15 Hidden Gem Travel Destinations Across America That Aren’t Overly Crowded Or Expensive, According To Frequent Travelers


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There are so many hidden gems in our own US backyard that might be worth visiting — especially if they aren’t as crowded or expensive compared to other touristy places.

a person dragging a yellow suitcase

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Whether you’re looking to book a trip this summer or need some inspiration for where to go next here are some of the domestic destinations that the BuzzFeed Community recommends traveling to.

1.“The green mountains of Vermont are everything. It’s my home state.”

the fall foliage in vermont
Adria Photography / Getty Images

2.“The Black Hills of South Dakota. We have Mt. Rushmore if you’re into that, but there’s also the Crazy Horse Memorial which has a volksmarch that allows you to go up onto the arm two times per year, reptile gardens (the world’s largest reptile house), the 1880 train which takes you between two historic cities, and Deadwood (yes, like the TV series). The sights are just to die for. If you like motorcycles, we also have the Sturgis motorcycle rally in the first week of August. In the winter, we have skiing too.”


3.“The Oregon coast. Thick forest right next to the ocean. I love the small, old-timey coastal towns, too. I fell in love with Astoria and going back this summer. I’d move there if I could.”


a view of the oregon coast

Francesco Vaninetti Photo / Getty Images

4.“Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is easily one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been in my life, and so different from a lot of places. There are beautiful trees and water everywhere, but massive cave systems like that are rare.”


5.“I have a few: Charleston, Saint Augustine, Sanibel Island, and Puget Sound.”

a view of a college in saint augustine florda

6.“Watkins Glen State Park in New York. Waterfall after waterfall and it looks like a fairy tale world came to life.”

a waterfall in Watkins Glen State Park in New York
Luís Henrique Boucault / Getty Images

7.“The north coast of Kauai, especially Tunnels Beach. I felt like I was walking and swimming through a postcard.”

Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

8.“I took a helicopter tour with a landing in the Grand Canyon, and it was breathtaking. Pictures just don’t do it justice. Getting that aerial perspective as well showed me how vast the canyon truly is. It will make you feel like a speck in the universe and you’ll know why it’s considered one of the greatest ‘wonders of the world.'”

a view of the grand canyon
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

9.“The Adirondacks. Even the highways are full of the most beautiful wildflowers.”

a view of the the Adirondacks in Upstate New York
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

10.“Highway 101 — from the Olympic Peninsula to San Francisco. Incredible beauty, dramatic changes in ecosystems, small towns, cheesy tourist traps, wonderful camping and hiking. Also, Death Valley. It’s truly unique and awe-inspiring. The American Southwest. Finally the Grand Tetons, those mountains are indescribably beautiful.”

a view of an empty highway 101
@ Didier Marti / Getty Images

11.“The Florida Keys. See the endangered key deer, wild roosters, and sharks in the water. Drive over the ocean. Super friendly locals and warm water for swimming. Love it there.”

a view of the florida keys
© Allard Schager / Getty Images

12.“Zion National Park is my favorite place on Earth.”

people hiking zion national park
Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

13.“If you’re interested in exploring small New England towns, also check out Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s only an hour’s drive from Boston. It is one of the oldest settlements in the country and the old town area is really picturesque with cute restaurants and shops. There’s also an area that’s been preserved as a museum called Strawberry Banke with some original settlement homes. Also, Kittery, Maine is accessible by a short bridge from the town.”

a view of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
John Elk Iii / Getty Images

14.“A truly amazing destination with an amazing backstory is the mouth of the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. An amazing landscape where two dams were removed just a few years ago. You can see beaches and a whole river system rebuilding itself in real-time. Gorgeous and inspiring with so many birds.”

a shot of the Elwha River
Joel Rogers / Getty Images

15.“Skip Aspen and go to Breckinridge, Colorado. It’s more accessible by car and has more charm, in my opinion.”


Have you been to any of these places or do you have any unique US destinations that you love? Share it all with me in the comments below!

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