There is nothing better than discovering the many beautiful cities in the US. From the East Coast to the West, unique and exciting hidden gems are just waiting for you to explore everything they have to offer. Whether you’re planning a road trip through the Midwest or a weekend getaway, some cities appeal to a wide array of tastes. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and grab your camera as you take in the sights at some of the best places to visit in the US!
Before you set off on your adventure, you want to ensure you make an itinerary so you don’t miss out on everything your destination has to offer. Take some time and research fun activities, going beyond the typical tourist attractions and discovering the heart of your chosen location. Once you have a plan in place, it’s ok to keep it flexible and account for any exciting and unexpected twists along the way.
If you love small towns and the history they bring, head on over to Jerome, Arizona. Formerly a mining town, this historical treasure of a town presents you with stunning views of the Verde Valley and many trails for the outdoorsman at heart. You won’t want to miss the beauty that Jerome, Arizona has to offer! Jerome is set atop Cleopatra Hill, which offers breathtaking 360-degree views of red rock cliffs and snowy mountain peaks. Once known as the “wickedest town in the West,” Jerome now houses quaint B&Bs, art galleries, and museums making it an ideal spot for those seeking to immerse themselves in history. Speaking of history, Jerome is the largest ghost town in the US, so it’s common to see historic buildings scattered throughout, many lovingly restored to their former glory. A short drive brings you to Tuzigoot National Monument, stone ruins from a pueblo the Sinagua people built in 100A.D. Taking place in September, film lovers enjoy attending the four-day Jerome Indie Film Festival, famously voted one of the “top 25 Coolest Flim Festivals in the world” by MovieMaker Magazine.
Fayetteville, West Virginia, is a stunning small town nestled in the lush mountains of the West Virginia countryside. Cutting through the towering mountains is the New River Gorge, offering unparalleled white water rafting, nature hiking, and bird watching. The white water roars to life as it moves mightily downstream, while the New River Bridge sits hundreds of feet above, offering safe passage over the tumultuous waters. Take a stroll down the small-town streets lined with historic buildings holding local eateries, bed and breakfasts, and impressive art galleries. Along the roads in the historical district, restored Victorian, Queen Anne, and Romanesque Revival buildings transport you back in time, making Fayetteville one of the most lovely hidden gems in the US.
Take a drive through winding roads as you make your way to Estes Park, Colorado, located among the Rocky Mountains. This small town is surrounded by mountains and is known as the gateway to the Rocky Mountian National Park. Outdoor lovers have over 415 square miles of natural terrain to explore, while those preferring to immerse themselves in local life can meander their way through the many small shops and eateries. Victorian buildings transport you to a by-gone era, while the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for Stephen King’s book “The Shining,” towers overlooking the town, beckoning brave travelers to stay within its walls.
For those dreaming of a European vacation, skip the long flight and make your way to Leavenworth, Washington. The moment you enter this authentic German town, you will swear you traveled across the sea to Germany thanks to the Apline chateaux’s Bavarian folk culture and many beer halls. Depending on the time of year, Leavenworth takes on different forms. Summer is a time for outdoor adventure, hiking, biking, and golf being some of the most popular. As summer fades to fall, harvest and beer celebrations begin, allowing the town’s European roots to come alive. Winter brings sparkling lights and a hearty Christmas spirit, with warm fires burning in the fireplaces of homes and cafes alike. For a taste of Munich and authentic German cuisine, stop in one of the many local eateries, where you will fall in love with the unique and one-of-a-kind fares bursting with a German flavor.
Originally a Company Town, Fort Bragg, California, has been transformed into a quaint seaside getaway. Only three hours from San Francisco, Fort Bragg is far enough away from any major metropolis to have developed its personality, setting itself apart and creating a unique and distinctive experience. Take a stroll through its relaxing botanical garden and grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine at one of the small locally owned eateries. Cottages line the shore while the sound of waves crashing along the beaches fills the salty air. There is no doubt that Fort Braggs best feature is its unmatched glass beach. Decades of trash thrown into the ocean have made their way back to these shores, tumbled and rounded to produce glass-like rocks that glitter and shine in the sun. No one is quite sure why there is such an extensive collection of discarded material piled into this one place, but it makes for a destination like none other. As you walk along the dazzling beach, you’ll see remains of liquor bottles, automotive taillights, broken windows, apothecary bottles, and more, creating a rainbow of colors along the sandy shore. Each remnant has a story, and it’s impossible not to daydream about where it started decades ago.
Kodiak Island, Alaska, is a diverse cultural center where European meets Native American. As you walk its streets, you’ll see Orthodox churches and Russian monuments weaved into traditional Native American communities. History buffs will enjoy visiting Fort Abercrombie, built as a defense against the threat of occupation during World War II. Those who love seafood will love the fresh, delicious variety of options pulled straight from the sea and brought to the table. As with most Alaskan cities, there are acres upon acres of nature to explore as you hike or ride through the dense forests, observing the large amounts of wildlife along the way.
Ruidoso, New Mexico, is another great destination for Wild West fanatics. Locals will be happy to recount their encounters with the ghosts of Kit Carson and Billy the Kid, while nearby gold mines are exciting for those seeking to learn more about the history of the region. Foodies are sure to enjoy the delicious southwestern cuisine that gives a taste of generational recipes passed down for hundreds of years. Ruidoso is no stranger to natural beauty as the surrounding Sierra Blanca mountains, with their snowcapped peaks, shield the city and offer some of the best skiing in the state.
Although technically a county, Door County is smaller than many cities in the US. As you drive around, you’re greeted by a towering lighthouse, working tirelessly to light the way for travel-weary sailors. Artists will find themselves surrounded by local art around every corner, capturing the unparalleled beauty the area offers. The Peninsula State Park, a 104-year-old natural attraction, is an excellent area for all kinds of outdoor activities, including swimming, hiking, and camping. If you enjoy camping but want to do it somewhere a little more protected, check out one of the four campgrounds in the area. There is also a theater and golf course where you can relax the day away and dozens of unique viewing points where you can take in all the nature Door County has to offer.
When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, drive on up to Rosendal, New York. Only two hours from New York City, Rosendale offers small-town comforts and welcoming locals. With the Catskill mountains in the background creating an idyllic scene, you can walk through downtown, where taverns, cafes, and boutiques are ready to welcome you inside. The vast majority of the buildings were constructed in the early 1900s after a fire destroyed more than half the town in 1895, giving the city a historic feel. Locals performing in an abandoned mine and city-wide festivals are a staple in the area, mixing the old and new together seamlessly. This tight-knit community is friendly and inviting, making it an ideal destination year-round.
When you’re ready to get away from it all, make sure you check out everything Passero has to offer. Passero offers itineraries for multiple regions around the world, including Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Asia, so you can create your dream vacation and never miss out on any of the fantastic sites at each destination. No matter what you have in mind, Passero can help guide you every step of the way, making it the go-to for smart travelers!
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