12 Best Unknown Places to Visit in USA
Updated: Aug 18
When you think of traveling to the US, you probably think of New York City and Los Angeles. And while those two places are definitely worth visiting, there are so many underrated places to visit in the US. So get your travel list out and add these places to it!
The US is a very diverse country, each city and nature gem has a very unique feel. From the bustling streets of Chicago to the desert mountains of West Texas, the US has so much to offer. It's a great place for city lovers and nature lovers alike to visit.
It’s so big and there’s so much to see, that you honestly couldn't run out of places to visit in the US. But what are some of the best unknown places to visit in USA?
The Best Unknown Places to Visit in USA
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah is home to five national parks. Plan the ultimate road trip exploring these 5 parks and make sure you add a stop in Salt Lake City! This small city packs a punch and is a great place to visit for city and nature lovers alike.
Explore the best of Salt Lake City, dine on delicious meals, go for a hike, go brewery hopping, hopping, or get cozy in one of the best coffee shops. This city makes for a great base if you want to go skiing in Park City, more on this below.
2. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
If you're looking for an unknown nature adventure, this is your sign to plan a trip to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. Although it's one of the smallest national parks in the US, it is so worth visiting.
And because it's smaller, you won't run into huge crowds of people. From hiking to camping to soaking in the natural spring water in the famous bathhouses, you need to visit this hidden nature gem in the southern US.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Visit one of the East Coast’s coolest cities. Yes, Boston is a big city, but it is so often overshadowed by NYC and LA. You need to visit Boston for a true New England experience. Devour clam chowder and lobster rolls, take a day trip to the Halloween town of Salem, MA, go to a Red Sox baseball game, or stroll along the Boston Harbor.
If you enjoy learning about history, admiring architecture, and eating delicious seafood, then Boston definitely needs to be on your list. It has a big city feel, but is easy to get around with public transportation.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
Have you ever heard of the Gateway Arch? Home of this iconic monument, St. Louis, Missouri is a very underrated city in the US. It’s much smaller than its midwest neighbor, Chicago, but well worth a visit.
From the incredible architectural feat of the Gateway Arch to delicious restaurants and the exciting City Museum, St. Louis is a mighty little city you need to visit. Some of our absolute favorite meals we’ve had were in St. Louis, and if you’re planning a visit, check out our St. Louis Travel Guide!
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Immerse yourself in diverse styles of architecture, treat yourself to southern delicacies, and stroll along the beach at sunrise while in Charleston. Located on the East Coast in South Carolina, Charleston is a quaint city so often overlooked by tourists. But it has so much to offer!
Here, you will find beaches to relax on, coffee shops to recharge in, beautifully designed buildings, delicious food, and more. Make sure you try She Crab soup, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes while in Charleston!
6. New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
This is another must-visit US national park! This hidden gem is located in West Virginia and offers so many outdoor adventure activities.
If you enjoy hiking, this national park is right up your alley. And along with incredible trails, you can find more thrills at New River Gorge National Park, such as white water rafting, rock climbing, and more. Plan the ultimate adventure to one of the best unknown places to visit in USA.
7. Austin, Texas
Texas has much more to offer than just cow pastures, tractors, and oil fields. Take a trip to Austin, Texas and see for yourself! This southern city is growing, and it's no surprise why. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is bustling with students, families, and elders alike. Go shopping downtown, visit the Capitol Building, or paddle board on the Colorado River.
This city is actually one of the healthiest in the US as outdoor activities are so popular here. So if you enjoy city vibes, but you also want to stay active, then Austin is the place for you! Grab a bike and cruise downtown, it's such a fun way to see the city.
8. Park City, Utah
A short drive from Salt Lake City, Utah is the much smaller Park City. Mostly known for it’s incredible ski resort, Park City is a great place to visit at any time of year! If you enjoy skiing and snowboarding, Park City is one of the best places to hit the slopes in the US, but even if you don’t, it's a charming place to visit.
Once a booming mining town, Park City has a very quaint downtown area to explore. And being so close to the mountains, it's a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to visit as well. It also makes for a great base if you want to hike around some of Utah’s beautiful national parks. Check out our Park City Travel Guide for more info.
9. Nashville, Tennesse
Even if you don’t like country music, Nashville will have you putting on some cowboy boots and learning how to two-step. If you enjoy going out, spending time with friends, and listening to fantastic music, then Nashville needs to be on your list.
While it’s often known for its country music, you will also hear bluegrass, R&B, pop, and rock while in Nashville. They just truly love their instruments and microphones here, and they won’t disappoint! Visit Nashville for a unique US city trip.
10. St. Augustine, Florida
Plan a fun beach vacation to the oldest city in the United States. St. Augustine is on the northeastern coast of Florida and is hands down one of the best beach towns in the US.
But there's so much more to explore here too. From Castillo de San Marcos National Monument to the downtown St. Augustine Trolley Tour, this Spanish-style city is a great place to head to the beach, eat all the seafood you can, and go shopping downtown.
11. Big Bend National Park, Texas
The US boasts amazing nature sites, including breathtaking national parks. One of the most surprising national parks is Big Bend National Park, located in rural West Texas. You might not think there is anything of note in middle-of-nowhere Texas, but nature has other ideas and you need to go see them.
Desert mountains fill the landscape here, hiking trails are abundant, and the wildlife is flourishing. If you want to experience the nature of the US, then Big Bend National Park definitely needs to be on your itinerary.
12. Chicago, Illinois
Yes, Chicago is a big city well-known around the world, but it is still very overshadowed by NYC and LA. So if you want to experience “big city USA”, but you don’t want to lose yourself in the insanity, Chicago is the place for you. It still has Broadway shows, magnificent skyscrapers, food from all around the world, unique neighborhoods, and a waterfront!
But it’s so much more manageable than its bigger sibling cities. And the best part? It is SO easy to get around on public transportation! If you’re a coffee lover and you plan on visiting Chicago, take a look at our favorite coffee shops in town. You won’t be disappointed.
The US is a great country to visit, and a great place for nationals to travel around. There is so much to see and experience in this country. From bustling cities to mountains to beaches, the US truly does have it all.
While the most popular destinations are fun to visit, these are some of the best unknown places to visit in USA. The more “off the beaten path” places offer a more charming feel for a more unique trip.
If you have any more questions in regards to traveling in the US, reach out to us! We love exploring our home country and sharing our findings with others to enjoy! Of all the underrated places to visit in the US mentioned above, what made it to your list? Are you going to visit multiple places? Let us know in the comments below!
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