Incredible, Crowd-Free Destinations Across the US

by Lauren Dana

Incredible, Crowd-Free Destinations Across the US

by Lauren Dana
Easy Escapes

Wine country in Idaho? Yep. A bustling food scene in Sacramento? Check. Fascinating music history in Alabama? There’s that, too. We’ve found the best places in America to escape the crowds and get some fresh air. Here, 12 American cities (and towns) have something for everyone — all at affordable pricing — sans the crowds.

Wine country in Idaho? Yep. A bustling food scene in Sacramento? Check. Fascinating music history in Alabama? There’s that, too. We’ve found the best places in America to escape the crowds and get some fresh air. Here, 12 American cities (and towns) have something for everyone — all at affordable pricing — sans the crowds.

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Kent, WA / gmc3101/iStock
Greenville, SC
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Greenville, South Carolina

From the iconic river walk to the up-and-coming (and affordable) culinary scene, to the impressive artwork collection, Greenville sets the picture-perfect scene for a romantic escape or group trip. The city is home to over 95 pieces of public artwork along with several performing arts venues. For date night, consider Passerelle Bistro (you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris as soon as you walk into the door), and Pomegranate on Main, which serves Persian cuisine in an inviting space. Husk Greenville is a fairly recent addition, and it's a foodie’s dream come true. 

Read More: 6 Budget-Friendly Romantic Destinations in America

From the iconic river walk to the up-and-coming (and affordable!) culinary scene, to the impressive artwork collection, Greenville sets the picture-perfect scene for a romantic escape or group trip. The city is home to over 95 pieces of public artwork along with several performing arts venues. For date night, consider Passerelle Bistro (you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris as soon as you walk into the door), and Pomegranate on Main, which serves Persian cuisine in an inviting space. Husk Greenville is a fairly recent addition, and it's a foodie’s dream come true. 

Read More: 6 Budget-Friendly Romantic Destinations in America

Kent, Washington
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Kent, Washington

Just 19 miles outside of Seattle, Kent is the perfect place to visit if you’re in search of a centrally located, yet secluded getaway. The city is home to several scenic walking and biking trails, along with sprawling parks. When the weather is warm, you can kayak, paddleboard, swim, and fish in the nearby Puget Sound. When it’s time to refuel, head into Downtown Kent’s Historic District to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. 

Just 19 miles outside of Seattle, Kent is the perfect place to visit if you’re in search of a centrally located, yet secluded getaway. The city is home to several scenic walking and biking trails, along with sprawling parks. When the weather is warm, you can kayak, paddleboard, swim, and fish in the nearby Puget Sound. When it’s time to refuel, head into Downtown Kent’s Historic District to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. 

Idaho wine country
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Boise, Idaho

The Snake River Valley AVA, which includes Idaho’s capital city of Boise, is a great place for wine lovers to explore. Viognier, gewürztraminer, petit verdot, and cabernet franc are all grown here. The area is home to about a dozen wineries, as well as a collection of incredible tasting rooms for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Napa or Sonoma.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Idaho’s Up-and-Coming Wine Country

The Snake River Valley AVA, which includes Idaho’s capital city of Boise, is a great place for wine lovers to explore. Viognier, gewürztraminer, petit verdot, and cabernet franc are all grown here. The area is home to about a dozen wineries, as well as a collection of incredible tasting rooms for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Napa or Sonoma.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Idaho’s Up-and-Coming Wine Country

FAME Recording Studios
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Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals is home to several retro music studios where artists like Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and The Rolling Stones recorded some of their most famous hits. Today, many of the studios (including FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios) offer tours. Another must-visit: The nearby Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals is home to several retro music studios where artists like Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and The Rolling Stones recorded some of their most famous hits. Today, many of the studios (including FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios) offer tours. Another must-visit: The nearby Alabama Music Hall of Fame. 

Amelia Island, FL
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Amelia Island, Florida

This small but magnificent barrier island — located a half-hour outside of Jacksonville — offers 13 miles of uninterrupted coastline and beautiful blue waters. From horseback riding on the beach to visiting Florida’s oldest bar, The Palace Saloon, Amelia Island is the perfect place that marries a beach getaway with a bit of history, an adorable downtown, and plenty of natural beauty.  

Read More: A Florida Ritz-Carlton With Easy Southern Charm

This small but magnificent barrier island — located a half-hour outside of Jacksonville — offers 13 miles of uninterrupted coastline and beautiful blue waters. From horseback riding on the beach to visiting Florida’s oldest bar, The Palace Saloon, Amelia Island is the perfect place that marries a beach getaway with a bit of history, an adorable downtown, and plenty of natural beauty.  

Read More: A Florida Ritz-Carlton With Easy Southern Charm

Covington, LA
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Covington, Louisiana

Just 45 minutes outside of New Orleans you’ll find the quaint town of Covington. From the burgeoning food and drink scene to the charming art galleries and antique shops, Covington is the perfect place to go if you’re in need of some R&R. Take some time to admire your surroundings at Tammany Trace, a 31-mile, super-scenic walking, running, and biking trail. 

Read More: Your Ultimate Guide to Covington, Louisiana

Just 45 minutes outside of New Orleans you’ll find the quaint town of Covington. From the burgeoning food and drink scene to the charming art galleries and antique shops, Covington is the perfect place to go if you’re in need of some R&R. Take some time to admire your surroundings at Tammany Trace, a 31-mile, super-scenic walking, running, and biking trail. 

Read More: Your Ultimate Guide to Covington, Louisiana

Pittsburgh, PA
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

History lovers will certainly appreciate a visit to Pittsburgh, which dates back to the 1700s. Pittsburgh was once a major hub for steel production, earning the name “Steel City.” Today, it's home to 300-plus steel-related businesses and a whopping 446 bridges. Don’t skip town without checking out the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or the Andy Warhol Museum

Read More: Pittsburgh's Surprising (And Affordable) Hotel and Food Scene

History lovers will certainly appreciate a visit to Pittsburgh, which dates back to the 1700s. Pittsburgh was once a major hub for steel production, earning the name “Steel City.” Today, it's home to 300-plus steel-related businesses and a whopping 446 bridges. Don’t skip town without checking out the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or the Andy Warhol Museum. 

Read More: Pittsburgh's Surprising (And Affordable) Hotel and Food Scene

Asheville, NC
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Asheville, North Carolina

This laid-back, fun-loving North Carolina city — which is flanked by the stunning Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains — has all the food, brews (nicknamed Beer City, Asheville is home to 26 craft breweries), art, and music you could possibly need. Plus, with over 3,000 miles of free public hiking trails and two national forests nearby, the destination offers plenty of fresh air. 

Read More: What to See, Do, Eat (and Drink) in Asheville 

This laid-back, fun-loving North Carolina city — which is flanked by the stunning Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains — has all the food, brews (nicknamed Beer City, Asheville is home to 26 craft breweries), art, and music you could possibly need. Plus, with over 3,000 miles of free public hiking trails and two national forests nearby, the destination offers plenty of fresh air. 

Read More: What to See, Do, Eat (and Drink) in Asheville 

Whale in Alaska
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Alaska

From dogsledding to moose spotting, to hiking up a mountain, The Last Frontier is an adventure seekers’ paradise any time of year. While Alaska may seem like a popular vacation hotspot, it’s actually the least-visited state in America. For a unique, authentic experience, consider visiting during the winter months (you’ll avoid all the cruise crowds and get to enjoy the wintery weather like a local).  

Read More: The Best Ways to See Alaska Without Cruising

From dogsledding to moose spotting, to hiking up a mountain, The Last Frontier is an adventure seekers’ paradise any time of year. While Alaska may seem like a popular vacation hotspot, it’s actually the least-visited state in America. For a unique, authentic experience, consider visiting during the winter months (you’ll avoid all the cruise crowds and get to enjoy the wintery weather like a local).  

Read More: The Best Ways to See Alaska Without Cruising

Buffalo, NY
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Buffalo, New York

This small (and snowy!) western New York city was once a major urban hub. Back in the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright designed two estates here. Today, architecture enthusiasts can visit some of his most famous works, the Martin House Complex and Graycliff Conservatory. Additionally, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, The Fontana Boathouse, and Blue Sky Mausoleum are all based off of Wright’s designs (and worthy of their own visit).  

This small (and snowy!) western New York city was once a major urban hub. Back in the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright designed two estates here. Today, architecture enthusiasts can visit some of his most famous works, the Martin House Complex and Graycliff Conservatory. Additionally, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, The Fontana Boathouse, and Blue Sky Mausoleum are all based off of Wright’s designs (and worthy of their own visit).  

Sacramento, CA
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Sacramento, California

Sacramento’s “slow food” movement has made the city one of the nation’s most exciting destinations for foodies. The initiative focuses on using locally produced, sustainable fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses (the region is home to around 250 different crops). Chefs and restaurateurs love it here because of the abundance of fresh ingredients and low costs (this is good news for travelers, too). Hotspots include Localis (which serves up posh American dishes) and Jungle Bird (a tiki-inspired cocktail bar and eatery). 

Sacramento’s “slow food” movement has made the city one of the nation’s most exciting destinations for foodies. The initiative focuses on using locally produced, sustainable fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses (the region is home to around 250 different crops). Chefs and restaurateurs love it here because of the abundance of fresh ingredients and low costs (this is good news for travelers, too). Hotspots include Localis (which serves up posh American dishes) and Jungle Bird (a tiki-inspired cocktail bar and eatery). 

Indianapolis, IN
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Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana’s capital city is home to the annual Indianapolis 500 race, as well as a plethora of museums and attractions for visitors of all ages (one of our favorites? The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which is open year-round). Other highlights include the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Medical History Museum, the Indianapolis Salt Cave, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park

Indiana’s capital city is home to the annual Indianapolis 500 race, as well as a plethora of museums and attractions for visitors of all ages (one of our favorites? The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which is open year-round). Other highlights include the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Medical History Museum, the Indianapolis Salt Cave, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. 

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