The United States is a vast and diverse country, with countless attractions and landmarks that draw tourists from around the world. But for those looking to escape the crowds and explore something new, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations that are waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the most intriguing and lesser-known places to visit in the US:
- The Wave, Arizona – Located in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, The Wave is a stunning sandstone rock formation that has been eroded into undulating waves. This surreal and otherworldly landscape can only be accessed by permit and requires a 3-mile round-trip hike.
- Carhenge, Nebraska – Inspired by Stonehenge in England, Carhenge is a quirky roadside attraction in the small town of Alliance, Nebraska. The monument is made up of vintage cars that have been stacked and arranged to resemble the famous prehistoric site.
- Shiprock, New Mexico – Located in the Navajo Nation Reservation, Shiprock is a towering rock formation that rises up from the surrounding desert landscape. It is considered a sacred site by the Navajo people and is often used as a symbol of the American Southwest.
- Mono Lake, California – Located in the eastern Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake is a surreal and otherworldly landscape that is home to unusual rock formations, salt flats, and tufa towers. The lake is a popular spot for birdwatching and stargazing, and the surrounding area offers hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
- The Neon Museum, Nevada – Located in Las Vegas, the Neon Museum is a unique museum that showcases vintage neon signs from the city’s past. Visitors can take a guided tour of the outdoor exhibit, which features over 200 signs from the 1930s to the present day.
- Mackinac Island, Michigan – Located in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is a charming and historic island that is only accessible by ferry. The island is known for its Victorian architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and fudge shops.
- The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, Montana – Located in the rural town of Arlee, Montana, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a serene and spiritual oasis that features a circular arrangement of one thousand white concrete Buddhas. Visitors can take a guided tour of the garden and participate in meditation and yoga classes.
- Slab City, California – Located in the Colorado Desert, Slab City is a former military base that has been transformed into a free-spirited community of artists and eccentrics. Visitors can explore the colorful and eclectic art installations and sculptures that dot the landscape, and take part in events such as the annual Slab City Prom.
- Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas – Located near Austin, the Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that is surrounded by a lush forest and towering limestone cliffs. The pool is fed by a waterfall and is a popular spot for swimming, hiking, and birdwatching.
- The Very Large Array, New Mexico – Located in the high desert of New Mexico, the Very Large Array is a series of 27 radio telescopes that are used by scientists to study the cosmos. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the facility and learn about the history and science behind this fascinating project.
- Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska – Located in the Tongass National Forest, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are a stunning network of caves and tunnels that have been carved out of a glacier. Visitors can take a guided tour of the caves and explore the icy landscape while learning about the geology and ecology of the area.
- Palouse Falls, Washington – Located in eastern Washington, Palouse Falls is a dramatic waterfall that is surrounded by a rugged and arid landscape. Visitors can hike to the base of the falls or take in the stunning views from the overlooks that surround it.
These off-the-beaten-path destinations offer a chance to discover something new and unique in the United States. From otherworldly landscapes to quirky roadside attractions, there is no shortage of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Whether it’s a hike to The Wave, a visit to Carhenge, or a stroll through the Neon Museum, these destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits them.