Exotic Places to Visit in USA: Unforgettable Destinations

When it comes to exotic places to visit in USA, there’s an abundance of opportunities for unique adventures and breathtaking sights.

We’ll explore majestic national parks with awe-inspiring landscapes, such as Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska and Yosemite National Park in California. Additionally, we will uncover unconventional attractions like Marfa Lights in Texas and Seattle’s Gum Wall.

exotic places to visit usa

For those seeking tropical getaways within US borders, we’ll introduce Lanai Island Paradise – Hawaii’s hidden gem – along with Santa Barbara’s American Riviera charm. We’ll also discuss popular spring break destination South Padre Island in Texas and the luxurious St. John among the Virgin Islands.

Finally, our journey through exotic places to visit in the USA will take us down scenic coastal routes like Big Sur on the California coastline and Kauai’s lush Garden Isle before exploring unique desert landscapes such as Phoenix and Joshua Tree National Park.

Table of Contents

Breathtaking National Parks

The United States is home to numerous breathtaking national parks, each offering unique landscapes and experiences. From glaciers in Alaska to towering cliffs in Yosemite, these natural wonders cater to the interests of travelers of all age groups. This section will showcase some of the most remarkable national parks that are a must-see.

Kenai Fjords National Park: Majestic Glaciers and Fjords in Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park is a great place for those who want to witness majestic glaciers and fjords up close. Located near Seward, Alaska, this park offers boat tours that allow visitors to see tidewater glaciers calving into the sea while surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

kenai glacier
Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Yosemite National Park: Iconic Granite Cliffs and Giant Sequoia Trees

Yosemite National Park, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is famous for its iconic granite cliffs such as El Capitan and Half Dome. The park also features ancient giant sequoias at Mariposa Grove and beautiful waterfalls like Bridalveil Fall.

exotic places to visit usa yosemite
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Valley of Fire State Park: Vibrant Red Sandstone Formations

Situated just an hour away from Las Vegas lies Valley of Fire State Park, known for its vibrant red sandstone formations created millions of years ago through erosion. Hiking trails within the park provide ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts looking to capture striking images of these unique rock formations.

valley of fire 1303596 1280
Image by esudroff from Pixabay

Antelope Canyon: Surreal Slot Canyon with Mesmerizing Light Patterns

Antelope Canyon, located in the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona, is a surreal slot canyon that draws visitors from around the world. The narrow passageways and mesmerizing light patterns create an otherworldly atmosphere perfect for photographers and nature lovers alike.

Zion National Park & Bryce Canyon: Unique Rock Formations and Hiking Trails

Zion National Park in Utah boasts unique red-rock cliffs, waterfalls, and lush greenery. Hiking enthusiasts can explore popular trails like Angel’s Landing or The Narrows to fully appreciate the park’s beauty. Just a short drive away lies Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its distinct hoodoo rock formations created by erosion over time.

zion national park
Image by roxyhigueros from Pixabay

In the US, there are a multitude of other parks to be discovered and enjoyed. From Death Valley’s arid landscapes to Napa Valley’s rolling vineyards or Big Sur’s dramatic coastline along the Pacific Ocean – each offers a unique experience that caters to different interests while showcasing America’s diverse natural beauty.

Key Takeaway: 


The United States has numerous breathtaking national parks that cater to the interests of travelers of all age groups. From majestic glaciers and fjords in Kenai Fjords National Park, iconic granite cliffs and giant sequoia trees in Yosemite National Park, vibrant red sandstone formations in Valley of Fire State Park to surreal slot canyon with mesmerizing light patterns at Antelope Canyon – each offers a unique experience that showcases America’s diverse natural beauty.

Quirky Attractions Across America

Discover lesser-known attractions that showcase America’s quirky side. These unconventional destinations offer a refreshing break from typical tourist spots while still providing unforgettable experiences for those who seek something different on their travels.

Marfa Lights, Texas – Mysterious glowing orbs baffling scientists for decades

The Marfa Mystery Lights, also known as the “Ghost Lights,” are an unexplained phenomenon occurring in the small town of Marfa, Texas. Visitors have long reported witnessing strange, glowing orbs illuminating the night sky above Marfa, Texas. Scientists and researchers have been unable to provide a definitive explanation for these eerie lights, making them one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in the United States.

marfa lights marker
mr_t_77 from WV, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unclaimed Baggage Center, Alabama – A shopping experience like no other

If you’re looking for a truly unique shopping adventure, look no further than Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. This massive store is filled with items left behind by airline passengers or lost during transit – everything from clothing and electronics to jewelry and even wedding dresses. With new inventory arriving daily and prices significantly lower than retail value, it’s easy to see why this offbeat attraction has become popular among treasure hunters across the country.

Seattle Gum Wall – A colorful yet peculiar exhibit made entirely out of discarded gum

Nestled beneath Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market lies one of its strangest sights: The Gum Wall, a brick alleyway completely covered in used chewing gum. What started as a peculiar habit amongst theatre-goers in the 90s has now developed into an ever-changing, multi-hued work of art that draws sightseers from far and wide. Visitors are encouraged to add their own piece of gum to this bizarre but fascinating landmark.

gum wall
Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay

Salvation Mountain – A vibrant desert monument dedicated to love and faith

In California’s Colorado Desert lies Salvation Mountain, an extraordinary work of outsider art created by Leonard Knight over three decades. This man-made mountain is adorned with brightly colored murals, messages of hope, and biblical quotes – all made from adobe clay, paint, and other found materials. The site has gained international recognition for its unique artistic vision and dedication to spreading love and faith.

salvation mountain
Image by MissMalaprop from Pixabay

The Wave – A surreal sandstone formation hidden within Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs

Tucked away in the remote wilderness of northern Arizona lies one of nature’s most stunning masterpieces: The Wave, a mesmerizing sandstone rock formation resembling undulating waves frozen in time. Due to its fragile ecosystem and limited accessibility (only 20 permits are granted per day), visiting this bucket list destination requires careful planning but promises an unforgettable experience for those fortunate enough to witness it firsthand.

Key Takeaway: 


Discover some of the quirkiest and unconventional destinations in the United States, from Marfa Lights in Texas to Seattle’s Gum Wall. Other offbeat attractions include Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Alabama, Salvation Mountain in California’s Colorado Desert, and The Wave sandstone formation hidden within Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs.

Getaways within US Borders

For those seeking a sun-filled escape, the United States offers an array of tropical destinations to explore. Pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and Mediterranean architecture – you don’t have to travel far beyond your own backyard for an exotic vacation. In this section, we’ll explore some of these stunning destinations that cater to travelers seeking both adventure and leisure.

Lanai Island Paradise – Hawaii’s Hidden Gem with Pristine Beaches

Lanai Island, often referred to as Hawaii’s hidden gem, is home to unspoiled natural beauty and breathtaking coastlines. This secluded paradise offers visitors a chance to escape from it all while enjoying crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. With only two resorts on the island – Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Hotel Lanai – guests can expect an intimate experience in luxurious surroundings.

Santa Barbara – American Riviera Known for Its Mediterranean Climate

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean lies Santa Barbara, also known as The American Riviera® due to its striking resemblance to coastal towns along France’s Cote d’Azur or Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Boasting a mild year-round climate reminiscent of southern Europe, Santa Barbara invites visitors with beautiful Spanish-style architecture, world-class wineries in nearby Santa Ynez Valley (a great place on your bucket list), and pristine beaches perfect for soaking up the sun.

santa barbara
Image by Egor Shitikov from Pixabay

South Padre Island, located off the southern coast of Texas, is a popular destination for those seeking a Caribbean Sea-like experience without leaving the United States. With miles of sandy beaches, calm turquoise waters ideal for swimming or fishing, and an array of water sports such as kiteboarding or parasailing, South Padre offers something for everyone. The island also hosts various events throughout the year like Sand Castle Days, making it an attractive option beyond just spring break season.

St. John Virgin Islands – Unspoiled Nature Meets Luxurious Resorts

The smallest but arguably most beautiful of the US Virgin Islands, St. John, boasts lush greenery covering over two-thirds of its land area in protected national parkland. Visitors can explore this unspoiled paradise by hiking through tropical forests to discover hidden waterfalls or snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life in Trunk Bay (a must-see on your bucket list.). After exploring St. John’s natural wonders during daytime hours, retreat to one of several high-end resorts offering stunning views and top-notch amenities that cater to discerning travelers looking for luxury amidst breathtaking surroundings.

trunk bay st john usvi
Navin75, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Incorporating these exotic destinations into your travel plans will not only save you time but also provide unforgettable experiences within our nation’s borders. So why wait? Start planning your next adventure today.

Key Takeaway: 


Discover exotic getaways within the United States, from Lanai Island’s pristine beaches to St. John Virgin Islands’ unspoiled nature and luxurious resorts. Santa Barbara offers a Mediterranean climate with Spanish-style architecture and world-class wineries, while South Padre Island provides warm waters for swimming or water sports beyond just spring break season.

Wonders Beyond Traditional Beaches

Dive into diverse ecosystems by exploring some less conventional but equally captivating natural sites across the country. From desert landscapes in Phoenix to lush greenery in Kauai, these destinations offer a refreshing change of scenery for those seeking new adventures.

Big Sur – Dramatic Coastal Views and Outdoor Activities

The Big Sur coastline stretches along California’s central coast, offering breathtaking views of towering cliffs and crashing waves. For those who appreciate the great outdoors, Big Sur is an ideal destination for activities such as hiking and camping amidst its majestic cliffs and waves. The famous Bixby Creek Bridge serves as an iconic landmark that should not be missed on your visit to Big Sur.

big sur
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Kauai’s Garden Isle – Lush Greenery and Cascading Waterfalls

Kauai, also known as Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” is home to lush tropical rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic coastal cliffs. With its abundant flora and fauna, Kauai offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in pristine natural surroundings while enjoying activities such as kayaking through the Wailua River or trekking along the Na Pali Coast trail. For a comprehensive look, check out our Kauai Guide.

Kauai First Timers Guide
North Shore Sunset – Photo by Betsy Wuebker

Phoenix Desert Landscape – Unique Flora and Fauna Amidst Arid Surroundings

If you’re looking for something completely different from traditional beach vacations, consider venturing into the arid landscape surrounding Phoenix, Arizona. The Sonoran Desert boasts unique plant life like saguaro cacti and various species of wildlife, including the elusive Gila monster. The Desert Botanical Garden is a must-visit attraction that showcases the region’s fascinating flora and fauna while providing educational opportunities for visitors.

Image by FJ Lomelino from Pixabay

In addition to these natural wonders, there are plenty of other unique destinations across the United States that offer memorable experiences beyond traditional beach vacations. Whether you’re interested in exploring remote islands or immersing yourself in energetic city life, the United States has something to suit every traveler’s taste. So why not add these exotic places to your bucket list and start planning your next adventure today?

Key Takeaway: 


Explore exotic natural wonders in the US beyond traditional beaches, such as Big Sur’s dramatic coastal views and outdoor activities, Kauai’s lush greenery and cascading waterfalls on Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” or Phoenix’s unique flora and fauna amidst arid surroundings. Add these destinations to your bucket list for a refreshing change of scenery and new adventures.

Historical Sites & Luxurious Escapes

Combine your love for history with luxurious experiences by visiting some of the United States’ most fascinating historical sites while indulging in top-notch accommodations. These locations cater to travelers who appreciate both cultural enrichment and comfort.

Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Alabama – Insight into rich local history

Fort Morgan State Historic Site, a Civil War-era fort on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, is an ideal destination for history lovers. This historic stronghold was a major player in the Civil War and offers guests a chance to discover its renowned past through tours, presentations, and recreations. The nearby Lodge at Gulf State Park, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, provides luxury accommodations just minutes away from Fort Morgan. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the Gulf Coast along with upscale amenities such as fine dining restaurants and spa services.

Bucket List Experiences for History Lovers:

  • Napa Valley Wine Train: Embark on a journey through California’s wine country aboard the historic Napa Valley Wine Train. This luxurious train offers an unforgettable experience complete with gourmet meals, fine wines, and stunning vineyard views.
  • The Breakers Palm Beach: This iconic resort in Florida is steeped in history dating back to its opening in 1896 by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. The opulent Italian Renaissance-style hotel has hosted numerous celebrities and dignitaries over the years. Book your stay at this legendary property for an indulgent vacation filled with world-class amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, pools, spa services, and more.
  • Fallingwater: Built by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright for Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., Fallingwater is considered one of the most unique and iconic homes in America. Nestled amidst lush greenery, this architectural marvel offers guided tours that provide insight into its history and design. Plan a visit to Fallingwater for an unforgettable experience.
Key Takeaway: 


Explore the United States’ rich history while indulging in luxurious accommodations at Fort Morgan State Historic Site and La Cantera Resort & Spa on Lanai Island. For bucket list experiences, take a journey through California’s wine country aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, stay at The Breakers Palm Beach for an opulent vacation filled with world-class amenities, or visit Fallingwater to witness one of America’s most unique and iconic homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Coastal Adventures Across America

The United States offers stunning coastlines that provide endless opportunities for relaxation or adventure seekers alike. From picturesque beachfront vistas in South Carolina to nightly volcanic eruptions amidst Las Vegas glitz, there’s something unique waiting at every shore.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – Charming Coastal Town Beside the Atlantic Ocean

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful destination located along the southeastern coast of South Carolina. This charming island boasts 12 miles of pristine beaches and lush maritime forests, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Hilton Head Island is a luxurious destination, offering an array of golf courses, award-winning restaurants and resorts for those seeking both relaxation and luxury.

  • Beachcombing: Explore Hilton Head’s expansive shoreline while searching for shells or simply enjoying the sun-soaked sands.
  • Golfing: Tee off on one of the island’s many top-rated golf courses, designed by renowned architects like Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones Sr.
  • Kayaking & Paddleboarding: Glide through calm waters as you explore marshes teeming with wildlife on guided tours offered by local outfitters such as Outside Hilton Head.
  • Biking: With over 60 miles of bike paths winding throughout the island, cycling is an excellent way to take in its natural beauty at your own pace.
skull creek at hilton head
Image by bdabney from Pixabay

Las Vegas Mirage Volcano – Experience an Eruption Without Leaving US Soil

For those seeking a more unconventional adventure, look no further than the Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas. This iconic attraction erupts nightly, providing a thrilling spectacle for visitors as they witness fiery explosions and lava flows set to an exhilarating soundtrack. Situated on the renowned Las Vegas Strip, this artificial marvel offers an exciting volcanic experience among the city’s glitz and allure.

  • Nightly Eruptions: The Mirage Volcano comes alive every evening with multiple eruptions scheduled between 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM (subject to weather conditions).
  • Spectacular Show: Designed by renowned creators WET Design, the show features fireballs shooting up to 12 feet into the air while synchronized water fountains dance along with vibrant lighting effects.
  • Vegas Entertainment: After witnessing this breathtaking display, explore nearby attractions such as the Fountains of Bellagio, or catch one of many world-class performances at popular venues like Caesars Palace Colosseum.

No matter your preference – serene beachfront relaxation or heart-pumping volcanic action – these coastal adventures across America are sure to provide unforgettable experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Add these exotic places to visit in the USA to your bucket list today.

Key Takeaway: 


The United States has a variety of exotic coastal destinations that offer both relaxation and adventure. Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is perfect for nature lovers, golfers, and those who want luxury amenities while the Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas provides nightly volcanic eruptions amidst the city’s glitz and glamour.

FAQs in Relation to Exotic Places to Visit in Usa

What are the most exotic places to visit in the USA?

Some of the most exotic places to visit in the USA include Kenai Fjords National Park, Yosemite National Park, Marfa Lights in Texas, Lanai Island Paradise in Hawaii, Santa Barbara – California’s American Riviera, and Kauai – The Garden Isle. These destinations offer unique landscapes and experiences that cater to various interests.

What unique activities can I do while visiting an exotic place in the USA?

You can engage in a variety of unique activities such as glacier hiking at Kenai Fjords National Park, exploring mysterious glowing orbs at Marfa Lights, snorkeling or scuba diving around Lanai Island, or taking scenic drives along Big Sur’s dramatic coastline on California’s Highway 1.

Are there any hidden gems or off-the-beaten path destinations for an exotic vacation in the USA?

Yes, some lesser-known yet equally enchanting locations include Rockport Massachusetts’ Paper House, South Padre Island – Texas’ popular spring break destination,Joshua Tree National Park‘s intriguing rock formations and Phoenix’s captivating desert landscape. These spots provide a refreshing change from mainstream tourist attractions.

How can I find affordable accommodation when visiting an exotic location in the USA?

To find affordable accommodations during your trip to an exotic US destination, consider using websites like Booking.com, Airbnb, or VRBO to compare prices and options. Additionally, consider traveling during off-peak seasons for better deals on accommodations.

What tips and advice should I keep in mind when planning a trip to an exotic destination within the US?

When planning your trip, research local customs, weather conditions, and necessary travel documents. Book accommodations and activities well in advance to secure availability. Consider using a reputable travel agency or tour operator for guided experiences. Lastly, ensure you have appropriate travel insurance coverage for peace of mind during your vacation.

Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 7777107 14418597


For those seeking an exotic experience in the US, there are numerous destinations to choose from. From majestic national parks like Yosemite and Kenai Fjords to unconventional attractions such as Marfa Lights and Seattle’s Gum Wall, there is something for everyone. For those seeking a tropical getaway, Lanai Island Paradise or Santa Barbara may be just what you need. And if scenic coastal destinations are more your style, Big Sur or Kauai offer breathtaking views.

For history buffs and luxury seekers alike, Fort Morgan State Historic Site or La Cantera Resort & Spa provide unique experiences. And don’t forget about charming coastal towns like Hilton Head Island with its beachfront vistas.

With so many exotic places to visit in the USA, it can be hard to choose where to go first!

Ready for an adventure? Check out PassingThru’s guide on planning an epic US road trip.

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of Booking.com. We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

PassingThru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

To view PassingThru’s privacy policy, click here.