When looking for travel destinations within the United States, the options can be quite overwhelming. While the average traveler seems to be aware of some of the travel hotspot locations like heading to get some shopping done on Rodeo Drive or checking out the skyscrapers in Times Square, not everyone's idea of the best travel spot is something that is undoubtedly known to all. In fact, sometimes the best travel adventure is something that's off the beaten path or a hidden gem that is just waiting to be discovered.
People often seek the advice of those that they know when trying to find out where their next vacation should be, whether it's perusing through a friend's travel photos or asking coworkers around the office. Yet, it seems like people are starting to seek out the recommendations of strangers more and more often when it comes to the venues they choose to visit or the locations they're willing to travel to when considering a vacation. This may seem like a bit odd for some but it's starting to be seen as a legitimate source for those looking to plan a bit of a getaway. TripAdvisor is just one of the sites that allow people to share their thoughts on a particular location, whether it's a travel destination or an actual venue. Yet, not all of these locations have received the acclaim that they deserve. Check out our list of the 25 low-key places in the United States that should be rated 5 stars on TripAdvisor and see if there are any locations that might tickle your fancy.
25 Pod 39 Hotel In New York
When the boutique hotel, The Pod, first opened in New York, no one could have guessed how hugely popular it would become with tourists and locals alike. The success of the hotel caused Pod 39 Hotel to open and The Pod was renamed to become Pod 51. While the original hotel was seen as a huge success, Pod 39 Hotel seems to have outdone the original in more ways than one. The project famously featured a hefty budget and that can definitely be seen in the amenities of the hotel and the amazing en-suite rooms. There is a brick-pillared rooftop bar that features stunning views of the city, as well as an ambience that people don't necessarily think of when traveling to New York. To top it off, the eclectic setup of the rooms is a definite change from the standard hotel stay in the big apple.
24 Glass Beach In Fort Bragg, California
When it comes to traveling to the beach, people usually seem to get hung up on exotic locations and white sands that feel like a fine dust to the toes. Yet, there are three beaches in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that put that notion to a distant thought. The history of these beaches have really molded what it has become today since prior to 1967, this area was used as a dumping ground for people's trash. After dumping was disallowed, nature began taking its course and changed the once-garbage ridden beach to something that really offered something special. In 1998, the private owner of the site began getting it ready to reopen to the public and in 2002, travelers were able to visit and see the beaches filled with once sharp shards of glass. Now the beach is filled with glass with smoothed edges and beautiful to behold.
23 The Oregon Vortex House Of Mystery
While there are some travelers that choose their vacation destinations based on the tranquil landscapes and beaches, there are others that prefer something on the more peculiar. Although not everyone is able to travel to the mythical section of the Atlantic Ocean to see the Bermuda Triangle, there is another vacation destination that can practically rival the same mystic ambiance. The Oregon Vortex and the House of Mystery aren't exactly as well-known as the Bermuda Triangle but they do feature some mystic attributes that cause visitors from all over the world to see it for themselves. From balls rolling uphill to broomsticks standing upright without any help, this is a destination that can boggle the mind and create a truly unique vacation destination for those looking for something different in their getaway.
22 The Lost Sea
People often travel all over the globe to visit underground waterways and caves but that doesn't mean that there aren't some truly majestic scenes in the United States. The Lost Sea is located in Tennessee and is the largest underground lake in the United States. It is located 140 feet below ground-level and there are guided tours that allow visitors to observe the caverns and geological formations. There is a glass bottom boat that allows visitors to travel along the lake and really take in the majestic scene that the caverns offer. There is quite a lot of history surrounding The Lost Sea, from Confederate soldiers mining the caves during the Civil War to being used as a meeting place for Cherokee Indians. Yet, even those that aren't familiar with the backstory of this site can enjoy this beautiful underground body of water.
21 Southernmost Point Buoy
There are a number of different travel hotspots in Florida but not every visitor is there to see Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom. Key West is a hugely popular travel destination in Florida and travelers from all over the world make this their vacation location. Not everyone visiting Key West is aware of a significant little must-see locale, the Southernmost Point Buoy. This is an anchored concrete buoy located at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets in Key West, Florida. This buoy became an established tourist attraction in 1983 and marks the fact that Cuba is only around 90 miles south of this point. The significance of the buoy and the fact that it's been damaged so many times from various hurricanes make it a spot that must be seen for any traveler heading to Key West.
20 Turner Falls Park
When people think about traveling to Oklahoma, they often think of tumbleweeds and old musicals that depict it in a way that doesn't immediately call for throngs of vacationers to choose it for their travel destination. Yet, it might be some of these misconceptions that help to keep some of its travel destinations a hidden gem, rather than an overpopulated locale. Turner Falls Park is located within the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma and features a picturesque landscape that is like something from a fairytale. This ultra-romantic setting is great for those looking for a couple's retreat but the 77-foot waterfall is very much appealing to all types of travelers. People love swimming in the mountain water or partaking in one of the many different outdoor activities in this idyllic landscape retreat.
19 El Cosmico
The tiny house trend has been quite popular in recent years and more and more people have considered this type of lifestyle in order to put their funds towards life experiences rather than material goods and a hefty mortgage. While many people have considered it, not everyone is ready to make the leap. Yet, there are a few different options in the United States that let people test out the lifestyle without making a huge investment. El Cosmico is in a remote location in West Texas and utilizes vintage trailers, tents, tepees and much more to give travelers a truly unique experience. There is an outdoor kitchen area, hammocks and even wood-fired hot tubs that are available to rent for those staying at El Cosmico.
18 Shambhala Mountain Center
While there are many travelers that seek out vacation destinations in order to stay active and partake in activities that will really set their hearts racing, there are also many travelers that look for destinations that will really enforce a sense of calm and tranquility. If that's the case, the Shambhala Mountain Center is the perfect destination. It's set against the backdrop of the Colorado Rockies and features a view of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. The history of the center focuses on the founder, a Tibetan meditation master, and people travel from all over the world to try and tap into a deeper sense of calm and awareness in this picturesque locale. The center offers yoga, meditation, wilderness walks and much more. Yet, the real draw to this location is the ambiance that really caters to those looking for stillness while on vacation.
17 Hotel Allegro In Chicago
Chicago is a city that is often thought of as a go-to destination for travelers, whether it's for sightseeing at Willis Tower or venturing out to Navy Pier. There are a number of hotels in Chicago that have garnered quite a reputation for themselves in regards to prestige and opulence for their guests. While bigger names like Four Seasons Hotel Chicago or The Peninsula seem to get a great deal of attention, that doesn't mean that there aren't a multitude of other options for travelers heading to Chicago. Kimpton Hotels has a number of options and Kimpton Hotel Allegro is one that can sometimes get overlooked. Located in The Theater District, Hotel Allegro often features some great packages that cater to the theater-enthusiast. A great option is the Holiday Theater Package, which offers tickets to see a show and a 25-minute carriage ride for up to 4 people along with overnight accommodations.
16 BKLYN House Hotel In Brooklyn
New York is described in so many different ways since it's a State that is filled with a number of different boroughs, with each having its own distinct culture. While many people are often hung up on the Manhattan borough, there are many other neighborhoods that feature different attributes that are appealing to those traveling to the Big Apple. The BKLYN House Hotel is one that caters to those looking for something beyond the standard stay since it really showcases what makes Brooklyn stand out. The Guardian proclaims the hotel as "a Bushwick-inspired hotel" and is placed in "the new Williamsburg" in New York. While it's 20 minutes from Manhattan and close to Bushwick's bars and cafes, this is a hotel that showcases the work of Brooklyn artists but still remains close enough to hotspots to make it work for the traveling enthusiast.
15 The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
There have been a number of onscreen depictions of haunted houses over the years but it seems like there have been two that have dominated public interest in 2018. The Netflix original series, The Haunting of Hill House, was a huge hit with television audiences but there was a film that was released in 2018 that was actually based on a real residence. Helen Mirren starred in the film, Winchester, which was loosely based on the real-life woman, Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester fortune. She seemed haunted by the ghosts of those that had befallen to the Winchester arms her fortune was based upon, and the Winchester home was said to have spirits that called out to her. Travelers can visit the real-life home and see that incredible detail in each of its rooms, as well as the odd construction that led to stairways leading to nowhere and windows looking into other rooms.
14 Chris Owens Club & Balcony
When people think about traveling to New Orleans, there is definitely a set expectation on what they will see when visiting the French Quarter. The Mardi Gras-themed travel destination inevitably conjures up images of music in the streets and beads around everyone's neck. Yet, there is much more history in the French Quarter that can be explored by travelers. The Chris Owns Club & Balcony venue caters to the ultra-glamorous days of cabaret stage shows when women wore white gloves during their outings and men were known to gulp down a multitude of martinis during their lunch hour. Ms. Owens puts on a grand show akin to something that can be seen in Las Vegas and it's often seen as a must-see show for anyone traveling to New Orleans.
13 Presidio Park
When traveling to California, many visitors seem to overlook some of the historical aspects of traveling to the area. While some people seek to visit Hollywood or visit Rodeo Drive, it's interesting how the history of California can be overlooked. Yet, Presidio Park has embraced California's history and the Junipero Serra Museum has offered travelers a great way to really get to know the area and how California has evolved throughout the years. Many people don't realize how the Spanish and Mexican conflicts have changed California and specifically the area surrounding Presidio Park. The indigenous heritage of the area are represented by the San Diego Historical Society and anyone visiting this area can learn something while taking in the majestic beauty of this historical site.
12 Boothbay Harbor Inn
There are some cities in the United States that are often seen at the top of the list when thinking of travel hotspots but there are others that are a bit more low-key. Yet, those that know about the romantic ambiance of Maine have really seen this as a treasure for a vacation hotspot in the United States. Boothbay Harbor Inn is located in a quaint New England fishing village and is set along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the perfect vacation location for those looking for an idyllic view for a romantic getaway. Beyond the beautiful landscape, travelers can enjoy everything from whale watching to country bike rides. While everyone often thinks of the fresh seafood dishes, there are also some delightful bakeries filled with sweet treats.
11 La Posada of Santa Fe
There are a number of different spas that are located throughout the United States but that doesn't mean that they are all the same. La Posada of Santa Fe is a luxury hotel and spa that's located in New Mexico. Travelers often choose New Mexico because of its scenic landscapes of mountainous views and the abundant sunshine and mild climate. La Posada de Santa Fe features all the modern amenities that travelers would want in a spa retreat getaway. From King Fireplace Rooms to a full-service on-site spa, the entire resort can feel like something unlike anything else in the United States. People can partake in the private yoga lessons, heated outdoor pool or one of the four different dining and drinking options within the resort.
10 Secreto Lounge
The farm to table craze has been hugely popular with people all over the world since it promotes healthy eating and really utilizes fresh tastes that can amplify a dish. Secreto Lounge in New Mexico takes this a step further by offering a "Garden-To-Glass" feature in its premier craft cocktails. The venue is located inside the historic Hotel St. Francis and is ultra-close to the Santa Fe Plaza. This is seen as a hidden gem in New Mexico but the popularity of the drinks and rustic ambiance has allowed it to become a favorite hotspot for those that are familiar with the area. For anyone traveling to New Mexico, Secreto Lounge is a must-see spot to enjoy a cocktail, whether it's inside the lounge or at the outdoor patio bar.
9 The Stanley Hotel
While The Stanley Hotel offers an idyllic view for anyone traveling to Colorado, the historic significance of the hotel is often the biggest draw for travelers. With it being opened in 1909, this grand mountain resort features an old world charm that really allows people to feel like they've been transported through time. Yet, that isn't the only reason why people make this their travel destination. Haunted events have been recorded at The Stanley Hotel as far back as 1911 and Stephen King famously stayed in room 217 with his wife in 1973. It's said that he also witnessed some paranormal activity and wandering the hotel's empty halls was what gave him the idea for the award-winning book, The Shining. For Stephen King fans or just those looking for a mountain retreat, this is the hotel to stay in when visiting Colorado.
8 Inn At Price Tower
Bartlesville in Oklahoma may not be the first city that comes to mind when considering a travel destination in the United States but it's definitely a place to stop for architecture-enthusiasts. It is home to Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper, Price Tower. The building was completed in 1956 and features a 19-story landmark building that includes rotating exhibits and a high-design hotel within the top floors. While people often travel to the building to check out the interior museum, it's a mistake to skip the chance to stay at The Inn at Price Tower. The contemporary design and distinct Frank Lloyd Wright styling in the rooms are something that is truly special and can be the perfect getaway for architecture-enthusiasts or anyone that loves design.
7 Kripalu Center For Yoga And Health
When people think about traveling for a yoga retreat, inevitably they will think of far-off locations like Costa Rica or the Himalayas. Yet, there is a yoga retreat in the United States that seems to rival other centers and not everyone is fully aware of them. Kripalu Center For Yoga and Health is located in Massachusetts and offers over 800 different programs every year. TimeOut released a feature on the best yoga retreats in the United States and chose Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health at the top of the list. During the feature, TimeOut stated, "Widely regarded in the yoga world as the best-established destination in the country for immersive holistic-living trainings and getaways, Kripalu ranks as one of the best yoga retreats in North America-- perhaps the entire world."
6 Mitchell Corn Palace
South Dakota isn't exactly thought of as the hottest travel destination in the United States but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its own attractions. Mitchell, South Dakota features the World's Only Corn Palace and there is even an annual festival that celebrates South Dakota's agricultural climate. The Corn Palace Festival is held every year in August and it features carnival rides and vendors where people try and win the prize of having the very best produce. The actual Mitchell Corn Palace is actually decorated with murals that are made of 13 different colors of corn. The murals are constantly changing and the artists really put in effort into creating something special for the eye to behold. While this may not be an actual travel destination worthy of a planned vacation, it is definitely a place to visit if one were to find themselves in South Dakota.
5 Jules’ Undersea Lodge
When it comes to planning a vacation near the water, there are some people that would much rather a more immersive experience. From travelers looking for intense water sports to partake in to people seeking out hotels that float directly on the water, it's interesting how some people really take their water vacation seriously. Yet, there is a place in the Florida Keys that takes it just one step further. Jules' Undersea Lodge offers a unique experience for those looking to take a vacation by the water. It is located in the lagoon at Key Largo Undersea Park and people can partake in the scuba diving training in order to really take advantage of the 30' depth of the lagoon. As the world's only underwater hotel, this is definitely an option for those filling out their bucket list.
4 Game Room Chicago
Chicago is a city filled with some amazing historical buildings and that has created an opportunity for investors to really create unique spaces that appeal to a wide array of different travelers. A great example is the 125-year-old Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Despite the fact that it was founded in 1890, the hotel has actually been closed since 2007. It underwent a huge restoration project and now it is home to a venue that is definitely worth checking out for anyone living around or visiting Chicago's Loop area. The Thrillist ran a feature on this incredible venue and stated, "Accessible through the lobby or private alleyway entrance, the hotel's fully restored game room sports tabletop games, 300 seats, and a dim, lacquered whiskey bar mystique." Whether travelers are looking for a unique place to grab a drink or wanting to partake in a game of foosball, this is certainly worth checking out.
3 International Peace Garden
There are a number of different gardens spread throughout the United States, with a variety of different attributes that make them appealing to visitors. From botanical gardens with varying exhibits to flower gardens that feature annual festivals, it's not that difficult to find natural elements in North America that really cater towards the nature-enthusiast. Yet, there is something special about The International Peace Garden in North Dakota. It is located on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada and it's there to symbolize the friendship between the United States and Canada. In a world filled with so much animosity and strife, it's actually quite appealing to venture out to visit this peaceful and uniting garden. Business Insider states, "This botanical garden is spread across 2,339 acres and visitors can choose to visit a number of sites including a bell tower, a 9/11 memorial, and a large floral clock."
2 America’s Stonehenge
There are a huge number of travelers that head to Wiltshire, England in order to see the prehistoric monument, Stonehenge, in all of its glory and mystery every single year. Yet, not everyone is able to make it across the pond for a vacation and they might be surprised to learn that America has its very own Stonehenge. In New Hampshire, there is a man-made structure that's called, America's Stonehenge. While it may not be as well-known as the one in England, this is a 4,000 year old structure that features stone chambers, walls and a variety of different structures. People traveling to New Hampshire don't always know about this locale but those that have stopped there have definitely found it memorable and a great place for taking a nature hike.
1 Amana Colonies
While States like New York and California often get the brunt of the notoriety when it comes to vacationing in the United States, there are some other noteworthy attractions in varying States that should get some attention as well. In the prairies of Iowa, there are seven German villages that are known as The Amana Colonies. The villages feature a wide array of different shops, wineries, restaurants and other attractions that can appeal to the tourists looking for something a bit different in their travel experience. While traveling to Germany may not be in the cards, that doesn't mean that people can't have a great experience immersing themselves in German culture right here in the United States. For anyone thinking of visiting Iowa to check out The Amana Colonies, it's best to coincide the trip with one of their many festivals throughout the year.
Sources: Allegro Chicago, Trip Advisor, The Guardian, Matador Network, The Crazy Tourist, Cosmopolitan, New Orleans Online, City of San Diego, Two Drifters, Boothbay Harbor Inn, La Posada De Santa Fe, Hotel St. Francis, Hopper, Price Tower, Timeout, Business Insider, Road Trippers,