Hidden Travel Gems in the United States

Bear Dunes
Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore the United States, but no one likes sitting in traffic. Of course, odds are pretty good that you’re going to run into a sea of tourists at some point. (Well, what do you expect when you’re traveling on the Fourth of July?)

Countless hidden gems around the nation allow you to enjoy the sights crowd-free. Here are four clandestine travel spots:

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has become a mainstay for Michiganders and Midwesterners, and this national landmark boasts bluffs that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan. The dunes stretch for miles, and this is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country.

The San Juan Islands, Washington
Within a short distance of downtown Seattle, the San Juan Islands are accessible by ferry and are an ideal destination for whale watching. What’s more, the area has bountiful opportunities for hiking, biking and sea kayaking.

Fort Bragg, California
Fort Bragg was founded on the California coastline before the Civil War and today is a state historical landmark. Nestled directly next to the Pacific Ocean about 150 miles north of San Francisco, Fort Bragg is near seemingly endless strands of redwoods. For those who are more interested in the water, Fort Bragg has three glass beaches and a historic lighthouse surrounded by a nature preserve.

Hidden Pond Resort, Maine
If you’re really trying to trudge off the beaten path, Maine is the place to do it. Although Hidden Pond Resort isn’t exactly roughing it, this destination will allow you to get away from the city lights and interact with nature. The grounds even include a restaurant simply titled Earth, which is run by James Beard–recognized chef Ken Oringer.