50 Hidden Gems in Every State
Looking for a unique travel destination? From waterfalls and springs to museums and parks, these are the coolest hidden gems found in each of the 50 states worthy of your bucket list.
Alabama: Russell Cave National Monument, Jackson County
This archeological site sheltered prehistoric people thousands of years ago. The ballroom-size cavern is also one of the oldest sites of human habitation in North America, according to the National Park Service. Visitors can experience this hidden gem via boardwalk, and they can view a display of weapons and other tools found at the site in a small museum. It is open daily except for major winter holidays. Don’t miss the 15 places travel experts recommend visiting in 2019.
Alaska: Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Haines
The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a state park and wildlife refuge in Haines. The Chilkat Valley, in particular, is home for 200 to 400 eagles. There is a free roadside pull-off at 19-mile Haines Highway with a short trail. In the summer, however, rafting and jet boat tours are available.
Arizona: Goldenfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction
This reconstructed 1890s town includes gold-mine tours, Old West gunfights, and a history museum. The newest attraction is a zip line, but there tons of other attractions at this hidden gem too. The town is open daily but certain attractions have specific hours.
California: Black Sands Beach, Sausalito
Yes, the sand at this California beach is black—and it’s considered one of the most beautiful black-sand beaches on the U.S. mainland. It’s not ideal for swimmers since the waves are rough, but it’s great for those who want to bird watch at a less-crowded beach. Also, keep in mind that at high tide the beach will be narrow so check tide charts before you go. Californiabeaches.com notes that some locals consider this a clothing-optional beach (consider this your warning.) Check out these other black sand beaches you never knew existed.
Colorado: Bishop Castle, Rye
This Gothic Colorado castle hides in the foothills of the San Isabel National Forest. It is complete with wrought-iron bridges, stained glass windows, and even a metallic fire-breathing dragon. The best part is that the entire castle was built by one man who gathered and set stones to create it. The castle is “always open and always free,” according to the website.
Connecticut: Cathedral Pines Preserve, Cornwall
Only some of the gorgeous old-growth white pine and hemlock trees survived the three tornadoes that devastated the area in 1989. The existing trail at Cathedral Pines is worth exploring for the trees and birdwatching. Here are the places you need to visit this year.
Delaware: Trap Pond State Park, Laurel
This park is an outdoor-lovers paradise. In the peak summer season, you can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and canoes for fishing. There are also tons of trails and volleyball courts. The main attraction is the pond itself since freshwater wetlands once covered a significant portion of the area. The park is open daily until sunset.
Florida: Paynes Prairie Preserve, Micanopy
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The 22,000 acres of this park is overrun with alligators, bison, horses, and more than 270 species of birds. You can hike, bike, or horse ride on any of the nine trails. There is also a 50-foot observation tower with a panoramic view of the prairie. The park is open 365 days a year from morning until sundown.