places in the U.S.

6 Unique Places To Visit In The U.S. That Will Blow Your Mind

Are you looking for some unique places to visit in the U.S.? There are tons of them for sure but I would love to share a few of my favorite ones.

Overall, when it comes to abundant spectacular nature, hospitable and kind people, outstanding service, diversity of cultures and foods, opportunities, and possibilities, the United States of America beats them all. If you think for a moment how vast this country is and how much beauty exists from one coast to another, you’ll get completely blown away. 

Even if you decide you want to stay in America for the rest of your life without crossing a border, I guarantee you will never get bored or question yourself what to see or do next. There are so many cool road trips and unique places to visit in the U.S. that will take your breath away.

Anything, absolutely anything that you may think of is possible to find here… deserts and mountains, canyons and valleys, oceans and rivers, clean lakes and lush forests, amazing national parks full of falls and bears. On any budget, taste, and style one can find what his heart desires.

America has been our home for many years and left a trace in our hearts forever (why we left you can read here.)

We love this country for its nature, variety, and accessibility, for developed infrastructure, amazing road trips (like this one from Southern California to Utah), and sympathetic people. If we get a chance to go back for a visit, without a need to return to a cubicle lifestyle, then we would love to experience the vastness all over again.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you).

We believe everyone should visit the United States at least once in his lifetime. However, to get a real feel of American natural beauty you guys need to hike up the mountains, swim the oceans, venture to the countryside, and go off the beaten path.

During eight years we have been extensively exploring different corners of the United States. We lived in 5 states and visited 46. And throughout this time we experienced so much wonder in the land of opportunities.

If you are interested, this is one of the amazing books that inspired us to explore the US more. 

From all our travels and explorations I would love to highlight special and truly unique places in the U.S. that you should visit. They will blow your mind for sure!

If you are a local, I hope these tips will help you rediscover your own country through a new prism. If you are a visitor, allow me to introduce you to the greatness and splendor of these almost magical destinations.

Side note: To be able to get to all of these places, you need to have a car. We personally rented a few times from Discover Cars (not to put too many miles on our own vehicles.) 

During the time when we lived in America, we often rented cars from this company even though we had our own. The deals were amazing (like Chevrolet Sonic for three days in Los Angeles for $30 or Ford Focus for one day in Denver for $15) and we preferred to rent a car rather than put miles on our own vehicles on long-distance trips.

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Here are a few truly unique places to visit in the U.S. that will blow your mind

1. Umpqua National Forest, South Oregon

Oregon is famous for so many things. Just some of them are vibrant and always green Portland, Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge scenic drive, green clear lakes, rivers, breathtaking waterfalls, hot springs, mountains, and much, much more. But not many travelers know about Umpqua National Forest in Southern Oregon. This lesser-known destination probably has the biggest amount of peaceful ponds and thundering waters that you can visit.

And the best part is how quiet and untouched they are. It seems that visitors to the state prefer to go to nearby Crater Lake only, not delving into the forest and exploring its wonders. In some places, you may be the only visitor during the day.

Side note: the downside of this area is the number of mosquitoes and ticks during the warmer months. If you think they bite you more than others (ugh, those creatures drive me bananas) then don’t forget an insect repellent (just keep it safe and get a natural one.) 


STEAMBOAT INN – a gorgeous Inn & fine dining restaurant not far from the famous Crater Lake and right in the Umpqua National Forest. Staying here makes you experience luxury and helps to enjoy the beautiful location, outstanding service, and excellent food.

RUNNING Y RANCH RESORT – a beautiful resort with a fitness center, spa, pool, sauna, golf, tennis, hiking trails, horseback riding, excellent food, and clean cozy rooms. It suits families and couples. 

Unique places to visit in the U.S.
Even though the water was clear and azure we couldn’t swim in it. It was freezing cold at the beginning of June
places to blow your mind in the U.S.
This National Forest has an incredibly high amount of waterfalls. An easy hike through the woods will bring you to almost fairytale places
Unique places to visit in America
Only one park has so much to offer
Unique places to visit in the U.S.
On the way down to this waterfall I fell and scratched my legs. The hike was steep and a bit dangerous. However, in the end, it was worth getting down there. Some people swam in the waters but we chickened out. Toketee Falls.

2. Lava Beds National Monument, California

Oh, California. Only this one state holds so much and offers so many activities to a traveler. Lava Beds National Monument is another unique place to visit in the U.S. that not many people know about. Visitors to California usually go to Pacific Coast Highway, Sequoia, Red Rocks, Yosemite, Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks missing historically and geologically rich land in the North.

Lava Beds National Monument should be definitely added to your list of places to visit in California. Because of the volcanic eruptions in this area years and years ago a rugged landscape with diverse volcanic features was created. There are so many caves to venture in, campsites, and even battlefields to visit!

We can only imagine how excited kids will be to explore some of the caves. Lava Beds National Monument undoubtedly will amaze you with the surreal landscape!

Side note: The temperature in the caves stays low year-round. This is why you shouldn’t be deceived by the sun and heat on the surface. Take a hoodie or sweater to stay warm.


GUEST SUITE HOSTED BY DEL & JUDY – if you prefer staying on Airbnb and don’t mind renting a room in someone’s house, I highly recommend looking into this beautiful home. This is where we stayed at some point. The house is exactly the same as you see in the pictures and has mountain views. Here, you’ll experience wonderful hospitality, incredible views, and amazing amenities. 

RUNNING Y RANCH RESORT – is the same resort that I mention above. The hotel’s location is perfect for visiting Lava Beds National Monument and Umpqua National Forests during one trip.

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Unique places to visit in the U.S.
For those who love a sense of adventure, this park has a lot to offer. Exploring one of many caves.
blow your mind places in America
Even in summer, the temperature inside of the caves is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 Celsius), so wearing warm clothes is important!
Volcano in California
Collapsed lava tube and cinder cone volcano in the background

3. Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado

Alright, this park is not really among the unique places to visit in the U.S. It is not less-visited among Americans. Quite on the contrary, they love it, know well and return again and again.

However, visitors from other countries often don’t add it to the list of national parks to see. Usually, they head out to national parks in California, Montana, and Utah. Not many of them think this park is worth the visit.

Rocky Mountains National park is huge and has almost unearthly beauty. Spending a day or two there definitely won’t be enough. Every season in this park is magical and will guarantee an array of colors.

Side note: If you plan on walking in the snow, don’t forget proper shoes or snow grips. If visiting the area in the winter, you should add Rocky Mountain National Park to this bucket list ski road trip itinerary.


THE HISTORIC RAPIDS LODGE AND RESTAURANT – is more of a budget option, this lodge is located on the banks of the scenic river not far from Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake. Here, you’ll find pet-friendly cabins, gourmet dining, old but clean and cozy rooms. The highlight is the view and the river. 

ASPEN WINDS ON FALL RIVER – a dream-like lodging right next to Rocky Mountain National Park. All condo suites and vacation rentals are facing the river with mind-blowing views on all sides. Clean, quiet accommodation with professional and caring staff. This hotel is great for couples getaways and romantic stays.

national parks in america

must-visit in America
We visited this park during winter and spring. The number of activities was endless even though many roads were closed due to snow.

Unique places to visit in the U.S.

4. Eastern Sierra Nevada in California

As with Lava Beds National Monument, Eastern Sierra Nevada in California is a gem place in the U.S. that will blow your mind. Everyone praises Highway 1 along the coast but not everyone directs enough attention towards highway 395.

This area has an incredibly high amount of lakes (Mammoth Lakes are the most popular ones), fairy-tale mountains, small cute towns, amazing hot springs, and even museums. Also, I am not sure if you knew that but a lot of movies representing the Wild West of America were filmed here too.

You can find the tallest mountain Mount Whitney and the highest slopes of California also in this part of the state. In winter the only way to get to Eastern Sierra would be from the south due to the road closure from the West. In the summertime, you can visit from the Bay Area.

Therefore, you have to come here at any time during the year and explore this truly hidden gem.


THE VILLAGE LODGE MAMMOTH – a beautiful hotel that offers luxury at a rather low price. Offseason rates are very reasonable. The property is perfectly located in Mammoth Lakes town with year-round entertainment. Rooms have kitchens, big bathtubs, the hotel has a pool, restaurant, and direct gondola access. 

MCGEE CREEK LODGE – Old California at its Best. Just 10 Minutes to Mammoth. The lodge offers 8 comfortable rooms and 2 cabins

Unique places to visit in the U.S.
Despite the dry climate of California, Eastern Sierra gets a lot of rain and snow each year

beautiful places in California

hidden beauty places in America
A vast desert is followed by snow peaks and greenery
california hot springs
Hot springs in Mammoth Lakes area

5. Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota

I bet North Dakota is probably one of the last few states you plan to visit in America.

Overall, the state does not have as much to offer as some other states. Still, there is so much beauty this national park hides. We visited it on one of our mid-west road trips and this spot came as a total surprise!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is on the western side of the state and not far from the border with Montana, is rich with wildlife, scenic drives, and stunning vista views. We spent there just a couple of hours in the evening, watching the sunset and observing the wildlife.

Honestly, we haven’t seen as many bison in our life as in this one park alone. Even Yellowstone NP has way fewer bisons due to the fact that it allows hunting within its boundaries which contributed to fluctuations in the bison population. But in Theodore National Park the bison population experiences natural growth.

So besides all sceneries, you’ll get a chance to observe the bison community and glimpse into the region’s past and present which is truly one of the most unique things to do in the US!


AMBLE INN – this Inn is a wonderful option for budget travelers who are traveling across the country and/or looking to stay next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The rooms here are big, with comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms. The atmosphere feels like somewhere in the Wild West. 

ROUGH RIDERS HOTEL – a very nice historic hotel with good service, simple but cozy rooms after remodeling and an in-house restaurant. The food is delicious and at reasonable prices.

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North Dakota national park
Hey there!

nature in North Dakota

North Dakota nature
It was such a surprise to see a huge number of bison living in the park
unique places to visit in the US
Roosevelt national park

6. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Michigan

Those who visit Lake Superior, have difficulty believing this formation is not a sea. 

Congress has recognized the landscape of Lake Superior as a national lakeshore in 1966, however, until this time it is not receiving even half the number of visitors that other national parks see.

I can say with confidence that pictures can’t do justice to the beauty of this place.

If you visit, you’ll see that Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers endless hiking trails, waterfalls, camping, backpacking, hunting, picnicking areas, miles of golden beautiful beaches, and much more. The pristine beauty of forests, cliffs, and rock formations will make you question why you haven’t visited before.


ROAM INN – a boutique-type lodging not far from Munising’s Lower Harbor. They offer a big variety of rooms from small studios to large suites and located next to restaurants and shopping. 

beautiful America
The water was so green and transparent that we wanted to jump off the cliff and swim in it.
Best National park in America
Walking a sand trail overlooking the lake

I’d love to hear what you think of this list. Did you guys go to any of these destinations? Would you add any of your own unique places to visit in the U.S.? If yes, share your thoughts! 

Also, if you like the article, would you share it on social media? 


6 Less Visited Places in the U.S. that will blow your mind
6 Less Visited Places in the U.S. that will blow your mind

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  1. Have been to California a bunch of times but never visited Lava Beds Park. I think I should add it to my list for the next time when there!

    1. And you won’t regret Patrick! Just make sure you’ll arrive in the morning, there are lots of activities for the entire day!
      Oh, and Umpqua National Forest in Oregon is a short drive away 🙂

  2. We loved Pictured Rocks and the surrounding area, in fact, the whole upper peninsula was fantastic. We also enjoyed T Roosevelt NP. We are headed west this summer to the PNW, so I’m happy to hear about these other spots!

    1. …oh and we hit RMNP last summer and hope to go again. You’re spot on about it being just as scenic but less crowded because it’s not on the intl tourist list.

    2. So excited for you! You’ll guys definitely have a great time, and will want to come back 🙂 We hope to revisit one day too!

    3. I have been to RMNP many times. So beautiful and so much too see. I have also been to Picture Rocks in Michigan. We took the boat tour, which allowed for great photos and great information.

  3. I had it heard of most of those. I will have to check them out next time I’m out West. Or maybe the one in Michigan much sooner

  4. Try Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota, beautiful waterfalls, and the hike to the Devil’s Bathtub was amazing.
    Also try Medicine Bow in Wyoming. Picturesque lakes, surrounded by incredible mountain scenery.
    Or check out Sinks Canyon in Wyoming. It’s called Sinks Canyon because the river sinks into a canyon at a place called three Fall and disappears beneath the surface. Scientists have no idea where it goes, they’ve speculated; maybe it’s another dimension, another planet, some kind of underground hot spring, most think it just gets trapped behind limestone slowly squeezing through tiny cracks. All they know is that when it reappears 3 hours later at a place called the Rise it’s warmer. That’s especially unusual because usually when water disappears beneath the surface it would come back cooler. Nice views, cool geological features, and if you take the Popo Agie trail it leads to a waterfall, then a swimming hole with a natural waterslide.

    1. Wow, Dan, all these places look so beautiful!! I’ve checked some pictures and now can’t wait to revisit Wyoming and get to South Dakota (this is one of a few states where we haven’t been yet.) Thank you for all your tips!

  5. We loved Roosevelt National Park! It is quiet with lovely scenery and everywhere so many animals (including bison, prairie dog towns, and wild horses) up and personal. It was a huge treat after the crowds at Yellowstone. We highly recommend it! The Eastern Sierra is gorgeous and so overlooked. Thanks for the good article!

    1. Thank you, Gail, for your lovely comment! Eastern Sierra is very overlooked, that’s true, and one visit is never enough. I am happy to hear you had a great time!

  6. RMNP???? Seriously??? Less crowded??? Um, I’d really love to show the real secluded Colorado. RMNP is for people who need to pay to experience nature.

    1. Based on the comment it seems you just scrolled through and read the captions without paying attention to what this post is all about. It clearly says that Americans know and love this park, and frequent it often. But international visitors tend to skip it thinking it’s not worth the visit.
      In any case, thanks for stopping by and all the best.

  7. Love your post!! My husband and I love hitting the places less visited also!! We currently live in Whitefish, Montana and before lived in Bend, OR. Living in both locations we seek out the places that no one visits!! In Oregon Umpqua National Forest is one our faves!! If you visit Oregon again make sure you visit the Oregon Outback/Desert. There are so truly unique places out there and you will most likely see no one ?.
    We also love the Eastern Sierra in California!!
    We will be spending a lot of time exploring and camping throughout the West this coming summer and will be starting a blog to share our adventures.
    Cheers to you and your Adventures!!!

    1. Manda, thank you for your kind comment and for the tips! You live in such a beautiful place, it’s definitely time to start sharing about all places you go to on your blog! Just don’t postpone. I have been procrastinating with my blog and now regret I haven’t started it sooner.
      When you start one, please, get back and let me know. I love reading blogs of others and learning about hidden gems. And it would be great to connect.
      We do plan to go back to the U.S. and possibly make a base in Oregon (just not sure when exactly,) so adding Outback Desert to my list, never heard about it! Thanks again, so glad you stopped by and mentioned it!!

  8. Nice article! I did notice that you mentioned Red Rocks as being in California. It’s in Colorado. Also, Mt. Whitney is not only the tallest mountain in California, it’s the tallest in the contiguous 48. Only Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) in Alaska is higher in the U.S.

    1. Hi Lori, thank you for dropping a comment!
      Red Rocks, which I mention in my post, is a State Park in California. Yes, there is one in Colorado too (I guess parks with the same name are all over the country) but the one I mention is in California. It’s around 2 hours away from Los Angeles towards Mammoth Lakes.
      For Mt. Whitney, it seems there are 10 other peaks (all of them are in Alaska) that are higher. At least this is what wikipedia says. But yes, this is one of the highest peaks in entire North America!

  9. Several of the cities you name as great places to move to have very very expensive housing. Do you take this into
    consideration when you choose the places. Also someplace like Vermont has a very long, cold and dark winter. I guess it’s ok if you are a skier.

    1. Hey Bonnie, yes, some cities have expensive housing indeed but salaries there are also at much higher level than in those cities where accommodation is cheaper.

    2. I live in Riseburg, Oregon and have hiked to almost all of the waterfalls in the area. I have also hiked the North Umpqua River trail twice. It’s an amazing hike. 84ish miles of spectacular views, forests, and waterfalls. I highly encourage anyone coming to visit to hike some or all of the segments. You wont regret it.

  10. I throughly enjoyed your post I’m always looking for the hidden gems. My husband and I are beyond blessed and have able to travel to many places. I would like to encourage you guys to check out Kootenai falls in Montana near the border. It’s also a least traveled area we just discovered it by accident on our trip trough the northern west coast. Stop at what seemed to be just a rest stop and read some of the sign and thought we’d check it out only to find a swinging bridge offering spectacular views and then The falls galore when we went in 2016 there was a drought and it was mid August and the falls were slower and walked in the middle and we’ve returned May 2019 only to find another look and feel of the place even more water and where we hike to the center of falls well that was all rushing over. This place has been featured in a movie. Also a bald eagle was spotted trying to take a closer look at my husbands drone.

    1. Wow, Lolita, thank you so much for this tip! I’ve just looked through some photos on google maps and got inspired! We haven’t seen much of Montana yet but planning to return and discover more of this beautiful state. Hopefully, next year.
      I put a check mark on the map, thank you again!

  11. There is a lot to see in North Dakota. Try a Google search….I spent a week there last summer, a few favorites in addition to TRNP are The Enchanted Highway (do spend the night in The Enchanted Castle!) In Regent, The International Peace Garden on the Canadian boarder, The National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, and for the best flash back to the past, visit Bonanzaville in Fargo. North Dakota has many historical sites as well, we visited several restored forts and Lewis and Clark sites. And let’s not forget the geographical center of North America is located near Center, ND. Go back for another visit, you missed too much!

  12. They may not be the most popular places to visit in the US, but these places are still travel goals, and we hope to see a lot of people travel to these destinations.

  13. We visited Theodore Roosevelt NP just after July 4 2009. Had the place to ourself. Great park. Go see the place.

  14. You’re right, Theodore Roosevelt National park is one of the most beautiful, underrated places on earth, but, you’re wrong in that there isn’t much else to offer in North Dakota. There are so many other beautiful places to see.

  15. I live in Upper Michigan and I was so happy to see Pictured Rocks on your list! It’s a beautiful place! If you ever come back, be sure to visit the Keweenaw Peninsula too. You won’t be disappointed!

    1. Thank you, Lisa, for this tip! Adding Keweenaw Peninsula to my map, we will definitely return one day to explore more of Michigan! 🙂

  16. Very interesting and informative blog post! I would love to experience these places whenever I go to the U.S. Thanks for sharing this post. your way of blog writing is really amazing

  17. Hello Anya What a wonderful collection of US destinations! Your post has inspired me to explore more of this stunning nation because I’ve always wanted to. I value your accurate and thorough explanations of each location as well as your helpful suggestions on what to do, how to get there, and what to expect. Your excellent writing style and enthusiasm for travel come through in everything you write.

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