The Coolest Secret Location in Each State
Ready to take the trail less traveled? It may lead you to some magical destinations. Here’s the best-kept-secret place in every state.
Alabama: Natural Bridge
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“Alabama is full of so much natural beauty that it seems impossible to see it all in one lifetime,” says AL.com, but one that’s not to be missed is the Natural Bridge, a 60-foot-high, 148-foot-long naturally-occurring bridge made entirely of sandstone and iron ore. It’s the longest natural bridge east of the Rocky Mountains. “It spans scenic natural areas, forests, and wilderness,” according to Alabama Travel. It’s located in Natural Bridge, Alabama. With less than 40 residents, it’s a town so tiny that it lost its town status in the 1930s and didn’t regain it until 1997. Here’s another secret gem hiding in Alabama.
This abandoned copper mining camp was established in 1903 by Kennecott Mining Corporation, which operated five mines and became a bustling mine camp. By 1938, all known deposits had been depleted, and Kennicott became nothing more than an abandoned ghost town. Today, it’s a tourist attraction and National Historic Landmark District, according to Alaska.org. These 10 places you need to visit in 2019 will make you revise your bucket list.
Arizona: Moenkopi Wash
It’s located just east of Tuba City (on Navajo Nation lands) not far from the Four Corners, where the borders of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah all converge and you can be standing simultaneously in all four states. Coal Mine Canyon is a small but stunning canyon and part of the Moenkopi Wash, where you can find actual dinosaur tracks. Despite all that, it’s one of the most serene areas in the state, according to Only In Your State. Find out why this Arizona McDonald’s actually has turquoise arches.
Arkansas: The Crescent Hotel
Recognized as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the 1886 Crescent Hotel offers spine-tingling ghost tours that end at the hotel’s “morgue.” It’s also perched atop the Victorian town of Eureka Springs, whose Historic District is home to more than 100 restored Victorian shops, restaurants, and galleries and dotted with hundreds of Victorian cottages as well as gorgeous green spaces. If you’re into ghost tours, Airbnb has haunted places to stay.
California: El Dorado
Lush with beautiful state parks, El Dorado County is chock-full of backpacking and hiking destinations, but the can’t-miss destination here is Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. El Dorado County was the place where gold was discovered in 1848 (at Sutter Mill), kicking off the California gold rush of 1849. You can relive that time and even pan for gold yourself at the Park, according to the travel site, The Crazy Tourist. Check out these gorgeous photos of California’s “super bloom.”
Colorado: Bishop’s Castle
Off the beaten path and truly unique, Bishop’s Castle is another must-see, marketing professional Andy Curry advised Reader’s Digest. Located “deep in the mountains and kind of in the middle of nowhere,” Bishop’s Castle is a testament to beauty, glory—and perseverance, seeing that it was hand-built by one man: Jim Bishop. Admission is free, and you may get to meet the builder, himself.
Connecticut: The Fairy Doors of Putnam
Hidden in this lushly beautiful former mill town are at least 17 “intricate gateways to the fairy world,” advises Connecticut Magazine, which considers the Fairy Doors of Putnam to be one of the top tourism gems hidden in Connecticut. You’ll find them hidden along Main Street, and you can go searching for them with this Fairy Door guide. Want still more fairies? Check out this Fair Trail in New Jersey.
Delaware: Fort Delaware
A Union fortress dating back to 1859, Fort Delaware once housed Confederate prisoners of war. You can access the fort and its Confederate prison from Delaware City via a short ferry ride. The moment you arrive you’ll see the granite and brick fortress and be greeted by tour guides dressed in period costumes whose tales about life in Delaware during the Civil War will transport you back to 1864. If you love American history, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail in these Civil War battle re-enactments.
Florida: Cabbage Key
A 100-acre island off the coast of Southwestern Florida, Cabbage Key is named for its indigenous cabbage palm trees. “It’s about as cool and off the beaten path as you can get,” PR professional Jessica Wells tells Reader’s Digest. On this island, you’ll find no cars—not even a paved road. There’s no way to get there except by boat or seaplane. Whether day-tripping or overnighting, be sure to explore the nature trails and mangroves while taking in the gorgeous sunset over Pine Island Sound, the waterfront vistas, and all the wildlife, including otters, tortoises, dolphins, osprey, and ducks.
Georgia: Oglethorpe University’s secret room
Courtesy Oglethorpe University Archives
Oglethorpe University in Atlanta hides a curious mystery, reports the Crazy Tourist: A time capsule (in the form of a 20-foot by 10-foot waterproof room) that was sealed in 1940 with strict instructions to not be opened for 6,000 years. Called the Crypt of Civilization, it was inspired by the Pyramids and houses literature, newsreels, flower seeds, and dolls, among other things. Can you guess what’s inside Time‘s 60-year old time capsule?