Here at RVi, one of the things that fires us up about RVing is the opportunity it gives you to seek out the roads less traveled. In our world, everyone’s got a list of top destinations - but, so often, those destinations are places that were already on your bucket list. Sometimes, it’s nice to venture off the beaten path and discover something new.
With that in mind, we put together a list of our favorite “Hidden Gems” around the US.
1. Hanging Lake - Glenwood Springs, CO
Starting in our beloved home state of Colorado, there’s no better testament to the natural beauty of the American frontier than Hanging Lake. Nestled just off I-70, this spot boasts a mile-long hike through amazing natural stone features and evergreen forests. At the end sits the Lake itself. Fed by a spring that’s just a few hundred feet further up, this water is incredibly clear - so clear, in fact, that it almost looks photoshopped!
The Lake gets its name from the fact that the edge of the water nearly hangs off of the steep cliffside at one end, which lends to a breathtaking view of the valley below. This is a spot you definitely don’t want to miss out on!
2. International UFO Museum & Research Center - Roswell, NM
Sitting in the southeast corner of New Mexico, Roswell has been famous since the 50’s for its alleged-UFO crash landing. So much so, that the whole town is themed around the event (including street lights shaped like alien heads and a UFO-themed McDonald’s).
One definite must-see while you’re in town is the UFO Museum & Research Center. It boasts incredible artwork from around the world and chronicles the entirety of the event for which the town is so famous. For skeptics and believers alike, Roswell is out of this world!
3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Carlsbad, NM
Just a couple hours south of Roswell are the famed Carlsbad Caverns. Truly something that must be seen to be believed, this extensive labyrinth of tunnels looks like it was ripped straight out of a Jules Verne novel. There are over 119 individual limestone caves, peppered with towering stalagmites and stalactites. And, while it may primarily be a spelunker’s paradise, there’s plenty of beautiful trails to hike above ground as well.
As an added bonus, we recommend visiting sometime between May and October so that you can take part in the Bat Flight Program. This free nightly event allows you to watch the Caverns’ bat population take flight en masse (from the comfort of an amphitheater, of course!). Truly a sight to behold!
4. The Walmart Museum - Bentonville, AK
While it may not sound all that exciting at first glance, this place is truly a hidden gem. Bentonville was the home of Sam Walton, the founder of the Wal-Mart retail chain. At this museum, you can see artifacts and exhibits that help flesh out the story of this massive operation, which dates all the way back to the 40’s.
In addition, you can visit Walton’s original five-and-dime shop, as well as the Spark Cafe & Soda Fountain. It’s a walk down memory lane that’s well worth taking.
5. Watkins Glen State Park - Watkins Glen, NY
Last but certainly not least is this beautiful park in upstate New York. While Niagara Falls gets most of the attention up here, it’s certainly not the only destination you should have on your map! Watkins Glen is a part of the Finger Lakes State Park network, and features a beautiful 400-foot stream that cascades through the gorge, tumbling down 19 waterfalls in the process.
There are hiking trails around the rim of the Glen as well, and some excellent fishing spots at nearby Seneca Lake and Catherine Creek. If you’re looking for a storybook end to your RV trip - or you want a place to remind you that there’s still magic in this world - look no further.
Whether you’re new to RVing or a seasoned vet, we all love feeling that thrill of adventure from being on the open road. Finding hidden gems like these five unique locations only enhances that thrill and makes us feel like we’re discovering something brand new. We can’t wait for you to add them to your itinerary!
P.S. - If you visit, tag us in your photos @RVibrake! We'd love to see them!