For travel buffs who long to explore the world, don’t forget how much beauty and adventure lies within your own backyard! We’ve put together some amazing US cities that are often overlooked by tourists which means they are way more budget-friendly. Plan an affordable weekend getaway today – or tomorrow if you’re feeling spontaneous – and discover all these hidden gems have to offer!
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Avalon, the only incorporated city in Santa Catalina Island is a southernmost Californian paradise waiting to be explored. Visitors can make their trip even more memorable with experiences such as bison expeditions, zip lining, rock climbing, and falconry; while there are also plenty of conventional activities like golfing and scuba diving available too. And don’t forget to take part in the local favorite Glass Bottom Boat Experience or spend an evening camping on one of its beautiful beaches – dolphins are often seen playing nearby when you arrive via ferry from Long Beach! So if you’re looking for something unconventional yet affordable then come explore Avalon and experience everything it has to offer today.
Take a trip to Billings, Montana, and discover why it has been referred to as an “unexpectedly delightful” destination. With the international airport situated conveniently in town, you can explore all that this charming city offers with ease. Check out downtown’s historic sites such as The Depot and Moss Mansion or grab drinks at one of many local craft breweries on the Billings Brew Trail walking route! For something more outdoorsy – not far from town – take your pick between scenic hikes along Rimrocks or rappelling downsides for some thrilling views into nature. Or wander through Yellowstone Kelly Memorial which provides insight into important figures within Montanan history. Don’t miss out; plan a visit today!
Boise, Idaho is a hidden gem for travelers! Located on the ancestral lands of Indigenous tribes, it’s also one of America’s safest and most walkable cities. From savoring American cuisine to biking along The Greenbelt trail by the river or floating it – there’s something fun waiting around every corner in this city!
Foodies must drop into “Boise Fry Company” with its unique ten fry variations and dipping sauces celebrated worldwide. Or try out local favorites such as “Bacon” or “Eureka!”
To brush up your cultural knowledge visit Basque Center while historically-inclined travelers can explore Sacajawea Interpretive & Cultural Educational Centre – an enlightening journey through Western US history awaits you here!
Charleston, South Carolina
Immerse yourself in the history and authentic Southern charm of beautiful Charleston! This vibrant South Carolinian town is an amazing place to explore with cobblestone-lined streets, pastel-colored homes, and horse carriages trotting around – it almost looks like a storybook. Get involved in its culture by visiting historic sites such as The Old Slave Mart Museum or marvel at the 18th-century French Quarter – home to a magnificent 1712 Pink House.
Or spend your night romantically strolling through Waterfront Park for stunning views of the ocean before indulging on some wonderful seafood specialties from local restaurants along King Street that burst into life after dark when you’ll hear plenty of live music while enjoying their outdoor patios.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is an overlooked gem, home to several military installations. While flying into its small airport may be inconvenient due to limited direct flights, it’s only a two-hour drive from Denver—but that’s time well spent!
Adventurers can explore breathtaking views at Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and Red Rock Canyon; families with kids will have just as much fun checking out Cheyenne Zoo or Dinosaur Museum; solo travelers looking for relaxation won’t find better than Palmer Park. And don’t forget about The Denver Biscuit Company: their phenomenal food portions are not something you want to miss on your trip! So come visit Colorado Springs for a vacation sure to suit anyone’s needs – even if those needs involve biscuits…
Revisit the past, explore modern art and culture – Detroit, Michigan has seen an incredible renaissance in recent years! Home of Motown Music, it’s now a must-visit destination. Take off on one of its many bike paths to discover some thriving street artwork from around the world or enroll your children for interactive fun at Campus Martius Park sandbox. On top of that, visit The Henry Ford Museum where you can ride a historic steam engine back through time with exhibitions showcasing how this city revolutionized America by introducing automobiles over 100 years ago!
With a great foodie scene year round especially during Christmas time, there is lots more to enjoy apart from sightseeing making Detroit a truly underrated exceptional travel spot worth checking out!
El Paso, Texas
Located in the westernmost tip of Texas, El Paso boasts of being one of the best-underrated cities in the United States. It is full of surprises and offers countless activities that cater to the diverse interests of visitors. From the various community parks, museums, and art galleries to the diverse variety of restaurants (like Kiki’s) and bars in the city, there is always something to do in El Paso.
For the more adventurous travelers, the Franklin Mountains State Park presents numerous opportunities for hiking and rock climbing. El Paso also has a rich cultural heritage, which is evident in the city’s unique blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Texan influences. Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, El Paso has something to captivate your curiosity.
Grand Junction, Colorado
Colorado has more to offer than just Denver and the Rockies – on its west side, Grand Junction is nestled in a unique desert setting teeming with natural beauty. The city’s independent galleries and boutiques make it easy for travelers looking for an off-the-beat destination. It’s easily accessed by road-tripping from nearby cities like Vail or Aspen, where you can also get some stunning views of Independence Pass perched at over 12000 feet! Outdoor enthusiasts will love taking advantage of all that this area offers – river rafting down the mighty Colorado River, hiking through wild horse pastures or taking Rim Rock Drive along the incredible Monument Valley canyon walls; there really isn’t any shortage of breathtaking experiences here!
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Discover the hidden gem of America, Green Bay! One part sports heaven with a Packers game, one part Dairyland producing 2.37 billion pounds of cheese, and finally, an array of local brews to tantalize your taste buds – this city has it all! Make sure you attend some musical festivities in summer and fall as families gather for amusement parks attractions during any time of year. Join fellow fans at Lambeau Field or sip Wisconsin beer while taking in stunning views on scenic hillsides where autumn foliage is bountiful amidst apple-picking activities like Oktoberfest fun…Green Bay awaits you!
Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York is a dream for outdoorsy types; it offers hikers stunning geological trails such as the Cascadilla Gorge Trail that starts downtown and connects to Cornell University. Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park are also nearby attractions worth exploring. When you need respite from all your adventures in nature, there’s no better place than this college town!
For craft beer or wine connoisseurs looking to socialize after dark—Ithaca Beer Co., Six Mile Creek Vineyard have got you covered with their cold beverage options plus many other eateries like Moosewood Restaurant (vegetarian fare), Maxie’s Supper Club & Oyster Bar ((Southern dishes) & Just A Taste – Tapas restaurant sourcing local farms-have something unique on offer sure to satisfy even the pickiest of palates! Ithaca is part of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.
The 4-block pedestrian plaza at Ithaca Commons features an eclectic blend of boutiques, restaurants and art galleries perfect for people watching and makes attending one of its annual events enjoyable too – Apple Harvest Festival during autumn or live summer concert series being some examples!
Jersey City, New Jersey
Embark on an unforgettable trip to New York City without breaking the bank! Jersey City, located across the Hudson River from Manhattan and easy to reach via the complicated transportation system in NYC is perfect for budget travelers. From stunning waterfront views of apartments, hotels and Airbnbs at a fraction of what you would pay if staying directly in The Big Apple – to incredible sights meant only for true adventurers like Liberty State Park with unparalleled view of all five boroughs or Empty Sky Memorial paying tribute Do those passed away during 9/11 attack – make your visit more attractive than ever before! Don’t miss out as this kind of experience can’t be had everywhere else but here.
Nestled in the heart of Utah lies the charming city of Lehi, known for its stunning natural scenery and a plethora of activities to partake in. Often overlooked by tourists, Lehi has an abundance of experiences to offer that make it one of the best-underrated cities in the United States. Take a journey back in time and visit the Museum of Natural Curiosity, packed with hands-on exhibits for all ages. Or, explore the scenic trails of the nearby Timpanogos Cave National Monument, boasting picturesque views and awe-inspiring cave formations. For a more relaxed day, enjoy a picnic at the beautiful Thanksgiving Point Gardens or hit the shops at the Outlets at Traverse Mountain. No matter your interests, Lehi truly has something for everyone.
Louisville, Kentucky may not be the first city that comes to mind when planning a vacation or a weekend getaway, but it certainly should be. Known as the “Gateway to the South,” Louisville has a rich history and unique culture that is waiting to be explored. From the famous Kentucky Derby to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, there are countless attractions to keep visitors entertained. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the city’s sprawling parks, while foodies will relish in the local cuisine and bourbon trails. While Louisville may be underrated, it is definitely not to be overlooked when planning your next adventure.
Marco Island, Florida
Marco Island is the perfect getaway to take a break from your everyday hustle and bustle. Located in the Gulf of Mexico off Southwest Florida, it’s home to beautiful beaches with plenty of space for you to explore! Relax under a sun-soaked sky while watching alligators near waterfront accommodations or hit up Naples or Fort Myers nearby if you’re looking for some nightlife.
You can also find museums, excellent dining options, and nature preserves that are sure to give an adrenaline rush – windsurfing, jet skiing…or sailing on board the Marco Princess with large meals await you as well. Experience blissful tranquility when visiting this great island destination without crowds vying for attention!
Looking for an inexpensive and exciting place to visit? Milwaukee has everything you’re looking for – delicious local cuisine, tons of activities, celebrated beer culture, and more. Enjoy a traditional Friday fish fry and butter burger while brewery hopping around the city’s award-winning breweries or explore art galleries in the trendy Third Ward with its indoor public market! On top of all that fun stuff is the fact that it’s only about an hour away from Chicago.
Escape to the charming Gulf Coast city of Mobile, Alabama! This vibrant area was once the original capital of French Louisiana Territory, and its rich history is evident in local traditions like Mardi Gras – an epic two-week celebration complete with daily parades featuring colorful floats tossing out beaded necklaces and moon pies. In March, don’t miss taking part in the Azalea Trail Festival where Southern belles dressed up in frilly dresses welcome visitors from all over!
There’s much more to explore too; take a tour at Fort Condé or USS Alabama battleship for Local History lessons or find some peaceful respite among nature by visiting Bellingrath Gardens. Discover great restaurants after your day trip through I-10/I65 before finishing off your exciting staycation and exploring this stunning coastal town.
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island is the perfect destination for bustling city-dwellers looking to take a weekend day trip or longer adventure. From architecture and arts as showcased in legendary Brown University; H.P Lovecraft’s creepy yet incredible tours of this haunted capital city; mouthwatering food at West End restaurants – there’s something that will excite everyone! Spend your days exploring these different neighborhoods on foot (or bicycle!), popping into heated speakeasies, listening to live music festivals during summertime or even seeing Waterfires blazing up the river with yummy street treats nearby – all while taking in some priceless historical sites along the way too!
Don’t forget: museums like RISD Museum give you an art fix whilst The Providence Children’s Museum offers loads of family fun – come here if it’s just what you need from your getaway escape. So embark on discovering this hidden gem today…you won’t regret it!
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is a captivating city set against the stunning backdrop of world-class ski mountains. Just 40 minutes from downtown, you’ll find Solitude, Brighton, and Alta resorts waiting to be explored – but if that’s not enough for your winter adventures then it won’t take long for you to reach Park City where there are remnants from the 2002 Winter Olympics complete with an exhilarating bobsled ride!
With a vast array of cultural and artistic events happening year-round, it’s no wonder Salt Lake City continues to attract visitors from all over the globe. Take a stroll through historic Temple Square or visit the Utah State Capitol building, where you can learn about the state’s rich past and present. Head to downtown Salt Lake City for a variety of shopping and dining options sure to please any taste palette.
Nestled along the beautiful Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a stunning beach town perfect for outdoor adventurers. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun on picturesque beaches or take in dramatic cliffside views – look no further! The two-mile West Cliff Drive walk offers gorgeous sights of coves and tide pools while nearby redwood groves can be accessed at University California’s campus. With near-perfect weather year-round and plenty of activities all around, this lesser-known Californian destination will show why it belongs amongst its coastal peers as an ideal spot for fun-filled exploration!
Sedona, Arizona is a hidden gem and the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore nature or partake in spiritual healing. Towering red rock formations paired with awe-inspiring natural slides make it ideal for hiking and biking adventures. Photographers also flock here as it is designated an official Dark Sky Community due to its low light pollution that allows visitors stunning views of starry night skies! Wellness retreats are widely available while Chapel of the Holy Cross cathedral provides spiritual sanctuary. Its proximity at only 120 miles north from Phoenix makes this desert oasis easily accessible—just two short hours away by car!
Located in the suburbs of Phoenix, Tempe has a lot to offer – from outdoor recreation at beautiful Tempe Town Lake and entertainment at Arizona State University’s ASU Gammage performance venue or ASU Art Museum. It also boasts an amazing array of flavors as a part of its “Spice Trail”. Experience Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and Thai cuisine along E. Apache Blvd! Whether you’re looking for adventure outdoors surrounded by stunning desert views or exploring international delights around every corner – choose Tempe; there’s something here that everyone can enjoy!
Twin Falls, Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho, may not be at the top of your vacation destination list, but you may want to reconsider. This small city sits along the Snake River and is nestled between stunning mountains, offering a plethora of outdoor activities for adventurers. One of the biggest attractions in Twin Falls is the iconic Perrine Bridge, where you can test your bravery by base jumping or bungee jumping off the 486-foot high structure.
For a more relaxing adventure, take a stroll along the canyon rim trail or explore the gorgeous Shoshone Falls, also known as the “Niagara of the West.” With plenty of hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and water activities like kayaking and white-water rafting, Twin Falls certainly delivers on adventure. There are even two ski resorts nearby, Magic Mountain and Pomerelle.
But it’s not just about the outdoors- there’s plenty to see and do within the charming city limits too. Explore local art galleries and museums, or treat yourself to some delicious food at one of the many fantastic restaurants. So why not add Twin Falls, Idaho, to your travel list? You might be surprised at how much fun this underrated gem has to offer.
Williamsburg, Virginia is the perfect mix of old and new! You can truly step back in time at Colonial Williamsburg, said to be one of America’s largest living history museums. This area was also home to William & Mary College—the second oldest university in the United States. For a glimpse into our nation’s past, you can visit Jamestown Settlement as well as Yorktown Battlefield from nearby Downtown Williamsburg by car.
It’s not just a historical playground; modern-day locals love shopping for unique finds or grabbing some grub at local eateries – amusement parks including Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA are great family fun too! An East Coast road trip wouldn’t be complete without exploring this Southern gem full of both Civil War sites alongside hotels like Great Wolf Lodge – that way everyone will have something they’ll enjoy no matter what their interests may be.
It’s exciting to explore lesser-known cities around the USA! In addition to the cities mentioned in this post, there are plenty of other underrated gems just waiting to be discovered. So what are you waiting for? Get out and see some of these wonderful places! Whether it’s a day trip or a weekend vacation, there’s something special about discovering hidden gems in the USA. Furthermore, not only do smaller cities offer unique experiences, but often they can be less crowded with tourists and tend to be more affordable. Exploring small cities around the US is easier done than said – all you need is an open mind and a spirit for adventure. Now that you know where to begin your journey, it’s time for some fun! So why not take a selfie in front of your favorite small city landmark and share it with us on social media? What’s the best small city in the USA you’ve visited? We love hearing from our readers!