Taos, New Mexico

7 Under the Radar North American Destinations for Your Next Vacation

If you’re from North America, traveling in the area might not seem all that appealing, especially when compared to the white sand beaches of Thailand or the stunning architecture of Europe. But this mindset needs to stop; North America is filled to the brim with destinations for all types of travelers.

Whether you’re a lover of the great outdoors or you prefer the bright city lights of the Big Apple, you’ve got the pick of the litter when it comes to traveling around the North American continent. Just try not to get too wrapped in the “best” and “most visited” destinations.

There are many North American hotspots that are worth visiting, like embarking on a shopping adventure through Mall of America or exploring the streets of New York City. But if you’re a fan of fewer crowds and less craziness, you’re better off checking out the under these radar destinations throughout the continent.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a prime spot for beer drinkers, art lovers, foodies, and just about anyone who is looking for a good time. The most popular attraction in this city in western North Carolina is the Biltmore, a massive estate that displays the art and culture of the classic Renoir period.

Even if you’re not all that interested in taking in the gloriousness of the Biltmore estate, you’ll still have plenty of chances to stay busy in Asheville. There are tons of breweries in town, lots of highly-rated trendy restaurants, and plenty of art installations throughout the city.

Wallace, Idaho

You’re probably thinking to yourself, why in the world would I ever want to visit Idaho? The answer is quite simple; it’s home to a small town called Wallace. Wallace is known most for being the world’s largest producer of silver, which is why it is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Aside from that, Wallace is a charming town that serves as the perfect getaway if you’re in the mood to take a step back and get away from major cities. During your time here, you’ll have plenty of chances to explore underground mines, learn the history of the town, and get your blood pumping with mountain biking and ATVing.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Many Midwesterners vacation to the upper region of Michigan every year, so this place isn’t completely under the radar. If you’re a fan of water sports and SCUBA diving, you’ll love the fact that the Upper Peninsula border three out of the five Great Lakes (Huron, Superior, and Michigan).

The diving scene here is far from tropical, but it’s really cool for divers who enjoy exploring underwater shipwrecks. There are thousands of shipwrecks in these lakes, dating back to centuries in the past. There’s even a marine sanctuary that is home to over 200 shipwrecks scattered across the ocean floor.

Suchitoto, El Salvador

El Salvador has a bad rep as being a highly dangerous country, but as long as you have common sense (don’t go exploring the streets of San Salvador alone at night), you’ll be just fine. It’s suggested that you skip San Salvador altogether and head straight to the cultural mecca of this Central American country, Suchitoto.

Known as Suchi to the local and ex-pat community, this small city is all about good food and good times. Every weekend there is an art and food festival that is meant to celebrate the El Salvadorian culture, which is the perfect opportunity to truly appreciate this colorful destination.

Copper Canyon, Mexico

The Grand Canyon often overshadows all other canyons in the area, but Mexico’s Copper Canyon is nearly just as impressive. Actually, a lot of travelers agree that Copper Canyon is more impressive than the Grand Canyon. It’s a series of canyons that are connected together in the Chihuahua region. And get this… it’s 7 times larger than the Grand Canyon!

Even though it’s the largest canyon system in North America, the number of visitors is significantly less than those who head to Nevada. This is one of the safer areas of Mexico, offering up plenty of chances for an adventure through rock climbing, ziplining, horseback riding, and hiking.

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Kentucky’s stunning canyon system, Red River Gorge, is one of the biggest attractions of the Midwest. There are tons of things to do here to keep you busy, but the most popular is Red River Gorge climbing. There’s an infinite amount of sandstone walls to climb up and careen down, so definitely expect some crowds when the weather is good.

The most climbing opportunities here are in the Southern Gorge, which is home to popular spots like Torrent Falls, Roadside, and the Zoo. If you’re looking for hiking trails, you won’t be disappointed. Hikers who want something difficult should check out Indian Staircase and Indian Arch. For something a bit easier, Whittleton Arch is a better choice.

Taos, New Mexico

In many parts of New Mexico, it feels as if you’re exploring a country outside of the USA. There’s a ton of Spanish influence here, especially in the town of Taos. Taos is not nearly as well-known as cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, but it’s definitely got a charm about it that the big cities of New Mexico don’t offer.

The main thing travelers love about Taos is the constant sunshine; the sun is shining strong 300+ days of the year, so be sure to pack your tank tops and shorts. While you’re here, be sure to check out the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site, Taos Pueblo. You can also take some art classes, visit the hot springs of the area, and even give llama trekking a try.