Looking for places that are off the beaten path? Explore the world through your own senses and leave the tourist traps behind.
While traveling to big cities is typically what people do when visiting a new part of the world, nothing can prepare you for what is found once you turn that corner off the main road. I haven’t done too much adventure seeking outside of the US, but this country has loads of places that are just waiting to be seen. I have compiled another 3 places that, at first glance perhaps, might not seem like much; but after talking to its people and seeing some amazing countryside, you’ll be glad that you went.
Burlington, Iowa. I went there for a wedding for three days, and prior to my arrival I thought it was going to feel like a full year. If you have never seen rolling hills and green pastures, then this place is eye popping. This was my first adventure into the state of Iowa and with the exception of a lot of corn and the makeshift baseball field in the movie Field of Dreams, I didn’t know too much else about it. Burlington is in the middle of the state so to get there you have to drive. Passing towns that populate less then 100 people was a shock, but the people there were friendly and ready to share their stories. The rolling hills were a great change from the typical flat lands of Florida. Snake Alley is located there, the crookest alley in the world. The Catfish Bend Casino, which is a replica of a steamboat, is right on the Mississippi River. A lot of money was left at the tables there!
Montpelier, Vermont. New England always has, and always will, have an extra special place in my heart. I grew up in Boston, MA and my vacations growing up would, more times then not, center on these six states. Vermont has always been among my favorite places to go – and at any time of the year. Setting the tone for how all state capitals should be, Montpelier is small enough where you can get to pretty much anywhere by walking and has mom and pop stores selling anything from wrenches to watches – and some really great bookstores. The surrounding hills make this a picture perfect place to vacation. If you want to possibly take up some cooking lessons, the New England Culinary Institute is located here as is the Green Mountain Film Festival. Montpelier, at heart, is still a small town where you might even see the governor buying some duct tape at the local hardware store.
Gold Beach, Oregon. From the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest, where the Rogue River becomes one with the Pacific Ocean, Gold Beach offers some great adventures and beautiful panoramas all year round. With its mild climate, there is much to do for any fan of the outdoors in this little town. The census puts this slice of paradise at under 2,000 inhabitants and they all are happy to welcome you into their corner of Oregon. From the minute you come to know Gold Beach, you are hypnotized by all its charm and beauty. Bed & Breakfasts is my recommendation as lodging, but they do have hotels. Fishing, golf, hiking, tidepooling its all done here; and its done here right! They have lots to do in the area of entertainment; every year they host a wine, art and music festival with regional wineries and local talent.
It’s a huge country with so many different tastes, smells and sights to take in. Of course big cities will have more stuff to do, but along with the price tag comes the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds. If you’re looking for a quieter and more peaceful vacation, explore some of these or any number of thousands of small towns and you’ll go home feeling like a vacation should make you feel.
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