Under the Radar Places to Visit in 2023
Heading into 2023, it’s an extremely hopeful year for travel. And spanning a wide spectrum of landscapes and cultures, the United States is an endlessly fascinating place to explore. From little-known state parks to accommodations that are destinations unto themselves, here are some under the radar gems in the U.S. to add to your travel plans this year:
1. Ouray, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado gets a lot of attention as one of Colorado’s most beautiful mountain towns (and rightfully so), but have you ever visited the town just on the other side of the mountain? Sharing the same epic views of the San Juan Mountains, Ouray is also a historic mining town, known for its picturesque views and hot springs. Ouray’s Perimeter Trail circumnavigates the small town in the surrounding mountains, taking you past four waterfalls, five bridges, and some incredible views.
Related Itinerary: Luxury Family Adventure in Colorado
2. The Inn at Newport Ranch
The Inn at Newport Ranch encapsulates the quintessential, rugged beauty of Mendocino. The vast 2,000 acre property encompasses one and a half miles of rugged coastline and a meandering network of trails through redwood forests. The nine-room lodge is set high on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Related Itinerary: Sonoma and Mendocino – A Farm to Table Road Trip
3. The Berkshires
This rural region of Massachusetts has become an unlikely cultural hub in recent years. The Massachusetts Berkshires offers endless opportunities to immerse in the arts, from world-class art museums (such as MASS MoCA and The Clark Art Institute) to America’s longest running international dance festival (Jacob’s Pillow). Plus, the surrounding mountain vistas, lush forests, and blue lakes provide a beautiful natural setting to explore.
Related Itinerary: Luxury Road Trip in New England
4. East Oregon
Oregon typically invokes images of moody rainforests, rocky coastlines, and towering evergreens. But in Eastern Oregon, you’ll find craggy mountains, desert plains, and impressive canyons. For adventure lovers, there are several thousand rock climbing routes in Smith Rock State Park. For history buffs, check out the ghost towns from early settlers or travel back millennia in fossil beds created by ancient floods.
Related Itinerary: Off-the-Grid in Oregon’s Wild East
5. Three Rivers, California
Often billed as the gateway to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, the small unincorporated community of Three Rivers has plenty of charm in its own right. Named for its location at the junction of the North, Middle, and South Forks of the Kaweah River, this town offers close access to surrounding nature, via hiking and lake activities to name a few.
Related Itinerary: Stunning Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks
6. Grapevine, Texas
Grapevine, Texas is tucked between Dallas and Fort Worth– both of which often steal the spotlight in the DFW area. The virtues of the small town include (but aren’t limited to) a historic, walkable Main Street full of local Texas winery tasting rooms, a genuine small town charm you don’t often find this close to the city, and quick accessibility to all of the attractions of the DFW area. You can even take a vintage railroad to the Fort Worth stockyards to see the cattle drive and a rodeo.
7. Savannah, Georgia
Living under the shadow of Charleston, the belle of Southern cities, Savannah is often overlooked for its own beauty and history. The city is filled with squares of hauntingly beautiful live oaks draped with moss. Our favorite way to explore Savannah is with someone like Patt Gunn at the lead– a renowned Gullah Geechee storyteller who shares little-heard stories about the city’s past.
Related Itinerary: Charleston, Savannah, and the Golden Isles
8. Ladder Ranch
This sprawling 156,439-acre private ranch in south central New Mexico encapsulates a stunning range of ecosystems, breathtaking scenery, and cultural heritage. The property aligns with owner Ted Turner’s mission for sustainability and conservation by providing diverse ecosystems for all manner of wildlife. From visiting abandoned adobe ruins to exploring the ranch via hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, or even a bison roundup, there’s something for everyone.
Related Itinerary: Back to the Future in New Mexico
9. Palo Duro Canyon
Stretching for 120 miles, Palo Duro Canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in the United States when it comes to size. Although located just 25 miles away from Amarillo in the flat Texas plains, the “Grand Canyon of Texas” embodies much of the same lonesome, rugged romanticism that Arizona’s canyon has become famous for.
10. Custer State Park
Custer State Park is an amazing place to see wildlife, as it is home to herds of wild buffalo, elk, pronghorn, deer, bighorn sheep, and much more. It’s also one of the largest state parks in the United States, with a varied landscape of granite spires, rolling plains, and buttes.
Related Itinerary: Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota Luxury Road Trip
11. Bisti Badlands
Walking around the Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area of New Mexico may feel a bit like you’re on the set of a sci-fi movie. The badlands feature 45,000 acres of wacky desert landscape– including hoodoos, balanced rocks and other unlikely rock formations. The area is desolate and just another example of the many hidden gems that New Mexico has to offer.
12. Bentonville, Arkansas
The small town of Bentonville, Arkansas has experienced something of a cultural renaissance in the past decade, as well as steep population growth. The introduction of attractions like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and more than 250 miles of mountain biking trails in the Northwest Arkansas region are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bentonville’s travel-worthiness. Trendy new eateries and shops are constantly sprouting up in Bentonville’s walkable, historic town square. And the surrounding natural beauty of the Ozarks remains a constant– from pristine lakes to rugged mountains.
13. Blackberry Mountain
The Beall family, known for their visionary success in hospitality at the award-winning property Blackberry Farm, opened Blackberry Mountain in 2019 on a vast 5,200 acre property in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The Relais & Châteaux property offers a serene, nature-immersed escape paired with gold-standard service and hospitality. There’s also the trademark commitment to sustainability– such as 2,800 acres of the property being committed to conservation.