5 Travel Destinations That Should Be On Your Bucket List
We’ve all heard of Yosemite, Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon. We know those places are spectacular, because they are on all of the “Top US Travel Destinations” lists and every year they are flooded with people. As most of us know, “most popular” doesn’t always mean “better.” It’s kind of like how that little hole-in-the-wall neighborhood taco shop serves the best tacos in town, and only the locals know about it. Personally, I HATE crowds when I am trying to explore the outdoors, because half the magic of the mountains is how peaceful they are. There are so many underrated travel destinations in the US that aren’t talked about as much, and I am here to share a few that I love.
Acadia was the first national park I ever visited, and incidentally, the place that made me fall in love with the mountains. It was also where I went rock climbing for the first time. It is a vast and calm landscape with woodlands, rocky beaches and granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac is the highest point on the North Atlantic Seaboard. It’s not a very difficult hike to the top, but I felt very accomplished when I was 10 hiking to the top. The rolling peaks and cute seaside town of Bar Harbor make it one of the most tranquil places I have every been. If you are looking to relieve all of your stress, Acadia is for you.
Out of all the places I’ve traveled, Seward is my favorite, and it is going to be hard to beat. It is one of Alaska’s most scenic communities with a population of 2,000 located on the Kenai Peninsula. If you are there over the 4th of July, there is a race up Mount Marathon known as the “toughest 5k on the planet.” It is such a fun and lively event. My dad and I actually hiked that mountain they day before the race and it basically took us all day. The runners do it in under an hour. I guess we need to get in better shape… oh well.
We stayed at the Orca Island Yurts for the first couple nights. The yurts are like tiny cabins on a secluded island off the coast. There is paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking. I went out on a paddle board one morning and there were jelly fish under me, orcas jumping around me, and the water was as still as glass. I ended up being out there for 5 hours in complete awe of the scenery surrounding me. For the next couple days we went hiking and kayaking through icebergs. All in all, I will always recommend Seward as a must-visit location.
The Red is a sport climbers heaven, so I love it. It is a canyon system on the Red River in the Daniel Boone National Forest. It has unique rock faces, natural cliffs and a really wonderful natural arch. Even if you are not a rock climber, it’s a destination in the Southeast that you will want to see! I will also say, if you do come across some climbers it is a cool sport to watch. I have camped at Miguels and Lago Lindas, but if you are looking for something less rustic, check out this cool treehouse!
I grouped these two together because they are pretty close, and you can visit both in one trip! Everyone knows The Grand Canyon, but Linville Gorge has been called “The Grand Canyon of the East.” It’s got jagged rock faces and rocky cliffs. If you drive up a rugged gravel road to the Table Rock Parking area, it is a short hike to amazing views. You can also hike to the top of table rock and get 360 scenery. There is camping along the trail and by the road.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are the most spectacular mountains in the east. If you visit Asheville, you can drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway while stopping along the way for hikes, waterfalls and overlooks. North Carolina is a state you won’t want to just fly over.
I added this one last because I am not sure if it is “underrated.” Everyone is used to seeing those iconic photos of Monument Valley, but for good reason. It is truly spectacular. Utah in general is one of the most magnificent states in the US. If I had a van I would spend a month living out of it and strictly traveling around the state of Utah.
I hope this post helps you plan your next adventure, happy trails :)