Traveling on the off-beaten path is my go-to when I’m looking for destinations to visit. I’ve been planning a few trips for 2019 overseas for some time now and while doing so, I immediately stopped. An epiphany hit! Not ONCE have I ever thought to explore the US more. The only time I’ve thought about going somewhere within my own country is to top tier destination cities like New York, LA, Atlanta, Houston, etc. I started doing some digging on places you don’t often hear about, and honey, I was in for a treat! The US has so much to offer and I often take the beauty of it for granted, daily. After finding these cool hot-spots, I’m definitely venturing to them in 2019.
1). Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Not far from Zion National Park is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Located between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains, these sand dunes are just as hot as the stones that make Utah famous. The wind blows small pieces off these mountains and they remain in the valley, creating these dunes over the years. The sand in this state park is more than 10,000 years old! Looking for an excursion to ball out on? Bring an ATV and ride this 10,000 year old wave, fam.
Address: 12500 Sand Dune Road, Kanab, UT 84741
2). Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
This National Monument is located in Northern Arizona, north of Page. With the Grand Canyon and Utah’s national parks just around the corner, this place is often overlooked. Don’t expect a tourist information center here, as the Vermillion Cliffs are different plateaus that can be discovered on foot. Perhaps the most famous part of this National Monument is "the wave," , a small ravine between eroded sandstone with a beautiful flight with thin swirling layers. In recent years, this place has become increasingly famous, but because the site is considered very delicate, this nature spectacle can no longer be viewed independently. Only 20 people per day can ride "The Wave."
Address: Marble Canyon, AZ 86036
3). Stud Horse Point
Stud Horse Point is a fairly unknown place on the corner of Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend. This unique location consists of beautiful rock formations called Hoodoos, and they're pretty baller to look at. There is also a beautiful view of Lake Powell, which is just another reason to visit.
Address: Unnamed Road, Page, AZ 86040
4). Valley of the Gods
Only 30 miles from Monument Valley is the lesser-known Valley of the Gods. These rock formations are very similar to Monument Valley but are much less crowded. Guess who likes fewer people around? THIS GIRL! This beauty is around 17 miles long, so you’ll definitely get a grand tour while passing through. If you’re looking to visit in an RV, be careful! There are a few steep hairpin bends on the dirt road, which might not be ideal for your vehicle. You’ve been warned. There's plenty of beautiful places to stop along this route, and it’s the perfect place to set up a cozy night of camping.
Address: Mexican Hat, UT 84531
5). Valley of Fire
Fifty-five miles north of Las Vegas is the Valley of Fire, which is Nevada's oldest state park since it dates back to 1935. In the park you can admire petrified trees and 3,000-year-old petroglyphs. You can also camp in the park and there's an extensive visitor center that's worth paying a visit if you want to learn more about this region. Red sandstone formations can also be seen in this historical beauty. If you want to escape the busy Las Vegas life and save some money while doing so, this is highly recommended. Plus, it gets major brownie points for being the home of the "Elephant Rock."
Address: 29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040
6). Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
Adjacent to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is this hidden gem. Looking like the set of a Jurassic Park movie, it’s the perfect place to go to get away. Whether it’s relaxing by the stunning body of water or hiking up the trails throughout the park, Spring Mountain can easily become a home away from home. It operates as a historically working ranch and luxury retreat, but it’s perfect for a nice family trip.
Address: 6375 NV-159, Blue Diamond, NV 89004
7). Vesper Peak
Tales say that utter euphoria can be found at Vesper Peak in Washington. Having countless trails like Sunrise Mine Trailhead that lead you to Vesper Creek is probably the real reason we believe in Heaven in the first place. Around a certain time of year, this breathtaking hike is filled with snow! While it's a strenuous hike, you're sure to be met with the most rewarding view.