of the lake and search for shipwrecks.
Address: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, WI
Although Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) Island is at the top of every Michigander’s summer to-do list, the rest of the country knows relatively little about this wonderful destination. The island is located in Lake Huron, between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. You have to take a ferry to get to the island, and no cars are allowed. Most people take bikes to tour the old-timey island. If you visit, be sure to sample the fudge!
Address: Mackinac Island, MI 49757