Here are 15 cities, full of things to do, see, and eat, that may be overlooked when you are sitting around planning a vacation or weekend getaway. And that’s a real shame, because, in the emerging pandemic travel era, these destinations may be just what the doctor ordered.
We’ve included small towns from across the United States, along with larger cities that seem to get passed by (and shouldn’t). These are destinations full of outdoor activities, scenic drives, vibrant art scenes, rich history, fine dining, museums, and lots of wonderful attractions.
Enjoy our recommendations and start planning a trip to one of the underrated places to visit in the U.S. Fall and winter will be off-season for many of them, a perfect time to take advantage of lower rates, but we're also big believers that the perfect time to visit is when it works for YOU.
Walla Walla is in southeast Washington and takes its name from the Walla Walla people who lived in the area alongside other Native American tribes. The city is close to the Oregon border, just six miles north. Whether you prefer to sample fine food and wine during a weekend break, like to discover a region’s fascinating history, or simply want to kick back and relax, Walla Walla has lots to offer.
There are a few things that make for a perfect beach getaway. Of course, you need a great beach, and even better if it comes with powder-soft white sand and spectacular sunsets. Add in a few great off the beach activities and an amazing food scene and now we’re talking. If you want all of the above without crowds or sky-high prices then Alabama’s Gulf Coast is for you.
Whether you are an outdoor fanatic, in search of intellectual motivation, or just an individual who wishes to have a relaxing yet enjoyable value luxury vacation, Boulder is worth a visit. You’ll find outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, rock climbing, and skiing to the soft adventures of craft beer, restaurants, shopping, and University activities.
Lake Tahoe is famous both for its great summer activities and for its winter sports. The area attracts nearly three million visitors per year and South Lake Tahoe is the most popular city. The slopes normally open in late November, prior to Thanksgiving, and close in mid-to-late April. The rest of the year it’s all about hiking, biking, water sports, and just in general enjoying nature. But whatever time of year you visit South Lake Tahoe, this mountain town will keep you entertained!
Troy, New York, formerly ratty, now considerably hip, has been undergoing a slow renaissance for a couple of decades. Eye-catching brick industrial and commercial buildings have been repurposed into chic boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. Yes, Troy NY is modernizing, but still retains its Victorian glow: so much so that HBO is filming a new series, “The Gilded Age,” right downtown.
The Lancaster, Pennsylvania area offers some unique, enriching opportunities to broaden your horizons. Explore and engage Amish culture, expand your knowledge, renew yourself spiritually, and shop for rare items. Additionally, the vast, picturesque landscape provides a chance to relax and enjoy nature away from congested city life.
Take a casual glance at Slab City, California and all you’ll see is a dusty, junkyard full of hippies and dropouts. But look deeper and you’ll also find a diverse community of artists, homesteaders, and retirees living off the grid, on the cheap, and absolutely on their own terms.
Wander around Aiken for just a few minutes and it’s obvious you’re in horse country. You’ll find colorful horse murals painted on brick walls, elaborately painted horse statues throughout the city, and painted horse heads on street signs.
Located in the far western part of Texas, at the intersection of Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, Mexico, El Paso is rich in history and culture. You might not initially think of visiting El Paso, but as more and more travelers are prioritizing domestic travel over international, this is a city worthy of consideration. Whether you’re lining up a Texas road trip, going in search of Tex-Mex cuisine, or just finally getting to cities that you’ve overlooked, there are plenty of things to do in El Paso.
Here’s a weekend itinerary for eco-friendly, sustainable, and kind adventures in Dutchess County, New York. Looking to spend two days wandering around adorable towns, spending time in quiet nature, and sampling delicious food and drink? You’ll want to run, not walk, straight to Dutchess County, New York.
If you look at a map, Anna Maria Island is a barrier island in southwest Florida, about halfway down the state, on the west coast, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the year-round wonderful weather, there's a lot to do outdoors. The average high temperature is in the lower 90s and the average low is in the mid-50s.
Located in Richland County, Ohio, Mansfield may not be your first choice for a weekend getaway, but there is certainly enough here to keep you occupied. In fact, you may find that there are so many things to do in Mansfield that you’ll need to make a return trip. Mansfield has many claims to fame: it professes to be the haunted capital of Ohio, the number one movie of all time – The Shawshank Redemption – was filmed here, and America’s first working robot, Elektro, was built in the city.
I love it when I find a destination that’s perfect for both a summer and winter getaway. Mammoth Lakes, California, manages to tick all the boxes. It is a location with plenty of activities all year round and has an excellent infrastructure to make your stay a pleasant and convenient one. While many people think of Mammoth Lakes primarily as a ski resort – and it is a popular one – there is so much more here to enjoy regardless of the season.
Located on the south end of Whidbey Island overlooking the Saratoga Passage, Langley’s community of just over 1,000 people entices visitors with small-town hospitality. With charming inns and cottages, seven wineries in the area, and a stunning natural environment, Langley is a perfect getaway destination for wine tasting, great food, and outdoor activity.
I have a few more underrated – or perhaps merely overlooked – cities that are on my to-visit list. We recently went to San Luis Obispo, read about our stay there, and it’s possible to get to one more before the end of the year. It’s so great to be back traveling again!
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