5 Hidden Gems to Explore on your Next Trip to the United States

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5 Hidden Gems to Explore on your Next Trip to the United States

The United States is notable for destinations like Hollywood, New York City, Mount Rushmore, and the Grand Canyon, but sometimes your American vacation calls for an unexpected experience. Make your next trip something more unique than Universal Studios or Disney. Pick a locale you can tell a story about that will wow and intrigue. Here are a few U.S. based hidden gems that will have your trip feeling more personal and adventurous than typical tourist destinations.

1. Myrtle Beach, SC

 

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Of all popular vacation destinations in the states, Myrtle Beach is the least mentioned. It’s not featured on TV or in movies as often as other popular US beaches. This charming city sits in the centre of South Carolina, and it’s the perfect vacation spot heat that isn’t blistering like the humidity of Florida. Myrtle Beach offers more than 60 miles of beach, boardwalk, hotels with beachfront views, and other attractions like golf packages to Myrtle Beach golf courses to keep you entertained. The sheer variety of beaches is enough to draw anyone in, with multiple dedicated to typical beach fun and others dedicated to surfing, pets, and more.

Even if the sand and surf isn’t your thing, Myrtle Beach is also home to attractions like the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, which has go-karts, a roller coaster, and a massive Ferris wheel. Beyond that, the Broadway Grand Prix features a go-kart speedway with several tracks for varying age groups and difficulties.

2. Letchworth State Park, New York

 

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The Grand Canyon is a staple of any US visit, but sometimes that’s just not feasible. Don’t fret, though, you’ve got another option: the northeast’s own answer to it, Letchworth State Park. This park is a beautiful and scenic stretch of natural land filled breathtaking views. The Genessee River flows through the gorge and crashes over three separate waterfalls. It features gorges that rise taller than 600 feet, which is why it’s often called “The Grand Canyon of the East.” The park is perfect for sightseeing, and visitors can expect to enjoy whitewater rafting, kayaking, trail hiking, and horseback riding. Uniquely, there are hot air balloon tours to give you a birds-eye view of the river and forested hills.

3. Assateague Island, Virginia

 

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Off the coast of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is another seldom-mentioned marvel of American wildlife: an island called Assateague. Assateague is a barrier island home to herds of wild horses which, according to local folklore, are the descendants of horses from a colonial-era shipwreck off the coast of Virginia.

The horses of Assateague occupy one of the very few locations in the United States one can see horses in the wild. The horses are divided into two herds that straddle the border of the Maryland and Virginia and if you can time, your visit to the end of July. You’ll see the famous Pony Penning festival where the Virginia herd is rounded up to swim across the channel, where the youngest foals are auctioned off to support the conservation of the herd.

4. The village of Mackinac, Michigan

 

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At the tip of Michigan’s southern peninsula is the Village of Mackinac and its biggest draw, Mackinac Island. While Michigan is typically bitterly cold, the summer and spring months in Mackinac are temperate, with beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the historic Mackinac Bridge. While the village of Mackinac has its own number of tourist traps and attractions, including historic lighthouses on the banks of Lake Michigan and a museum of the history of Mackinac Bridge, your real destination should be the quiet gem of the lake, Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island is home to some of the finest lodging establishments and carriage rides in the state. If you hope to stay on your exercise regiment, rent a bike to travel around the island. Cars aren’t allowed on the island, making it a perfect place for pedestrian sightseeing, particularly in Mackinac Island State Park. The island boasts festivals and an exciting nightlife, making each day spent in Mackinac one you won’t soon forget.

5. Fort Bragg

Glass beach in Fort Bragg

Along the west coast in California is an accident turned marvel, Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg is a sleepy seaside vacation community north of San Francisco, so it’s perfect for a quiet getaway that’s still close to an energetic metropolitan area. The real draw; however, is Fort Bragg’s glass beach. Years of discarded bottles, light bulbs, and other glass materials along the coast have been worn down over time, softening the glass to be fine and smooth. Now, they coat the beaches and glimmer in the sun. The beach shines in the sunset and will help you snap the perfect destination photo.

Feature photo: mackinac_parks
Sam Casteris

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