Hidden Gem Holiday Destinations to Discover
From mystic ice caves to farm-to-table dining, these destinations offer a break from the crowd. Whether you want to live life in the wild or see a unique culture, these hidden gem holiday destinations are worth a visit.
These Hidden Gem Holiday Destinations to Discover are incredible offbeat vacation ideas for foodies, nature lovers, and antique hunters.
Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Alaska
The jaw-dropping sights of Alaska are plenty, but one of the state’s most stunning spectacles is the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where thousands of eagles gather each November to feast on chum salmon. The event draws visitors from around the world, and many photographers boast capturing up to 80 birds in a single frame.
Located in the northwest corner of Alaska, the preserve encompasses a broad stretch of river bottom on the Chilkat and Tsirku rivers. The area is home to 200 resident bald eagles year-round, but numbers explode in fall and winter when a rich bounty of fish makes the region a prime roosting and feeding spot.
While the eagles are the highlight, the preserve is also home to mountain goats on the rocky ridges, brown and black bears, forest birds and long-distance migrants like trumpeter swans. The 48,000-acre preserve anchors a pristine riverine wilderness traversed by a paved highway minutes from a friendly small town, and attracts wildlife enthusiasts in search of remote wilderness and wild flora.
During the peak of the eagle gathering, the best viewing is at four pullouts along the Haines Highway between Mile 18 and 24, including the Council Grounds pullout at mile 19. This well-equipped site has pit toilets, informational displays, a boardwalk, a two-mile river-side trail, viewing scopes and a food concession. In order to reduce stress on individual eagles, visitors are asked to stay within the designated viewing areas to prevent disturbances.
Old Town Gold Country in Nevada
Summer is a great time to experience hidden gem vacation destinations, with lower prices and fewer crowds. While many of the most popular summer destinations like Paris and Venice are flooded with visitors, there are still plenty of lesser-known spots that remain hidden from the masses.
Head just a few hours north to California Gold Country and you’ll discover Nevada City, an authentic 19th-century gold rush town. Here, Main Street is lined with charming balconied buildings where it’s easy to imagine stagecoaches click-clacking past. The town offers a variety of restaurants, boutiques, antique shops and wine tasting that make for an interesting day trip.
If you want to spend more than a day here, check into the historic Murphys Hotel and enjoy dinner at the original saloon, which once hosted Ulysses S Grant and Mark Twain! The National Hotel is also worth a look, with its grand Victorian architecture. You can also explore the museum exhibits, including house altars from the Hou Wang and Kuan Yin Temples as well as school mementos from the Donner Party.
Railtown 1897 is another must-see attraction, where you can ride on vintage trains that have appeared in movies, as well as a train simulator that lets you take control of your own journey through the mountains and valleys! You’ll also find a large collection of railroad artifacts and a small gift shop that sells antiques, teacups and Tillamook ice cream.
Mesa Verde National Park in Arizona
For many travelers, the sandstone-masonry villages tucked into massive mesa-side alcoves at Mesa Verde National Park inspire a mix of incredulity and discovery. The UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases the rich cultural heritage of America’s First Peoples, and provides an insight into the past that is both fascinating and unsettling.
The best way to experience the cliff dwellings and other ruins at Mesa Verde National Park is to tag along on a guided tour. Throughout the year, park rangers offer an in-depth look at the life of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here 700 years ago. During your visit, be sure to take in the splendor of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park. It has 150 rooms and was home to around 100 people at its peak use. If you like visiting good places, it is best to learn about seasonal touring to have an edge on the beautiful places on the world.
Mesa Verde National Park is also a fantastic spot for wildlife viewing. Over 74 mammal species, 200 bird species, and 16 reptile species make their home here for part or all of the year. In addition, it is known for being one of the darkest places in the United States, which makes it an excellent place for stargazing. In fact, the park hosts an annual event called the Star Party at Morefield Campground Amphitheater that has astronomy presentations and discussions of the Navajo star stories. During the event, you can view the night sky with telescopes provided by the park.
Lake Havasu City in Arizona
A hidden gem holiday destination is a place that’s not overly crowded during the summer, yet still offers plenty of things to do. These spots are often overlooked by travelers who are looking to avoid crowded destinations like Paris and Venice.
In addition to enjoying water sports on the lake, there are several hikes that provide stunning views of the desert landscape and canyons. You can also learn about the area’s Native American and steamboat history at the museum. There are also many shops, restaurants, and parks to visit during your stay.
The most famous landmark in the city is the London Bridge, which was originally built in 1831 to span the River Thames in London, but it eventually fell into disrepair. Fortunately, Robert McCulloch purchased it and had it dismantled brick by brick before shipping it to Arizona. Now it’s one of the most popular attractions in Lake Havasu City.
While visiting the area, you should make sure to check out Rotary Park, which has playground equipment, barbecue grills, swimming, and a walking path. This is a great spot to relax on a warm afternoon or evening and watch the boats go by. There are also many hotels and vacation rentals to choose from in the Lake Havasu area, but it’s best to book ahead. You can also find a campground at the Bureau of Land Management.
Kanab in Utah
When it comes to hidden gem holiday destinations, most of us think of something that isn’t well-known or written about in guide books. It can be a scenic lookout point, a unique restaurant or a hotel in an out of the way area. But the truth is, there are many different places that qualify as hidden gems depending on what you’re looking for in a vacation spot.
Kanab is a small town in southern Utah that is known as the gateway to the region’s magnificent tourism spots. It has a friendly western spirit and tens of thousands of visitors visit each year to see its stunning red rock cliffs and enjoy the great hospitality. It makes a fantastic base for trips to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Lake Powell NRA (National Recreational Area).
The city of Kanab is surrounded by geological wonders that range from coral pink sand dunes to the orange clay mountains in its vicinity. Visitors can also explore canyons, valleys and multiple mountaintops in the area. There is plenty to do in the region, from hiking up to Devils Tower in Wyoming to touring a museum dedicated to the Kanab Ambersnail and dune boarding on the gypsum crystal white sands of White Sands National Monument.
Another popular attraction in the Kanab area is the dinosaur tracks at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. This unique site is a place where both pedestrians and motor vehicles can explore the dunes, which are sometimes salmon orange in color.
La Conner in Washington
Tucked away along the Pacific Northwest coast of Washington sits La Conner. This tiny historic town is a little known gem that’s worth visiting. It has a rich and colorful past. The town is home to the Gaches Mansion, a Victorian-styled mansion that now houses the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. The building was originally the home of the Gaches Brothers, who ran a mercantile business in town. Visitors can tour the mansion for a small fee. Other highlights include the Skagit County Historical Museum which features exhibits on local history, artifacts, and photographs. The town is also home to the Museum of Northwest Art, a gallery that features contemporary regional art in a sleek modern space. La Conner is also the birthplace of radical labor activist Hulet Wells who was a leading figure in Seattle’s socialist movement in the early 20th century.
The city is a great place to stroll around, with its charming waterfront shops, boutiques, and restaurants. It’s a great place to spend a few days in a relaxing and scenic setting. Visitors can explore the town’s beautiful parks and gardens, stroll along the Swinomish Channel boardwalk, and enjoy the many restaurants with views of the water. The area is famous for its annual tulip festival in April. Wandering the tulip fields is a must-do activity for tulip lovers. Visitors can admire the vibrant and colorful flowers in a wide variety of colors for a small entrance fee.