With so many tourist attractions, there is never a shortage of what to see and do in the United States, no matter one’s vacation preferences and interests. Even the country’s world-famous destinations make a longer list of travelers may realize. But some visitors are more interested in the unspoiled areas than the famous tourist hotspots listed on travel websites. A study by ParkSleepFly analyzed all the tourist attractions in each state and identified some as ‘hidden gems,’ reminding travelers that there is more to this nation than they already know. Looking for beautiful lesser-known attractions to explore? Here are the 10 US States with the most hidden travel gems.
10 Alaska – 10.95% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Alaska has a total of 2,823 tourist attractions, and 309 of them are hidden travel gems, making it the state with the highest number of lesser-known destinations in the United States. Recognized for its diverse landscapes, featuring melting glaciers, the state is the most remote, meaning it’s harder for vacationers to reach certain places. Alaska’s sheer size is almost hard to take in. Covering 663 300 miles, this US state is a fifth of the size of the Lower 48 states. Its coastline alone is longer than the rest of the United States mainland combined. But a visit to the state is totally worth it. On vacation to Alaska, travelers will discover the state’s abundant natural beauty, incredible culture, and amazing wildlife. Some of the state’s most hidden gems are Mendenhall Glacier and Kodiak Island.
9 Wyoming – 7.67% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Wyoming boasts 1,486 tourist attractions, with 114 being hidden travel gems. A haven for outdoor and adventure lovers, Wyoming is the least populated state and, surprisingly, has many attractions to draw vacationers. Home to the world-famous Yellowstone National Park, this state boasts rugged beauty and incredibly diverse wildlife with a welcoming culture. When vacationing in Wyoming, travelers are likely to come across bison, bear, coyote, and elk walking around its vast plains. Midway Geyser Basin and Devils Tower are listed as some of their hidden travel gems.
8 Utah – 6.98% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Having a total of 3,108 tourist attractions, 217 of them are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Utah boasts several vibrant and historic cities surrounded by breathtaking scenery, designated as national and state parks, national monuments, national forests, and a vast area of additional open spaces spanning millions of acres. Coming at the third position, some of the state’s hidden tourist attractions are Capitol Reef National Park, Fifth Water Hot Springs, and Kanarraville Falls.
7 Hawaii – 6.92% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Of all the 6, 123 tourist attractions in Hawaii, 434 are unspoiled areas waiting to be discovered. With numerous islands to choose from, an incredible history, amazing culture, and a fantastic food scene, there is something for everyone in Hawaii. The state is a popular destination for honeymooners, hikers, surfers, and any traveler interested in an island vacay. The state hosts a good number of gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and picture-perfect forests. Its hidden gems such as Kawela Bay and Sanju Pagoda in Oahu, Bamboo Forest in Maui, and Mermaid Caves in Oahu are worth mentioning for their unspoiled beauty.
6 Maine – 6.19% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Found at the top of the New England region, Maine is among the ten most popular states in the United States and comes at the 39th position when it comes to size. Home to 3,378 tourist attractions, with 209 being its hidden gems, Maine guarantees vacationers an unforgettable adventure. With over 200 miles of coastline stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, featuring picturesque beaches, jagged cliffs, enchanting villages, and incredible lighthouses, Maine is a place to behold. Some of its lesser-known tourist spots are Moose Point State Park, Cabbage Island, and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park.
5 South Dakota – 6.03% Of Hidden Travel Gems
South Dakota is home to a total of 1,161 tourist attractions, and 70 of them are hidden gems. Located in the Midwest region of the United States, South Dakota is the 17th largest and is found among the five least populated states in the country. It is a portion of the Great Plains and among the 10 least touristy states. South Dakota is home to the World’s Only Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, and Wall Drug. Its Badlands National Park is among the second-best hidden gem in the USA, as shown by the annual search volume. The park is underrated by many travelers but has breathtaking scenery that would definitely create last. Other hidden travel gems in South Dakota include Needles Highway, Custer State Park, and Falls Park.
4 New Mexico – 5.75% Of Hidden Travel Gems
From incredible white sands to stunning wildflower fields and soaring mountains, New Mexico host one of the most diverse landscapes in the United States. After looking at New Mexico’s map, one can be surprised by the absence of cities and towns in the state. The less inhabited areas host some of the most impressive hidden attractions. Even areas with larger populations still have some best-kept secrets, including historical sites and natural landscapes. White Sands National Park is the state’s best-kept secret and the 10th in the US, according to the study conducted by ParkSleepFly.
3 Tennessee – 5.68% Of Hidden Travel Gems
With the Appalachian Mountains on its east side and the Mississippi River on the West, Tennessee host one of America’s most famous destinations, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Volunteer State boasts a total of 5,283 tourist attractions, 300 being its hidden travel gems. Tennessee is known for its rich history and incredible cultural background. Its Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is its best-hidden gem and 30th in the country. Other best-kept secrets in the state include Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo, Forbidden Caverns, and Ijams Nature Center.
2 South Carolina – 5.57% Of Hidden Travel Gems
South Carolina is not America’s largest state, but it has numerous hidden places that it would take forever to explore all it has to offer. South Carolina has more hidden travel gems than visitors may realize. Of all its 4, 833 tourist attractions, 269 of them are lesser-known to vacationers. Located in the Unites States’ southeastern region, South Carolina is the 23rd most populous state and boasts more than 187 miles of shoreline. The state is filled with flourishing vegetation, a rich history, and incredible culture. Some of its best-hidden gems are the Hunting Island State Park, McLeod Plantation Historic Site, and Coastal Discovery Museum.
1 Idaho – 5.49% Of Hidden Travel Gems
Also referred to as ”the gem state,” Idaho has a total of 1,676 tourist attractions, and 92 of them are hidden travel gems. From magnificent mountains to glowing rivers, Idaho is brimming with breathtaking sceneries worth mentioning. In fact, some of the state’s most beautiful places are only known to the locals, and only adventurers into ‘diving deeper’ may discover these best-kept secrets. Some of the state’s best-hidden travel gems are the Hiawatha Mountain Bike Trail, Roosevelt: The Forgotten Underwater Ghost Town, Winchester Lake State Park, and Sportsman Park.