If traveling is an essential part of your life or if it’s basically your full-time job, then you’ve probably seen many more places than regular vacationers. However, after a while, it can get a bit boring to travel to super touristy spots, or they just might not satisfy your explorer soul anymore.
And we get it, no worries.
That’s why we’ve decided to ask fellow full-time travelers like you to share their favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations in the US so that you can add some of them to your bucket list and cross them out as soon as possible.
So, let’s see how many of them you’ve never heard of or maybe already visited.
Copper Harbor, Michigan
Traveling full-time in an RV allowed us to see some of the most popular locations but also find hidden gems. One of our favorite hidden gems is the quant town of Copper Harbor, Michigan. Despite its incredible natural beauty and adventure opportunities, many travelers have yet to experience it because of its tucked-away location in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Copper Harbor has just over 100 residents and sits on the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Many consider it the gateway to Isle Royale National Park. You can even hop on a ferry and take a trip to the least visited national park in the contiguous United States. However, easy access to the national park isn’t all that this remote town offers.
Copper Harbor also has a reputation for its spectacular 40+ mile trail system. Whether you’re into mountain biking or hiking, you’ll love these trails. We spent an entire afternoon exploring the trails via UTV and highly recommend this experience! Many of the trails in the area contain
both manufactured and natural features and offer stunning views of Lake Superior. While these trails are popular, adventurers can experience extended periods of solitude while exploring them.
Copper Harbor, Michigan, is a destination you should add to your travel itinerary if you're tired of battling crowds and lines. Pack a lunch and enjoy the view from Brockway Mountain Drive, the highest point above sea level between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. Due to the extreme winters, the area is pretty quiet during the winter months. However, you’ll have trouble finding a better place to visit during the summer and fall!
Thermopolis, Wyoming, is a small town on the fringe of the more visited parts of Wyoming (near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks) that is definitely a hidden gem that every full-time traveler should visit. At the northern end of the Wind River Canyon, which is arguably among the most spectacular 15-mile stretch of highway in the US, and just an hour south of Cody at the outskirts of Yellowstone National park, Thermopolis is in a great location for most travelers.
Named after the hot mineral springs that feed a variety of public and private spas in town, Thermopolis is usually a pass-through town of under 3,000 residents that deserves a few days stopover. There are 3 campgrounds in town, including one with its own hot spring, and there are several campgrounds in the nearby State parks In addition to visiting the hot springs, whose headwaters is the largest by volume in the entire world, there are loads of activities to do.
There is great fishing in the Wind River/Bighorn River. And you can whitewater raft through the Wind River Canyon or float in tubes down the Bighorn River to Hot Springs State Park. The park itself always has festivals and activities taking place. And you can walk the colorful terraces formed by the mineral water over the years or across the swing bridge that spans the river.
With a world-class dinosaur museum, a spectacular local museum that includes the bar where Butch Cassidy used to drink, and tons of great family-run restaurants, the one-stoplight town is worth more than a quick drive-through.
Lindsay Harvey from Called to Wander
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, New Mexico
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is a nonprofit wolf and wild canid rescue in New Mexico. The sanctuary is beautiful, located in the high desert, and has recently re-done its entire public tour path. In 2022, they were able to rescue 16 new wolves and wolfdogs! On the tour path, visitors can see wolves, wolfdogs, red foxes, Australian dingoes, and the incredibly rare, once believed to be extinct in the wilderness, New Guinea singing dog. VIP visitors can see arctic wolves and coyotes, as well.
Katie Forbis from Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Galena is one of my favorite hidden gems. Not only is Galena a quaint town that looks like you stepped into a Hallmark movie, but when you think about the historical aspect of Galena, it's a must-see.
You can walk through President Grant's house and visit Turner Hall, where President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech. You can also visit the DeSoto House, which not only became President Grant's campaign headquarters but was also the location of a speech given by President Lincoln.
What makes Galena a gem is that once you experience the town and historical aspects of Galena, there are plenty of activities available nearby. In the winter you have skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating. In the summer, you have bike riding, hiking, and kayaking. You can even go wine tasting or visit a spa, so it's fun for the whole family.
The river right behind the main street adds to the beauty of the town, and if you're lucky enough to be there when it snows, the picturesque rolling hills will make you feel like you're in a postcard.
Erika Bud from Big World Publishing
Grand Staircase-Escalante Area, Utah
One of my favorite hidden gems in the US would have to be the Grand Staircase-Escalante area in Utah. This area has more than 1.7 million acres of wild scenery to explore, and it also has some of the best slot canyon hikes in the country. The Grand Staircase area is located well off the usual tourist path, so it's never crowded at all. You might even have the trails all to yourself!
David Leiter from The World Travel Guy
Kitsap and Quimper Peninsulas, Washington
One of the fondest memories of our road trip through Washington state this past year as full-time, nomadic travelers was discovering the Kitsap and Quimper Peninsulas, located inside the greater Olympic Peninsula. We ended up boondocking for a couple of weeks in our van in two unassuming towns: Poulsbo — a whimsical Viking town with Norwegian heritage—and Port Townsend — one of the last remaining Victorian seaports in the United States.
Both towns are teeming with delectable restaurants and swanky breweries, where my partner and I enjoy spending our time after logging off from our online jobs. On top of the quaint downtown strips and foodie finds, outdoor activities abound—from kayaking on the Puget Sound to hiking the čičməhán Trail, which educates and honors the S'Kallam people, and more.
So if you're thinking of heading out on a big road trip around the famous Olympic Peninsula, don't overlook veering off-road and traveling a bit more slowly to discover more hidden gems in the US like Port Townsend and Poulsbo, Washington.
Brittany Sneller from Bucketlist Bri
Northwest Coast of Michigan
Last August, while my hometown felt like hell’s front porch, we took an RV road trip along the northwest coast of Michigan. We were greeted with the mid-70s, light breezes, and low humidity in Empire, Michigan. We explored the national lakeshore, comfortably hiking sand dunes even in mid-day. We hit the picturesque towns of Glen Arbor and Leland, stunned at the beautiful beaches and bombarded with cherry everything — yes, please!
We traveled on to Traverse City, enjoying bike trails, wineries, and breweries. From there, we went through the cute town of Charlevoix for a stay in Petoskey, Michigan. We searched for Petoskey stones along the lakeshore with views as pretty as the ocean. We discovered more extensive bike and hiking trails with amazing views that left us speechless. From Petoskey, we took scenic drives to the idyllic Harbor Springs, including the Tunnel of Trees along Lake Michigan to Cross Village. We enjoyed comfortable dinners outside, gazing at beautiful gardens overlooking the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan.
Lisa Grout from FI Venturers
Medora, North Dakota
Medora is no ordinary small town. It's a tribute to North Dakota's history, surrounded by the sprawling plains and Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I definitely recommend renting a bike to traverse part of the iconic Maah Daah Hey trail through the area's grasslands and buttes.
Walking through Medora's snug downtown feels like stepping back into the Old West. The town warmly embraces visitors with the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and other historic attractions. But it is not a historical reenactment when you spot residents hitching their horses to the posts outside of the Little Missouri Saloon—that's just how residents live in Medora.
The Rough Riders Hotel in town is such a cozy place to stay in the winter. I love the huge fireplace and library in the lobby.
A car or RV is usually helpful to reach small towns, but you can actually take a bus to Dickinson, the town next-door to Medora.
Bryn Culbert from Wanderu
Rim of the Valley Trail, California
The Rim of the Valley Trail is a proposed scenic trail that follows along the western edge of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, CA. This trail would provide travelers with an opportunity to explore some of the wildest and most remote parts of Southern California. From hot springs to forests and abandoned military bunkers, Rim of the Valley Trail is sure to captivate any full-time traveler seeking adventure.
Fred Hoffman from The True Wilderness
Door County, Wisconsin
When it comes to hidden jewels, Door County, Wisconsin, is still up there with the finest of them, not only in the Midwest but in the whole United States.
This 64-mile peninsula sometimes referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest features breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan and is one of the state's most popular tourist destinations. In addition to being an excellent apple-growing and cherry-picking region, it also hosts a festival of the same name every year in July.
In each season, you may find a variety of activities to enjoy. Enjoy a variety of winter sports and activities like cross-country skiing, ice fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and more throughout autumn and winter. Plus, the summer months are perfect for outdoor activities like swimming, boating, golfing, and fishing.
Mathew Bowley from Solmar Villas
Tombstone, Arizona, is a fantastic place to visit for anyone looking for a unique and historical experience. The RV campgrounds in the area are excellent, providing a comfortable and convenient option for travelers within walking distance of the town itself. And for full-time travelers, Tombstone's climate makes it a great destination even during the winter months.
Gunnar Bengtsson from Tombstone Travel Tips
Have you been to any of these hidden US gems? Or maybe you’d want to share your own discoveries with us? Let us know!
And in case you’re wondering who we are and why we’re so stoked to help travelers find unique, less-known destinations, even if they’re in the most remote parts of our country, here are a few tidbits about us.
We believe that just because a person chooses to live in a rural area doesn’t mean they should have overpriced or slow Internet. At Nomad, we contract with the three major carrier networks to provide a network connection to those that live in rural communities and/or those that travel regularly.By combining the latest 5G technology with the Provider’s service, Nomad provides the advantages of a major Internet provider without the contract. Our mission is to connect the unconnected. Don’t hesitate to check us out. We’d be more than happy to help you accomplish your next adventure without any internet interruptions.