Visitors flock to California and Florida for the sunshine, beaches, and mega-attractions, and a good bulk of these states revenue is derived from their booming tourist trade. With carloads full of out-of-staters crossing their borders every day, endless streams of dollars are continually pumped into their economies.
Unlike these two states, there are others which are largely ignored and have to rely on their residents to keep them afloat. But just because these states aren’t as popular doesn’t mean they should not be visited. In fact, the opposite is true. Every state in America has their own attractions and points of interest, but so many people are interested in feeding seagulls from a towel spread on the sand they all too often hold little interest for vacationers.
Instead of having a look at where the majority of people spend their week or two off from work, lets instead see what they are missing in these least visited US destinations.
1 Alaska – 2.07 Million Annual Visitors
It only makes sense that Alaska tops the list of least visited states because of its non-continental US location. It’s further away and more costly and difficult to get to. Driving to Alaska is possible via the Alcan Highway but to do so would more than likely eat up someone’s vacation days just getting there. Half of Alaska’s annual visitors arrive by cruise ships and any stops they might make are only for several hours at a time.
Alaska is an untapped wilderness where adventurers can enjoy the great outdoors without running into another single soul. Fishing, hunting, and exploring top the list of activities but unless a person is an avid outdoorsy type, or if they are vacationing with small children, these adventures are of little to no interest. Just the opposite is true for childless travelers looking for rugged adventures. For them, Alaska is a virtual paradise.
However, Juneau is rated very high for its culinary delights with a huge array of world-class chefs serving up delectables beyond comparison. The zoo in Anchorage is the best in the nation with polar bears and other arctic wildlife. If seeing the northern lights in all their splendor is on anyone’s bucket list, Alaska gives spectators a front row seat for the greatest show on earth.
Train rides through wilderness areas allow visitors to experience the state’s beautiful vastness in comfort and safety.
2 Delaware – 7.03 Million Annual Visitors
Delaware is small and out-of-the-way for most vacationers so it routinely gets passed by. But it shouldn’t. For a peaceful vacation without roving bands of lost and confused tourists, Delaware should be examined a bit closer.
Tax-free shopping is perhaps one of Delaware’s best draws for out-of-state people paying a visit. Especially on larger purchases, the savings are substantial enough to attract outsiders on shopping sprees.
Looking for a nice beach? Forget about Florida, California, Alabama, and Texas. Delaware’s beaches are the cleanest in the country and some of the most pristine. Dewey Beach is where the parties take place while Rehobeth Beach is more reserved for families and those desiring a quieter atmosphere without disturbances. The Delaware Seaside National Park offers scenery beyond description.
Old Newcastle with its cobblestone streets is quaint and reminiscent of years past, while miles of revolutionary battlefields are free for the roaming.
3 Wyoming – 8.5 Million Annual Visitors
Much of Wyoming is flat and desolate with the exception of the Teton Mountains located near Jackson Hole. Of course, Yellowstone National Park is a big draw which brings in three-million of the state’s annual visitors.
Extreme skiing and snowboarding are popular in the mountainous areas around Jackson Hole and some of the wealthy who have tired of Aspen rent luxurious cabins, of which there are many, during their stays. For the average vacationer, these cabins are out of their financial reach.
Just because someone can’t afford a luxury cabin in the woods should not keep them away from Jackson Hole. There are more affordable accommodations in town, and even without skiing or snowboarding, it’s a cool and fun place to hang out.
From the Mangy Moose to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar to the dude ranches to just taking a drive through the scenic aspen tree filled wilderness, it’s difficult to not have an enjoyable stay.
Cheyenne has an annual Cowboy Days Festival which has been compared to Mardi Gras, and Laramie plays host to a gigantic jubilee just one weekend before Cheyenne does their thing.
4 Montana – 11.7 Million Annual Visitors
Even with two huge and gorgeous state parks, Glacier and a part of Yellowstone, Montana remains one of the least visited states in the country. Without amusement parks, beaches, wax museums, or other types of popular draws, tourism is lacking.
The bulk of its visitors, just as with Wyoming, come to see the famous geysers at Yellowstone which the two states share. Other visitors to the state are generally interested in the wilderness areas where the great outdoors surrounds them in nature.
The city of Whitefish, however, is a trendy community located outside of Glacier National Park where skiers and artist types hang out. It isn’t nearly as cheesy as some of the major ski destinations in Colorado or Utah and it isn’t even close to being as crowded. The Blackfoot River in Missoula is where the Robert Redford movie A River Runs Through It was filmed, and just as in the film, fly-fishing is second-to-none.
The first weekend in August, in Clinton, Montana, is where the annual Testicle Festival is held. Yes, you read that correctly. The celebration lasts for four-days, and as one might imagine, rocky mountain oysters headline them menus. In addition, there is a wet T-shirt contest, a co-ed underwear race using tricycles, and a big-ball competition that we’ll leave right there.
Instead of the typically crowded vacation spots with long-lines every you go and having to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with perfect strangers, try the road less traveled.