The United States is such a vast place; it can be hard to pin down a region or place to travel. You can always rely on big cities and major tourist destinations, but if you’re looking for somewhere slightly off the beaten path, check out our list of unique travel destinations in the U.S.
For a taste of the South you weren’t expecting, don’t forget a stop to gorgeous Louisville, Kentucky, home of not only horse racing and bourbon, but also excellent live music and the annual Lebowski Fest. The food is a must (including the native Hot Brown), and a visit to nearby Mammoth Cave is in order.
Denali National Park, Alaska
This stunning national park, named after North America’s highest peak, is one of the rare untouched pieces of wilderness that should be visited at least once. Travel during the beautiful, but short, Alaskan summer or, if you’re feeling adventurous, attempt extreme travel in the cold winter months.
The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a thin series of islands reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are home to unique year-round and migrating wildlife, charming seaside towns, and historic treasures. Be sure the check out the Wright Brothers’ flight test area in Kitty Hawk and drive down the coast to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Only a few hours south of the Grand Canyon, Sedona is a must-see if you’re visiting the Southwest. Sedona sits among astounding red sandstone rock formations; while you’re there, take unforgettable hikes and treat yourself to a world-class resort or spa.
With a population of approximately 66,000 residents, Portland is Maine’s largest city. You’re steps away from beautiful beaches and lighthouses, and you can surround yourself with small-town charm mixed with big-city sophistication. Portland boasts a booming arts scene, brewpubs, and world-class restaurants.
Oregon Coast Highway 101
If you’re looking for the next great road trip, consider the scenic Oregon Coast Highway 101, running a mountainous path along the Oregon coast. You’ll want to make frequent stops to take photos of rock formations, sea lions, and quirky seaside towns from Brookings to Astoria.
Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii
Punalu’u Beach is Hawaii's unique black sand beach formed with basalt and cooling lava as is falls into the ocean. The black sand beach is located on the Big Island, and is home to some of the world’s endangered creatures, including the hawksbill and green sea turtles.
If you’re looking for a good time, you can’t beat the gritty city of Memphis, birthplace of blues; you can expect amazing BBQ and some of the best live music around. The historic Sun Records studio is now a museum, and Elvis fans will want to make a stop at Graceland.These locations may not be the most obvious travel destinations, but that doesn’t make them not worth the effort. Discovering these “hidden gems” will give you a trip worth remembering.