While visiting the well-known landmarks in the U.S. can be moving and awe-inspiring for our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers, it can also mean dealing with large crowds of others.
So what’s an RVer to do?
Well, perhaps you want to consider a landmark that’s a little calmer and quieter. That’s why it caught my attention when the folks at TravelTrivia.com did a story about landmarks identified as “underrated.” Check out the list below and please let me know your favorite underrated landmark in the comments!
Petrified Forest National Park
Located about 100 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park is often overshadowed by the Grand Canyon. Make no mistake, however, because Petrified Forest National Park is a real gem. From panoramic views of the Painted Desert to a museum filled with fossils from the Triassic period, there is plenty for RVers to check out.
Also, outdoorsy types will be pleased by the park’s many different hiking trails that range from a short 0.3-mile loop to a 2-mile loop.
Sometimes referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is located at the edge of Twin Falls, Idaho.
It’s an excellent family trip with picnic areas, playgrounds, and a swimming area. It also offers hiking trails and even a boat ramp. Of course, no waterfall attraction would be complete without an observation deck to allow for breathtaking views and stunning selfies.
Crazy Horse Memorial
Located in the heart of the Black Hills in South Dakota, the Crazy Horse Memorial is an impressive landmark to behold.
The sculpture is actually a work in progress that began in 1948 and is planned to be the largest mountain carving in the world. When finished, it will portray Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse, seated atop of a horse with a flowing mane. But just because the massive vision has not yet been completed doesn’t mean this spot isn’t worth a visit. The face alone, which is currently complete, is an impressive endeavor, and the significant historical weight of the monument and its meaning is sure to be felt by visitors.
The Buckingham Fountain was erected in 1927 with funds from Kate S. Buckingham as a tribute to her brother Clarence. The siblings were avid art enthusiasts who had been key benefactors to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Today, visitors can find themselves captivated by a 20-minute-long water display at the top of every hour during warm months (roughly early May through mid-October). The fountain features 133 jets and has a capacity of 1.5 million gallons of water. Kate Buckingham envisioned a “soft moonlight” effect that is achieved using more than 800 filtered lights.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
The rocks that give the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument its name have been traced to volcanic activity that dates back 6–7 million years. Located in northern New Mexico, the monument is ideal for those who want to take in the wonder of Mother Nature with relatively easy access.
The three-mile hike includes easy parking and clear signage, which are both good for RVers. There are picnic tables along the way for those who want to make a day of their excursion. While this lesser-known attraction does get busy during the summer months, visitors in the off-season are likely to find a fairly quiet experience.
Palo Duro Canyon
The Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the country, and offers incredible views without nearly as much fuss and crowding as its larger counterpart, the Grand Canyon. Located in the Texas panhandle, the canyon offers more than 30 miles of trails accessible by foot, bike, or horse.
Guided tours along the bottom of the canyon provide easy chances to take a close look at the canyon. After you’re through exploring, you’ll find some great family-friendly entertainment (at least during the summer) at the Pioneer Amphitheater. Options include singing, dancing, and fireworks. Of course, there’s also plenty of Texas barbecue to round out your stay with delicious food.
Located just a few miles west of Collinsville, Illinois, you’ll find the largest archaeological site in North America. Remnants of the original city of Cahokia,active thousands of years ago, offer glimpses of an ancient civilization.
The site’s Interpretive Center offers informational sessions and exhibits. And visitors are invited to hike the trails winding through the 2,200-acre tract of land, including climbs along gigantic earthen steps to the top of the 100-foot mounds.