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I know that visiting the United States is a bucket list item for many international travelers. But the US is so diverse – politically, geographically, culturally. This country is known as the “melting pot” and that is for sure true! So how do you plan your visit to the United States? There is so much to see and do. Now I’m sure you’ve read up plenty on visiting the most popular places like New York City, Los Angeles and Walt Disney World. But today, I want to share my favorite off the beaten path United States destinations!
Off the Beaten Path US Destinations
First of all, not only is the United States VERY diverse, its huge. Almost four million square miles (I had to look that up actually). For that reason, I am going to break this post up by region. If you are traveling to the US from abroad, you will probably be flying into a major city, so I will note where the closest major urban area is. Also, before traveling to the US, don’t forget to apply for your esta application with e-visums.
Off the Beaten Path United States: New England
Here in the US we refer to the Northeast states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine collectively as “New England.” These states were some of our first colonies, settled by the British back in the 1700s.
This region is known for its harsh winters, touristy historical sites, marine life, lobster and folks dressed in preppy attire with thick Boston accents. Boston is the big city in this region and one you might want to check out for all of the historical sites.
But, if you love the water and want to check out a more off the beaten path New England destination, I suggest Cape Cod or a trip to Coastal Maine!
Beach lovers will want to rent a car from Boston and head south (and then east) up to “the Cape.” This is a great summer destination for singles, couples and families.
Off-the Beaten Path US destinations: Florida
As a visitor to the US, you might fly into a city like Orlando, or possibly Miami in Southeast Florida, which is a layover city for many flights coming from Central or South America.
Orlando, with Disney, Universal Studios and countless other theme attractions has so much to do. Miami is an awesome city as well, with great restaurants, nightlife and beaches. BUT in Florida, if you want to visit somewhere a little more “low-key” head west to the Gulf Coast!
I am definitely partial to Naples, the city directly across the state from Miami. An easy 2-hour drive through the Everglades with so much to do and some of the best beaches and wonderful places for outdoor dining in the country.
From Orlando, head to west to Clearwater Beach or southwest to Sarasota or Siesta Key. The gulf coast offers the most beautiful beaches, shelling, and calm water for all your favorite water sports. Great beach front restaurants, and awesome weather year-round!
If you are looking at a unique resort located in Southeast Florida, then consider a stay at the Club Med Sandpiper Bay. Yes, Club Med, the brand of all-inclusives you know and love has a property in Florida!
Club Med Sandpiper is located on the Port Saint Lucie River, about 45 minutes north of the West Palm Beach airport.
Lastly, if you are looking for a cool Florida town to getaway for a few days – check out New Smyrna Beach on the space coast (East) of Florida!
Off the Beaten Path US: Midwest
If you are heading to the Midwest, the region in the upper middle of the country, you are probably visiting the United States’ 3rd largest city, Chicago. Chicago also serves as a major airline hub and it is worth a look –especially in the summer. I mean where else can you visit a major city with beautiful Lake Michigan beaches?
But if you want to visit a smaller, a bit quirkier, and super fun Midwest city, head north to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul!
Here you will find MANY lakes, albeit smaller than Lake Michigan, but a city that highly values outdoor recreation! Rent a bike to visit one of the thousands of lakes, hit up some of the great restaurants and even visit a country club/bar/Ferris wheel!
Off the beaten path US: California
Many international visitors make the California cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco stops on their US visit. This is understandable as many flights will stop in these major hubs, plus they are great places with tons to see and do!
But if you want a more off the beaten path California adventure, I highly recommend a stop (or road trip through) the Central Coast of California! From San Francisco, rent a car and head south through the quirky town of Santa Cruz (complete with beach and boardwalk), down to Carmel, Monterrey, driving through Big Sur and the 17-mile Pebble Beach coastal drive.
If you want a visit to California wine country, Napa and Sonoma are beautiful, although expensive and very crowded. Instead, continue south to the Santa Ynez/Buellton region for some great wine tasting, without all the tourist crowds!
On the densely populated coasts, major cities and off the beaten path destinations are usually within a short drive of each other! Wherever you land, be sure to have all your visa needs and travel documents in order. I definitely recommend doing this at e-visums.co.uk!
As an American, there are still SO MANY places I want to see and visit! We love finding off the beaten path places to visit, both when we travel the US, and when we go abroad! What are your favorite off the beaten path US destinations?
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