Lonely Planet Writer

Overlooked America

The US is a big place with innumerable travel opportunities, but despite its size the majority of travellers focus on only a small number of popular destinations. You can always find a wide variety of topics on the US branch on the Thorn Tree travel forum, but if you come back regularly you'll see the same short-list of popular destinations being discussed year-round.

While you can’t fault someone for wanting to see the “greatest hits” like the Grand Canyon or New York City, there are lots of overlooked gems in the US where the prices drop, the crowds disappear, and your chance of having a unique, unforgettable experience is greatly increased. If this sounds appealing, take a look at this ongoing thread, where long-time Thorn Tree user travellingtrixie asks what are your picks for the top undeservedly overlooked destinations in the US?

Many of the suggestions are rural or wilderness destinations: Damascus, Virginia, a common stopping point for through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail; the St. Lawrence River Valley of upstate New York; the nearly deserted beaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; the high desert and mountains of eastern Oregon; the “sky islands” of Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains.

roeblingBut if you’re more interested in an urban destination, why not, as Thorn Tree user mrpenney suggests, avoid the crowds and head to an often overlooked city like Cincinnati, Ohio? In Cincinnati you can visit the “sexiest zoo in America”, get the full Cincinnati-style chili experience and order up a 3-way and a cheese coney at Skyline or Camp Washington, and walk across the Roebling Suspension Bridge towards Kentucky while watching the old paddle steamers rolling down the Ohio River.

Join in on the conversation and share your own favourite overlooked destinations in the US.

Roebling Bridge, connecting Cincinnati, Ohio to Covington, Kentucky. [Photo: bousinka/Flickr]