Where To Go in the USA Off the Beaten Path: 5 Underrated Places to Visit in the USA Right Now

If you’re looking where to go in the USA off the beaten path, check out our recommendations.

Underrated places to visit in the USA are great for off the beaten path vacations all kinds of travelers will like. These emerging destinations in America won’t be under the radar for long! Many of us who love to travel want to know where to go in the USA off the beaten path.

While “off the beaten path travel” might mean different things to different people, we’re confident our recommendations will resonate with those who are looking for someplace different for their next trip.

off the beaten path travel destinations in the usa

Off the Beaten Path USA: Why and Where to Visit Now?

Americans and visitors from other countries alike often want to research where to go in the USA off the beaten path. We’ve visited all but a few of the 50 states (which was one of our initial objectives when defining our travel goals) and we’re here to tell you, underrated places in America abound! There are so many off the beaten path travel destinations in America that it would take a lifetime and several lengthy volumes to cover most of them.

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Off the beaten path travel is one of the most rewarding forms of travel there can be. Without wandering off the edge of Google maps into the wilderness, we’ve selected 5 appealing and underrated places to visit in the USA for you to consider in your planning. In addition, to help you look for top-notch places to visit with map design services, look no further than muir-way.com, where you can find expertly crafted and visually captivating maps tailored to your specific needs. Whether you’re a history lover, a foodie, a wine connoisseur, an architecture buff, or any combination traveler, we’ve curated accommodations and experiences to suit you! Read on for more!

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Off the Beaten Path USA: Detroit

As Midwesterners, we’re excited to see Detroit in the vanguard of emerging destinations in America. It’s been a long time coming for the former titan of America’s industrial strength. We feel Detroit is one of the underrated destinations in America that is most deserving of your travel dollar. Going off the beaten path in Detroit is going to make you believe in America again.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Arguably, no city has been hit harder than Detroit, undergoing decades of economic hardship, corrupt and ineffectual government, declining population and decaying infrastructure. As industry redefined itself in the USA, jobs and people left Detroit. But, like a phoenix, the city is emerging and as such, it leads the pack in our recommendations for off the beaten path travel destinations you should visit now.

When you decide to go off the path in Detroit, you’ll be in for a unique combination of experiences in a city which is proud again, honoring its considerable history and looking to the future with newfound confidence. This excitement is palpable and heartening. You’ll find lots to like in today’s Detroit whether you’re a first time or returning visitor.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

What to See and Do in Detroit

Detroit Institute of Arts Home to more than 65,000 works of art valued at over $8 billion, the DIA anchors Detroit’s Cultural Center Historic District. The DIA building is a historically significant Beaux Arts-Italian Renaissance edifice built in the 1920s. Massive murals by Diego Rivera depict industry and workers, and are just one of the museum’s most celebrated assets. Click here for more information.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Dating from 1904 and located in the historic Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, this former factory is where the Model T was made. One of the most significant automobile heritage sites in the world.  Click here for more information.

The Guardian Building Built in 1929 for a financial conglomerate just before the fabled stock market crash, and promoted as the “Cathedral of Finance,” the 40 story Guardian Building is probably the most significant Art Deco skyscraper in the world. Check out the domed Griswold Street entrance adorned with a mosaic of Pewabic tile. Click here for more information.

The Motown Museum “Hitsville U.S.A.” was established by music producer Berry Gordy in this unassuming residence which was formerly a photographer’s studio. Check out the amazing collection of memorabilia and unique art that pays homage to Detroit’s incomparable music legacy. Click here for more information.

The Fisher Building Built in 1928 by the “Fisher Body” family, this iconic landmark was envisioned as an “ode to the American work ethic and American artisans.” Free tour showcases the design and ornamentation rendered in stone, brass and bronze. Click here for more information.

Eastern Market A classic fresh market since 1891 that is six blocks in size. The adjacent district is teeming with vendors and customers for wholesale and retail wares. Check out the art “Murals in the Market,” the jazz bar and concert venue, as well as specialty restaurants offering Italian, soul food, ribs and burgers, and urban outfitters such as Detroit vs. Everybody. Click here for more information.

Detroit Riverfront In progress, more than five miles of reclamation along Detroit’s international riverfront with a continuum of plazas, gathering places, residential options and green space. Click here for more information.

The Fox Theatre In 1928, this 5,000 seat theater opened as the flagship for the movie chain and now is the largest surviving movie palace of the era. Its opulent interior features Asian, Middle Eastern and African motifs. Click here for more information.

Detroit Opera House In 1922, this building opened as the Capitol Theater, adjacent to several other performance venues around Grand Circus Park, presenting movie features and live acts for four decades. Reborn as the home of the Michigan Opera Theater in 1996.  Click here for more information.

The Spirit of Detroit The iconic bronze monument overlooking Woodward Avenue at Larned Street. Once the largest bronze cast sculpture since the Renaissance period. Click here for more information.

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The Spirit of Detroit By PeRshGo (Own work photo) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Heidelberg Project Offbeat Detroit manifests in an urban outdoor art initiative which incorporates found objects on existing neighborhood elements – street, trees, houses – to impart a sense of whimsy and wonder, improving the social health of the community. Click here for more information.

Detroit Pubic Library Designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert in 1923 in the Italian Renaissance style, the building’s 1963 additions were rendered by the architect’s son. Built after a delay caused by WWI with funds donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.  Click here for more information.

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Detroit Public Library By Andrew Jameson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Z Lot A 1300 space parking ramp that sports murals from more than 20 different urban artists. The only drive-through art installation we know! Click here for more information.

Detroit Walking Tours

Detroit: The Rise, Fall & Renewal Walking Tour – Visit new, restored and vacant architectural landmarks to discover the history of Detroit, its transformative urban spaces, and understand the role economic and social upheaval has played in the city. Click here for more information.

Detroit: Corktown is Popping! – A small group walking tour in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, established in 1834 by Irish immigrants, which has undergone a recent renaissance. See a range of buildings and businesses which epitomize Detroit’s glory days and new beginnings, with stops at the Institute of Bagels, a “Coney dog” shop, and the Gaelic League for a pint. Click here for more information.

The D You Must See – Detroit with a Local – Experience the “real Detroit” with a local guide on a half-day downtown adventure in the Foxtown, Greektown, Civic Center, and Riverfront areas. Ride the People Mover to landmarks such as the Guardian Building, the Spirit of Detroit, and the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel and learn the rich history and back stories of The Motor City. Click here for more information.

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Photo by Alex Brisbey on Unsplash

Detroit Like a Local: Customized Private Walking Tour – A custom curated experience with a passionate local to provide an authentic look at what it’s like to live in Detroit, learn about culture, events and politics, and be part of the city. Stops are chosen based upon your interests. Minimum: two hours. Click here for more information.

Top Hotels in Detroit

Detroit is a big city, with tons of hotel accommodations from which to choose. We’ve curated those in landmark buildings to match up with the renaissance and repurpose endemic in the city. You can have a magnificent experience at any one of the 5 star hotels in Detroit, but don’t discount the historic or funky nature among our recommendations, either:

The Inn at 97 Winder Located in the magnificent 11,000 sq ft Brush Park mansion of a pharmaceutical magnate, once the most expensive home in Detroit. Brush Park was known as “Little Paris” for the prominent architectural styles in its residences. Ten unique guest rooms  and numerous luxury amenities. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: The Inn at 97 Winder

Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney A meticulously refurbished landmark offers more than 130 guest rooms, and five-star service adjacent to Grand Circus Park entertainment venues. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney

Trumbull and Porter Hotel Detroit An artisan boutique hotel in the Corktown neighborhood gives a nod to the glorious mid-20th century with urban industrial elements and edgy art. Click here for more information.

The Siren Hotel Opened in March, 2018 in the former Wurlitzer building, the Siren features a variety of room configurations (even bunkbeds!) and a proper penthouse suite. Enjoy coffee and candy bars, a preeminent floral design studio, and an 8-seat dinner venue overseen by a James Beard nominee. Click here for more information.

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit In a 1924 Italian Renaissance Revival high rise building with sculptural tributes to notable figures including General Anthony Wayne and Chief Pontiac, the Westin features spacious guest rooms in a mixed use renovation that includes condominium residences.  Click here for more information.

Detroit Foundation Hotel A 100 room boutique experience in the historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters touts its collaborative concept featuring local artists and artisans in the spirit of renaissance. Click here for more information.

The Inn on Ferry Street Forty unique rooms in a restored group of Midtown mansions and carriage houses dating from the 1890s. Complimentary amenities such as shuttle transport within a 5 mile radius, and a bountiful daily breakfast round out the experience. Click here for more information.

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Houses in the East Ferry Historical District Andrew Jameson at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Off the Beaten Path USA: Memphis

Next up in our off the beaten path USA list of recommendations is the incomparable city of Memphis, the crossroads of blues and rock’n’roll. Musical man-on-the-street cousins contribute a scene that catapults one of the most underrated places to visit in America into a must visit. If you want to understand the musical and social influences that shaped a global revolution in the 20th century, a visit to Memphis is imperative.

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Photo by Aidan Formigoni on Unsplash

As you’re evaluating emerging places to visit in America, know that we think the best time to visit Memphis is just as soon as you can.

Places to Visit and Things to Do in Memphis

Graceland The quintessential stop for every visitor to Memphis. We found the gated estate of  “the King” surprisingly modest in size and quite homey. If you’re not a fan of Elvis Presley, you will be after you tour the impressive displays showcasing his personal life, career and devoted philanthropy. Click here for more information.

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By Joseph Novak (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

National Civil Rights Museum – Lorraine Motel The site of a tragedy that changed the trajectory of the civil rights movement and conversation in a distraught nation. Exhibits in the museum provide context and meaning.  Click here for more information.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music The artists of Stax Records impacted American soul music with the famous “wall of sound” and other audio innovations. The museum is located in the label’s former headquarters. Click here for more information.

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By Victor Chapa from Denton, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art The private collection of a local entrepreneur is housed in over 24,000 feet of display space. Features an enormous array of jade sculpture, work from the Qing Dynasty and contemporary Jewish artists. Click here for more information.

Sun Studio The first professional home for Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. We listened to a CD of the “Million Dollar Quartet” impromptu jam the entire time we were in Memphis. Click here for more information.

Memphis Rock & Soul Museum The completely researched story, as compiled by the Smithsonian, of Memphis music history. Located in the heart of town on Beale Street. Click here for more information.

Elmwood Cemetery Bear Bryant and jazzman Sun Ra are among the greats who are buried in the oldest active cemetery in the state of Tennessee. Contains over 1000 Civil War burials and more than 2000  Yellow Fever victims from the 19th century. Click here for more information.

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Asian tombstones in Elmwood Cemetery By Zeamays at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Peabody Hotel Settle in at the comfortable lobby bar to get the best view of the daily 5pm parade of live ducks who make their home in the stately hotel’s central fountain. The Duckmaster, in his traditional red coat, accompanies them to the elevator and up to their overnight lodgings on the roof. Click here for more information.

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By TonyTheTiger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Blues Hall of Fame Museum Over 400 inductees since 1980 are honored in this new building (2015) with ten galleries of exhibits along with one-of-a-kind displays of fascinating memorabilia. Traveling exhibits rotate every four months. Click here for more information.

Memphis Tours

Memphis Mojo Music Bus Tour  Tour Memphis with a local musician to hear history and inside stories about famous musicians from Memphis. Upgrade to include a tour of Sun Studio. Click here for more information.

Memphis Like a Local: Customized Guided Walking Tour – A customized tour ranging from 2 to 6 hours based upon your interest with a friendly, passionate local to learn the best-kept secrets of Memphis. Learn where to shop, eat, and how to get around. Click here for more information.

Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure – Memphis – Begin at the famous Peabody Hotel on a 3-hour smartphone guided walking tour through the rich history of downtown Memphis. Solve clues and complete challenges at your own pace to experience Memphis in its famous and lesser-known points of interest. Click here for more information.

Memphis: South Flavor Dinner – An authentic culinary experience tasting the traditional cuisine and hospitality of the American South in a cultural and sensorial context. A soul food menu is prepared with fresh, top quality ingredients and paired with traditional cocktail and iced tea. Click here for more information.

Places to Stay in Memphis

A search for “hotels near Beale Street Memphis TN” yields plenty of familiar faces, but you’ll want to choose an outstanding experience at one of our recommendations.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

River Inn of Harbor Town A blend of Southern hospitality and Old World charm, one of Tennessee’s most luxurious hotels overlooks the Mississippi River with 28 boutique style accommodations and suites. Click here for more information.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street A premier location in the midst of all the action whether it’s Beale Street, the FedEx Forum or the AutoZone Park, with all the amenities you expect from a branded experience. Click here for more information.

The Peabody Memphis A beloved accommodation dating back to 1933, the Peabody bridges the past and present in a time-honored, traditional cosmopolitan atmosphere. Click here for more information.

Peabody Hotel Memphis

Hotel Napoleon A boutique accommodation in a 1902 landmark built by Napoleon Hill. Classical downtown architecture on the outside merges with sleek contemporary interior to provide discerning service. Click here for more information.

Madison Hotel Cool urban chic and a sophisticated experience currently on the way for Summer, 2018 once refurbishment is completed. Click here for more information.

Off the Beaten Path USA: Saint Paul

Overshadowed by its flashier Minneapolis twin, Saint Paul is one of our favorite underrated destinations in America. We’re here to tell you, Saint Paul stands on its own merit. Personable and understated, the city feels more like a small town, with individually distinct, homey neighborhoods.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Founded by a bootlegger named Pig’s Eye who named his riverside settlement after himself, the renamed Saint Paul became the Minnesota territory’s capital in 1849. Its bootlegging roots re-manifested in the 20th century Prohibition years, noted as a safe haven for gangsters and kidnappers.

Nowadays, Saint Paul is cool. The Saints baseball team provides hometown atmosphere on summer nights in their open air stadium, and revitalized areas such as Lowertown and Selby/Dale on Cathedral Hill offer world class options in dining and entertainment. Architectural statements range from the imposing Cathedral and State Capitol to landmark residences and repurposed legacy buildings pay respectful homage to the city’s history.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Things to See and Do in Saint Paul

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory A historically significant conservatory and contemporary zoo whose mission is “to inspire our public to value the presence of living things in our lives.” The conservatory is a tropical respite from cold wintry winds, and the surrounding gardens are impressive and kid-friendly. Click here for more information.

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By Hardyplants at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cathedral of Saint Paul Dating from 1915, the National Shrine of Saint Paul’s copper dome overlooks the city from its hilltop perch at the intersection of Selby and Summit Avenues. Click here for more information.

Summit Avenue The city’s grandest residential street is now the longest residential avenue of Victorian homes in the country. Click here for more information.

James J. Hill House The railroad magnate’s magnificent 36,000 square foot mansion. Legend has it he was miffed when the cathedral overshadowed his residence upon completion. Click here for more information.

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The Cathedral is next to the James J. Hill house on Summit Avenue above the city. By William Wesen Appraiser (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota History Center The beautiful headquarters of the Minnesota Historical Society has a museum with fascinating interactive exhibits, an exhibition rotunda, meeting space and restaurant. The Historical Society’s collection consists of over 1,000,000 artifacts. Click here for more information.

Landmark Center The original Post Office, Customs House and State Courthouse was completed in 1902. Now an event and commercial business center.  Click here for more information.

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Landmark Center. Photo: Public Domain

Church of Saint Louis, King of France The first exclusive French church in Saint Paul dates to 1868, but the current building was completed in 1909. Click here for more information.

Lowertown The former warehouse and wholesale district has blossomed into a 16 block area with some of the city’s trendiest restaurants, bars, residential complexes and entertainment venues. The Saint Paul Farmers Market anchors the neighborhood each weekend, drawing more than 20,000 shoppers. Don’t miss Mears Park, the Saint Paul Saints’ CHS Field and the restored Union Depot. Click here for more information.

Cathedral Hill Our favorite neighborhood in Saint Paul boasts beautiful architecture and hip places to shop, eat and drink. We love wandering in the footsteps of F. Scott Fitzgerald and other famous residents in its timeless atmosphere. Don’t miss: the historic Commodore Hotel – home to the newlywed Fitzgeralds and the Ma Barker gangster gang, W.A. Frost – an elegant eatery in a former corner drugstore and commercial building, the Cathedral itself and the Swedenborgian Church, and Blair Flats former residential hotel. Click here for more information.

Tours of Saint Paul

Craft Brewery Tour in Minneapolis and Saint Paul The craft beer scene in Minnesota is innovative and personable. Take this tour and taste the magic. Click here for more information.

Wabasha Street Caves Tour Travel back in time to Prohibition and earlier, with a visit to the man-made caves which date back to 1840 in a sandstone cliff grouping on the opposite side of the river from downtown Saint Paul. Used as a speakeasy, dance hall, and storage during their lifespan. Click here for more information.

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St. Paul Gangster Tour See where the kidnappings and gun battles occurred between famous name gangsters – John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Baby Face Nelson and more – and the law during the 1920s and 30s.  Click here for more information.

Would you prefer a bed and breakfast in St Paul?

New Victorian Mansion Bed and Breakfast An 1881 mansion in our favorite Cathedral Hill neighborhood, with Renaissance and Gothic details and modern amenities such as rainfall showers and soaking tubs. Four gracious suites within a few minutes walk of all the great restaurants and shopping. Click here for more information.

Corban Manor Inn Bed and Breakfast Newly renovated in the midst of the Summit and Cathedral Hill neighborhoods, the Italianate manse dates from 1875. Accommodations are in three double suites and a two bedroom, two-story apartment. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: Corban Manor

Covington Inn A floating bed and breakfast on a Mississippi towboat moored with a spectacular view of the St. Paul skyline. Four staterooms, each with private bath, deck access, fireplace and air conditioning. Click here for more information.

St Paul Hotel Options

The Saint Paul Hotel The Grande Dame of downtown Saint Paul overlooking beautiful Rice Park since 1910. A luxury stay with an authentic, vintage vibe in elegant surroundings. Click here for more information.

Hotel 340 A boutique hotel rises from the old-school elegance and social prominence of the Saint Paul Athletic Club’s historic building. An urban sanctuary offering 56 luxury guest rooms and a successful meld of value and ambience. Click here for more information.

Off the Beaten Path USA: Mogollon Rim

Off the beaten path vacations can often be combined with visits to more notable attractions. This kind of thinking is exactly what you could be utilizing if you’re planning to tour the Grand Canyon and/or are going to be first timers in Sedona in the near future. Very close by is our next recommendation of emerging places to visit in America, the Mogollon Rim in Arizona.

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We’ll be honest, when we planned an extended stay in the Mogollon Rim, we weren’t even thinking that it might be one of the myriad underrated places in America we could tell you about. We were more concerned that it would be remote and therefore lonely and boring. The Mogollon Rim is anything but!

Our month on the Rim convinced us this is one of the most unique emerging places to visit in America, overshadowed by its majestic neighbors, but impressively beautiful, fiercely independent, and downright friendly in its own way.

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The history of Mogollon Rim communities can be fascinating. Show Low was named for the poker game which delivered ownership of the town to a lucky player; its main drag is called Deuce of Clubs for the winning hand. Payson held its first rodeo in 1884 and now has the “oldest continuous” rodeo in the world.

Winslow, a stop on Route 66, achieved pop prominence in a song written by Jackson Browne and performed by the Eagles. Snowflake isn’t named for precipitation, but after its Mormon founders, a Mr. Snow and a Mr. Flake.

Things to Do in  Mogollon Rim

Mogollon Rim Visitor Center in Payson Get context and information on the fascinating geology and history of the region here. Click here for more information.

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Horseback Riding Tours in Payson Two ranches offer experiences on horseback for riders of all skill levels. Click here for more information.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park Tonto’s Natural Bridge is the longest natural travertine bridge in the world. Great hiking and photo opportunities. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Apache Death Cave and the Curse of Two Guns A haunting mass grave at the site of an Apache/Navajo skirmish. Click here for more information.

Petrified Forest National Park Otherworldly beauty in a spectacular landscape with opportunities for hiking and photography in a setting where a 225 million year old volcanic eruption covered toppled trees with sediment, causing a chemical reaction where they turned to stone. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Painted Desert Adjacent to the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert features many-colored rocks and formations in over 90,000 acres of badlands. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Shoo-Fly Indian Archeological Site Rim country was home to many indigenous communities over thousands of years. These ruins, at approximately 5,000 feet, are believed to be from around 1000AD, and are comprised of the remains of 79 different buildings.  Click here for more information.

Meteor Crater Created about 50,000 years ago, the crater is about 560 feet deep with an impact estimated at 10 megatons. NASA astronauts trained here in the 1960s and 70s. Click here for more information.

Rock Art Canyon Ranch A two mile canyon on a private ranch is adorned with indigenous petroglyphs thousands of years old. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Places to Stay in the Mogollon Rim Region

Kohl’s Ranch Lodge Sited in the towering Ponderosa pines in the largest forest of its kind in the world, this casual mountain lodge retreat offers cabins and historic lodge style accommodations. Located in Payson. Click here for more information.

Best Western Sawmill Inn A pet-friendly establishment halfway between Holbrook and Phoenix in the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest. Located in Heber. Click here for more information.

Cherry Creek Lodge A premier dude ranch experience is part of a working cattle operation near Payson on 40,000 acres adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. Rustic luxury with down home hospitality. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: Cherry Creek Lodge

Whispering Pines Resort Thirty-eight cabins of varying sizes and amenities – fireplaces, kitchens, spa baths – located in the Show Low/Pinetop area. Click here for more information.

La Posada Hotel Fred Harvey’s last great railroad hotel, this architectural gem in Winslow offers hacienda style luxury accommodations and what some say is the finest cuisine in the region. Famous guests include Albert Einstein, Betty Grable, Amelia Earhart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John Wayne. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: La Posada Hotel

Brad’s Desert Inn A Route 66 classically refurbished motel in Holbrook, featuring cozy accommodations and moderate pricing. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: Brad’s Desert Inn

KC Motel A high quality value from independent hoteliers, centrally located in Show Low with quick access to the White Mountains. Click here for more information.

Tours of Mogollon Rim from Sedona

Scenic Rim 2-Hour Tour from Sedona – A larger than life, rugged experience combining lowland deserts and high mountain Ponderosa Pine forests on board a Jeep Wrangler with an experienced guide. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Sedona: 2-Hour Mogollon Rim Scenic Tour – Head up old pioneer wagon trails to the Mogollon Rim with a fully narrated tour by jeep which covers history and natural elements of this region and its wonders. Stunning views from cliffs and embankments up to 7,500 feet. Click here for more information.

Off the Beaten Path USA: Rural Pennsylvania

Last but not least in our list of off the beaten path vacations to consider is rural Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. While Philly rightfully gets major attention, the lush green countryside and imposing forests of William Penn’s sylvan land are deserving, too.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

It’s true that many of the underrated places in America are rural in nature, and that’s partially because they’re somewhat difficult to get to. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the recommendations we have regarding where to go in rural Pennsylvania. They’re all within an easy drive of the Philadelphia area.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

The rural Pennsylvania towns, counties and regions we suggest you consider each have their own personality and cultural distinctions. In Lancaster County, it’s the Amish religious and traditional community traditions. In the Brandywine Valley, a rich winemaking community has arisen amidst the historical sites from the American Revolution and important residential estates. And when visiting Gettysburg, you’ll absorb the important emotional and meaningful context that our nation’s painful history provides.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Things to Do and Where to Go in Central Pennsylvania

While it’s easy to design a self-guided itinerary, tour options from Philly and Washington, D.C. might be a good choice for those who want to leave the logistics for someone else. As such, have a look at the emphasis each of these tours takes:

Lancaster County Amish Tour from Philadelphia – A customized, private driving tour to discover Lancaster County and the Amish culture and lifestyle, includes a buggy ride through the countryside, visit to a traditional bakery and living museum tour. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

From Philadelphia: Full-Day Amish Experience – A day trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country begins at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, where “The Witness” was filmed. Includes Amish Experience tour center and backroads motor coach tour of Lancaster with stops at quilt shop and bakery. Click here for more information.

Discover Brandywine Valley: Private Driving Tour – A customized, private driving tour through the rolling countryside can take you to Longwood Gardens, Winterthur and Nemours Mansions, and the Brandywine Museum. Tour wineries or the Brandywine Battlefield site, the choices are all yours. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

From NYC: Philly and Amish Country Day Trip – An excursion from New York City includes historic Philadelphia and Lancaster County Amish culture. This unique day includes a guided tour of Philadelphia landmarks and an introduction to Amish culture with visits to a traditional market and a buggy ride through farm country. Click here for more information.

From Washington, D.C.: Day Trip to Gettysburg – Visit the battlefield on a guided motor coach tour and learn the history, including a visit to Cemetery Ridge, where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, a visit to the Shriver House Museum, and the Gettysburg Visitor Center for historical background and the Cyclorama. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit Pixabay

Where to Stay in Lancaster

Lancaster Arts Hotel A renovated tobacco warehouse is adorned with local artists’ work, offering modern luxury and a boutique environment. Click here for more information.

Cork Factory Hotel An industrial chic vibe in a converted 19th century cork and glass factory in downtown Lancaster. Decor is thoughtfully and comfortably minimal. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: Cork Factory Hotel

EJ Bowman House Bed and Breakfast Award-winning accommodations in an Italianate family home dating from 1860 with four deluxe ensuite bedrooms, and a third floor suite. Click here for more information.

King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast A serene and romantic atmosphere with helpful and enthusiastic innkeepers. Massage offered on premises. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast

Lovelace Manor Bed and Breakfast A Second Empire mansion dating from 1882, with ornate wrap-around porches and gingerbread elements, featured on HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk.” Click here for more information.

Blue Rock Bed and Breakfast A colonial farmhouse dating from 1847 offers three guestrooms in a tranquil rural environment. Click here for more information.

Hollinger House Bed and Breakfast An 1870 period home with period furnishings and local artwork. Two course daily breakfast featuring local specialties. Click here for more information.

Where to Stay in the Brandywine Valley

Fairville Inn Bed and Breakfast Chadds Ford – Built between 1825 and 1837, minutes from Winterthur and Longwood Gardens. Five rooms in the main house, and the carriage house offer accommodations. Click here for more information.

The Pennsbury Inn Chadds Ford – Seven guest rooms in the vintage home situated on eight acres of landscaped grounds. Click here for more information.

Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast West Chester – Seven private rooms with vintage furnishings and comfortable appointments in an estate setting designed and built in 1860. Click here for more information.

West Chester PA Faunbrook Harvest Dinner Series Corn QuarterMoonCo 14
Photo Credit: Faunbrook

Brandywine River Hotel Chadds Ford – Leisure and business lodging with charm, comfort and convenience. Click here for more information.

General Warren Inne Malvern – Eight guest suites offer 18th century elegance in a historically significant building dating from 1745. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: General Warren Inne

Where to Stay in Gettysburg

Inn at Lincoln Square The former home of a prominent Gettysburg citizen, and more recently a YWCA, the Inn has been lovingly restored and occupies a coveted location in the town center. Click here for more information.

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Photo Credit: The Inn at Lincoln Square

Swope Manor Bed and Breakfast An elegant brick home dating from 1836 one block from the central town square, with 13 guest rooms. Click here for more information.

Brafferton Inn Bed and Breakfast The oldest house in downtown Gettysburg dating from 1786, one half block from Lincoln Square. Five guest rooms in the main house and thirteen more in additional buildings. Click here for more information.

Gettysburg Hotel Established in 1797, located in the heart of town with over 100 guest rooms and suites. Click here for more information.

James Gettys Hotel Dating from 1804, this historic hotel has twelve suites, blending a European boutique esthetic with the hospitality of a traditional bed and breakfast. Click here for more information.

We hope you’ve found our ideas and recommendations on where to go in the USA off the beaten path useful and inspiring! We’d love to hear your suggestions on other locations as well as feedback if you’ve visited any of the destinations mentioned in this post.

Pinnable Images

where to go in the USA off the beaten path
where to go in the USA off the beaten path
where to go in the USA off the beaten path

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

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