September 17, 2023 | Sam Weltman

Top 10 Must-Visit Hidden Gems in North America

Top 10 Hidden Gems in North America

tourist selfies split image

North America is a vast and diverse continent, filled with remarkable destinations that often go unnoticed by mainstream tourism. From stunning natural wonders to charming cultural enclaves, these hidden gems offer unique experiences and breathtaking beauty. 

In this article, we unveil the top 10 must-visit hidden gems in North America that are sure to captivate and inspire adventurous travelers.

1. Sedona, Arizona:

Sedona, Arizona, Cathedral RockUnsplash

Nestled amidst towering red rock formations, Sedona is a mystical and captivating destination. Its unique energy vortexes, believed to be sources of spiritual power, draw visitors seeking balance and rejuvenation. The stunning landscapes, from the iconic Cathedral Rock to the sprawling Oak Creek Canyon, offer endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and photography.

2. Tulum, Mexico:

Tulum, MexicoUnsplash

Tulum, located on Mexico's stunning Caribbean coast, offers a mix of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient Mayan ruins. What sets it apart is the juxtaposition of these historical treasures against the backdrop of a thriving bohemian beach town. Explore the well-preserved coastal Mayan ruins, swim in the cenotes (natural sinkholes), and embrace the relaxed beach vibes that make Tulum a unique gem.

3. Quebec City, Canada:

Quebec CityUnsplash

Quebec City, with its charming European architecture, cobblestone streets, and rich history, is a hidden gem that transports visitors to another era. The UNESCO-listed Old Town, with its iconic Château Frontenac and fortified city walls, exudes old-world charm. Discover the vibrant French-Canadian culture, indulge in exquisite cuisine, and experience the magic of winter at the famous Quebec Winter Carnival.


4. Olympic Peninsula, Washington:

Olympic National Park - WashingtonUnsplash

The Olympic Peninsula is a nature lover's paradise, boasting lush rainforests, rugged coastlines, and snow-capped peaks. What makes it truly unique is the diverse ecosystems within a relatively small area. Explore the enchanting Hoh Rainforest, witness the powerful waves at Rialto Beach, and marvel at the glacier-clad peaks of the Olympic Mountains. Don't forget to spot the wildlife, from bald eagles to Roosevelt elk.

5. Charleston, South Carolina:

Charleston, South CarolinaUnplash

Charleston, known for its rich history, Southern charm, and vibrant culture, is a hidden gem that leaves a lasting impression on visitors. Wander through the meticulously preserved historic district, where pastel-colored antebellum homes and cobblestone streets tell stories of a bygone era. Immerse yourself in Gullah culture, savor Lowcountry cuisine, and take a boat tour to explore the nearby barrier islands.

6. Alberta Badlands, Canada:

Alberta Badlands, CanadaUnsplash

The Alberta Badlands offer a strikingly unique landscape, filled with dinosaur fossils, stunning rock formations, and an otherworldly beauty that captivates all who visit. Unearth the prehistoric past at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils awaits. Explore the eerie hoodoos and layered sedimentary rocks in Drumheller, creating a surreal and ancient backdrop.

7. Asheville, North Carolina:

Asheville, North CarolinaUnsplash

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a vibrant and artistic city, known for its stunning natural beauty, craft breweries, and thriving music scene. Discover the iconic Biltmore Estate, a grand mansion surrounded by breathtaking gardens. Explore the bohemian River Arts District, where local artists showcase their creativity. Embark on scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and don't miss the chance to indulge in farm-to-table dining.

8. St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada:

St. Johns, Newfoundland, CanadaUnsplash

St. John's, the easternmost city in North America, offers colorful row houses, a lively music scene, and breathtaking coastal vistas that make it a hidden gem worth discovering. The rugged coastline of the Avalon Peninsula provides opportunities for whale watching, iceberg spotting, and coastal hikes. Immerse yourself in the lively local culture, enjoy traditional Irish music in the pubs, and explore the historic Signal Hill.

9. Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Todos Santos, MexicoTravel Awaits

Todos Santos, a laid-back town on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur, offers a perfect blend of art, surf culture, and natural beauty, making it a hidden gem worth discovering. Stroll through the charming streets lined with art galleries and handicraft shops. Enjoy the world-class surf breaks at nearby beaches, and indulge in the local cuisine, including fresh seafood and traditional Mexican dishes.


10. San Juan Islands, Washington:

San Juan Islands, WashingtonUnsplash

The San Juan Islands, located off the coast of Washington State, are a picturesque archipelago known for their stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and tranquil island life. Explore the charming town of Friday Harbor, where local shops and art galleries showcase the island's creative spirit. Embark on whale watching tours, kayak through serene waterways, and witness stunning sunsets over the Salish Sea.

These top 10 must-visit hidden gems in North America offer a wealth of unique experiences and breathtaking beauty. Whether you're seeking stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, or a mix of both, these hidden gems promise to captivate and inspire travelers seeking unforgettable adventures off the beaten path.