North America, with its vibrant cities and vast, natural beauty, has plenty of fantastic places to check out. Still, there are hidden gems all over the continent that many Americans have never even heard of, let alone visited. If you’re in the market for an exotic vacation but don’t want to stray too far from home, take a look at these 10 best places to check out in North America that you may not know about but should! Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or more of an outdoor adventurer, there’s something for everyone here!
1) Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington is a beautiful city nestled in the Pacific Northwest region of the country. With a thriving economy and energetic atmosphere, Seattle has also grown into one of the biggest tourist destinations in North America. The scenic Puget Sound stretches out to see from all across the city, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of Mt. Rainier or watch small cruise ships move along Elliott Bay towards their destination.
2) Jasper National Park, Alberta
Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies, is Canada’s oldest national park. Spanning over 21,000 acres of natural woodland and features lakes, ancient glaciers and incredible views that change with every angle you take. The most popular attraction is without a doubt Maligne Lake–a sparkling turquoise gem tucked away from Jasper townsite.
The best way to experience the beauty of Jasper National Park is by booking a guided hike with knowledgeable guides that are experts in the outdoors, geology and history.
3) Calgary, Alberta
This is one of the few cities that has been rated higher in both quality of life and business prospects. It was rated as the third best city in North America for new immigrants, according to KPMG International’s 2016 Competitive Alternatives study. Calgary has a booming economy with sectors including petrochemicals, natural gas, and agriculture.
4) Monument Valley, Arizona
Monument Valley is not only a beautiful place, but an impressive site of history. Known as one of the greatest national parks in North America, Monument Valley offers a unique Western experience with unique and ancient architecture. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Monument Valley is located on the border between Utah and Arizona and features stunning sandstone rock formations that are awe-inspiring in person.
5) Washington D.C.
In the United States, you can explore the White House, Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was assassinated, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Just a few miles from D.C., in Baltimore, you can visit Fort McHenry which inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner.
6) Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Nestled between two mountain ranges, at the mouth of a wide fjord on the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island is an easy day trip from Seattle. This unique island offers spectacular waterfalls, rugged coastline, and huge old growth forests.
7) New York City, New York
Known as the most famous city in the world, New York is a buzzing metropolis with loads of things to do. Walk through Central Park and check out The Metropolitan Museum of Art; sample one of New York’s most popular dishes at Katz Deli; or go on a walk up 5th Avenue. Whatever you choose, make sure you stop by Times Square for a photo!
8) Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
From the densely forested trailheads and trout filled ponds, Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderland of flora and fauna. With less than a day’s travel from any major city in North America, this preserved natural area packs plenty of highlights into one mighty park.
Rocky Mountain National Park features over 60 miles of hiking trails that meander through wet forests and dry mountain peaks, catering to all levels of adventurer from hikers and strollers to the hardiest mountaineers.
9) Southern California
Southern California is an often-overlooked and underrated area of the US, and for good reason. While there are some fantastic attractions like the Getty Museum and the Griffith Observatory, most people are deterred by the enormous cost of visiting this state. We think it’s worth it!
10) Costa Rica
Considered one of the most eco-friendly nations in the world, Costa Rica prides itself on its commitment to sustainable development. With a rich culture and an abundance of outdoor adventures, it might just be your new favorite spot.