LIFESTYLE

10 Remote (But Beautiful) Destinations Worth Visiting This Year

These days, it may be some time before you’re hopping on a flight for an overseas vacation. While you need to get away, you’re probably still thinking of steering clear of highly populated destinations and resorts. The good news is you don’t have to travel halfway across the globe to separate yourself from civilization. We’ve found some of the most remote and absolutely beautiful destinations worth visiting right here in the United States. In a land full of big, famous cities, we often overlook the hidden gems we have scattered throughout the country. Going to a secluded place in the States where you have time to really clear your head, just may be the best way to recharge after a crazy year.

Best remote destinations, underwater rock formations in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Wisconsin

#1 | Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands sit way up north on Lake Superior. There are 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coast that are home to windswept beaches, sandstone cliffs and a unique blend of cultural and natural resources. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also known for more lighthouses than any other site in the National Park System. There are 9 historic towers to visit on 6 different islands. You can also hike, kayak, sail or scuba-dive to experience crystal-clear water, underwater rock formations, and fascinating shipwrecks.

Best remote destinations, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, Bonneville Salt Flats Utah

#2 | Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Imagine a place so flat you swear you can see the curvature of the planet. Bonneville Salt Flats is so barren, not even the simplest life forms can exist. The 30,000 acre-expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, is one of the most unique natural features in Utah. The flats were formed when the ancient Lake Bonneville dried up. It eventually shrank below its outlet and as water continued to evaporate, salt deposits were the only thing left along with a breathtaking, remote destination.

Best remote destinations, dramatic craggy rock formation in El Matador Beach California

#3 | El Matador Beach, California

The coast of Malibu is well-known for some of the best beaches in the entire country. El Matador State Beach is arguably the crown-jewel of these beaches. Its natural beauty is hidden away down a steep staircase with dramatic craggy rock formations that look like they’ve risen up from the Pacific. You can get a gorgeous glimpse at undersea life in the tide pools. It’s not a huge beach, but underneath the cliffs, the rocks have archways and holes you can crawl through during low tide. This makes for some spectacular views, especially at sunset.

Best remote destinations, kayaking through a bayou river swamp called Honey Island Swamp Louisiana

#4 | Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana

It’s easy to feel like you’re in a completely different world while you’re kayaking through a bayou. Honey Island Swamp is unique because it’s one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. It’s pretty much in its original condition, almost a pristine wilderness. The swamp covers an area over 20 miles long and nearly 7 miles across. Most of its acreage is government-sanctioned as a permanently protected wildlife area. Animals you’ll spot include alligators, raccoons, owls, wild boars, snakes, turtles, bald eagles and black bears. Oh my!

Best remote destinations, orca whale jumping out of the ocean in the San Juan Islands Washington near Victoria Canada

#5 | San Juan Islands, Washington

Say farewell to worry and stress and say hello to the mellow island vibe in northwestern Washington near Victoria, Canada. San Juan Islands are famous for the majestic Orca whales that inhabit the waters year-round. It’s also one of the nation’s most beautiful areas to hike, bike, swim, or go horseback riding. There are several lakes and more than 38 miles of hiking trails in the 5,252-acre Moran State Park forest. All that makes it a perfect place to stay and play any time of the year.

Best remote destinations, elegant Victorian architecture in the Little Traverse Bay of Petoskey Michigan

#6 | Petoskey, Michigan

This coastal town is found up north in the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. Petoskey is a charming lakeside community known for its natural beauty, historic Gaslight Shopping District, and Michigan’s official state stone—a fossilized rock called Petoskey Stone. One of the first things to catch your eye is the elegant Victorian architecture in so many of the homes and buildings. The Bay View community alone has more than 400 homes on the National Historic Register.

Best remote destinations, beautiful view of Lake Powell Utah's flooded canyon

#7 | Lake Powell, Utah

Lake Powell’s placid blue water runs right into sandy beaches, adding swimming and boating to the hiking, camping and sandstone dynamism you’ve come to expect from southern Utah. It’s been called “America’s lost national park” because the flooded canyons look so much like the federal designations that surround it. Meaning it’s the desert without all the dryness. Unique to the lake is the deluxe houseboat rentals, one of Erin’s favorite getaways.

Best remote destinations, preserved cave dwellings of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument New Mexico

#8 | Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico

For thousands of years, groups of nomadic people used the caves of the Gila River as temporary shelter. In the late 1200s, a prehistoric Native American people called the Mogollon, decided it would be a good place to call home. They built rooms, crafted pottery and raised children in the cliffs. Today, you can get a glimpse of the past by exploring the preserved cave dwellings. You can also enjoy camping and the natural hot springs found nearby at Gila Hot Spring Campground.

Best remote destinations, picturesque, agricultural vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley California

#9 | Santa Ynez Valley, California

The Santa Ynez Valley is located in Santa Barbara County between the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south and the San Rafael Mountains to the north. This picturesque, agricultural valley is just over two hours from Los Angeles but feels like a world away. The tiny town of Solvang boasts Danish-style architecture, while the small town of Los Olivos offers a one-stop wine country experience without the Napa Valley Crowds.

Best remote destinations, wild bison roaming freely in Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

#10 | Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is home to over two hundred miles of trails with rich wildlife, pristine lakes and alpine terrain. It’s also home to the impressive Teton mountain range, and its robust share of bears, bison and moose. Nearby Yellowstone National Park usually gets all the attention, but Grand Teton National Park is a secluded, remarkable place. The almost pristine ecosystem boasts the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times.

Ready to explore one of these amazing destinations? Here are some suggested items to pack for your adventure, including waterproof boots, socks and backpack:

Need some more travel inspiration? Check out these videos with Erin’s packing tips, favorite destinations, and more! What are your favorite remote destinations? Please share in the comments below!

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Thank you for reading!

Amit Bloom
Amit is a loyal subscriber turned contributor from Miami, where she founded and edited an award-winning lifestyle magazine for over 20 years. The loves of her life are her husband and their two fiercely independent and creative kids. She has been known, however, to proclaim that her favorite child is their Shiba Inu, Zac.
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6 thoughts on “10 Remote (But Beautiful) Destinations Worth Visiting This Year

  1. Thank you for including Petoskey! It is a great place to visit all year long. We were just there last weekend skiing on the best hills in the mid-west.

  2. Amit! Thank you for this post! 🙂 The photography is exquisite and the writing is superb. I sincerely appreciate the photo of you with Zac. They are so cute!
    My friendly bichon, Blizzard, would give a smile and happy dance if he could meet you all. Man, I’m seriously taken with these photographs! I definitely have
    to keep these destinations in mind for later! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Emily, for your kind words. If there are any travel destinations or topics you’d like me to cover in the future, please feel free to share your ideas. In the meantime, Zac sends a high-five to Blizzard!

  3. Imagine my delight to find the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on this awesome list. I live in the are and it is truly a gorgeous part of the country. Do come visit!

    1. Hi Mary… Yes, you do live in a gorgeous part of the country! If there are any travel topics you’d like me to cover in the future, please feel free to share your thoughts.

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