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US Trips off-the-Beaten-Track

The quintessential American road trip holiday conjures up images of freedom of the open road. From the Big Apple to Venice Beach, historic towns to awe inspiring natural parks, an American road trip offers diversity and beauty.

While there are the must-see sights to tick off the “to do” list when travelling the USA (think Venice Beach, New York City, or Yosemite), there’s also plenty to discover off-the-beaten-track in this vast country.

We’ve rounded up our top picks for unique American holiday experiences to consider when planning your holiday.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

If you’re passing through Austin in Texas, add a stop off on your itinerary to this little-known natural swimming pool. Located in a canyon 37 kms west of Austin, the Hamilton Pool Preserve was formed when the dome of an underground river eroded and collapsed thousands of years ago, creating the turquoise pools that exist today, as well as a 15 metre waterfall.

In order to preserve its natural beauty, access to the pool is limited to a certain number of people per day. You must reserve a spot before visiting the pool, as well as pay a $15 USD vehicle entry pass. The emerald pools are located a steep walk down from the parking lot, but it’s well worth the trek to this hidden Texan gem.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is an estimated 440,000 years old, and is essentially a huge sandbox for adults. Featuring the highest sand dunes in North America and stunning views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, the park is perfect for hiking, horse riding, sand boarding or sledding. Gear rental is available all year-round in shops nearby town of Alamosa.

Once you’re done sledding, consider taking an off-road drive down the Medano Pass Primitive Road. This stunning isolated track winds through forests, wetlands, and alpine lakes. Remember though, that it can only be accessed with a high clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Supai, Arizona

Supai, Arizona

Located just on the edge of the Grand Canyon’s Southern rim lies the village of Supai, the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Supai is one of the most remote communities in America, and can only be accessed by a 4-7 hour hike, helicopter, or by pack animal. This makes it a truly once-in-a-lifetime off-the-beaten track American experience.

The most well-known attraction in Supai are the famed Havasu Falls. These pristine aqua blue falls spill out onto orange cliffs and provide a welcome treat for trekkers. In order to preserve the natural beauty of this site, the Havasupai Tribe limits the amount of visitors given access, with reservation and entrance fees of $100-$125 USD required in advance. It is possible to camp in the community, however spots are limited. Campground reservations open on February 1st for the whole season, and in 2018 these sold out entirely on the first day!

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Alaska is America’s most sparsely populated State, so where better to head to for an off-the-beaten-track adventure? Most visitors enjoy activities like hiking and bear spotting, but for those looking for a little more adventure, why not try your hand at kayaking inside ice caves?

The Mendenhall Glacier is a 22 km long ice river, located in the Mendenhall Valley, just 19 kms from downtown Juneau. Various companies operate kayak tours where you’ll be able to get close to the surface glacier itself, spot wildlife like black bears and mountain goats, and soak up the natural beauty of this remote region. Tours last several hours, and operate under limited U.S. Forest Service permits making this experience limited to a lucky few.

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
City Hall Subway Station, New York

City Hall Subway Station, New York

If you’re in New York City and have ticked off all the major attractions on offer, head to the abandoned City Hall Subway Station for an urban off-the-beaten-track adventure.

The architecturally stunning station was designed by master artisan Rafael Guastavino. It was New York City’s very first subway station opening in 1904, and was originally intended to be the crown jewel of the subway. The station has remained closed since 1945, with visitors forbidden from accessing this pristine site, until now!

The New York Transit Museum now offers selected guided tours of the abandoned station, for around $50 USD per person. Due to the exclusivity of the tours, tickets tend to sell out fast so booking is essential.

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