Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Nicole
Spring time in the United States is a wonderful time of year. In most places, the snow has melted, leaves have begun to grow or turn green again, and spring flowers start to bloom. Everything feels new and fresh. As the sun begins to warm, you can’t help but want to hop on a plane or in your car and set off to explore. You are feeling a little adventurous and do not want to head where you will find the predictable crowds or overindulged tourist attractions. So where should you go in America to discover the undiscovered or find underrated destinations? Here are 24 of the best and most beautiful hidden gems to visit in spring in the USA.
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Many of these hidden gems are national parks, waterfalls, and hot springs. For other destinations with spectacular natural beauty, please see:
- Best Times To Visit The 25 Best National Parks In The USA;
- 10 Best Natural Hot Springs in Northern and Southern California; and
- 15 Best Waterfalls To Visit In The USA.
If you are keen to travel in spring, here are other options by month:
- 26 Best Places To Visit In The USA In March;
- 20 Best Places To Visit In The USA In April;
- 25 Best Places To Visit In The USA In May; and
- 21 Best Places To Visit In The USA In June
For anyone who loves a beautiful sunset, check out 24 Best Places In USA For Most Beautiful Sunsets.
Best Hidden Gems To Visit In The United States In Spring
Here are 24 of the best hidden gems to visit in the United States in spring. These less visited destinations include cities, towns, national parks, state parks, and other undiscovered locations.
In the following article, I have collaborated with some amazing travel bloggers to highlight the best places to visit in spring in the USA. They are located all over the USA. For each destination, I discuss the best things to do in spring, the weather, and how best to reach it. In addition, I explain why they are a hidden gem that you should put on your bucketlist.
Sanibel Island, Florida
By Victoria from Florida Trippers
Easily one of the best islands in Florida, Sanibel island is without a doubt one of the best hidden gems to visit in the USA in spring.
It’s a trip you’ll be eager to make since Sanibel Island sits on the Gulf Coast of Fort Myers and is known for its stunning sunsets.
It’s also a renowned spot for shelling since you can easily find shells from whelks, conchs, scallops, clams, and sand dollars. If this is interests you, be sure to stop by Turner Beach during your visit.
Next, get back to nature and admire the incredible bird life at J.N. Ding Darling’s National Wildlife Refuge. Try to stop by during low tide since the birds come to feed at the exposed mud flats during this time.
Then, visit the Bailey Matthew’s National Shell Museum to learn all about the beauty of the area’s local shells. You will also find out about the incredible animals that live inside them. This is also a great spot for families since they offer many interactive exhibits that include scavenger hunts, mollusk movies, and more.
Mild temperatures and beautiful weather make March and April two of the best months to visit the island. However, if you are looking for more reasonable prices and fewer crowds, try visiting in May since peak season ends in April.
This underrated natural oasis of beauty is brimming over with incredible, untouched landscapes that are often overlooked in favor of more popular places nearby.
You’ll love that between March and May, the island really only experiences three to five days of rain each month. Temperatures are also quite comfortable since daily highs are between 80F and 90F throughout the season while daily lows are between 59F and 68F.
To get here, just fly into Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers and drive for twenty miles along I-75.
Twin Falls, Idaho
By Emilie from Love Life Abroad
Idaho is not called the Gem State for no reason. Yes, many rare minerals have been found across the State, but there are also many beautiful underrated and overlooked locations all across Idaho.
The region around Twin Falls is no exception. With its’ many spectacular waterfalls, it’s worth stopping and exploring. And springtime is when the water flow is at its strongest!
Twin Falls is located in Southern Idaho. It is an excellent home base to explore the beauty of Southern Idaho.
First, you’ll want to spend at least a day, if not two, visiting the Thousand Springs State Park. This State Park is separated into different (and completely unique) units, each a few miles apart.
Then, you’ll want to chase a few waterfalls. The most famous waterfall is Shoshone Falls and it’s only a few minutes outside downtown Twin Falls. Shoshone Falls is nicknamed the Niagara of the West. You can admire the falls from the Shoshone Falls Park. Alternatively, if you feel more adventurous, you can hop on a paddleboard or kayak and paddle your way to the base of the waterfalls.
Perrine Coulee Fall is also a must-see when in Twin Falls. It’s on the way down to Centennial Park. There is a small parking lot where you can see the waterfall. However, make sure to walk on the trail behind the waterfalls for a more impressive view.
Finally, you’ll want to explore one or two lava tube caves. Idaho sits on a bed of lava from ancient volcanic eruptions. Now, you can walk underground in caves that were formed by the lava flow.
Idaho’s Mammoth Cave and Shoshone Ice Cave are both great options. If time allows, try to visit both as they are different.
Note that it’s still chilly in the spring in Twin Falls. You may get warmer days, but plan accordingly with warm outdoor gear. Average highs range from 53 degrees Fahrenheit in March to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in May. Expect between 4-5 days of rain each month.
Around 130 miles east of Boise, you’ll find a regional airport. Otherwise, Twin Falls is 220 miles north of Salt Lake City where you’ll find an international airport.
By Olivia from the Girl With Blue Sails
The quaint town of Solvang is one of the best hidden gems to visit in Southern California. Perfect during spring weather, this city brings a little slice of Denmark to locals and tourists alike. The windmills, Danish architecture, and cute streets lined with bakeries and shops will make visitors feel like they’ve stepped into another country.
Considering it is surrounded by Santa Barbara wine country and Santa Ynez valley, it is no surprise that wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Solvang. Tasting rooms are located all throughout the center of town, making it easy to taste a variety of local wines. Many popular vineyards are also a short drive away if you prefer to visit them.
Another thing to keep on your list when planning your visit to Solvang is trying the local bakeries. Be sure to visit more than one! One of the most popular bakeries is Mortensen’s, and their rows of fresh Danish pastries are incredible.
For those hopeless romantics, take a horse-drawn carriage through the streets. Visitors can book the carriage ahead of time online or can catch it right in the center of town.
The average temperature in Solvang during the spring months is lovely enough for daytime strolls through the quaint streets. The expected average high for March is 71 degrees Fahrenheit, April is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and May is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The expected number of days with rain is slim during the spring months: 5 days in March, 2 days in April, and 0 days in May.
To reach Solvang, the closest domestic airport is Santa Barbara (SBA), which is 21 miles away. The closest international airports are Burbank (BUR), which is 103 miles away, and Los Angeles (LAX), which is 109 miles away.
If driving through California, Solvang makes for a perfect road trip stop during a West Coast itinerary. At least one night is recommended here to experience its Danish charm.
Asheville, North Carolina
By Brodi from Our Offbeat Life
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is a charming undiscovered American city that comes alive in the springtime. With its temperate climate and abundant things to do, Asheville is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some quality time outdoors. Here are just a few of the many reasons why Asheville should be at the top of your list for a springtime getaway.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice who’s just looking to get out and enjoy some fresh air, you’ll find plenty of trails to suit your fitness in Asheville. There are several excellent trails of various difficulties in the Pisgah forest.
In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Asheville is also known for its vibrant live music scene. From world-renowned performing arts centers like The Orange Peel and The Biltmore Estate to smaller venues like The Grey Eagle and Isis Music Hall, there’s something for everyone in this city. And what better way to spend a spring evening than listening to live music under the stars?
Asheville is the perfect destination for a springtime getaway. You’ll never find yourself bored during your stay in this charming underrated city!
One of the best things about springtime in Asheville is the weather. March, April, and May are typically mild, with average highs ranging from 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rainfall is relatively low during these months. You can rest assured that you’ll be able to take advantage of all the outdoor activities that this city has to offer.
Asheville does not have its own international airport. You can fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport located about 120 miles to the southeast. Alternatively, several airlines offer direct flights into Asheville Regional Airport from major US cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, and NYC.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
By Cosette from KarsTravels
Petrified Forest National Park is located in Northeast Arizona, close to the border with New Mexico. The Park is renowned for its petrified logs and Painted Desert vistas.
Petrified Forest National Park is not a well known national park. It is one of the less visited ones and is considered an undiscovered hidden gem. When you mention it, most people have not even heard of it.
However, the petrified logs and the Painted Desert are mesmerizing. Most people think of the Grand Canyon when they think of Arizona, but this park should also be on your list.
What makes this park so fascinating is that the petrified logs are scattered throughout. Petrified logs are trees that have been fossilized 211 to 218 million years ago. In addition, the area has been inhabited for over 13,000 years and you can see many pueblos (settlements) that have been built in this region over the years. In fact, there are over 600 archeological sites in the Park.
Drive the 28 miles Park road with viewpoints. This way you can get a good view of the Painted Desert, petrified wood and rock art.
You get to see even more of the National Park, if you do one or more of the six walking trails. To see a hundred room pueblo, hike the Puerco Pueblo trail. The Giant Logs trail has Old Faithful, a petrified log measuring almost 10 feet wide.
Don’t miss the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark or Rainbow Forest Museum. The Painted Desert Inn used to be a rest stop for travelers on Route 66. At the Museum, you’ll learn more about the fascinating geology and history of the area.
Spring is perfect time of year to visit, since temperatures are warm, but not yet as hot as summer. The Park is less crowded and the violent thunder-storms in the summer haven’t yet arrived. Spring is also the start of the wildflower season.
In March, the average high is 59°F and low is 31°F, with about 3.7 days of rain. April has about 2.5 rainy days, and an average of 66°F high and low of 36°F. May has a an average high temperature of 74°F high and a low of 43°F, with about 1.5 days of rain.
The closest international airport is the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s 207 miles, about 3.5 hours drive.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
By Linda from Midwest Explored
Easily one of the best hidden gems to visit in the United States in spring, Mackinac island is a charming little island in Lake Huron that sits right in between the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan.
Because no cars are allowed on the island, there’s a quaint charm to this unique place that is embodied in historic Victorian houses and horse-drawn carriages that roll through the streets.
There are some amazing things to do on Mackinac Island. In particular, the famous Arch Rock is an absolute must-see. This is a stunning, arched limestone rock formation that can be found at the end of a 2.3 mile loop hike through Mackinac Island State Park.
Afterwards, check out an array of historic buildings that make up the remnants of Fort Mackinac, first built in 1780. Then, admire local arts, maps, photos, and Native American art at The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum.
Spring is the perfect time to visit since tons of lilac trees bloom into life on the island and don’t disappear until the end of June. Plus, this is shoulder season so the island will be less crowded than during the height summer.
Be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes since the weather here is quite cold in the spring. In fact, daily temperatures may only reach about 60F in late spring while daily lows can dip down to 20F in early spring.
There is rain between five and seven days throughout March, April, and May.
If you want to visit, fly into either Pellston Regional Airport or Chippewa County International Airport. You can then catch a free shuttle to the ferry dock. Boats reach the island in twenty minutes.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico
By Sabrina from Shades Of Summer
Located in New Mexico’s Tularosa basin is one of the most stunning and underrated natural wonders of the world – the White Sands National Park.
The glistering white desert is made out of gypsum sand, that has been there for roughly 12.000 years. Not only is the National Park an absolutely enchanting spot to visit, but also of historical relevance. The oldest human footprints (roughly 23.000 years old) have been found at White Sands National Park.
There are multiple fun things to do within White Sands National Park. The Park Rangers offer free guided walking tours through the white desert, teaching you everything that you need to know about the flora, fauna, and history of the park.
Starting in April, full-moon walking tours are also offered which makes the tour even more interesting and special.
Animal lovers will even be able to explore the white desert on horseback and add a unique riding experience to their repertoire.
At the Visitors Center, you can purchase sleds. One of the most fun things to do is ride the sleds down the huge white sandy dunes. A fun activity for young and old.
Spring is the perfect time to visit this national park when temperatures are averaging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer months, it can get excruciatingly hot, and in winter, blisteringly cold, which makes spring the most comfortable season to visit. The spring months also only have an average of 2 rainy days per month.
The closest airport to White Sands National Park is in El Paso, Texas. The airport is roughly a two-hour drive from the National Park and can be reached via the US Route 70.
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
Silver Falls State Park, located in the teeny town of Sublimity, Oregon, is one of the best ways to ring in spring, thanks to its stunning amount of waterfalls and gorgeous primeval forests. While this park is beloved by Oregonians, it is an undiscovered piece of paradise for those outside of the state. It looks like something you’d find in Iceland, as opposed to just outside of Salem, Oregon.
Silver Falls is most famous for its Trail of Ten Falls, an 8.5-mile trail that will lead you through an impossibly lush rainforest and past ten jaw-dropping waterfalls. What’s even cooler is that, due to the geology of the area, the Basalat cliff sides are susceptible to erosion, and you can hike behind four of the waterfalls.
If you’re not up for an 8.5 mile hike, the most impressive waterfall in the Park is the South Falls, tumbling 177 feet down a rugged cliffside into a pool below. This is just a short walk from the parking lot and provides the experience of walking behind the falls.
For another incredible waterfall nearby, check out Abiqua Falls, which cascades over a cliffside of columnar basalt into a turquoise pool. This waterfall is actually on private property but the owners have graciously made it available to the public.
That being said, be careful while exploring. To access the falls, you’ll need to drive down an unmaintained road that’s only suitable for high clearance vehicles and down a steep and often extremely muddy trail. However, the view of Abiqua Falls will make the journey worth it!
During your visit, temperatures will be perfect for hiking, ranging from daily lows in the low 40s in March, all the way up to daily highs in the upper 60s in May.
You should definitely bring a rain jacket, though. It rains a whopping 15 days in March, decreasing throughout the spring to 10 days in May. This just means the waterfalls will be flowing at their absolute peak during this time.
To get to Silver Falls State Park, fly into Portland International Airport in the City of Roses, which is worth a stop on its own. From here, it’s a little over an hour south to the park and its many waterfalls.
By Denise from Chef Denise
You’ll find one of the best less visited spots in America about 3 hours north of San Francisco. Mendocino is found in a secluded location on the North Coast of California. Its’ isolation is one of the reasons that it is so beautiful, and one of the best kept secrets in the US.
In fact, many Californias can’t tell you where Mendocino is located even though it has been featured in film and TV series. Most notably, it was used as the set for the small town in “Murder She Wrote.”
Colorful Victorian buildings house shops, inns, and restaurants. As a coastal town, the seafood in Mendocino restaurants is fresh and plentiful. Try the local rock fish, urchins, and shell fish.
The Mendocino coastline is one of the most stunning you’ll ever see with dramatic cliffs and haystack boulders dotting the shoreline. In the spring, this scene becomes even more spectacular with the addition of wild flowers. Whether you’re hiking on one of the many trails, or pulling off at a road-side vista point, you’ll see orange poppies, calla lilies, daffodils, purple iris, and lupine, to name a few.
One of the best places to admire the spring flora is at the Mendocino Headlands Park that is adjacent to downtown Mendocino. Then, continue winding your way through the village where you’ll spot many more blooming gardens. For an over the top floral experience, make a reservation to tour the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.
Spring is also the tail end of whale watching season in Mendocino. Through April you can spot Grey Whales migrating from their calving lagoons in Mexico back to Alaska. Certain spots on the coast like the Cabrillo Light House jut out into the Pacific Ocean and you can even see the whales from shore. There are also boat tours that leave from Fort Bragg.
While your chances of seeing whales is better in March, your chance of getting rained on also increases. March averages 12 days of rain, April 8 days, and May 4 days. However, you’ll see much less variation in temperatures—57 highs and 42 lows in March to 61 highs to 45 lows in May.
To reach Mendocino, you have three good airport choices: Sacramento International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport. They all take about the same time, 3 hours, so take the best flight deal.
New Haven, Connecticut
By Amanda from My Vintage Map
New England gets a lot of attention in the fall for its colorful foliage, but it is equally beautiful in the spring. New Haven, Connecticut is one of the oldest cities in America and well worth a springtime visit. The bitter cold of winter has died away and the city comes back to life.
New Haven is home to Yale University, which is especially lovely to explore in the spring. The centuries-old campus is dotted with large trees that come into full bloom and create a natural floral walkway.
Be sure to meander through the New Haven Green, a National Historic Landmark comprising 16 acres of lush green spaces with more blooming trees.
It is also worth hiking to the top of East Rock for picturesque views of New Haven and Long Island Sound. You can hear the birds chirping in the freshly budding trees as you walk.
Lighthouse Point State Park is just outside of New Haven and is the perfect place to wander along the rocky Connecticut coastline on Long Island Sound. In the spring, the breeze along the water is not quite as chilly, so residents return to flocking to the coast to breathe in the fresh air.
New Haven is a hidden treasure because most Americans do not know much about it, other than that it’s home to Yale University. When people think of New England, Massachusetts or Maine most often come to mind. But Connecticut as a whole is full of beautiful places and worthy of exploring.
The average high temperature in New Haven in March, April, and May is 48°F, 60°F, and 71°F respectively, with an average of eight days of rain each month.
Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford is about an hours drive north of New Haven and is the most convenient airport to fly into. Other possible airports include Westchester County Airport (HPN), New York (LGA or JFK), or Newark (EWR), which are a bit farther away and involve more unpredictable traffic.
However, if you don’t plan to travel by car, you can also ride the train from New York City to New Haven, which takes about two hours and is hassle-free.
Crystal River, Florida
By Laura from Gallivanting Laura
Central Florida is home to theme parks and famous beaches, so visitors to the sunshine state often overlook the Florida Springs. Crystal River is a small city with spring-fed crystal-clear waters, and is one of the best hidden gems and underrated destinations in the USA.
Situated on what is known as the nature coast, there are several unique things to do in Crystal River. One highlight is getting up close and personal with one of Florida’s most famous residents, the West Indian Manatee. This area is one of the only places where you can legally swim and snorkel with the manatees.
There are over 70 springs that feed Crystal River. Three Sisters Springs is one of the must-visit springs in the area. Boardwalk trails, nature hikes and kayaking are among the top activities with options for any age group and level of mobility.
Kings Bay is a natural inlet, and guided tours out on the water offer a unique opportunity to experience the pristine clear waters and natural splendor they exhibit.
The city is also known for its fresh seafood catches, which visitors can enjoy at one of the many restaurants in town.
Spring in Florida is considered by many to be the best time to visit the state. The humidity levels and rainfall chances are low compared to the summer months.
On average, the daily high temperatures range between 73°F to 88°F in March, April and May, with 3 inches of rain per month. It is the perfect time to explore the outdoors.
How easy is it to get to Crystal River? It may seem off the beaten path, but there is a choice of two international airports nearby, Tampa and Orlando. Located on Florida’s west coast, driving takes approximately 90 minutes from each, making it an accessible place to visit.
By Tori from Tori Pines Travels
In North Georgia sits a small Bavarian style village filled with personality and charm. It’s the third most visited town in Georgia, after Atlanta and Savannah, but is only home to 500 people.
In 1968, during a rough time in Helen’s history, they decided to recreate the city into a Bavarian alpine village with the intentions of it becoming a unique tourist destination. Even Wendy’s looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale! While this town increases in tourism every year, it still remains a hidden gem to visit in the US.
Many people visit Helen for Christmas, or in the fall for Oktoberfest, but spring is the perfect time to visit Helen. You can experience all of the outdoor activities that the area has to offer with much more comfortable temperatures.
The best thing to do in Helen, GA is to go for a ride on the Georgia Mountain Coaster. Sitting on the mountain in the heart of the town, this coaster is a blast for everyone from young kids to the oldest adults. It goes up to 28 miles per hour and you control the breaks! It is unlike anything you’ll ride at an amusement park.
Next, you’ll want to go tubing down the river. The river even runs right through town so you can pass the adorable village and watch the people drinking beer at the taverns along the way.
But don’t just watch the beer drinkers! After your tubing, visit one of the many watering holes in town for a german or local beer. After all, you are in a Bavarian town, it’s only right to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Have dinner at Hofbrauhaus Restaurant to round out the experience and enjoy some bratwurst and schnitzel.
While the town is amazing, and so much fun to explore, the best hikes sit just outside town. Be sure to hike Mount Yonah, a 4.5 mile out-and-back trail that will give you some of the best views of the area. This hike is dog friendly, so bring your furry friends along for the adventure.
Cap off the trip with a visit to Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak. Visit at sunset for the ultimate experience. Dogs are welcome to take in the views of North Georgia as well.
Expect average highs from 63 degrees in March to 78 in May with an average of 8 days of rainfall per month.
You’ll want to fly into Atlanta International Airport, rent a car and drive an hour and a half north to get to Helen.
By Shannon from Adventuring With Shannon
One of the best less visited destinations to explore in the USA in spring is the city of Page, Arizona. Located on the Arizona/Utah border, this city is home to some of the United State’s most unique desert landscapes, like Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Spring is a great time to enjoy one of them and other fantastic things to do in Page.
Antelope Canyon is located just outside of Page and is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world. It is famous for the way the light beams through the canyon’s roof as well as the unique and colorful walls of the canyon.
Page is also home to Horseshoe Bend which has been nicknamed “Instagram’s Darling”. In recent years, there has been an influx of people taking pictures over the famous bend in the Colorado River.
What makes Page a hidden gem is that, despite its two famous sites, most people have never actually heard of the city. In addition, they are unaware of the incredible landscape features besides Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
One of those undiscovered marvels, White Pocket, is located in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument on the outskirts of Page. White Pocket is an incredible rock formation that looks like swirled ice cream. This feature is characterized by bright reds and oranges that are mixed in with the white rock face.
Another unexplored part of Page is one that you reach by the Skylight Arch hike. It takes you to the top side of a rock arch instead of seeing it from below.
Because it is located in the desert, spring is a great time to visit before it gets too hot to explore or hike outdoors. Spring also sees fewer visitors which means that there are fewer crowds in places like Antelope Canyon.
Spring is a great time to visit Page because the weather is beautiful with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. There is roughly only 2 inches of rain on average during the spring months.
To reach Page, you can fly into the regional airport located in Page. Other nearby airports are Phoenix (4-hours drive) and Las Vegas (4.5-hours drive).
By Chelsey from Chelsey Explores
In the foothills of Washington is the small Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth which is popular for its Oktoberfest celebrations. However, with only 2,500 permanent residents, it is a true hidden gem in the US to visit in spring.
In the springtime, you can expect to experience crisp fresh air, see lush green landscapes, enjoy the bright-colored blooming flowers, and have a high chance of spotting baby animals on hikes.
Leavenworth is an incredible base for hiking and there are so many beautiful trails not far from the downtown. Unlike the popular hiking trails in Mount Olympus National Park or Mount Rainer National Park, the trails near Leavenworth will be way less busy.
Cascade Loop is a good trek for animal spotting while the steep Peshastin Pinnacles is ideal to do in spring otherwise it gets very hot in the summer.
A great spring activity for adventure lovers is white water rafting. Once the ice melts, the rivers have high water levels making for gushing rapids. There are rapids rated grade 1 (beginner) to grade 5 (expert)!
Just because it isn’t Oktoberfest doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy walking around Leavenworth’s downtown, browse the unique shops and try traditional German foods. You should and it’s a very fun way to spend an afternoon.
Average temperatures in Leavenworth in spring are low 50s and 60s in March and April, then low 70s in May. On average it rains 18 days during March, 17 days in April, and 15 days in May. Accordingly, make sure you bring a packable rain jacket or umbrella!
Leavenworth is an easy road trip from Seattle only taking 2 hours by car. From Spokane, it is 3 hours, and from Portland, it is 4 hours. So if you are flying, Seattle International Airport will be the most convenient.
By Wayne from Always On The Shore
If you’re planning to visit the Florida Panhandle but want to avoid the more crowded cities of Destin, Pensacola Beach, and Panama City Beach, then Seaside is a perfect option!
This “seaside” town is tucked away on Scenic Highway 30 which runs along the Gulf Coast from Santa Rosa Beach to Rosemary Beach. There are plenty of small beach towns with amazing beaches along the way such as Grayton Beach and Blue Mountain Beach.
Seaside is about 45 minutes from both Destin and Panama City Beach, making it a perfect place to take a day or weekend trip no matter where you are staying. Its next-door neighbor, Watercolor, is within walking distance of Seaside and has plenty of shops and nice restaurants.
What makes Seaside special is the New Urbanism architecture, the beaches, dining, shops, and the slow pace of life here. In fact, with the narrow roads and many things to do within walking distance, it’s best to take a stroll around the city on foot.
The city’s claim to fame is that the movie “The Truman Show” was also filmed here. You can find the house and take a photo while exploring the town.
When in Seaside, find a parking spot and head to the town square area. What you’ll notice right away are food trucks lined up for about a block right along the highway.
There are restaurants on the beach side, as well, including Bud & Alley’s, which has been around for more than 30 years. It has a rooftop bar overlooking the water.
From here, you can grab a bite to eat and hang out on the grass of the amphitheater area and relax. The best time to come here is around sunset.
Walk across the street to the beach and kick your toes in the sand at Van Ness Butler Beach. There is a large parking lot just across the street from the beach entrance near the Seaside/Watercolor border.
The average high temperature for the spring months are 70 degrees Fahrenheit in March, 75 degrees in April, and 81 degrees in May. There are about 5-6 days of rain per month, a perfect time to visit the downtown shops.
Seaside is only 45 minutes from the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City Beach. If you’re coming from the other end of the Florida Panhandle, you can make it to the Pensacola Beach airport in under 2 hours.
Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
By Lydia from Lost With Lydia
Hocking Hills State Park is full of caves, waterfalls, unique rock formations and beautiful trails. It’s a great escape from the nearby state capital of Columbus and is arguably the most beautiful place in Ohio. It is an undiscovered American hidden gem waiting to be uncovered.
The best thing to do in Hocking Hills is to explore the many hiking trails. Some of the most popular trails include Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls. All of these trails offer both waterfalls and beautiful rocks among lush greenery.
For a more off-the-beaten-path trail right outside of the State Park, visit the Rockbridge Natural Bridge trail. You can walk over or under this stunning natural bridge surrounded by trees.
Another fun thing to do in Hocking Hills is ziplining! Hocking Hills Canopy Tours offers a variety of zipline options and even has a nighttime tour.
While Hocking Hills is popular among locals, it is relatively unknown for the rest of the United States. The Park is free to visit and the best place to relax in a cozy cabin at an affordable price. You may even be reminded of the Pacific Northwest as you explore the mossy green trails.
Spring is a great time to visit Hocking Hills because the waterfalls will be overflowing with the frequent rain. Spring is also a great time to see wildflowers and avoid the higher crowds visiting in the summer.
Once you are finished in the State Park, consider exploring Ohio further and visiting some wineries in Ohio.
In March, Hocking Hills temperatures average a high of 50°F and a low of 27°F. In April, temperatures tend to be a high of 64°F and a low of 36°F. Finally, in May, temperatures are a high of 72°F and a low of 48°F.
It rains about 9 days a month for all three of these months.
The closest major airport to Hocking Hills is in Columbus. From there, it is an hour drive to reach the State Park.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
By Jackie from Bon Voyage Jackie
Big Bend National Park is located in West Texas, right at the border with Mexico. It’s one of the most remote national parks in the US.
There’s not much else out there, and the closest airport is a 3.5 hours drive, so you have to really make an effort to see Big Bend. However, for the bold travelers willing to take on the journey, it is one of the most underrated national parks in the US. In addition, Big Bend is the perfect spot for a long weekend trip.
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, spring is an excellent time to visit Big Bend. Not only is the weather pleasant and cool enough for hiking (in summer months the park can become dangerously hot), but desert flowers are in bloom this time of year bringing some pops of color to the desert landscape.
The biggest draw to Big Bend National Park is hiking. The Park spans across many different landscapes from desert lowlands, mountains, and river canyons.
If planning multiple hikes in a day, research the locations of the trails. Big Bend is one of the larger national parks and driving from one end of the park to the other can take at least an hour. Some of the most popular and scenic hikes are the Window Trail, Emory Peak, and the Santa Elena Canyon trail.
Be sure to bring your passport and you can take a rowboat across to the Mexican town of Boquillas del Carmen. Bring cash, this small remote town has no credit card readers or ATMs. US dollars are accepted. The rowboat across is $5 USD round trip, and you can choose to walk the mile into town or pay to ride on horseback.
Once in town, stop at one of the restaurants for lunch, grab a post hike beer and relax. Just be sure to check the US Customs and Border Control schedule. Depending on the season, opening hours of the border crossing back into the US can change.
Big Bend also boasts natural hot springs along the Rio Grande, one of which sits inside the foundations of an old bathhouse. The bathhouse, opened in the early 1900s as a health spa, no longer remains. The foundation however makes for a perfect hot tub to sit, relax and take in the views of the river. The hot spring is a popular site, so it’s recommended to get an early start and head over just before sunrise to avoid a wait.
March brings cool days and chilly nights with average high temperatures in the 60s and lows dropping into the 40s at night. In April, things start to warm up and you’ll see daytime highs in the mid 70s and lows in the 50s. May brings on hints of summer with daytime highs creeping up into the 80s, though things can cool off quickly once the sun goes down with lows in the 50s. Out in the desert, a rainy day, especially this time of year, is extremely rare.
To reach Big Bend National Park, the closest airport is located in Midland, TX. A rental car is a necessity both to get to the national park and navigate the area once there.
The drive from Midland to Big Bend takes approximately 3.5 hours, though there are some charming small western towns to explore along the way such as Alpine and Marathon.
Little Switzerland, North Carolina
By Victoria from Southern Trippers
Hidden away in North Carolina’s famous Blue Mountains, Little Switzerland is an underrated destination to visit in the United States in spring.
After all, it’s a quaint little village with a European flair and is known for sweeping views of the surrounding mountains that resemble the Alps.
Start your visit with a drive through the Little Switzerland Tunnel at milepost 333.1 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s got a lovely, rustic interior that is perfect for photos.
Next, enjoy a meal at Switzerland Inn Chalet Restaurant. There’s a gorgeous outdoor terrace where you can see the incredible views of the mountains. Then, grab a microbrew beer and savor a giant bowl of onion soup with a bacon appetizer.
If you feel like something sweet, head to The Swiss Shoppe and grab some artisanal candy, fudge, and ice cream for later. Just don’t leave without taking some candid shots in their fun photo booth.
In spring, you must do the 2.5-mile loop hike to Crabtree Falls. After all, this 60-foot tall waterfall is at its most majestic throughout this season. Be sure to keep an eye out for stunning flower blooms that include daffodils, Irises, Dogwood, Mountain Laurel, Crab Apple, and more.
Spring temperatures are perfect for hiking. In fact, daily highs range anywhere between 70F and 55F while daily lows dip down to anywhere between 33F and 45F. Just be sure to bring a waterproof jacket since you’ll get anywhere between 8 and 10 days of rain per month.
If you’d like to visit, fly into Asheville Regional Airport and pick up a rental car. The drive takes about an hour.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
By Abbey from Trips From Abbey Road
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is one of the less visited national parks in the USA in spring. You will find this beautiful national park on the western side of Virginia. It runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in total is about 105 miles long.
The spring months are especially beautiful to visit because the weather is still nice and warm during the day, and the flowers and trees are coming back to life.
Visiting Shenandoah National Park is such an undiscovered treasure because you can hike the famous Appalachian Trail in many different places, and climb the highest peak in Virginia.
Another one of the best things about Shenandoah National Park is that you can drive along the famous Skyline Drive. This is a highway that runs almost throughout the entire Park and is breathtakingly beautiful in springtime. If you are not a nature person but still want to enjoy the beauty that this National Park has to offer, then this would be the best bet for you.
There are many different campgrounds in the Park or you can set up camp anywhere in the forest.
The average temperature of the Shenandoah National park in March is a high of 46F and a low of about 28F, with 8 days of rain. April has the same amount of rainy days but the weather is a bit warmer coming in at 56 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, falling to 36 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
May is the best time to go with an average temperature of 64 degree Fahrenheit during the day and 45F at night. It is the rainiest month of the year, though, with 10 days of rain.
The closest highway would be Charlottesville, Virginia, only a short 25 miles away from the Park. This is where many people fly into and then, hop into a rental car to start their trip.
If you don’t like to camp, the town of Charlottesville has many accommodation options.
Oswald West State Park, Oregon
By Anna from Anna Tee
Oswald West State Park is an incredible hidden gem in the USA, located just south of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Cannon Beach is definitely a well known spot, but Oswald West State Park often slips under the radar, yet offers more quiet, secluded trails and adventures.
The best things to do in Oswald West State Park include hiking and surfing. For hikes, there are countless trails to choose from, and you’ll often have them to yourself. The best hikes include Cape Falcon, and the Elk Flats trail. Both trails offer spectacular views of the ocean, taking you to cliffs and overlooks that will take your breath away.
Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner, Short Sands Beach is one of the best places to surf in the State Park and in all of Oregon. A short, half mile long trail (which is also good for those who want an easy hike) takes you to a beautiful view of the beach and a great, easy place to surf.
Spring is a great time to go, because the Oregon Coast is more popular in the summer – so visiting in the spring gives you even more privacy. However, you’ll have to be prepared for the famous moody weather of the Oregon Coast. However, with a rain jacket and some waterproof boots, you’ll have a great time!
The temperatures are pretty mild, with highs of 55F and lows of 39F in March, 57F and 41F in April, and 60F and 45F in May. There are quite a few rainy days – 18 in March, 14 in April, and 11 in May, but it’s typically a light drizzle – rarely pours!
To get to Oswald West State Park, you’ll fly into the Portland International Airport, then drive west towards the coast.
By Alanna from Periodic Adventures
While most people know Tennessee from the popular destinations of Nashville or Memphis, there is also another destination worth visiting. Sitting on the Georgia-Tennessee border is Chattanooga, a small industrial mountain town with a modern, close-knit community feel.
One of the most unique things to do to in Chattanooga is visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. Originally a train station, it has since been converted into a hotel, gardens, shops, and entertainment hub with a comedy club and arcade. Grab a beer from one of the train cars that is now a beer hall. You can even try your hand at the “Escape Room” train car.
Be sure to visit the MoonPie General Store to try the signature snack in many flavors. It was invented in Chattanooga for the local miners.
A couple doors down you can also visit the Pinball Museum where for a flat $15 fee, you can learn about and play original pinball machines as old as the 1920’s. This includes the largest pinball machine called Hercules where the pinball is the size of a tennis ball.
Technically just outside of Chattanooga, one of the most popular activities in the area is Rock City Gardens. This is part natural rock formations, such as caves, and part whimsy décor, including a fairy cave, man made waterfall, and gnome gardens. While it might sound bizarre, it does feature a special viewpoint where you can see seven of the surrounding states.
The spring is the perfect time to explore this area as there are lots of outdoorsy things to do nearby like hang-gliding, caves, and hiking.
Historically, Chattanooga was important in the Civil War and integral in the horrific Trail of Tears, which you can learn more about at The Passage outdoor exhibit.
Chattanooga is truly an underrated destination in the United States because most people are simply passing through to get somewhere else, but it really has a lot to offer.
In the spring and especially April, the weather in Chattanooga is perfect with average highs in the low 70’s with only 8 days of expected rain per month.
The closest airports to Chattanooga are Nashville and Atlanta, which are both a 2 hour drive away.
Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania
By Kayla from Writing From Nowhere
You might have never heard of Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania before, but you’re certainly familiar with some of its bragging rights. It’s time for a formal introduction so that you can put this hidden gem on your list.
Ohiopyle is located in southwest Pennsylvania near the border of Maryland and West Virginia.
The State Park is centered around the stunning Youghiogheny River Gorge. Don’t hurt yourself pronouncing it. Everyone abbreviates it to just “Yough” which is pronounced “yauwk.” You’ll blend right in.
The Yough is more than just a beautiful photo opportunity. It’s often counted as one of the best whitewater rafting spots in the US. Spring is a particularly exciting time to raft.
The guidebooks won’t tell you this, but certain small tributaries that lead to the Yough will temporarily swell with snowmelt from the mountains in the spring. These otherwise unnavigatable streams become short-lived rapids. Ask around in person at the rafting rentals on your spring visit to be pointed in the right direction. Beyond the streams, the Yough itself also swells to magnificent levels and is sure to give you a rush.
For the less adrenaline-inclined, venture over the natural water slides at Cumcumber Falls. Yes, it’ll be ice cold. But cold-water swimming is an Instagram trend for a reason! There’s no better place to give it a try. Just be aware: going down when it’s too shallow will do a number on your back, and going down when it’s too full will give even good swimmers a run for their money. Use your judgement, and if the natural water slides aren’t at the right levels, then just enjoy the walk. The area is as lush and gorgeous as it gets.
End your visit with a calm vista at the Ohiopyle Falls Observation Deck. See the Yough in all its glory (without having to get wet) and enjoy watching the rafters go down the falls. The area is well known for being the home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic masterpiece, Falling Water. Personally I think the Railroad Reuben at the House Cafe deserves just as much attention, so make time to pencil them both in.
Stay for a weekend or a month-long remote work-cation. You won’t tire of Ohiopyl (or run out of waterfalls).
The average temperatures by spring by month are 46.2°F- 30.4°F (March), 58.1°F-39.9°F (April) and 69.6°F-49.8°F (May). Average spring rainfall by month is 2.2” (March), 2.8” (April) and 2.17” (May). It’ll be brisk, but that shouldn’t stop you.
The nearest international airport is in Pittsburgh, and it’s about a 75 minute drive through the beloved Laurel Highlands. There’s no public transportation so a rental car is required, but it’s well worth it.
Cedar Key, Florida
By Jillian Michelle from Adventure Dragon
Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Cedar Key is the second oldest town in the state, but it’s not as well known as other beach towns in the USA. This makes it the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to escape the crowds or for a quieter place.
Since the island measures just two square miles, it is entirely walkable. Regardless of the size, there are still plenty of things to do in Cedar Key during your stay.
Dock Street is the most popular place in the entire town. It’s lined with waterfront shops and restaurants that are built directly over the water. When you get hungry, head to the Tipsy Cow, and sit on their outdoor deck. They even have a separate Doggie Menu so that you can bring your furbaby along to eat beside you.
Be sure to stop by Cedar Key Beach while you’re in town. It’s a small beach, and the water is not as clear as some of Florida’s most famous beaches. However, it’s a popular spot to rent a kayak or to book boat tours to explore the other nearby islands that collectively make up the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
Cedar Key’s historical past is what makes this town so special. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can paddle a half mile away to Atsena Otie Key–the original settlement of Cedar Key before it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1896. You can walk through the ruins of buildings and even visit the cemetery that still remains today in the island’s center.
Spring is the best time to visit Cedar Key because the weather is perfect, and your chance of seeing wildlife in the ocean is drastically improved during this time.
Expect average highs of 69 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit from March through May, with just 4 or 5 days of rain expected for each of those months.
To reach Cedar Key, fly into the Gainesville Regional Airport. From there, the island can be reached by car. Just hop onto Florida State Road 24, and drive an hour southwest.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
By Marisa from The Daydream Diaries
Joshua Tree, located in the California Desert, is the kind of place that once you visit for the first time, you want to go every year.
Though its main draw is the Joshua Tree National Park with its incredible rock formations and hiking trails, it offers a ton of other things to do. You can soak up your time basking in that hot desert sun or join the many wellness enthusiasts that reside there by taking a yoga class.
If you are looking for a unique thing to do in California, you must check out The Integatron which is essentially a massive dome in the middle of the desert. The Integatron offers sound bath classes inside the dome and has a lot of other cool art displays in the surrounding grounds.
If you do visit the National Park, you should check out the Arch or Skull Rock. It makes you realize how much of a hidden gem Joshua Tree truly is because it is very easy to visit without crowds. You feel like you have the entire National Park to yourself which is not always the case when exploring other National Parks in the United States.
Joshua Tree pairs nicely with a visit to Palm Springs, another ideal destination in spring.
Temperatures in spring are just perfect, reaching highs of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no rain during the Spring months of April and May. This makes it the best place to escape lingering winter or cold spring temperatures.
You can easily drive from Los Angeles (and fly into LAX) which will take you roughly 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly directly into Palm Springs International Airport and get there in a quick 40 minutes. The drive either way is beautiful and mesmerizing.
The United States is filled with beautiful hidden gems that are fantastic to visit and enjoy in spring. Whether you want to find undiscovered natural wonders in national parks or state parks, or explore underrated and less visit cities and towns, there are lots from which to choose.
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