Typically, when you think of exotic places to travel, your mind wanders to an African safari or a trek across the Sahara or maybe a lush jungle in Sri Lanka or a clear-water beach in French Polynesia. Likely, the last place you think of as an exotic place to travel is the good old US of A.
However, the US is an enormous country filled with so many diverse, exotic, and wildly beautiful destinations. The next time you feel the itch to travel, take a look out into your own backyard for some inspiration because, believe it or not, some of the best places to visit in the USA are also some of the best tourist destinations in the world.
If you’re a US citizen, you won’t need a passport to travel to these incredible destinations, even though their “foreign” nature may make you feel as if you do.
The following are some of the very best places to visit in the USA and they’re actually such exotic places to travel that it’s almost hard to believe they’re located right within the US.
Housing one of the most unique landscapes of the continental US, southern Colorado is home to Great Sand Dunes National Park, one of the best places to visit in the USA.
With a landscape reminiscent of the great Sahara Desert, this national park boasts the tallest sand dunes in the US that were created over thousands of years from deposits of the Rio Grande.
These massive dunes reach up to 700 feet in height and visitors are invited to climb to the peaks for incredible views of all the park’s dunes. Due to the high winds of the area, the sand is continuously moving so tracks from past travelers are quickly dispersed, making the park even more mysterious.
Adventure tourists will love that some of the dunes offer sand-boarding and sand-sledding for even more fun in this exotic location.
Craving a taste of the Caribbean but can’t travel too far? The Florida Keys is just what you are looking for.
As one of the best places to travel in the USA, this chain of islands off the southern coast of Florida is more than just an exotic place to travel. With a notable Caribbean feel, the series of islands connected by long bridges has a marked international feel.
These beautiful islands stretch for miles offering exotic coastlines with spotless beaches, world-class dive locations, colorful Caribbean-influenced buildings, delicious seafood, excellent snorkeling, sailing, and kayaking—just to graze the surface of what’s on offer.
A quick trip away from the mainland that feels like a trip to a foreign country, the Florida Keys are a must-visit for exotic places in the US.
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Often referred to as “America’s Last Wilderness,” Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a 19.6 million acre park in the heart of Alaska with consistent snow-covered peaks. To name this as an exotic place to travel is certainly an understatement.
In this wilderness of epic proportions, polar bears, caribou, musk oxen, and grizzly bears all roam wild and free. In fact, you are more likely to run into one of these creatures than you are to encounter another human being while wandering into this vast wild.
With some of the most extreme weather conditions, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lives up to its name with nine months of winter and arctic temperatures persisting sometimes even into summer nights.
Travel in this wilderness can be dangerous due to its extreme remoteness, so it is highly recommended to enter with a guide. Many companies regularly guide polar bear viewing trips and nature treks into the refuge so careful travel is highly accessible in the region. As the final wilderness of the US, this wildlife refuge is definitely one of the best places to visit in the USA.
As the least developed of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is an untouched and untarnished paradise. More than just exotic, this otherworldly island is home to lush, mountainous landscapes and unbelievable beaches.
Its breathtaking beauty has attracted the attention of not only tourists, but also Hollywood producers setting this island paradise as the exotic backdrop to films such as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the 2005 remake of King Kong.
Purely tropical beauty from shore to shore, this island is certainly not only one of the best places to visit in the USA, but one of the best places to visit in the world.
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As one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, Mount Rainier is a picturesque and stunning volcanic mountain housed in a national park in Washington State. The highest mountain of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, Mount Rainier towers high at an unbelievable 14,411 feet.
To truly feel like you’ve left the US, you can admire this landscape resembling the Alps by walking through mountainous fields covered with colorful wildflowers. As you explore the park, you’ll pass enormous glaciers and waterfalls at every turn until you reach Tipsoo Lake to glimpse the colossal volcano’s reflection in transparent, glistening water.
Exotic is an understatement to describe this threatening but awe-inspiring volcano listed as a Decade Volcano, one of 16 in the world that is worthy of particularly close study due to its record of destructive eruptions in the past and its close proximity to a densely populated area.
As exotic as they come, Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California is less like walking into a foreign country and more like walking onto a foreign planet.
The meeting point of two distinct desert ecosystems from the Mojave and the Sonoran, this unique national park is peppered with unusual foreign trees, huge boulders, and mountainous desert terrain.
As a playground for rock climbers and photographers alike, this beautiful park is obscure, adventurous, and distinct. Being one of the best places to visit in the USA, Joshua Tree National Park is sure to amaze.
Travelers do not need to go far and wide to find some of the most unique and exotic places to travel and visit. Within the US, there are so many places to travel that are breathtaking, mysterious, and striking to satisfy even the greatest wanderlust.
The world is full of beautiful wonders and some of the best places to visit in the USA are also some of the best places to visit in the whole world.
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