Saturday, October 7, 2023

These destinations take you off the beaten path

If you’re craving a taste of America’s hidden natural beauty away from tourist crowds, read on. The U. S. is home to countless stunning landscapes, charming towns, and breath-taking vistas that remain off the beaten path.

Famous rock formation at 
Chiricahua National Monument
Michael Bissona, Motoring Expert at International Drivers Association, says, “The United States is a treasure trove of lesser-known, but no less beautiful, places waiting to be discovered. A road trip to lesser-known locations can be an amazing adventure.”

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Nestled in south-eastern Arizona, Chiricahua National Monument is a captivating oasis of rock pinnacles known as "The Wonderland of Rocks". The 8-mile scenic drive and 17 miles of day-use hiking trails provide opportunities to discover the beauty and diversity of this less-known, yet remarkable destination. The park’s rich biodiversity and unique rock formations will surely create a lasting impression.

Sunset at Door County shoreline

Door County, Wisconsin

Known as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest", Door County is a charming peninsula located between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. With its quaint lighthouses, artisan shops, galleries, and more than 300 miles of shoreline peppered with rugged beaches and hidden coves, Door County is a serene and picturesque road trip destination. Be sure to try the region's famous cherry pie.

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Vegetated dunes at Cumberland Island

Accessible only by ferry, Cumberland Island is a haven of untouched natural beauty. Home to wild horses, maritime forests, and pristine beaches, it offers an escape like no other. As Georgia's largest barrier island, it offers miles of trails for hiking and biking. Don't miss the stunning ruins of the Dungeness Mansion, and make sure to camp under the stars for an unforgettable night.

The Palouse, Washington and Idaho

The Palouse is a rich farming area of rolling hills and prairies spread across Washington and Idaho. Its surreal landscape, reminiscent of Tuscany's rural vistas, is best enjoyed on a leisurely drive on the Palouse Scenic Byway. Time your visit during the spring or summer when the hills are stunningly painted in shades of green or gold.

Madeline Island is part of
the Apostles Islands

Madeline Island, Wisconsin

Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands, is a serene retreat on Lake Superior. With beautiful sandy beaches, scenic hiking trails, and historic sites, the island offers something for every traveler. The ferry ride across the lake is an experience itself, but once you're on the island, visit Big Bay State Park for its fantastic birdwatching and striking cliffs.

Alvord Desert, Oregon

Alvord Desert is a good place if you seek
few crowds and serenity.
The Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon offers a starkly beautiful landscape. This dry lake bed nestled in the rain shadow of the Steens Mountain is an off-the-beaten-path destination perfect for stargazing, camping, and even land sailing due to its flat, barren expanse. Don't forget to relax in the nearby Alvord Hot Springs after a day of exploring the desert.

Beartown State Park, West Virginia

Beartown St. Park

Beartown State Park is a natural hidden gem, known for its unique rock formations, created by hundreds of years of wind and water erosion. A boardwalk trail leads visitors through a maze of moss-covered boulders, overhangs, and deep crevices. Despite its somewhat remote location, the park's serene beauty makes it worth the detour.

Today’s post is courtesy of the International Drivers Association. Photos from Larry Burmeier and free sources.




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