When we think of traveling to new and exciting places, often our thoughts go to exotic or tropical destinations in foreign lands where we’d need a passport to visit. However, if you’re looking for an adventure that doesn’t come with a heftily-priced plane ticket, there are numerous destinations right here in the continental United States that can satisfy your need for adventure. Take a look at a few of America’s hidden travel gems and start planning your next trip today!
Portland Head Light — Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Take a step back through American history while soaking up this maritime marvel in America’s Northeasternmost state. First lit on January 10, 1791, this lighthouse began construction in 1787 under the direction of George Washington along the shores of Fort Williams Park. You can visit the park and see the lighthouse year round from sunrise until sunset.
Biosphere 2 — Oracle, Arizona
For a destination that is truly out of this world, head to the Southwest to visit this other-worldly creation. Originally constructed in 1980s as a means of simulating weather and environmental conditions found on other planets to learn more about how to survive during them. Although the initial trials failed due to a number of reasons, the site is open to the public as a research facility for visitors to tour.
Havasu Falls – Grand Canyon, Arizona
To experience a world of beauty unlike anything you’ve ever seen, those with the endurance to trek the ten-mile hike to the falls are rewarded with a colorful and natural display. The the falls drop mineral-enriched blue-green water over 100 feet into a beautiful swimming hole open to the public. While this destination may not be hidden — it’s appeared on many travel programs — Havasu Falls’ remote location makes it rather exclusive to those willing to traverse the Grand Canyon to reach it.
Grotto of the Redemption – West Bend Iowa
Considered to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” this religious shrine is truly a sight to behold. In 1897, Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein, a German immigrant, fell critically ill with pneumonia. Throughout his illness, he prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary for health, promising to craft a shrine in her honor if he survived. Following his recovery, Father Dobberstein spent the next decade collecting precious stones until 1912 when he began construction. Since 1936, the Grotto has attracted people from across the globe to take in its splendor and marvel at this man-made wonder.