From the rolling farmlands of Ohio and backcountry of Wyoming to the unspoiled state parks of Vermont and salt-free beaches of Lake Superior, the landscape of America is magnificently varied. Each region in the 50 states has spots that are lesser-known and less crowded – perfect for a summer road trip getaway. If you’re wondering where these places are, here are 7 underrated road trip destinations in America to consider:
1. Chillicothe and Ross County, Ohio
Chillicothe and Ross County in Southern Ohio at the foothills of the Appalachians is a region with rolling hills, five State Parks, one National Park, and plenty of space for your outdoor activities. Chillicothe is 49 miles from the state capital, Columbus, and 100 miles from Cincinnati.
It’s a family-friendly destination, offering 25 miles of bike paths, 200 miles of hiking trails, and opportunities for fishing, hunting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
2. Ricker Pond State Park and Granville Gulf Reservation State Park, VT
Ricker Pond State Park, located on the western shores of Ricker Pond is part of Groton State Forest in Vermont. This underrated road trip destination is about a one and a half-hour drive from Moss Glen Falls in Granville Gulf Reservation State Park. Stay in Ricker Pond State Park and enjoy the campgrounds with 26 tent and RV sites, and a few cabins and cottages. The park has over 17 miles of hiking trails, 20 miles of gravel roads and trails for mountain biking and horseback riding.
Boat owners can bring their boats to the park. Besides a boat launch, guests can rent canoes, kayaks, and rowboats too.
The drive on Route 100 in Granville Gulf Reservation State Park in Vermont is one of the most rugged and scenic drives in Vermont. Most people get here to see Moss Glen Falls, which is accessible by foot from the parking area.
The 1,171 acre Granville Gulf Reservation State Park is excellent for hunting and wildlife viewing.
3. Harrison and Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Visit Harrison, a western Frontier town in North Idaho ideally located at the mouth of Coeur d’Alene River and Lake Coeur d’Alene. Go on a self-guided walking tour of the historic commercial district and waterfront, then enjoy a drive on the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway. Start the scenic drive at the junction of Interstate 90 and Idaho 97 along the eastern shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene to Idaho 3. It’s a drive of 35.8 miles, around 1.5 hours, offering picturesque views of the lake and opportunities to stop by several learning stations to learn about the flora and fauna of the region.
The drive directly from Harrison to Coeur d’Alene is around 55 minutes if you choose not to take the scenic route.
For a luxurious and golf vacation, stay at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The resort’s golf course was voted “America’s Most Beautiful Resort Golf Course” and is home to the world’s only floating green. Non-golf playing guests also have many fun outdoor activities like boating, jet-skiing, whitewater rafting, and lake cruises.
4. Blue Mountain Lake, NY
Blue Mountain Lake is known for its water sports and hiking trails. There are kid-friendly and dog-friendly hiking trails, from easy to steep inclines. Choose the ones that suit your family and your physical ability. The most popular and rather easy hike is from the lake to Castle Rock Mountain, where you can get magnificent views of the lake and islands.
There are six campsites in Blue Mountain Lake and a public beach boat ramp on Route 28. You don’t need a permit for a stay of three nights or less. Bring your boat, canoes, and kayaks. The adventurous should take a plunge off Rock Island, the most famous swimming hole in the Blue Mountain Lake area.
5. Bayfield and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, WI
Nestled in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior is Bayfield, Wisconsin’s smallest city and gateway to Apostle Islands. This scenic seaside town is 464 miles from Chicago and 85 miles from Duluth.
Bring your boat or take the NPS excursion boat from Bayfield for a sightseeing cruise of Apostle Islands archipelago.
If you’re bringing your boat, please check the details on the NPS website.
Wilderness camping is available in Point Detour Campground, and RV sites are available in Buffalo Bay Campground.
6. Great North Woods, NH
Moose, black bear, and deer sightings are possible when you drive in the Great North Woods located between Gotham and Berlin on Route 16. Continue to Errol, around 30 miles through the picturesque 13 Mile Woods Community Forest. Stop along the way to enjoy the beautiful shoreline of Androscoggin River.
Follow the itinerary given by New Hampshire visitor’s bureau, where you can continue the journey from Errol on Route 26 to Colebrook, Route 3 to Groveton, Route 110 to Stark to the famous covered bridge and back to Berlin.
The Great North Woods is remote, is one of the most underrated road trip destinations, and an ideal place for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, fishing, wildlife watching, and camping.
7. Culver and Marshall County, Indiana
Go on a Barn Quilt Trail in Marshall County. Start your tour from Culver, home of the Original Root Beer Stand.
Download the map provided by Visit Marshall County. There are four loops – Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest. It will take around one to two hours to drive through the four circuits.
According to the Marshall County Tourism:
Barn Quilts help tell stories and celebrate history Heirloom quilt patterns are painted on sheets of plywood ranging in size from 4-foot-by-4-foot to 8-foot-by-8-foot. No two Barn Quilt blocks are the same, just as traditional quilts vary in size, color, and style. Many of the quilt patterns tell stories about family, history, and culture.
Before you hit the road this summer, read: How to Plan the Perfect Summer Road Trip.