There’s over 19,000 cities in the United States, but only a handful of them regularly frequent the must-visit destinations list.
As such a large country, you can find every imaginable landscape; tropical beaches lining the Gulf of Mexico in the south, soaring snow-capped mountains in the north, arid badlands to the west and luscious forests to the east.
Don’t forget that Alaska and Hawaii also form part of this united nation, offering contrasting holiday opportunities.
Home to an extensive array of wildlife, 63 national parks, and hundreds of historical sites and nature reserves, there’s no shortage of idyllic scenery to explore.
Plus, as the land of plenty, the US boasts multiple attractions, including wild west towns, immense theme parks, bustling metropolises and no end of unusual day-trips. For a unique holiday off the beaten path, check out these three underrated US cities.
El Paso, Texas
On the western tip of Texas, El Paso is a quaint city that acts as a cultural melting pot of Native American, Old Mexico and New Mexico influences. There’s a real remnant of an old western town here, where 86 saloons once stood and alligators used to roam through the area that’s now known as San Jacinto Plaza.
With an impressive zoo, water park and even a vineyard, there’s plenty of exciting things to do in El Paso. If you prefer a slower pace, wander through the botanical gardens of the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden to see koi ponds, waterfalls and an incredible range of rose bushes.
From here, you can also take a day trip to the Chihuahuan Desert to enjoy some sandboarding down the gypsum dunes.
Fort Myers, Florida
The famous inventor Thomas Edison called Fort Myers home for many winters, and he is responsible for the planting of the first 200 palm trees that line the Fort Myers Mcgregor Boulevard. This coastal city has a laid-back vibe, and with around 270 sunny days each year, it’s impossible not to be drawn to the beaches.
The small collection of picturesque islands just off the shore of Fort Myers are known as some of the best places in the world for beach combing, where rare colourful shells often wash up onto the soft white sands. Island hopping here also brings a good chance of spotting dolphins playing in the wake of your boat, and if you dive in you’ll discover a stunning array of tropical fish and maybe even sea turtles.
If you’re feeling brave, visit Cayo Pelau to see if you can discover the buried treasure of pirates, who allegedly still haunt the beach to protect their plunder. Or if you need refreshments, head to the inn on Cabbage Key for some fresh seafood sandwiches and witness the unique walls which are covered in over $70,000 worth of autographed dollar bills.
Tucked into the shores of Kachemak Bay, at the edge of the Alaskan wilderness, is the city of Homer. Here, you can set up camp in a cosy lodge before setting off into the highlands for hiking trails amidst alder forests and blissful streams, where moose and rare birdlife can often be spotted. You can also follow an expert guide into the thicket to find brown bears roaming the Katmai National Park & Preserve and Lake Clark National Preserve.
Watersports such as kayaking, paddleboarding and kitesurfing are popular here, with breathtaking views of the majestic skyline and rugged countryside beyond the glistening Beluga Lake. In the city, you’ll find delicious meals, unique handcrafted gifts and plenty of quirky shopping opportunities in the historic Old Town, farmers markets and the Homer Spit.
An adventure for everyone
Whether you have your heart set on spending long days in the sun wandering beachy coves and hidden bays, or you want to wrap up and explore the wilderness of the mountains, you can find a holiday to suit all tastes in the US.
As we’ve touched on, the United States covers an immense expanse of land, so be sure to allocate sufficient time to enjoy your visit without rushing and missing out on the many incredible sights and activities to be found along the way.