Planning a trip to America? You need to visit these ten underrated US tourist spots!
There are many famous, popular tourist spots in America, including the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Times Square, and the Hollywood Sign. While these attractions are popular for a reason, it is also fun to explore the underrated tourist spots in America. In fact, lots of states in the US contain hidden travel gems.
Hawaiian Islands, an online site detailing the best restaurants, attractions, and vacation rentals in Hawaii, conducted a study to find out the top ten most underrated tourist spots in America, according to visitors. The company gathered 17,000 Tripadvisor reviews of American tourist attractions, noting how many reviews used terms like “underrated” and “hidden gem” to compile a list of travel destinations. Below is a list of the top ten most underrated US tourist spots that Tripadvisor users recommend visiting.
Related: 10 Hidden Gem Destinations On The West Coast
When planning a first-time visit to San Francisco, most people include the obvious attractions of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. There are so many hidden gems in San Francisco that are worth adding to an itinerary, with Fort Point National Historic Site being one example. Tripadvisor commenters rave about this site’s stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge and interesting historical exhibits. The unique architecture of this fort is also a selling point for many visitors.
The ninth most underrated tourist spot in the US is Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. With over 400 national parks in America, it can be easy to overlook some pretty spectacular parks. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt used his presidential power to preserve over 230 million acres of land. Theodore Roosevelt National Park visitors rave about the abundance of wildlife, lovely scenic overlooks, and refreshing lack of crowds.
While Hawaiian Islands’ study revealed SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas, to be one of the most overrated spots in America, there are plenty of underrated gems in the city as well. The Japanese Tea Gardens, for instance, is a must-see while visiting San Antonio. A perfect attraction for all ages, the garden includes beautiful foliage, East Asian architectural features, lovely koi ponds, and plenty of short trails. Visitors describe this attraction as tranquil, peaceful, beautiful, and a soothing oasis.
A cemetery might now sound like a fun attraction, yet the Green-Wood Cemetery is ranked the eighth most underrated spot in America. Located in Brooklyn, New York, the architecture and sculptures in this cemetery are exquisite. Some visitors enjoy taking guided tours of the cemetery, while others find it calming to wander around the place alone. Visitors also say one can easily spend an entire day here, visiting historic memorials and admiring the architecture.
Libraries, in general, are underrated. An underrated library and tourist spot is The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. There are endless things to do on a weekend trip to New York City, including taking in a Broadway show and strolling through Central Park. Visiting The Morgan also needs to be on everyone’s itinerary. The ornate ceiling paintings and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves make visitors feel as if they are in the library scene in Beauty and the Beast. Visitors describe this hidden gem as a book lover’s paradise, with plenty of ancient books, interesting exhibitions, and even a small coffee shop.
Related: 10 Hidden East Coast Gems You Should Visit ASAP
There are also plenty of underrated parks in America, one being Grounds For Sculpture. This New Jersey gem spans across 42 acres of land, featuring wildflowers, butterflies, reflecting pools, and contemporary sculptures. The Tripadvisor comments section for this park is filled with glowing reviews. Visitors gush over the variety of artwork, the beautiful grounds, and the lovely flowers and trees. This sculpture garden is also perfect for a family excursion.
The most underrated national park, according to the Hawaiian Islands study, is Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. The colorful rock formations are truly breathtaking, and many visitors rave about the petroglyphs and red rock. This hidden gem can also be explored in a variety of ways. Some travelers enjoy exploring the natural beauty up close via hiking trails. Other travelers prefer to stay in their cars, opting for a scenic drive instead. One final draw of this national park is its lack of crowds.
The third most underrated US tourist spot, according to visitors, is the Richard H. Driehaus Museum. This Chicago museum features art and architecture from the late 1800s-early 1900s. The building contains an ornate main hall, drawing room, library, and ballroom. Visitors agree that this home highlights how the wealthy lived during the Gilded Age in America. Visitors also praise the highly knowledgeable tour guides and exquisite decor. With over 1,100 “Excellent” reviews and zero “Terrible” reviews on Tripadvisor, this museum is a must-see when visiting the Windy City.
A unique and very underrated museum in America is the National Postal Museum. Located in Washington, DC, this Smithsonian Museum teaches visitors all about the postal systems and postal history of various countries around the world. The museum offers guided tours, drop-in tours, self-guided tours, and scavenger hunts for kids. Moving the Mail, a permanent exhibit features the vehicles that the US Postal Service has used to carry mail over the years. Tripadvisor reviews explain how the museum presents information in a fun and engaging way and that this museum is a hidden gem worth visiting.
The Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens is the most underrated tourist spot in America. Hillwood Estate is in DC, meaning tourists can easily visit both the estate and the previously mentioned National Postal Museum in one day. The lovely Hillwood contains a charming estate, museum, and gardens. The estate was purchased by heiress and businesswoman Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1955. The estate is now a museum containing breathtaking artwork, elegant furniture and light fixtures, and lush gardens. The gardens are described by visitors as a hidden oasis. The docent-guided tours are also heavily praised on Tripadvisor.
Steffi Haenicke is a freelance writer. No stranger to list content, Haenicke wrote several list articles while working at Clique Magazine, a fashion and lifestyle digital magazine. Haenicke is also quite the traveler. She makes a biennial trek to Germany to visit relatives and explore the country.


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