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These 15 U.S. Landmarks Are Worth the Detour on Your Road Trip

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By Alessia Barranca


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The United States is lucky to have hundreds of impressive landmarks, from The Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge. While popular tourist destinations deserve their acclaim, many more are underrated. We take a look at 15 of the best U.S. landmarks you may not have considered visiting:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

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Carlsbad Cavern is a massive limestone cave the size of six football fields situated in the Chihuahuan Desert. The impressive cave formations are otherworldly, and a guided tour of Walnut Canyon Desert is not to be missed. The park is nature at its best and offers an excellent opportunity for budding photographers. 

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

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This dramatic landscape of Crater Lake National Park features a deep, blue caldera lake created when a volcano collapsed thousands of years ago. The area has stunning scenery and opportunities for hiking, camping, and boating on the lake. A popular stop is Wizard Island, a cinder cone that rises from the center of the crater lake, unlike anything you will have seen before. 

The Everglades National Park, Florida

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The Everglades National Park is a landmark you will have heard of, but fewer people visit than you would think. The park feels like heaven for wildlife lovers, where you can spot alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and hundreds of bird species. If you want a more extended stay, there are also hiking, canoeing, and camping opportunities. 

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

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Cruising through the emerald waters of Kenai Fjords National Park is an actual bucket list experience, with glaciers calving into the sea and the chance to see otters and whales in their natural habitat. You can kayak to explore nature more closely or take a guided boat tour to sit back and take it all in. 

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

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At Mammoth Cave National Park, you can witness the most extended cave system in the world. Five hundred thousand visitors per year can explore a network of underground passages, spotting crystals and impressive rock formations.  

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

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A trip to Mesa Verde (translated to Green Park in Spanish) National Park is a step back into the time of the ancestral Puebloan people. The site is an extensive collection of structures built into the sides of cliffs, canyons, and mesas. 

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona

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Known for its sandstone mesas, buttes, and pinnacles, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is an iconic landmark that attracts more tourists’ attention. Hiking and biking are popular, or you can take a jeep tour led by Navajo guides who can explain the cultural significance of this spot.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

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Natural Bridges National Monument features three massive natural sandstone bridges formed by millions of years of erosion. Visitors hike beneath these geologic formations and explore the surrounding canyons and mesas. You may also be lucky enough to spot desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife that inhabit the area. 

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

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While the name doesn’t sound appealing, the beauty of the colorful fossils at Petrified Forest National Park is worth the effort to visit. The park has a variety of petrified wood ranging in color from purple and red to blue and black that you can explore on a hike.   

Puget Sound National Historical Park, Washington

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Puget Sound National Historical Park consists of several sites, including historic military forts and the childhood home of explorer Chief Seattle. You can learn about the history of the Coast Salish people and kayak around the park to explore the area’s wildlife. 

Redwood National and State Parks, California

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Join the thousands of people who visit Redwood National and State Parks, home to some of the tallest trees on Earth. Walk beneath the towering redwoods and marvel at nature’s power. 

 Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

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Oak Alley was originally a sugar plantation dating back to the 18th century and has now been designated a National Historic Landmark. The site recognizes the historical and cultural importance of the plantation with guided tours exploring the history of the restored mansion and learning about the lives of the enslaved people who worked on the plantation.  

Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre, Utah

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Often overshadowed by its larger neighbor, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon Amphitheater offers just as much a spectacle. Unlike the Grand Canyon, carved by a river, Bryce Canyon boasts a unique amphitheater shaped by the erosion of headwater basins.

Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts 

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The Pioneer Valley is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Massachusetts. The Connecticut River winds its way through the valley, and the surrounding hills are covered in forests, farms, and small towns that offer a slice of history.

Pennsylvania Wilds

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The Pennsylvania Wilds is a multi-county region in north-central Pennsylvania, comprised of undeveloped forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers. It’s not an official park or designation but a coalition of counties and organizations working together to promote regional tourism and conservation.