The United States is a breathtaking country filled with a large variety of landscapes and natural attractions. From sea to shining sea, this great country has some of the tallest mountains and most pristine lakes the world has to offer. If you look hard enough, you may discover all the underrated vacation spots in the USA.
We totally think that you should explore and enjoy the United States the right way. Whether planning a cross-country road trip or looking for a miraculous destination for your United States adventure, this list of the top 15 underrated destinations will surely make your United States bucket list.
If you are looking to check out the beautiful West Coast of the United States, make sure to stop in Oregon as an underrated vacation spot in the USA.
Located along the world-renowned Pacific Coast Highway, Oregon's breathtaking coast boasts exhilarating scenery and a wildlife wonderland. One thing you are definitely gonna want to know about the Oregon Coast is that the land offers completely free access to the public. You can walk the entire coast from the bottom to top all along the mighty Pacific Ocean if that is what your heart desired.
I highly recommend checking out the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor which is a gorgeous stretch of land loaded with amazing sites, attractions, and scenic views. Also, you will find the famous Tillamook Creamery along the Oregon Coast if you are getting hungry! Lastly, check out the world-renowned wreck of the Peter Iredale as this attraction is a must-see stop on your adventure.
Idaho's capital city has loads of activities and attractions for you to discover during your adventure.
As the most populous city in Idaho, Boise truly offers a host of things to do for its eager visitors. If you are looking for outdoor attractions, do not fret, Boise is well-known to be a great spot for hiking. Check out areas such as the Boise River Greenbelt, the Kathryn Albertson Park, and the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area to explore what Boise's outdoor areas are truly like.
Afterward, head to downtown Boise to check out several unique attractions such as the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Finally, make sure to check out some of the fabulous downtown restaurants that are to die for!
The northern Midwest section of the United States offers some spectacular nature views and attractions as an underrated United States destination.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a glorious place for a road trip in the United States. Your USA travel bucket list would not be complete without a trip to the wilderness found in the Upper Peninsula.
Complete with the breathtaking scenery of the Great Lakes and the exhilarating rocky cliff-side coasts, the Upper Peninsula will literally leave you on the edge of your seat. The unique lighthouses, coastal towns, countless hikes, and beaches found along the shore will provide you with an incredible experience.
Our next favorite, underrated vacation spots in the USA is White Sands, New Mexico.
As one of the best places to visit in New Mexico, White Sands National Park is not a stop you want to miss on your adventure. This breathtaking site offers bright, white softy sand dunes that happen to stretch for miles on miles in every direction. Plus, the views are to die for! You will be able to see as deep into the distance all the way to the nearby mountain range.
This makes the White Sands National Park a fantastic backdrop to take Insta-worthy pics or any other photos for your memories with the beautiful blue sky of New Mexico as your backdrop. White Sands is totally a must-stop destination on your road trip or for your United States bucket list.
Our next underrated USA vacation spot is located in southern Kentucky.
While Bowling Green may be most famously known for the National Corvette Museum, you can actually see much, much more in this small Kentucky City. Whether catching exhilarating vibes at the Beech Bend Amusement Park and Raceway or learning about local history, everyone will fall in love with this underrated United States spot.
For history buffs, you will love plenty of Civil War history at the nearby Kentucky Museum or the Hobson House. If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, I suggest check out the Lost River Cave which offers its visitors an underground cave journey where you can't find anywhere else in the state of Kentucky.
While this next destination will not tie you to only one zip code, the Redwoods are truly magical and a must-stop on your United States road trip.
The Redwoods National and State Parks are a series of protected forests in the state of California. Flaunting their intense size and stature of California's Redwood forests, you are definitely going to want to stop in this Northern California area. The trees are massive and are simply breathtaking.
The best way to discover this area of the United States is through hikes where you can explore the bases of the trees and then glance upward as they disappear into the sky above. If you are looking for the best redwoods, I highly recommend the Grove of Titans where you can see some of the oldest, most impressive, and largest trees in the entire world!
Our next stop for your United States bucket list may not be ideal for road trips, but is a must-see destination you are going to want to discover.
Kauai, Hawaii is definitely the most adventurous and exhilarating island in the Hawaiian island chain. Start your journey along to Na Pali Coast which absolutely radiates magical vibes. Here you can discover the area on boat excursions, hikes, or if you are trying to get a bird-eyes view, helicopter tours. Another fantastic reason to check out Kauai is the fact Jurassic Park was filmed here!
This is totally believable as the island is absolutely stunning the entire way around. Another couple of areas you will want to visit are Wailua and Waimea where you can bring your adventurous spirit to fully immerse yourself in the Hawaiian lifestyle. In the nearby Princeville area, you can enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful coastline of the north side of Kauai.
Related: Island Hopping Hawaii Cruises
Bonneville Salt Flats
Our next stop you need on your United States bucket list is in the beautiful state of Utah and is highly underrated.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are located right near Salt Lake City in the northern region of Utah. As a wonderful bucket list destination, you will discover enormous areas of land that are strangely covered in salt and shallow water (as seen in the above image). Making for a mind-boggling underrated destination, the Bonneville Salt Flats will not leave you disappointed.
On your visit, the ground before you will either shine bright white or reflect the nearby high peaks of the mountains found in the distance. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can even take a few steps out onto the salt flats, but I am just warning you, your shoes will get super salty!
Another on of the most underrated vacation spots in the USA is in the great state of Texas.
Big Bend National Park, located deep in western Texas, is most definitely the most removed from society of all of our bucket list destinations in the United States. Sitting right on the bend on the Rio Grande River lies the mighty Chisos Mountains where you can catch some of the most breathtaking panoramic views in the entire country.
For a nice hike, check out the South Rim Trail which will bring you to an awe-inspiring view of the landscape below. Later, you can also head out on the Window and Lost Mine Trail which is another popular hiking spot in the region. After finishing these epic hikes, rejuvenate in the free hot springs located right on the Rio Grande.
Yosemite National Park
Our next underrated destination is back in the wonderful state of California.
Yosemite National Park is by far California's best National Park, and could quite possibly be the best in the entire United States. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that we have this beautiful park on our top underrated destinations list for your United States bucket list. There are plenty of great reasons that movies like The Dawn Wall and Free Solo were filmed right here in Yosemite National Park.
In the center of the park, you will find El Capitan which is a massive yet breathtaking rock face. You will be pleasantly greeted with countless fun hiking trails where you can explore a plethora of hidden gems. Make sure to discover all the exquisite waterfalls the park has to offer like Half Dome, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls, Upper Yosemite Falls, and Lower Yosemite Falls.
The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys, located at the southernmost point of the continental United States, are a fabulous underrated destination for anyone looking for a tropical adventure.
As a wonderful set of islands located right off the southern tip of Florida, the Keys are just 90 minutes away from Miami. Do not worry, that does not mean you will need to fly or take a boat over. With numerous long bridges (even one that is 7 miles) over bright blue waters, you will quickly find yourself being transported to a breathtaking vacation spot.
The Florida Keys are located right where the Gulf of Mexico meets the vast Caribbean Sea. This means you will enjoy a pleasant mix of warm weather, pristine sandy beaches, and a tropical climate even I couldn't resist! All these reasons and more are why the Florida Keys deserve a spot on your United States bucket list as a highly underrated destination.
Related: Guide to Dry Tortugas National Park
Great Smoky Mountains
Located right on the border of the states Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains are a perfect, underrated destination you need to add to your United States bucket list.
As one of the most gorgeous national parks found in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains don't nearly get enough attention. The first thing to enjoy on your adventure here is hiking. With awesome hikes to Abrams Falls, Mount Cammerer, the Ramsey Cascades, and more, you will never run out of areas to explore!
If you ever get sick of hiking, make sure to check out other scenic sites found along the 11 mile Cades Cove loop. Here you will discover the breathtaking views and stunning wildlife found in the park. Keep your eyes peeled for deer and black bears as they call this national park their home. Once night hits, make sure to go outside and enjoy some once-in-a-lifetime views of the sky stargazing.
Our next underrated spot in the United States is located right in southern Utah in a small town known as Moab.
Now, when it comes to National Parks, Utah offers a ton. Right here in Moab, you will find Arches National Park (shown above) and Canyonlands National Park. A little further west you will discover Capitol Reef, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Here you can also keep an eye out for the exquisite Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
When you decide to make this breathtaking region of Utah your next top vacation spot, you will definitely notice all these incredible sites boast majestic red rock structures that are all unique. With the bright, red rocks contrasting with Utah's bright blue sky, Moab will absolutely leave your jaw dropped.
Our next stop is over a thousand miles away on the southern coast of Louisiana.
New Orleans is a fantastic destination on this list of underrated spots for your United States bucket list. There are loads of fun (and often free) activities and attractions to enjoy in New Orleans.
You can discover fabulous culinary delicacies, hike in one of the city's scenic parks, and then later have time to check out the world-renowned Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Unlike any other city in the world, New Orleans mixes arts, cultures, and adventures in a way that will create once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Glacier National Park
Next up is one of my personal favorites on this list, Glacier National Park.
It is literally impossible to create a list of the most underrated vacation spots in the United States without including Glacier National Park. With countless trails for visitors to enjoy, why wouldn't you want to enjoy the great outdoors in one of the top national parks in the world? Hiking in Glacier National Park is to die for as you are able to explore Avalanche Lake, Hidden Lake, Cracker Lake, Grinnell Glacier, and Iceberg Lake.
I highly suggest that if you are looking to visit the breathtaking state of Montana, travel during the spring, summer, or fall months. This way, you will be able to enjoy the plentiful wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery without worrying about a snowstorm ruining your adventure.
Well, that's it! That completes our top 15 underrated vacation spots in the United States that you should add to your United States bucket list as soon as you can.
If any of these destinations excite you, we highly suggest checking out our free, printable travel planner so you can stay organized on your journey! Otherwise, we hope you have an amazing time safely exploring what the United States has to offer.