Underrated American Cities You Need to Add to Your Bucket List
Underrated American Cities You Need to Add to Your Bucket List
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.
Lanai City, Hawaii
While the Hawaiian island of Lanai is often overlooked in favor of the larger, more populated islands, but Lanai, this peaceful spot and its main city, are considered by many to be the most authentically Hawaiian.
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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.
This is a place for couples who love nature and spending time outside. Common sights include moose and black bears crossing the road or porpoises playing in the surf. The stunning seaside city overlooks Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Mountains. Ggo glacier skiing or sign up for guided kayak tours. And make time to see the Halibut Cove, which is an artists' enclave where the roads are made of water.
Hood River, Oregon
This small adventure town and "recreational boomtown," as National Geographic calls it, is perfect for a weekend getaway. Why not make it your permanent home? Everyday activities can include kayaking off Celestial Falls, seeing jaw-dropping scenery, and mountain biking. You won't miss the big city at all; Hood River is just about an hour away from Portland.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Some people prefer beads and Bourbon Street, but when you're looking for authentic, small-town charm in Louisiana look no further than Grand Isle. Known for its world-class fishing, Grand Isle is also a great place for bird watching. Louisiana's only inhabited barrier island is a must-see.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
While many travelers focus on more well-known mountain towns of Colorado, Glenwood Springs should not be overlooked. A picturesque city known for having the world's largest hot springs pool must be on your list of places to visit in the Centennial State.
This is one of the most romantic cities in the state. Couples go there for an inspiration of for relaxation. It's just 90 miles from Tucson and nestled among the Mule Mountains. The city is the picturesque county seat of historic Cochise County, according to Discover Bisbee. Hikers, wine-tasters, music-appreciators also visit often.
This town is among the top vacation destinations in the entire state. You'll be spending your time in the lakes, and having a blast. Supreme lakes, great fishing, top-notch golf, history and arts, and, of course, boutique shopping, are just some of the possibilities to enjoy yourself. You can stay at nice resorts, charming B&Bs, a family campground, or a unique retreat lodge.
This wonderful and charming small town is surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards, and is only 15 miles from both the Pacific Ocean and the Russian River. Explore The Barlow, a 220,000-square-foot culinary and arts center. The nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa is the county's largest freshwater wetlands complex, according to Sonoma County. It's a gorgeous mosaic of creeks, open water, and riparian forests.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Locals say it's the most underrated place in the entire state. Winter is the time tourists can have it all - festivals, hiking, culinary adventures, and cozy spa experiences - minus all of the tourists. You can stay in a unique treehouse or a haunted hotel. Take your family for some quality time, and explore the dozens of natural springs tucked into the mountains and winding trails, small lakes and pocket parks.
While most people will go to Vegas, some venture out to Ely, with good reason. It's a magnet for tourists visiting Nevada's Scenic Wonderland - Great Basin National Park, Cave Lake State Park and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. Fishing, hunting, stargazing and mountain biking (and ice skating on frozen lakes in the winter) are favorite activities.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Located in Door County, this is a perfect place to visit for swimming, hiking, sailing, skiing, and cycling. The fishing experience will far exceed even your wildest expectations. The city was designated one of the Top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns in the U.S. by Coastal Living magazine.
Port Angeles, Washington
The town is conveniently located close to numerous outdoor attractions where you can go on an adventurous day trip. Some of the many exciting destinations, all within a day's travel, include the Olympic National Park, Olympic Discovery Trail, Hurricane Ridge, Pillar Point, Salt Creek, Hoh Rain Forest, and Rialto Beach. Drive there for an easy trip and to explore some of the more remote options to the north.
This town in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Damascus is a hiking paradise, especially if you love to explore the wilderness. It lies within a short distance of hundreds of miles of other hiking, horse, and biking trails and is traversed by dozens of iconic trails including the Appalachian Trail, the Trans-America National Bicycle Trail, the Iron Mountain Trail, and the Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail, according to Visit Damascus.
Camden is not one's first choice when visiting Maine. But it should be high on the list. The classic seaside town is at the foot of Camden Hills. Its slogan is "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea." 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.
With a population of fewer than 10,000, the city/borough on Alaska's panhandle is teeming with natural beauty. Imagine eagles soaring through the sky and whales leaping from the ocean water. One of the must-see nature spots in Sitka is the Tongass National Forest, which is a few minutes from downtown.
This gorgeous island is only 90 minutes south of Miami which means you can get the best of both worlds - lively night scene and calm, postcard-perfect beaches. Islamorada is known as the "Sportfishing Capital of the World," according to Visit Florida. There is something to do under, above or near the water 24 hours a day. The "Village of Islands" is located just below the wilderness of the Everglades.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Consider the lesser-known but equally charming Beaufort for your romantic holiday. At least visit for the day; it's a quick stop from Savannah or Charleston. Whatever you imagine southern charm to be, Beaufort has it - Antebellum architecture, moss-laden oak trees, parks, Civil War-era homes...
Skiing, biking, rafting, delicious food and good beer - you name it, Durango has it. Days are filled with adrenaline-pumping adventures such as zip lining. The town is a top destination for train enthusiasts. With over 300 days of sunshine, the San Juan range is amazing to visit year-round. For a different experience, spend a week at a ranch and go horseback riding or fly fishing.
Nags Head, North Carolina
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.
Wallace is the world's largest silver producer - making it the richest mining town still in existence. Explore the more than 1,000 miles of mining, logging and Forest Service roads that have been turned into the world's largest mountain bike, ATV and snowmobile trail system. Go on underground mine tours, and visit the mine museums after hiking in lush green forests.
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.
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Physically active people will love it there. This is one of America's best college towns for cycling. You will also find plenty of dive bars, a thriving scene for hiking, fishing and boating since it's right on the shores of three lakes, Big Ten sports, breweries, local organic foods, a revolving door of shows and concerts.
There's something about a riverfront view that is so calming and satisfying. And with Covington cozied up to the Ohio River, there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. When you roam further into town you'll find some of the best bourbon bars in the state, along with renovated 19th century German shops, plenty of park land, and many dining options.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
The city's rich history will astonish you. Take the historic walking tour and see ancestral pueblo dwellings, a homesteader's cabin, and very spot where the first atomic bomb components were assembled. The scenic looks from Anderson Overlook Park will take your breath away.
This modern but small town is perfectly situated between Denver and Boulder, two popular cities from which you may want to escape sometimes. Louisville is a successful example of how Colorado is blending the old and the new. Go in the summer for a range to outdoor concerts, farmers' markets, a state of the art golf course, and thrilling cycling opportunities.
Questa, New Mexico
Snuggled between the Carson National Forest and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Questa, which is famous for its gorgeous scenery, is all about having fun outside. The area boasts stunning hiking trails, dramatic campsites, serene mountain lakes, and pretty drives for the little less adventurous. Questa is only half an hour north of much more famous Taos, according to Visit New Mexico.
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Castle Valley, Utah
Leave the big city and its chaos behind and spend some time and recharge in Castle Valley. It's only 20 miles away from Moab. You'll find adventure and some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state. Castle Rock, or Castleton Tower as the locals call it, is the No. 1 attraction. The 400-ft sandstone tower which rests on a 1,000 feet cone of looser rock, rises high above Castle Valley.
Stinson Beach, California
Stinson Beach 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.
Fishermen will fall in love with Onalaska. The town offers direct access to Lake Onalaska, a huge man-made reservoir that has often been called the "sunfish capital of the world." The best time to go for the best chances to catch different kinds of fish is in the spring.
Nestled in the northern part of Connecticut, Union is the least populated town in the state. Perhaps that's because much of it is occupied by the beautiful Bigelow Hollow State Park. Kayaking, fishing, and hiking are encourage in this small town.
St. Joseph, Michigan
This beach town is often overshadowed by its more famous nearby counterparts such as South Haven, but this port city is drawing in more and more visitors each year. Aside from the waterfront access, St. Joseph boasts charming wineries and more than 200 acres of park land, and the region is the largest grower of non-citrus fruit in the nation. You have to see it to believe it.
Known for being an "urban arts oasis", Downtown Brattleboro is host to an invigorating arts community. There is art in nearly every store and restaurant downtown, highlighted during the monthly First Friday Gallery Walks. Throughout the week, you can enjoy performing arts with live music, dance, and theatre offerings.
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. Ride 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.
Morgantown, West Virginia
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.