20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA

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In this article, we will discuss the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. You can skip our detailed analysis of the tourism and travel industry, and go directly to the 5 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA.

The art of tourism involves exploring uncharted territory, finding comfort in the embrace of unfamiliar surroundings, and fully integrating oneself into the tapestry of various civilizations. This voyage has the power to transform, revealing hidden gems, igniting the spirit of adventure, and cultivating a deep connection with the natural world.

The worldwide tourism market is projected to surge at a CAGR of 5% over the next ten years, with an estimated value of $10.5 trillion in 2022. It is anticipated by analysts at Future Market Insights that the tourism market would reach an estimated value of $17.1 trillion in 2032. It is predicted that the proliferation of new trends like adventure tourism, art tourism, and so forth will speed up the development of the global tourist sector. Adventure tourism, which includes activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, excavation, kayaking, and other sports, has been an important driver of the tourism market share in recent years. Second, the use of tourist websites plays a crucial role in the management and monetization of all forms of tourism. It is additionally expected that social networking sites' growing popularity would present a great opportunity for the expansion of the travel industry.

Countries with a thriving tourism industry, including the United States, France, and other European nations, are among the most renowned travel destinations worldwide. However, in recent years, several lesser-known Asian and African nations have emerged in popularity as getaways for foreigners, as per Future Market Insights. To take advantage of the possible financial gains from this shift, global travel service providers are realigning their services.

According to a recent survey conducted by Forbes, despite facing challenges, travel remained popular among Americans in 2023, with an average of 2.1 leisure trips per person. Out of the respondents, 36% took three or more trips. Looking ahead to 2024, 92% of participants expressed their intention to either maintain or increase their travel plans, although there was a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Specifically, 40% planned to take more trips, down from 49% in 2023. Notably, 39% of respondents anticipated spending more on travel, indicating resilience in their budgets, albeit slightly lower than the 45% reported last year.

In light of concerns over inflation, 46% of participants adjusted their travel plans. This adjustment included 19% opting for fewer trips and 18% favoring road trips over flying. Additionally, the utilization of travel benefits on credit cards decreased from 66% in 2023 to 57% in 2024, reflecting evolving financial strategies in response to changing economic shifts.

Despite economic pressures, the desire to travel remains a top priority across generations, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. A significant 56% and 49% of these age groups, respectively, have expressed plans to embark on more trips. As for popular travel choices in 2024, visiting family and friends takes the lead with 46%, followed by beach vacations at 36% and road trips at 34%.

Amid inflation concerns, 30% of respondents are uncertain about changing their travel plans, adopting a cautious approach. Travelers prioritize experiences despite economic uncertainty, utilizing reward points and looking for ways to cut costs. 

As reported by the European Travel Commission, in 2023, European tourism showed promising signs of recovery, nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels despite visitors being 1.6% lower than in 2019. However, a 23% inflation surge significantly impacted travel expenses, particularly with a 49% increase in international flight costs and a 35% rise in hotel rates. While Southern Europe experienced robust growth, Eastern Europe lagged. Notwithstanding a major 67% decline in Chinese arrivals in contrast to 2019, North American markets rebounded. Despite pricing challenges, Europeans prioritize safe and affordable destinations. The European Travel Commission additionally forecasts that the travel industry will persist and expand in 2024, with a focus on sustainability throughout this period of transition. 

As we shed light on sustainability, recently, The Sustainable Flight Fund of United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) has surpassed $200 million in investments, marking a noteworthy landmark. United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) business partners, which emphasize working together to address environmental issues, include Aircastle, Air New Zealand, and Alphabet Inc. They represent various sectors within the aviation supply chain. Furthermore, since February 2023, over 115,000 United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) customers have donated almost $500,000, demonstrating the broad support that the company has received for sustainable initiatives. 

In addition to establishing strategic investments exceeding $200 million, the Sustainable Flight Fund has attracted 22 business partners. Notably, portfolio companies like EH2 and Cemvita are pushing the technology development and manufacturing of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) has included a contribution option in its booking process to involve customers in addressing climate change.

Acknowledging the significance of SAF in reducing air travel's carbon footprint, United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) is leading the way in creative solutions, including collaborations and customer involvement. By funding businesses, this innovative project seeks to lower emissions and advance the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Another renowned US-based company is Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB) which runs an online marketplace for experiences and short- and long-term home stays. In 2023, Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB) acquired GamePlanner.AI, an artificial intelligence company started by Adam Chyler, the man behind Siri. The latter is an AI startup with 12 employees that has been prospering outside of the public eye since it was founded.

The acquisition price and the terms of the arrangement were not disclosed by Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB). However, CNBC reported, citing people involved with the negotiations, that the deal was valued at "just under $200 million." 

According to Airbnb, the GamePlanner.AI team will incorporate its tools into the platform and concentrate on boosting specific AI initiatives at Airbnb. Therefore, this demonstrates the company's seriousness about its dedication to incorporating AI.

With that said, here are the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA.

20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA
20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA

Susan Hoffman/Shutterstock.com


To pick out the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA, we have used a consensus-based approach using a variety of credible sources to determine the best-kept secret locations. To give you the finest result possible, we picked places from numerous forums on Reddit, as well as websites such as Travel & Leisure and Via Travellers amongst others, assigned them a score based on their number of appearances, and ranked them accordingly.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 

20. Estes Park, Colorado   

Insider Monkey Points: 2

Situated amidst the majestic and iconic Rocky Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, located 90 miles northwest of Denver, provides magnificent scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking and observing wildlife. It is a well-liked vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The picturesque downtown area with its stores, eateries, and galleries is open for exploration by tourists. Estes Park is among the places that are very special to the United States.

19. Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota 

Insider Monkey Points: 2

The vast Black Hills National Forest, which is 125 miles long and 65 miles wide, is located in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. It is home to Black Elk Peak, the highest peak in the state of South Dakota, at 7,244 feet. This area features rough rock formations, gulches, and canyons, wide-open grasslands, cascading streams, clear blue lakes, and unusual caves. Travelers can take leisurely drives, trek through pine forests, and observe the magnificent wildlife that inhabits this region. Black Hills National Forest is one of the secret vacation spots in South Dakota. 

18. Molokai, Hawaii

Insider Monkey Points: 2

For travelers seeking an unforgettable Hawaiian island adventure, Molokai, a hidden gem that is the fifth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, offers an ideal destination. Rich in Hawaiian culture and genuine experiences, Molokai caters to those desiring to explore some of the most pristine and unspoiled natural landscapes in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is one of the least visited places in the US and a hidden gem vacation spot in the world. 

17. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Insider Monkey Points: 2

Santa Rosa Beach, an appealing town in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, is celebrated for its immaculate white sand beaches and emerald waters. An array of recreational activities are available to visitors, including swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. They can also explore quaint seaside towns and dine at waterfront restaurants. Santa Rosa Beach offers a typical Florida beach vacation with its natural beauty and laid-back vibe. Santa Rose is one of the most unique places to visit in the US.

16. San Juan Island, Washington 

Insider Monkey Points: 2

Located in northwest Washington, the United States, San Juan Island is the second largest and most densely populated of the San Juan Islands. As of the 2020 census, 8,632 people called this land area home. Washington's San Juan Island is a tranquil island retreat notable for its breathtaking scenery and plethora of species. Tourists can discover the stunning coastal scenery, trek scenic trails, and observe whales from the shore. Charming towns provide local cuisine and cultural attractions, making San Juan Island an ideal getaway for leisure and outdoor pursuits. 

15. Holland, Michigan

Insider Monkey Points: 2

Unknown to many, Michigan's Holland is a vibrant city known for its beautiful scenery and extensive Dutch culture. Holland, which is home to the yearly Tulip Time Festival, is recognized for its breathtaking tulip fields and historic windmills that are a throwback to its Dutch heritage. In addition to taking in the beautiful panorama of the Lake Michigan shoreline, visitors can stroll through the quaint downtown streets that are dotted with unique shops and cafes. Holland is a charming place to visit because it provides a beautiful fusion of culture, history, and scenic beauty. 

14. Gardens of the Gods, Colorado

Insider Monkey Points: 2

When surveyor Rufus Cable first laid eyes on the towering fins of rock rising more than 300 feet into the air at Pikes Peak in 1859, he exclaimed with enthusiasm that it was "a fit place for the gods to assemble!" This enthusiastic outburst inspired the name Garden of the Gods, which we now know for this gorgeous Colorado Springs park. 

The Garden of the Gods is a natural wonder known for its enormous red rock formations and breathtaking natural beauty. Wander along the park's picturesque paths, which give sweeping vistas of the soaring sandstone formations against Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The Garden of the Gods is an essential stop for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike because of its distinctive rock formations, varied species, and extensive history.

13. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 

Insider Monkey Points: 3 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a breathtaking natural wonder known for its active volcanoes and unique ecosystems. The prominent Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, as well as steam vents and lava tubes, are among the striking landscapes sculpted by volcanic activity that are visible to visitors in the park. In one of the most distinctive settings on earth, this park enables tourists to explore the evolving forces of nature and Hawaiian heritage through hikes, scenic drives, and cultural experiences. It is one of the most beautiful hidden places in the world

12. Fredericksburg in Texas

Insider Monkey Points: 3

Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a captivating town distinguished for its appealing beauty, German heritage, and wineries. Popular attractions, including the National Museum of the Pacific War, Texas Wine Country, world-class shopping, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, are all found in Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg provides a lovely getaway for visitors, as it is one of the best kept secret places to visit in the USA. It is one the number one vacation spots in the US.

11. White Sands National Park, New Mexico  

Insider Monkey Points: 3

White Sands National Park in New Mexico not only has the largest gypsum dune field in the world, with gypsum hearth mounds that are unique to the planet, but it also has the largest collection of Ice-Age fossilized footprints in the world, which tells the story of over 20,000 years of human habitation while offering unforgettable recreational opportunities. Visitors can experience the surreal scenery by hiking, sledding down the dunes, or driving around the park. The ever-changing scenery formed by the shifting sands provides many opportunities for adventure and photography. White Sands National Park offers both nature enthusiasts and thrill seekers an unparalleled experience because of its distinct beauty and tranquil surroundings.

10. Sedona, Arizona 

Insider Monkey Points: 3

Sedona, one of the best-kept secret places to visit and known for its breathtaking natural beauty and spiritual energy, is a compelling location that lies in the heart of Arizona's red rock country. Explore the striking red rock formations, go on spectacular treks through the natural landscape, or treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment. The town is also noted for its thriving arts scene, which includes various galleries displaying local artwork and crafts. For those looking for inspiration and rejuvenation, Sedona offers a life-changing experience with its stunning scenery, calm ambiance, and ethereal charm.

9. Kanab, Utah

Insider Monkey Points: 3

Kanab, Utah, which is one of the most hidden states in the USA, is among the best-kept secrets in not only Southwest Utah but also the USA. It is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts, film buffs, and everyone else. It has an abundance of natural landscapes to explore, a rich history, and an incredible location in the center of Southern Utah's most well-liked attractions.

Utah, Kanab is a quaint town encircled by magnificent natural landmarks like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim. Hence, this park is renowned as the "Gateway to the Parks."

8. St. Augustine, Florida

Insider Monkey Points: 3

For over four centuries, St. Augustine has captivated and delighted tourists. As the earliest continuously populated European-established community in the mainland United States, one of the oldest cities in the US boasts more than just beautiful cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and pristine beaches. 

One of the most interesting facts about St. Augustine is that it has the narrowest street in the United States. Treasury Street is just seven feet in width.                                                            

7. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Insider Monkey Points: 3

Valley of Fire State Park is world-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops buried in gray and tan limestone, as well as old, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back over 2,000 years. The most ideal location to see petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire is Petroglyph Canyon, next to Atlatl Rock. In the heart of Nevada's breathtaking desert scenery, visitors can explore the canyon's walls embellished with these ancient artworks, offering an unparalleled and fully immersive experience.

6. Block Island, Rhode Island 

Insider Monkey Points: 4

Eleven miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island is a picturesque 11-square-mile beachside resort known as "One of the Last Twelve Great Places in the Western Hemisphere." It possesses a timeless charm with its majestic cliffs, lush green hills, and immaculately maintained Victorian hotels. The 17 miles of pristine public beaches and scenic walking trails that wind through meadows, forests, and along the sea are its main attractions. Old Harbor, situated on Block Island, has a wide variety of shops and eateries. Block Island is among the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA

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Disclosure: None. 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA is originally published on Insider Monkey.