Though domestic travel has recently taken a backseat to international adventures, Americans are still searching for hidden gems across the country that’ll provide the same level of excitement and awe-inspiring scenery as overseas destinations at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience.
In an effort to cater to travelers looking to stay away from the chaotic crowds of bigger hotspots this winter, Fodor’s released its top 3 round-up of the most fascinating destinations in North America (spoiler alert – you’ll still have to pack your passport to go to one of them).
Below, you’ll find out just why these three stunning cities beat the stiff competition in the race to become the continent’s must-see attractions:
Set against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder, Colorado, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike.
With all that said, the city is probably best known for its abundant outdoor recreational activities, which become especially popular this time of year.
Travelers can climb or hike through the Flatirons, an iconic series of rock formations that challenges even those with moderate experience levels but offers some of the most rewarding views of the city itself and the surrounding wilderness.
Don’t get me wrong, though – nature enthusiasts are far from the only ones able to enjoy Boulder’s allure.
City trippers will be delighted to hear that the Colorado gem boasts a vibrant cultural scene, best characterized by the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian-friendly hub that showcases an array of charming boutiques, art galleries, and lively street performances.
If you’re more interested in immersing yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage instead, you can always set some time aside in your itinerary to explore the iconic Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art or book some tickets to the fascinating performances at the Boulder Theater.
Between that, the 300 days of sunshine a year, and the iconic farm-to-table type of cuisine that’s popular all over the city, Boulder is the type of under-the-radar hotspot that offers travelers far more than what meets the eye.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Those who’ve had the chance to travel through Oregon’s rugged coastline will tell you that Cannon Beach is the town that best embodies the region’s charm and tranquility.
Known for its pristine sandy beaches, dramatic rock formations, and stunning sunsets, Cannon Beach is the serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that most Americans are looking for.
Sightseeing options here are endless, though Haystack Rock is undoubtedly the town’s pride and joy.
The iconic sea stack rising from the ocean serves as a natural sanctuary for dozens of species of seabirds and marine life, creating a jaw-dropping sight for lucky visitors.
It probably goes without saying that beachcombers will have the time of their lives here, as the shore is teeming with seashells, sand dollars, and who knows what other types of treasures washed ashore by the tides.
After a long day at the beach, you can always roam through the town’s art galleries, quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants, most of which are concentrated in the downtown area.
Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
Fodor’s last must-see destination is a gorgeous little Canadian city nestled in the striking Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia.
Though a bit of a hidden gem, Nelson manages to capture the hearts of travelers with its quaint charm, artistic ambiance, and postcard-worthy scenery.
The 10,000-people city is surrounded by towering peaks and pristine lakes, offering the perfect retreat for those looking to brace the great outdoors even as temperatures rapidly decrease.
Nelson’s proximity to Kootenay Lake provides excellent opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, while the vibrant arts and culture scene adds a touch of creativity to the city’s already captivating atmosphere.
The entire place is adorned with colorful heritage buildings, art galleries, craft shops, bookstores, and cafes, most of which are located on Baker Street.
Art and history enthusiasts will love Capitol Theatre, a historic performing arts venue, that hosts live performances, concerts, and film screenings, just to name a few.
It’s also worth noting that Nelson is home to more restaurants per capita than major hotspots like Toronto, which goes to show the locals’ dedication to good food and their promise to always keep travelers feeling full and satisfied.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com