(STACKER) – From big cities to iconic national monuments to well-known tourist traps, there’s no shortage of popular vacation destinations within the United States. However, sometimes the most memorable trips happen when you seek out unexpected, under-the-radar spots that you never would’ve known about without some prior research.
For instance, although the U.S. is home to 63 national parks, famous ones like Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon National Park tend to get the lion’s share of tourist attention. On your next excursion, why not try an underrated gem like New Mexico’s White Sands National Park or Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park?
Even if nature isn’t your scene, there are plenty of other underrated activities across the country that deserve to go on your bucket list, from Indianapolis’ City Market Catacombs to the interactive art within Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf.
Still, finding those under-the-radar gems can amount to quite a bit of work. So to help you get started, Stacker has compiled a list of 25 must-visit hidden gems from across the United States, using travel guides, news articles, national park and company websites, and more. Read on to find out where your next unexpected yet great vacation could be. You can thank us later!
- The World’s Largest Mailbox, Casey, Illinois
- Mermaid statues and European influence in Solvang, California
- Salty dunes at White Sands National Park in Tularosa Basin, New Mexico
- The world’s only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
- On the set of ‘The Truman Show’ in Seaside, Florida
- Underground waterfall in Ruby Falls, Tennessee
- Bishop Castle in Rye, Colorado
- The wonders of Fly Geyser in northern Nevada
- Wild horses in Assateague Island
- Byodo-In Temple and the Japanese American experience in Kaneohe, Hawaii
- Take a dip at Hamilton Pool Preserve in Travis County, Texas
- Escape to Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, Wisconsin
- First National Monument in Devils Tower, Wyoming
- The colorful Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan
- Going up the Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, Iowa
- Explore Mackinac Island in Michigan
- Brick ruins at City Market Catacombs in Indianapolis, Indiana
- Millionaire Village in Jekyll Island, Georgia
- Yellow brick road at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas
- A macrocosmic adventure at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Mile High Swinging Bridge in Linville, North Carolina
- Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
- Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Winterthur, Delaware
- Drive through Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona
- Mendenhall Glacier waterfalls and icebergs in Juneau, Alaska