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Top 5 Lesser Known Travel Destinations In The U.S. This Fall

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There’s not much better than discovering a new and underrated travel destination.

As much as everyone enjoys visiting the bucket list locations, there’s something hugely satisfying about finding a hidden gem and enjoying an authentic travel experience there.

And many of those lesser-known destinations can be found in the United States.

The proof? You could point to the latest Seasonal Travel Index from Tripadvisor, which has revealed America’s top trending destinations this fall.

Woman next to the lake in the fall

Each of these U.S. destinations has experienced a significant increase in interest year-on-year.

There are a few names on the list you may have already visited yourself – the likes of Cape Canaveral in Florida and Reno in Nevada are no strangers to lists of popular destinations.

But there are also some real hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

Intrigued? Here’s a little overview of why these five of the top lesser-known domestic travel destinations this fall.

reno nevada at night

Little Torch Key, Florida

Who really needs another excuse to check out the Florida Keys?

This archipelago off the southern coast of the state is awash with amazing beaches, palm trees, and sparkling blue seas – it’s the perfect place to extend your summer with warm temperatures right throughout the fall.

And about three-quarters of the way along the Keys, you’ll find a new compelling reason to visit in Little Torch Key.

little torch key florida

This tiny island is a true paradise lined with gorgeous white sands and a beautiful nature reserve – it’s the perfect place to relax and catch some sun.

But there’s more to this jewel in the Florida Keys crown than just sunbathing; it’s a well-regarded fishing destination and home to several high-quality resorts, such as the adult-only Little Palm Island Resort.

Rutherford, California

Wine lovers, assemble! Rutherford, California lies within the Napa Valley region, which is world-famous for its excellent wine.

This tiny rustic town is known for the cabernet wines it produces, which have a unique fruit and herb flavor combined with a spicy note that many wine aficionados call the ‘Rutherford dust’.

It’s home to wine estates such as Inglenook, Rutherford Hill Winery, and Elizabeth Spencer Winery, and even has a five-star resort with a Michelin-starred restaurant in Auberge du Soleil.

a winery in napa valley california

Hawley, Pennsylvania

Tucked away near the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania, Hawley lies just to the north of the pretty Lake Wallenpaupack.

This small town boasts Victorian architecture and a great selection of antique shops that can take you back in time.

The lake is a great spot for fishing, swimming, and other water sports. Alternatively, you could just take in the views and admire the multi-colored vistas you’re likely to be treated to if you visit in the fall.

lake wallenpaupak near hawley in pennsylvania

Carefree, Arizona

One for lovers of desert climates, Carefree, Arizona is located just to the north of Phoenix and is a pretty small town of about 4,000 inhabitants.

A great launchpad destination to explore the rest of the state, Carefree has plenty of its own charms, including a quaint English team room, several picturesque golf clubs, and a host of great restaurants and bars along its East Cave Creek Road.

The town also has its own Desert Gardens, which you can explore on one of the monthly art walks, held each third Thursday of the month.

carefree arizona

Indio, California

Known colloquially as the ‘city of festivals’, Indio lies about 120 miles east of Los Angeles in California.

Some of the festivals that give it that nickname include the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, the Cabazon Indian National Pow Wow, and of course, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Coachella takes place at Indio’s Empire Polo Club and often runs a star-studded lineup of musicians and acts when it takes place each spring.

ferris wheel at coachella festival in indio california

In 2023, acts such as Gorillaz, Pusha T, Calvin Harris, Björk, and Frank Ocean played at the festival.

Away from the music, Indio is a town with plenty of high-quality hotels and resorts, making it the ideal launchpad to visit the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

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